Thursday, April 11, 2013

Someones Coming to Dinner

Your day is crazy. Busy at work or volunteering at school, you come home tired and you know that dreaded time of day is approaching. Time-to-make-the-dinner. You have planned on making a meal for your family with the right amounts of everything you need. Then, your child asks you, can so-in-so stay for dinner? What do you? I don't know about you, but I don't like it when I'm put on the spot. My kids used to to do this all the time when asking for a sleep over. They would ask for the sleep over either when their friend's parent was standing in the door ready to take their child home, or when I would pick them up from their friends house.  The kids were young and they had no idea what was planned for that evening or the next day. We were probably 50/50 on accommodating their requests.

So, when the question is asked about a friend staying for dinner, I kinda cringe a little because I haven't planned for this. The times I've planned on making steaks or fish, I've had to say no, because I only planned on making the right amount for us. Other times, when I've planned on pasta or a roast, I know there is enough to go around.  I like to be able to say yes, and tonight we had an extra guest. I'm glad I had enough to go around. I was inspired by a Shrimp de Jonghe recipe that was in a cookbook that was my grandmother's.  The Antoinette Pope School Cookbook's recipe called for a few ingredients I didn't have, and it had an enough butter in to slather on a loaf of bread. So, I improvised a bit. This is why it is important to have your pantry stocked and have a little know how in the kitchen. My version, which I'll call Shrimp Italiano, was delicious and a hit with all, including our guest.

Shrimp Italiano

23 to 24 large, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, preferably Panko
2 generous tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or to your taste
Kosher salt to taste
Olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange shrimp in dish.
In mini food processor (or by hand) add butter, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, basil and salt to taste.  Mix well, then add breadcrumbs and pulse a few times. Sprinkle mixture over shrimp. Lightly drizzle some olive oil on top. Bake for 25 minutes. After cooking if you want breadcrumbs a little more toasted, put under broiler. Watch carefully, so not to burn. Serve with rice of your choice, or a vegetable. Served 5.

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