To go with our Cheese Braids at brunch yesterday, I made a casserole of Cheesy Grits and Sausage. It was soooo good. It was a heart attack on a plate, but it was soooo good. I told my eldest son we could not eat it more than once a year. Maybe twice -- I could make it for Easter and Christmas.
The recipe came (again) from Southern Living magazine, and I followed the recipe almost precisely. I admit I cut some of the cheese out -- all the fat was really making me nervous. I almost used half the sausage, but I'm glad I didn't because the consistency would not have been the same. Fortunately we ate small servings and I have half saved for another breakfast, probably tomorrow. I doubled up on my fish oil to help my poor arteries. I'm guessing I cut back to two cups of cheese, which was completely sufficient. I also added a 1/2 t. hot pepper flakes, but if you use spicy sausage you wouldn't need that. I used the make-ahead prep directions and used the delay-bake feature on my oven so that the casserole would be ready when we walked in the door from morning Mass.
1/2 t. hot pepper flakes
4 c. water
1 1/4 c. quick-cooking grits, uncooked
2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 c. milk
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. garlic powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Brown sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles; add red pepper flakes when sausage is almost done. Drain well, and set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add cheese and next 3 ingredients, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in sausage and eggs.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until golden and heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Make-Ahead: Prepare grits mixture as directed above, but do not bake. Cover and chill overnight. Remove from refrigerator; let stand, covered 30 minutes. Uncover and bake as directed.