Sometimes when I get home from work I am just too tired to cook. I stare at the contents of my empty fridge and wonder "What the heck am I going to eat?" I mean really, what kind of meal can you possibly make from blackberry yogurt, a wedge of parm, and some slimy looking spinach? It used to be so easy. I would pick up the phone and order any number of tasty (if not healthy) meals: pizza, crab rangoon, fallafel sandwich. These days? Not so much. The concept of fast food has turned from picking something up at a local eatery, to what I can throw together with minimal effort and maximum flavor that will provide enough leftovers for my lunch the next day. Oh yes, and not get sick from eating it. All of those lovely prepared sauces and meals are loaded with gluten: wheat, modified food starch, malt flavoring. Yikes? So what is a gluten free diva to eat? Peanut Coconut Shrimp, that's what.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself. See, I finally was fed up with lazy-night meals consisting of apples, cheese, GF crackers, and dried mangos. I turned to my pantry. It is not stocked as well as it should be. I have to admit that. I am long overdue for a major shopping trip. (My apartment is a mess right now and the thought of bringing bags of anything into it is not inspiring.) It has been interesting to witness the evolution that has taken place in my pantry over the past three and a half months. So many of the items that were once staples have disappeared to be replaced by new, shiny items. The following is a list of must-haves for my pantry. What do you always keep on hand?
cans of beans (usually black, but Great Northern is a common sight)
quick cook polenta
can of pumpkin
cans of green chilies
a jar of minced garlic
a jar of ginger paste
jarred pasta sauce (there are so many ways to doctor this up!)
frozen chicken breasts
frozen, pre-cooked shrimp
I know there are things I am forgetting. Making this list has highlighted just how badly I need to hit the store. No wonder I have been unable to cook lately! I my perusal of the pantry last night I decided to pass up the pesto and make something with coconut milk. What, you ask? I had no clue. I just knew at that moment I must use coconut milk. Now usually my store only carries the low-fat variety. This was the real thing. Wow! So different! This stuff was thick. So incredibly rich. Gah! I could eat it with a spoon! ehem. I was trying to think of ways to utilize this decadent ingredient. Chicken or shrimp? Curry? Green chilies? Soup or sauce? Then I looked at the label. hmmm...recipes on the website? OK, why not? A Taste of Thai was already one of my favorite companies due to the fact that they label all of their foods GF (when applicable). Now I love them more for their website. All my favorite Thai dishes are on there. You can order their products online (there are so many my store does not carry!) I browsed the recipes and found Peanut Coconut Shrimp. I made a few modifications since I did not have all of the exact ingredients on hand. So with no further delay, the omg-yummy-so-good dish.
Peanut Coconut Shrimp
1/2 - 1 cup peanut butter (depends on how much you like PB)
1 can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ginger paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
approx. 20 frozen shrimp (precooked, tail off)
2 cups water
1 cup sushi rice
In a medium pot bring water to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15-15 minutes (until rice is tender). While the rice is cooking, combine all remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Stir in frozen shrimp. Let sit as the rice finishes cooking. To serve, just spoon shrimp and sauce over rice.
God, so good. For the last five years I have been trying to find an at home version of the peanut sauce from my favorite Thai restaurant. Who knew it would take developing Celiac to finally find the right recipe? Go make this dish. Add veggies (I know I will next time). Use it as a dip, put it on rice, or just eat it with a spoon. Yes, it's that good. So good that I ate it too fast to take a picture. Maybe next time.