Easy dinner recipes: Beer-lover's shrimp, mac 'n' cheese, ice cream and more

Now you can drink your beer and eat it, too! Well, sort of. I've pulled together some of our favorite beer-infused recipes for your weekend pleasure.

Let's start with shrimp. If I didn't know how easy this dish was to make, I'd be planning a cross-country trip to the restaurant that shared its recipe, España Restaurant on Amelia Island, Fla. Large shrimp are poached in a rich sauce flavored with garlic and spice, fresh lemon and beer, coconut milk and a few dashes of hot sauce. Serve it with plenty of bread — you don't want any of the sauce to go to waste.

And just when you thought mac 'n' cheese couldn't get any better, the Rackhouse Pub in Denver decides to add beer to this quintessential comfort food. The recipe combines no less than five -- yes, five -- kinds of cheese in a rich base lightened with a cup of amber ale; then it gets baked under a crust of panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese to rich, crisp, golden perfection.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

For dessert, try beer ice cream. The recipe is simple, requiring only four ingredients (beer, sugar, egg yolks and cream). Splurge a little with this one and use a good brew -- quality shows in the finish. The base comes together in about 20 minutes, and is ready as quickly as your ice cream maker can manage.

And if you're looking for a snack, you can't go wrong with beer nuts. Deschutes Brewery was happy to share its recipe for this classic sweet-and-salty bar snack. Might as well whip up a double batch and have plenty of beer on hand; these go quickly.

You can find all four recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 2

Note: Adapted from España Restaurant on Amelia Island, Fla. The restaurant recommends serving this dish with your favorite bread.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 heaping teaspoons chopped garlic

1/4 cup diced onion

16 to 20 large shell-on shrimp (21- to 25-count per pound)

1/4 cup beer

1 teaspoon Sazon (also spelled Sason) with cilantro, a prepared Latin spice blend (a similar Latin spice blend may be substituted)

2 tablespoons butter

Tabasco, or another vinegar-based hot sauce, to taste

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup coconut milk

Sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot and add the oil. Stir in the chopped garlic and diced onion and cook until aromatic, 1 to 1½ minutes. Stir in the shrimp, then add the beer, Sazon, butter, a few dashes of hot sauce (or to taste), lemon juice and coconut milk. Poach the shrimp in sauce, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Taste and season with a pinch of salt, or as desired. Divide the shrimp and sauce in two wide, shallow bowls, and sprinkle over the cilantro. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 576 calories; 31 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 46 grams fat; 21 grams saturated fat; 303 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 1,924 mg sodium.


Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Servings: 12 to 16

Note: Adapted from the Rackhouse Pub in Denver.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup amber beer

2 cups half and half

1/2 pound Brie

16 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese

1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 (16-ounce) box penne pasta, cooked and drained

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium, heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a light roux. Slowly whisk in the beer and half and half.

3. Add the Brie and cream cheese to the sauce, stirring until the cheeses are melted and incorporated. Stir in the Gorgonzola, cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

4. Stir in the pasta, taste and adjust the seasonings as desired with salt and pepper (some of the cheese will be salty and the mixture may need only a little salt, if any).

5. Pour the mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Top the mixture by sprinkling over the remaining Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden, about 1 hour.

6. Cool slightly before serving.

Each of 16 servings: 566 calories; 20 grams protein; 29 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 41 grams fat; 25 grams saturated fat; 123 mg. cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 611 mg. sodium.


Total time: 20 minutes, plus freezing time

Servings: 2 to 4

Note: Adapted from Matt Schreiber, who adapted it from Antoine Westermann at the restaurant Beurheisel in Strasbourg, France.

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup beer

1 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they are pale and lemon colored. Bring the beer and the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottom saucepan, then slowly pour over the sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, whisking frequently, until it thickens.

2. Pour through a strainer into a mixing bowl set over ice and whisk until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Each of 4 servings: 384 calories; 4 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 27 grams fat; 15 grams saturated fat; 292 mg. cholesterol; 25 grams sugar; 34 mg. sodium.


15 minutes, plus cooling time. Makes about 10 cups

1 1/4 pounds marcona almonds

1/4 cup molasses

1 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 pound brown sugar, divided

1 1/4 pounds roasted salted cashews

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the almonds with the molasses, sea salt and one-third of the brown sugar. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir the hot almonds into the remaining brown sugar. Spread the nuts out and set aside to cool. Toss the cooled almonds with the cashews. Store the nuts, covered, in a cool, dry place.


Calories 190

Protein 5 grams

Carbohydrates 15 grams

Fiber 2 grams

Fat 14 grams

Saturated fat 2 grams

Cholesterol 0

Sugar 8 grams

Sodium 250 mg

NOTE: Adapted from Deschutes Brewery in Portland, Ore.


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