Cheesy Shrimp n’ Grits

Seeing how today is Friday.  Seeing how it is Lent.  Seeing how this past Tuesday was Mardi Gras…

I only had one thing on my brain – Southern Seafood!!!

I broke out the shrimp and to add that Southern charm, I threw in some grits.  I love grits.  When I think of grits, I think about the week I spent in Hilton Head, SC a few years ago.  Every morning for breakfast, I went to a little restaurant down the street and ordered a seafood omelet with grits.  Anything that reminds you of the beach can’t be bad, right?

This dish is so quick and easy and is perfect to whip up on a busy weeknight…for example, a Friday in Lent.  Or a Tuesday.  Or even a Thursday.  Really, you can just eat it whenever.  Multiple times a week.  Maybe even multiple times a day!!!

I made my grits from cornmeal since I didn’t have any instant grits on hand…so this meal can be even faster if you use instant grits!  It just keep getting better, doesn’t it!?

But, please wait….it gets even better….

….we add cheese to our grits!  Mmmmm.  Cheese.  I think it is the one thing on Earth that will make everything better all the time.

Now onto those little shrimp.

I used frozen shrimp that were already cooked.  I tossed them with salt, pepper, and creole seasoning and warmed them in the skillet with butter and garlic and the juice of half a lemon.  I’m pretty sure that mixture was sent from heaven.  Especially the butter.

This dish is bursting with flavor and the cheesy grits with the spicy shrimp are the perfect pair.

Cheesy Shrimp n’ Grits

Cheesy Grits:

2 cups whole milk (I only had skim, so I used 1 1/2 cups milk with 1/2 cup plain yogurt to thicken)

2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarse-ground cornmeal

4 tablespoons butter

4 oz. cheddar cheese (I used half cheddar, half fresh parmesan)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat, add the milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil.  When a boil is reached, add in the cornmeal gradually, whisking as you add it.  Once all of the cornmeal is added, reduce the temperature and cover.  Let simmer for 20-25 minutes, whisking every 3-4 minutes to prevent the cornmeal from sticking and forming lumps.  Be sure to whisk the whole way around the bottom edges of the pot.

When cornmeal is ready, remov from heat and add butter, cheese, and black pepper.  Stir together until butter and cheese is melted.

Creole Shrimp:

1 pound shrimp (I used frozen cooked shrimp, thawed)

2 tablespoons butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon cajun seasoning, such as Creole or Old Bay

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

juice of half a lemon

In large bowl, toss shrimp with seasoning, salt and pepper.  Set aside.  In large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add in the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the shrimp.  If you are using pre-cooked shrimp, just toss the shrimp with the butter, garlic, and lemon juice until heated through.  If you are using uncooked shrimp, toss the shrimp with the butter, garlic, and lemon juice and saute until shrimp are pink, about 3-4 minutes each side.

Spoon grits into bowl or onto plate and top with shrimp.  Garnish with fresh lemon.

Now, I want you to hit up your local Fish Fry and support the local churches and firehalls, but please, please, please promise me you will also make this.  Like right now.  For breakfast.  Or lunch.  Or a mid-afternoon snack.

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