Tag Archives: Polenta

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

30 Jan
BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

I rarely try to do copycat recipes as they never come up to snuff to what you expect, but this one scored in my house. Now, probably 99.9999% of my readers don’t even live in my small town nor either close to it, so we’ll just leave it at that I was able to surpass the taste of this amazing shrimp appetizer dish at a local trendy restaurant.

It probably doesn’t even taste the same, since I never bought their expensive $16 bottle of the sauce to compare it to. (Who buys a $16 bottle of BBQ sauce, what??) All I know is that it exceeded our expectations of how it would turn out. I’m in LOVE! My husband swooned! (OK he didn’t literally, but he loved it too so I had to say it.)

I tried searching for the copycat recipe from our local restaurant (Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails), but all it ever came up with was a copycat recipe for Zydeco 5, which is apparently in the Midwest or thereabouts. So, I googled for New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. Whoa! Too much information. However, what I gleaned from it all is that there were two camps in how to prepare it. Either marinating for a long time then oven cooking, or cooking quickly in a cast-iron skillet. I chose the former after my research.

I printed out several of the recipes that went in both camps, then combined all the ingredients into one full recipe. I got a little confuzzled at one point when I scratched out on one and then switched to the other then went back to the other. OY!

Instead of making grits or polenta cakes from scratch (for time reasons), I went with an organic refrigerated garlic and basil polenta tube from a local grocery. Trader Joe’s sells a similar tube of this product.

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

Note: I’ve offered to bring this to Super Bowl next week as an appetizer, and THEN make it again a few weeks later as the main course for a dinner party. Am I nuts??? LOL. But will be glad to do it.

Second note: I have a high heat/spice tolerance, so adjust seasoning amounts as needed.

This recipe serves two people, adjust amounts if serving more. On to the recipe!

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili sauce (found in the ketchup aisle)
3 tablespoons Worcesterhire sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (I used Stubb’s)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Cajun (Creole) seasoning
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried spicy oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Generous amounts of ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Prepared refrigerated polenta
1 tablespoon butter
Chopped parsley and green onion, for garnish

Preparing the BBQ Sauce

Preparing the BBQ Sauce

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add all the ingredients through to the ground pepper. You may want to add the spicy spices a little at a time until the spice level suits your tastes.

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until it’s reduced just a tad. Add the shrimp to a casserole dish, then pour the sauce over it, stirring around to coat. Spread the shrimp around so they’re in a single layer.

Marinating the Shrimp

Marinating the Shrimp

Cover and place in refrigerator for up to 4 hours or overnight.

About a half hour before you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When preheated, place shrimp dish uncovered in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the polenta into 1/2-inch or so cakes (I wasn’t very precise in that case). Add butter to a skillet over medium-high heat, then fry the polenta cakes on each side until slightly browned.

Fried Polenta Cakes

Fried Polenta Cakes

Place two polenta cakes in a bowl, then add desired amount of shrimp over the cakes, pouring generous amounts of the BBQ sauce over it. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and green onion. Serve with a crusty bread, for sopping up all the sauce. Try not to fight over who gets to mop up the last of the sauce out of the casserole dish.

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

BBQ Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

17 Apr
Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Strange ingredients? Please hear me out. This is NOT weird at all and received multiple thumbs up from the family. Gosh, even the leftovers were awesome. There is something about the down-home creamy corn base from the polenta and slightly sweet taste from the squashes and then the spinach and chicken that just made this an incredibly surprising meal! My eyes gone wide, you know what I mean? WOW! (This actually doesn’t even need the chicken and could be vegetarian, but the meat was already defrosted.)

I had the defrosted chicken breast and a fresh bag of spinach, and set my sights on something new for the combination. I have made my Balsamic Chicken and Spinach more times than I can count the past few years. Somehow I came across some vegetarian polenta and spinach casserole recipes, and tasked myself with coming up with a recipe my family would actually eat.

I found a great recipe with fresh spinach and mushrooms but it used pre-made polenta cakes. Another recipe I found had a creamy homemade polenta base with zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Well, the daughter doesn’t “do” mushrooms, I only had fresh spinach and dried polenta grain on hand, so decided to mix up the two recipes and came up with my own original. You will NOT be disappointed. (Aside note: I was following the vegetarian version recipes and totally spaced on browning the chicken until assembly. Yikes! So please, follow my instructions below instead of doing what I did. Or, omit chicken altogether. It all worked out, we only ate 10 minutes later than the original plan.)

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Ground black pepper, and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup dried polenta (course cornmeal)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic and basil (if yours are plain diced, add dried or fresh herbs to taste)
1 8 to 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh Mozarrella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season to taste with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash. Heat a skillet with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium sauce pot to boil. Stir together the milk and polenta to make a slurry, then add to the boiling water. Bring up to a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (If you want you could brown the chicken now in this step. I just didn’t want you to forget!)

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

When the polenta is done, pour it into an oil-sprayed 13 x 9 or so sized casserole dish and set aside.

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Meanwhile, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and squash and sauté until the onions are softened.

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Add the tomatoes (and spices if tomatoes aren’t pre-seasoned). Bring up to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the browned chicken and mix to combine. Now, by handfuls, tear up the spinach and add to the mixture and stir in until all is added and wilted.

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables ~ WAIT ~ You don’t see that forgotten chicken in the background you had to cook first, right??

Meanwhile (again), preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the vegetable mixture is done, spread it evenly on top of the polenta in the casserole dish. Top with a combination of shredded Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Bake for about 25 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on plates or in bowls. Nothing else is needed, as this is an entire meal! If this weren’t so fugly coming out of the casserole dish, I’d call it guest-worthy (taste-wise)!

p.s. (My sister arrived today from Texas for 10 days, so I might not get a post out for awhile. Enjoy browsing my archives if you want if you are a newcomer!)

Casserole Half-Eaten

Casserole Half-Eaten~ YEP! Three of us pretty much wiped out half of a lasagna pan of this in one sitting!

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

%d bloggers like this: