Down and Dirty Stuffed Shrimp

I was talking with a friend the other day about the stuffed sweet peppers when she said “you don’t just have to stuff peppers with it, you can stuff all kinds of things, mushrooms, shrimp…” – Those are not her exact words, but her words stuff and shrimp were the catalyst of tonight’s dinner.

When Michael and May asked “What’s for dinner?” I told them stuffed shrimp. I added down and dirty when I realized that I had not left my cream cheese to soften long enough. I ended up re-gloving up and mashing it all with my hands. It was a dirty job but the shrimp weren’t going to wait forever.

Ingredients: 1 pound medium shrimp (or what ever size you prefer), 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, 1 stalk celery (chopped), 4 thick cut slices of bacon (chopped and fried softly), the spices of choice today were lemon pepper and Tony Chachere’s, and a little canned Parmesan for dusting.

peeling shrimp

If using shrimp that has already been deveined, thaw in fridge or under cold running water, hold shrimp in one hand, pulling legs with the other, pinch the tail and pull. Don’t worry, you’ve got at least 39 more to practice on if you bought medium shrimp.

Step 1: Take your first 12 shrimp, peel devein, and chop them up, place the bits in a medium bowl (if using medium, 3 – 4 ounces if using another size). Peel, devein, and butterfly* the remaining shrimp, it helps if as you butterfly them you place them on your cookie sheet, baking dish or pizza pan. The photo above is how I peel them, if it helps. *The easiest way to tell you how to butterfly them if you’ve never done it is to just show you, so see my attempt below:

butterfly shrimp

Easy peel have been cut a bit, some deep enough to just press between the thumb and finger to butterfly. If pressing alone doesn’t pop it flat, cut a little into the cut and then flatten between your thumb and finger.

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Butterflied shrimp on the pizza pan, cut side up.

 

Preheat your oven to 350°.

In the bowl with your shrimp bits, add the cream cheese, bacon, celery, and spices. If it is softened, mix well with a fork. If not, glove up buttercup! Get your hands in there and mash it all around.

Even if your cream cheese is softened, stuffing shrimp is no neat little task. While I did use my handy dandy cookie scoop to dollop atop each shrimp, I still had to pick them up one by one and mash it down. The mess has really got to be the love part of a recipe because if I didn’t love them I would have fed them take out!

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Stuffed shrimp on a pizza pan, ready to bake. They don’t care if they are touching a little, stuffed shrimp are social little guys!

Once your oven is at 350°, your shrimp stuffing is squished in there good, you are ready to put them in the oven. Putting them in the middle works for me. If I’m cooking other things though, I would put them on top instead of bottom. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from heat. Serve them immediately with your favorite side, or in our case, fried cabbage.

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Fried cabbage is simple. Just wash it, chop it, and put it in the pan you used for the bacon. Add a little salt and pepper and cook over medium heat stirring as needed.

 

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