So it might seem that I’m on a bit of a grits kick. I made Simple Easy Cheesy Grits recently to go with my Shrimp & Grits with a Cajun Gastrique. And today I’m posting another Cheesy Grits recipe to go with Grillades & Grits, my sister and I recently made. It’s not that you just can’t have too many grits recipes (but maybe you can’t!) but that both of these grits recipes are really good, and they both have advantages.
The Simple Easy cheesy Grits cook fast and get you grits on the table quickly. These Baked Cheesy Grits are still made from instant Grits, but while they’re started on the stove, they then go in the oven for a bit.
About Baked Cheesy Grits:
That little bit of oven time is transformative. The grits become gorgeous and tender and almost souffle-like as they bake away. As a matter of fact, your casserole of grits will even puff up a little as they’re finished; they’ll fall but still be the perfect texture between light, fluffy and airy and almost custard-like. And of course, you can’t get a beautiful, cheesy top like you’ll see on these grits anyway but in the oven. They come out so hot and bubbly and delish!
My sis, who lives in Georgia and cooked with me (actually, she did most of the cooking, now that I think about it) when we made these grits and the Grillades said the only way she makes her grits is by this method. I can see why! The texture is sublime. Any “grittiness” to the grits completely smooths out in the oven and leaves you with the best grits, ever. And as far as the taste? Well, you just can’t go wrong with cheese in your grits!
The recipe, originally from Emeril Lagasse, called for white cheddar, which I forgot at the store. I didn’t mind using regular old cheddar; I think the color reminds us a bit that there’s actually cheese IN these grits!
Making Baked Cheesy Grits:
Instant Grits are actually super easy to make and most boxes of grits come with pretty good instructions. You’ll want to take a peek at that just in case there’s a huge variance in timing for your particular grits.
Basically, all you do is heat up your liquid, season it, then while stirring the whole time, slowly add your grits. You’ll want to bring to a boil (careful though, and use a pan that’s much larger than you’ll need (because milk can boil over in a heartbeat and grits can sputter, spraying molten grits everywhere) then immediately turn the heat down to the barest of simmers.
Keep stirring, long and often, until the grits have reached a beautifully soft texture with just a little bit of a bite, then remove from heat, add the cheese and transfer to your casserole to bake-off.
Saving Money on Baked Cheesy Grits:
Maybe some of my Southern friends and family will comment on how to find Instant Grits when you’re on a budget. If they’re still talking to me after this post! (I can just see it now on my next visit to Georgia…people staring, pointing fingers, whispering behind my back…”There’s that Yankee who said publically and online that instant grits are as good as regular!) In two states up Nord, here, Minnesota where I live and South Dakota, where my folks live, I searched hard and long to find one small, measly box of instant grits.
I can help you out with milk, cream & cheese, though! I definitely either watch specials, especially around holiday weeks for cream and cheese and lately have been buying each of these products at Aldi.
Milk is generally lower at Aldi than at my store, where it never goes on special. Cheese goes on special all the time at my store, but unless I’m using coupons, which I rarely do anymore, it’s just as cheap at Aldi. If you don’t have an Aldi, don’t be afraid to stock up on your packages of cheese. It keeps, unopened, for weeks and can be frozen. The texture once thawed will be off, but it’s fine for cooking with or topping casseroles.
The cream can be very pricey and almost always is on sale every holiday. Since it keeps for weeks, literally, in the fridge (high-fat content) I stock up = or used to. Now I buy it at Aldi where it’s cheaper than it is both at a grocery store sales price and cheaper than at my buyer’s club.
Baked Cheesy Grits
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 6 cups whole milk (any milk will work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups instant white grits
- 2 cups grated sharp white Cheddar, divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9 by a 9-inch baking dish or equivalent with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the milk, salt, cayenne and remaining tablespoon of butter. Bring to a boil, and while stirring, add the grits.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir for about 30 seconds. Turn down to a bare simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the grits are tender and creamy. Remove from heat and one cup of the cheese and stir until melted.
Pour the grits into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden. Serve hot.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com, slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse
You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #32 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, Carlee from Cooking with Carlee and Moi! That’s right – me!
Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!