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A Menu for a Shrimp Dinner

by Ann Mazzaferro

Good things come in small packages, and tiny, flavor-packed shrimp are no exception. Fresh or frozen, shrimp is an easy and delicious solution to the dinner menu dilemma. Even picky eaters will be hard-pressed to resist favorites like tacos and pasta. When shrimp is on the menu, dinner will be sophisticated for adults, accessible to kids and delicious to everyone at the table.

Fish and Chips at Home

Fast-food favorites like popcorn shrimp can easily be recreated at home, trimming the fat from your budget and from high-calorie recipes. Bake shrimp that have been coated in batter or crushed croutons in the oven instead of frying them in oil; you'll cut calories and fat without sacrificing taste. Cover the baking sheet with foil to speed up the clean up. Serve with lemon wedges, oven-baked fries and homemade coleslaw for a crowd-pleasing meal that comes with a fraction of the fat and calories found in fast food fare.

Throw a Shrimp on the BBQ

While there is no conclusive proof that everything tastes better on a stick, a set of bamboo or metal skewers can add some pizzazz to your next shrimp-inspired dinner menu. Soak peeled, deveined shrimp in your favorite marinade or teriyaki sauce, then slide shrimp onto skewers, alternating the shellfish with chunks of vegetables. Onions, bell peppers and squash are good picks, and chunks of fruit like pineapple add a tropical twist. Grill until shrimp are opaque, and then serve with steamed rice, extra sauce and a tossed green salad with a creamy dressing. Keep a close eye on kids as they remove shrimp from skewers, as little hands can accidentally poke themselves or the diners around them.

A Fishy Fiesta

When another night of beef or chicken gives you the blues, throw a fiesta with shrimp tacos and fajitas. When sautéed with olive oil, bell peppers, onions and spices like chili powder and cumin, shrimp can be stuffed in taco shells or wrapped in warm flour tortillas for a family-friendly entrée. Rounding out the table with refried beans, Spanish rice and taco toppings like shredded cheese and chipotle dressing makes a meal that can cure the dinner-time doldrums. You can adjust the heat of your dish to suit your family's tastes, and for those who don't like shrimp, bean-and-cheese burritos are a quick and easy addition to the meal.

Pasta Pandemonium

Tossing shrimp with pasta makes a molto bene meal. Any sauce can be used to accompany shrimp and pasta, but cream-based or Alfredo sauces are especially delicious. Olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper make a simple and delicious sauce as well. Sautee shrimp with vegetables, then toss with the pasta and sauce of your choosing. Steamed vegetables, a loaf of crusty bread and plenty of Parmesan cheese complete the menu, and dinner can be on the table in as little as twenty minutes. If you have picky eaters, heat up a jar of red sauce on the stove, then scoop a cup of the sautéed vegetables into the sauce. Puree the sauce and vegetables in a blender or food processor until smooth to sneak an extra serving of vegetables into your child's meal.

About the Author

Hailing from California, Ann Mazzaferro is a professional writer who has written for "The Pacifican," "Calliope Literary Magazine" and presented at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference. Mazzaferro graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the Pacific.

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