My mother was born in Savannah, Georgia, so many of the recipes my mom and grandma have made over the years, have a Southern flair. One of my favorite Southern foods is grits. They are versatile and give you another option when deciding between potatoes, rice or pasta. Grits are made from dried corn and have a homey flavor that can be served sweet or savory. My shrimp with grits and asparagus is delicious and hearty with a cheesy and lemony flavor. It’s a one-pan meal that is easy to make and can be ready in minutes. No matter where you live, this Southern dish is sure to please.

Belle’s Shrimp with Grits and Asparagus

3/4 cup instant grits

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces.

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 lemon

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, salt, and teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and one tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and sauté for about two minutes. Add the shrimp, garlic, and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half over the shrimp. Sprinkle with the parsley, and then stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce. Divide the grits and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with the remaining half of lemon cut into wedges.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.brendastanleybooks.com.