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!
- 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.
Add the tomatoes and mix well.
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.
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!