In A Pinch

The other day I was Skyping with my sister. The topic of my blog came up as it often does (she is my editor and biggest fan) and she started giving me grief about how infrequent my posts have been in the last month or so. Well I immediately launched into a rant about how little time I had to get things done around here. How busy the holidays had been. How some nights I could barely get dinner to the table much less photograph it, write about it and get it up on the blog. Blah blah blah…

Even though our connection was not that great and there was bit of a time delay I could still see her rolling her eyes. Clearly, this excuse was not working on her. She wanted a weekly post in her mailbox, not some lame reason why I couldn’t get it done.

It got me thinking that I really needed to come up with some healthy meals that I could pull together super quick for those nights when we are racing against the clock to bedtime. And they needed to be blog worthy. Not just scrambled cheesy eggs, which are delicious, but not exactly interesting to read about or very original. Thus, my “In A Pinch Series” is born. A meal that is half homemade, half store-bought. Ideal for those nights when you are lingering somewhere between a leisurely home cooked meal and takeout.

Indian Simmer Sauce Shrimp


1 lb bag of raw frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper

2 cups Indian tomato simmer sauce (see note)

1/2 bag fresh baby spinach, pre-washed, roughly torn

2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese (optional)

Handful chopped cilantro (optional)


Note: I get a delicious Indian tomato simmer sauce at our local farmers market. When I see the vendor I stock up. But most supermarkets have several options of this type of sauce to choose from. You can use tomato simmer, green curry, or yellow curry sauce.


Rinse shrimp, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile heat the simmer sauce in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Stir 1/4 cup of water into the simmer sauce. Then add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.


Add the shrimp to the sauce and cover. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are cooked through, about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.


Lastly, stir in the mascarpone cheese. Cook for an additional minute until cheese is melted into the sauce. The mascarpone is optional but it makes the sauce creamy and tames the spice. Milk or yogurts are good substitutes.


Serve over rice or with a hunk of crusty sourdough bread. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Whoa, that is spicy! Water, water!”

Liam (age 4): “I’m not eating this”

Dylan (age 4): “The Indian sauce is good”

Although the reviews don’t sound stellar, I consider this one a success. I got Matthew water and he inhaled it (the water and the shrimp). Liam did eventually try it and no one was bothered by the spinach!

Do you have any quick and easy semi-homemade recipes? Would love to hear about them!


5 thoughts on “In A Pinch

  1. The shrimp obviously sold it (you so know your audience!). And for the record, I wouldn’t mind seeing a recipe for cheesy eggs (I have no idea how to add anything to eggs unless it’s an omlette).

    • Recipe for cheesy eggs: whisk eggs in a bowl, add shredded cheese, cook in saute pan until eggs set, add more cheese on top just to make sure the kids know there is cheese in it! I will teach you this “recipe” next time you are here. You can’t redo your kitchen and not know how to make eggs! 🙂

      • Well, of course I know how to make eggs, but “cheesy eggs”, well that’s another story. It always feels to me like the egg isn’t cooked all the way through.

  2. We love your blogs, no matter when they come. One handy thing is chicken broth. You can add it to anything to make a meal, even shrimp. Chicken broth, some spices, veggies and shrimp, salmon, or beef broth and thin slices of beef with veggies over rice or noodles and some teriyaki sauce and you are home free. I keep several varieties on hand at all times, Kitchen Basics or Pacific broth, you can get the first everywhere and the second in packages of 6 at Costco, BJs. Kitchen B asics has sea food broth, vegetable broth, chicken and beef…veggie and b eef can often be used interchangeably and add to thinly sliced protein of some sort, even tofu and you have either a soup or a yudon or a plate of good eating. Also a quick substitute for meat is portobello mushrooms and they keep well. Can be used instead of hamburger meat for a hamburger treat or a noodle mushroom and veggie stew cooks in 10 minutes.

    I like your last recipe and am going to make it and I don’t have little kids to feed, just one hungry husband who loves shrimp in any form.

    Much love, Judy (and Bill too)

    • Thanks for all these great tips Judy! You mention tofu and I realized I haven’t tried making any sort of tofu dish for the kids yet. Time to test it out and see how it goes.
      Hope you like the shrimp!

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