I scrounged this dinner together in the middle of snowpocalypse, when we were tired of eating random snacks and frozen foods, and I stumbled across half a bag of frozen shrimp and “fiesta mix” vegetables in the freezer. My hubby immediately requested that I add it to our regular rotation of dinners. It’s also pretty darn healthy; the worst thing in it is the white rice, which can easily be substituted for brown, or ground cauliflower rice, if you want to go paleo style. I usually use white in my cooking, just because brown always seems to upset my stomach, and Shayne hasn’t quite bought into cauliflower rice as a regular substitute.
Do you keep frozen shrimp on hand? If not, you should! So quick and easy to defrost and cook up, and I think shrimp picks up so much flavor that a little goes a long way. My main protein when I cook is chicken, just because I’m comfortable experimenting with it, but over the last few years I’ve really come to love shrimp. So I buy it when it’s on sale, jumbo deveined shrimp. I personally like to peel them myself, so as long as they come veinless (it’s shrimp poop for goodness sakes!) I’m happy to prep them.
Here’s what I used to craft my fiesta shrimp bowl:
-1/2 lb of shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
-one bag of frozen, mixed vegetables (mine included white and kidney beans, green beans, carrots, corn, garbanzo beans, and broccoli)
-1/2 c salsa, your choice (we always have Pace Picante Mild in our fridge)
-guacamole, for topping, your choice (I’ve been banned from sharing my husband’s recipe)
-cilantro or parsley
Get the rice going first. I had been jonesin’ for some of Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice, because that stuff is like crack. But I wasn’t about to hike a mile in dark blizzard conditions to get cilantro. What I DID have was parsley. So I made parsley-lime rice, by mixing about a tablespoon of Bolthouse Farms dehydrated parsley with a cup of rice (and the appropriate amount of water) in my rice cooker. I just discovered these dehydrated herbs, and they are genius. You rehydrate them with a little water and they function pretty much like fresh herbs. Before starting up the rice, I put a few squeezes of lime juice in with the water. Use the lime juice sparingly – it can easily overwhelm the flavor.
Next, marinate the shrimp in a bowl with a heavy dusting of taco seasoning, two cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze more lime juice. Shrimp cooks super fast, and it also marinates quickly, so I just do this and let it sit while I prep everything else.
Next, I tossed my bag of frozen fiesta vegetables in a skillet over medium heat with about a tablespoon of EVOO. The bag will tell you to steam the veggies, but DO NOT LISTEN. Steamed frozen veggies taste like a whole lot of nothing. I almost always saute them over low/medium heat until they are tender. Get them cooking to a point of “crisp tender.”
Once the veggies are well on their way to full cookery, incorporate 1/2 cup of salsa into the skillet, and mix well with the veggies. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a little extra taco seasoning and S&P as well. The salsa seems to give the veggies enough moisture to get them really tender, and coats everything with a nice kick of flavor.
When the veggies are just done (I tend to overcook them because my husband likes them on the mushier side), throw in the shrimp and marinade to the mix. Saute until just done – the shrimp should be opaque when you cut into them. It should only take between 4-6 minutes; if you overcook shrimp, it’s like eating little chunks of rubber.
To serve, put a scoop of the herbed rice in a bowl, and top with as much of the shrimp and veggie mixture as desired. This made us 2 hearty dinner servings, but I think we had some leftover rice. Top with guacamole for a cool, creamy touch. And enjoy!
While writing this up I realized how HORRIBLE my pictures look. Honestly, this was going to just be a throw-together one-time dinner. But when everything started to get going and smells started wafting through the kitchen, we realized that maybe this wasn’t going to be an ordinary “clear out the freezer special.” So I quickly snapped a few iPhone photos before I finished up. I’m no photographer, I’m aware.
Question time – What’s the best “accidental” meal you’ve ever created?
Hope you all had a great weekend, and here’s to a relatively painless Monday!