Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lunch Week 21: Pasta Salad with Shrimp

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Pasta salad with Shrimp and mixed greens A quick yet satisfying lunch was in order. Also, the weather is hot and humid. Something served cold would be good as well. Then I thought pasta salad. It's so easy to make. And you just add whatever you like to it. Continuing with the whole simple and light feeling, I bought some frozen shrimp, mixed greens, and pasta. This recipe is truly one of those 30 minute meals if you do it right. First, buy frozen raw shrimp that has been deveined and shelled. Tail-off too. Defrost the shrimp, rinse, and place in a glass bowl. I like to stress that I always use glass when dealing with seafood. It doesn't cause any chemical reactions and it doesn't retain a fishy smell. Never use plastic. Anyhow, spice and dress the shrimp to your taste. I like to use salt, pepper, paprika, red chili flakes, garlic powder, and oil. Lemon too if you have any around. Let marinate. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add pasta. Cook according to the directions. As an extra health factor, I used whole wheat pasta. It makes this dish a little heartier and filling. I don't always use it because it taste different. It really depends on the dish. As the pasta is boiling, cook the shrimp. Add some oil to a skillet on high heat. Make sure that the pan is hot before you add the shrimp. Once the shrimp is in the pan, keep an eye on it since it cooks quickly. Flip them every so often so they cook evenly. Once completely opaque, pink, and curled up, they are done. Immediately removed from heat. Next, separate the mixed salad greens into two large bowls. It may seem like a lot but they'll wilt with the heat of the pasta and shrimp. So use all of it. Don't be afraid. Drain the pasta, and immediate throw on top of the greens. Mix well. Next add the cooked shrimp. Mix again. Lastly, prepare a vinaigrette. I use red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can add a little dijon mustard too. Remember to mix well until the oil and vinegar is emulsified. Add to pasta salad and mix well. By this time, the veggies should have wilted down considerably. If not, let the residual heat continue to wilt it. Once cooled, you can refrigerate it and enjoy it over the next few days.

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