Timely, yet tasty

8 Nov

I’m a busy woman. Most of us are busy people, right? We all have to balance some combination of  jobs or looking for jobs, school, internships, blogs, spouses or significant others, kids, blogs, etc. It’s hard to eat healthy, trust me, I know. I have those days when I come home from work at 8:30pm and just want to veg out. And days when I’ve got to get laundry, ironing, and homework done. And days when I’ve gone out to happy hour and I’m too sloshed to stand for 5 minutes, let alone stand at the stove long enough to cook something edible. It’s no wonder I’ve racked up so many Papas Points from all the Papa John’s pizza I order.

I don’t like to eat like that too often. Yes, it’s easy to just order take-out, but after so many nights of eating something that’s delicious but probably not healthy, I start to actually feel gross from the inside out. Your body tells you when it’s not liking the food you’re fueling up on. However, it’s totally possible to balance a busy lifestyle AND eat well. It just takes some planning, making good choices in the grocery store, and cutting a few corners every now and then.

For example, with the recipes I have for you today, there are some shortcuts to making this a relatively quick and easy meal. If I actually had the time, I could buy broccoli and carrots and red cabbage and dice them all up myself. But I don’t have that time, and you may not either, so just buy the pre-chopped, bagged, undressed broccoli slaw at the market. I do the same with salad mixes, although to save money, you could buy the individual vegetables and cut them up as soon as you get home to allot them to different dishes throughout the week. You can also make the dressing for the slaw and the marinade for the shrimp in larger batches and just freeze or refrigerate them for later use.  (The marinade would especially work well with other seafood).

I find that cooking during the week is easier for me when I plan my meals ahead of time. Sometimes I actually write down in a calendar what I plan to cook, but for the most part I keep a list in my head of what dishes to make on what day. So when I go food shopping on Sunday or Monday night, I buy what I need for the entire week, and I’m less likely to stray from that plan later on, knowing everything I need is already at home.

So here’s a meal with components that can be eaten separately, with sauces that can be used for other dishes (except whatever is used to marinate the shrimp), is filling enough to be a light dinner but works great for lunch, and also makes a lot so you can make these as appetizers or sides. Oh, and they’re both very flavorful. That’s the most important part – as much as it is healthy, it should be tasty enough to compel you to eat it again.

Lemon-Coriander Shrimp (from Rouxbe) and Cat’s Slaw (from Cat Cora)

For the Slaw:

(The original recipe is meant for a large group of people. For a solo night or a meal with The Bf, I like to make a full batch of the dressing and then reserve half of it. I use one half on one bag of slaw for dinner one night, and then use the other half for another bag for another meal).

  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 packages broccoli slaw (if your store doesn’t have broccoli slaw, regular cole slaw works well)

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard and the sugar. Slowly add in the remaining ingredients for the dressing, continuing to whisk. Add in the broccoli slaw and mix thoroughly.

For the Shrimp:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ thin-rind orange marmalade (low sugar tastes just fine, and is healthier)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium)
  • 1/8 grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • freshly cracked pepper (to taste)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 lb large shrimp (Rouxbe uses prawns but shrimp works the same here and is easier to find)

For the marinade, roughly chop the garlic. Add the salt and continue to chop until you reach a paste-like consistency. Transfer the garlic to a bowl. Add the orange marmalade, honey, soy sauce, oil, chili flakes, ground coriander and some freshly cracked pepper. Add the fresh lemon juice and whisk everything together. Set aside. Chop the cilantro, then transfer to the marinade and whisk.

Measure out and reserve 1/2 cup of the marinade. This will be used as dipping sauce.

If they aren’t already, clean and devein the shrimp. Add them to the marinade and gently toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Toss the shrimp at least once while they are marinating to ensure they’re evenly coated.

To cook the shrimp, remove them from the marinade and place onto paper towels. Gently pat them dry to remove the excess moisture. Discard the leftover marinade (it has uncooked seafood juices, ew!). You can barbeque the shrimp, in which case, slide them through skewers first. If you’re cooking them in a pan, preheat the pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, dip a piece of paper towel into a bit of oil and lightly coat the pan.

Place the shrimp into the pan. If using a grill pan, press down on them slightly so they form nice grill marks. Let them cook for a minute or so per side. To check for doneness, just slice through the thickest part of one of the shrimp – it should be completely white on the inside.

Enjoy the shrimp with the reserved dipping sauce and some slaw!

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