Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tip of the Week - EAT SHRIMP!

Perhaps you are like me and get tired of eating chicken all the time. While it usually sounds like a more nutritious choice than red meat, I tire of eating chicken. In fact I get bored with eating red meat as well. That is why I love shrimp.

They are fun and different and have a lot of natural flavor. I love to substitute shrimp in many of my normal recipes- they are a very low fat option (if you don't douse them in butter of course!) and a great source of protein. In fact, they actually have a fair amount of Vitamin D, which is excellent since most of us ladies don't get enough. (Side note: many people are worried about not getting enough Calcium, however if you don't have enough Vitamin D it doesn't matter how much Calcium you get...Vitamin D is what helps the Calcium to actually be absorbed in your body!)

(Above: what they will look like raw) With all of that being said, I would recommend that you buy raw shrimp from the meat department at your local supermarket instead of buying it precooked or frozen. Anything but raw shrimp is packed with tons of sodium and you can avoid it by purchasing raw shrimp that was not raised in salt water. I usually ask the butcher to put about a half a pound in a bag...then I buy multiple pounds at a time when they are on sale. This way it is really easy for me to thaw just the amount I need for one meal.

Once you let them thaw (or aid them in the process by putting the bag in some warm water), you need to cook them. Get a pot of boiling water and put the shrimp in- they are done when they are a tight "c" shape and are bright reddish/pinkish. Let them cool for a few minutes and then peel the skins off of the shrimp...I know this is a little bit more tedious than buying pre-cooked, however it really does cut out a lot of sodium and they taste fresher.


(Above: what they will look like cooked, with the skins removed) Now you have your shrimp...I like to use them on pasta, in salads, and in tacos. Sometimes I cook them in a skillet for a minute or two with a tiny bit of olive oil and seasonings....pepper and oregano if I am using them in an Italian dish, a sprinkle of taco seasoning or cayenne pepper if I am using them in a taco, etc. You definitely do not need to cook them in a skillet, however I like when mine are just a little browned.

Let me know if you find any great ways to use shrimp...while they are not the least expensive protein you can eat, they sure are tasty and nutritious!

7 comments:

Kathy Haynie said...

Alex, we just ate shrimp tonight! (Although we cheated and used frozen shrimp.) We eat it once a week in a recipe that sounds very elegant: "Shrimp en Papillote." You're supposed to cook it in parchment, but I cheat on that, too, and cook it in aluminum foil - much less messy - with some herbs and vegies thrown in. Yum! I'll post the recipe on Saturday.

Katie said...

First off, let me just say that I love to eat shrimp, but hate to look at it. Still, these pictures are both educational and essential (at least they are for me if I'm ever going to try to cook shrimp). But I have a quick question. How long does it usually take for the shrimp to be fully cooked? A few seconds? A few minutes? Half an hour? I am a total shrimp novice. And having a seafood-hater for husband has not helped my lack of seafood cooking knowledge.

alee said...

Yea, I know the pics are kinda gross to look at, but it helped me when I was a shrimp novice :) The shrimp need to be in the boiling water only a couple of minutes...I usually just stand right by the pot and watch for them to turn pink and have that tight "c" shape (the water foams a bit when the shrimp are in, so you have to poke around with a slotted spoon to check on them and then can use it to pull them out when ready).

Katie said...

Thanks for the heads up Alex. Now if only I could get Bryan to eat seafood...

Lisa Lou said...

I use to really hate shrimp but I kind of like it now. And I really LOVE shrimp tacos. Question: Do you devein them too? I'm scared of that...

Kathy Haynie said...

Lisa, you can buy them with or without the veins. They cost more if they're already deveined. It's not too big a pain to take the veins out. Experiment with just a few of the little fellows - pick up 1/4 pound to put on a salad or two - and see how it goes for you.

Katie said...

"Little fellows"??

...eeeew

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