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Outside the South grits are a foreign and sometimes weird food. There’s no doubt that they can be phenomenally bad. The worst grits I ever had were “cheese” grits at a waffle house outside of Charlotte, NC, in the late 1980s: a bowl of grits with a slice of American cheese food product on top. Disgraceful. They should have known better (and probably did, more to their shame).
Grits at their best are another thing all together, and this cheese grits casserole comes close.
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup grits (best to use stone ground if you can get them, otherwise regular grits will work, but under no circumstances consider “instant” grits)
- 6 oz grated sharp cheddar (1 1/2 cups); use other cheeses as desired–Gouda is fabulous.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 2-quart ceramic or glass baking dish. Cook grits according to package directions. Remove from heat and add 1 cup cheese, and butter. Stir until melted. Add milk, eggs, and pepper; mix well. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
- 1lb canned cut up mushrooms
- 1 box Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice mix
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 lb. country sausage
- 1/2 cup cream
- Seasoned salt
- Tabasco, salt, pepper to taste
Cook rice according to package. Saute sausage and onions until brown & soft. Add cream, chicken soup, and spices. Mix in chopped mushrooms. Pour into casserole and bake 20 to 30 minutes until bubbly.
Macaroni and cheese is a classic comfort food. Recently, we’ve come across goat gouda, which is an amazing hard cheese from the Netherlands with a sweet, caramelly butterscotch flavor. Great as a snack, even better in mac & cheese.
- 8 oz penne rigati or other short, tubular pasta of your choice
- 3 Tbs butter
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1/2 Cup milk
- dash salt
- few grinds of white pepper
- 4 oz goat Gouda, grated
Cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, make a classic bechamel sauce: melt butter in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour to form a roux, then stir in milk, salt, and pepper and cook until it starts to thicken. Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Add drained pasta and stir until well-coated.