Saturday, April 18, 2009

For most of us, time is short and and cooking seems to take forever. And if we can cook quickly, it seems that our options are usually not nutritious. However it is possible to fix healthy meals for our family that are substantial, delicious and quick. I am constantly combing articles, cookbooks, watching shows, and experimenting in my own kitchen to come up with tasty meals that are quick, and fun. "Fun?", you may say. Yes, fun. Cooking can be enjoyable and imaginative. For myself, it is an excellent tool for relieving stress and anxiety. Get your family involved in the process, talk, and laugh as you cook together. You will not only be having fun and making memories, you will be sharing together as a family. Below is a recipe that takes about 15 minutes prep time and 20 minutes to cook in the oven. This gives you plenty of time to get the table set, as well as a few other odds and ends you may need to get done. I found this in a Better Homes and Garden magazine. If you are not a fan of shrimp, you could easily substitute chicken tenders cut up into bite size pieces, and it would be just as tasty. FYI for all you celiac sufferers, omit the toast at the end of the recipe, (which is just a side item anyway) and you have a tasty gluten-free meal. :)

Shrimp and Bean Packets:
1 and a 1/4 lb of medium fresh or frozen shrimp
1- 15 oz can cannellini (or northern white) beans, rinsed and drained.
1 - large fresh tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 tlbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground black pepper (or more, whatever you feel is appropriate for your taste)
1 tsp. Old Bay or seafood seasoning ( I used Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning)
Fresh basil and/or shredded Parmesan (optional)
4 slices country style bread, toasted
Heavy Duty foil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.) Thaw shrimp if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp. Set aside. Fold four 24x18 inch sheets of heavy duty foil in half. On center of foil, evenly divide beans, tomatoes, shrimp and onions. Drizzle with broth, juice, and oil. Sprinkle with seasoning,lemon peel, and black pepper.

2.) Allowing room for steam to build, fold together narrow ends of foil, seal with a double fold. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake 20 min or until shrimp are opaque. Carefully open packets. Serve with bread. Top with basil and/or Parmesan.

Serves: 4

Nutritional Stats: 335 cal, 5g fat, 216mg cholesterol, 891mg sodium, 35g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 39g protein

Daily Values: 14% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C, 16% Calcium, 33% Iron

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