Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Synthesized from highly-rated recipes found in Southern Living, Cooking Light, and Food Network (Tyler Florence, in particular).

For the grits
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups grits (preferably yellow stone-ground, but quick will work)
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

In a big stock pot, bring chicken broth, half and half, and salt to a boil. Whisk grits in and lower temperature to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick. (Add more broth or half and half if they start to dry out.) Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and butter. Let the heat of the grits soften the cream cheese and butter, then stir well.

For the shrimp mix
1 teaspoon olive oil
half a green bell pepper, finely diced
half a red bell pepper, finely diced
bunch of green onions, sliced thin
rib of celery, finely diced
half a basket of mushrooms, roughly chopped
half a pound of andouille sausage, diced
cajun seasoning to taste (my favorite is Slap Ya Mama original and/or hot blend)

1-2 pounds raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
2 egg whites
a little more cajun seasoning
Optional topping: 1-2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded OR buttered panko bread crumbs

In a deep skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil through andouille. Saute until the onions and mushrooms soften and the sausage browns a little. Dump this mixture on top of the grits in the stock pot.

Add the raw shrimp, lemon juice, egg whites, and another sprinkle of cajun seasoning to the grits mixture, also. Stir well.

Spritz your casserole dish(es) with cooking spray and pour the grits-veggies-shrimp mixture in. Top, if desired, with shredded cheese or breadcrumbs. Bake at 350°F until cheese/crumbs brown a little and shrimp are pink, about 20 minutes.

Yield:  The recipe made enough to fill up a 2.5 quart casserole dish – it could easily be split between two or three 8″ square pans and frozen for later, or just halved for an 11″x13″ dish.

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