Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick and easy dinner: Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice

I'd like to dedicate this post to my sister in Phoenix.  Brigette has called me a couple times recently while on her way to the grocery store and has asked for quick, easy recipe ideas that she could make for dinner.  The last time she asked me for ideas I promised her that I would gather together some recipes and send them to her.  One month (or more) later and I still haven't sent her anything...sorry Brig!  In lieu of a recipe collection I'm posting the following recipe, which was found in the January/February 2012 issue of Cooking Light.  Its easy, quick (20 minutes!) and definitely tasty.  Enjoy!

Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice (recipe from Cooking Light)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic (I use the jarred, minced garlic)
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
2 cups uncooked instant rice
1/2 cup water
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed*
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
14 oz chicken broth
1 cup frozen sweet peas
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (calls for fresh, but I used prepared lemon juice)

*A little insight into what I did:  I purchased saffron threads at a local spice store (though I recently saw that Trader Joe’s offers saffron!) and received a little guidance from the clerk, who said that she usually uses a “pinch” of threads for every cup of rice.  So instead of actually measuring out 1/4 teaspoon of saffron, just prior to the point of adding the spice I pulled out a couple hearty pinches of threads and crushed them beneath my fingers.  Saffron is fairly costly (my 0.2 ounce jar was about $8) but I after making this recipe I have to say that it’s worth it!

Heat a Dutch oven or large, deep saucepan (make sure you have something to cover it with; a lid, dinner plate, etc) over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  When oil has warmed, add onion and bell pepper; saut√© with frequent stirring until vegetables are tender – about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds; stir constantly to avoid burning.  Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute with frequent stirring.  Add rice, water, spices and broth to pan; bring to a boil and cover pan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rice is done – about 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat; stir in peas and lemon juice.

Makes 4 servings (serving size is 1 cup), approximately 400 calories per serving

I would definitely make this again...especially since I had to fight Jim for the leftovers!  I think the flavors would work just as well with poultry, so I might even try substituting chicken for shrimp sometime.  Let me know what you try!

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