Healthy Dose of Southern Cuisine: Shrimp and Grits

Food

You may remember my mentioning that for me, wedding planning has meant more than just picking out colors and flower arrangements: it has also meant a reboot on my overall wellness.

Ever since I was a child, I have been very mindful of my physical wellbeing. I workout on a daily basis — it’s my favorite part of the day! But as most of us know, what you eat is just as important (if not more so) and plays a HUGE role in your body composition, your energy levels and how you feel!

Thinking about the wedding dress hanging in my closet, I’ve been recommitting to my nutrition and exploring healthy, delicious recipes to add into my weekly rotation.

In my search for something different, I came across this great recipe from Food Network for Shrimp and Grits.

I’ve always shied away from this dish, knowing that most recipes are calorie-laden and rely on a heavy amount of butter for flavor and consistency. Much to my delight, this recipe is only 367 calories per serving and packs a whopping 34 grams of protein per dish.

It seriously only took me 15 minutes to prepare so keep this one in mind for busy weeknights!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup instant grits
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered.
  2. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter.
  5. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  7. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce.
  10. Serve with lemon wedges.

I paired my shrimp and grits with a side of maple brussels sprouts for an extra dose of southern flair!

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My Latest Obsession: Veggie Noodles

Cooking

For the past year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to eat healthier. Not that I ever ate poorly, per say, but there was definitely room for improvement. On my mission to incorporate more vegetables into my diet and cut out “empty” calories, I came across one of the trendiest health foods: veggie noodles (or “zoodles,” if you will).

I’ve come to truly adore this alternative to traditional pasta (despite my Italian roots) and now use them quite often for quick week-night meals or bring-to-work lunches. This is how easy they are to make:

  1. Sauté the noodles in a pan for 5 minutes
  2. Add your favorite sauce
  3. Top with additional vegetables or protein, if desired

My favorite variation has been finishing the noodles with pesto and topping with lean protein, such as chicken.

You can also enjoy shopping for these noodles in a variety of vegetables (which equates to lots of color!)  and can find them made from zucchini, sweet potatoes or, as pictured above, beets!

Whether you’re a health-nut or not, I encourage you to give zoodles a try. I think you may be pleasantly surprised!