Grits: The New “Cool” Food?

I have been eating grits since I was a toddler.  Grits were in regular rotation in my mom’s kitchen, usually for breakfast,  but also with fish for dinner sometimes. Our typical ways of eating grits were with a sunny-side-up egg mixed in, topped with salt and pepper, or with American cheese mixed into a bowl of plain grits. Sometimes I’d even just have a bowl with a pat of butter and some pepper on top. All three ways are delicious, I have to say. I love grits!

Grits are definitely a food that hail from the South in the U.S.  We have a long-standing joke that a Southern waitress asked a customer who was from “up North” if he wanted some grits with his breakfast, and he said, “Sure, I’ll try one.” :) I guess they’re not eaten much outside the South! If you haven’t tried them, no matter where you’re from, you must give them a chance!  Just, please, don’t even think about using instant grits. I’ve tried those, in a packet that you mix with water in the microwave, and they were just terrible. The “quick” grits are much  better, and don’t take much longer.

For more Information about grits click the link and read about what they’re made from (corn), how they’re made (it’s interesting!) and how to cook them.

I read a lot of food blogs, watch quite a few cooking shows, and read some cooking magazines.  I see more and more recipes that include grits in the recent months. I wonder if they’re becoming the new “cool” food, like cupcakes and bacon?  These are just basic foods that have been around for many, many years, but we seem to be rediscovering them in this decade. I love that!  And of course, Ms. Paula Deen cooks them fairly regularly on her cooking shows. My friend Shea at Dishing Up Delicious mentioned this Paula Deen recipe on one of our Facebook pages, (thanks, Shea!) and it sounded so good I had to try it: Tomato Grits Casserole!

Tomato-Grits Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (next time I’m cutting back to 1/2 tsp; it seemed a little salty w/all the cheeses)
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup diced green onions
  • 4 ounces processed cheddar cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While stirring the grits add the 1/2 cup of butter and stir until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a skillet, saute the onions in the remaining tablespoon of butter for 1 minute.

Add the processed cheese, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, and onions to grits, and stir until the cheese is melted.

Stirring in the cheese

Add the tomatoes and mix well.

Stirring in the Rotel tomatoes & peppers

Pour the grits into a greased 8 by 11 by 2-inch casserole and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Hot and bubbly from the oven

I served the grits in a mini-casserole bowl (some vintage Fire-King I found in a flea market in Frankston, TX) alongside some smoked chicken and a tossed salad. Simple and delicious! I hope you’ll let me know if you try it, too, and how you liked it!

Grits with smoked chicken and tossed salad

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13 thoughts on “Grits: The New “Cool” Food?

    • Thank you, Diana! :) I appreciate your feedback. It is a GREAT recipe, too. Had leftovers for breakfast, and I think it was even better than it was out of the oven last night, now that the flavors have melded. :)

    • Oh, girl, it is so delicious! I’m so thankful you shared it! I had some for breakfast this morning, just heated in the microwave, and I think it’s even better today! :)

    • Thanks, friend! It is a great recipe…tastes even better the day after. ~Thanks for the encouragement on my blog changes! I had fun working on it. :) And you know I love yours, and have tried quite a few of your recipes!

  1. I’m definitely not a great cook…but this recipe looks so good and seems relatively uncomplicated. That’s what I like! I’ll be trying this soon.

    Also I like your new blog design. Very nice!

    • Hey Shanda! Yes, if you do your cheese shredding and onion chopping first, then it all kind of flows easily. I enjoyed making them! Would be great to take to a brunch or lunch. Or you and your little one could reheat it in the microwave for a few days. Tastes even better left over, anyway! :)

  2. I lived with a girl from Georgia in Europe last year, and she had her mom ship over a whole box full of grits! i must say i wasn’t that taken with them (she just ate them with butter) but these recipes look good – i can imagine grits working well with cheese.

    • Hi Alison! They do work well with cheese, you’re right. I love them w/just butter and pepper, but they definitely have much more flavor when mixed in with the cheese and tomatoes/peppers. Wish I could have sent you a sample to see if you liked them that way! :) Thanks for the comment!

  3. I’m just getting caught up on some of your earlier posts. Could I substitute regular cheese for the processed stuff, or is Velveeta necessary for proper melting? Don’t think the husband, even with his KY roots, will eat Velveeta.

    Michelle

    • How about replacing it w/an equal amount of American cheese from the deli counter? It melts nicely,too, but without the stigma Velveeta carries with it! ;) They can cut the exact amt for you, too. Cheddar would be ok, just stronger & not as creamy; still delicious, I’m sure, though!

  4. Pingback: Let’s Get Cheesy: Smoked Gouda & Cheddar Grits! « MamaStephF's Blog

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