Grits with a Twist:  Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits

I know what you are thinking.  It is okay.  There are days I can’t believe it either & I wanna know what the hell am I doing putting vegetables in a dish that should contain a protein that runs and jumps.  

Lately, I have been eating less meat.  Truth be told, I feel a whole lot better now that I have consistently eat more vegetables.  I don’t feel sluggish.  I have more energy than I had when I was in college.  I’m kinda liking what I see in the mirror.  My stomach isn’t so flabby.  My legs are shaping pretty good. 

In order to NOT miss meat, I am remixing my own recipes.  My key to eating more vegetables is seasoning.  You can go from Cajun cauliflower to lemon pepper cauliflower by simply changing spices.

This flavor remix is to my Shrimp & Cheesy Grits recipe.  Instead of shrimp, I turned the flavor on an array of roasted vegetables 🙂 and black beans.

Roasted Vegetables

1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Head of Cauliflower
1 Small Green Zucchini
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Pepper
1 teaspoon Onion & Herb Seasoning

ONEPreheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWOClean veggies & cut into small pieces.
THREEPlace veggies in a bowl.
FOURAdd EVOO & seasonings.
FIVEToss until all veggies are well covered.
SIXPlace veggies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
SEVENRoast veggies in the oven for about 15 minutes or until veggies are browned.

Roasted Veggies
Roasted Veggies

Black Beans

1/2 cup canned vegan black beans rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

ONEAdd oil to a skillet on medium heat.
TWOSauté garlic & shallots until translucent. Be careful to not burn the garlic.
THREEAdd beans to skillet & sauté for about 5 minutes.

Cheesy Grits

1 1/2 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
2 cups water (plus a 1/4 cup of water set to the side)
1/2 cup grits

ONEAdd water & grits to medium saucepan.
TWOCook mixture on medium heat.
THREEWhisk mixture to prevent from sticking.
FOURAs mixture thicken, turn heat to low.
FIVEAdd cheese to mixture & continue to stir until all cheese is melted.
NOTEAdd a little extra water if necessary prior to adding the cheese. If grits look dry, add a little bit of water.

Assemble Roasted Veggie & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans

ONEAdd grits to a bowl.
TWOAdd beans.
THREETop with roasted veggies.

Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans
Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans

Sunday Supper: Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

Growing up, I hated when my mom made grits for breakfast. When grits were served on Saturday or Sunday mornings, I knew I was going to be the first one at the table for lunch or dinner. I was a rice or oatmeal kid. While my dad and brothers ate mounds of grits, I only added a few spoon fulls to my bowl–wasting food was a no no in our house. I think my bowl contained more butter and sugar butter in order to finish the little I had in my bowl.

Fast forward to being an adult and grits are not a staple in my kitchen. But I can always find grits on the menus of restaurants that serve southern cuisine. They are typically paired with shrimp for the infamous shrimp & grits dish. I haven’t had much of a desire to jump on the shrimp & grits bandwagon because many of the dishes are made with some form of bacon.

Last week, I decided to try my hand at shrimp & grits. I knew I didn’t want plain savory grits. I wanted to add my favorite cheese, cheddar. It was a slam dunk at finding the perfect cheese. I used aged Vermont white cheddar cheese from Sargento. I used white cheese because yellow orange grits look so unnatural to me. Finding grits was a different story. I was looking for regular grits; but all I found was quick grits. So quick grits it is. I was worried about using quick grits with this dish; but everything worked to my liking.

Grits & Cheese
Key Ingredients I used

Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

For the Shrimp:

1 pound uncooked large shrimp (cleaned & deveined. If you have the shells, set them to the side)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic)
1 tablespoon olive oil

ONECombine shrimp and smoke paprika in a large bowl.
TWOAdd garlic to seasoned shrimp with a garlic press.
THREECover & place in the refrigerator while you cook the cheesy grits.

For the Cheesy Grits:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup cleaned shrimp shells (optional) NOTE: The shrimp shells add extra flavor
1 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
2 cups water (plus a 1/4 cup of water set to the side)
1/2 cup grits
1/4 cup chives (top part of green onions)

ONEMelt butter in a pot on low heat.
TWOAdd onions and shrimp shells to melted butter.
THREECover pot. Cook onions until they are translucent. Remove cooked shrimp shells.
FOURAdd water. Boil mixture at medium heat.
FIVEAdd grits. Cover pot and cook on low heat.
SIXAfter 2 about 3 minutes, remove the top & stir grits with a whisk. NOTE: Add a little extra water if necessary. If grits look dry, add a little bit of water.
SEVENWhisk in cream cheese until thoroughly combined.
EIGHTRemove from heat after 3 minutes.
NINEStir in shredded white cheddar cheese. Cover pot to allow cheese to melt.

Cooking the Shrimp:

ONEHeat oil in a skillet on medium heat.
TWOAdd shrimp to heated skillet.
THREECook shrimp until they are pink on both sides. NOTE: Be careful to not overcook the shrimp. I like to cover my skillet to insulate the heat. This also helps your food to cook on both sides.

Finishing the Dish:

ONEAdd cheesy grits to a bowl.
TWOAdd shrimp to cheesy grit.
THREEGarnish with chives.

Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

Makes 2 servings of Cheesy Shrimp & Grits. A pound of shrimp may seem like it is a lot of shrimp. Well, it is a lot of shrimp. I love shrimp & I like to make sure there is enough shrimp in the dish.