Today was again a bit of a challenge for me as a mother. My daughter has become very attached to goldfish and animal crackers (cookies) the last couple of weeks, since that was the only stuff we could get her to eat when she was really sick recently. Well, she is all better now, and has turned into the worse eater ever. Every meal she says, “cookie?” or “goldfish?” and then starts to cry incessantly. I decided to strike back today, after experiencing a birthday party this past weekend where my kid was basically the only one eating just goldfish and icing.
This morning, I started her day off with a cheese omelette, a sliced up banana, and avocado pieces. For snack time I offered her sliced apples, and at lunch, I served her the rest of the banana from this morning and chunks of hamburger with sweet tomato sauce. She ate only the banana I gave her in the AM, and said, “no” to everything else. So she went down for her nap with an empty belly pretty much and I was a wreck. However, when she woke up she was starving! I made her a grilled cheese sandwich and strawberries and she ate ALL OF IT!!!! It was a miracle! She never eats grilled cheese sandwiches!!
It is the smalls things for us moms, right? Haha. Just getting our kids to eat will make our days. As for the meal I planned for tonight, I cannot believe that I had enough energy to make it. Polenta takes some time to cook and is super delicate sometimes. When you try out this meal make sure to slowly add the polenta to the boiling water and whisk the whole time. You will also need to continue to stir the polenta throughout the cooking process so that none of it sticks to the bottom of the pan. You do not want the polenta to stick or be lumpy, that is just no good. After the polenta cooks for 30 minutes on low, you can add the cheese, extra salt to desired taste, garlic powder, and onion powder.
You can serve the polenta by spooning it in to dishes like grits, or you can pour it all into a greased pan and form it. If you want to do this you’ll need to let it sit for 10 minutes and solidify and cool just a bit. Turn the pan over onto a plate or cutting board and you can cut the polenta into shapes or stripes, whatever you want! Also, if you do not like goat cheese, you can add just about any cheese you would like that melts well. Some people really like cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar also has a great strong flavor that can stand up against the corn flavor of the corn meal.
I decided to serve the dish with a salad of tomatoes and avocados tossed in a simple vinaigrette. I thought it would add a little bit of lightness to the dish.
Also, this meal is, as always, gluten free. I used almond flour and tapioca starch to bread the shrimp and if you want to make it paleo you can change the polenta out for cauliflower rice, or puree, and cook your shrimp in avocado oil, or olive oil 🙂 Gluten free people: you want to be careful what polenta you buy. Bob’s Red Mill sells a Gluten Free Corn Grits, but they also sell a polenta grits mix, and even though the main ingredient in their polenta is corn, that packet is not gluten free. Bob’s Red Mill is only gluten free if it is in big writing on the front of the packet. When I first started out on the gluten free diet I thought I was safe to buy anything from the Bob’s Red Mill line, but I soon learned that they do not produce all their products in an environment that is free from gluten contaminants. Basically, you just need to check to make sure the polenta you buy really is gluten free 🙂
Also, spices are not all gluten free. You usually need to buy a name brand spice because the store brands usually have a gluten agent in there that helps either keep the spice from clumping or kind of dilutes your spice. I know it is horrible. Also, do not forget that if you buy spices that are a “spice blend” sometimes those products, even with name brand options, contain gluten to keep the spices from clumping or for other reasons I cannot understand. So always check your spices to make sure they are gluten free. I usually do a quick online search and someone somewhere has called that company to find out 🙂
Let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!!
Shrimp with Goat Cheese Polenta
2 cups polenta
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder (more to taste if you want)
1/2 tsp onion powder (more to taste if you want)
4 oz goat cheese
2 TBSP butter
3/4 – 1 lb shrimp cleaned and de-shelled and de-veined
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (add more as desired)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil
1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil with 1 tsp salt.
2. Once boiling, slowly add the polenta while whisking the water constantly. This is to keep the polenta from getting lumpy.
3. Turn the burner down to low and let the mixture cook for 30 minutes. You will need to stir the polenta with a wooden spoon every 2-3 minutes so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Once the 30 minutes is up you can add the garlic powder, onion powder, butter, goat cheese, and any additional salt you desire. Make sure to taste the grits at this stage to make sure they are seasoned to your liking.
5. Pour the mixture into a dish that has been greased to cool and set. Once it is set you can cut it up to serve. This usually takes 10 minutes
6. In a cast iron pan, at enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let it heat up on medium heat.
7. In a bowl, add the almond flour, tapioca starch, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and paprika and whisk to combine well.
8. Add the shrimp to the mixture and toss to coat the shrimp.
10. Once oil is hot, add the shrimp and cook on each side for about 2 minutes or cooked to your desired doneness.
11. Have a plate with a paper towel set up beside the cast iron and remove the shrimp onto that plate to get rid of any excess oil.
12. Plate this with the salad below
Avocado and Tomato Salad with Simple Vinaigrette
2 Roma Tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
3-4 TBSP olive oil
2-3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1. In a mixing bowl, add the olive oil, vinegar, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and whisk vigorously.
2. Dice the avocados and tomatoes and add them directly to the mixing bowl and toss well to coat. Make sure to get the avocados coated well otherwise they will brown fast. The vinegar stops them from browning.
3. Plate with above recipe 🙂 Enjoy!