Grilled shrimp makes for super simple supper

I've already made my family tired of my usual grilling suspects, and we've barely even had a week's worth of decent grilling evenings.

Usually, we grill on weeknights when the weather is nice and I either don't have the time or the desire to spend much time in the kitchen. The beauty is that there is little clean up and that Mr. Meat and Potatoes does the bulk of the work. I just chop and prep and send him out with a platter full of foil packets and maybe a few hunks of meat.

Almost invariably, several of those foil packets are filled with thinly sliced potatoes drizzled with a bit of olive oil and some seasonings.

This is a super-easy and forgiving way to grill potatoes because they get done in a reasonable amount of time, and you can always jazz them up with different seasonings, or an onion, or some cheese, or whatever curls your toes.

But, after so many packets of potatoes, everyone starts looking for a different side dish, a different grilling experience all around. So on Monday, when we were all still tired from a fun-filled Mother's Day weekend, I broke out some shrimp and some veggies and put together a little meal that was quick but also a little different than the usual: not a potato in sight.

I made grilled shrimp and vegetable packets with sort of whatever I had lying around, and then I boiled a little pasta inside so those who aren't counting Weight Watcher points could get full.

I thought of it sort of as "Hot Summer Pasta Salad" and the flavors were simple yet divine. And I only had one pot to clean up!

You could do this with whatever vegetables you have around — I wished I'd had a summer squash to throw in, but we make do with what we have.

Hot Summer Pasta Salad

1 box penne or bow tie pasta
1 lb frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bag frozen whole green beans
Handful cherry tomatoes
Handful baby carrots, cut into thirds
1/2 large red onion, quartered and cut into hunks
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (extra for dressing if desired)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
Squeeze of lemon or 1/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Divide ingredients into three or four foil packets (depending on how large you make them).

Grill over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the carrots are softened (they'll still have some crunch, which I like for texture in the dish). You could just as easily do this in a casserole at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salty water to al dente.

So easy, delicious and nutritious!

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