I hear from my single girlfriends that cooking dinner for one is just too hard to do. Instead they opt for a drive-through fast food joint, a stop at the expensive prepared food department in the grocery store, a table for one in the corner of the local restaurant or even worse…. a bowl of cereal in front of the tv! There must be a better way.
When I find myself alone for an evening I look forward to enjoying a meal that I might not have on a regular basis. For example, my hubby is allergic to shellfish and hates, hates, hates beans. When he’s absent my culinary tastes go wild with anticipation. Red beans and rice, black bean enchiladas, lobster mac and cheese. The meals are endless, and most are made with ingredients that I keep in the pantry and freezer. Just like that box of cereal.
My Cajun Shrimp over Sautéed Spinach is just the recipe you need when you find yourself hungry and alone. It’s comforting, yummy, quick and adjustable. A well-stocked pantry and fridge help make your meal come together without a trip to the store. I keep certain frozen foods like shrimp and veggies in my freezer at all times. Most shrimp is flash frozen on the boat after it’s caught so doesn’t get much fresher than the freezer bag. Fresh veggies are best, but frozen veggies are often prepared right after harvest at the peak of ripeness, so they are a great back-up.
Seasonings like Cajun spice and hot sauce will last forever on the shelf and in the fridge, respectively. So all you really need for this recipe is fresh lemon, and this too is something I keep on hand. Remember the old Oprah decorating tip of keeping a bowlful of lemons on a side table? Not only do you have a fresh ingredient… you have décor!
Let’s channel your inner chef (kinda like that Chopped show on the Food Network): What if you don’t have frozen spinach? You can serve this shrimp dish over rice or pasta (also pantry staples). What if you don’t have shrimp? You can use chicken tenders or veggies. This same recipe can become Spicy Cajun Brussels Sprouts over Rice or Spicy Cajun Chicken over Pasta. Any ingredient works. The dish comes together in minutes and lends itself to your tastes. You know what else? A nice glass of chilled white wine pairs way better with seafood, poultry or veggies than it does with cold cereal and milk. Right there is all the motivation you need to get cookin’.
What’s your “Single Ladies” favorite meal?
Cajun Shrimp over Sautéed Spinach
I keep frozen shrimp and spinach in my freezer all of the time. On those nights I find myself at home alone for supper, this is my go-to meal! I love it spicy…. So will you!
15 Minutes ‘til Dinnertime
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
- 4 to 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 pounds fresh spinach (substitute with 20 ounces frozen spinach, thawed)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ½ lemon, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 ½ lemons, about ¼ cup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Cajun spice
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 drops (or more) hot pepper sauce
- 1 lb. fresh jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 21 to 25 (substitute with frozen, thawed shrimp)
For the spinach, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and just beginning to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
For the shrimp, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the lemon slices. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Cajun spice and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in as much hot sauce as you like. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until the shrimp are opaque and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the shrimp over the spinach and serve!