Janet's Notebook
Grits Worth Kissin’: Southern Favorite Boasts Universal Appeal

Julia Carpenter's Grits Breakfast Bake

"No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits!"

Ahem, I beg to differ! This line from the film My Cousin Vinny may have made the legal case for the lead character, but it doesn't hold water in my way of thinking. I also take good-natured issue with the notion that Northerners aren't able to "get" this A.M delicacy. Let's see... Grits are an easy to make, inexpensive corn-based mush that beautifully carry the addition of heaping helpings of butter, cream and any number of cheeses. What's not to love?!

Now grits newbies, I see you shaking your heads... but don't you fret; the Kitchen Crew and I are here to hold your hands as you step over your comfort threshold. In fact, we've recently come across several killer recipes that are the ideal "gateway" into the world of true grits.

Julia Carpenter - a bonafide Texan - combines eggs, smoked sausage, cheese and grits to make an easy-to-prepare breakfast "pie". Since grits are simply coarsely ground corn, the flavors of Julia's pie are similar to that of stuffed cornbread. There's not a thing bland or boring about it.

"I try to cook breakfast for my husband's bank every week or two," explains Julia. "This is their favorite!"

This breakfast bake recipe would compliment any number of ingredients you may have on hand, making it a great breakfast option any day of the week. Try incorporating your own favorite cheeses or toss in that left over ham or steak from last night! Just like cornmeal, grits are a terrific base for carrying an array of bold flavors. (In other words, they're only bland if you allow them to be!)

Now, while Julia is quick to embrace the ease of instant grits in her breakfast recipe, Louisiana cook Debbie Wright insists on the slow-cooking variety for her stellar Grits and Greens Casserole. By adding the greens, another Southern favorite, Debbie has concocted some serious comfort food for the soul.

"Bacon, butter, cream... Where can you go wrong??" Debbie asks jokingly. "This creamy cheesy goodness is good anytime of the year."

And might I venture to add that it's good no matter your zip code? Like cheese-steaks in Philadelphia or pizza in New York, grits are a humble regional dish with the makings of a nationwide favorite.

Virginia-via-New York gal Linda Franklin is the perfect example. She has jumped on the bandwagon thanks to a new-found love of Shrimp and Grits at dinnertime.

"Being from NY, I could not imagine this [ingredient] combo," says Linda. "After one taste out to eat one night, I was sold; [I] may not be Southern but my family loves my Northern version!"

It's just that kind of creative innovation and open mind that elevates grits from mere “mush” to a true family favorite. There is undoubtedly a flavor to suit every palette, so grab a stick of butter and meet me in the kitchen. I sense a culinary movement in the making... and it tastes so good.

More Stories... Subscribe to RSS

Debbie W - Mar 19, 2011
Buzz..A man after my own heart...real butter and bacon fat..mmmmm lol
Buzz Provost - Mar 19, 2011
I was raised on grits. First rule of grits is add your salt and butter(real) when you first start cooking them and a tablespoon or two of bacon fat. I like cheese grits but not for breakfast. A bowl of grits and a couple of sunny-side up eggs on top is a breakfast to die for. I like this article and I'm going to try it the next time we have guests for breakfast.
Carol Pattee - Mar 6, 2011
Hi. The recipe is wonderful. I suspect if you serve the dish, and they don't know it's grits, they will love it. The garlic and cheese give the grits a delicious flavor. It is just as good the second or third day. I make it for dinner. My husband barbeques meat and we have the grits with a salad. Perfect dinner. You could probably half the recipe.
Janet Hein - Mar 6, 2011
Carol, that looks like a wonderful recipe you posted. How do the leftovers go over? I am the only one who likes grits and it sounds like it makes a lot. Can it be made and left overs frozen for later? Thanks!
Alicia Willert-Myers - Mar 6, 2011
I live in Buffalo,N.Y. and am a pro and ALL grits.quick or slow cooked. I always use a lil less water than required and finish cooking them in milk.mmmmmmmmmmmmm adds a whole new depth to them. and always lots butter. from there my family adds their favs. some due sugar or syrup i do salt and pepper and cheese. for a Very nice dinner try frying some fish and serving a piece stuck in the grits. i also do a quiche w/ a grit crust. anyone need pointers let me know. grits can be lil stinkers to cook!!!
K Starnes - Mar 5, 2011
Amen Bro Dan
Avery Davis-Fletcher - Mar 4, 2011
Love grits, and I cook them all kids of ways. I sure wish I could find plain, old-fashioned non-instant yellow grits, though. When I was in Houston, I just bought polenta. I can't even get that, here, though. :-(
Debbie W - Mar 4, 2011
WOW..5 helpings!!!..Paula Dean has no recipes without butter..LOVE her for it too ;-)
Dan Hammond - Mar 3, 2011
lol...man, after I described that breakfast I raced home and ate everything I could lay my hands on...no eggs, country ham and grits though...Cherie made a paula dean cassarol...lots of butter don't ya know...I had 5 helpings...lol
Debbie W - Mar 3, 2011
BTW..Im the fat girl..I talk about food all the time at work and my co-workers hate me!!LOL
Debbie W - Mar 3, 2011
AMEN....Dang Dan now i want breakfast for dinner..already cooked the feature torilla soup !!! You can discribe food like a fat girl!! LOL
Dan Hammond - Mar 3, 2011
Leah Stacey - Mar 3, 2011
AMEN Brotha Dan! But I think you left out da bacon! LOL
Dan Hammond - Mar 3, 2011
Can I have an amen for grits and southern breakfasts?!
Dan Hammond - Mar 3, 2011
Truely, nothing is better than a hearty southern breakfast (and all my northern friends agree once they have indulged...I was born north but am reborn southernor...the conversion took place at breakfast one day): eggs, sunny side up or over easy, slice of country ham (salt-cured with bone in...and love those runny egg yokes coating the ham), grits (love that ground corn!), and homemade scratch biscuits...of course, lots of butter and preserves, gravy if you like, and steaming hot black coffee... now that will start your day!