Amanda Lee Aday

Amanda Lee Aday is a gifted actress who has delivered powerful performances on television and film.  Her television credits include Carnivale, Private Practice, ER, and Boston Public and her film credits include Crazy in Alabama, Pledge This!, and South Dakota.  Amanda is also a supporter of anti-hunger causes and kindly shared one of her favorite family recipes.



This is one of the first recipes my mom ever taught me.  It is great for sharing with a group! 

Cheese Grits (Soft {for Shrimp and Grits} or Baked)

2 cups quick-cooking grits
4 cups Water
2 cups chicken broth
2 8 oz. packages of American deli cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tbs. jalapeno peppers seeded and diced
3 cloves of garlic finely diced
4 large eggs well beaten

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. and Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
Bring broth and water to a boil. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat to low and cover stirring occasionally. Cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in butter, milk and cheeses until melted. This takes a strong arm and a large wooden spoon (Or several arms! Share the food, share the work I say!)
Add jalapeno peppers and garlic.
*If you are planing on adding the sauteed shrimp or like your grits creamy set them aside now or go ahead and eat them as is. DO NOT ADD RAW EGGS!
Slowly combine the eggs with the grits mixture. (Make sure they are well beaten and the mixture has cooled a little bit. Otherwise you may wind up with grits and scrambled eggs.)
Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set. Allow to cool for 15- 20 minutes before serving.

Shrimp and Grits

1 lb. raw shrimp peeled and deveined
6 bacon slices
1 onion thinly sliced
1 clove garlic finely minced
1/ 2 red bell pepper finely chopped
3 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sliced scallions
salt and pepper to taste

Season Shrimp with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Set aside to marinate.
In a large skillet cook the bacon until brown, but not crispy.  Remove to a paper towel and drain.
In the same skillet add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the shrimp to the pan (with the lemon juice) and gently saute until the shrimp are pink and opaque, turning once. About 5 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from heat. Coarsely chop or crumble the now cooled bacon and combine with the shrimp.
Spoon the grits into bowls and top with shrimp and bacon mixture. Garnish with scallions and serve.

This is not a recipe for those of us on a diet or who are scared of a little butter!
However, this recipe is meant to be shared with a group, So just remember after you've added all that cheese, milk and butter (hopefully) you are only going to be eating about an 8th of that at the most!
I make this every year for a Thanksgiving dinner that serves about 15 people. Yes everyone only gets about one big spoonful and I always get yelled at for not making more, but it keeps 'em asking for it every year!


Thanks to Amanda for sharing her recipe.  If you enjoy her recipe, please volunteer your time and contribute to your local food pantry.