Summertime often means a good, home-cooked supper falls by the wayside. Who wants to be standing around in the kitchen, right?
But there are plenty of shortcuts that can help you get a healthy meal on the table in a surprisingly short amount of time.
This rice and noodle pilaf with edamame and grilled shrimp, for example, is a one-pot meal that can be on the table in about 35 minutes.
The secret to the ease of this tasty meal starts at the market. The starch portion of the dish consists of quick-cooking fine egg noodles combined with instant brown rice, which has all the nutrition of its conventional cousin, but cooks in about a quarter of the time.
To build layers of flavor, the rice and noodles are browned with sauteed red onion and smoky Canadian bacon, then simmered in dry white wine and chicken broth. Vegetables come in the form of protein-rich edamame. But if you prefer, use frozen baby lima beans or even black-eyed peas.
While the pilaf is simmering, throw lemony, flash-marinated shrimp on the grill. If you don't want to bother with the grill, you can cook the shrimp in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until they are opaque, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Grilled scallops or chicken would work, too.
RICE AND NOODLE PILAF
WITH EDAMAME AND GRILLED SHRIMP
Start to finish: 35 minutes
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small red onion, chopped
2 ounces finely chopped Canadian bacon (about 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup fine egg noodles, broken up
3/4 cup instant brown rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more to garnish
Light a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill to high.
In a bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and the lemon juice. Add the shrimp, toss to coat, then set aside.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and bacon and saute until the onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the noodles and rice and cook, stirring often, until the noodles begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the edamame and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, thread the shrimp onto 4 bamboo or metal skewers. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Remove the pilaf from the heat and let stand, covered, for 3 minutes. Stir in the dill and season with pepper. Serve the pilaf topped with shrimp on or off the skewers. Garnish with additional dill, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 380 calories (121 calories from fat, 32 percent of total calories), 13g fat (2g saturated, 0g trans fats), 179mg cholesterol, 26g carbohydrates, 33g protein, 3g fiber, 510mg sodium.