Tag Archives: shrimp

Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals

Hello! I hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July. Thanks to some rare impulsive behavior, my parents are in town for the long weekend, so I’m spending time going to shows and museums instead of baking. Love a staycation!

Following yesterday’s festivities, I figure you might be set on dessert for a few days, but you still have to eat, right?! If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to do so in a timely fashion, without heating up your kitchen too much, and with guaranteed delicious results! Summer is too short for boring food, y’all.

Here are some of my favorite summery weeknight meals from the archives!Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals Steak Fajitas

Tex-Mex is my comfort food of choice and, this time of year, nothing sounds more comforting to me than medium-rare steak fajitas wrapped up in flour tortillas and topped with plenty of salsa and guacamole.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsBuffalo Chicken Biscuits

These biscuit sandwiches are perfect for game day, but since weeknight baking is rarely convenient, the quick & easy buffalo chicken filling and homemade blue cheese dressing work equally well on hamburger buns.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsShrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

This is easily my favorite summer meal. What’s not to love about a simple meal of corn, summer vegetables and shrimp?! In addition to slapping this together on weeknights, I find that this makes a great dinner party main. Just add a crusty baguette. And maybe a Raspberry Rhubarb Crisp.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals15 Minute Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I’ve been making this recipe for more than a decade and I’m still in love with it. Quick, easy and, since it doesn’t involve an oven, ideal for a summer mac & cheese craving.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight MealsOlive Oil Marinated Broccoli

Every meal needs to be rounded out with a vegetable, and Olive Oil Marinated Broccoli is one that everyone loves. This easy recipe has only five ingredients, can be served cold or room temp, and gets more and more delicious as time goes on! I highly recommend making extra—you’re going to be excited to eat your vegetables.Friday Favorites: Summer Weeknight Meals
Have you made these or any of my other weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéLast Monday night, I took a picture of a dinner I had made at work that included this simple Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté, among other delicious things. I have received multiple requests for the recipe and, as it’s so dang easy, I am happy to oblige.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéThis quick, fresh one-pan meal is one of my summertime staples. It’s made with all sorts of great seasonal produce like corn and zucchini (duh), tomatoes, spinach, and fresh herbs. And shrimp. And a squeeze of lemon.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéIt’s my favorite meal this time of year.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéI measured all the ingredients out so I could write the recipe for you, but I usually just make this by feel—it’s that simple.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéThis dish is the sort of thing that works just as well for a weeknight meal as it does for a party. It can be scaled up and down without any fancy math—a relief after all the math I did last month.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéYou can adapt this recipe any way you please—take this and make it your own. Don’t care for shrimp? Swap in chicken (but, uh, cook that longer). Halve the amount of corn. Add more zucchini. Nix the tomatoes. Fold in fresh arugula instead of spinach. Use bacon grease instead of butter. Heck, you could even take this in a southwestern direction by adding jalapeño, black beans, cilantro, a dash of cumin and a squeeze of lime! Really, the possibilities are endless.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini SautéHowever you choose to make this…well, just make this.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté
makes 3-4 servings

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp (fresh or thawed frozen)
cloves garlic, minced
1-2 shallots, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
2 cups diced zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears of corn)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 packed cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 medium lemon

For serving:
chopped fresh parsley
sliced or torn fresh basil
lemon wedges

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, and swirl until the butter is melted and any foaming has subsided. Working in batches, cook shrimp about 2-3 minutes per side, until pink and tightly curled. Set aside.

Add remaining tablespoons of butter and olive oil to the pan, and swirl until butter is melted. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add diced zucchini and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in corn and cook for another minute or two. Stir in halved grape tomatoes, salt and pepper. Fold in half the chopped fresh spinach leaves, followed by the other half. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the juice of half a lemon.

Divide sautéed vegetables among four shallow bowls and top each with 1/4 of the shrimp. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and basil over the top of each bowl and serve with lemon wedges.

Sauté is best the day it is made, but may be refrigerated for up to three days. I like to reheat the vegetables by themselves and then stir in the shrimp cold, so as not to overcook them.Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Sauté

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsThis past Friday night I was asked to cater a dinner party for twenty. The guest of honor hadn’t asked for anything but Red Velvet Cake, so I reached out to her early in the week to ask what she would like to have for dinner. As often happens, she turned the question around on me and asked what I thought would be good. My mind immediately went to Shrimp & Grits, a classic low-country dish, to go along with her decidedly southern cake. When I gave her my suggestion, she replied “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.” And so it was.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsFriday came, and with it a quintuple batch of Shrimp & Grits, a big green salad with tomato, avocado, and buttermilk dressing, and thick slices of Red Velvet Cake served to dear friends in a garden in Brooklyn Heights. And you know what? It was maybe the best dinner party I’ve catered so far, and I’ve catered a lot of dinner parties. The food was good, the company was better, and I never really got flustered–a win all around. I was super proud of the work I had done, but I couldn’t help thinking about how I could make Shrimp & Grits “my own.” What can I say? I can’t leave well enough alone.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsAnd so, I spent this past weekend making even more Shrimp & Grits. But instead of keeping it traditional, I added a little southwestern flair. I whisked a touch of cayenne into the cheddar cheese grits. I swapped the bacon for chorizo. I traded lemon for lime. I added traditional southwestern spices like cumin and chipotle powder to the sauce, and I topped it all with chopped fresh cilantro.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & GritsY’all, these are the best Shrimp & Grits I’ve ever had. The grits are super creamy and cheesy with just a hint of heat. The shrimp are smoky and a little spicy with a good hit of lime. Southern comfort food meets the southwest–yum.

The best part? This hearty, comforting meal comes together in under an hour, meaning that you can have Shrimp & Grits any night of the week. And on the chance that you have leftovers the next morning, I highly recommend topping them with a fried egg.Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits
makes 4 servings

Grits:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old-fashioned grits*
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Shrimp:
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces Spanish-style (dried) chorizo, casings removed, quartered, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 pound peeled & deveined raw jumbo shrimp, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 sweet bell pepper, diced small
4 scallions, white and green parts separated, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
juice of 1 lime
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Prepare the grits. Combine milk and water in a 4-6 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, watching carefully so that the mixture does not boil over. Add salt. Whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered until cooked (mine took 20 minutes*). Remove from heat. Whisk in cheddar cheese, followed by butter and cayenne. Cover while you make the shrimp.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add chorizo, cooking until crispy. Remove the chorizo to a bowl. Remove and reserve all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat from the pan.

Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the pan and cook just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add more fat to the pan as necessary. bell pepper and sliced white portions of scallion to the pan and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chipotle powder, cumin, and optional cayenne. Add chicken broth and let come to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of the boiling chicken stock until a gluey paste (slurry) forms. Stir it back into the simmering chicken stock mixture and cook until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Fold shrimp and sliced green portions of scallion and cook for 1-2 more minutes, just to heat through. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice.

To serve, divide grits among four bowls. Top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Leftover grits will keep in the fridge for up to five days. Leftover shrimp are good for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. I used Quaker Old-Fashioned Grits. You may also use quick grits or stone ground grits.
  2. Refer to grits packaging for cook time.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp & Grits