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We’ve all been there. That first week or two of the month, or as I call it, the Odyssey, ’til Friday can be a struggle once rent and bills are paid. I’m well past the years where being fueled by Ramen to get by was considered cool. But, I’m also old enough to know charging dinner on credit cards isn’t the move. So, I will not be eating out for the next couple of days because #thepriceofdinneristoodamnhigh

Armed with a few dollars, I grabbed a couple ingredients and was able to come up with my version of comfort on a weekday with some Polenta and Shrimp. Here’s my take on Shrimp and Grits, but with Stone-ground Polenta and Rainbow Chard.

1 Cup Stone-ground polenta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 head of Rainbow chard
1 small shallot
1 handful of Dill
1 handful of chives
1 serving portion of uncooked shrimp.

I like to do things in tandem because it makes the cooking process go by a lot faster. This meal only took me about 30 minutes to make, and with some strategic planning, you’ll be able to have dinner in 30 as well. The key to this recipe is quick prep, or as they say in the culinary world, “Mise en place.”

Fire up your stove, and in a deep pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil.

As your water is boiling, start by washing your chard thoroughly under running water. Make sure to get the stems as well, as we will be using them in our recipe. Gently strip the leaves from the stem and separate both parts.

Take the stems and, lining them up, proceed to chop them into small- medium size pieces. This part will feel a bit like chopping celery.

Mince your shallots and set aside. At this point, you can roughly chop up your chives and dill and set aside as well. Quickly clean your shrimp by turning it on its back( so it’s facing you) and with a pairing knife slide down the back to release the dark vein you see running through. If you’re short on time, or not as deft with a knife, pre-cleaned shrimp will do.

Your water should be at a rolling boil now. Cook the polenta as per package instructions. Typically, this means pouring a slow steady stream of polenta into the boiling water with one hand and, with a whisk in the other, stirring quickly so as to prevent any lumps. Stir constantly for a little bit, then lower the flame and cover. Stir every few minutes so your polenta doesn’t develop lumps. It can be a bit of an arduous process, but it’s a labor of love.

While your polenta cooks, sauté the chopped shallots in some olive oil until just translucent.

Add in your chopped chard stalks and sauté until soft with a bit of crunch.

Season with salt or any of your favorite seasonings for greens. Toss your roughly chopped chard into the pan (I tend to rip my greens by hand for a more organic approach) and sauté until wilted. Set aside.

In the same pan (sans greens) sauté the seasoned shrimp, about 3-4 minutes on either side. Feel free to steam or boil your shrimp for a low-fat approach it; skip altogether for a meatless alternative.

At this point, your polenta should be ready. Stir in the grated parmesan until well combined. Toss in your chopped dill and chives and combine.

Plate your polenta, top with a portion of greens and shrimp and you’re done. A great weeknight meal to tide you over ’til payday!

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