Friday, May 27, 2016

Culinary Pursuits: Shrimp & "Grits" Stuffed Bellpeppers

Where my G.R.I.T.S. at?! For those of you who don't know, G.R.I.T.S. stands for Girls Raised in the South. Southern girls are a special breed, and this southern gal has a super fun and fancy sounding dish that's deceptively healthy and simple to make. Who here likes shrimp and grits?!

Fun fact: Since I was born and raised in South Carolina where shrimp and grits happens to be the official state dish, I know a thing or two about some grits. I loved eating them growing up with sausage, cheese, or puddin' (Google it if you don't know what that is!), but with my transition to a healthier lifestyle I've all but stopped eating them sans the special occasional treat. Fortunately, I've found a way to partake in this Southern favorite that fits within my healthier lifestyle. Enter my shrimp and "grits" stuffed bell peppers where the "grits" are really pulsed cauliflower (shhh, don't tell the kids). Check out the recipe below:
This is what you'll end up with:) Keep reading to see how I made it!

Ingredients:
16 ounces of Green Giants cauliflower crumbles* (see note below)
3 medium sized bell peppers
1 tablespoon of olive oil (toss the shrimp in)
Olive oil cooking spray (I used Pam)
12 oz of medium shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup of So Delicious Dairy Free unsweetened coconut milk** (see note below)
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of goat cheese for garnish
This is what the packaging looks like for the Cauliflower Crumbles.
Flavor:
Black pepper (see directions for specific amounts)
Sea Salt (see directions for specific amounts)
1/2 tsp of Tony Chachere's creole seasoning

Directions:
The night before toss your shrimp in a tablespoon of olive oil with Tony Chachere's creole seasoning, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover shrimp with saran wrap and let marinate overnight. (If you don't have time for this step just do it for 15 minutes and it'll still come out tasty).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice your bell peppers in half, discarding the seeds and the stems. Spray each half with olive oil cooking spray and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Put your bell peppers in the oven and let them roast for 35 minutes.
Add cauliflower, coconut milk, and onions to food processor. Do not cook/steam the cauliflower before pulsing! If you do that, you're likely to end up with a texture more reminiscent of mashed potatoes than of grits.
Pulse in short bursts until it has a grits like texture (3-4 mins).
This is what it should look like.
Remove the cauliflower mixture from your food processor and put it into a pot on the stove at medium-high heat.
Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and a tablespoon of unsalted butter to the mixture and stir regularly for 5 minutes.

Lower the stove temp to a simmer, cover the pot, and let the cauliflower cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While your cauliflower is simmering, cook your shrimp on medium-high heat (~45-60 secs per side, then flip).
Once your bell peppers are done roasting, take them out of the oven.
This is what the "cauliflower" should look like when your done.
Scoop 1/2 cup of the cauliflower mixture into each bell pepper and don't skimp on the shrimp! I topped each bell pepper half with about 5-6 pieces. Sprinkle ~1 tablespoon of goat cheese on top of each bell pepper half and pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
shrimp and grits

Let them cool for a few minutes, plate, then dig in!

Notes:
*I got the cauliflower crumbles at Walmart, but I've also seen them at Target. If you can't find them though, no worries. Just coarsely chop a large head of cauliflower and pulse it a little longer to get the grits like texture.

**If you're worried, I couldn't detect any coconut at the end.

You can't beat this meal. It's got veggies and seafood with incredible flavor and it's nice and filling.
Bonus: This tastes even better on day 2 and day 3 (if it lasts that long!) If you have leftovers, I recommend mixing the shrimp in with the "grits" so that the "grits" can soak up some of the creole seasoning from the shrimp.

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend:)


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