I am happy to report that we are able to have incredibly decadent meals and still stay within our grocery budget. For Chad’s birthday (I never really finished that post…) I made Basil Stuffed Sea Scallops and Gai Lan (Chinese Brocolli) with Oyster Sauce and rice.

The sea scallops were $10 for a 1  1/2 pound at Trader Joe’s. And after perusing the recipe (Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything), I decided that it would be just as delicious if I used my fresh pesto instead of whipping up another basil paste. So after defrosting the scallops, rinsing them and patting them dry, I simply made a long slice through each one and patted in 1/2 teaspoon of my pesto. Then I seared them in my cast iron pan at high heat with a little grapeseed oil. I’d give you the original recipe, but I’ve already returned that book to the library (I get pressure from my librarian husband to be a good library patron…) These turned out delicious! Although, I love scallops and I think it might be hard to make them taste bad.

And the greens were just as easy. I wokked the leaves of two bunches of Chinese brocolli, put them aside and then wokked the stems for a bit longer. I arranged them on a nice platter and poured some oyster sauce over it all. That easy.

And of course we had already been eating homemade carrot cake for the last couple days, since I’d made one for my bunco group and another to bring into Chad’s work.

Speaking of delicious food during Chad’s birthday week – we had some great shrimp enchilades at Baja Fish Taco with Chad’s parents. Then on Chad’s birth day we went back (because it was soooo good), to discover that you get a FREE taco combination on your birthday. The blackened fish tacos there are good, but I cannot get enough of their shrimp enchilades. Just the right amount of spiciness.

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