“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” Bubba from Forrest Gump (1994)
Bubba was on to something when he said shrimp is the fruit of the sea. Shrimp can be incorporated in about any dish.
We ate at my favorite Chinese restaurant this past Friday night, Golden Palace, and I had my go-to healthy dish: Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables. First, let me say that the Golden Palace is a diamond in the rough. Golden Palace personifies the statement “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” We ate there for the first time with friends of ours and when we pulled up, I was confused . We drove 45-minutes away from our house to this shabby, whole in the wall restaurant and I was thinking “why did we pass 100 other Chinese restaurants that looked a hell of a lot better than this one, to eat here.” I sulked into the restaurant and braced myself for food poisoning the next day.
Not for the first time in my life, I was wrong. I ordered the steamed shrimp and vegetables because it is the healthiest item on the menu at a Chinese restaurant. At most restaurants, this dish is pretty much flavorless because they just stick broccoli, snow peas, carrots, mushrooms and shrimp into a bamboo steamer and cook with no salt, spices, sauce or butter.
Wow. I was amazed! Their version of this dish was full of flavor and cooked perfectly! They must use spices in the steamer to give flavor without fat. Hands-down, this is the best steamed shrimp dish I’ve ever had. I even asked them once “C’mon, you guys put something in this right? MSG? Oil? Tell me why this is so good.”
I omitted one detail though. The reason why The Golden Palace is so wonderful is not just because of their amazing food, although that could win them this honor alone. No, it is because of their outstanding service. We go there about once a month and every time we go, they have “our table” ready for us, as we are a party of six because we go with friends. They remember our names and what we like “No Onions, Right?” The waiter says to our friend. “Allergic to shrimp, right?” he says to my husband. They also bring us a special dish “on the house” every time we go. Sometimes they bring us an appetizer, like this awesome meat on a skewer dish, where you actually cook the meat at your table on a tiny burner with an open flame. One time it was a cake. Another time it was lettuce wraps.
So, yeah, we drive 45-minute minutes out of our way for dinner about once a month, but it is so worth it!
Speaking of shrimp, they are one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they are lean, high in protein, rich in nutrients and low calorie. One 3-ounce serving of shrimp has 17 grams of protein and only 90 calories! This same serving size has 46% of the Daily Value of selenium, which is a cancer-fighting nutrient. Do you remember when I posted about the health benefits of salmon? Read the post, and see where I mention that one of the many reasons why we should eat Wild Alaskan Salmon is because the wild salmon get their pink color from shrimp? Well, the name of that pigment that gives shrimp their color is astaxanthin. Astaxathin is a strong antioxidant and studies show that astaxathin is actually 100 times more effective as an antioxidant than vitamin E!
My husband just recently learned that he is allergic to shrimp and my Mom is allergic as well, so I do think my kids should be cautious about their consumption since it runs in the family on both sides. But, even so, their absolute favorite dish I make is shrimp and grits. Sometimes I’ll make this ahead of time and refrigerate it so we can have a quick and easy dinner after work.
Shrimp and Grits Casserole
- 1 pound shrimp (cooked, peeled, tail-off) coarsely chopped
- 3 oz. cream cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups skim milk
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup quick-cooking grits
- 3 Tbsp parsley
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 large egg whites
- Cooking Spray
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Combine milk and broth in medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and salt, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly (constantly is the key to making the grits work)
- Stir in the parmesan and cream cheese until smooth. Add parsley, lemon juice, egg whites and shrimp.
- Spray a 11X7 inch dish with cooking spray and then spoon in the mixture.
- Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
Do you like shrimp? Do you have a favorite shrimp dish? Please share!