Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

Spinach & Mandarin Orange Salad

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Maple Coffee

I recently found a recipe for Shrimp and Cheddar Grits that my husband Vince and I really love! Iím so excited to be able to share it with my readers. Itís a great cold weather entree and perfect for February entertaining. Fresh shrimp are not readily available right now but most of us have a few pounds tucked away in our freezers. This recipe is simple and tummy-warming! I usually serve a refreshing Spinach and Mandarin Orange Salad on the side. We like the contrast of the saltiness of the entree with the sweetness of the mandarin oranges and dried cranberries in the salad. The honey-roasted almonds give the salad an extra crunch and we like that, too. A slice of easy and delicious Sour Cream Coffee Cake along with a steaming cup of Maple Coffee is the perfect ending for a perfect meal. Keep in mind when buying pure maple syrup, be sure to read the labels since many contain large amounts of cane and little maple syrup. Finer grades of maple syrup are light in color and contain more flavor than the darker grades. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Cheddar Grits

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat to low. Cook grits, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and butter and stir until melted; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat, add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shrimp; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in parsley, black pepper and hot pepper sauce until combined. Transfer hot grits to a serving dish. Top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with bacon and green onions. Serves 6 to 8.

Spinach and Mandarin

Orange Salad

8 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
Balsamic vinaigrette, to taste
1/2 medium red onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup honey-roasted sliced almonds

Toss spinach with balsamic vinaigrette. Place servings of spinach onto salad plates. Top with red onion, mandarin oranges, cranberries and almonds. Serves 6 to 8.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cake mix and next 3 ingredients; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture into greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Pour half of batter over sugar mixture. Add remaining sugar mixture. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Mix 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. Pour over cake while still warm. Serves 8 to 10.

Maple Coffee

3 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups freshly brewed coffee
Sweetened whipped cream

Combine half-and-half and syrup in saucepan over medium heat; stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Stir in coffee. Serve with sweetened whipped cream. Serves 6 to 8.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of the cookbook, Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi may be reached at 525-0350.