Santa stop here

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dinner, anyone?

I'm having trouble getting this to shift up so the wording is flush with my pic, but it deletes the pic everytime I try to "correct" it; sorry about the gap. It's here to stay!

My goodness! Abandon your blog for a day or two (or three in my case) and everyone else goes on with business as usual. I have some serious catching up to do in the blog world, and I can't wait to get to it. I wish I could say I was filling out applications for employment and going on countless interviews in my absence, but alas, I was just "otherwise occupied." I'm hoping I can tell you all about what's been going on in my life, but I don't even know where to start-my traumatized child, my grandmother who is suffering from dementia, the new recipe I tried for dinner last night, the visit with my friend whom I rarely see just 'cause life is like that when you have busy kids... Ahh, where to start? I think I'll start with the new recipe I tried for dinner last night. My good friend invited me to bring my daughter and niece over for a "play date" with her daughters and nieces who are visiting from out of town. I'm sure my 12-year-old would cringe at me mentioning her and "play date" in the same sentence, but I don't know what else to call it. Anyway, before I left we were discussing dinner menus. Both of us have attempted in the past to put together simple meal plans that we can shuffle around and plan meals for a month at a time. That is indeed a noble concept, but I have not personally mastered it. In my organized mind, I would have some kind of software where I come up with 30 meals I know my family will enjoy and the computer generates a 30-day meal plan that's different from month to month. It also gives me my weekly shopping list to prepare for said 30 meals so I'm not having to run to the store every other day to get one or two items (which inevitably turns into $40 worth of groceries minus the one or two items I originally went in to get but which I forgot). Anyway, what I have managed to do is come up with theme days for the week. They go like this:
Soul Food Sunday: pot roast, smothered pork chops, fried chicken (compliments of somewhere other than my kitchen because I rarely fry stuff much to my children's dismay) with all of the trimmings--homemade mac-a-cheese, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, greens, cabbage, cornbread, etc. You get the idea.
Mama Mia Monday: all things Italian-
Tex-Mex Tuesday: tacos, enchilada casseroles, beans & rice
One-dish Wednesday: this is my favorite in the winter-stews, pot pies, quiche, chicken & dumplings, stir-fries, etc.
Thrifty Thursday-that means leftovers (if we have Hubby tends to take leftovers for lunch, so sometimes it's slim pickins to have leftovers for dinner) or sometimes breakfast for dinner
Finger Food (fish & chips during lent) Fridays: wraps, burgers, turkey dogs, pizza, chicken nuggets
Soup/Salad/Sandwich Saturdays: any combination thereof. I love homemade soups! I go the extra mile and toast sub rolls and splurge on extra trimmings for the sandwiches when that's the main meal.
We don't always stick to the above themes, but at least if I've waited until 4:30 to start thinking about what's for dinner, I can narrow it down to a specific category and go from there. Okay, I think I'm way off track. I'm supposed to be sharing a recipe with you, so here goes:
Spicy Shrimp with Grits
Servings: 4
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz smoked andouille sausage or cooked link sausage, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mixed bell peppers
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined (tails intact if desired)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

Cook grits according to package directions. Stir in green onions; set aside. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat oil. Add sausage, onion, bell peppers & garlic. Saute about 3 minutes. Add shrimp, tomatoes, salt, pepper & Old Bay seasoning. Cover; cook until shrimp are pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Spoon shrimp mixture over grits; serve immediately.

Eastlyn's review of above recipe...
"3 minute prep time" means you either have a sous chef or you have already sliced your sausage, peeled & deveined your shrimp, chopped your green onions, onion, peppers, tomatoes, etc., and it takes you 3 minutes to retrieve them from the fridge. It took me the better part of an hour starting at ground zero.
I used brown rice in place of the grits because I forgot I was all out of grits and didn't want to run to the store. It tasted wonderful with the rice.
I used 2 Hillshire Farms Spicy Beef sausage links in place of the andouille sausage which one rarely finds in these parts. It added just the right "bite" to the recipe.
I used frozen bell peppers, and my finished product was a little runny. Since this was my first time making this dish I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be that watery or if using the frozen bell peppers increased the liquid. Next time, I will add about a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a little water to my skillet for the final five minutes of cook time to thicken the sauce just a little.
I used the optional 1/4 tsp of salt.
Final outcome: When I first saw the list of ingredients, I almost abandoned this recipe. Then, I realized that most of it I usually have on hand anyway. This was an easy dish to prepare and super tasty-not too spicy or salty, but an excellent blend of textures and tastes. My family give it 2 thumbs ups. We'll definitely make it again. Bon apetit! Until next time...


  1. You ain't said nothin' but a word. I'm trying out this recipe - STAT!!!! Looks divine. I love Shrimp and Grits. Thanks E!

  2. I'm on the south beach diet...this just made me hungry -really hungry. Guess I'll grab some peanuts and drink more water!

  3. The recipe sounds so good! I could never plan a whole month in advance that is too big a chore for me! LOL I do a weekly meal plan and I type it up on word. I list the meals then do a shopping list, then I save the menu so when I am too busy I can just print up one of my old list, then I just go through my pantry and add or subtract things from the list. I am glad you are back and blogging again! Have a great week!

  4. Looks delicious!! I have loved getting so many new recipes from the blogging world! :)

    Have a great day!

  5. lol, nicki, you said "stat", that is one of my favorite words at the moment! hehehe...thanks for sharing the recipe sis! just gotta get some grits and tomatoes and i am set on the rest!

  6. Hey there!!

    There is a website that is similar to what you're describing. It's called Relish! {The website is}. It's a subscription type thing but it's something to try out at least. I've had it for awhile but I don't use it often enough {I really should! I'm just lazy! LOL}. Your meal categories sound good though!! =)

    Not sure if you're aware but your email and your blog are not connected so I can't respond to you by email. Lava smoothies were just layered smoothies. I think it was strawberry, banana and something else. And elephant ears are the fried dough with cinnamon sugar. So yummy!! =)

  7. Sounds yummy! I try and plan out recipes but you are very organized and my kids are very picky. Nothing mixed and seasoned, everything plain and separate! UGH! The recipe sounds yummy though, maybe I'll try it for the hubby!

  8. This looks delicious! I have to start watching what I eat now though! Thank you for your comment! I gave you an award! Have a great Eastlyn! I will keep you posted as to how I plan on losing some of this weight!

    Mama Hen

  9. Thanks for all of the comments, ladies. I appreciate you all. -EW