Fresh Start Dinners

Fresh Start Dinners

I always feel disappointment after the holidays are over, but it’s quickly swallowed up in the excitement surrounding a new year full of fresh starts. This month, I wanted to share two recipes that represent how I hope to describe my new year: colorful, wholesome, and satisfying. What’s great about my scallop and herb pasta is that the zucchini noodles aren’t necessarily included to lower guilt, they add a pleasant texture to the dish. And the chicken fingers are a favorite because they’re crispy and munch-able even though they’re baked rather than fried. 

Scallop and Herb Pasta

• 1/3 c corn oil + extra for scallops
• 10 oz linguine
• 10 oz zucchini noodles
• 15-20 scallops
• 1/4 c shallots, finely chopped
• 1 lemon, halved
• 1/4 c parsely, chopped
• 1/4 cup basil, chopped
• 1 lb cherry tomatoes
• salt & pepper
• 3 cloves garlic smashed

Pat scallops dry and let sit at room temp. Cook linguine according to instructions. Place a large pan over med-high heat with 1/3 cup oil. Once oil is hot, add the garlic and shallots. Stir about a minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes have all popped, add the zucchini noodles and toss. Cook 3-4 minutes. Toss in the linguine and herbs. Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside. Place a heavy pan over high heat with about 2 Tbs of oil. Once hot, add the scallops. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side and remove. Place pasta in bowls and top each with 4-5 scallops. Squeeze lemon juice over each dish, garnish with parsley.

Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers

• 2 lbs chicken tenders, sliced to half thinness
• 1 c flour
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 2 c buttermilk
• 1 c panko bread crumbs
• 2 large eggs, whisked
• 2 c unsweetened coconut flakes
• 2 tsp salt
• Sweet Thai chili sauce for dipping

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, salt and pepper. Place chicken tenders in the mixture and set in fridge for 2 hours. Heat oven to 350F and line two pans with aluminum foil. Prepare 3 shallow bowls. Place the flour in one, the eggs in another, and combine the panko and coconut in the last. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, then the egg, then the coconut mixture, and place on a baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the center of the chicken reaches 165F. Turn oven to low broil and place each pan on the highest rack for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye on them until they reach your desired level of brown before removing. Serve with sweet Thai chili sauce. Serves 5-6

Gina is a long-time food blogger, Back40 Design web developer,
professional eater, and new resident of Oklahoma.
Find more of her recipes on her Instagram @gina.chong.

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