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Quick and easy shrimp and grits

From May  to December, which is shrimp season, a breakfast favorite for Charleston fisherman has been Shrimp and grits .  It is referred to as breakfast shrimp.  In recent years, this dish has become popular in restaurants throughout the South.  It is not considered just a breakfast dish any longer. 

Taking a family out to eat these days can be very expensive.  Learning to make a popular dish at home and adding your own flavor to it is a great budgeting tool.  Shrimp and grits would be one of these dishes.  The average restaurant charges between $12 to $18 per person.  You can make this at home for about $12 to $15 dollars depending upon the ingredients you use.  This should feed a family of 4.

For the grits, make them the type you normally make whether it is stone ground or quick cooking.  It is said that a true Southerner would never think of using quick cooking grits.  I was born and raised in the South and use them all the time.  I know many Southerners that use them too.  You will be forgiven.  The only change to your normal recipe is to use milk and stock instead of just water.  Add garlic, shredded cheese, butter, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.  For a different presentation, make the grits early in the day.  Spread them out in a long pan to cool.  Refrigerate until set.  Cut rounds out of the grits and place on a buttered cookie sheet.  Bake until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.  This adds a great texture to the grits.

For the Shrimp, watch local stores for sales on pre-cooked shrimp.  You can find them for $5 for a 16 ounce bag or buy one get one free.  Buying them pre-cooked cuts the cooking time and preparation.  Just put them in cold water to thaw while you prepare everything else. 

With the sauce, be creative.  You can just sauté onion and garlic.  Add the shrimp and serve on top of the grits.  But for a more rounded meal, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the onions while they are sautéing.  Keep stirring and add 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups milk depending upon desired consistency.  Add 1 cup shredded cheese, chopped cooked bacon, ham, or any type of sausage.  For an added flair add chopped tomatoes.  Check out Southern food at about.com for more recipes.

Make the dish your own and your family will be very impressed.  Invite friends over for a dinner party and WOW them.  Bringing a taste of Charleston to your dinner table will become a family favorite.

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