Mmmm, I love shrimp and grits. Especially grits with lots of cheese. And sauteed spinach with bacon and onions.... Oh, it makes my taste buds sing & my kitchen smell amazing. Yum! Beyond those highlights the recipe is quick, easy, fairly inexpensive, gluten-free & just pretty on your plate.
This recipe was developed mainly for two reasons - 1) As mentioned, I just love it. 2) It was a request of one of my facebook followers. (Follow me on facebook @ From My Tiny Kitchen)
Shrimp & Cheesy Grits with Spinach.
(The spinach is completely optional by the way. But, please, try it at least once. This isn't Popeye's spinach...but if you insist - cook exactly the same, bacon & everything, just don't add spinach.)
The key to making this a fast and easy meal is preparation! My directions will take you thru the steps of preparing your ingredients & then cooking.
- Approx. 12 shrimp, thawed
- 2 slices bacon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 Tb onion, finely minced
- 2 cups frozen spinach (If fresh use 4 cups leaves, they shrink!)
- 6 Tb Quick-cooking grits
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tb cream cheese
- 3 Tb butter or margarine
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil - maybe
- Gather all your ingredients and set out on your counter - this recipe moves quickly & it is easier if you have everything ready to go.
- Mince your garlic and onion. Cut bacon into bite-size chunks (I keep a package of bacon in the freezer; simply pull out, cut off a hunk and go! It cuts very easily frozen and allows me to add little bits of bacon for flavor, without having to cook a whole package at once.) Set aside.
- Prepare your shrimp. I prefer to buy fresh shrimp at the seafood counter - usually the skins are removed, tails intact, and they're de-veined. However, I had frozen shrimp on hand. Whatever the case - go ahead and make sure they are thawed, peeled, de-veined and ready to go! Have your shrimp on a separate plate than your other ingredients to help prevent cross-contamination.
Gather remaining ingredients and measuring utensils and get ready to go!!! I will go back & forth in an effort to explain how to multi-task cook to make for a quicker meal.
- Spinach: In a medium-large pan cook bacon, garlic and onion on med-low heat until bacon is cooked, but not crisp, and garlic & onions are soft.
- Grits: Combine water, milk, pinch salt and 2 Tb butter in large pot and bring to a soft boil.
- Spinach/ Shrimp: If pan is dry, add 2 Tb olive oil (my bacon was fairly lean.) Nestle shrimp in the bacon goodness - watch carefully. The key to shrimp is not over cooking. Once pink on one side, flip and cook till pink throughout. The second they are a lovely pink - remove from pan! (only the shrimp, leave the bacon/garlic/onions) Set aside.
- Grits: Once it reaches a boil add grits, turn heat down to a med-low and cover.
- Spinach: Add spinach to pan with bacon mixture. Salt and pepper just a little; keep at med-low heat and cover.
- Grits: Stir your grits - they thicken very quickly. When they start to thicken, remove from heat. Add 1 Tb butter, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese - stir until all is melted. Set aside. (Note that mozzarella cheese could be used instead.)
- Spinach: Check - putting on a lid will help trap heat and speed the wilting process. Stir well. If frozen, simply heat thru. If fresh, cook until spinach is completely soft and wilted.
- Layer on plate - I like spinach, grits, then shrimp :) and serve.
I hope I didn't make the process more complicated; I was hoping to demonstrate how each element of the dish could be prepared simultaneously, which gets you kitchen to eating much faster!