There's something about growing up in the South that allows you to say, "Grits" with a kind of grunt generally heard only from John Wayne. I think it's even better when I hear Paula Deen say it. She says everything the way it ought to be said.
Food really does speak to the soul. It brings up memories and takes you back to places you'd forgotten until that first bite. This recipe takes me back to a place I don't think I'd remembered since I was a kid: Saturday morning cartoons in the living room.
This little gem is from Southern Living, but you can still portion it to maintain your healthy-and-satisfied self.
Just use these grits when you're cooking (notice they say "quick" on them - don't get confused in the store
So, this time, I tried to cook this bad boy in my Dutch oven. Not. So. Pretty. That's okay though because it tasted awesome! I've just got to find a really deep pie dish for this one.
What's that? Did you say something? "What is 'pressed' garlic?" Why, I'm so glad you asked! It's when you use a garlic press (like $10 at Crate & Barrel) to press the garlic into tiny, delicious bits. It's so much easier/quicker than mincing!
Smash the garlic clove with the smooth side of your knife. #stressrelief
Put the shelled clove in the press.
Squeeze the bad boy into your sauce. Make sure to scoop it all out with your fingers so you don't miss anything. Garlic is a Super Food after all!
I know, I'm rude. The recipe calls for 5 oz. of cheese, but it comes in blocks of 6. I hate it when people do that. I usually shred it all and save the 1 oz. for something else (omelette, anyone?). To make sure I'm accurate, I usually weigh it on my kitchen scale.
If you don't have a scale to weigh the cheese into ounces, you could get a handy-dandy grater like this one that has the cup measurement included.
Sidenote: my husband LOVES this recipe. Happy Hubby, Happy Life.
1 2/3 cups water
1 cup half-and-half (full fat)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
5 oz. shredded Swiss, divided (2 oz. and 3 oz.)
2 cups egg substitute (or 8 large eggs) divided (1/2 cup and 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced (this is what I get and it works b-e-a-utifully)
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup skim milk
Garnish: freshly chopped chives or green onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring first 6 ingredients (through pepper) to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cheese (2 oz.), stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes so grits thicken.
Stir in 1/2 cup egg substitute; pour into a 10-inch deep* pie plate greased with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes; remove from oven. Increase temperature to 400.
Meanwhile, saute ham and onions in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until onions are tender. Layer ham mixture even over grits crust. Whisk together milk and remaining egg substitute (or eggs); pour over ham mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup (3 oz.) cheese evenly over egg mixture.
Bake at 400 for 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes (or cool completely if freezing), and cut into wedges. Garnish if desired.
Makes 8 servings at 280 calories each. (Fat: 19.1g, Sat Fat: 12.3g, Cholest: 78.4mg, Sodium: 1,201mg, Carb: 9.3g, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugars: 2.5g, Protein: 16.3g)
*I do mean deep. Like 2 inches deep. Otherwise, you'll have a bubbling mess to clean - trust me.