Meal Plan; 13-17 March – Winter is coming with grits n shrimps.

You may recall that I shared that Mother Nature dumped a few inches of snow on us last week. Only 5-6 inches. Nothing serious, and it melted within a day. It was relatively light snow. My trusted 15-year-old snowblower cleared the path and driveway with ease.

It is always interesting when previous owners leave you behind when you buy a house. The person who sold us the house moved to Florida and kindly left behind a large snowblower on tracks instead of tires. At first, I didn’t know why, but within a week of moving in, it dawned on me. This is snow territory!

We live on a small mountain. Not a significant elevation, but high enough to be considered a snow range. When it snows, we often get a few more inches than other parts of the area. Nothing compared to upstate NY in Buffalo or Rochester areas, but plenty for my liking.

For some reason, Mother Nature felt we were overdue a few snow showers and shared her snow love with us this past Saturday when she dropped 8-9 inches from Friday to Saturday. Again, nothing concerning, and I quickly cleared it with my trusted snowblower. By Saturday afternoon, the snow had mostly melted.

Then, she dropped another load during the night into Tuesday. By the time we woke up, schools had been canceled, and 6-7 inches of snow covered the area. Early afternoon, it had increased to 12-14 inches.

Snow looks magical and pretty, but shoveling and moving snow can be strenuous exercise. My cardiologist often reminds me to take it easy when clearing snow, and people have died from a heart attacks when shoveling snow.

That was one reason I invested in my side-by-side UTV with a plow. My wife didn’t want me to exert myself after my heart issues in late 2018 and agreed to this investment. But the damn thing decided not to work this winter. It will not start after replacing the battery, solenoid, and starter. I’m no mechanic, so I placed a service call for it. Unfortunately, it cannot be picked up and repaired until later in the week – too late for the active snowmageddon.

A Gritty Story

Despite being a famous sidekick in the southern states, the origins of grits go way back to before the settlers arrived in the US. It is not clear how far back we need to go, but since Native Indians have used corn (maize) for centuries, it is safe to assume that grits have been around for many years.

In the South, grits were mainly a breakfast dish, but it has become a famous addition to many Southern dishes. It is served with gumbos, shrimp, steak, and chicken. You can add different spices for an extra kick.

Grits are made from corn, soaked for a few days in an alkali, and then ground into a coarse or smooth meal. Nothing fancy, and it is easy to cook using some water. The consistency of grit depends on the version you buy. Some are coarse, and some are fine, each serving a purpose in the kitchen.

We prefer stone-ground grits. It is more coarse and has a more robust flavor.

Nothing too Exciting

We had a relatively calm week, only disturbed by a few snow storms, the famous and annual Nor’Easter.

Sunday night, I made a 30-minute Chili and Mac tray dish that was baked in my Le Creuset family-sized lasagna tray. The simplicity of this recipe is appealing to any busy family, and it can easily “survive” in the fridge for a few days and reheated on plates in the microwave.

Recently we tried grits for the first time some years ago when we went on a road trip to Virginia and North Carolina. It is grits country, so we sampled the local breakfast special that contained a portion of white grits. But, honestly, it was watery and bland.

Fast forward to last week when I made a Southern dish with grits. Damn, it was a completely different experience, and I can comfortably state that I enjoy eating grits. Perhaps it was the combination or the seasoning, but it was good.

Therefore, I’m attempting to improve my skills at another Southern dish containing grits; spicy shrimp with cheesy grits casserole. From start to finish, it was roughly 40 minutes. I used an ovenproof skillet – my Le Creuset deep pan—one dish throughout the process of preparation, cooking, and baking.

I went around the World for a few other meals, from Southern Europe to Asia and back to Northern Europe. It’s essential to try different flavors from around the World. It is a cultural trip through fantastic kitchen experiences with new ingredients and spices.

You have to try new things. Live a little and eat more exciting stuff!

I was on the lazy side regarding school lunches this week. Instead, I made a simple deep-pan Chicago-style pizza, some breakfast beef patti sandwiches, and an egg salad stuffed baguette.

Lunch & Dinner

MondayBreakfast beef and cheese sandwichCreamy pesto chicken with roasted grape tomatoes
TuesdayDeep pan Chicago-styled pizzaAsian beef with mushrooms and snow peas
WednesdayDeep pan Chicago-styled pizzaGerman onion and bacon pie
ThursdayEgg salad stuffed baquetteSpicy shrimp and cheesy grits casserole
FridayBreakfast beef and cheese sandwichTime and weather will tell

One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!

Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is much easier to make food in advance, although you must invest several hours preparing meals during the weekend.

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