I was born in the South and grew up in Kansas. After Dan and I got married the Navy took us to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, then back to Florida, and finally back to our home state of Kansas when Dan went off active duty. Living in all those southern states and growing up in Kansas you would think I grew up on grits. I actually didn’t taste grits until I was in college and would visit Dan’s family while we were dating.
My kids on the other hand have grown up on grits. We eat a lot of beef in our family, usually in the form of tenderloin or strip steaks on the grill. I have a husband who will grill when the temperature is in the single digits! When I ask my family what “sides” they would like, the majority of the time they want my Cheesy Grits. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE plain Cheese Grits, but the foodie in me gets tired of not experimenting and trying to jazz it up.
This version has a jalapeno pepper which is optional, and if you like spicy foods it is really good. If not, just leave it out and it is still delicious. Remember the more of the membrane and seeds of the pepper you use the spicier the grits will be. Even if you don’t like spicy foods, use the Frank’s hot sauce. I think it gives the dish a great depth of flavor and it doesn’t make the dish spicy.
I’d love to know some of your favorite dishes that you or your children have grown up with!
Creamy Grits, Bacon and Corn Bake
8 slices thick bacon, diced
1 (12 ounce) bag frozen corn, thawed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (Optional)
1 ¼ cups quick cooking grits
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup sliced Green Onions
2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, (8 ounces)
2 eggs, beaten to blend
Green onion tops, sliced for garnish if desired
Cook diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet. Add the corn, garlic, kosher salt, pepper, cumin and diced jalapeno (if using). Saute for about 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Stir the bacon back into the corn mixture, remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly whisk the grits into the boiling chicken broth. Cover and reduce the heat to low, cook grits for about 3 to 4 minutes until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in the milk, melted butter, Franks, Worcestershire sauce and green onions. Add the Sharp Cheddar a little at a time, stirring until melted. Stir in the bacon and corn mixture.
Crack the eggs in a small bowl and beat well. With your whisk add a little of your hot grits mixture to the eggs and stir. Working quickly, add the egg mixture to the grits and stir until the eggs are incorporated into the grits. You don’t want your egg to scramble, work quickly!
Pour grits into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.