Cheesy Grits

Update: Thanks to my eagle eyed proofreader (aka Dad), I have corrected the grammatical errors and have hopefully fixed the YouTube link…..

I will tell you, right off the bat, that grits are NOT something I was familiar with until I moved to Texas. Previously, whenever I heard the term grits, I would think¬†of the old TV show “Alice”…. and yes I’m dating myself here, as that show aired from 1976 to 1985…

Which was last week, right?

riiiight…..

Anyway, one of the waitresses, Flo – she was the one with the beehive hairdo – her favorite expression, while snapping her chewing gum, was “Kiss my grits!”

And while kissing grits does not sound very appealing, eating them certainly is. I realized, after a few bites, that they are strikingly similar to polenta, just in a much more coarse texture. And made all that much better with the addition of cheese.

Because isn’t everything better with cheese?

Cheesy Grits – adapted very liberally from serious eats

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water, plus more as necessary
  • 1 cup coarse ground grits
  • 4 tbs.¬†unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring milk and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir in grits and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are thick and creamy, about 25 minutes. When done, turn off the heat, stir in 4 tablespoons butter and the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Season with pepper, and thin with water if the grits have become too thick.

 

Our favorite Meatloaf

Meatloaf seems to incite very strong feelings within my family.

And by that statement, I mean they either love it (Dad, J and Alexander), thoroughly dislike it (Mom), or are completely neutral about it (Sabrina and I).

Because when meatloaf is good, it’s really, really good. And when it’s bad, it’s….. inedible. And believe me, I’ve made my share of inedible meatloaves.

Let’s not talk about it those versions …..

However, after much trial and error, I think I’ve finally nailed it. And even though I don’t have a picture, suffice to say this is the recipe I will keep coming back to again and again.

Our Favorite Meatloaf – adapted from Ina Garten

3 tbs olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup milk
2 tbs. ketchup
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
5-6 slices thick cut bacon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, milk, and ketchup. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don’t mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with foil. Spread the ketchup evenly on top, and lay the bacon slices on top of the ketchup. Bake for 45 minutes,¬†until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through.

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

I don’t know about you, but my morning certainly started off on an exciting note today. I got up extra early this morning with the express intent on baking this bread, so I would be able to take a slice with me to work. I had prepped all the ingredients last night, so it was simply a matter of mixing everything together and sliding the pan into the oven while I got myself and the posse ready for the day. We had to be out the door at 6:45 a.m., and I wanted to have everything in place so we wouldn’t be rushed.

Sounds easy enough, right? Welllllllllll, apparently “easy enough” was not going to be in the cards today. I broke one of the mixing blades on the hand mixer, so I ended up finishing the batter by hand. No big deal, considering it’s a quick bread. A few turns of the spatula, I get the pan into the oven, set the timer, and head to the shower. 25 minutes later, as I’m putting on my makeup, I realize I smell something burning.

uh ohhhhhhh

With Daisy hot on my heels, I ran straight to the kitchen, flung open the door, and SON OF A NUTCRACKER! The batter overflowed in a major way and was now all over the oven floor…..burning and smoldering. I rushed to open the windows before the smoke alarm went off, and silently cursed the fact that my bread was now ruined.

But on a positive note, I discovered a slice of my apple/cranberry bread in the freezer (the last slice!), so the morning didn’t end too badly.

Now I just have to go home and turn the oven to self-clean mode.

And make sure all the windows are open. And the fans are running. Full speed. :)

P1000055
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds – adapted from Taste Of Home

2 egg whites (1/4 cup)
6 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups unblanched almonds
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy; beat in vanilla. Add almonds; stir gently to coat. Combine the sugars and cinnamon; add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat. Spread evenly into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.
Bake at 325¬į for 25-30 minutes or until almonds are crisp, stirring frequently. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 4 cups.