I was born and raised in the South. A few years ago I moved to Pennsylvania, where good southern comfort food was hard to find. So I created this creamy, smoky Cajun shrimp and grits dish to remind me of home. —Kailey Thompson, Palm Bay, Florida
In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and butter until melted; keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Cook and stir shrimp in bacon drippings until shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in Cajun seasoning and parsley.
Divide grits among 8 serving bowls; top with shrimp mixture and the bacon.
If you’re out of Cajun seasoning, you can make your own. There are many different blends, but a typical mix includes salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, pepper and onion powder.