Colorful Cooking: Quick and easy shrimp fajitas to feed a crowd
Shrimp fajitas are easy, healthy and really filling. This colorful dish starts with peppers and onions, as any good fajita would, but cooks up in a flash with the addition of shrimp instead of steak. Shrimp are low in calories and high in protein. They are rich in vitamin D, which is a tough vitamin to get from food. A 3-ounce serving packs in 30 percent of your daily value for vitamin D. This vitamin is a cancer-fighter and helps to keep your bones strong.
Shrimp is the most popular shellfish in the world. Try to purchase shrimp that is wild caught. The number found on the bag tells you how many shrimp there are per pound. For example, 16 to 25 equals jumbo shrimp, making a serving size about four shrimp — this also means that there are 16 to 25 shrimp in a pound. For this recipe, I usually use a smaller count, somewhere around 25 to 30, so you get more shrimp per serving and can fill up your fajita with a balanced mixture of shrimp and vegetables.
Pack this fajita with fresh peppers and onions. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, A, K and potassium. They are another low-calorie food, and the red bell pepper has the highest nutritional value. The red pepper is actually a green pepper that has been left on the vine to ripen.
Mix in a jalapeno pepper for spice and you also get great nutritional benefits. Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, which helps with circulation and aids in digestion. It also serves as a pain reliever. If you happen to watch “Orange is the New Black,” then you may remember Piper mixed up a combo of jalapeno and lotion to help someone with back pain (and to get a meal ticket), and many people are capsaicin followers. When shopping for spicy peppers, typically the smaller and more pointed the pepper, the hotter the flavor. If you enjoy the flavor, but want less heat, remove the membrane and the seeds of any spicy pepper.
2 pounds shrimp
2 green peppers
1 yellow onion
1 red pepper
4 jalapenos (optional)
1 cup cilantro, chopped and divided
3 Roma tomatoes
1 to 2 avocados
1 tablespoon Creole or Southwestern seasoning, divided
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Cheddar cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Slice peppers and onion into long, thin slices. Slice jalapenos into thin rings; remove seeds if you want less heat. Heat large skillet over medium and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter into pan. When melted, add sliced onions, peppers and 1 teaspoon seasoning, stirring. Cover, and let cook for 5 minutes.
While cooking, chop tomatoes into small cubes; place in a bowl. Wash avocado and slice it down the middle around the pit. Carefully remove pit with a spoon. Slice avocado into quarters, and peel off the skin like a banana. Cut avocado into cubes, and mix in with the chopped tomatoes. Repeat with remaining avocado.
Squeeze juice of lime into tomato mixture and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro. Stir well, and reserve in refrigerator until fajitas are ready. If it is too tart, add a sprinkle of sugar or agave syrup.
Peel and devein the raw shrimp. Place the shrimp in the pepper mixture with the remaining butter and seasoning; stir, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. The shrimp are done when they turn pink — try not to overcook them. They cook quickly. Turn off heat, and mix in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and more seasoning, if needed.
Heat flour tortillas in oven at 350 degrees for about 5 to 7 minutes until soft and warm. Place 3/4 cup shrimp mixture onto tortilla; add 1/4 cup avocado salsa. Garnish with cheese and/or sour cream.
Makes 10 fajitas.
Tracy Miller teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and shares recipes on TV8’s “Good Morning Vail.” Contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto colorfulcooking.com for healthy recipes.
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