This time of year is perfect for fresh seafood – especially in New England. Lately I have been consuming about a 75/35 diet…the 75 being vegetable/plant-based meals and the 35 being meat based meals. I am working towards consuming the recommended 8-12oz of fish/seafood per week according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, however my budget does not always allow it, especially when trying to consume wild caught fish/seafood. Living below the poverty line, trying to make ends meet, and living on a tight budget can make things a difficult and frustrating when trying to eat healthy and buy fresh ingredients all the time. I have been living this way for quite a while now, and for the next year, that tight budget of mine just got even tighter! So here are a few little tips and tricks that I have found helpful and put to use:
- When I find a good deal on wild caught seafood, I buy a little extra and freeze it into appropriate portion sizes.
- Search the frozen section – some times you can find wild caught pre-frozen shrimp, tuna, or salmon – pick up a piece or two and save it for a raining day.
- Shop local – small independent grocery stores and farmers markets usually have some great deals.
- Eat Seasonally – the best prices for items are when they are in season, that should be no surprise.
- Coupon Clipping – I kid you not, this has helped me so much. I do not clip coupons for items that I can not eat or that I do not use, that would be a waste of money and time. Sign up for coupons from Mambo Sprouts – usually they have lots of great gluten-free related coupons.
- Frozen Veggies and Canned Goods – I know it is not “gourmet” but you can make one heck of a meal with these items…if buying canned goods, buy them with no or low sodium, and be sure to rinse them well. I buy my beans canned because it is quick and easy and they are full of nutrients.
- Think of side of the box – instead of spending loads of money on meat proteins, I use a lot of alternative proteins like tofu, tempeh, and beans
- Whole grains – they fill you up and are very versatile.
Below is a simple, yet flavorful shrimp recipe that can be prepared inside or on the grill and is perfect for this beautiful weather. You can serve it with our without the rice, in taco shells, or however you choose.
I found the Coconut Thai Seasoning at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Newport…I have no idea how I never realized this little gem was so close to me, but it was probably a good thing for me (not them) that I didn’t! I walked into the shop and instantly was in heaven. It’s a small shop, packed with spices, teas, salts, etc. The staff was very helpful and friendly as well, especially when helping me with gluten-free blend options. I picked up a few different spice blends but had to try the Coconut Thai one first.
Coconut Thai Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice
- Shrimp 1/2 pound
- Coconut Thai Seasoning 2 teaspoons
- Olive Oil 1 teaspoon
Mango Salsa – Ingredients
- Lime Juice 2 tablespoons
- Lime Zest 1 teaspoon
- Salt, Kosher 1/4 teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper 1/8 teaspoon
- Mango 1 – fine dice
- Red Onion 2-3 tablespoons, fine dice
- Avocado 1 – fine dice
- Bell Pepper, Orange,Yellow, etc. 1/4 cup, fine dice
Spinach Lime Rice – Ingredients
- Basmati or Jasmine Rice 1 cup – uncooked
- Water or stock 2 cups
- Spinach, Baby 1 1/2 cups
- Lime Zest 1 teaspoon
- Cilantro 1 tablespoon, fine chop
Method of Preparation
- Peel and devein shrimp
- Mango Avocado Salsa – In a medium bowl add lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cayenne pepper – mix well.
- Add diced mango, red onion, avocado, and bell pepper, mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Coconut Thai Shrimp – In a medium bowl add, Coconut Thai Seasoning and Olive oil, mix well
- Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly, set aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
- Spinach Lime Rice – In a small stock pot bring two cups of water or stock to a boil and add rice. Stir and cook until done (usually about 15-20 minutes depending on rice)
- During the last two minutes of cooking, stir in spinach and stir to wilt the spinach leaves. Set aside.
- Right before serving add lime zest and freshly chopped cilantro into the spinach rice and toss to evenly incorporate.
- To cook the shrimp – either heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2-4 minutes per side or place on a hot grill for the same amount of time.
- Serve with spinach lime rice, and mango salsa – top with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.