"When you're stuck at home and you're missing the beach, sink your teeth into a fish taco and sip a margarita while closing your eyes. Whether you're inside, or in your backyard, it will transport you to a tropical paradise," says McFarland, owner of the seafood restaurant Ed's Lobster Bar, which has locations in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, New York.
McFarland, who has served as a judge on Food Network's "Beat Bobby Flay" and appeared on NBC's "TODAY" show, says making margaritas and cooking up tacos are "a fantastic and easy way to staycation."
Below, he shares with Grow a recipe for a blueberry margarita that costs $2.18 a serving and a recipe for shrimp tacos that costs just $1.99 a serving.
"A margarita is one of the easiest drinks to make at home," says McFarland. "All you need is Tequila, simple syrup [sugar dissolved in water], lime juice, and ice."
While McFarland's recipe calls for blueberry juice, he says you can use whatever juice you want when making your own margarita. "If you want to keep it simple, add a splash of orange juice. But you can get supercreative. You can use strawberry puree, watermelon juice, pineapple juice, or whatever taste appeals to you."
And you don't have to get fancy with the Tequila, since you'll be mixing it with other ingredients. "Use any Tequila you want as long as it's blanco Tequila," McFarland says. If you want a nonalcoholic drink, hold the Tequila for a delicious and refreshing mocktail.
When it comes to seafood, "shrimp is really cost-effective. Your money will go a long way," McFarland explains. Buying frozen shrimp in bulk can also be significantly less expensive, and it will mean fewer trips to the grocery store.
To save time and money, McFarland also suggests buying frozen shrimp that's been peeled and cleaned. Frozen peeled shrimp costs around $5.50 for a 12-ounce package, while fresh shrimp that you'll have to clean yourself costs around $9 for the same sized portion. "Plus, in a recipe like this, frozen shrimp will taste just as delicious," he explains.
If you're not a fan of shrimp, you can swap it out in exchange for any protein, McFarland says. "You can use steak, chicken, mahi-mahi, cod, or tuna ... really, whatever you like will work."
If you're a vegetarian, a vegetable medley or tofu could be good as well. And, if you want to cut down on calories, try grilling your protein rather than frying it.
However you chose to modify the recipe, the end product will be delicious, McFarland says. "Your backyard is always a great escape, especially if you have good food and are with family."
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