Shrimp and Grits

April was the busiest month ever and it seemed like most nights we either grabbed some fast food or ate sandwiches for dinner. On Monday night, I was craving something really good, and when I ran by the grocery store, they had frozen, pre-cooked shrimp on a BOGO sale. I grabbed a couple bags and decided to make shrimp and grits. Because I used the pre-cooked shrimp, this meal came together in less than 10 minutes and it was probably the best meal we’ve had all month.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (I got the kind with the tails on, which Jeff didn’t like, so next time I’ll get the kind with the tails removed)
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup quick cook grits
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (plus an extra splash for the grits)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Dried or fresh chives, for garnish

Instructions:

  • Rinse the frozen, pre-cooked shrimp under cool water in a colander to remove the ice glaze and start to thaw the shrimp. Once the shrimp are thawed and rinsed, put them in a large mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of your favorite Cajun seasoning. Set aside.
  • Pour the water and milk into a medium saucepan and heat over high heat. Add 1/4 stick of butter and salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of each).
  • When the water and milk are almost boiling, add 1/2 cup of grits and whisk together well (I prefer using a flat whisk like this one). Reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • While the grits are cooking, melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium skillet over high heat. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, until the shrimp is heated through.
  • Add 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the butter and shrimp and stir well. Reduce heat and simmer until the grits are done.
  • When the grits are cooked to the consistency you like, add 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of heavy cream to the grits and stir well.
  • Scoop the grits into a bowl and top with the shrimp. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and grits and garnish with dried or fresh chives.

I served this with store-bought Texas toast, and it was really good. I just let the toast brown in the oven while I was cooking on the stovetop and everything was done and ready to plate in less than 10 minutes.

Hamburger Steak with Grilled Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • Avocado oil

Instructions:

  • Mix the ground chuck and spices well and form into 4 large patties. Set aside.
  • Thinly slice 1/2 yellow onion.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a glug of avocado oil to the pan.
  • Saute the onions with salt and pepper until transparent. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Place the hamburger steak patties in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side, then top with the onions and place the skillet in the oven at 350 degrees until the hamburger steaks are cooked through (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Serve with onions and baked sweet potato fries.

Baked Chicken Breasts with Zucchini Noodles in Spinach and Walnut Pesto

I made zucchini noodles today and now I am wondering why it took me so long to try them. They were amazing! I could replace spaghetti with zucchini noodles forever and not miss it one bit. Also, they were incredibly easy and cooked super fast. This meal came together so quickly that I barely felt like I had cooked, but it was really tasty and Jeff gave it his stamp of approval. That’s always a win. Check out the recipes below:

Simply the Best Baked Chicken

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this, but you could absolutely use bone-in chicken. You’d just need to adjust your cooking time. Usually bone-in chicken tends to take a little longer to cook. Just make sure that the juices are running clear when you puncture the chicken to be sure it is done.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp avacado oil

Salt

Pepper

In a skillet, heat the avacado oil over medium high heat until warm. Make sure to swirl it around to coat the entire skillet. 

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in the skillet seasoned side down. Season the other side with salt and pepper. 

Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until browned. Flip the chicken and cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. 

Transfer to a 400 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. 

Browning the chicken in the skillet first makes such a huge difference in how flavorful this chicken is! Having that crispy, browned crust makes it so savory!

Spinach and Walnut Pesto

1 1/2 cups finely packed spinach

1/2 cup fresh basil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Drizzle in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. 

Put It All Together

Spiralize 3-4 large zucchini using a vegetable spirializer like this one. Sauté the noodles on medium high heat in avacado oil with a little salt and pepper for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add two tablespoons of pesto to the noodles and toss until coated.

Serve with sliced chicken breasts and toasted walnuts for garnish.