Simple Sunday Snack: Seafood Marinara

It has always been a pleasure for me to cook and bake. Even though it usually requires a lot of resources, I still enjoy it because I get to learn more about the raw ingredients and I see them transform into dishes and treats! However, don’t get me wrong. I also have those days when I don’t feel like cooking or baking anything. Haha.

 

Sautéing onions and garlic in butter

But anyway, recently, I was motivated to further improve in cooking and baking certain treats that I decided to have this personal challenge: To Regularly Cook, Bake, & Learn from Mistakes. For some reason, many years ago, God planted in me a desire for food, cooking, & baking. And although I don’t know exactly what his future plans for me are, God continues to encourage me to improve in these skills now for His glory.

And so, by God’s grace, I’ll cook & bake whenever I have the opportunities to do so. Also, if I’m free every Sunday (starting today), I’ll share Simple Snacks and dishes to you too.

Shrimps & squids seasoned with salt and pepper

All honor and thanks to my awesome, supportive,  and encouraging mentor in the kitchen, God. :)

Enjoy the recipe!

SEAFOOD MARINARA (Good for Two)

(I just estimated the ingredients. You can try experimenting too. :P)

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 can of diced/crushed tomatoes (around 3 cups)
  • Salt & pepper (add to taste)
  • A few, fresh basil leaves
  • 5 pcs. medium-sized shrimps
  • 1 medium-sized squid (cut into rings)
  • Dried herbs for seasoning (Italian seasoning/Oregano/Basil/Rosemary, etc.)
  • 2 cups of uncooked spiral pasta

*you can use other kinds of seafood for this dish. :)

 

Marinara Sauce:

  1. Clean the shrimps and squid.
  2. Cut off the shrimps’ heads and set aside in a bowl (you’ll need this for sautéing). Remove the shells of the shrimps and put the shrimp meat in the bowl with the heads.
  3. Slice the squid into small rings and add to the bowl of shrimps. Add salt & pepper.
  4. In a deep pan, combine butter and a tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onions and garlic. After around 2 minutes, cook the shrimp heads, shrimp meat, and squid rings with the sautéed onions and garlic. Stir every now and then for 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp heads.
  5. Add a can of tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. You can add chili powder/flakes if you want.
  6. Simmer for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then, remove from heat.

Spiral Pasta:

  1. Boil a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of oil.
  2. When the water is already boiling, add the uncooked pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  3. Drain noodles and assemble on the serving plate/bowl.
  4. Pour the Marinara sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle cheese and chopped basil leaves over it and serve with toasted garlic bread. Enjoy!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Behind the Scenes

Whenever I have free time at home, I watch one of our family’s favorite TV series, Monk. I love watching Monk because of its mysterious crimes and investigations, funny and unique characters, and its wholesome stories.

While I was watching some of the episodes recently, I was reminded of Adrian Monk’s (main character) humility. Even though other police officers would get the credit for his gift of solving crimes, he wouldn’t make a big fuss about it. Also, instead of complaining, bringing other people down, or bragging, he would happily continue to be excellent in his work.

It made me think about how I react whenever I am faced with similar situations. I do admit that there would be times when I would get tempted to dwell on these thoughts: “Hey, I thought of that idea first!” or “They should thank me because I did this and that…” or “I worked hard for this, so I should get that reward!”

But, God reminded me that it was, is, and will always be by His grace and not by my own strength or wisdom. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

This truth also reminded me of a treat that I made at home recently. I was experimenting with some of the chocolate bars that I had and decided to make crunch bowls out of them. The process involved melting the Nestle Crunch chocolate bars, placing them on the top part of inflated, small balloons, letting them chill in the freezer, and then eventually deflating the balloons to separate the crunch bowls.

After adding the fruits, ice cream, and fruit shakes in the bowls, I served them to my family and, by God’s grace, they appreciated the refreshing treat!

While we were eating the crunch bowls, I remember delighting more in the balloons than in the edible bowls. Even if the balloons weren’t part of the dessert, I appreciated their usefulness and aid in making the melted chocolate become bowls.

In the same way, God encouraged me, at that moment, to continue being excellent in what I do for him because he sees the best in me, he has great plans for me, and he cares for me. Even if others won’t notice or appreciate the efforts I make, even if I am given “only” small tasks, and even if I would always have to ‘work backstage’, I am encouraged to do great things by His grace and for His glory.

 

My mom texted me this lovely quote five years ago and it continues to encourage my heart: “Whenever I feel unappreciated and discouraged, I make my mind dwell on God’s promise: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…’ [Colossians 3:23-24]. Let us focus on desiring the applause of God rather than of men. If someone appreciates us, consider that as a bonus. :)”

In the TV Series, they didn’t explain why Adrian Monk continued to stay humble and modest even if others got the credit for his work. But, the examples of Monk and the useful balloon that I worked with were definitely awesome reminders for me to be faithful in my work and to trust that God will always know what is best for me.

Have a blessed day!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)