Thursday, March 15, 2007

Grits Breakfast Casserole

Southern Grits Casserole

One of my friends in college, Shannon, (she's still a friend, too!) was always inviting me and our other friends to go home for the weekend with her. Mostly because she was the only one of us with a car our freshman year, thanks to her dad. UNC didn't allow them for us during our first year. Her home changed a lot, as her parents were always on the move (nope, not military), but home was always in South Carolina. I never said no to one of Shannon's invites because her mom is a great cook! Every meal was special, yet simple and tasty. And I've had breakfast casseroles before, but Janet's was always the best. Of course, if you don't dig grits you might not care for this. But around here - the South, of course - grits are a mainstay. And I've always liked mine mixed with ground sausage or crumbled bacon.

A few years later I was in Sampson County, N.C., for another college roomate's wedding. (That would be Kyle and Miriam, who would two years later introduce me to my husband, Brad!) The morning of her wedding Miriam's dad made breakfast for us, and lo and behold it was more grits casserole. I didn't realize how popular grits casseroles were until I started Googling for recipes. Apparently, a LOT of Southerners make them, and this recipe has become my go-to meal for family breakfasts and nights when I just don't feel like making much else. It's easy and cheap, which also helps. Brad asks for it all. the. time. He loves breakfast food of any kind, and we rarely have this casserole at any time other than dinner. If it's just us, I halve the recipe, and we eat on it for several days. I like to serve it with cornbread and a green salad. And for breakfast I always pair it with biscuits and hashbrowns. And someday, if I ever open that B&B, this will be on that menu, too.

Grits Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from AllRecipes (and Ella)
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Ingredients:
6 cups water
2 cups uncooked grits
1/2 cup butter, divided
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound spicy ground pork sausage made into patties
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large casserole dish.
2. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes. Add half the butter and two cups of cheese, and cook until cheese is melted.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned. Drain, crumble and mix into the grits. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl, and pour into the skillet. Lightly scramble, then mix into the grits.
4. Pour the grits mixture into the casserole dish. Dot with remaining butter, and top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Note: This recipe makes a huge casserole so I often halve it.

Links:
* History of Grits
* Tips on opening a Bed and Breakfast
* More Southern breakfast recipes