There’s nothing to make you re-prioritize your spending like sudden unemployment. My particular brand of “sudden” unemployment involved months of planning an exit strategy, well-intentioned budgeting and very slowly working up the nerve. It wasn’t easy. It scared the crap out of me. But I eventually quit my (pretty good) job of, well, years. Was it for a pipe dream? Absolutely. Was it foolish? Heck yeah! Worth it? God, I hope so.
My first week of waking up without anywhere to go felt unfamiliar, but eventually I was the champion of a life of leisure which involved eating huge meals, watching Netflix, reading a ton and feeling guilty about all of it. And that’s when I would hunker down and do two important things: write and budget.
And it’s the latter that brings me to this boiling pot of spicy seafood, flavor-bomb juicy corn and garlicky little potatoes. When I was budgeting out cheap meals, I veered towards roasting whole chickens to eat for an entire week or slow-cooking tougher cuts of meat. The truth is, as great as all that tasted, it got old. I started craving seafood, but didn’t want to do my usual fried fish or shrimp over rice. So here’s why this Cajun Shrimp Boil is my new favorite thing:
- Shrimp prices vary, but I found shell-on shrimp for about 9 bucks a pound. For a meal that feeds 2-3, that’s not bad. When you factor in how cheap potatoes and corn are, it’s pretty budget-friendly considering you’ve got an entire meal, sides and all, in one big pot.
- Who doesn’t want to dump a giant pot of boiling things onto a big plate to have at it with their hands?
- It’s super tasty. If you like salt and spice (of course you do), you’re going to love this.
You will need:
- 16 cups water
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup cajun/creole seasoning
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/8 cup Worsteshire sauce
- 1 lb small potatoes
- 3 ears of corns, halved
- 1 lb shell-on shrimp, deveined
- 2 tbsp butter
Begin by combining the water, creole seasoning (Old Bay works just as great), garlic and Worsteshire sauce in a large pot. Half the lemons and squeeze the juice from three halves into the pot, then throw the lemons in. Set the other half lemon aside to cut into wedges for serving.
Bring to a gentle boil and let the liquid bubble for 5 minutes. Next, add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 12 minutes. Then add the corn and cook for about 7 minutes or until done. Thrown in the shrimp and boil until they are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, drain the lemons, potatoes, corn, shrimp (don’t forget the garlic) and place in a large bowl. Add the butter plus 1 cup of the broth and toss. Drain again and place in a serving bowl or plate. Pour the buttery broth from the bowl into a smaller bowl for dipping. Serve with lemon wedges and dig in with the knowledge that budget-friendly food doesn’t have to taste cheap.