Posts tagged dinner

Cajun fried shrimp po’ boy sandwiches

Pickle juice. Who knew that was the secret ingredient to make a really great shrimp po’ boy sandwich?

To me a shrimp po’ boy needs three things:

Plenty of crispy shrimp
A crusty roll that’s soft on the inside
A rockin’ sweet and spicy mayo-based sauce

Looking through shrimp po’ boy recipes I decided to ditch the regular shrimp coating with cornmeal and go for panko instead (Japanese-style bread crumbs). That took care of #1.

As far as the bread, I went with a ciabatta roll so the bread would have enough heft to hold up to piles of crispified shrimp.

And the sauce. Thank you Annie’s Eats for the idea of mixing both Cajun spices and a hit of pickle juice in with the mayo. (I skipped the horseradish though.)

Is your mouth watering yet? It’s seafood time.

Recipe

Servings: 4 large sandwiches

Prep time: 20 minutes + frying


Ingredients

4 cups raw shrimp, thawed, tails removed

1 1/2 cups flour

3 eggs

3 cups panko

Tabasco (optional)

Vegetable oil

4 ciabatta rolls

Thin tomato slices

Shredded lettuce

Sauce ingredients

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2-1 Tbsp. pickle juice

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Cajun spices

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Begin heating about 1 1/2″ vegetable oil in a wok to medium high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, pat the raw shrimp with a paper towel to make sure they’re dry.
  3. Create a dipping station with the flour in a shallow bowl, the eggs (whisked with a drop or two of Tabasco sauce) in another shallow bowl, and the panko in a third, shallow bowl.
  4. With the shrimp, dip them first into the flour, then the egg followed by the panko and place on a wire rack until you’re finished coating all of them.
  5. Add the shrimp in 3 batches to the hot oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Prepare the sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together and adjust the seasonings by adding more Tabasco or pickle juice.
  7. Slice the rolls 3/4 of the way through, slather with sauce on both sides then place several pieces of shrimp inside along with tomato slices and shredded lettuce.

Kids’ reactions: My teen declared the sandwich “so good” but was stuffed after about a half. My tween wanted hers sans sauce and finished the whole thing (she’s my shrimp girl). My youngest took one bite of the shrimp and reminded me, “I just don’t like shrimp, Mom,” and returned to her ham and cheese sandwich. Ah well, I’ll keep trying with her.

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Five-ingredient baked ziti

Five ingredients. One prep time. Three meals. What does it add up to? Easy baked ziti. I make a big batch of baked ziti one night that fills one, 9 x 13″ pan (for dinner that night and leftovers the next), then I fill a 9×9″ aluminum foil pan that I freeze and save to eat a couple weeks later. The only hard part about this meal is mixing all of the ingredients together before putting ‘em in the pans (hint: grab your biggest bowl).

A few notes on baked ziti:

•The noodles really do make a difference. Forget the penne, rigatoni, or even macaroni, ziti pasta is best.
•This dish is simple to make meatless. Skip the Italian sausage and use roasted veggies or spinach.
•I often add in spinach to this dish. The kids don’t seem to notice, plus I really like spinach.
•You can add as many different kinds of cheeses as you want–the last time I made this I put in Truffle Cheese (thank you Trader Joe’s!).
Baked ziti has all of the same flavors as lasagna, without all the work. So if your family likes lasagna, they’ll love baked ziti.

Recipe

Prep time: 25 minutes + 40 minutes baking + 15 minutes cooling

Servings: 10+

Ingredients

1 16-ounce package ziti pasta

1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese

3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

2 24-ounce jars spaghetti sauce

1 pound sweet Italian sausage (optional, but recommended)

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook the Italian sausage, breaking up the meat into bite-sized pieces with the spatula.
  2. Cook the pasta according the package directions. Note: this recipe works best with ziti cooked to al dente, make sure not to overcook the pasta.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked pasta and sausage, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, all of the ricotta cheese and both jars of spaghetti sauce.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Coat a 9×13” pan with baking spray. Pour the pasta mixture into the pan and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  6. Place the filled 9×13” pan on a cookie sheet to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. (The pan will be heavy!)
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cheese becomes golden brown.
  8. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

*We have a winner to the Parents Need to Eat Too cookbook giveaway! Laura will be receiving her copy soon.

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The Bacon Game

Photo credit: sappymoosetree

“Does anything not go with bacon?” my oldest daughter asked. We’d gotten into a lengthy discussion about whether the cannelloni I made that night would have been better with bits of smoky, crisp bacon instead of the Italian sausage that I’d used. The conclusion: bacon rules. And then my kids kept talking about what flavors meld well with bacon. (Sometimes we struggle to drag conversation out of our kids during dinner, except when it comes discussing food.)

See a few weeks ago on a whim I made chocolate-bacon cookies. They were tasty but the overall verdict is that next time I should add even more bacon than the three pieces I chopped fine and then added in the batch. Bacon’s been on the brain.

“I’ve got one–ice cream,” said my middle child, enthusiastically. Her dad was quick to point out that he’d tried a decadent apple-pie-bacon shake that proved her wrong.

“Cantalope?” said my youngest.

“Nope, bacon-wrapped cantalope can be really tasty.”

“But not watermelon…” offered my middle daughter.

“You got me on that one.” We decided that bacon wouldn’t pair well with ginger, mint or sushi, but it would fit with orange, eggs (of course!), apples, and alfredo sauce.

Who knew a discussion of bacon could become so interesting–ah the power of food. And bacon, I guess.

Do you want to play? What doesn’t go with bacon…

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