Most days, I feel like I am a short order chef. My typical workday commute is about 20 steps from my office to the kitchen, while my lovely wife has about a 40 minute drive, so I am typically the designated chef. I actually love it, as there is a lot of creativity in cooking, and, generally speaking, I don’t like to follow too many rules, except that I pretty much only cook things that I like. The other cool thing about cooking, unlike most of what I do, is that it has a definite starting and stopping point. Most of what I do never really ends. Alina mostly likes the things that I cook, because I don’t usually cook things she doesn’t like, but there are a few. Collard greens, sausage, and kale, and most kinds of fish come to mind, but for the most part, I stick with things we both like.
We do have four boys, though. The two oldest are in college now, so their particular weirdnesses are moderating, and they aren’t here to cook for anymore, but the other two are pretty different in their taste preferences. The older one (number 3 on the chart), Andrew, has long been nicknamed Chicken Nugget, as that was his go to, but not so much anymore (I am going to change his name to Steak). The youngest, Luke, was pretty much all about pizza, but he has come up with some other interesting things that he really likes. One of them was originally BangBang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill. In other experiments, he started to find versions of shrimp tacos that he likes. I think fundamentally he just likes really messy food that can be eaten with his hands. He is very fond of burritos, tacos (soft shell), fajitas, pizza, hamburgers, and the like. All of this leads me to tonight’s post.
First, my lovely wife, was feeling a little under the weather, and was craving some french onion soup. She was working from home, so she did her own prep today. We had the Campbell’s canned version in the pantry, but it is carb heavy (17 g) due to potato starch, so I suggested she could make her own. We found a really good recipe for guidance Low Carb French Onion Soup
She didn’t follow the recipe exactly, and didn’t do the slow cooker version, but she was really happy with it.
Back to the short order cook, though. My boys were coming home from lacrosse practice, and neither of them were going to touch that French Onion Soup. I would have, but I wasn’t feeling soup, and she really only made enough for one. I rummaged around in the refrigerator and freezer and came up with a plan.
For me, Shrimp Alfredo over spiralled zucchini. For Andrew, chicken nuggets and fries, for Luke, Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos. So, here we go…
When working as a short order chef, you have to plan around the various cooking times so that you can get everything to come out hot and fresh at about the same time. Not much to say about the chicken nuggets and fries. They go from freezer to oven and take about 20 minutes. (yawn)
For the rest of it, here is my prep program. I buy Publix shrimp, frozen, deveined, tail off. Pretty boring stuff, and I am sure that the purists can give me a hudred reasons why this is bad, but I am a Keep It Stupid Simple kind of guy.
To prepare the shrimp, drop the required number (about 15 per serving) into cold water in a bowl to allow them to defrost. This happens quickly, and they will be ready to cook in about 5 to 8 minutes.
I also buy Green Giant spiraled zucchini.
I would probably prefer spiraling fresh zucchini (I may buy a spiralizer some day), but the beauty of the frozen one is that it can wait patiently until you want to prepare it that way. Fresh zucchini won’t wait forever, and usually when I prepare it, spiralized is not my preference. I love to grill or saute it. It’s dead frozen, but to prepare, simply put it in a frying pan and cover. In about 10 minutes, it will be ready for you to drain, and then do final prep.
While all of this waiting is going on, whip up a quick batch of fresh pico de gallo. Chop tomatoes (50%), onions (45%), and cilantro (5%). Add chopped hot peppers (I prefer Serrano) and salt to taste. Set aside.
As soon as the shrimp are thawed, separate into two groups. For the tacos, hit them with fajita seasoning. For the Alfredo, hit them with Vinny’s Not So Secret Seasoning. Let them stew for a few minutes.
Get your cooking pans in place, turn on to medium low, and add olive oil. Bring out an additional pan to warm the soft tacos.
Drain the zucchini, and toss it with a little olive oil and return to low heat.
Now, BAM! It is time for it all to come together. The shrimp go into their respective frying pans, the soft tacos go onto the warming pan, and you are off to the races.
Shrimp cook really fast. As soon as they start to get pink and translucent, turn them over and only cook for another minute or two.
For the tacos, add the sauce to the shrimp pan. Only 1 gram of carbs in this one. We bought it on Amazon. I haven’t seen it at Publix, yet.
Stir and immediately reduce the heat to low. Ready to enjoy! Ladle into the soft taco shells, and serve with pico and shredded cheese to taste.
For the Alfredo, add the zucchini to the shrimp pan. Add Alfredo sauce, maybe a little garlic powder and crushed red peppers to taste. Only 2 grams of carbs in this sauce. Most of the Bertolli Alfredo’s are similar. Quite often in my world, they are buy one get one free (BOGO) at Publix.
Stir and enjoy with a little fresh grated parmesan.
Grab the nuggets and fries from the oven and hit the fries with some Vinny’s Not So Secret Seasoning .
Pretty sure it all came out at the same time. Enjoy!
Clean Up Tip: I know that looks like a lot of pans, but they all fit easily into my dishwasher, except for that big one. I am going to buy another smaller fry pan to replace that one, as most of the time I don’t need a pan that big.
Oh yeah, you might have noticed on my plated pictures that I usually use paper plates.