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Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi


One of my employees, Kathy, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer back in April. She died on Tuesday morning. It has been a tough week.

I actually went to see Kathy last week on Friday. I was fairly certain she didn’t recognize me the entire visit – the drugs, the process…I just wasn’t sure, but she wasn’t the Kathy I knew. When it was time for me to head out, I reached to give her a hug, wrapped my arms around her, and she squeezed with all of her wasting skin and bones. She hugged me tight – cheek to cheek – for several moments.

Finally, she said, “I want to come back…I want to come back. Tell the girls I love them.”


I had held myself together fairly well up to that point, but walking out, I was a blubbering mess. I have to assume she was telling me she wanted to come back to work, and to tell our department of all women that she loves them — we’re a tight group and so this is more than on par. Since these words were consistent with all of our previous conversations throughout her battle with cancer, I have to assume she knew who I was.

No, I know she knew who I was. And I’m so glad I was there for her in that moment because I will remember that heart-breaking, super emotional, loving moment for the rest of my life.

She will be missed. She is in peace. She would want us to smile in her honor and move on, sassy as ever…just as she always was herself. And we will, we certainly will. But it’s been a tough week.


The highlight of this week was probably our parent-child cooking class last night. This group has been an absolute hoot. Two weeks ago, an 8-year-old deboned a chicken breast with his bare hands without any struggle. I was seriously impressed. I don’t know that I could debone a chicken breast with my bare hands without a struggle! The dude was fearless with his chicken!

Last night, we made this salmon pasta bake and I was truly doubting whether or not the families would 1. try the dish and 2. enjoy the dish. Much to my surprise, I had nothing to worry about. This group loves seafood, and for that…I am glad.

A fan of all things from the sea, shrimp are one of my favorite. Affordable, quick to thaw and cook, they’re extremely versatile, low in calories, and just plain’ol good. This lemon-pepper twist on a traditional scampi dish is quite the treat. Don’t skimp on the lemon…it’s what makes this dish!


Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Lightened up shrimp scampi with a lemon-pepper twist!
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add orzo and cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and ¼ teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.
  2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan and add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.
  3. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, lemon juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done; toss with orzo and serve hot.
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 400 Fat: 11.3 Carbohydrates: 44.8 Sugar: 1.2 Sodium: 460 Fiber: 2.3 Protein: 30.0 Cholesterol: 150

Busy day…off I go!

Be well,


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  1. The Candid RD
    August 8, 2013 / 7:37 am

    So sad. Sounds like Kathy is in a better place right now. Sorry for your loss, and all of your co-workers’ loss as well. That’s always hard.
    On another note, YUM to this recipe! I was actually debating last night between a halibut and shrimp recipe from your cookbook. I chose the halibut since it will only be in season for a little while longer. Can’t WAIT to make it (and, Nick needs toms fish in his life, just sayin’).

  2. Cookin' Canuck
    August 8, 2013 / 8:43 am

    I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss, Nicole. You are in my thoughts.

    This shrimp scampi looks like such a flavorful dish, and I always appreciate how quick shrimp is to cook. It makes it perfect for quick weeknight meals.

  3. Biz
    August 8, 2013 / 11:43 am

    Nicole – sending big hugs your way – and so glad that you got to see your friend one more time. Cancer sucks – no way around it.

  4. Megan (Braise The Roof)
    August 8, 2013 / 2:05 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Nicole. Losing a coworker is such a strange, poignant thing – it sounds like you are all very close, which is wonderful, though. Sending you a hug!

  5. Samantha Angela
    August 12, 2013 / 10:56 am

    That’s really tough 🙁
    I’m sorry to hear about your loss. It’s really hard to watch a friend or a family member losing their life at a young age and it’s very difficult to cope with later. I know first hand about it, unfortunately.
    I hope you’re holding up okay.

  6. Lizzie
    August 12, 2013 / 11:50 am

    Nicole, I’m so sorry to hear about your coworker Kathy. Hugs to you. What a special moment that she shared with you!

    Salmon pasta bake sounds good… share the recipe?

    This looks great. I’m bookmarking this one for sure.

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