Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Spicy Shrimp and Bok-Choy Stir-Fry

Tonight I decided to try the Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Stir-Fry recipe found at that link (also pasted at the bottom in case the link ever goes away). I also made a variation of asian-inspired noodles to go along with it. (Spaghetti noodles cooked and drained, then tossed with 1 cup vegetable stock, 6 T soy sauce, 1 T sugar, and 1 tsp sambal oelek.)

Changes I made to the recipe:
Instead of using chili-garlic sauce, I used sambal oelek (chili paste) and added extra garlic to it. I already had sambal oelek on hand from a past recipe, and in comparing the two bottles at the store, they seemed identical except for the addition of garlic, so I decided to be a little frugal and use items I had on hand already.

I also forgot to garnish with the green parts of the scallions. To be honest, none of us care for them very much, and I always add less than a recipe calls for (just enough for flavor). By the time I finished putting this recipe together, I had honestly quite forgotten about them.

Family Feedback:
K-Pidge: thought it was so-so. The noodles were a variation on a previous recipe we'd tried and really liked, but I modified them to have less sugar, which really cut out the sweet quality I liked previously and made it a little tangier than I wanted. The shrimp was really good, but I thought the spiciness was a LITTLE too overpowering. I might go easier on the sambal oelek next time. Overall I wasn't a fan of the bok choy; too earthy. (I am really picky about greens, but I'm trying to find ones I like!)

Mr. K-Pidge: liked it a lot. He wouldn't make any changes. MAYBE if I used the 'right' Chinese noodles, lo mein noodles or something. Otherwise it is tasty and spicy and even visually pleasing.

Boy K-Pidge (6): doesn't like it. It's too spicy. He would make it less spicy. Otherwise he likes shrimp and bok choy and noodles.

Girl K-Pidge (4): liked it ok. Didn't like the spiciness of the noodles, but she liked the spicy on the shrimp OK. However, she keeps insisting she doesn't like shrimp, even though she eats them every time we have them.

Frugality rating:
This recipe is not very frugal simply because shrimp, at least here in the Midwest, is not cheap. I think the bag of shrimp I bought was $13. All total this dinner probably cost about $22, give or take. It gave us   6 servings, since the kids didn't eat very much. So it was roughly $3.70 each for us to eat dinner tonight, plus two leftover lunches.

Health rating:
The shrimp and bok choy, per serving:
225 calories
6 g fat (1 g sat)
9 g carbohydrate
35 g protein
3 g fiber
525 mg sodium

I haven't figured out how to examine our diet for proper levels of fat, protein and carbs yet, exactly. I mostly count calories to try and lose weight, but since I'd like to change the QUALITY of the food we're eating, I'll need to figure that part out too. Calorie-wise, this part was great, and as a diabetic, it was low-carb too. Fresh seafood and fresh greens, not too much sauce, sounds like an overall healthy dish to me.

The noodles, I used whole-wheat pasta (score, I think), but I know that part added calories and carbs. I haven't figured out the nutritionals on that part, and I'm not going to bother until I've perfected the way I want them to taste. I don't think it's bad as a side carb, but it should definitely not be the main focus of the dish.

Reheat rating:
I took one of the extra servings and split it in half; put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer. I will come back and rate the recipe's 'leftover' rating, as well as the 'make ahead and freeze' rating, at a later date!

Is it a keeper?
Flavor-wise, it needs some modifications to be a whole-family pleaser. Cost-wise, it's a little high but not TOO bad; this would rank it as an 'occasional' dish and not a staple. Health-wise, it seems to be fairly decent. The reheat rating, of course, remains to be seen. Overall, three spoons out of five; would make again, but with some modifications.

The recipe, in case it disappears from the South Beach site:
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and kept separate
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boy choy, sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
In a large bowl, combine shrimp, scallion whites, and garlic. In a wok or a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large clean bowl.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add bok choy, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain any liquid from the skillet and add bok choy to bowl with shrimp.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce; stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add shrimp mixture and toss until coated. Cook briefly, just to reheat. Stir in scallion greens and serve warm.
This is part of K-Pidge's efforts to feed her family healthier, more nutritious foods. For all posts in the K-Pidge Healthy Family Project, click here.

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