This Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Is My New Busy Weeknight Go-To

It dressed up my regular Wednesday night with minimal effort.

Lemon-Garlic Butter Shrimp and Broccoli
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

My only complaint about working at Southern Living is that I'm hungry all the time. While curating food inspiration for our readers, food is on my mind—and workload—often. Coupled with my penchant for cooking, it's a wonder I'm not spending my entire day collecting all the recipes I want to try. So, when my friend, coworker, and roommate slid me the recipe for Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp one week, I was a goner.

One thing I have been learning to manage as a new-ish adult is food waste. Our apartment mantra, borrowed from my own childhood, is "must not waste." After several weeks of tossing food into the rubbish, I was doubling down on my efforts to be as efficient and strategic as possible when it came to cooking. It just so happened that the week this recipe came to me, I had frozen shrimp and lemons on the verge of expiring in our fridge. It was the perfect solution. The other selling point? It was easy and quick—music to my ears on a weeknight.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp with Broccoli

The original recipe calls for wild rice, lower-sodium chicken broth, broccoli florets, and fresh garlic. If you know my cooking style by now, it won't surprise you that I axed or modified all those things. Regular (Trader Joe's) chicken broth, frozen Brussels sprouts, pre-minced garlic, and quinoa perfectly sufficed.

Additionally, I have a high aversion to turning on the oven, because it always takes forever to preheat. My workaround? My roommate's air fryer, which has steadily won my affection as the months roll by. I don't know how I'd ever live without one now.

Before you toss the Brussels (if using) into the air fryer, make sure they're thawed. This vastly improves the texture, and I speak from experience. Our optimal Brussels sprouts air fryer settings are 400 degrees for 10 minutes—roughly. This time around, I may have burned the lemons to a crisp, but they still imparted a lovely, bright flavor.

As for the shrimp, I wasn't feeling gutsy enough to throw them in with the vegetables, so I quickly made them on the stovetop. Are we supposed to defrost shrimp before cooking it? I wasn't sure, so straight from freezer to frying pan they went, and they turned out just fine.

The crowning glory of this recipe is the lemon garlic butter. I had the shrimp positively bathing in it and made sure to reserve the extra for drizzling after everything was plated. With the leftovers, I discovered it was a great accompaniment to pasta…and now that I think about it again, I'd make toast with it too. Fragrant, salty, tart—it was that good. You'd do well to make yourself a batch of just the butter and use it on whatever you please.

So, the next time you find yourself on a busy weeknight (or after long day), this Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp is your ticket to a delicious dinner in a jiffy. Follow the recipe or give it your own spin, it's delightful either way. That's what's part of the charm.

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