Shrimp and grits. It's totally a southern-tradition dish with which I was absolutely unfamiliar until I moved to North Carolina. I'll admit, I was afraid to try it at first. And now? It's one of my favorites!
I have posted this recipe before ... way back when The Kitchen is My Playground was a wee 2 months old. And I was using a point-and-shoot camera. The pictures I took of Shrimp and Grits casserole with the point-and-shoot were especially terrible. I've been itching to repost this with a better photo. I can't say these pictures are totally wonderful (this casserole is really difficult to photograph!! ... at least for me), but they're at least a little better.
Now, a lot of shrimp and grits dishes are spicy - this one certainly is not. It's a very mild-flavored, cheesy, shrimpy grits casserole-style dish, without the typical spice. The original recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, but I think I've tweaked it to put back in most of the bad things they worked so hard to take out. Oh well.
Start by cooking up your grits. I've learned from my southern friends, who've grown up cooking grits, that the secret to good grits is to add the grits to the liquid mixture very slowly. Whisk them constantly while you're adding the grits, and cook them until they're very thick.
When you're just starting they'll look like this: ...
... and will look nice and thick like this when they're done:
Once your grits are cooked, stir in some Parmesan, cream cheese, chives, parsley, shrimp, and other good stuff.
Bake it up ...
... and serve up a big ol' plate full. Then dig in to this creamy comfort food. I like mine with a side of lima beans or sauteed cabbage. Yuuuuuuuum.
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Shrimp and Grits Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine
2 c. milk (I use whole milk, but any 'slimmer' variety is fine too)
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. quick-cooking grits
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese (less fat Neufchatel-type is fine)
1 or 2 T. chopped fresh chives (you can also use dried)
3 T. fresh parsley or 1 T. dried parsley
1 T. lemon juice
1 lb. peeled shrimp, roughly chopped
1. Bring milk and chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.
2. Remove grits from heat. Stir in Parmesan, butter, and cream cheese until melted; then stir in remaining ingredients.
3. Spoon grits mixture into a 11x7" baking dish generously coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until set and the top is just starting to get some golden brown areas.