Shrimp paired with pineapple brings elegance and sweetness
After all the cooking and shopping that the holidays inspire us to do, I'm looking forward to pulling out some easy recipes that use pantry ingredients that I keep on hand. One of my favorite items to keep in the freezer is frozen shrimp.
I keep both cooked and uncooked versions. Raw shrimp cook up in minutes and have more flavor, so I use them for pasta dishes and easy sheet-pan suppers. But cooked shrimp have their place on my menu, too. I love how quickly they thaw for salads and appetizers and other cold preparations.
The downside to precooked shrimp is the texture is a notch softer. My solution is to buy the large shrimp and then cut it in half. I know this may be counter-shrimp culture, so feel free to leave them large, but the solution works for us.
A super easy go-to recipe for shrimp for us is my Shrimp Pineapple Brochette, which uses easy pantry ingredients -- you can even use canned pineapple -- to create something that still feels high-end.
It's healthy and versatile, working as either a meal when paired with some greens, a first course, or even an appetizer for parties. Shrimp brings protein and elegance, while pineapple balances out with both sweetness and acid. I use prepared pesto for some fat and flavor, and I highly recommend keeping a jar of prepared pesto in the freezer to scoop out for recipes. But, if you don't have any, just substitute a bunch of chopped herbs, olive oil and lemon juice for an easy, tasty version. And with skewers, I think it goes without saying that you can swap in whatever fruit you have in your kitchen -- grapes, grapefruit, orange segments and even canned mango all work beautifully.
• Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy." Contact her at www.melissadarabian.net