fishy fridays: shrimply delicious…

Another weekend is upon us, yay! Here is a quick Friday meal that is very satisfying and can be prepared fairly healthy too.

You can buy the shrimp at the seafood counter of your grocery store, or purchase it frozen for a bargain (the Whole Foods 360 brand is only about $9 for a bag). If buying frozen, I prefer the larger tail/shell on raw shrimp. Its easy enough to remove the shell myself after thawing. They seem to be less processed and have a better texture in my opinion.

For the polenta, you have several options. I am currently using an organic instant polenta that I recently discovered. You can use grits or regular polenta in place of the instant. I just like it because it only takes 5 minutes to make and is still creamy tasting. If you want to splurge on the best of the best, I recommend Anson Mills Grits.

The greens can also be substituted for whatever variety you prefer or have on hand. Kale, collards, mustard greens, chard, or spinach will all balance this dish out. Allow significantly more cooking time if using collards.

To make it more decadent and rich, use real butter in the polenta and add more cheese. You can also experiment with mixing in green chilis, roasted peppers, parmesan, or cinnamon as alternate flavors.

For a saucier shrimp, double the olive oil. To keep it healthy and lower calorie, substitute vegetable broth for most of the oil. You can use this trick on the greens too. Be sure to add just enough oil so that everything doesn’t stick to the pan. I’ve found that my new Calphalon non stick pan requires very little oil…a very worthwhile investment for my diet!

Feel free to omit or add any seasonings to the shrimp. I prefer garlic and spice, but maybe you like a more subtle, mild flavor. Put your own flair on it and enjoy!

Recipe: Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Polenta and Greens

1 pound shrimp (thawed and cleaned)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder or crushed ancho pepper
1 tsp cayenne or aleppo
2 cloves chopped garlic or a tablespoon of crushed/chopped garlic from a jar
1 tsp salt

2 cups polenta-prepared per the package
1 can (or about a cup and a half) vegetable broth
1 Tbs butter or light spread
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

1 pound spinach
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

For the shrimp, combine the oil and desired seasonings in a bowl. Place the cleaned shrimp in the bowl and coat all of the shrimp, letting them mingle in the sauce while you prepare the polenta and spinach.

Prepare the polenta or grits per the instructions on the package. Substituting vegetable broth for half of the water will give you a more flavorful dish. Add butter, cheddar or parmesan, and a little salt at the end.

Lightly saute the greens in a teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth or water if needed. You can add garlic or red pepper flakes if desired. Remove from heat when they are mostly wilted and avoid over cooking. Spinach will take less than 5 minutes. Other greens will take a little bit longer.

Heat a skillet on medium high. Add shrimp and sauce to pan, cooking about 2 minutes on each side.

You can the items serve next to each other on a plate or layered in a bowl.

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