It was my sister’s birthday yesterday! As she was told by a coworker, she is 21 with 20 years experience… love that! I haven’t been able to celebrate her birthday with her in YEARS since she lives in Washington and I was in Montana, so I wanted to do something special today. The only downside to this is I tend to spend wayyy too much time planning. I started last night and finally decided on dinner about 12 hours later… with a little help from my niece. I had decided on something shrimp-y, and it was a toss-up between baked shrimp scampi and coconut shrimp. Coconut shrimp won (but don’t worry – baked shrimp scampi will show up at some point)! I didn’t want to deep-fry the shrimp because it just gets heavy that way (and talk about a huge mess!), so I found a good way to bake them instead! They don’t get as crispy and brown as they do when you fry them, but they’re still just as good!
Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Orange Chili Sauce
2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup flour
Salt & pepper
Sweet Orange Chili Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together the panko and coconut. In another bowl, beat the 4 eggs. In a third bowl, mix the flour and salt & pepper. Dredge the shrimp in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb/coconut mixture and place on a baking sheet that you have sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. (I had to mix up more of the breadcrumb/coconut mixture as I went along because it got so saturated with egg and messy) Repeat until you have coated all the shrimp. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the shrimp are a vibrant pink and the coconut is a light toasty brown. (You’ll probably need 2 baking sheets for all of these little nuggets!)
Sweet Orange Chili Sauce
1 6 ounce jar of orange marmalade
1/4 cup sweet Asian chili sauce
1 lime, juiced
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and keep at room temperature.
These shrimp were YUMMY! (The leftovers are in the oven reheating for lunch as we speak…) I served it with a Parmesan & Herb Orzo (recipe to follow). The sweet Asian chili sauce is in the Asian section of the grocery store. I found it pretty easily in Safeway, but the bottle is HUGE. More for next time I guess…. As far as cost goes, the most expensive thing here was the shrimp… I just bought one of the bags of frozen shrimp and it was $18 for 2 pounds. (In hindsight, I should have gotten the fresh ones… they were around $8/pound I think… oh well, live & learn!) Everything else was only a few bucks. The giant bottle of sweet chili sauce was $5, but, like I said, I can totally use it again (stir-fry, baked chicken, coconut chicken fingers….).
Parmesan & Herb Orzo
2 1/2 cups orzo pasta
1 clove of garlic, minced (1 large clove, or 2 small – I used 2 small ones)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (or any Italian cheese mix you want – I used Mario Batali’s Tre Formaggio from Safeway)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Cook orzo as directed on the package. In a large bowl, mix the cooked orzo with the remaining ingredients and serve warm or chilled. (I served it warm and the cheese was all melty and gooey!)
Several recipes I looked at for this style of pasta dish called for about 1/4 cup of chopped red onion, but I omitted that since neither Matt or my niece like onion that much. Other recipes I found called for shallots instead of onion. You could also make this with basil instead of parsley and it would be just as yummy! Cost here was less than $10 for all ingredients.
So Happy Birthday, big sister! I’m so happy I was able to spend your birthday with you & spoil you with a yummy dinner! Maybe I should start planning now for next year! What? Too soon?