Friday, January 21, 2011

Shrimp Creole: it's me!


Shrimp Creole is a dish that I've come to love in the last few years.   My mother introduced me to this meal when we started Weight Watchers together about 4 years ago.  Yes, it's a low-fat meal, but don't discount it just because you’re not into counting calories...the flavors don't lie.  It is a very hearty meal with large portions that will leave you waddling away from the table.

There are several things I ♥ about this meal:
1. It’s a lot of food, and this big girl can EAT!!!
2. It’s just the right amount of spicy.
3. I lurve the shrimpies.
4. It takes minimal effort to prepare it, but you can pretend you’ve been slaving all day.
5. It is low in fat and high in flavor. 
6. As I inhale the aromas of this dish, I imagine myself on
Bourbon Street
yelling for beads in true Creole fashion…which makes me smile…and sometimes randomly yell, “I want BEADSSSS!”...which makes the hubby look at me like I’m crazy.

A tiny history lesson:  The Creole heritage is a melting pot in Louisiana and includes French, African, and Spanish origins.  In particular, the French influence on Creole cuisine is descended from the homes of lower class French peasants, while the spiciness of Creole cuisine (and the rice) can be attributed to Spanish influences.  African influences came about in the days of servants, where a lot of cooks were African-American and put their spin on these dishes.  Aren’t we glad these cultures came together???  Makes me want to sing a song: ♪♪“Jesus, loves the lit-tle chillllldren. All the children of the worllllld…”♫

Ok. So here’s the list of ingredients:

4 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic (pop open the jar that’s already in your refrigerator)
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (Don’t be ashamed to buy the frozen kind that are already peeled and ready to go.  Just make sure you thaw before you cook! Email me and I’ll tell you exactly where to find them in Kroger.)
2 c. frozen okra
4 tsp. Emeril's Bayou Blast seasoning (can be found at Kroger or Wally-World. It has a black top.)
2 c. cooked brown rice

It really is very simple, with little prep work and just a few ingredients.  Just because I got a wild hair, I diced my onions and bell peppers the night before and stored them in a Ziploc bag in the frig (one less step for me at dinner time!). 

Step 1: As soon as I got home from work, I heated the oil in a large pot (like one you’d use to make soup in b/c it makes too much to use something smaller). 

Heating the E.V.O.O.

Step 2: While this is heating, I went ahead and put some water on in another large pot to cook my rice (throw some salt into this water, ok??).  Just pick your rice of choice and follow the instructions on the box.  No need to complicate things ☺.

Step 3: Add garlic, onions, and peppers to the oil and cook until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes or so. 
Sweating the onions and peppers

Step 4: Dump in the can of tomatoes (juice and all), Emeril seasoning (bam!), and your frozen okra. Stir in and simmer for about 10 minutes until all the wonderful flavors are blended together.
Adding the spices

Look at the pretty colors!

Step 5:  About 3 minutes before you’re ready to eat, drop your shrimp in the pot.  If you bought the frozen kind, make sure you’ve thawed them out.  I moved mine from the freezer to the frig the night before, and they were good to go!  CAUTION: Watch your little shrimpies!  They only take a few minutes to cook.  For real.  Don’t get side-tracked.  Once they turn pink and become opaque, they are ready.  Over-cooked shrimp makes me think I’m chewing on a rubber sole.  I know because I actually did forget them this time. I admit it. Don’t be like me.  Friends don’t let friends over-cook “scrimps”. Let’s put that on a t-shirt.

Adding the best part!

Step 6:  Serve over rice and enjoy! 

This recipe is supposed to be 4 servings (and if you do Weight Watchers it’s 6 points per serving).  I need to take a moment and endorse Emeril’s Bayou Blast seasoning.  No, I don’t get paid. He has no clue who I am.  But this stuff is REALLY good.  It comes highly recommended by yours truly.
I see yo head, Emeril!

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  At this time of the year, when there’s a chill in the air, a warm, hearty meal like this calls my name.  The fact that this is a low-fat meal is just icing on the cake for those whose new year’s resolutions include dropping a few lb’s.  Remember: low-fat does not have to equal low-taste! Bon-appetite and laissez le bon temp rouler!

BONUS ALERT!  What’s that you say??? Here’s a website of some Cajun expressions for your reading pleasure.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment to this post or email us at

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