Back to School Dinners: Shrimp 2 Ways!

I have loved shrimp my whole life.  Unfortunately, my husband hates it, and it hasn't always been reasonable for our tight budget.  Since hamburger and bacon have gotten higher in price, however, shrimp has stayed relatively stable in price.  You can get a pound of shrimp from the freezer section for less than many beef products on the market.

To get my kids excited about trying this rare eat, I created two dishes that I thought they would enjoy.  Both take little prep time, and they were quick to get on the table on a busy weeknight.

The first, Shrimp Au Gratin (which is based on the recipe found in Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen Recipe Book), can be served in one large baking dish, or in individual casserole dishes.

You'll need:
  • 1 pound shrimp, any size
  • 1/2 pound scallops, any size
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 quart whipping cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
To make it, melt the butter in a skillet and add the onion and celery.  Cook about 6 minutes on medium high heat, or until softened but still firm.  Add the flour and mix constantly (do not let it brown.) Then slowly add the cream, stirring while you pour and stir in the cheese.  After it has become a very thick sauce, pour it into a glass rectangle baking dish.

In the same pan, stir fry the shrimp and scallops until pink and cooked through.  Add the seafood to the baking dish and cover the entire dish with the bread crumbs (evenly spread out.)  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it bubbles.  Allow to set for 15 minutes before serving!  We like eating this with crusty bread or crackers.

The second dish is a simple shrimp salad.  You can serve it on a bed of lettuce (or bok choy, as our family likes it) or with crusty bread.

You'll need:
  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup mayo (not salad dressing)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and chill until served.  This makes a great sandwich filler for a sack lunch.  Make extra and use it for a brown bag option.

Does your family like seafood?  We try to enjoy it once a week, so that my kids get accustomed to trying new fish.