Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

I was reminded that today was the beginning of a new year when I looked at my grocery store receipt--our store tells us how much we save each visit with the store "loyalty card," and also gives the year's total savings. I was surprised when I looked at the receipt today to read I'd only saved $5 this year. Oh, yeah, I reminded myself. It is a new year. I guess I'm a bit out of touch.

I have no resolutions to share--just hope and prayers for another good year--for my family and for yours.

I was in the grocery store today because I wanted to I make the same dinner tonight as I had on Christmas day. I followed a recipe. Now for most of you that isn't a big deal. For me it is a rare dinner for which I actually use a recipe. I'm big on making it up as I go along. Recipes require a set of specific ingredients--that usually means I improvise even when I use a recipe. I found this in the newspaper--

Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016. Or visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.desperation

Fancy Shrimp Pasta With Roasted Red Pepper
Makes 4 servings

8 ounces penne pasta
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion (for about 1 cup chopped)
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 roasted red pepper from a jar (for about 1/2 cup diced)
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
Shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta in 2 1/2 quarts of boiling water until tender but still firm to bite.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Peel and chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as you chop. Coarsely chop the sliced mushrooms and add them to the skillet. Add the shrimp. Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and the onion is tender.

Add the peas and half-and-half. Dice the roasted red pepper and add it to the skillet. Stir in the seafood seasoning.

Drain the pasta. Add to the skillet. Mix well.

Reduce the heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Spoon the pasta into shallow pasta bowls.

Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley, if desired.

PER SERVING: 521 calories; 36 g protein; 55 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 17 g fat (8 g saturated); 211 mg cholesterol; 639 mg sodium

I'd like to report I followed it exactly, but in fact on Christmas day I was without several ingredients--no mushrooms, no "Old Bay" seasoning. I managed to find a list of the spices in Old Bay, and I used all that I had in my cupboard. On Christmas day you can't run to the grocery. Today, I went to the store and bought everything I needed. This is VERY tasty. I don't cook with seafood very often. I used frozen uncooked "easy peel" shrimp for this. They were easy to peel, easy to cook, and if I can do it, anyone can. (And, although my improvised variation was different than the real recipe, it was very good as well...)

Perhaps this is the start of a 2009 trend... mind you, I'm NOT making a resolution.


Norma said...

One of my New Year's Resolutions is always to try new recipes. It lasts about as long as the diet and exercise one. Will we see you at book group a week from Monday? Great book.

Sarah said...

A delicious new meal is always a treat!! Too bad that my husband would die if I served him this meal (he's allergic to shrimp). You'll just have to make it for me sometime when I'm visiting without him. :)

Happy New Year!!