Gulf Islands Shrimp Boil

Delicious, easy, and feeds a crowd – a Gulf Islands shrimp boil might just be the perfect, no fuss special occasion meal. You won’t need fancy dishes or silver utensils for this dish – this, friends, is a paper plates and paper napkins meal! Stuck in a polar vortex and need a mood boost? Put your heavy coat away and fish out your flip flops. Turn on some island music, slather on some coconut lotion, close your drapes and pretend it’s summertime while you enjoy this dish. Winter really will end, eventually.

Ingredients (Serves 6; recipe halves easily)

8 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon steak seasoning mix (or Old Bay)

1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes

12 mini cobs of sweet corn (frozen is fine)

2 small zucchini, sliced 3/4 inch thick

3 pounds fresh Gulf shrimp (unpeeled or peeled, it’s up to you – also, frozen and thawed raw shrimp will work fine)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1 lemon, sliced into wedges

Directions

Step 1) Bring water, bouillon cubes, and steak seasoning (or Old Bay) to a boil in a large pot.

Step 2) Add potatoes, whole, to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.

Step 3) After 10 minutes, add frozen corn cobs to boiling water. Boil for an additional 5 minutes (if corn is thawed, boil for only 2 minutes).

Step 4) After 5 minutes (or 2 minutes if corn was thawed), add shrimp and zucchini. Boil for an additional 3 minutes, or until shrimp have lost their opaque color and have turned completely pink.

Step 5) Remove pot from heat and carefully drain off liquid. Tip pot over a LARGE serving platter (a large turkey platter or jelly roll pan works well for this) and spread out potatoes, corn, shrimp, and zucchini.

Step 6) Stir together melted butter and sriracha. Drizzle butter mixture over the platter.

Step 7) Squeeze lemon wedges over platter and then leave the lemon wedges on the platter.

Enjoy! Leftovers are delicious warm or cold.

Orange Butter Shrimp

Orange Butter Shrimp served over noodles

Today’s bargain find at the local Gulf Coast seafood market was unassuming, small Gulf shrimp. These little guys might not be the most exotic item at the market, but wow are they delicious! This simple preparation will have you dining on tasty shrimp in minutes. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 pound fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup sliced orange segments, sliced

Directions

Step 1) Sautee garlic in butter and olive oil over low-medium heat for one minute.

Step 2) Add shrimp and orange juice. Sautee for three minutes or until shrimp have turned pink (make sure there are no opaque sections on the shrimp remaining).

Step 3) Serve over noodles, spiralized zucchini, or lettuce. Garnish with sliced orange segments.

How easy was that?!

100 Calorie Keto Coconut Pops

Coconut milk sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in fat and calories; it is indeed fat- and calorie-dense. But here’s the thing. Coconut milk is only “bad for you” if you consume it by the gallon, or if you are using coconut milk to make a massive quantity of carbohydrates taste good. In moderation, coconut milk is a healthy addition to a low-carb diet, and adds much needed variety to keto meals.

Today at Crowded Earth Kitchen we are sharing an idea rather than a recipe, because really friends, these popsicles only contain two ingredients. Simply pop open a can of coconut milk, pour about 1/4 of the can in a small bowl, and whisk 1 generous teaspoon of pure cocoa powder into that small bowl. Then, fill your popsicle molds 1/3 full with coconut milk right from the can. Drizzle a bit of cocoa-enhanced coconut milk into each mold, and repeat until the molds are full. One can of coconut milk will fill 6 to 8 popsicle molds, depending upon the size of your molds (mine hold 1/4 cup each). Place filled popsicle molds in freezer, and enjoy when firm.

Note: If you like your popsicles a little sweeter, feel free to blend a tablespoon or two of Stevia or your preferred sweetener into the can of coconut milk first. I think the cocoa powder adds enough flavor that I don’t use any sweetener at all.

Life is short. Play with your food!

Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

IMG_2139For some reason, fried rice has always sounded complicated. It’s not. The trick is to cook the rice the day before and refrigerate it overnight. It is much easier to stir-fry cold, day old rice. Trust me on this, and dive into this delicious, Thai inspired treat!

IMG_2138Ingredients (Serves 4 with leftovers)

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked to package instructions and refrigerated overnight

1 cup diced, fresh pineapple Continue reading

Chicken Noodle Spring Rolls

IMG_2131During the height of summer, fresh spring rolls are a refreshing afternoon lunch. Spring roll wrappers used to be tricky to find, but as Asian cuisines have increased in popularity throughout the US, these wrappers have become readily available in supermarkets and online. This recipe uses other easy to find ingredients as well. For the cooked chicken, either a can of chicken or part of a supermarket rotisserie chicken will work. For the noodles, feel free to experiment! I really enjoy Japanese sweet potato noodles, but a cooked package of instant ramen noodles will work just fine.  Have fun!

Ingredients (Makes 12 Spring Rolls)

IMG_212712 round spring roll wrappers (rice paper)

1 cup cooked chicken cut into small cubes

3 ounces cooked noodles cut into 2 inch pieces

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup crushed peanuts

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons chili vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated

Directions

IMG_2126Step 1) In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the five sauce ingredients. Fold in chicken, noodles, cabbage, carrot, and peanuts.

Step 2) Place about 1 inch of water in a 12 inch skillet and bring to a simmer (not a boil) over medium heat.

Step 3) When water is hot but not boiling, place ONE spring roll wrapper in the water for 2 SECONDS (really… just two seconds). Use a spatula to gently remove the spring roll wrapper from the water and place it on a wood cutting board. Gently smooth out the wrapper; a few wrinkles are fine. If parts of the wrapper are still hard, you can dip the wrapper in water again for an extra second.

Step 4) Place 1/4 cup of filling in a small rectangle near the center of the wrapper.

WIN_20160502_170716Step 5) Fold the sides of the spring roll wrapper over the short sides of the rectangle of filling, as shown. Then, gently roll the spring roll from top to bottom, sealing the filling inside of the spring roll. The wrapper will stick to itself and form a nice seal.

Step 6) That’s it! Repeat steps 3 – 5 until you run out of filling.

Spring rolls are a FRESH food and are best enjoyed within a few hours of rolling (store in the refrigerator if not enjoying immediately). Try dipping your spring rolls in soy sauce, plum sauce, or peanut satay sauce – delicious! Spring rolls are inherently low in fat and are gluten free. You could also omit the chicken and add some shredded greens for your vegan friends. Have fun!

Pumpkin Pudding

Pudding1Pumpkin is one of the healthiest veggies around! It’s low in calories but chock full of fiber and vitamins. This quick and easy recipe allows you to serve up veggies as a delicious (and healthy) dessert! Your secret is safe with me. Continue reading

Penne with Glazed Vegetables

P1Between the garden harvest and the back-to-school commotion around here, dinners in September need to be fuss-free. Penne with Glazed Vegetables is easily prepared around busy schedules, yet still captures the best of the season’s fresh vegetable flavor. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Sunday Egg Bake

Egg Bake 1This egg bake is simple enough for pint-size cooks to prepare, but makes an elegant Sunday breakfast. It’s also a great way to use up leftover bread cubes after making fondue!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

3 cups day old bread, cubed

4 eggs, lightly beaten Continue reading

Kids in the Kitchen: Cake Mix Zucchini Bread

cakemix1Today’s recipe is easy enough for even the most pint-sized of kitchen helpers to manage, and makes a cheerful after-school snack! Best of all, this recipe goes from “idea” to “oven” in just a minute or two, making it perfect for this crazy-busy time of year. Enjoy! Continue reading

Summer Squash Fritters

squash1Yellow summer squash have taken over my garden – what a delightful problem! Alas, yellow summer squash doesn’t seem to freeze as well as zucchini. We need to enjoy these sunny little veggies fresh, or cook them into something delightful before freezing. This recipe for Summer Squash Fritters accomplishes both – you can enjoy these as Continue reading

Easy Strawberry Muffins

muffinsThe under-five-feet-tall set in my family (my kiddos and my sister’s kiddos) are pretty much living in the swimming pool these days. That’s awesome – water and summer sun are great for children and gardens alike! But swimming makes children hungry. Really, really hungry!

This super fast recipe is Continue reading

Ivan’s Easy Mango Jam

mango jamIvan, a Crowded Earth Kitchen apprentice, is excited to share this recipe with you today. His low-sugar mango jam recipe is simple to prepare and so delicious you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making mango jam for years. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Makes about 2 cups of jam) Continue reading