Monday, March 4, 2013

Sausage and Cheese Grits Casserole - Delish!

Hooray, it's Monday!  Yes,  you read that right.  Hooray, it's Monday!  I know not many people feel that way and you may think I have totally lost it, but the SUN shined all day today.  The sun.  It's still up there.  Thankfully.  I was beginning to wonder.  And, the temp got up into the low 60's.  Did you hear me?  The low 60's.  And, I didn't have to wear a coat.  NO COAT.  NO SNOW.  NO CLOUDS.  NO GRAY.  Sun, glorious sun with hope that spring cannot be far behind.  Yahoooooooo!   And my BFF was here for a doctor's follow up appointment from her surgery in November and we got to have lunch together, and talk, and drink coffee.  Just like old times.  Sigh.  It has been a truly good Monday.

Enough about me, how about you?  How was your weekend?  Your Monday?  Hope it was fabulous.  Simply fabulous.  Hope you expressed gratitude.  Monday's are always Gratitude Monday's.   My friend Don called me early this morning to share his gratitude list and it included me for being his friend.  Now, how can you have a bad Monday when that happens?  You absolutely cannot have a bad day.  Ever.  When someone says they are thankful you are in their life, well it just rocks.  Thanks Don, love you too!  We met in my costume shop when he came in one day and have been fast friends ever since.  Don't you love when that happens?  I sure do.

Now, about that picture above.  Let's talk about it.  It is a recipe I made a couple of Sundays ago for dinner.  Yes, dinner.  It can also be a breakfast casserole, but don't you like breakfast for dinner sometimes?  We do.  Also, it is gluten free and I made it for company.  Our son in love has Celiac and their family was coming for dinner, so I gave it a try.  It's a keeper.  I found the recipe on which is one of my favorite sites to peruse every few weeks for new recipes.  She always has simple, but delicious recipes and I haven't made one yet that we didn't love.

So let's talk about grits.  Do you like them?  Don't know?  Haven't made them or eaten them?  They are a mostly southern dish and we LOVE them.  They are somewhat like polenta (if you like polenta, and we do), extremely delicious, and easy to make if you use the quick grits.  Here is some information from Wikipedia on grits.

Grits refers to a ground-corn food of Native American origin, that is common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. Modern grits are commonly made of alkali-treated corn known as hominy.
Grits are similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta or the thinner farina. "Instant grits" have been processed to speed cooking.
The word "grits" derives from the Old English word "grytt," meaning coarse meal.[1] This word originally referred to wheat and other porridges now known as groats in parts of the U.K.  Wikipedia

This casserole is extremely tasty.  Even our oldest grandson, who may be one of the pickiest eaters on earth ate it.  Okay, that rates as a minor miracle.  I mean, it's got tons of cheese and sausage, some herbs, eggs, and grits.  What's not to like?  Here is what you need to make this casserole.

2 pounds sausage (regular, hot, or some of both)
4 cups water
1 1/4 cups quick cooking grits, uncooked
4 cups (1 pound) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used two 8 ounce blocks and grated it myself - cheaper and tastes better than pre-grated)
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Brown sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles.  Drain well if needed and set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, stir in grits.  Return to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the grits don't stick.  Remove from heat.  Add cheese and next 3 ingredients, stirring until cheese melts.  Stir in sausage and eggs.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until golden and heated through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To make ahead:

Prepare grits mixture as directed above, but DO NOT bake.  Cover and chill overnight.  Remove from refrigerator; let stand while covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake as directed.

This recipe is gluten free as long as your sausage has no gluten in it.  Check the label!    I would have liked all hot sausage, but we have little ones eating and I didn't want it to be too spicy for them so I used 1 pound of mild and 1 pound of hot sausage.  It's your choice what kind of sausage you use.

Other than that, this is an awesome casserole to serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.  We enjoyed it with zucchini/potato cakes, fresh fruit, salad and some fabulous buttermilk, cheddar, olive bread that I baked.  I will share that recipe with you later.  Yum.

Next time you want something easy but different, give this recipe a try.  It's truly cheesy goodness.  Enjoy the rest of your Monday, you've still got time.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:


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