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By Dawn Priebe

10 easy shrimp recipes the family will love

In addition to being one of the easiest, most versatile foods to make, shrimp is also one of the most popular shellfish in the United States. Before being prepared, per four-ounce serving, shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein with only 112 calories and one gram of fat. Additionally, shrimp is also a good source of vitamin D, which many people living in the cooler climates lack during the winter months.

Of course, how healthy the shrimp turns out to be depends on how it's cooked. There are many ways that shrimp can be cooked, and each brings its own unique twist.

Grilled – For an easy meal, season shrimp with seafood seasoning, thread shrimp on a skewer (four to five nice-sized ones should fit) and grill for approximately 2 minutes per side. Serve with sweet Thai chili sauce and rice.

Roasted – In an oven preheated to 400 degrees, place peeled and deveined shrimp (leaving the tail on) that have been tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes and serve with cocktail sauce.

Fried – Dredge your peeled and deveined shrimp in a favorite combination of breadcrumbs, eggs, and flour. Deep fry until golden brown.

Ceviche – For cooks looking to push their culinary skills, preparing shrimp ceviche style is cooking your shrimp in citrus juice. Add 1/2 cup lime juice to 1 pound of peeled, deveined and cut-up shrimp. Let sit for one hour; shrimp will be opaque when done. While the shrimp marinates, combine 1 cup chopped cucumber, 1 cup chopped tomato, 1/2 cup red onion and 1/2 cup cilantro with 1/2 cup lime juice. After shrimp is done marinating, add to vegetable mixture and serve with crackers or chips.

Blanched – When preparing shrimp for sushi, blanching is the preferred method. For every one pound of shrimp, bring four quarts of water to a boil. Cook shrimp for 15 to 35 seconds. Immediately remove shrimp and add to ice water.

Pan fried – Pan frying is a popular way to prepare shrimp for a variety of recipes. Salt and pepper peeled and deveined shrimp; tails may be either left on or taken off. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp to pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, frequently stirring, so both sides cook evenly. Shrimp will be opaque when fully cooked. Other seasonings to add to add include garlic, lemon, and onion. Serve over rice, pasta or with vegetables.

Shrimp burger – For a new take on an old favorite, coarsely chop 2 pounds of shrimp. Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, one large egg, six thinly sliced scallions, a little bit of cilantro and one tablespoon seafood seasoning. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Once combined, form six equal patties. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add burgers. Cook burgers 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked thoroughly. Serve on a bun with tartar sauce.

Broiled – Arrange shrimp in a casserole dish and preheat the broiler. Soften six tablespoons of butter, mix in one teaspoon finely chopped garlic, one tablespoon chopped shallots, one tablespoon parsley, and juice from half a lemon. Dab butter mixture on top of shrimp. Pour 1/2 cup water in the bottom of casserole dish and place in middle rack of oven for four minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly cooked.

Steamed – When steaming shrimp, leave the shell on to protect the shrimp. Take 15 to 16 big shrimp and generously season with seafood seasoning and place in a steaming basket above rapidly boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes. Serve with cocktail sauce.

Shrimp dip – Looking for an easy appetizer? Spread one package of cream cheese on a dinner-sized plate, top with cocktail sauce and one can (drained) shrimp. Serve with crackers.

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