Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shrimp Salad Recipes

Do you love the lightness of shrimp salad during the summer? Me too! It tastes fresh and healthy but is still packed with protein. This is my "master" recipe for shrimp salad, a concept recipe, begging for your own adaptations and substitutions, with three different sauces. So easy, so versatile!

First published in 2008, updated & republished in 2012

Shrimp Salad Recipes

"... just finished the most amazing shrimp salad." ~ Heidi

Stuck in a shrimp rut, that's where I've been for a few weeks. It started when small cooked shrimp were on sale at the grocery, begging to be turned into shrimp salad for supper that night. The salad was good enough, but lacked a certain oomph. But by the next day, whoah, it was ever-so-good: it just needed a few hours for the flavors to meld!

So I set off to create a shrimp salad tasting just as good on-the-spot as some-time-later. So sorry, no luck in that department.

But there's an upside, something perhaps even more useful, a concept recipe for shrimp salad, a formula that easily adapts to what's in season, what's on sale, what just sounds good.

It was a very good rut, shrimp salad.

ALANNA's TIPS The Asian-style sauce calls for two ingredients best found in Asian markets for which there are no real substitutes. The first is fish sauce, which is a salty fishy liquid the consistency of soy sauce but not at all like it in flavor. The second is chili paste, also called sambal oelek, a fiery hot paste the consistency of ketchup. If you do happen to find these ingredients, they're used in small amounts but do keep for a long time so are worth the investment. To help both drain and further dry the shrimp before tossing them into the salad, I leave them in a colander with a plate beneath and put these into the refrigerator, uncovered since it will be just a few minutes. This helps prevent the shrimp salad from getting a little watery. My friend Kirsten suggests pickling the shrimp for an hour or so in a brine, then draining and using in the salad. It's a very Scandinavian thing, I must-must try it soon!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Good for supper, better still the next day
Hands-on time: 15 - 20 minutes
Time-to-table: preferably 4 - 24 hours
Serves 4
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled, tailed, deveined
  • 1/3 of an English cucumber, diced small
  • 1 rib celery, diced small
  • Something wet and fruity - mango, peach, cantaloupe, in bite-size pieces
  • Something sharp for underneath - 2 green onions, chopped or red onion, diced small
  • Something fresh - dill, basil, mint
    SAUCE IDEA #1 - light & lemony
  • Zest & juice of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Drop or two Tabasco
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    SAUCE IDEA #2 - traditional mayonnaise (my favorite)
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish (or to taste)
    SAUCE IDEA #3 - Asian-style
  • Zest & juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

FOR UNCOOKED SHRIMP Drop into boiling water for 3 minutes, then into a bowl of ice water for a minute. Drain and pat dry.

FOR COOKED FROZEN SHRIMP Rinse under cold water, drain and pat dry. (Small shrimp finish thawing while prepping the other ingredients; larger shrimp may take longer.) Set aside.

SALAD Combine

Combine the remaining ingredients. Turn in the shrimp. For best flavor, cover and refrigerate for about four hours or even overnight. Serve on lettuce greens.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE with Sauce #1/#2/#3: 187/194/171Cal; 5/4/2g Tot Fat; 1/1/1g Sat Fat; 11g/14/12g Carb; 1/2/1g Fiber; 189/337/567mg Sodium; 172/174/172mg Cholesterol; 24/24/25g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4/4/3, PointsPlus 5/5/4.

More Shrimp Recipes for Hot Summers

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy Shrimp Bites Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp Cold Shrimp with Creamy Dill Sauce & Capers

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to Save Money on Groceries - Part Two

Many thanks to all who are encouraging this series, especially the readers forwarding thoughtful tips. From some, I hear worry, "I already use so many of the basic ways to save money on groceries. What if they're not enough?" For that, I wish I had an answer. I do know that by writing this series, I am more and more aware of my own habits. Last week I reached for a second bottle of corn syrup, priced two for $something. It was a good deal, yes, but how much corn syrup can one use?

To start at the beginning of this series about How to Save Money on Groceries, see the Introduction and Part One: Frugal Eating Starts in Our Heads

Part Two


We're still not ready to hit the grocery store. The trick is not to save a few pennies on hamburger or find a bargain on chicken breasts. (Anyone looking for ways to save money on potato chips and boxed pizza at all? You aren't going to find it here.) This is because there is just no question: to save money on groceries, we must rethink what we eat and who's going to cook it. No surprise to regular readers, I think that we cut out prepared food and instead cook real food, ourselves.


Cook something every day, every single day. Make soup one day, cook a roast on the weekend. Put together a grain-based salad that will last several days. Every single day, make something. The objective is to never be faced with cooking an entire meal from scratch, too overwhelming to contemplate at the end of a long workday.

If not every day, find your own rhythm, but do cook on a regular schedule. For some years, my sister had good luck feeding her family by investing much of one weekend day cooking for the entire week. Whatever the rhythm that works in particular circumstances, it's done to avoid the vicious cycle of the drive-through and the convenience of carry-out and delivery. The less we cook at home, the more we pay someone else in order to eat. The more we cook at home, the more we save.

Focus on healthful dishes for meals. For those of us who love to bake, well, we could pop cakes and cookies our of our ovens every day. But to eat both healthfully and frugally, we should first take care of our core nutritional needs for breakfasts, lunches and suppers. Then, once we reach a point where the fridge is stocked with a few days of food, celebrate by cooking something special, brownies or muffins, say.

Recycle & repurpose. That soup? You made enough for lunches during the week and some for the freezer, right? That roast, there's enough for sandwiches and a casserole later in the week, yes? Is it the end of the week and all that's left are bits and pieces of more leftovers? Make Saturday Soup. Waste not, want not.

Extract all the value. When we splurge on bacon, save the fat in a jar in the fridge: it adds great flavor to stews and eggs. When we buy leeks, save the heavy green parts to make No-Waste Leek Stock and use this for making soup or braising meat. When we roast a chicken, after supper throw the carcass into a pot with sliced onion, chopped celery and a bay leaf to make chicken stock. If there's not time after supper, place the carcass in a freezer bag and freeze for cooking on the weekend.

Work toward a handful of recipes that feed the family 'on air'. Call these recipes 'ramen for grown-ups'. Cooked pasta tossed with cooked onion and frozen peas. A quick tomato sauce. Learn how to cook eggs, say French eggs or Ratatouille Omelettes.

Egg Night In fact, set aside one night a week for eggs for supper. While eggs are way up in price, they're still a great value. Plan "egg night" once a week and trade off making omelettes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, frittatas, more. Then never allow your kitchen to be without one or more of these to be on hand. In fact, let's collect some basic egg recipes from my own sites and my fellow food bloggers.

For the complete collection of egg recipes, see Easy Egg Recipes


Keep a running list. When running low or finish the last of a staple, add it to a running grocery list that's handy. Mine is on the fridge and is actually five lists - one for the grocery store, one for my favorite international store, another for Wal-Mart, another for Trader Joe's and during the summer, the farmers market.

Food only! List food items separately from paper and cleaning supplies, personal items like shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. This is a visual reminder that we buy groceries at the grocery store, we buy supplies elsewhere, where they're far cheaper.

Eat for free. Get one more meal from what's on hand. It might well be an odd meal, it might even not be that tasty. But it's 'free' because if we shop and refill the fridge before all those odd bits are gone, chances are, they'll go to waste.

Shop your fridge, freezer & pantry first. Before shopping for groceries, what meals can be put on the table without spending a dime? Use up that soup you made two weeks ago. Do turn that roast pork and leftover cheese into tortillas. My brother-in-law and nephew visited a few weeks ago, arriving a few hours early, leaving me with no time for a planned visit to the grocery store. Only by 'shopping the pantry and freezer', I fed the three of us for a couple of days. One thing I could do better: tracking what's in the freezer, especially since my town is prone to power outages, which is why I now leave the chest freezer in the basement unplugged except at Christmas.

Save the circulars. In the Monday or Tuesday mail, the "junk mail" includes the week's grocery circulars that show what's on sale for the week. Good news, most of the circular can be ignored, pay attention only to the 'real food', which meat, dairy, produce and pantry staples are on sale for the week. Ignore everything with a brand name.

Write a meal plan, a menu, then make a grocery list. At the top of the plan, list what's in the fridge, freezer and pantry, also good values from the circulars. Start with those items to build the week's menu. Be realistic, don't expect to cook a four-course meal every night. Especially if you're starting from scratch, set the goal of cooking one thing (plus, maybe, something easy like cooking a vegetable or making a salad) every day but make enough so there's leftovers. Within a couple of days, you'll set up a continuously feeding system. Every few days, you'll be able to take a day off, just to clean up what's leftover.

Be flexible. If "Tuesday night is always chicken night" you're setting yourself up for extra challenge, price-wise. Be prepared to move with the sale prices, what's in season, what fits with what's already on hand.

Plan the trips. With the price of gas what it is, frequent shopping trips create our own food-related transporation costs. Make the most of the stops. My running lists remind me when I'm nearly out of olive oil (and frozen peas and ...) so it's easy to add a bottle to the cart the next time passing by Trader Joe's.

Wait. What about walking? Is it possible to walk to a grocery? Americans tend to 'walk for exercise' instead of 'walking to get somewhere'. (Admittedly, this is different in dense, inner cities with public transporation where people get around just fine entirely without cars.) I've taken to walking to the farmers market on Saturday mornings: it's cool and the dog loves it. I carry a backpack which limits my purchases.

Keep a copy of standby recipes in the car. But we're all human, plans some times go awry. Let's say you're on your way home, you know you're even out of eggs, you're tired and everyone's hungry. Drive-through night? Carry-out night? Wrong and wrong. Instead, keep a handful of recipes, ones that can made up quick (once you're home), right there in the car. I keep a Word document with these standby recipes written in shorthand form so a single page hold 20 or 30 recipes in small type, two columns.


Feeling motivated? Good! Here are some ways to get started, now, by arming yourself with information and tools.

  • What's in your freezer now? your pantry? Make it a running list, adding and subtracting.
  • Create a grocery list, one that can be printed and reused. Separate non-food items like paper and cleaning supplies. If you shop at multiple stores, separate by store too.
  • Collect three standby recipes in a form that's easy to update and can be accessed from anywhere.

YOUR TWO CENTS = TWO DOLLARS = TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS = TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS = TWO MILLLION DOLLARS Collectively, Kitchen Parade readers have thousands of their own money-saving tips. Please: do share them, either in a comment or via e-mail. I'll collect reader tips for a special post to close this series. Your two cents, multiplied by thousands of readers, can really add up.

BLOGGERS You know you want to chime in! Write your own post about how you save money on food and groceries, then link to the introduction post of How to Save Money on Groceries. I'll collect your posts to share with readers at the end of the series. Together, we can make a difference!


The Introduction
Part One - Frugal Eating Starts in Our Heads
Part Two - Frugal Food Shopping Requires a Plan (you're here)
Part Three - Finally, How to Shop Wisely for Groceries (yes, we're finally going to shop for groceries)

Part Four - Investing in the Future (coming soon)
Part Five - Reader Tips & More Resources (coming soon)

To follow this series of posts over the next few weeks (plus Kitchen Parade's usual recipes), sign up for a free e-mail subscription.

If you think a friend might appreciate this series (plus the usual recipes), forward this post!

"How to Save Money on Groceries" is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg, author of the recipe column Kitchen Parade and 'veggie evangelist' at the food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fresh Creamed Corn

This is NOT your mama's can of creamed corn! Instead, it's Alton Brown's recipe for homemade creamed corn, full of summer-fresh corn sweetness and real corn kernels, accented with fresh rosemary or fresh lavender. This is absolutely gorgeous, a must-make recipe when summer's sweet corn is at its finest.

Fresh Creamed Corn

Families sometimes give special names to special foods and even not-so-special but favorite dishes. There’s the alphabet name: ask for HMO when you’d like my friend Elise to cook up hamburger with macaroni and onions. There’s the toddler name: ask for a poobah fafa and you’ll get a peanut butter sandwich in my then-baby sister’s lingo.

As a kid, a ‘Deluxe’ was mashed potatoes topped by creamed corn poured from a can, my mother’s attempt to extend leftovers with an incongruous air of 'haute'. I loved that comfort-food combination then, still do!

As an adult, a cook and a foodie, however, I revel in re-discovering the fresh versions of vegetables today known in their less-than-fresh forms.

FRESH CREAMED CORN is nothing like the toothless stuff from a can. The kernels are plump and full of corn flavor. All on its own, no mashed potatoes required, it’s a luxurious side vegetable, deluxe indeed.

ALANNA's TIPS Half & half may be substituted for milk but at least to my taste, cream is too rich. To ‘husk’ corn is to remove the outer inedible leaves and silk. Husking is a messy job, one best done on the back step or with newspaper lining the sink. I call the scraping technique ‘milking’ the cob. It bumps up the sweet corn flavor. To gently cook onions until they’re translucent, without browning, is called ‘sweating’. The leftovers reheat beautifully so don't hesitate to make a big batch, FRESH CREAMED CORN will keep for several days.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. What special dish has a special name in your family? Share a recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like! Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Garden luxury, straight to the table
Hand-on time: 20 minutes (mostly husking)
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes about 4 cups (easy to halve)
  • 8 ears fresh corn
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat or butter
  • 1/2 an onion, diced small
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or curry powder, for color only so optional)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary or fresh lavender, optional
  • 1 cup whole milk (see TIPS)
  • Salt & especially pepper to taste

Leaving stems on for handles, husk the corn (see TIPS). With one hand, hold an ear tip-down in center of a large bowl. With a knife, slice off swaths of corn kernels top to bottom. When kernels are off, use the knife’s dull edge to scrape the cob top to bottom on all sides, collecting remaining pulp and milk in the bowl (see TIPS).

In a large skillet, melt bacon fat on medium til shimmery. Add onion, cook gently til translucent (see TIPS). Add corn and salt, cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often, til liquid begins to cook off. Stir in sugar, turmeric, cornmeal and rosemary or lavender. Add milk, cook til corn is soft, 2 – 3 minutes. Remove rosemary or lavender, season to taste.

Serve and savor, immediately or if you like, make in advance and gently rewarm.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Fresh Creamed Corn? How many Weight Watchers points in Fresh Creamed Corn?) Per Half Cup: 175 Calories; 6g Protein; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 33g Carb; 4g Fiber; 338mg Sodium; 5mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points
Adapted from Better Than Grannie's Creamed Corn from Alton Brown where cooks describe the recipe with words like "excellent" and "divine". This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.

More Recipes for Summer's Best Sweet Corn

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad Summer Seafood Chowder Sweet Potato Salad
~ more corn recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

Quick Corn in the Microwave
Grilled Corn with Chipotle Lime Browned Butter
Warm Tomato, Corn & Okra Salad
~ more corn recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables

More Easy Summer Vegetable Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Ratatouille Red & Yellow Pepper Relish Shredded Zucchini with Thyme

~ more salad recipes ~


This is the last Kitchen Parade column to appear in print in my local papers, as they tighten their belts to face a weak economy. It’s been a thrill to write for you, to hear from readers touched by the stories or inspired by the recipes, to carry on the column my mom started nearly 50 years ago. I thank you, I thank Dwight and Don and all the staff at the papers.

But -- good news, new Kitchen Parade recipes will continue to be published here online at First, I've already written nearly a year's worth of new columns. Second, I also publish online only recipes, family favorites like my Mom's Blueberry Coffeecake and Homemade Frozen Yogurt with Blackberry Sauce.

Plus -- e-mail subscriptions are free, just sign up to receive recipes via e-mail. There’s no distinctive red bag but home delivery is free, just like the paper.

Once you're subscribed, watch your InBox for more recipes with that special Kitchen Parade style: fresh and seasonal ingredients; classic recipes, though often with a twist and often simplified; real ingredients, especially pantry ingredients; an emphasis on getting supper on the table; recipes for family gatherings and special occasions. Plus, there are occasional extras, right now I'm thinking about How to Save Money on Groceries.

Recently on A Veggie Venture

~ Seared Radicchio, deliciousness in 10 minutes flat ~
~ Weight Watchers Zero Point Italian Soup ~
~ Rhubarb Pizza, better than it sounds! ~
~ Vegetables for Children ~

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, do visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)