Shrimp and Grits

When we were in South Carolina earlier this year, we were sure to eat our weight in that good Southern food that just isn’t quite the same above the Mason Dixon line.

With no trip to the South planned any time soon, though, and a craving for some shrimp and grits, we had a problem.

So, my husband and I put our heads, and our kitchen skills together, and tag teamed an awesome shrimp and grits dinner.

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It’s actually a fairly simple recipe that you can tweak to fit your craving or flavor profile.

We kept ours fairly classic with cheddar, bacon and scallions, but this could easily take an Italian turn with Parmesan and garlic, or have more of a Mexican flair with some green chiles and pepper jack cheese.

So for this recipe you will need:

  • 1 cup grits (or polenta)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (frozen works great. Cleaned, deveined, shell off, tail on)
  • scallions

Get started by preparing your grits according to package directions. Ours called for boiling 3 cups of water and then adding in the grits, stirring and leaving on the stove for twenty minutes with the lid on.

In the meantime, prepare your shrimp mixture. Start by placing your bacon, cut into small pieces, into a frying pan and cook until crispy.

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Remove the bacon from the skillet, but leave the grease. Place the shrimp into the bacon grease. Hey, this is a Southern dish. We’re cooking with bacon grease y’all.

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Cook the shrimp, turning to cook on both sides, until they are pink.

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When the shrimp are cooked, add the bacon back in. Also add in your chopped scallions. Lower the heat and let everything warm through.

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Meanwhile, add the shredded cheddar to your cooked grits and stir until it melts in.

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Serve up a a few big spoonfuls of grits in each bowl and top each with half the shrimp mixture.

 

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And there you have a five ingredient Southern Fix!

 

Turkey Club Sandwich Salad

I bet you’ve got a chunk of turkey breast leftover from Easter begging for something other than two pieces of white bread and some mayonnaise.

Here’s the piece I have.

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It’s just asking to be transformed into a delicious dinner.

But not something too heavy.

Something like a turkey club sandwich deconstructed to a salad.

Start by cooking some bacon. You can pan fry or you can bake in the oven, whichever method you prefer.

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Create a bed of lettuce

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add tomatoes

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Some sliced turkey

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avocado slices

 

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Bacon strips

 

 

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And a drizzle of mustard vinaigrette.

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Tada!

Turkey transformed.

Bacon, Vegetable, Cheese Bowl

 

 

Remember that veggie hash I made with the zucchini and squash a potato?

 

Well, I still have some of it leftover, so I decided to add a few more things to it to make those leftovers seem like a completely different meal.

First, some bacon, cut into small pieces and fried.

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Next, some gorgeous cherry tomatoes, halved.

 

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And tossed in with the bacon.

 

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When the tomatoes start to burst, toss in the leftover potato, squash zucchini mix and let those warm through.

 

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Top with some chopped scallions and let cook for a minute or so.

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Spoon out into a bowl and top with some shredded cheese. I used pepper jack for a kick, but use whatever is on hand.

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This makes a great quick and easy lunch or a lazy dinner. Heck, add a fried egg on top and you have a very hearty brunch to take you through a busy day.

BLT Salad

 

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My fiance just got his wisdom teeth out.

Which means he’s on the applesauce and mashed potato diet.

I feel horrible. But, at the same time, I’m hungry. And I can chew. So mashed potatoes and applesauce are just not going to cut it for me.

But I also don’t really feel like cooking just for me. When I lived alone I never really cooked, not because I couldn’t cook, but because it seemed like such a lot of work to make a meal just for myself.

But from that time alone, I’ve come up with some satisfying meals that involve just the smallest amount of cooking. This is one of them.

I love big salads for dinner. But sometimes you need a little meat tossed in there to make it really feel like a meal. Usually I go the route of the prosciutto salad dressing, but I was in the mood for something with a little more to it.

I liked the idea of prosciutto, but I wanted something a little smokier, something more like bacon.

And so, a BLT salad.

I love BLTs, but sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for a sandwich. Don’t brush aside the meal, but instead think about deconstructing it and assembling it in a bowl.

For this salad you will need:

  • Bacon
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • (and any other bits you like added to your BLT)

For the dressing, I’m making a champagne vinaigrette. But again, use whatever you like.

My dressing is a tablespoon of good, spicy mustard, a tablespoon of champagne vinegar, two tablespoons of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper, tossed in a mason jar, then shaken (lid on) to combine.

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From there it’s just a matter of slicing up your veggies and your bacon

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Tossing in a bowl and topping with dressing.

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I’m aware it’s slightly mean to make bacon and fill the apartment with the intoxicating aroma when your other half can’t eat, but I’ve made promises to make him all of his favorites as soon as he’s better.

That makes it okay.

Right?

BKTE

Let me start off with an apology. The photos in this post are a bit fuzzy.

You see, I was cooking and, hazards of food blogging I guess, burned myself. I pulled my hand away, and, in doing so, knocked my camera off the counter.

Yup. It broke.

There was lot of cursing. And almost some crying. It’s a brand new camera.

But I eventually pulled myself together (there may have been a few milano cookies involved) and got in with the day.

I didn’t hurt myself or break anything irreplaceable.

Perspective. And milanos.

So back to the post.

Yesterday I took my dad out to his favorite place for Father’s Day.

I was torn between my usual order and something else on the menu that caught my eye. For dad, it was a no brainer. It was all about the burger.

I ended up with my usual, but couldn’t help but think about the other menu item. I bet I could make that at home.

What was it that almost had me? A BLT with a fried egg. It sounded so simple, but so intriguing. The simple part was what had me ordering my usual. I knew with a little thought I could easily make my own itty bitty city kitchen version of the BLTE.

For a period of time, I hated bacon. The smell of it made me nauseous and the taste just didn’t do it for me. It was not a health thing. It was purely a taste thing. A few weeks ago when my boyfriend and I went out for burgers, I forgot to tell the waiter no bacon on mine. So when it came with bacon, I shrugged and figured I’d give it a go.

I was surprised that I liked it. But hey, taste buds change. Unfortunately, mine will always crave breads and fried stuff. Why can’t they change to crave only fruits and vegetables and grains? At least until bikini season is over.

So bacon. I like it again. Which is probably why I was eying that BLTE.

It’s Sunday. My boyfriend’s home with his dad. And I’m home alone. I can make a big messy BLT with a gooey fried egg on top and no one will ever know. Well except for you. But you won’t tell, right?

I decided to jazz this up a little bit and switch out the lettuce for some baby kale. Kale’s having a moment. It’s a superfood, packed with vitamins and good stuff. So it will balance out the bacon.

So here’s my BKTE

You will need

  • 1 whole wheat English muffin, toasted
  • 2 thick slices of tomato
  • a handful of baby kale
  • 2 eggs, fried
  • 3 pieces of bacon, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt with a squeeze of lemon juice (in place of mayo)

Start by cooking the bacon. Instead of making a mess frying it, I put the bacon strips on a foil-lined cookie sheet and baked in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You can fry it. Or microwave it. Whatever you prefer.

Meanwhile, crack two eggs in a frying pan and cook over medium low heat. You want them cooked but with the yolk still runny.

While the eggs cook, mix the Greek yogurt and lemon juice and apply to each half of the English muffin. You can use mayo, but I like the tang of the yogurt and the lemon, plus it’s a healthy alternative.

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Pile a handful of kale and a tomato slice on each English muffin half.

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Top each tomato with a fried egg.

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Lay the strips of bacon on top of the eggs.

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And that, my friends, is a knife and fork and empty apartment kind of sandwich.

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Run your knife through, let the yolk spill over the kale and the tomato, the bacon grease running through it all.

Excuse me.

I need to be alone for this bite.