Some people plan out their meals for the week. I admire these people.
I myself am a planner (to a fault), but planning meals is not one of those bandwagons I’ve jumped on…or maybe a better way to put this is that planning meals is something I don’t excel at.
This is probably a lifestyle thing, so I’m suspecting this will change when I have kids (among other things).
Planning meals at this point would result in a lot of wasted food, since things currently pop up during the week which involve dinner or drink and then later dinner.
I’m busy, for sure.
And since I’m writing about restaurants all over town for Creative Loafing and now Charlotte Magazine, I’m getting invited to more events and needing to taste dishes in person.
So yeah, planning meals just don’t work.
But when I am home, I take a long look at my fridge taking stock of what’s fresh, what needs to be eaten ASAP, and how I can incorporate as many veggies, whole foods, healthy protein and carbs as possible, and make something edible, maybe even delicious.
My pantry and fridge are typically very full because I have some kind of afraid-to-run-outta-food syndrome so putting a creative dish together really just involves my imagination and making do with the many things that I have on hand to work with.
And that’s how this dish was made.
- I made shrimp tacos for Brad’s parents the night before and we had leftover defrosted shrimp.
- I had leftover cabbage and red onion intended for the tacos.
- I had leftover tomatoes from a recreation of my tomato and avocado salad.
- I had peppers from my CSA.
- I don’t know why I had cilantro but herbs don’t have a very long fridge life so I knew those needed to be used.
- I wanted a healthy grain and brown rice seemed to fit the bill.
Put it all together and you get this…
4 cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped
3/4 cup purple cabbage, cut thinly
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large (or 2 small) jalapenos, deseeded and chopped finely
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/4 cup whole cilantro leaves + more for garnish
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil and add brown rice. Lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook until rice is soft and has absorbed the liquid (or according to package directions).
Heat oil in a large pan and add onion and garlic. Cook for five minutes on medium heat, then add peppers, jalapenos, cabbage, tomatoes, and shrimp. Add cumin evenly to shrimp and vegetables, stirring to thoroughly combine. Cook until shrimp is pink on one side, then flip to cook the other side. Add cilantro while shrimp cooks through.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the rice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the shrimp and vegetables. Stir to combine. Plate and garnish with fresh cilantro.