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November 19, 2013
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Colorful Cooking column: Healthy shrimp fajitas for a crowd

All the attention during Thanksgiving focuses on the big meal and sometimes allows us to forget that we still need to feed hungry folks the night before the big day. Preparing a quick, healthy dinner with little clean up beats fighting the crowds at a restaurant or ordering gut-wrenching take out.

Shrimp fajitas are easy, healthy and really filling. This colorful dish starts with peppers and onions, as any good fajita would, but cooks up in a flash with the addition of shrimp instead of steak. Shrimp is a low in calories and high in protein. They are rich in vitamin D, which is a tough vitamin to get from food. A three-ounce serving packs 30 percent of your daily value for vitamin D. This vitamin is a cancer-fighter and helps to keep your bones strong.

Shrimp is the most popular shellfish in the world. Try to purchase shrimp that is wild caught. The number found on the bag tells you how many shrimp there are per pound. For example, 16-25 is jumbo shrimp, making a serving size about four shrimp — this also means that there are 16-25 shrimp in a pound. For this recipe, I usually use a smaller count, somewhere around 25-30, so you get more shrimp per serving and can fill your fajita up with a balanced mixture of shrimp and vegetables.

Pack this fajita with fresh peppers and onions. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C, A, K and potassium. They are another low calorie food, and the red bell pepper has the highest nutritional value. The red pepper is actually a green pepper that has been left on the vine to ripen.

Mix in a jalapeno pepper for spice and you also get great nutritional benefits. Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, which helps with circulation and aids in digestion. It also serves a pain reliever. If you happen to watch Orange is the New Black, then you may remember Piper mixed up a combo of jalapeno and lotion to help someone with back pain (and to get a meal ticket), and many people are capsaicin followers. When shopping for spicy peppers, typically the smaller and more pointed the pepper, the hotter the flavor. If you enjoy the flavor, but want less heat, remove the membrane and the seeds of any spicy pepper.

Tracy Miller teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards and shares recipes on TV8’s Good Morning Vail. Contact Tracy at href="" tracy@colorfulcooking.comtarget="_blank"> or log onto www.colorfulcooking.comtarget="_blank"> for healthy recipes.

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The VailDaily Updated Nov 19, 2013 06:53PM Published Nov 19, 2013 06:39PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.