Update on the No-Groceries Challenge — Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

So, the challenge has continued.  I still haven’t been grocery shopping, but an email from Whole Foods informing me that Honeycrisp Apples are on sale today may get me over there today rather than tomorrow.

Tuesday night was the most “creative” meal of the week.  I was inspired by this post from Dinner, a Love Story, which I keep an eye on from time to time, but this is a dish I’ve made many times before … the post just reminded me that I probably had the ingredients on hand.  So I made an old stand-by — pasta with shrimp (if I have any) and veggies (whichever ones I have, if any), with a “sauce’ of garlic and olive oil.  First, I’d like to say that pasta and vegetables with garlic and olive oil is one of my favorite things on the planet.  They actually make it to order in the cafeteria at my office, and I get it several times a week.  If you’re not afraid of carbs, it is reasonably healthy, and very delicious, considering the time/effort/cost.  I am not a tomato-lover, I don’t eat red meat, and I neither love nor hate cream sauces, and tend to keep them for special occasions, so garlic and olive oil is the perfect sauce for me.  Dinner went like this:

1.  Realize I have about a third of a pound of frozen cleaned shrimp.  Yay!

2.  Realize I have no vegetables (not even leeks) other than aromatics.  Boo!

3.  Realize I have angel hair pasta.  Done.

So, I put on some water to boil, minced some shallots and garlic, and sweated the aromatics for several minutes in extra virgin olive oil, with a sprinkling of salt.  Once the water was boiling, I threw in a ton of salt, dropped in more angel hair than I thought I could eat (maybe 1/2 a pound), and threw the frozen shrimp onto the skillet with the aromatics (and some more salt).  The pasta was done in 3-4 minutes, and the shrimp was done very shortly after that.  Mixed it all together, added more salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and thought, hey, this would be really pretty with some chopped parsley, which I thought I had on hand.  But I didn’t.  So I did throw in some remarkably well-preserved baby arugula instead.  Dinner is served.

This was less than 20 minutes from conception to eating, so while it was nothing fancy, it was very handy, as well as tasty.  I ended up eating all of it, of course.  I’m a BIG fan of leftovers (I’d have to be, living alone and liking to cook), and I was hoping to save some out of this dinner, but it all disappeared.  Baby is growing.

The rest of the experiment has been less than inspiring.  I went to work on Wednesday, and had the aforementioned made-to-order pasta dish.  Wednesday night, I meant to steam an artichoke, but it turned out that the artichoke was NOT remarkably well-preserved.  I heated up some prepared (not frozen) potstickers from Whole Foods in the toaster oven instead.  This is a go-to lunch for me, but it made a decent dinner, considering that I had plans in the city that evening.  Thursday, I stayed home and had a Trader Joe’s frozen flatbread pizza for lunch.  It was nearly done cooking when my power went out, and the residual heat finished it off.  Thursday night, my sister and I went out for a very yummy dinner at Sola, one of my favorite restaurants, although I will warn you now that even though we discussed ETC at dinner, I totally and completely forgot to take any pictures, so the resulting “Eat” post will be somewhat lacking.  Oops.

Overall, I’d say that the no-grocery-shopping-for-a-week thing is worth doing every six to eight weeks or so.  It lets me run through my pantry items and use up some perishables that I might just let go bad otherwise.  I’ve been trying really hard to cut back on how much food gets thrown out, but my taste and energy level can be kind of hard to predict a week in advance; doing it this way makes that kind of thing an unaffordable luxury, if you want to remain fed.  It also helps me to come up with dinners on my own, without following a recipe, so I’d say it is a useful exercise in adding creativity to my cooking.  (It also cuts way back on snacking, if that is one of your issues!)


One thought on “Update on the No-Groceries Challenge — Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

  1. Your shrimp and pasta looks fantastic! The arugula was a great idea. I think your experiment proves that if you’ve got some essentials in the pantry/freezer, you can eat well without running to the grocery store (or ordering out). For me, I always make sure I have a dozen eggs in the fridge – for frittatas, salads, etc.

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