Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dinner on the Farm - Shrimp Scampi

I love shrimp scampi! It's easy to make but most recipes load it with butter and white pasta's. Some make richer sauces than others. Following a few simple steps you can convert Shrimp Scampi and most other recipes to low fat, reduced calorie and heart healthy.

Most all grocers sell a whole grain pasta however they vary in nutritional value. It really does pay to read labels. You'll be surprised in the difference between products that are seemingly healthy.

The things to look for are ingredients, sodium content, serving size and caloric value.

When looking for ingredients, the first ones listed will tell the story of the product. I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up something that said whole grain and the first ingredient was bleached flour.

A low sodium content is important for a heart healthy diet. Sodium can raise blood pressure and allows the body retain water. New guidelines suggest we consume only 1800mg a day. For John and I we usually keep it way under 1000mg. Think your food will be bland? Not at all if you use Mrs. Dash, garlic, vinegars, wine and some other marinades like Liquid Smoke and Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and lime juice.

Serving size is the big one. Most people cannot envision what a 1c or less serving size is. To make it easy I bought a variety of Rubbermaid storage containers and measured how much each of them held. Then with a sharpie I wrote on the corresponding lid. It helped me learn just how much each serving size was which helped me when I was shopping.

Caloric value goes hand in hand with serving size. Just because a product looks like it is low in calories it may not be unless you can eat the serving size and be satisfied or if the serving size is sensible.

Now on to the recipe and method of cooking...

Cook your whole grain spaghetti pasta, drain and drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over it. Stir well. This keeps it from sticking.

In a sauce pan using 2 tablespoons olive oil saute 2 tlb minced garlic, and 2 cups total of a mixture of chopped celery, onion and bell pepper.  When the vegetables are just starting to get tender, but not totally cooked, add in 1 lb shrimp. I had large shrimp that I cut into pieces. Cook the vegetables and shrimp about 4-5 min or until the shrimp turn pink. Add 1/4 c. lemon juice and 1/3 c or more while wine and some fresh cracked pepper and cook 1-2 min more. 

Pour over the whole grain pasta and mix. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over your portion. The lemon juice and white wine make it pop and you will not miss the salt. 

Very good, quick and heart healthy!

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