Archive | Ten Minute Meals RSS feed for this section

Shrimp and Grits

24 Jan

Get in my belly.


I have been obsessing over the idea of shrimp and grits since seeing it served as a brunch item in a New Orleans episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. How could anything combining those two foods possibly be bad? So I set to work researching recipes, and in the end I pulled what I liked best from each to make my own simplified, quick-cooking version (in some cases the recipes were projected to take up to 40 minutes to prepare!).

This meal was easy, spicy, filling and delicious served alongside a dish of wilted greens. I’ll be making this again — probably with a few tweaks and maybe the addition of some diced tomatoes or green onions to the shrimp and garlic mixture — but Steven and I both loved it as it is.


  • 2 cups grits, prepared according to box directions (I used Quaker brand — 2 cups boiling water, 2/3 cup dry grits, done in 5 minutes)
  • 3/4 lb medium-sized frozen cooked shrimp, tail-on — thawed, rinsed, and drained
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided in half
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • dash Frank’s Hot Sauce


  1. Prepare grits according to package directions (don’t forget to salt the boiling water before adding the uncooked grits).
  2. While grits are cooking, melt 2 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add shrimp and lemon juice. Cook until shrimp are warmed through and starting to curl. (At this point I drained off all of the cooking liquid, which was a considerable amount. Next time I’ll probably save some to thin out the grits and add a bit of briny, seaside flavor to the entire dish.)
  4. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and hot sauce to shrimp and toss to coat. (I added quite a lot of spice to mine, probably 1 1/2 tsp cayenne.) Cook 2-3 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  5. Remove prepared grits from heat. Add 2 tbsp butter and 1 cup cheddar cheese, stir until cheese has melted.
  6. Divide cheesy grits between two bowls. Top with the shrimp and garlic mixture. Serve immediately.

Makes two adult-sized portions.


Ten Minute Lobster Ravioli and Peas in Parmesan Cream Sauce

5 Jan

In the past I’ve tried to refrain from plugging specific products and chains here at the Grocery Project. However, I’m a firm believer in giving some credit where credit is due — and Trader Joe’s definitely deserves some accolades. It’s difficult to argue with cheap gourmet foods that are ethically sourced and (most of the time) free of the extras that make some preprepared meals no better than a trip through the drive thru.

When I grocery shop, I try my hardest to avoid purchasing items that can be made at home, focusing on acquiring multi-use ingredients instead of one-time food products for both economical and health reasons. Why spend upwards of $3 on a tube of refrigerated dinner rolls when a tasty yeast-free (and therefore rise-free) recipe can be whipped up at home in forty minutes for less than 1/5 the cost, free of preservatives and additives? That said, there are some items that I have a difficult time fitting into that philosophy because…well, because they just take too damned long to make. Case in point: ravioli.

I tried once to make homemade pasta. As a hobby, as a bonding event between mother and daughter, as a way to impress the in-laws, I’m sure it may be worth it. For me, it was not; it took the better part of a Sunday and yielded less than two days’ dinners’ worth of fat, chewy noodles. I’m sure it gets easier with practice, if I had the desire to invest the time to better my techniques. I am a realistic, efficient woman — I do not have the desire. Especially not when there are so many alternatives. Alternatives filled with lobster.

Enter Trader Joe’s lobster ravioli. At $3 and change per package, they seem like an expensive item. However, this is lobster we’re talking about — fluffy, dreamy pasta pillows of salty, buttery lobster filling. They stand alone so well that I’ve even served them simply, drizzled in melted butter and sprinkled with grated pecorino. But when you add in a quick and painless homemade parmesan cream sauce and a handful of sweet frozen peas, you are looking at a filling and well-balanced meal for two — all in ten minutes for less than $3 a plate (glass of wine not included!)


Half eaten already.


  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Lobster Ravioli (found in the refrigerated section)
  • 1/3 package Trader Joe’s petite frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced (or smashed through a garlic press)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (may substitute half and half, but sauce will be thinner)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • dash of nutmeg
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Prepare lobster ravioli and peas according to package directions.
  2. In the meantime, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not brown.
  3. Add heavy cream and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cream is warmed through.
  4. While stirring continuously, add parmesan to cream mixture. When parmesan is incorporated, add paprika, nutmeg, and black pepper.
  5. Allow to cook until thickened and starting to bubble, approximately 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent cream from scalding. Remove from heat.
  6. Drain cooked ravioli and divide between plates. Top each plate of ravioli with half the peas and parmesan cream sauce. Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper and extra grated parmesan if desired.
Makes two adult dinner-sized portions.