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A Healthy Way to Prepare Delicious Cajun Shrimp and Grits (RECIPE)

The tradition of shrimp and grits has its history stemming from the low

country of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. In the Cajun country of

Southern Louisiana, we have our twist on it!

This tasty dish has always been associated with unhealthy oils, bacon grease,

etc. In the Cajun country, we also use andouille sausage to satiate our taste

buds. However, it can be high in fat. But, there's an alternative that uses

practical cooking to whip up a tastier and healthier dish.

A friend of mine recently asked, “How can something that tastes so good,

be healthy?” Here's how:

First, get your ingredients ready. For the shrimp sauce, you will need:

● 1 lb. of large Shrimp (preferably fresh)

The trinity fresh seasoning mix

● ⅓cup of green bell pepper

● ⅓cup of onion

● 1 stalk of celery

● 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

● 2 tablespoons of your favorite Cajun seasoning (I love Zatarain's

blackened seasoning, Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic, or Slap Ya Mama)

or ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon of garlic

powder, ½ teaspoon of oregano, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1

tablespoon of paprika mixed together.

● 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive

oil

● A pinch of Zatarain's shrimp and crab boil (optional)

● 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth

● 1 tablespoon of All Purpose flour or ¼ teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

(healthier option)

● fresh green onion and parsley (for the garnish)

For the Grits:

● 1 cup of stone ground grits (this is more nutrient-dense but may be hard

to find in some regions). You could use Quick or Regular grits as a second

option, not instant grits.

● 2 cups of water

● 2 cups of milk (unsweetened almond milk or 2% milk) or 2 cups of lowsodium chicken broth. If you’re looking to cut down on calories, use the

broth instead of milk. I personally enjoy adding a tablespoon of milk as it

thickens just to get that creamy consistency that I like!

● 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

● ½ teaspoon of salt

● garlic powder (to taste)

● ½ cup of mild cheddar or parmesan cheese (shredded)

Now you’re ready to peel and devein your shrimp. I love to leave the tails

on 5 shrimp to garnish the dish later. If they're frozen, run cold water over

them for a while to defrost.

Get a large bowl ready. It's time for some coating! Add Cajun seasoning to

the shrimp. Make sure to coat the shrimp evenly. Once you're done, set the

shrimp aside.

In a medium sauce pan, bring water, broth, salt, and butter to a quick boil.

Stir then reduce heat to a simmer and slowly add the grits. Whisk using a

wire whisk or fork for about 10 minutes (if you've got the stone ground grits,

make it fifteen minutes) or until the grits become smooth and creamy. Yum!

While the grits are simmering, grab a large cast iron skillet. Melt 1

tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil each on medium high

heat and sauté the seasoned shrimp on both sides for about a minute.

Doesn't that smell divine? Be careful though, you don't want to overcook it

or it can get rubbery. After sautéing shrimp, remove from the skillet and

place aside.

Using the same skillet with the shrimp drippings, add 1 tablespoon of butter

and 1 tablespoon of oil. Pour in the trinity seasoning and sauté for 3 minutes

or till it gets soft. Then add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add 1

tablespoon of all-purpose flour and mix well until fully absorbed (this is the

thickening agent for the sauce). Check bottom of article for a healthier

alternative.

Next, gradually add 1 cup of chicken broth and a pinch of shrimp and crab

boil. Stir and let simmer for 3 minutes while sauce thickens. You can season

to taste with Cajun seasoning. Add your shrimp and let it simmer on low

heat for about 7-8 minutes while you check on your grits.

Add some garlic powder to the grits, stir, and cook for about another minute

before turning to the lowest heat. Add the shredded cheese, then mix well

until you have a smooth consistency to your taste. If it's too thick, add a

teaspoon of water or milk and mix until it gets smooth. By this time your

shrimp sauce is ready!

Once the grits are done, spoon into a serving bowl and top it with some

shrimp sauce. You could garnish this dish with the additional 5 shrimp I

mentioned, green onion, and parsley.

At the beginning of this article, I called this dish a healthier alternative. Here

are some tips:

The usual grease — from bacon or sausage meats — associated with this

meal gives your digestive system a hard time breaking it down.

Because of this, your body may decide to store it in your liver and fatty

tissues, giving you all the fat you don't need and then some! If you want to

lower your calorie intake, use the shrimp drippings like I did.

Butter provides flavor to this dish, but it can burn or brown at high

temperatures. The olive oil — which can endure high heat — serves as a

balance to keep the butter from burning.

I used unsalted butter because the Cajun seasoning already has salt in it.

This will reduce the quantity of sodium in the food and keep your blood

pressure from rising.

Stone ground grits are made from whole dried corn kernels and are less

processed than regular grits. You guessed it! This makes stone ground

grits more nutrient-dense than regular grits.

For the sauce, xanthan gum is a healthier thickening agent in place of All

Purpose flour. It is low in carbs and gluten-free!

Tip: Add the xanthan to a cup of whatever liquid you’re using and mix

before adding to the sauce.

Now, you can enjoy your healthy dish!

Click Here to Download the Recipe

This week'sBlog

An ongoing series of informational entries

My Latest Blog Entry 

April 11, 2020

I must admit, I've been guilty of invading the refrigerator and popping the first sweet savor I see in my mouth. This whole social distancing, quarantine living phenomenon, has inevitably contributed to a prevalent dilemma for millions of people all over the world-Overeating!  I exercise regularly, I'm a pretty disciplined person when it comes to eating in moderation, but at times I have battled with overeating.


 If I'm bored, feeling a little stressed from work, or just having a late night snack attack...I binge eat! "Since I'm up late anyway, I might as well!" 

The truth is, being in quarantine can blind you to portion control. It's easier to just grab the whole package of chips and have your way until you realize the tip of your fingers are scrapping the crumbs at the bottom. 


Overeating can contribute to becoming overweight and if not careful, can lead to obesity and other health challenges!

Here are some tips on how not to overeat in quarantine! 

  • Create a scheduled time for meals and snacks-Post it in plain view. This way you'll have a constant reminder to stick to the plan!
  • Exercise- Take advantage of online workouts, walk/jog around your neighborhood, ride your bike.....something is better than nothing! 
  • Pray, journal, read, paint, watch a movie, try a new recipe! Be frugal with time! 

                                                                                               -Melanie Raby

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