Monday, April 28, 2014

Grilled Shrimp with Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Guest Post)

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Elizabeth L. on behalf of Alexia Foods. Visit to find oven roasted French frieswhole wheat rolls, and more.

Are you dying to have some barbecue now that the weather is warming up? Try out this recipe to remind you that summer is definitely on its way. You can even make your own barbecue sauce! It will take about 37 minutes to prepare this dish so you won’t even need to slave away in the kitchen all day to have a great meal. It will be ready in no time at all!


Grilled Shrimp
  • 16 large jumbo shrimp
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Homemade Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika if available)


  • Use a pair of scissors or paring knife to slit the backs of the shrimp and remove the vein. 
  • Combine the shrimp and olive oil in a bowl and toss evenly to coat. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to grill. 
  • Prepare homemade barbecue sauce (directions below).
  • Prior to heating, wipe down the grates of a large outdoor grill with oiled paper towel to create a nonstick surface. Next, heat the grill to medium-hot. 
  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Baste with the homemade barbecue sauce and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. Brush with more sauce just before serving.

Homemade Barbecue Sauce: 
  • Wrap the bacon slice around the bunch of thyme and tie with kitchen twine so you have a nice bundle.
  • Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. 
  • Add the bacon-wrapped thyme and cook slowly for 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and give the sauce a nice smoky taste. 
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients, give the sauce a stir and turn the heat down to low. 
  • Cook for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. 
  • Once the sauce is done cooking, remove the thyme bundle and discard. 
  • Take about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve for serving alongside the shrimp and Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs at the table. Sweet potato fries would taste delicious with this, too!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fried Polenta with Italian Vegetables (Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays)

Polenta is kind of a weird food. It's basically cornmeal that's cooked into a sort of paste, and depending on the consistency, can be served either as a soft, almost pudding like base for Mexican and Italian dishes alike, or shaped into a sort of sausage that can later be sliced and fried.

This dish, based on the Fried Polenta with Vegetable Marinara from The Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook, requires the use of the second type of polenta. I've made it a couple times before, and this time I played quite a bit with the veggies to make it more my own.

You can make your own polenta, but it's also readily available in most grocery stores.

Continue reading to find out how I made this, my way.