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Northern friends sometimes want to know, where do “grits” come from?

Grits are ground corn. To produce grits, hard corn kernels are soaked in a lye solution to remove the hull and germ. It then becomes what Northerners know as “hominy”. At this point it can then be dried and ground into two corn products. Coarsely ground, it becomes grits and finely ground it becomes cornmeal. It’s as simple as that! We southerners use a lot of both! “Stone-ground” grits are even courser with heavier bits of corn that remain after the corn kernels are ground between granite stone in a grist mill.

Grits are usually “quick-cooking”, (cooking in just 5 minutes) or “instant”, (just pouring boiling water over them and stir). We Southerners add lots of “real” butter and sometimes grated cheese. They’re especially good when cooked in chicken broth. When it comes to grits, Southerners are very creative, using them for the basis of casseroles, a popular low-country (on the coast) dish called “Shrimp & Grits and even Grits Pie!

In 1976 South Carolina declared Grits as their official state food!

Cheesy Grits Casserole

A southern favorite for breakfast but also good as a side dish with fish or game.

 

3 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1 cup quick-cooking grits

½ cup butter

1 (6-oz.) roll garlic cheese

3 large eggs, well beaten

2/3 cup milk

½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Cooked bacon, crumbled

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water with salt to a boil. Add grits, whisking, to keep from lumping. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. While hot, add butter and garlic cheese, stirring until melted. Cool slightly. Combine eggs and milk and stir into grits mixture. Pour into a greased 2 qt. baking dish; top with grated cheese and bake for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle top with crispy crumbled bacon and serve immediately.  Served 6 to 8

 

Note: If Kraft garlic cheese roll is hard to find, substitute 8-oz. grated sharp cheese plus 1 tsp. garlic powder.

 

Note: Ratio of water to grits: 4 to 1. Multiply for as many servings as needed.

For 2 servings: bring 1 cup water to a boil; add a little bit of salt and about 2 tablespoons butter and ¼ cup grits, turn heat to low; cover with lid and cook, stirring occasionally till thickened, about 10 minutes. Add shredded cheese at the end, just before serving. Serve immediately.

Spice it up with a little Texas Pete or Tabasco and, if serving country ham, the Red-Eye Gravy adds a touch of country flavor.

 

To keep Grits hot: keep in top of a double boiler with water just simmering below.

 

Pork Loin & Rice Casserole

Want a quick & easy casserole to put together for supper?

This 1970’s one takes only seconds of your time!

 

2 to 4 boneless pork loin chops

1 cup raw Uncle Ben’s rice (not instant)

1 can cream of celery soup

1 soup can of water

1 envelope Lipton’s dry onion soup mix

 

In a bowl, combine the rice, condensed soup, rinse out the soup can with water and add to the mixture. In a 9x9-inch or whatever similar size baking dish you have, pour the rice mixture into it. Nestle the loin chops down into the rice mixture and sprinkle the dry soup mix on top. Cover tightly with foil and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake for 1½ hrs. or till the rice is done to your liking.  (Emery likes his rice cooked soft).  That’s all. Serve with a salad or green vegetable or whatever side you like. Serves 2 to 4

 

Note: This is very similar to the Chicken & Rice Casserole featured in our Jan. 2011 recipe collection but a little smaller.

 
Here’s some Spaghetti arithmetic!
 

8-oz. box (when you can find it) = 3 to 4 servings

16-oz. box = 8 servings

For a crowd: 32-oz. box= 16 servings, cooked.

Just need 2 servings? Cook ½ of an 8-oz. box.

 

 

Cooking:

 

Al dente’= cook 10 minutes in lightly salted boiling water.

Soft= cook 20 minutes.

 

Left-over spaghetti noodles will keep in fridge in airtight container several days.

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