Creamy Shrimp & Grits

I had grits for the first time when I started going to South Carolina, about 4 years ago. I never really thought about making them myself, and I never really thought I’d actually like them. Boy, was I wrong! I love them. After my trip was canceled this year due to Covid, I decided to try and make some grits myself! These are simple to make, I just used quick grits for the time. Hey, it was my first time…cut me some slack!! Ha Ha! Honestly, even with using the quick grits, they were DELICIOUS and took half the time. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Give it a go!

Ingredients:
Quick Creamy Grits:
1 cup quick grits
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium or water
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 T butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1lb medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 large red pepper, diced
3/4 cup cooked corn, (I used cooked corn on cob, but can also use frozen thawed corn)
4 slices bacon, crispy cooked & chopped
3 green onion, sliced (both green and white parts)
2 t chili powder
2 t paprika
1 t cayenne pepper, optional
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Directions: In a medium sauce pan add in 4 cups of chicken broth, bring to a boil. Once boiling, slowly stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the grits have thickened add in the butter, cheddar cheese and cream. Mix until cheese is completely melted and the grits are creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Season the shrimp with chili powder, paprika, cayenne and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add in 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and let heat 1 minute. Add the shrimp into the pan, cook about 3-4 minutes on each side until shrimp is pink and has a nice golden crust and shrimp is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Next add in the last tablespoon of olive oil and let heat 1 minute. Next add in the red pepper and cook until peppers are slightly tender (or to your preference) about 3-4 minutes. Then add in the cooked corn, season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder and put the shrimp back into the pan. Let heat 2 minutes on low.

To assemble the shrimp and grits, add a large spoonful of grits to a bowl. Top with cooked shrimp, the peppers and corn mixture, chopped bacon and chopped green onion, serve!



Bacon & Mozarella Stuffed Meatballs

Homemade meatballs are so delicious and easy to make. You can mix it up and really make them your own! These meatballs are a pretty basic recipe with a twist. You can use any ground meat you like. Beef, pork, veal, turkey and chicken. I personally prefer beef meatballs and sometimes I add in ground pork as well. My recipe calls for little fresh mozzarella balls and bacon. When you cut into them you taste that salty bacon and the mozzarella is nice and gooey! They are delicious!

Bacon & Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients:
Meatballs:
2lbs ground beef (could use 1lb beef & 1lb of pork)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2-3/4 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 T Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion, grated or very finely chopped
1/4 cup water or milk
1 T olive oil
2 t Italian seasoning
2 t kosher salt
2 t pepper

Extras:
6-8 slices bacon, cooked, chopped in half inch pieces
8-10 oz fresh mozzarella pearl balls
2 T olive oil, for frying

Directions: Preheat oven 350°. In a large mixing bowl add in all the ingredients above for the meatballs. Next using your hands mix meat until fully incorporated with ingredients. Using a large scoop or melon baller form meat into balls. Flatten out the balls and add in 1-2 pearl mozzarella balls and 1-2 pieces of bacon and roll into a ball. The meatballs should be golf ball size. Add to a baking sheet covered with foil. Continue with all the meat.

Options for cooking is either pan fry on the stove or you can bake in the oven. Sometimes I like to sauté in a pan to get a nice brown exterior and then finish baking through in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. To bake in the oven only cook for 30-35 minutes depending on the size. The meatballs should get nice and golden brown. Serve either on their own or with pasta.

Notes: You may need more bacon and mozzarella depending on how big the meatballs are. If you can’t find the pearl balls you can use any other cheese or fresh mozzarella and cut into small pieces.



Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

These buffalo chicken enchilads are a hit for any buffalo chicken fan! These are nice and spicy! Great flavors and a spin a regular enchilada! I made this recipe for someone but I needed to have some pictures so I made 2 for myself just so show how to make and how they came out! Super yummy. Give it a try!

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:
4 cups buffalo chicken (Recipe posted under crockpot meals)
3 cups shredded cheese
8-10 medium soft tortillas
3 cups buffalo sauce
1 cup sour cream

Toppings:
blue cheese
blue cheese or ranch dressing
sour cream

Direction: Preheat oven 375°. In a medium bowl add in sour cream and buffalo sauce, mix well. Take a 13×9 baking dish and cover the bottom with the buffalo sauce. In a medium bowl add in the chicken and 2 cups of shredded cheese, mix well. Next take a tortilla and add in a few spoonful of the buffalo chicken mixture. Roll up the tortilla and place in the baking dish, continue with all remaining tortillas to fill the pan. Note: You may need more or less tortillas depending on how much mixture you put in.)

After all tortillas are rolled take the remaining buffalo wing sauce mixture and top completely over all of the tortillas evenly. Lastly sprinkle tortillas with the last cup of shredded cheese, evenly. Place in the oven and bake 30-40 minutes or until they are nice and bubbly and the cheese is melted. To serve, top with blue cheese crumbles, sour cream or ranch/blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!


Buffalo Shredded Chicken (Crockpot Recipe)

This shredded buffalo chicken recipe is so easy to make in the crockpot! The meat is so versatile you can use this meat so many ways. I actually made for my brother as he loves buffalo chicken. It can easily be used to make a buffalo chicken sandwich or wrap. You can eat on it’s own or top it over rice and noodles or you can also make into enchiladas. If you love buffalo wings this recipe is for you. To keep a little less fattening I didn’t add any liquid dressings like ranch or blue cheese. I used low fat cream cheese. It comes out so delicious!!

Crockpot Buffalo Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:
4lb chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2-3 cups Buffalo wing sauce
1 Ranch packet seasoning
8 oz reduced cream cheese, cut in cubes

Directions: Add a crockpot bag liner to your crockpot. (See link below for what I use from Amazon) Add in your chicken breasts. Using half the seasoning packet of Ranch sprinkle both sides of chicken. Let cook on low 2 hours.

After the 2 hours add in and cover the chicken breast completely with buffalo sauce. Let cook another 2-3 hours on low until the chicken is fully cooked. (Note: It may be less, or more time depending on the thickness of the breasts, Mine were pretty thick.)

Remove chicken from the crockpot and add to a large bowl. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken completely.

Add chicken back into the crock pot and add in the chunks of cream cheese and mix well. Sprinkle on the rest of the ranch seasoning. Let cook another 15-30 minutes until the cream cheese is completely melted. Mix well. Remove from crock put and enjoy. Serve however you like. This recipe is also great for the freezer.

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

I love making a new chicken dish! Especially one that comes out so juicy and tasty! If you like spinach artichoke dip, this dish is for you! I have a little secret too! This dish can easily be made with store bought spinach and artichoke dip for a super quick meal! I actually tried it both ways and I’ll be honest they were both just as good!

Try this recipe whichever way you’d like, but just TRY it!

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts or boneless & skinless thighs
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Topping:
Home made Recipe below or store bought spinach artichoke dip
8 oz frozen spinach, defrosted
1 can artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Romano or parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Directions: Preheat oven 375. In a medium bowl add in the chopped artichokes and spinach (note: make sure to squeeze the spinach to drain out all the liquid.) Add in the cream cheese, mayo, cheese and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.

Heat a medium sauté pan on medium high heat. Add in oil and heat 2 minutes. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides. Brown in batches if needed. Remove from pan and add to a oven safe baking dish.

Add a large spoonful of the spinach mixture to each piece of chicken and spread evenly. Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven 20-30 minutes depending on chicken thickness. The chicken is cooked when it reaches 165. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving!

Creamy Potato Soup

Fall is upon us here in Chicago. I love fall for some many reason, but mostly for the food! I love a nice comfort dish, like a delicious bowl of soup, or a stew or chili. Anything I can put in a cute little bowl and enjoy on a crisp fall day.

Potato soup is one of my favorites. It’s usually the first kind I think about when I am craving soup. This potato soup is nothing short of delicious. I use half and half vs. heavy cream to keep it a little lighter. This is finished off with some sour cream which really takes this soup to the next level. You can easily adjust the flavors. Keep in mind all recipes of mine have my taste buds in mind. However, the spices can easily be adjusted.

I need to talk about these adorable soup/chili bowls I got from Amazon. I ordered them and couldn’t wait for them to arrive and couldn’t wait to use them. They are absolutely perfect for soup, chili, pasta, stew, or anything that need to go in a bowl. Check out my Amazon favorites https://www.amazon.com/shop/garlic_and_oliveoil_veins for the bowls. They are fairly inexpensive and they are oven, microwave and dishwasher save! I can’t wait to use them over and over!!

So, check out this delicious recipe!

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients:
4 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups celery, diced (about 4 stalks)
2 cups onion, diced (2 medium onions)
4 cups russet potatoes, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 -32 oz chicken stock
1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
1/4 cup light sour cream
8 oz shredded cheese ( I used cheddar jack)
2 T grated Romano cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
3 T flour
2 t thyme
2 t rosemary
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t salt
2 t pepper

Toppings:
cheese
chopped bacon
green onions

Directions: Heat a large stockpot/ soup pot on high heat. Add in the olive oil and let heat 2 minutes. Add in the celery, onions and garlic, cook till tender and fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the butter and let melt. Sprinkle the onion mixture with the flour and mix well. Let the flour cook about 3 minutes.

Next add in the chicken broth and mix well. Add in the potatoes and half of the thyme and rosemary. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. After the 30 minutes make sure the potatoes are fork tender.

Remove pot from the stove and use an immersion blender to break up the potatoes. If you want to keep the soup a little heartier you can keep some of the potato pieces whole. I prefer a smoother finish so I make sure all the potatoes are pulsed.

Next add in the shredded cheese and half and half and mix well. Make sure that the cheese is fully melted. Season the soup with the garlic and onion powder, the rest of the thyme and rosemary, the crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add in the chopped bacon. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes mixing a few times .

To finish the soup, add in the sour cream and Romano cheese and mix till it’s fully melted. To serve using a ladle add into a soup bowl and top with shredded cheese, chopped bacon and green onions. Enjoy!

Notes: You can adjust this to make it vegetarian. Use veggie broth and remove the bacon! It will still be delicious. I use low sodium chicken broth in this as well. Keep in mind with doing that you will need to make sure the soup is seasoned enough with salt. I prefer to add my own salt vs getting all the salt from the broth, therefore I can control the salt level.