Some days, it seems like there is simply no time to make dinner. Let’s face it- we’re busy. We work, go to school, have lives. However, no matter what food choices we make on our busiest days, we’re going to need to eat something. Even the options that seem fastest (such as ordering take-out, making a frozen pizza, driving somewhere and picking up fast food), take time, and these often leave us unsatisfied and regretful.
As a solution to these busy nights, I like to have a few recipes on hand that take 20 minutes or less to prepare, start to finish. That’s right, in the time that it would take to pre-heat the oven and cook a frozen pizza, I can instead be chowing down on a healthful, home-cooked meal! One of my favorite fast meal options is Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole.
If you haven’t been using shrimp in your meals when you’re in a hurry, give it a try. Shrimp is fantastic for busy nights, because even if you forget to defrost it (oops- I never remember to defrost!!!), it can be thawed and ready to cook in about 5 minutes. Throw the frozen shrimp in a cold water bath, and they’ll thaw out quickly. If you’re trying to save even more time, you can buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp, and shave off 2 or 3 more minutes from your cook-time. I’m not sure 2 minutes will make or break your evening, but sometimes every second counts!
Making Spicy Shrimp + Guacamole
The guacamole in this dish is incredibly easy and fast. Just dump the avocado, minced garlic, jalapenos, lime juice, and yogurt into a blender cup. You don’t even have to blend it all the way– serve it chunky if you like. I serve the shrimp and guacamole on top of rice, along with some diced tomatoes and hot sauce (and maybe some cilantro). All this should take a little less than 20 minutes, leaving you with a hot and tasty meal, and a fully satisfied appetite.
A Note on Responsibly Sourced Shrimp: Normally, when I post ‘notes’ about seafood safety, it’s about the safety of either the fish (choosing sustainable seafood), or about the safety of the eater (avoiding high levels of mercury and taking extra precautions with raw fish). With shrimp, however, there’s another consideration– the farmers and peelers. Imported shrimp (specifically, shrimp from Thailand) has been tied to forced slave labor, and has infiltrated huge amounts of the shrimp available inside the United States. To avoid buying shrimp tied to slave labor, look for shrimp that has NOT been imported, or that clearly labels its origin.
Love seafood? Still hungry? Try these:
Spicy Shrimp and Guacamole
- 1/2 lb thawed or fresh shrimp (any size)
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1 TB balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 lemon or lime, juiced
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, or sour cream
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 lemon or lime, juiced
- white rice, tomatoes, cilantro, hot sauce
Begin cooking rice according to package directions.
Shell + devein shrimp (or skip and serve with shells on). Toss shrimp together with garlic, vinegar, red pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice. Marinate 5-10 minutes.
Heat saute pan on medium heat and add olive oil. When oil begins to ripple, add shrimp mixture and cook 4-6 minutes until shrimp is hot and pink (For pre-cooked shrimp, just saute until hot).
For guacamole, blend together avocado, yogurt, jalapeño, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
Serve rice, cooked shrimp, and guacamole in a bowl with diced tomatoes, cilantro (optional), and hot sauce.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, and does not include optional add-ins like rice and tomatoes.