Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp with Cheddar Grits and Collard Greens

This is my first attempt at any sort of southern/soul food. If we are judging success based on the amount of leftovers at the end of the meal, this would be a 10/10. I doubled the recipe, in a vain attempt to have food for Ben and I for the next couple days. By the end of the day, it was all gone. Also of note, if you are planning to make this meal, I would suggest doing so before the new year (if you are planning on any sort of weight-related resolutions). I’m not counting calories until 2014.

I found everything pretty easy to throw together. The only tricky part is the timing – The greens take 45 minutes, the shrimp 20 and the grits are instant. So planning is important if you want everything to be hot all at once.

It may not necessarily look pretty, but this food is incredibly good. The ultimate guilty pleasure, if you will.

ngredient list: SHRIMP: 1 bottle of BBQ sauce, 1.5 packs of bacon, sliced in half, 1 lb of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined. GREENS: 1 bunch collard greens, washed, trimmed and chopped, 1 sliced shallot, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1.5 cups chicken broth. GRITS: 4 packets of instant grits, 1.5 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup half n’ half, 4 thinly sliced scallions, salt and pepper.

In a large pan, saute the shallots and garlic in a little oil. Next, add in half the chicken broth and let simmer for about 30 seconds.

Add in the chopped greens, salt and pepper to taste, and the rest of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Let cook about 45 minutes. Check/stir every 10 minutes.

Next, prepare the bacon wrapped shrimp. In a bowl, toss the bacon strips in enough BBQ sauce to coat all the bacon. Wrap each shrimp in a slice of bacon and place on an oiled baking sheet. Tin foil was a good move here, because scraping off baked-on BBQ sauce is not a fun job. Dribble a little BBQ sauce over the top of the shrimp, and throw them into the oven at 425 degrees F for 20 or so minutes. You know they are done when the BBQ sauce is sizzling and they look almost crunchy.

After you put the shrimp in the oven, make the grits. Empty 4 packets of grits into a bowl, and heat 1 cup of water and 1 cup of half n’ half to a boil. Slowly mix in the water/cream mixture to the grits. Add in the shredded cheddar, butter and salt/pepper to taste. Kind of looks like bland porridge here, but trust me–these are full of flavor.

When the greens have completely wilted and absorbed all the liquid, and the bacon wrapped shrimp are done, it’s time to plate. Top the grits with the sliced scallions, and dig in. The grits, bacon and collards alone may not be particularly impressive, but get all 3 on your fork and take a bite. Soo gooood.

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp with Cheddar Grits and Collard Greens
Serves 5, cook time 1 hour

  • 1 bunch collard greens, washed trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 packs bacon, cut in half
  • 4 packets instant grits
  • 1 cup half n’ half
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large pan, saute the shallot and garlic in a little oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in half the chicken broth and stir.
  4. Add in collard greens, the rest of the broth and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the greens are completely coated. Bring liquid to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and cover for about 45 minutes, or until the greens are totally wilted and have absorbed all the liquid. Check and stir every 10 minutes or so.
  6. After you leave the greens to cook, prepare the bacon. Coat the bacon strips in BBQ sauce, and wrap each shrimp in a strip of bacon.
  7. Place the bacon wrapped shrimp on an oiled baking pan covered in foil, and pour a dollop of BBQ sauce onto each shrimp.
  8. Bake shrimp in the oven for about 20 minutes. When the bacon is hardened and crispy, and the BBQ sauce is sizzling, they are done.
  9. When the shrimp have been baking for about 10 minutes, Start on the grits. Empty 4 packets of instant grits into a medium sized bowl.
  10. In a pan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup half n’ half. Bring to a boil.
  11. Slowly mix in the water and cream mixture with the grits a little at a time. Mix in the butter and shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Take the greens off the heat, take the shrimp out of the oven, and top the grits with chopped scallions.

$7 Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

I make this chicken several times a month for a couple reasons. Firstly, it’s delicious. I have never in my life tasted more tender or flavorful chicken, and the skin always turns out extra crispy. Secondly, it’s cheap. Whole chickens are around a dollar a pound, but can feed you for days. And lastly, as you’re about to see, it is extremely easy to throw together.

Beautiful golden brown roasted chicken, full of flavor and the crispiest skin ever.

ngredient list: Salt, pepper, a whole chicken patted completely dry, melted butter, a lemon cut into eighths, a head of garlic cut in half, and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.

You will need a large pan and a roasting rack. Lay the chicken breast side up.

Make sure to pat down the chicken completely with paper towels. The more thoroughly you do this, the more crispy the skin will be. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the bird, then stuff the thyme sprigs, garlic and lemon inside. Next, rub lots of melted butter all over the skin. Don’t be afraid to give it a good massage–something the chicken would really enjoy, were it still alive.

Salt and pepper the outside, tie the legs together with kitchen twine (yes, I used a hair tie), and tuck the wings underneath the body to ensure even cooking. Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes per pound, and take it out when the skin is golden brown, the juices are sizzling and your house smells incredible.

Roasted Chicken 012

$7 Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic
Serves 6, cook time 2 hours

  • 1 whole roasting chicken, about 5 lbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, cut into eighths
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Remove the chicken from packaging and pat completely dry. Lay breast side up on a roasting rack.
  3. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the bird.
  4. Stuff the chicken with the thyme sprigs, lemon wedges and the garlic head.
  5. Pour melted butter all over the skin and massage it in with your hands.
  6. Salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.
  7. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings underneath the body.
  8. Cook approximately 20 minutes per pound. I usually shorten the time–for example, this chicken was 5.88 pounds, and it took about 110 minutes to cook. The inside should be at 185 degrees F.
  9. Take it out of the oven, let it rest for about 10 minutes, and carve.

Quiche Lorraine with a No-Roll Crust

I recently purchased a tart pan to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and have decided to get more use out of it. This week, I made the traditional French dish Quiche Lorraine, and boy, do I feel domestic. I don’t own a rolling pin, though, so I’m not that domestic. Instead of spending 2 hours covering every inch of myself and my kitchen in flour, I opted for the much easier no-roll press-in-the-pan dough. It’s not as lazy as the frozen variety, yet not as work-intensive as roll-out dough.

Quiche Lorraine with bacon and leeks: perfect Christmas morning breakfast!

Quiches are really difficult to mess up. Pie crust + meat/veggies + eggs + cheese/milk = quiche. Don’t even measure it out. As long as it’s cooked all the way through, it will be good. Quiche Lorraine, however, is a different story. Its characteristic creamy and fluffy texture is achieved by using very specific ratios of cream, eggs and Gruyere cheese. It’s about as French as you can get.

Ingredient list: Grated gruyere cheese, diced onions, sliced leeks, salt, flour, nutmeg, olive oil, cream, pepper, milk, bacon lardons, minced garlic and eggs. You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom, which Target sells in many different colors.

If you’ve never cleaned and sliced leeks before, watch this short tutorial. The first time I ever cooked with leeks, the finished product tasted strangely crunchy and grainy. Come to find out, that was straight up dirt because I didn’t wash my leeks properly.

To make the crust, mix together all the ingredients until a dough forms. Grease your tart pan well.

Quiche Lorraine 083
Using your fingers, spread the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, until smooth and even.

Saute garlic, onions and leeks until translucent, about 6 minutes. Fry the bacon lardons until crisp. Lardon is just a fancy term for bacon cut up into little squares. Kitchen scissors works well for this.

To make the filling, whisk together cream, eggs, yolks, s/p and nutmeg. Add in the cheese.

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Pour the veggie mixture into the tart pan, then sprinkle the bacon on top.

Lastly, pour in the filling and cheese mixture over the veggies and bacon. Throw this baby in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes. It’s done when the top is lightly browned and the middle is set (check this with a toothpick). If you’ve reached the 40 minute mark and your quiche is still a little raw in the middle, cover with foil and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Let cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the tart pan, and it’s ready to eat. If you remembered to grease the tart pan, it will pop right out. If not, good luck with that.

Quiche Lorraine with a No-Roll Crust
Serves 6, cook time 1 hour

  • 1.5 cups + 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pack bacon, diced into small lardons
  • 1 1/4 cup cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • s/p to taste
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To prepare the dough, mix the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add in oil and milk, and mix until a dough forms.
  3. Grease your tart pan. Press the dough firmly and evenly into the sides and bottom of the tart pan using your fingers.
  4. Using olive oil, saute the garlic, onions and leeks over medium heat until soft and translucent; about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. In the same saute pan, fry the bacon lardons until crisp. Remove the grease with a paper towel.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, eggs and yolks. Season with s/p and nutmeg. Add grated cheese.
  7. Sprinkle the veggie mix evenly into the tart pan, then add the bacon. Pour the filling mixture and cheese over the veggies and bacon.
  8. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. When the top is lightly browned and the middle is set, it’s finished. If the middle is still raw after 40 minutes, cover with foil and bake a couple minutes more, checking often.

Zut alors, c’est magnifique!