Shrimp and Grits

>> Monday, January 6, 2014

Quick and easy!  My husband loved this dish so I wanted to write it out before I forgot what all I had done.  It was perfect for such a cold night.

Shrimp and Grits
recipe adapted from Tyler Florence
For the grits:
4 c homemade (or organic) chicken broth
1 c milk or cream
1 c stone-ground corn meal
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
2 T butter
6-8 oz organic white cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste

For the shrimp:
2 T olive oil
1 lb organic, no nitrates andouille sausage, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
couple dashes of thyme, oregano, and smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
2 c homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 lb wild-caught, local shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/2 lemon, juiced
garnishes: chives, parsley

For the grits, in a large pot add broth, milk, corn meal, garlic powder, onion powder and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in butter and cheese until melted.  Remove from heat and cover until shrimp are ready to serve.

For the shrimp, in a deep skillet over medium heat add olive oil.  Saute sausage until browned.  Remove sausage from skillet.  Add onion, bell peppers, celery and seasonings.  Cook, stirring often, until veggies are softened and onion turns translucent.  Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Stir in flour to make a roux.  Slowly drizzle in chicken broth, stirring well to avoid lumps.  Add bay leaves.  Once mixture starts to bubble, add shrimp and cook for a few more minutes, or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.  Toss with chives and parsley and serve over cheesy grits.


Week 1 Menu - 100 Days of Real Food

>> Saturday, January 4, 2014

Here is my basic plan for the first week of eating real food!  Some of the recipes below had to be tweaked a bit to better fit with the real food diet.  If I have any real winning recipes, I'll post them as we go.

Breakfasts -

  • Breakfast taco with veggies (onion; red, yellow and green bell peppers; spinach) on whole wheat tortillas
  • Pancakes with organic nut butter and maple syrup (using this homemade pancake mix recipe)
  • Greek yogurt with granola
Lunches -
  • Dinner leftovers
  • Fancy BLT sandwiches; veggies and ranch dressing
  • Nut butter and honey sandwiches; veggies and ranch dressing
Snacks -
Dinners -
Tips and Tricks -
  • I started the week off with the Crockpot Whole Chicken recipe.  After we ate it for dinner, I picked all the remaining meat off the chicken to use later in the week for the Tex-Mex Chicken Chili.  Then I put the carcass back in the crockpot; threw in some onion, carrots, celery and parsley; filled the crockpot with water; and let it cook on low over night.  The next morning I strained the homemade chicken stock and poured it into mason jars to use for the Tex-Mex Chicken Chili too.
  • I made a double-batch of the lettuce wrap filling and froze half.  I love knowing I have a healthy, already prepared dinner in the freezer.  I'd like to try to freeze at least one recipe every week so I can have a nice supply of dinners in the freezer.
  • The pasta recipe made a lot of tomatoes, so I planned to serve the extra tomatoes in the fancy BLT sandwiches.  
  • I saved the frittata until the end of the week because I knew that it was a recipe that could easily be tweaked to include any remaining veggies that I had leftover from the week.  So it became more of an 'everything but the kitchen sink frittata' but it was still delish.  And that's what counts!
  • I loved having my snacks prepared ahead of time for the week.  I usually don't go to grab a snack until I'm already famished, so I knew it was imperative for me to have healthy things ready to eat.


Our 100 Days of Real/Whole Foods Challenge

>> Friday, January 3, 2014

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Andrew and I were tired.  Tired of eating easy to make but unhealthy food.  I stumbled upon the website 100 Days of Real Foods and decided to give it a-go for the new year.  Luckily Andrew was on board!  After reading all the guideline for the whole foods diet, we tailored it a bit for our family.  Specifically here are the goals/guidelines that we decided upon:

  • Try to make as many things as possible from scratch.  For instance, this week I made ranch dressing, chicken stock and pancake mix from scratch - each of which were truly easy and fast recipes.  And they all taste much better homemade than they do store-bought!
  • Cut out processed foods as much as possible.  We are only buying products with 5 ingredients or less and the ingredients must be all-natural.  No chemicals or preservatives or ingredients with ten syllables that I can't for the life of me pronounce.  Our exceptions right now are our bread products - we bought fresh whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat sandwich bread from a local bakery.  I found out that Great Harvest Bread Company makes a whole wheat bread with just five ingredients (whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and honey).  
  • Switching from white flour to whole wheat flour and switching from refined sugars to honey and maple syrup.  This is a process and not something we're doing overnight, but as long as we're moving in that direction, I feel like we're doing well.
  • Incorporate more vegetarian meals.  Our tentative plan now is to try our best to make 3 vegetarian dinners each week.
  • Limit eating out to twice a week.  Period.  The end.  No exceptions!

We spent January 1st cleaning out the fridge and pantry, meal planning and grocery shopping.  What I've found so far (you know, a whole three days in!) is that we saved money making things ourselves but spent more money because we bought more fresh fruits and veggies.  So overall, we spent just about the same amount on groceries for the week.

To be successful in this endeavor, I sat down and spent several hours planning out all of our meals, not just our dinners.  I am not a morning person, so I made a dozen breakfast tacos using this method but making them healthier.  I omitted the meat; added sauteed onions, bell peppers (yellow, red and green) and spinach; and I used whole wheat tortillas.  Now they are in the freezer ready and waiting for me to pop them in the microwave while I brew my coffee in the morning.

I also prepared some snacks to have on hand to help curb my sweet and carb cravings.  For snacks, I usually will grab chips, crackers, cookies or some other unhealthy snack.  No bueno!  I made some homemade granola and stored it in mason jars to keep it fresh longer.  I plan on eating the granola plain just to much on or over Greek yogurt and fresh berries if I need a more substantial snack/meal.  For our other prepared snack for the week, I cut up a bunch of fresh veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, yellow bell pepper) and threw them all in a large tupperware container filled with water.  I eat the veggies with some of my homemade ranch - it's delicious and the veggies can also stand in for a quick side dish at lunchtime.


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