Healthier Honey Shrimp

So many of my favorite shrimp recipes contain butter.  I’m not talking about a little bit of butter… I’m talking about a LOT of butter.  Scampi, Beurre Blanc, and etc.  I am a firm believer in “all things in moderation” and I love cooking with butter, but sometimes we all need to scale it back a little and find healthy alternatives that can be our daily go-to recipes.

For this recipe, I used Extra Large Key West Pink Shrimp.  There are approximately 21 – 25 shrimp per pound.  I peeled and deveined them, but left the tails on.  You could remove them if you prefer.

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Healthy Honey Shrimp:

This serves 2 to 3 adults (or 2 adults and 2 kids, in our case).

  • 1 pound cleaned shrimp (tails on or off)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons local raw honey
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • the juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

Gather the ingredients for the marinade.  Combine the ingredients in a small bowl.  The coconut oil will separate from the rest of the ingredients, but you can easily whisk it all together with a fork or a small wire whisk.

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Pour the marinade over the cleaned shrimp.  Cover and allow this to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  You could leave this for up to four hours, but if you leave it too long the citrus will start to break down the shrimp.  I think an hour or two is plenty.

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While that is resting, let’s chat about honey.  If you are going to have honey in your house, it should always be local and ALWAYS be raw.  In this recipe, the honey will be cooked so it isn’t as imperative to use raw honey.  I still prefer to use it just because I know it has not been heated, pasteurized, or processed at all.  Consuming local honey can even help with seasonal allergies!  (Remember… never give honey to babies and very young children!)  Because we live in Florida, we are lucky enough to have access to local Orange Blossom honey.  It is my favorite!

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Back to the shrimp.  There are two ways to do this.  You can either skewer them and put them on the grill (I suppose you could also use a grill basket, if you have one) OR you can cook them in a large pan on the stove.

I was going for the quickest method here, so we cooked ours inside.  Get the largest pan you have VERY hot.  The shrimp are going to cook in no time and you want the sauce to bubble and thicken like a glaze.  This is going to require high heat.  Over high heat, put the shrimp directly into the pan.  You don’t need any oil or cooking spray because there is coconut oil in the marinade already (by the way, the coconut oil has solidified in the fridge – that’s okay).  I used a slotted spoon to put the shrimp in the pan.  After all the shrimp were transferred, I added several additional spoonfuls of the marinade to the pan with them.

You will immediately note the sauce bubbling and thickening.  Keep those shrimp moving in the pan with a wooden spoon.  Make sure they get cooked on both sides.

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As soon as they are all curled and opaque (no longer translucent), remove the pan from the heat.

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These are best served over brown or black rice, since we are going with the “healthy” theme.  If you aren’t concerned about starches and carbohydrates, Jasmine rice would be great.  I served them over black rice.  Black rice (also called Forbidden Rice) is extremely high in nutritional value.  It has a nutty taste and texture that is similar to brown rice.  It becomes a deep purple color when it is cooked and is said to have the same antioxidants as blueberries and blackberries.

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This is delicious, easy, fast, and guilt-free.  I had all the ingredients on-hand (this is a big one for me when I am searching for recipes).

And if you are wondering if your kids will eat it…

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Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo with Blackened Key West Pink Shrimp

Following a long vacation, I missed my kitchen.  My motto is “Go Big or Go Home” so I decided to go big.  We have a new Alfredo Sauce I wanted to try and I was really in the mood for some comforting pasta.

I clipped a little bit of thyme and rosemary from our herb garden at the store.  I used it to make Herb Breadsticks.  I let them rise while I was preparing the rest of the meal and baked them right at the last minute.

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Next, I tackled the pasta.  Making pasta from scratch is not something I often do.  Since I was using a prepared sauce, it seemed like a fitting time to take that extra step.  (Save time on one thing, spend time on another.)  I made a very simple dough using 1-1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1/2 cup Semolina Flour, 2 eggs, and 2 Tablespoons of water.

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I turned it all out onto the counter and kneaded it by hand for about ten minutes. It doesn’t get elastic like yeast dough, but it gets smooth.  You can tell when it’s ready.  I covered it in plastic wrap and moved it to the back of the counter to rest for about a half hour while I tackled the shrimp.

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Now the real work began.  I brought home one pound of Large Key West Pink Shrimp.  This is about 31-35 shrimp.  For some reason, I really prefer smaller shrimp when they are going in a pasta dish.  For grilling or other applications, I tend to gravitate toward the Extra Large.  (We peel and devein Extra Large and larger shrimp for free at the store.  Just call ahead.  You can save yourself some time.)

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I removed the shells and tails first.  I am not a big fan of chasing tails around in a pasta dish.  You can throw the shells in a plastic bag and freeze them to make stock at a later date or just discard them.  (Word to the wise… don’t forget to take out your trash!)

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Next, I used a sharp paring knife to cut down the back of each shrimp and rinsed the vein out under cold running water.

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When sautéeing, broiling, or grilling smaller shrimp, I like to put them on a skewer so I can ensure that each shrimp is only cooked for a certain amount of time on each side.  This helps you brown them without overcooking them.  I seasoned them with Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic.  If I could only ever have ONE seasoning for seafood, it would be this one.  It’s not overly salty and it’s so versatile.  It’s probably one of my favorite items we sell in the store.  (I left one skewer plainly seasoned for the kids.)

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I returned the shrimp to the fridge while I went back to the pasta.  I divided the pasta dough into two pieces and started rolling it out on a lightly floured surface (use cornmeal or the Semonlina flour for this because it is less messy).

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I don’t have space for a lot of little kitchen appliances and I really like doing things by hand.  That being said, a pasta machine is not something I have in my kitchen.  I recently read about a method of making pasta by rolling out the sheets and slicing them.  Brilliant.

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After I sliced them, I unrolled each strand and tossed it with additional Semolina flour.  I set the pasta strands toward the back of the counter and left them to dry out.  It takes at least ten minutes, but you can leave it until you finish whatever else you are doing.  It’s forgiving.  Cooking the pasta was pretty much the LAST thing I wanted to do since it takes under five minutes to cook.

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I prepared all my garnishes and heated the sauce.  The whole inspiration for this meal was a new product we have from a company called La Pasta.  They make delicious refrigerated pasta sauces.  They are all natural and so tasty.  I heated it in a saucepan over low heat.  I will warn you that it DID take quite a bit of whisking to reincorporate it all together but once it was warm, it came together all at once.  I would not recommend doing this in the harsh heat of a microwave.  It might break the sauce.  I chopped some parsley and grated some Parmesan cheese.

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Time to cook the shrimp.  Big heavy skillet on very high heat with just a touch of oil in the pan.  I cooked them for about one minute on each side.  I left them in the pan, removed the pan from the heat, and covered it with foil.  This allows the shrimp to finish cooking without applying direct heat AND it keeps them warm until everything else is ready.

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I brought a big pot of salted water to a rolling boil.  I boiled my pasta for just under five minutes (this is a good time to assemble a salad – I made a simple Caesar salad) and immediately drained it and returned it to the pot, where I combined it with the heated Alfredo sauce.

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All that was left to do was assemble the meal!  Pasta and sauce in the bottom… shrimp on top!  I prefer to leave them on the skewer just for the sake of presentation.  I garnished each bowl with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and served it with the salad and the warm breadsticks.  Delicious restaurant-quality meal at home for four people for around $30!   My thoughts on the sauce:  this was by far the best prepared Alfredo sauce I have ever had.  My husband commented that he would never have believed it was not homemade.  It was not overly salty and it was so thick and creamy!  And then came the food coma.

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