Easy dinner recipes: Creamy grits ideas with shrimp and cheese

It doesn’t get much simpler than shrimp and grits.

But Bar / Kitchen at the O Hotel takes this classic comfort food to new heights, with large Mexican shrimp cooked in a rich creamy sauce spiced with minced Spanish Bilbao chorizo and a helping of Sriracha hot sauce. Spooned atop cheesy stone-ground grits, it’s heaven on a plate.

Looking for something a little more traditional? Try the grits from the Old Firehouse Restaurant in Hollywood, S.C. Large shrimp are tossed with a little garlic, country ham and baked with butter to succulent tenderness. Plate the shrimp over a large spoonful of rich, creamy grits and serve hot. Best of all? The whole dish comes together in only 40 minutes. No, it doesn’t get any better than this.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

If you’re looking to keep it simple (and vegetarian), you can’t beat a bowl of creamy cheesy grits from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” by Ree Drummond. Cook the grits, then fold in rich egg, a little garlic, a touch of cayenne and a healthy dose of grated sharp cheddar (you can substitute almost any cheese -- use what you like) and you have a taste of heaven on a plate. The whole dish comes together in less than an hour.
You can find all three recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 4 to 8

Note: Adapted from Bar / Kitchen in Los Angeles. While this recipe calls for stone-ground grits, regular grits may be substituted, though they will not require as much cooking time or liquid; instant grits should not be substituted.


6 cups milk

1 cup stone-ground grits

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits to avoid any lumps. Stir in the salt and pepper.

2. Reduce the heat and simmer the grits, stirring occasionally, until they start to thicken, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, a little at a time. Gently simmer, stirring frequently to keep the grits from scorching, until the grits are softened and thickened, about 30 to 45 additional minutes. Slowly stir in the Parmesan. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if desired.

Shrimp and grits

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 to 16 large Mexican white shrimp (less than 15-per-pound count)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup minced Spanish chorizo Bilbao

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

4 teaspoons chopped white onions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, or similar hot sauce, more if desired

1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

2 cups heavy cream

Prepared grits

Chopped chives, for garnish

1. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté, searing the shrimp on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes (the shrimp will not be fully cooked yet). Remove the shrimp to a plate.

2. Add the chorizo and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Cook until the onions just begin to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, white wine and Sriracha, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika and season with three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

3. Stir in the cream and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Add the shrimp back to the pan and increase the heat to high. Continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, and season if desired.

4. Divide the grits among four bowls or plates and top with the shrimp. Pour over the sauce, and garnish with chopped chives.


Each of 8 servings: 766 calories; 25 grams protein; 28 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 61 grams fat; 35 grams saturated fat; 289 mg cholesterol; 11 grams sugar; 960 mg sodium.

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from Old Firehouse Restaurant in Hollywood, S.C.

Hollywood shrimp

Oil, for sautéing

1/2 pound sliced country ham

3 pounds (21 to 25 count per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons minced garlic

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, melted

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large lightly oiled skillet, sauté the country ham over medium heat until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then slice or chop; the restaurant juliennes the ham.

2. In a large casserole (about 11 by 15 inches), place the peeled shrimp in a single layer. Top the shrimp with the minced garlic, country ham and drizzle with melted butter. Place the casserole in the oven and cook just until the shrimp are opaque and firm, about 15 to 25 minutes. Serve the shrimp over the cooked grits.


2 cups water

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup grits

2 tablespoons heavy cream

In a 3-quart stock pot, combine the water, milk, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then stir in the grits. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, following the package instructions. Remove from heat, and stir in the cream for added richness. This makes about 4 cups cooked grits. Serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 609 calories; 47 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 35 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 358 mg. cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 1,470 mg. sodium.


Total time: 55 minutes

Servings: 12

Note: Adapted from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” by Ree Drummond. Though the recipe suggests using sharp cheddar, she mentions you can “use whatever variety of cheese you like: cheddar, Pepper Jack, Mexican cotija. Even goat cheese (chevre) is sublime in grits.”

9 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt, more if desired

2 cups uncooked quick or regular grits

4 eggs

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoons

3 cups grated cheese, preferably sharp cheddar, more if desired

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine the water and salt over medium heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, stir in the grits.

2. Cover the pan and finish cooking according to the directions on the package. Remove from heat when the grits are cooked.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir a couple of spoonfuls of the grits into the eggs and quickly whisk together to temper the eggs. Immediately stir in the rest of the grits until fully incorporated.

4. Add the butter and stir until it is melted and incorporated, then stir in the cheese until melted and combined. Stir in the garlic and cayenne. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt or cayenne if necessary. You could also add more cheese if you think that will bring happiness to your life, but keep in mind that cheese increases the salt and fat content, as well as the number of calories.

5. Pour the grits into a well-buttered 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake until the grits are hot and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes before serving. The grits will become firmer as they cool.

Each serving: 341 calories; 12 grams protein; 23 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 23 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 131 mg. cholesterol; 301 mg. sodium.


19 sandwich recipes!

99 easy dinner recipe ideas

Easy dinner recipes: Chicken, chicken and more chicken