I love cheese, as does my pastor. In fact, he loves it so much he decided that if he were really going to sacrifice for Lent, he'd have to give it up. As today is Easter, he has reached the end of his cheese fast. We're having a potluck at church, so I thought just for Tim I'd make not one, but two cheese-laden sides.
One is traditional Southern cuisine, my new home, and the other is very Midwest, my first home. The first is Spicy Baked Grits, my take on Paula Deen's cheddar grits, and the second is my version of hash brown casserole. They are both high in fat, so are good potluck dishes where you won't be eating all of it. I've included a lower fat version of both recipes for weekday supper consumption.
Spicy Baked Grits
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup 5 minute grits (not instant)
1 stick of butter (for a low fat version, honestly you can just leave this out entirely, no substitutions needed)
3/4 cup shredded Helluva Good pepper jack cheese (use 2% milk version for lower fat)
3/4 cup shredded Cabot extra sharp white cheddar (use 2% milk sharp cheddar--I don't think they make a low fat white cheddar)
One good squirt of Sriracha (my hot sauce of choice, but Tabasco works, too)
Preheat oven to 350. Bring 4 cups of water to boil with salt in a medium saucepan. Add grits and stir boiling for one minute, then turn down to low and continue cooking for the rest of the five minutes or so, until it gets think and creamy. Temper the eggs with some of the hot grits in a small bowl, then add to the rest of the grits. Cut up the butter and stir in until melted. Do the same with the two cheeses. Add your squirt of hot sauce, and then pour into a 2 quart casserole and bake for 45 minutes.
Hash Brown Casserole
1 package frozen Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brein, thawed
1/4 cup melted butter (again, just leave out for a lower fat version)
1/2 cup sour cream (use Breakstones' fat free)
1/2 cup chive and onion cream cheese (either use 1/3 less fat version, or just use more fat free Breakstone's sour cream)
1 carton of Trader Joe's Cream of Portabella soup (don't have to change, but could use Campbell's fat free cream of mushroom, but doesn't taste the same)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cups cheddar (I used half Cabot extra sharp white cheddar & half mild regular cheddar. For low fat, again substitute 2% milk sharp cheddar)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of those ingredients throughly in a bowl and then pour into a 9x13 casserole dish. To make a yummy topping, melt 1/4 cup butter (or 2 tablespoon Smart Balance for low fat version) in a small frying pan and saute 2 cups crushed cornflakes in it. Sprinkle buttered cornflakes on top and bake for 40 minutes.