I combined two of my favorite dishes—fajitas and shrimp with cheesy grits—into this spicy one-dish meal. For more heat, use pepper jack cheese instead of a Mexican cheese blend. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
1 pound uncooked shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fajita seasoning mix
1 cup quick-cooking grits
4 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
3 tablespoons 2% milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1-inch strips
1 jar (15-1/2 to 16 ounces) chunky medium salsa
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, divided
Sprinkle shrimp with fajita seasoning; toss to coat. Set aside.
Slowly stir grits into boiling water. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted; then stir in milk. Keep warm.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion; cook and stir until tender and pepper edges are slightly charred. Add salsa, orange juice and shrimp. Cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp turn pink, 4-6 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Remove from heat.
Spoon grits into serving bowls; top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.
Test Kitchen tips
This is an ideal introduction to grits for people who may not have had them before. Their creamy, soft texture balances the rest of the ingredients and lets the grits shine.
Even though it's a small amount, don't skip the orange juice—it adds a lot of flavor.
Be sure to watch the shrimp while they're cooking and remove them from the heat as soon as they're done. There aren't many things less appetizing than tough, rubbery shrimp.