Real Food for Real Life

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finally a Pretty Day

Finally, a pretty (and warm!) day. Knowing that I was going to be busy and out for much of the day, I was looking in the freezer this morn for something that would lend itself to quick and easy cooking. When I extracted a bag of shrimp, my little Christopher became very interested and tried his hardest to convince me that all we needed for dinner was the shrimp dipped in "tomato sauce." When I pointed out to him that he meant cocktail sauce, he pronounced that it was made with tomatoes so it was still a tomato sauce...point taken.

I love that at age 9 he is excited to eat shrimp. At that age I would never have even tried them, much less eat them with relish. But Chris eats very well for his age, and will usually try new things without too much hesitation. He even likes stinky bleu cheese, something I've only myself developed a taste for over the past ten years or so. If left to his own devices, the boy will eat a whole bowl of olives on his own, and I don't mean the little cheap green ones, but all the wonderful selections from the olive bar. I think our vacation time "cocktail hours" are some of his favorite times- he gets to eat all the different little nibbles and wash it all down with his little fruit juice mocktail. I think the boy is destined to be a foodie when he grows up, bless his little heart. In the picture above, Chris is cooking during one of our camping trips this past summer. He makes just about the best camp stove veggie soup and chili, and he loves doing it.

Once Chris heads off for school I dive into the fridge and pantry seeking inspiration. I find butter, broccoli, a jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, and a box of whole wheat spaghetti. Shrimp scampi with sundried tomatoes, and broccoli cooked for a few minutes with the pasta- super easy and delicious, who could ask for more?

Prepping the food before I leave for the day makes things even easier when I get home so I set about dicing tomatoes and peeling shrimp. Then I break open the broccoli package and discover that it has been in the fridge much, much too long- not a good smell at all. Into the trash bin goes the broccoli, but I need something green in this dish (I cook by color a lot too). Back to the fridge...avocado, no good.. .jalapenos, definitely no god...limes, onions, that will work, so green onions it is. When I got home tonight I had dinner on the table in about 20 minutes, with requests for seconds (glad those green onions worked out :)

Shrimp Scampi with Sundried Tomatoes and Scallions

1 lb. raw, shell on shrimp (size is up to you & your budget)
1 box thin spaghetti or angel hair, reg. or whole wheat
6 oz. sundried tomatoes in olive oil
1 bunch scallions, green & white parts thinly sliced, or a small head of broccoli broken into small florets
1 stick of butter
minced garlic, to taste, but it should be generous in scampi
3 tbs. lemon juice
kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, red chili flakes
parsley, for serving

Prep the ingredients completely before turning on the stove as cooking does not take long. Drain the oil from the tomatoes into a large saute pan; also put the stick of butter in the pan. Dice the tomatoes and thinly slice the onions, or break up the broccoli if using. Peel and devein the shrimp (I find medium shrimp to be a nice compromise on price and ease of preparing). Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the pasta with a splash of olive oil, and cook until al dente. Once the pasta goes into the boiling water, set the saute pan over med-high heat. Melt the butter and oil together, add the garlic, tomatoes, and pepper flakes to taste and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute until all have turned pink. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and onions; season with salt and pepper. If using broccoli, cook it with the pasta for the last few minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain and without rinsing, pour over the shrimp in the saute pan. Toss to coat the pasta with the butter and oil. Sprinkle with parsley and serve (fresh parsley is best, but in a pich the dried stuff works too).


  1. Noodles: check, Prawns: check... we have a winner! - Cathy Pieroz at Ray White Alexandra Hills


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