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Shrimp for Supper!
Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

The word shrimp comes from the Middle English shrimpe, meaning "pygmy." While shrimp may be small, they are anything but shrimp-y in their nutrition profile.

Low in calories and saturated fat, shrimp are a wonderfully nutritious alternative to meat proteins. Shrimp also offers beneficial doses of omega-3 fatty acids which improve heart health, offer protection against Alzheimerapostrophes, and may improve mood and reduce depression. Shrimp also provides great sources of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12, niacin, iron, selenium, zinc and copper.

At the market: Shrimp are available fresh or frozen, and cooked and uncooked. When buying uncooked, fresh shrimp avoid shells with black spots or ones that appear yellow or gritty. Shrimp will smell a little fishy, but a strong ammonia odor is not good.

Unless you live in the part of the country where you can actually buy "fresh" shrimp, it is best to buy frozen shrimp. Uncooked, frozen shrimp are often available with shells spilt and de-veined. This saves prep time and is convenient. Look for a "best by" date on the package and donapostrophet purchase "expired" packages. Shrimp should be loose in the package - avoid a frozen block feel. This is a sign the package thawed and was re-frozen.

Whichever you choose - fresh or frozen, Shrimp come in a variety of sizes and they are priced accordingly. As a rule, the fewer number of shrimp in a pound, the more expensive. Bigger is not always the best when youapostrophere cooking shrimp. Here are a few guidelines to selecting the right size shrimp for your family meals:

Adult only and special occasions:

10 shrimp or less = Colossal sometime called prawns

11 to 15 = Jumbo

Great for grilling, pan frying, and shrimp cocktail:

16 to 20 = Extra-large

21 to 30 = Large

Perfect for sauces, pasta dishes, and stir fries:

31 to 35 = Medium

Good for salads, soups and adding to dips:

36 to 45 = Small

over 100 = miniature

Storage:

Fresh: Fresh shrimp is highly perishable, refrigerate on the bottom shelf, which is the coolest area of the fridge until ready to use. Fresh shrimp should be eaten within 24 hours of purchase.

Frozen: Use frozen shrimp within 6 month of purchase or before the "best by" date on the package. Follow package instructions to defrost shrimp.

Preparation: Overcooked shrimp are tough and rubbery. The key to cooking shrimp, regardless of method, is to cook them quickly. Medium shrimp only take about 2 minutes to cook; larger shrimp take 3 to 5 minutes. When theyapostrophere pink, they are done.

Here are some creative and simple ideas to include Shrimp into your family meals:

Shrimp on the Barbie: Grilled shrimp could not be easier or quicker to prepare. Threading shrimp on bamboo skewers makes them easy to turn over. Peel, de-vein, and rinse the shrimp, Sprinkle with salt and pepper, thread on skewers and cook about 1-2 minutes on each side. Just before removing from the grill, baste the shrimp with a sauce such as:

Barbeque Sauce

Teriyaki Glaze

Italian Salad Dressing

Thai Peanut Sauce

Garlic Butter

Southwestern Shrimp Cocktail: If you need to bring a simple appetizer to a pot luck dinner. Defrost a bag of medium or large cooked shrimp, arrange them on a platter and serve with salsa for dipping.

"Sketti & Shrimp": Make a quick, easy and healthy pasta dish by adding cooked shrimp to pasta sauce and serve over angel hair pasta. Theyapostrophell be begging for second helpings!

Taste of the Tropics: Shrimp and Mango are a natural flavor combination. For a refreshing lunch or light dinner, simply toss diced mango with cooked shrimp and this tropical coconut dressing (whisk the ingredients together before tossing) :

ΒΌ cup sweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1 inch minced fresh ginger

1 tsp minced garlic clove

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Time Saver Tip: Frozen Cooked Shrimp are good for more than shrimp cocktail or cold salads. They can be warmed up and used in hot meals. This can save you time in the kitchen. Defrost cooked shrimp according to the package directions. A couple minutes before a dish is taken off the stove, add shrimp and let them warm through. This works for: