Kids cook: Shrimp and grits

Every now and then I wonder whether I’m a good parent. Do I give them enough hugs? Am I disciplining them too much? Or too little? Are they having too much screen time? Should I institute an at-home Montessori program for them? And just as soon as I start to wonder they do something that lets me know I’m doing things right: Watching an episode of Beat Bobby Flay without my prompting; using kid-friendly cutlery to core and cut apple slices for a snack; critiquing my nightly meals with the ruthlessness of Ted Allen from Chopped. Well, I could actually do without that last part.

Anyway, my point is, I love that my kids enjoy cooking. And bonus points? When they help me cook, they’re more likely to enjoy the meal and eat every bite.

This week, bolstered by our recent vacation to Washington, D.C. (and, yes, OK, by an episode of Beat Bobby Flay in which Bobby cooked an amazing version of the dish) the kids voted to try our hand at shrimp and grits. My kids are like Shishito peppers – one out of 10 times they’re susceptible to spice. And since I’d rather not risk it, we kept it simple — and cheesy. To keep both kids involved, the little one (4) made the cheesy grits in the Instant Pot while the older one (8) did (almost all) the rest. I chopped the green onions and bacon and measured the spices but let the kids do the rest. Us adults added a bit of hot sauce. And everyone, including the adults, ate every last bite. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

We got our shrimp recipe here and did an adaptation of a cheesy grits recipe from our Instant Pot cookbook. One word of caution here: Our 4-year-old cooked the grits in the Instant Pot, which included using a quick release for any steam. In our case, there was no steam to release, but steam can be hot, so proceed with care. If I were making the recipe for adults or kids who can handle spice, I would have added jalapenos or chiles to the grits and/or the shrimp.


Instant Pot Cheesy grits recipe
(Serves 4)


1 cup grits (we used these because of availability, but feel free to use your favorite brand)
3 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese
Heavy cream

1. Add the grits, broth, salt, pepper and butter to the Instant Pot. Stir and secure lid.

2. Select Manual and cook at low pressure for 15 minutes.

3. Once cooking is done, let natural release for 10 minutes then release remaining steam (if any).

4. Whisk in cheese and heavy cream until desired texture is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste (my kiddo said it “needed more seasoning.” An additional pinch of salt and pepper did the trick.

5. Spoon into bowls, then add shrimp and bacon mixture.

Bon appetit!



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