Bacon, Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Bacon, Corn and Shrimp Chowder

I love the combination of shrimp and bacon. When I was looking for a quick dinner for today, I knew I would be using them together. It is a chilly day, so I decided to go with a chowder.

I rooted around my fridge and pantry for the ingredients and ended up with a very satisfying meal.

Some of my favorite dinners have happened by accident. Just looking at what I have on hand, and creating something tasty with it.

Bacon, Shrimp and Corn Chowder

6 thick slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1½ c. chicken stock
1 can cream corn*
½ c. corn- fresh or frozen_ I had sweet corn frozen from last summer
1½ c. half and half
½ c. chopped fresh parsley
12 oz. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce

In soup pot, cook bacon until almost done. Add onion and continue cooking until onion is cooked. Spoon out most of the bacon fat. Add the carrots, potatoes and stock and simmer, covered, until the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Add cream corn, corn and half and half and bring up to a simmer. Add parsley and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook another 5 minutes or until shrimp is just cooked. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 3-4.

*I decided to use a can of cream corn as the base. When I was a kid my Mother would make me something she called cream corn soup. She rarely used prepackaged foods and made wonderful homemade soups all the time. I think it was on one of those days when she was just really busy. To make her cream corn soup she would empty the can of corn into a saucepan. Then she filled the can with milk and added that, too. A little salt and pepper and the soup was done. Just before serving she’d put a small pat of butter in the soup. As a kid I just loved it. I must admit I don’t eat cream corn soup anymore, but as a base, the cream corn can really make a nice chowder.

Creole Jambalaya

Creole Jambalaya

There are so many variations for Jambalaya. I don’t think I ever had a Jambalaya I didn’t like. This Creole dish varies a little with each person who makes it. The assortment of ingredients adds so many layers of flavor.

Traditionally, Jambalaya would include smoked sausage or ham, chicken, shellfish, rice, tomatoes and assorted veggies and seasonings.You can see why there are so many variations. For me, it just isn’t Jambalaya without mussels. Lots and lots of mussels.

It is definitely a great dish for a party. It is impossible to make a small batch of Jambalaya!!!

This recipe is a tweaked version I got from a boss of mine a long time ago. I must say, every time I make this for friends or family it gets rave reviews.

The heat level in this dish is really about personal preference and for the people who are going to be eating it. I like it a bit spicier, so I add more cayenne. If I am making it for friends who like their food less spicy, I use less. Of course, you can always serve it with hot sauce on the side, so people can spice it up a little more.

                             Creole Jambalaya

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1 c. chopped onions

1 c. chopped celery

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 c. oil

2 c. cubed uncooked chicken

3 c. chicken stock

1 1/2 c. uncooked rice

1 (14.5 oz.) can tomatoes

2-3 t. paprika

Cayenne pepper to taste

Black pepper to taste

1/4 t. ground turmeric

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined, uncooked

1 1/2 c. shelled peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 c. chopped red pepper

1-2 lb. mussels, scrubbed

In Dutch oven cook sausage, onion, celery and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients, except shrimp, peas, sweet red peppers and mussels. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook 20 minutes. Stir in shrimp, and peppers, cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir in peas and stick in mussels. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Discard any mussels which have not opened in 5 minutes. Serves 8.

Shrimp Salad with Couscous and Dill

Shrimp Salad with Couscous and Dill

Couscous is one of those foods that is as much fun to say as it is to eat. Couscous is just very tiny pasta. To cook it, you pour boiling water or stock over it- and give the couscous  a few minutes to absorb the water. So easy, and nice on a hot day, when you don’t want to do a lot of cooking.

For this salad I combined the couscous with shrimp, some fresh dill and a light dressing. I had some sunflower sprouts, so I added them to the top- just for fun. I also served my salad on a bed of fresh salad greens.

Couscous Salad with Shrimp and Dill

½ c. olive oil
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
1 clove minced garlic
1 t. celery seed
2 c. couscous, about 10 oz.
2 ¼ c. boiling water or vegetable broth
1 lb. peeled cooked shrimp   1 c. diced sweet red pepper
½ c. chopped green onions
2 T. fresh dill weed or 2 t. dried
Whisk first 4 ingredients together for dressing. Place couscous in heat proof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Let stand until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well. Pour over dressing and toss to coat. Chill at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. 6 Servings.

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