Mat’s INCREDIBLE Mardi Gras Dish!

If you guys have not noticed by now, I love to celebrate just about any holiday, especially with food – I get that corny-ness from my mom 🙂

In honor of Mardi Gras, one of our co-workers brought in spicy chicken tacos for everyone, which was absolutely fantastic (why I didn’t take a picture, I don’t know why). While those lunchtime tacos were so delectible, I had my mind on one particular dish ALL DAY LONG…and by “all day” I mean 7:30 a.m. until I got off work at 6:30pm (wooo!) This dish was Mat’s delicious shrimp creole dish he made me about a year ago. I had a weird craving for it the other day, but I didn’t want to bug him to make it for me, until I realized that it was necessary to have a Mardi Gras dinner 🙂 — and since I cannot take credit for this meal, I let Mat have a chance to do a little guest posting to share this dinner with you all!

Since today was Mardi Gras, Karen insisted that I make the shrimp creole dish that I made her last year. In the past year or so (she more than I) we have begun to cut out a lot of unnecessary ingredients from our meals to make them lighter and healthier. Thus, I had to apply the same tactics to this dish to keep it healthy – and so Karen could share this recipe with you all. I found this very healthy Shrimp Creole recipe online, and changed it up a little bit. There were a few ingredients that really would not make too much of a difference and were not worth picking up on my grocery store run.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning such as Slap Your Mama (more or less to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp of all purpose flour (1 tsp corn starch for gluten-free)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 medium scallion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste

From the get-go I was able to pick out some of the ingredients that I wouldn’t include in the finished product, mainly the oil and the flour/starch. Everything else on the list seemed fine so I headed off to Ralph’s to get what I needed (everything). While there I either couldn’t find certain things or changed the ingredient. For example, instead of the can of diced tomatoes I opted to buy some roma tomatoes and dice them myself, much fresher. The ingredients I didn’t get were the bay leaves, cayenne pepper, or Cajun seasoning. But all of these were for flavor and I knew we had plenty of herbs to enhance the taste.

To start the cooking process I chopped, diced, minced all the veggies then added the pepper, celery, onion, and garlic to a skillet with a little bit of the spray olive oil and cooked those about 10 minutes until they were tender. Then I added in the tomato sauce and diced tomato, along with some basil and chili powder and brought the mixture to a boil. After that, I lowered the heat to a simmer and let that sit for about 30 minutes. To complicate things, Karen got out of work 40 minutes after I thought she was so by the time she left, the meal was almost done. To avoid it drying up, I added some spare pasta sauce to moisten things up, which seemed to help a lot. Final step was to add the shrimp, which I also got fresh and not prepackaged. Luckily Karen got home fairly quick and it was all done by the time she walked through the door. To add to the meal, I threw a pack of Uncle Ben’s quick and easy rice in the microwave.

Shrimp Creole over a bed of Whole Grain Brown Rice

Judging by Karen’s reaction, I’d say the dinner was quite a success. As I’m sure she already told or will tell you somewhere in this post.

I was in heaven! This was easily the best way to come home after a long day at work, I love him 🙂
When making dishes like these that call for four or cornstarch, those are typically just thickeners – which I could seriously care less about, because it does not interfere with the taste. Not to mention, I did not want Mat to spend money on items I hardly use (cornstarch) to just have it sit in the cabinets until they expire.

Anywho, I hope you guys give this dish a try, I promise it will not disappoint!
Thank you Mat!!

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