Confession time, guys — I am a recovering Lean Cuisine addict.
As in, addict. As in, ate 5+ per week. As in, would get to the grocery store checkout counter with nothing in my cart but Lean Cuisines, granola bars and wine.
What can I say? Age 25 was a simpler time.
My favorite was always the Sesame Chicken, although to be honest, I didn’t get it very often. I know this sounds dumb, but it was a little high-calorie for a Lean Cuisine, which sorta defeated the point for me…
Anyway, despite my prior addiction, I am proud to say that I have been Lean Cuisine-free for almost three years now! And apparently, I’m a real trendsetter, because everyone else seems to be giving up the ‘Cuisine, too.
According to the Internet, Lean Cuisine sales dropped 11 percent last year, and everyone apparently thinks they’re too unhealthy and too expensive. What do we think of this? I kindof agree. They’re not super expensive (aren’t they usually about three bucks?), but when you realize what you’re getting for that three bucks, you feel a little cheated. And as far as unhealthy goes…well, yeah. It’s nice that they let you limit your portion sizes, but they’re basically a ‘ol big mess of processed mystery ‘food.’
So I for one am not mourning the potential demise of Lean Cuisines. Instead, I am making dishes like this shrimp linguine, that reminds me of one of the less-terrible Lean Cuisines I used to get, only about a billion times better. Mascarpone, guys! That’s where it’s at!
LEMON GARLIC LINGUINE WITH SHRIMP AND MASCARPONE (slightly adapted from Pink Parsley)
8 oz linguine pasta
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails removed
juice and zest of 1 lemon
kosher salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/4 cup dry white wine or broth
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh chives
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boiling. Cook linguine to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
2. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Toss with lemon zest, kosher salt, and pepper.
3. In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat-high heat until bubbly. Add garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook about 90 seconds on one side. Turn shrimp, reduce heat to medium, then add wine/broth and half the lemon juice.
4. Bring mixture to boiling and cook 1-2 minutes. Add mascarpone, reserved pasta water, and linguine, tossing to coat. Cook another few minutes, until sauce has thickened and pasta is coated. Remove from heat, then add remaining lemon juice and chives. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
We both slurped this up. I might try to make it slightly healthier next time by using whole wheat pasta, but this was an awesome (and quick!) weeknight meal as is.