Grab Your Girlfriends and Have a Peachy Shrimp & Grits Brunch

 Time together with your friends is so important.  Life can get so busy.  Sometimes we just need to get together with our friends for a little time of creativity and conversation.  I'm blessed to have friends who are pretty similar to me in the fact that they also like to create in the kitchen.

I'm lucky to have found my real-life tribe.  They're goofy, life-loving people who, like me, love cooking, fitness and letting loose sometimes with a little (or sometimes a lot) of beer and wine. We try to keep it balanced, you know. . . . . between the good for us stuff and the fun for us stuff.  Can you see me winking?  Probably not. . . . because I'm not coordinated enough to wink, but if I was, I'd be winking right now.

My friends and I centered this brunch around a peach-y theme because I had some Peach Pepper Jelly that I was able to try out from Jennifer's Kitchen.  The jellies added the perfect amount of sweet & spicy to our Shrimp & Grits menu, although we all agreed that the jellies are awesome just out of the jar!

I was offered the chance to try out these amazing Pepper Jellies from Jennifer's Kitchen.  My friends and I adored them!!  We were all really impressed.

Disclosure:  I received (2) 4 oz. jars of pepper jellies for free in exchange for my opinion.  All opinions are 100% mine (and my friends').  

When I was trying to decide how I was going to use the pepper jellies, Shrimp & Grits popped into my head.  Who knows why?!?  But, I'm sure glad it did.  The Peach-y Shrimp & Grits brunch turned out awesome!!

Back when I was a new mother and belonged to mommy groups, I used to like to "pamper" my mom friends sometimes with brunches at my house.  I would clean my house and kitchen for days and find recipes that could be cooked simultaneously and I would have the perfect plates and placemats and silverware.  I would try to have everything perfectly cooked and perfectly decorated and perfect for everyone the moment they walked in the door.  It was a weird compulsion.

Now that my kids are older, I've dropped the whole "perfection" thing.  At this point, we all know there's no such thing as perfect.  Part of the fun of getting together now is preparing the meal together.

So, although I came up with the Shrimp & Grits idea, my friends helped me tweak the main part of the recipe that we used.

I have had Shrimp & Grits so many different ways.  It seems that each different restaurant has their own twist on the recipe.

I added my own twists to the recipe as well.

We had Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta topped with Peach & Pepper Grilled Shrimp and Peach Pepper Candied Bacon Bits.

Doesn't it Sound Amazing?!?!

The creamy tang of the goat cheese compliments the sweet succulent peach components of our peach-y Shrimp & Grits recipe perfectly.  We added a sriracha sauce to add some heat to the grits.  Then we topped our grits with Peach Pepper grilled shrimp and Peach Pepper Candied Bacon.

Add a glass of Peach Green tea and a Spring mix salad with a grilled peach half and your brunch is complete.

Here's the order we did things in:
  1. We started the bacon first because we figured it would take the longest time.  
  2. Then, we started our marinade and marinated our shrimp. 
  3. Next,  we started the polenta.  
  4. Finally,  we grilled the shrimp and peaches on an indoor grill pan.

What was the main part of our recipe?    That's up for debate.  There were so many good parts.  My favorite part was probably the peach pepper candied bacon, but the part that my friends helped me create was the Peach Pepper Marinade and Salad Dressing

Peach & Pepper Candied Bacon

2 strips of bacon for each person
2 - 3 Tablespoons of Jennifer's Kitchen Peach Pepper Jelly
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Place bacon on a rack on top of a baking pan. 
  • Cook bacon for 10 minutes in preheated oven. 
  • Flip and cook bacon for 5 minutes more. 
  • Take bacon out and brush with Peach Pepper Jelly and put back in for 5 minutes. 
  • Take bacon out and flip and brush other side with Peach Pepper Jelly and cook again for another 5 minutes.   
  • Repeat flipping and basting bacon every 5 minutes until bacon is as crisp as you like it.  Ours was in the oven a total of 35 minutes~~we all like ours crisp.  
The bacon was perfectly sweet, salty, sticky & crunchy.

The Peach Pepper Marinade and Salad Dressing.  
This recipe is not exact.  We tried to get the amounts as close to what we used as possible, but since different people like different things, you can tweak it to suit your own tastes.  If you're not a big fan of ginger, you can leave it out.  If you like things a little sweeter, you can add more honey or mandarin juice. Like things spicy?  Add some crushed red pepper.

Ingredients for the Marinade and Dressing:
3 Tablespoons Jennifer's Kitchen Peach Pepper Jelly
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice from 2 Mandarin Oranges
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 oz. lemon water  (made with 1 cup water and 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice)
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
dash of salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
dash of crushed red pepper

  • Whisk all ingredients together.

Recipe makes 1 cup.  Use 1/2 cup to marinate the shrimp for 15 minutes.  

Save other 1/2 cup to put on Grilled Peach Salad.

Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
1 1/3 cup polenta

4 oz. goat cheese

  • Bring water and salt to a boil in a large pot. 
  • Add polenta and sriracha sauce, turn to medium-low and cook until all water is absorbed (about 5 minutes) while stirring occasionally.  Be careful.  Grits and Polenta spatter when cooking and can burn you.  
  • When all water is absorbed, turn heat off. 
  • Add goat cheese and stir until all the cheese is melted into the polenta.  

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches

12 oz. frozen jumbo easy peel uncooked shrimp (thawed) that has been marinated for 15 minutes in 1/2 cup of the Peach and Pepper Marinade
2 peaches, cut in half, pit removed

We used easy peel shell-on shrimp because I read that they're great for grilling and help keep the shrimp juicier.

  • Skewer an equal amount of marinated shrimp onto skewers for each person. 

  • Wipe an indoor grill pan with a little vegetable oil. 
  • Heat indoor grill over medium heat until hot.  The grill will sizzle when a drop of water is added. 
  • Put the peaches face down on the grill. 
  • Place the shrimp skewers on the grill.   
  • Turn the shrimp and peaches after 3 minutes and cook on the other sides for 3 more minutes. 
  • Remove from heat immediately after the 3 minutes on the final side.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Grilled Peach Salad
Place 1 - 1 1/2 cups of Spring Mix in each person's bowl and top with a grilled peach half.  Let each person put their own Peach Pepper Salad Dressing on.

Iced Peach Green Tea-- to be made before your friends show up.
5 green tea bags
1 quart of water
3 packets of Truvia sweetener
1 peach, peeled and sliced
2 handfuls of ice

  • Brew 5 bags of green tea in 1 quart of water.  Let steep for at least 5  minutes or until cool. 
  • Mix in 3 packets of Truvia sweetener. 
  • Pour into a pitcher over a couple handfuls of ice and peeled peach slices from one peach.

I also made lemon mint ice cubes to put into our tea glasses.  We used the lemon water that we used in the salad dressing.  Make the lemon water by combining 1 cup of water with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.  Pour the water into an ice cube tray.  My ice cube tray only held 4 oz. of the water.  Place one mint leaf into each ice cube.

We had so much fun.  It was nice to create a meal together, then sit down and chat about everything going on in our lives right now.  Girlfriend time is good for the soul.  

Thank you to Jennifer's Kitchen for allowing us to try the Pepper Jellies that became our inspiration for some much needed girls' time!!

You can find all about Jennifer's Kitchen Pepper Jellies in these ways:
@fromjenniferskitchen on Instagram 
Jennifer's Kitchen Facebook page

You can also find Jennifer's Kitchen pepper jellies on Amazon!

 (affiliate link If you purchase through this link, I may make a small commission)
How often do you get together with your friends?
Have you ever tried pepper jellies before?



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