Gluten Free Chicken Piccata Quick Toss

Do you love Chicken Piccata?  Get all the big restaurant flavor of this classic dish with a few shortcuts that will have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, minus the gluten!

Diced chicken tenders replace cutlets in this express recipe.  Perfect for those busy weeknights when you just want to get dinner on the table, tastes like you’ve been cooking for hours! ❤️

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. chicken tenders, cut into chunks
  • 6 oz. gluten free pasta
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided plus more for finishing
  • 4 tsp. butter, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free, low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. small capers (more if you like)
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • grated cheese

Preparation:

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions, drain and set aside.

Use a large stainless-steel skillet to brown the chicken in 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Don’t crowd the pan, if it doesn’t fit then make 2 batches.

Notice the chicken isn’t quite cooked through at this point, it will finish in the sauce at the end.

Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside, keep warm.  Add the remaining 2 tsp. each of butter and olive oil.  Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.

Be ready with the wine, lemon juice and chicken broth.  Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and garlic and whisk continuously.

Drizzle the liquid into the pan as you continue whisking.

Return the chicken and pasta to the pan and toss to heat through. Cook for several minutes, the liquid will thicken as it comes to a simmer.  Stir in the capers and lemon zest at the very end.

To finish, transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with more olive oil, then garnish with Italian parsley and a little grated cheese.

Yum, how good does that look?  I love this kind of meal for busy weeknights.  Open a bottle of your favorite white wine for this recipe, and then pour a glass for the cook!

Notes ♪♫ I love arrowroot flour for thickening.  It makes a lump free roux every time and I use it in some of my flour blends for bread baking as well.  It’s something I always have on hand in my gluten free pantry!

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Keeping it Simple – A Week of Easy Gluten Free Recipes

There are times in one’s life when it is imperative to keep things simple.  Maybe you are working long hours, have new or increased family responsibilities, or are going through a major life change like a move, new job, or loss of a loved one.

It can be overwhelming to carry on during life’s ups and downs, and what’s for dinner is often the last thing on your mind.  With Celiac disease of course, there may not be options for ordering takeout or stopping for fast food (plus it costs a fortune).  The kitchen must be our safe space, because on top of whatever life throws at us, we do not need to get sick from consuming gluten.

That’s why I decided to put together a week’s worth of meals that I like to make when things get hectic.  May they be an inspiration for you during life’s busy moments, as well as a reminder that gluten free doesn’t have to be difficult or fancy.  These are healthy, balanced meals, that combine a quick cooking protein with sides like rice, potato, or pasta and microwaved veggies (from the freezer).  Use these ideas to make dinner for one, two or a family.  Make extra for leftovers, so you get a night off.

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1 Salmon, Rice and Quinoa, Mixed Veggies

Salmon is widely available in the frozen section of most markets.  It often comes packaged in individual portions.  For this meal, I sprinkled the salmon with a Maple Garlic Seasoning, and cooked in a skillet misted with olive oil spray.  For sides, I cooked white rice and tri-color quinoa together in chicken broth and microwaved mixed veggies.  Total time, 20 minutes.

2 Taste Republic Tortellini with Quick Meat Sauce

Taste Republic has some amazing gluten free pastas, I found their Four Cheese Tortellini in the refrigerator section at Whole Foods.  For the sauce, I browned 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1/2 diced onion, and 2 garlic cloves then added one 29 oz. can of tomato sauce, brown sugar, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Simmered and ready in 30 minutes.

3 Lamb Chops, Rice and Quinoa, Green Beans

Cook once, eat twice is a good strategy when you’re busy.  I had these Lamb Chops (cooked in a skillet with olive oil and rosemary) with leftover Rice and Quinoa from the other night.  Served with a side of French style green beans.

4 Breakfast for Dinner, Scrambled Egg, Toast and Bacon

When you’re just too tired or there’s not much in the fridge, breakfast for dinner is such an easy option.  One of my favorites is a scrambled egg, bacon and gluten free toast (from the freezer).  Easy peasy.

5 Swordfish, Brown Rice and Broccoli

Swordfish can also be found individually portioned in the freezer section.  Cooked simply in a skillet with a pat of butter and sprinkle of Old Bay.  Served with a side of brown rice and steamed broccoli.

6 Thin Ribeye, Potato Wedges and Green Beans

Thin ribeye cooks in minutes!  Just add to a hot skillet with olive oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning, cook 2-3 minutes per side.  Served with roasted potato wedges and French green beans.

7 Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is delicious on its own but wrap it up in bacon and wow!  Roast at 325º until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees for medium.  A one-pound tenderloin will finish cooking in under 30 minutes.  Serve with leftover sides from all the other nights!

Notes ♪♫ I hope you enjoyed these easy, gluten free meal ideas.  Drop me a line if you have questions and be sure to let me know if you have tried any of these recipes at home!

 

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Sausage with Penne and Spinach

For an easy gluten free weeknight meal, look no further than this delicious skillet dinner.  Thanks to my sister for turning me on to the sausage and spinach combo, she made this meal for me shortly after my Celiac diagnosis!  Today I always like to have a variety of sausage on hand in my freezer pantry.  It’s delicious and the bold seasonings are enough to flavor an entire dish.  So, grab a pack, along with some gluten free penne and fresh baby spinach and let’s prepare a quick, satisfying weeknight dinner.

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3-4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. gluten free Italian sausage sliced into coins
  • 2 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1/2 lb. gluten free penne
  • 1/2 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 sweet onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • 1 ladle of pasta water
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese for finishing (Parmesan or Romano)
  • Italian parsley for garnish optional

Preparation:

Cook the penne for 5 minutes less than the package directions, drain and set aside, reserving 1 ladle of the pasta water.  I find that most gluten free pasta is done to al dente long before the package instructions.  So, to be on the safe side I always under cook it, then finish it in the skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium low and begin browning the sausage and pancetta in a little olive oil.

When nicely browned on both sides add the onion and garlic.  Continue cooking and stir frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Next add the drained penne, all of the spinach, white wine and a ladle of the pasta water.

Cover and cook 1-2 minutes longer, or just until the spinach is wilted.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil, toss and finish with grated cheese and chopped parsley.

Dinner is on the table in under a half hour.  Perfect for those busy weeknights!

Notes ♪♫ Today there are so many types of gluten free sausage available.  Just in the 6 years since my Celiac diagnosis, the availability of delicious gluten free sausage has expanded so much.  So don’t hesitate to take advantage of easy meals like this one.  And if you’re worried about sodium or other ingredients, learn to make your own.  Check out my Gluten Free Italian Sausage Patties, and my Gluten Free Breakfast Sausage Patties.  Both are easy to make, and you control what goes into them!

 

Originally published 6/3/2018             Revised 1/17/2024

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Gluten Free Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta

Using simple ingredients from the pantry, this plate full of happiness is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds!  Other than the pasta, the ingredients are naturally gluten free.  A fast easy dinner to enjoy any night of the week!

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

Preparation:

This is one of those recipes that goes very quickly once you begin, so you want to have all of your ingredients at the ready.  Heat a pot of salted water for the pasta.  Mince the garlic and grate the cheese.

Heat a deep skillet with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and add the chicken.  Sprinkle it with Italian seasoning and paprika.  Cook for 1 minute each side (longer if you have thicker slices) and remove to a plate.

By now the pasta water should be ready, cook the pasta to a few minutes less than the package directions, it will finish cooking in the sauce.

Next add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan with their oil.  Cook until they begin to sizzle, then remove and rough chop them or use kitchen shears to julienne.

Return the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan with the minced garlic and 1 tbsp. tomato paste.

Cook for 1 minute, stir it all together and return the chicken to the pan.

Top it with the Gruyere cheese and pour in the half and half.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan, toss well and cook for one more minute.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the remaining tbsp. of olive oil and garnish with Italian parsley.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.  This was SO good!  Sometimes I even amaze myself.

Notes ♪♫ For this dish, use sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  The oil in the jar is infused with flavor and gives the entire dish a beautiful color.

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Hoisin Pork Fried Rice

One of the things I miss most since my Celiac diagnosis is Chinese takeout.  Oh, how I loved those noodles, veggies and fried rice!

At first glance you might think that many of these dishes are gluten free, but did you know that soy sauce contains gluten?  It’s true, traditional soy sauce is fermented with wheat so it is off limits on the gluten free diet.

Fortunately for us, there is a gluten free alternative called Tamari.  Since I started using it in my Asian inspired dishes, I have come to like Tamari even more than soy sauce.  Use it like regular soy sauce, as much or as little as you prefer.

Another favorite condiment, Hoisin Sauce can also be found in the Asian aisle in most markets.  It’s sweeter and much thicker than soy sauce and can be used for glazing and dipping.  In this recipe I use both Hoisin sauce and Tamari for a sweet and savory flavor profile.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup gluten free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. chive seasoning
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup mushroom, diced
  • 2 tbsp. red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 lb. boneless pork
  • gluten free Hoisin sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • sesame oil
  • cooking spray
  • gluten free soy sauce or Tamari
  • garlic powder
  • ginger powder
  • fresh scallions or chives for garnish

Preparation:

Cook the rice according to package directions.  I did mine in a rice cooker with 1 cup gluten free chicken broth, 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp. chive seasoning.  This step can be done ahead, in fact the rice works better in this recipe if it has been cooked in advance and refrigerated.

While the rice cooks, prep all the vegetables.  You should have about 2 cups of diced veggies, total.  Dice the pork and toss it with 1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce.  Sprinkle with garlic and ginger.

With the prep work done, the rest of the dish comes together quickly.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium low and mist with cooking spray (I like Bertolli because it doesn’t damage my nonstick pans).  Whisk the egg with 1 tbsp. water and scramble.  Crumble the egg and set aside.

Next, add 2 tsp. sesame oil to the skillet and cook the pork.

Transfer the pork to a clean bowl and drizzle with more Hoisin sauce.  Wipe the skillet clean and cook the veggies in 2 tsp. sesame oil, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with garlic and ginger and drizzle with Tamari.

Add the cooked rice and egg back to the skillet with more Tamari.

Top with the pork, more Tamari and toss to heat through.

Garnish with fresh scallions or chives and plate.

I just loved this dish, all the flavors that I have been missing!

Notes ♪♫ I love San J brand Tamari and Hoisin sauce.  Both are clearly labeled gluten free and can be found in markets and online.

Originally posted 10/21/2019           Updated 12/13/2023

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Gluten Free Shrimp Scampi

Sometimes you have a meal in a restaurant, and it just sticks in your mind until you finally take the time to recreate it at home.  This is one of those meals.  I love seafood pasta and Shrimp Scampi has to be at the top of my list for all-time favorites.

Did you know this dish is super-fast and easy to prepare?  Yes, a five-star dinner that is quick enough to make on a weeknight!

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup (about half of a 14.5 oz. can) fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. white wine
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse Pan.  Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and wine.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Heat a large pot of salted water for the spaghetti and bring to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and set your timer for 1 minute less than the package directions.

When you have 8 minutes to go on the spaghetti, add the shrimp to the sauce with the lemon juice.  Cook for 3 minutes then turn to finish.

Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan with 2 tbsp. unsalted butter.  Cook for 1 minute longer to marry the flavors.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh Italian parsley and shaved Parmigiano.

Notes ♪♫ I know the food police will say that combining cheese with seafood flies in the face of Italian culinary tradition.  But when I had this dish at a restaurant, it came topped with Parmesan shavings and let me tell you it was out of this world!  Use the good stuff, real Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved fresh right before serving.  I am 100% Italian and trust me, it’s wonderful.

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Gluten Free Brunswick Stew

Restaurants have long known the secret, that today’s leftovers can be reinvented into tomorrow’s soups and stews.  It eliminates waste and makes good economic sense too.  I try to follow this principle in my own kitchen by using every last bit of food so that nothing goes to waste.

Brunswick Stew was always a restaurant favorite of mine.  This thick, spicy stew is the ideal way to use up leftovers.  So, when I made pulled pork earlier this week, I put aside some of the meat to make this easy stew.  I added chicken as well, and the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples.

I’m excited to tell you that no oddball ingredients were needed to make Brunswick Stew gluten free.  Of course, when dining out always check with the kitchen to be sure it is safe to order.  At home, you know what to do.  Check labels when using canned products, condiments and seasonings.

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Ingredients:

 Preparation:

Shred 3 cups total of leftover pulled pork and/or chicken.  I used 2 cups of leftover pulled pork and 1 cup cooked chicken (meat from one leg quarter).  Look it over carefully to be sure there are no bones.  I also removed most of the visible fat.

In a 4 qt. nonstick soup pot, heat olive oil and butter until melted.  Add the diced onion and cook until translucent.

Make a space in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste.

Let it toast for a minute then add the stock, tomatoes, BBQ Sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings.

Finally add the fire roasted corn and stir everything together.

Keep it on a low simmer until all ingredients are heated through, about 20 minutes.  Remember, most of the ingredients are already cooked, so we are warming it up and giving the flavors a chance to meld together.  Like all soups and stews, this one is even better the next day!

Notes ♪♫ As you add the ingredients be sure to taste for seasoning.  If you held back on the pepper flakes and BBQ Seasoning, you could add a bit more for those who like it spicy.  If you prefer a sweeter taste add another tsp. of brown sugar.

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Gluten Free Italian Veal Cutlets

For a special Sunday Dinner, make your family a nice platter of Italian Veal Cutlets.  This was one of my dad’s favorite meals, I especially remember how he loved to order a veal cutlet sandwich at one of the local restaurants.  So be sure to make enough for dinner and leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

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I am fortunate to live in an Italian neighborhood where we can find thin sliced veal cutlets at the market.  At today’s prices, it’s a splurge but if you are making a nice dinner for two you can get away with less than a pound.  Serve with gluten free pasta and extra marinara sauce.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Set up 3 breading trays (or use plates), one with rice flour, one with beaten egg and one with breadcrumbs.  Preheat the oven to 350º.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with several tablespoons of olive oil.  Keep the heat on medium low.  Working quickly, dredge each piece of veal in the flour, then dip in the egg mixture.  Shake off the excess egg and dredge in the breadcrumbs.  As you finish coating each piece add it to the skillet.  Cook 2 minutes per side until nicely browned, then transfer to a baking sheet.  Continue with the remaining slices, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.  The cutlets do not have to be cooked through at this point, they will finish in the oven.

Ladle marinara over each slice and top with grated cheese, as much as you like.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.

That’s it.  Not complicated at all.  Serve with a nice plate of pasta and some good gluten free bread to soak up the sauce and you’ve got a fine meal on the table in under an hour (they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day though).

Notes ♪♫ Veal cutlets need to be sliced very thin.  If you can’t get them this way at the store you will need to place the meat between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4″ thickness with a meat mallet.  If veal is not in the budget, you will be happy to know you can also make this recipe with chicken.

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Why can’t restaurants make a good marinara sauce?  I’m often so disappointed when ordering a simple pasta dish.  It’s the sauce.  You know that bland watery tomato sauce straight out of the can with no seasoning?  Honestly, sometimes I want to walk into the kitchen and show them how to do it!

Well, maybe I’ll just show you, dear readers, that it’s not difficult to make a marinara sauce at home.  Do you really need certified San Marzano DOP dell’agro Sarnese Nocerino tomatoes?  Ok yes, they are out of this world good, but if you’re on a budget it is perfectly fine to start with any canned plum tomatoes or sauce, you just have to jazz it up!

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I confess, to this day I still prefer Hunts Sauce for my marinara because that’s what my mother used, and it brings back such memories of our Italian Sunday dinners growing up.  If you do decide to splurge on real Certified San Marzano tomatoes, I recommend you shop around.  I paid $6.99 a can at my grocery store but later found them online for less!

Before we get started with the recipe, I will tell you that this is not the purist version of marinara sauce.  Yes, I am 100% Italian, and I add onions (gasp) and sugar to my marinara.  It’s the way I make it, and everyone loves it.   Try it, you’ll see!  So much better than jar sauce and in case you were wondering, marinara sauce is gluten free when you make it yourself and there are no mystery ingredients!

Start with whole peeled tomatoes if you like it chunky, or plain tomato sauce if you prefer a smooth sauce with no seeds.  You can use a combination of the two.

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a nonstick deep skillet or Sauteuse and heat over medium low (do not use a saucepan, you want something with a wide surface that will allow the sauce to reduce).  Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently until they are fragrant and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, be careful not to let it burn.

Next add the tomato paste.  Using paste gives the sauce body and makes it less watery.  Make a space in the center of the pan and drop it in, then let it toast for a minute before stirring it into the onions and garlic.

Now add the sauce and/or whole peeled tomatoes (break them up with your hands first), brown sugar, pepper, basil and oregano.  I do not add sugar to a meat sauce, but for a marinara I love just a tablespoon of sugar or brown sugar per large can of tomatoes.

Stir it up, cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  A simmer mat is great for maintaining a low, gentle simmer and you don’t have to worry about burning your sauce.

When finished, remove the lid and let the sauce sit for 15 minutes.

Now that you know how to make a good marinara sauce, what restaurant favorite will you have for dinner tonight?  How about Spaghetti and Meatballs?  Chicken and shells?  With a great marinara recipe, you can recreate all those great meals right at home!

For some other great sauces, check out my Harvest Pasta Sauce, Traditional Bolognese Sauce, and Mushroom Cream Sauce!

Notes ♪♫ Fun fact, my mother would put a whole onion into her sauce, then remove it before serving “so no one would know”!  She made a huge pot of sauce every month then froze it in portions for Sunday dinner.  I still remember that big Farberware pot on the stove.  I always said my mother’s sauce was better the week after she made it, so go ahead and make a double or triple recipe to always have some on hand!  You can freeze marinara sauce for 6 months.  

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Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Mash

Sometimes you need a meal that’s easy on the carbs.  That’s what I’ve made tonight with this simply prepared dish of Sea Scallops served over Cauliflower Mash.  Truth be told, I had something like this at a restaurant years ago, and it has been on my recipe bucket list to make at home.  Gluten free and grain free, it’s a guiltless indulgence.

These days, cauliflower mash is easy to make, thanks to riced cauliflower being widely available in both the produce and freezer section of most grocery stores.  You can grate your own or take a shortcut like I did!  I make cauliflower mash just as I would make mashed potatoes- steam them, then puree with lots of butter, milk or cream, salt, pepper, and chives.  You can add cheese if you like, or sour cream.

So, what did I do to make this dish gluten free?  Nothing.  That’s right, 100% of the ingredients were already gluten free, including that balsamic glaze you see in the photo, which has a gluten free label.

2 Servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. sea scallops
  • 12 oz. riced cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp. shallot seasoning
  • Balsamic glaze
  • fresh chives for garnish

Preparation:

Rinse the cauliflower and steam for 15-20 minutes, until softened.

Add 2 tbsp. butter, milk or cream, generous amount of salt and pepper, garlic granules and shallot seasoning.

Puree with a stick blender and cover to keep warm.

Heat a small skillet with the remaining 1 tbsp. butter.  Pat the scallops dry and add them to the pan.  Cook 3 minutes per side, just enough to get a little color.

To serve, spread the cauliflower mash on the bottom of the plate and top with scallops.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and garnish with fresh chives.  I added a side of green beans.

Notes ♪♫ If your scallops are frozen, be sure to defrost them completely before cooking to remove excess liquid.  For both fresh and frozen, be sure to pat dry with paper towel before cooking.  Start with a hot pan, add the butter and then place your scallops in the pan leaving space in between so that when they do release liquid it has room to evaporate.

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