Thursday, December 2, 2010

Weeknight Dinner #3

Hello there nom-nomers!
I apologize for the absence of foodie foodie recipes lately, I've been very busy with school. Luckly the semester is almost over, so starting mid December, you'll be getting a lot more foodie foodie from me! (hopefully, at least)

So, I had a sudden realization the other day as I was stuffing my face with leftover turkey: I realized that during the holidays, people gain weight not just because of the feasts that ensue during Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Winter Solstice) and New Years. We gain weight during the holiday season because in the days in between the big ones, we continue to stuff our faces like every day is a friggen holiday! We're in Thanksgiving mode from November 24th all the way to the New Year, when we make resolutions to drop all the weight that we just gained. So: I put my foot down and decided to make a Thanksgiving(ish) resolution: THIS YEAR, I WOULD MAINTAIN A HEALTHY AND BALANCED DIET THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAYS. It's unhealthy to stuff your face to all oblivion, and just because the holiday season is full of sweet goodies, doesn't mean they should be the main component of our day-to-day diets. Don't get me wrong, I love gingerbread and hot chocolate even more than the next person, but I strongly believe in moderation.

So, in attempts to keep a balanced diet, I put together a little weeknight dinner that is low in fat/calories and high in yum yum yum oh-mah-god-that-was-good satisfaction:

Shrimp & Veggies with Warm Polenta
For those of you who aren't familiar with polenta, all you really need to know is that it is made up of ground up yellow corn, can be bought in several forms, and is magically delicious (not in the Lucky Charms kind of way...)

Also, for this recipe, I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp because I couldn't find any raw shrimp when I was at the store. I would recommend using raw, no-tail, and de-veined shrimp. just make sure that you cook the shrimp all the way through.

You'll need:
One pack of pre-cooked polenta
2 carrots
1 C chopped mushrooms
1 red onion, cut into slices
1 clove garlic
Shrimp (I estimated just about 1/2C–1C per person depending on how hungry you are)
1/2 C white wine (or chicken broth)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chop up the carrots, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Put a little olive oil into a saute pan over medium heat and toss in the onions and mushrooms. Salt and pepper liberally.

While that's cooking away, put a about an inch and a half of water into a pot to boil with a steamer insert. Cover and steam the carrots for a few minutes until they're just fork tender. Then, add them into the saute pan. Add the white wine, more salt and pepper, and garlic into the pan and let it reduce down.

Next, take either a grill pan or another saute pan and put it on over high heat. Put a teensy bit of olive oil into the pan and let it heat up. Open up the polenta and cut it into polenta-pucks (har har.) Mine were about 3/4" thick. Salt and pepper each side and place them into the hot pan. Let them cook on each side until they are nice and toasty golden brown on each side. 

While you're waiting for the polenta to brown, toss the shrimp into the pan with the veggies. Saute until they're warmed through (if you're using pre cooked, but if you're using raw shrimp, cook until they are pink and not raw inside.)
if you're using pre-cooked shrimp, be really careful not to overcook them

When the polenta is toasty on each side and the shrimp/veggies are all warm and yummy, plate them up and nom nom nom nom nom nom

I loved this meal because it is hearty without being heavy! Horray!

Foodie Foodie!


Wigglyfish said...

I've never known what polenta was. I've heard of it but never really delved into what the heck it is. Now I'm intrigued to try it, and see if the texture is similar to cornbread, lol

Elise said...

The consistency is a lot like grits if you've ever had that. It's not really bready at all... U can also make polenta that's more free form... The one i used comes vacuum packed and pre cooked in a log. Either tastes really good! U should try it