Easy Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a great weekend. Sad to think that half of spring break is already over – on the glass-half-full side, at least we’ve got another week coming up. I can’t wait. Lots of fun activities planned for next week, including rock climbing and scouring farmers’ markets!

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Sundays are always a super relaxing day for my family – we visit Grandma’s, have lunch at a restaurant together, buy groceries for the week at a Chinese market, and then rush home at 2:30 to let our dog out to wee. 😉 This means dinner’s gotta be quick, easy, and healthy. Because Sundays are grocery days, we always have tons of fresh produce in the fridge. This 15-minute meal is perfect because you can use ANY vegetable you have. That being said, you could even use any protein you want. We use shrimp here!

The first step is to defrost the shrimp. I don’t think we’ve ever used fresh shrimp in this house! Frozen shrimp works just as well, in my opinion, as well as being more economical and really convenient! My mom defrosts shrimp by leaving the big block of frozen shrimp under cold running water in the sink. This really helps to break them apart without cooking them! Then, she makes a small incision in its belly and scrapes out the digestive tract (the strip of black) with a little knife. I assume this step is optional because I’ve had shrimp WITH the digestive tract at many restaurants… but why not remove it anyways?

Boil some water and steam the vegetables. We use broccoli, onions, mushrooms, and carrots. You can also use cauliflower, asparagus, snap/snow/sugar/what’s the difference peas, peppers… once again, any veggie you have lying around! Onions don’t have to be boiled, by the way, because they are so thin and tender. Oh, hey, frozen corn and edamame would also be amazing! The next step is to heat up some oil (we like canola) over medium heat. Cook the shrimp, then remove them from the skillet. We always have a small bowl next to the stove to pour cooked protein into. We don’t want tough shrimp!

Add another drop of oil, and then some minced garlic. Mom has a old salsa jar in the fridge filled with minced garlic. We buy garlic in bulk from grocery stores, and use the food processor to chop it into tiny pieces. Then, we store it in a jar that we keep in the fridge. Works SO well because we don’t have to peel, chop, and wash a cutting board + knife every time we need garlic! Plus, the garlic is sort of “marinating” in the fridge, so it has even more flavour! I think the convenience factor is the most important part. 🙂

Anyways, saute the minced garlic in the oil. You could also add some scallions here now!

When the vegetables are boiled until tender, toss them into the wok. We have a big nonstick wok that is perfect for this stir-fry! Stir ’em veggies around, then add a splash of chicken broth (or fish/vegetable broth). Water would work, too, but broth adds so much flavour! Let that bubble for a little while, and then throw in a bit of cornstarch. A teaspoon should do ‘ya! Stir it around, until the sauce becomes somewhat thick. Thinner than gravy, but thicker than soup! Cornstarch is a Chinese-cooking magic ingredient because it adds thickness to sauces, and helps the garlic-infused brothy-saucy mixture stick to vegetables.

Perfect! Add the shrimp and stir it all around to coat and combine. Lastly, throw in a splash of soy sauce, a squirt of sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper. Dump onto a serving plate and top with sesame seeds, which I ALWAYS do to Chinese meals… except not here for some reason. I would also love a drizzle of sesame oil and my favourite – scallion oil! The BEST on vegetables.

We served this with rice, but I’m thinking egg drop soup and some Chinese squash would be excellent on the side. Yum! This meal rocks because its so freaking healthy, easy to prepare, and takes less than 20 minutes to cook. Plus, you can use any vegetable/protein you have!

Great, now I want dinner… except it’s 3:30pm.

Have a wonderful Sunday evening and I have an awesome recipe + pics for tomorrow!

 

QUESTION OF THE DAY!

Do you remove the veins from shrimp? Or do you leave it the way it is?

We remove it! Once, at our house, a friend commented that we were literally eating the shrimp’s poop… not appetizing! In restaurants, I’m not really picky about shrimp digestive tracts. They don’t bother me as much at a restaurant, for some reason!

My Favourite Healthy Dinner {in 15 minutes!}

There are no words to describe how much I love this meal – it’s a go-to for busy weeknights. Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats (see http://iowagirleats.com/2011/05/31/under-15-minute-meal-for-one for her version!), this is fresh and summery dinner literally takes fifteen minutes to prepare! ♥

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My rendition stars pan-fried trout from Costco, a weekly staple in my family. It’s hard to believe how fresh Costco seafood is. A friend of my father’s works at a chicken slaughterhouse (is there a nicer way to put that?) and his chickens are always delivered straight to Costco. High demand = super fresh!

We always chop the trout into single-serving sections, scrape off the scales under cold running water, freeze some, and marinate/season some for dinner that night. You don’t need fancy spices or flavoured oils to make trout taste amazing – sea salt and pepper is perfect. To pan-fry trout, I just splash a few drops of oil onto a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I LOVE the skin, and I need it to be super crispy, so the skin goes down first. It’ll cook for a few minutes, releasing tons of scrumptiously seafood-y oil into the skillet. Once the skin is crusty and the filet is cooked halfway through, flip the trout with a spatula (or chopsticks if you’re my mom). If you’re weird and don’t like skin, peel it off here. It’s so much easier peeling it off now than it is when the trout is uncooked! Cover it up, turn the heat down, and cook it to your desired doneness! I don’t like my fish tough – I’d rather have it melt-in-your-mouth and… medium rare? Drizzle with lemon. Fish – done!

The quinoa pilaf can be made in three minutes if you have cooled, leftover quinoa. I like cooking my quinoa in chicken broth and a pinch of sea salt, because it adds a new layer of delicious, savory flavour. It keeps really well in the fridge, too. Fresh quinoa works well also – just make sure that you’re using a scant amount of liquid (2:1 ratio liquid to water) so that it’s not mushy. We ALWAYS cook our quinoa in the steamer; you don’t have to worry about it in there, whereas in a pot, you have to time it, remove it from the heat, etc. If you have a steamer, I highly recommend cooking grains in there! Works perfectly every time with zero effort.

By the way, in the picture I’m using an ancient grains mix. There’s red and beige quinoa in there, as well as steel cut oats (oats!), couscous, and barley. Yum! The texture is amazing. Casbah brand, in case you were wondering!

Anyways! Toss a few drops of oil (I usually use olive oil) into a skillet over medium heat. Add frozen corn – ours is from Costco. It’s organic and tastes unbelievably fresh and sweet. Love it! I like my corn almost charred. Pale, mushy corn has no place on my plate! When the corn is brown and uber-fragrant, add frozen peas and stir until slightly softened. I also added sugar peas because they were hanging out in the fridge. If I had some, I would’ve thrown in some baby spinach or kale to wilt. When the veggies are 95% cooked, toss in the quinoa and stir, letting it heat up.

Turn off the heat, season heartily with freshly-ground black pepper (a kitchen ingredient that makes you look a lot better at cooking than you actually are!) and a big drizzle of lemon juice. Toss it all around, throw it on a plate, and top it with the pan-fried trout.

That’s roasted broccoli on the side. Simple recipe, but its 10:00 now and I want to go to bed. Next time!

Sweet corn, savory quinoa, a veggie punch from the greens. Let’s not forget the juicy trout. I always drizzle the fish oil on top of the fish, and then eat the skin in one bite (really is better than greasy potato chips!).

Oh, and I always drizzle everything in lemon and churn some black peppah over everything. Seasoning in layers is what makes restaurant food so flavourful.

Hope you guys enjoy this healthy and quick weeknight dinner!

QUESTION OF THE DAY!
What is your go-to healthy weeknight meal? You know, for the days that you’ve got tons on your To-Do list but can’t bear to down a bowl of Cheerios? Let me know in the comments! ☺

Mine is definitely this here. Or… maybe an egg, cheese, and spinach omelette. Hard to choose!