Family Cajun Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.
Jump to Recipe
Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate with pan in background.  It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.

Loosen those pants and get your spoons ready because you are in for a dinner you will not be able to stop eating with this one!  Seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage, garlic, scallions, and pimiento.  Mouthwatering?  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.  Drooling?  This is my Family-friendly Cajun Shrimp and Grits Recipe.  

What makes this family-friendly is that it’s flavorful enough for the adults, but the spice is mild enough for the kiddos.  You can easily spice it up or down based on your family’s tolerance to spice.  My version also uses coarse cornmeal, which is not the traditional Southern fine white grits ingredient.  But hey, I’m originally from a suburb of Chicago and now live in Hoboken, NJ and I love the texture that the coarse cornmeal gives this!

What you will get here is FLAVOR!  It’s sooooo delicious!  And it comes together in just over 30 minutes.  

Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.

SHRIMP HAS SO MANY HEALTH BENEFITS!

I think we all know, at least anecdotally, that seafood is good for us.  However, getting kids or even adults to eat fish can sometimes be difficult.  That’s where Shrimp come in!  It’s one of the most consumed types of seafood.  It has a less-fishy smell or taste and can often be eaten with your fingers which makes it more fun.  So, let’s talk about the health benefits of Shrimp!

Shrimp is low in calories, yet provides a high amount of protein and healthy fats.  It also gives a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  According to this article from Healthline, the primary antioxidant in shrimp, astaxanthin, “may help protect against inflammation by preventing free radicals from damaging your cells.  It has been studied for its role in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases.”

Here are some other delicious and easy-to-cook shrimp dinner recipes:

Spoon holding a bite of Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe over a plate with pan in background. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For the grits, you will need a heavy bottom pot with lid. My dutch oven was perfect for this, but any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great.

You will also need a large skillet/frying pan for making the sausage, shrimp, and cajun sauce. I used my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning. 

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR CAJUN SHRIMP AND GRITS RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

This is one of those dinners that you can prep, but not cook anything ahead as it really does not do well when reheated.  For the prep, you can slice the sausage (see below for more on the sausage), mince the garlic, slice the scallions, and drain the pimiento.  

Make the cajun seasoning ahead as well and if you like cajun, make extra for sprinkling on potatoes, chickpeas, any other veggies, steak, chicken, and so much more!

You can also remove the tails from the shrimp and season.

Cajun seasoning on raw shrimp without tails for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

What is Andouille Chicken Sausage?

Andouille sausage has both German and French origins, but here in the US, it’s found a great deal in southern and cajun cooking.  It’s traditionally made from chunks of smoked pork and other ingredients, such as onions, garlic, cayenne or other hot chiles to give it that distinctly spicy flavor.  

For this recipe, I used a chicken version, which is leaner and therefore, healthier.  It is still smoked and has the other typical cajun flavors and seasonings, so it’s a great substitute.  You can find chicken andouille sausage in any grocery store these days.  However, you can of course use a pork variety.

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Yes, you can use fresh or frozen shrimp.  The key is to ensure that they are cleaned of the digestive tract along the back and that the tail is pinched off.  You could cook this recipe with the tails on, but it’s more difficult to eat as you have to bite off the tail and discard.  It’s really a personal preference.  If you use frozen shrimp, you want to thaw them in the fridge overnight or under running (not standing) cold water.

COOKING YOUR SHRIMP AND GRITS 

The first thing you want to get started is the grits.  As mentioned above, a heavy/thick-bottomed pot works best for even consistent heat with the grits.  Add the milk, water, and salt. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and then slowly whisk in the cornmeal.  Let me clarify…slowly add the cornmeal, but briskly whisk while doing so.  It’s sort of like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time, it takes coordination!  The cornmeal can clump so quickly, so the brisk whisking is important here!

Once completely mixed in, turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, whisking every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent clumping. It is done when it’s thick and creamy.

Whisk mixing grits in pot for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

While the grits are cooking, add a teaspoon of olive oil and the sausage to a preheated large frying pan/skillet. Cook on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate and return the pan to the heat.

Andouille sausage slices cooking in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Add another teaspoon or more of olive oil and then the seasoned shrimp to the pan. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on one side and then flip and cook for only 1 more minute. Remove to the plate with the sausage.

Cajun Shrimp cooking in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

To the same pan, add another teaspoon of olive oil and then add the garlic, pimiento, and scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth along with the cornstarch slurry and whisk as it heats and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Once thickened, add back the sausage and the shrimp.

Whisk mixing the sauce in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Adding cooked cajun shrimp and sausage back to sauce in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Finish the grits. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and combined. Then gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.

 Whick mixing shredded cheddar into grits for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Creamy cheesy grits on a plate for Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Can you reheat shrimp and grits

As mentioned, this recipe is best when eaten right after you cook it.  The grits will congeal and may become lumpy when reheated.  Shrimp also is not a great contender for reheating.  To prevent this, warm gently in a pot on the stove while whisking constantly until it loosens and becomes smooth again.  Unfortunately, shrimp are so delicate that they can easily get overcooked and then get rubbery.  This is what happens when you reheat them.  If you do need to reheat them, do so on very low heat on the stove and remove from the heat immediately when they are warm.

Serve the shrimp, sausage and sauce on top of the grits. 

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.
5 from 2 votes
Print

Family Cajun Shrimp and Grits Recipe

This is my Family-friendly Cajun Shrimp and Grits Recipe with seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.  My version also uses coarse cornmeal, which has a bit more texture than traditional Southern white grits.  It's family-friendly because it's flavorful enough for the adults, but the spice is mild enough for the kiddos.  It's an easy family dinner!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Cajun
Keyword cajun, cornmeal, grits, shrimp, shrimp and grits
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Cajun Seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Shrimp & Sauce

  • 3 links Andouille Chicken Sausage, fully cooked
  • 1 pound Raw Shrimp (size 26-30/lb), cleaned and tails removed
  • 3 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided into 3)
  • 2 teaspoons Minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions
  • 4 ounces Chopped Pimiento, drained
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Cold Water
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Grits

  • 1 cup Cornmeal coarse ground
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter, salted
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I used sharp)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground black pepper

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Mince the garlic. Slice the scallions. Drain the pimiento.

  2. Mix the cajun seasonings.
  3. Slice the sausage.

Cooking Steps

  1. Make the cornstarch slurry by whisking the cornstarch into the cold water. Set aside.

  2. Make Grits. To a heavy/thick-bottomed pot, such as dutch oven, add the milk, water, and salt. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while briskly whisking, to prevent clumps. Once completely mixed in, turn the heat down to low and cover. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, whisking every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent clumping. It is done when it's thick and creamy.

    Whisk mixing grits in pot for Shrimp and Grits recipe.
  3. While the grits are cooking, add a teaspoon (or more if needed) of olive oil and the sausage to a preheated large frying pan/skillet. Cook on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate and return the pan to the heat.

    Andouille sausage slices cooking in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.
  4. Add another teaspoon of olive oil (or more if needed) and then the seasoned shrimp to the pan. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes on one side and then flip and cook for only 1 more minute. Remove to the plate with the sausage.

    Cajun Shrimp cooking in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.
  5. To the same pan, add another teaspoon of olive oil and then add the garlic, pimiento, and scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth along with the cornstarch slurry and whisk as it heats and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Once thickened, add back the sausage and the shrimp.

    Adding cooked cajun shrimp and sausage back to sauce in a pan for Shrimp and Grits recipe.
  6. Finish the grits. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and combined. Then gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.

    Whick mixing shredded cheddar into grits for Shrimp and Grits recipe.
  7. Serve the shrimp, sausage and sauce on top of the grits. Enjoy!

    Cajun Shrimp and Grits recipe on a plate. It has seared shrimp in a creamy smoky cajun sauce with chicken andouille sausage and pimiento.  Served over creamy, cheesy grits.

Light & Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Jump to Recipe

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta.  It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

This is the dinner that dreams are made of.  Creamy and cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo with a hint of nuttiness and a delicious garlic backdrop.  Then it’s topped with salty Prosciutto ribbons that blend perfectly with the pasta.  The cool Prosciutto and the hot pasta is a perfect combination.  BUT, my friends, this is a HEALTHIER and LIGHTER version!  My Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto is beyond belief!  It’s a quick dinner that the whole family will love. 

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta. It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

LIGHTER CAN BE AMAZING TASTING!

One of my favorite tricks with many recipes to get a creamy texture without the flour, butter, or heavy cream, is to use a cornstarch slurry.  Cornstarch is used in many Asian recipes to thicken sauces without changing the color the way a flour roux does.  Once it dissolves and cooks into the sauce, it is completely flavorless, leaving only the flavors from the sauce.

In this recipe, using cornstarch and 1% milk to replace the heavy cream, flour, and butter that is typically in Fettuccine Alfredo saves you 95 calories and 13.4g Fat (8.3g Saturated Fat)!   It also saves you 45mg cholesterol and gives you more calcium, vitamin d, and potassium by using milk vs. cream.

How to use cornstarch

It’s super easy to use because you don’t need to cook it prior to mixing it in the sauce.  Instead, you mix the cornstarch into a cold liquid to dissolve it and then add it to the sauce.  So if you want a clear sauce, mix it into water.  If you want a creamy sauce, mix it into milk (skim, 1-2%, or whole).  You can also mix it into heavy cream, coconut milk, cooled broth, or really any cold liquid.  Then whisk it into the hot sauce and continue to stir as it thickened.  It’s that simple!  And it gives the same creamy texture!  Here are some other recipes where I’ve used this technique!

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta. It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You need a large pot to cook the pasta in and then you can either use the same pot for the sauce or use a separate large skillet/frying pan for making Alfredo sauce and mixing in the pasta. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.  It comes with a glass lid, which is perfect for watching your dinner cook!

Oh, and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR EASY FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

The truth is, this recipe is so incredibly easy, there really isn’t even much to prep ahead!  If you are really pressed for time; however, you could mince the garlic and slice the prosciutto into ribbons, as well as chop the parsley. 

Can I replace Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is sliced so thin, which makes it such a delicate addition to this where a little goes a long way.  If you either don’t like prosciutto or cannot find it, you could replace it with a thin-sliced roasted or smoked deli ham.  You could use bacon, but it will really change the flavor profile of this dish to more of a bacon flavor, which is great, just very different.  You also need to cook the bacon in the pan before making the sauce or cook it separately and then crumbling it over top.  

COOK YOUR EASY FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

In a large pot, boil the pasta until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

While the pasta is cooking, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.

Cornstarch and Milk slurry in cup for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the tsp of olive oil and the minced garlic. Stir and cook for just 1-2 minutes. Careful not to let it brown.  Add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).

Pouring milk into pan with whisk Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Whisking sauce in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto
Add salt and pepper and the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and then mix in the parmesan cheese and Parsley. Finally, right before serving, add the Prosciutto slices on top.Adding cooked pasta to sauce in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Adding prosciutto to pasta alfredo in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Garnish with Parmesan and Parsley. Serve and enjoy!

What Veggie Side should go with this?

I would go with simple Roasted Carrots, Roasted Tomatoes, or a Mesclun Salad.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

My Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto is so creamy with a hint of nuttiness from the parmesan and a delicious garlic backdrop.  Topped with salty Prosciutto ribbons that blend perfectly with the pasta.  The cool Prosciutto and the hot pasta is a perfect combination.  BUT, my friends, this is a LIGHTER version without the heavy cream or butter!  It's a quick dinner that the whole family will love. #pastarecipes #familydinner #easydinners #lightdinners #familydinnerideas #fettuccinealfredo

Course Main Course, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword alfredo, cream sauce, fettuccine, pasta, pasta sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 364 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 10 oz Fettuccine pasta
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water (reserved from pasta water after it cooks!)
  • 1 cup 1% milk (you can also use skim, 2%, or whole)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp chicken base
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 4-6 oz Prosciutto
  • Optional Garnish: extra Parmesan and extra parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it all is immersed in the water and doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, slice the prosciutto, mince the garlic and chop the parsley. Also make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.
  3. Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the tsp of olive oil and the minced garlic. Stir and cook for just 1-2 minutes. Careful not to let it brown.
  4. Add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).
    Pouring milk into pan with whisk Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto
  5. Add salt and pepper plus the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and then mix in the parmesan cheese and Parsley. Finally, right before serving, add the Prosciutto slices on top. Garnish with Parmesan and Parsley. Serve and enjoy!