Savoring Home: Cheesy Grits


That tech upgrade took much longer than I thought! Now the blog has space for a lot more pictures and I’m already planning new things to share with you.

Just in case you missed them, I shared some interesting articles with the Facebook fans and Twitter followers while the blog was quiet this weekend. (Who knew Liz Taylor was such a big fan of shag carpeting?!) You can get all the bonus updates by liking or following CARO Interiors. Just use the social media icons coyly peeking out at you from the top of this website.

A big hug of thanks to all of you faithful readers who stopped by over the weekend to check the blog. I really appreciate your patience and I’m very glad to be back with you all! Now onto something delicious…

I want to share this recipe with you because it works for any meal. Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, it never fails to disappoint. We love this for a lazy, cosy dinner, a simple brunch and a savory breakfast. It is perfect in any season and you can adapt the recipe to any of your favorite tastes.

But first things first…

A few words about grits

If you aren’t familiar with grits, here are the basics you need to know:

  • “Grits” is the cooked, porridge-like form of coarsely ground corn meal, or “hominy”. When cooked, grits resembles the consistency and texture of polenta, but with a creamy white coloring, rather than golden yellow.
  • Grits come from the Native American culture, but are religiously claimed by the Southern states of the US as theirs, and theirs alone. It is unwise to challenge this belief system in public. Not a hill worth dying on.

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia

  • No one eats only grits. Butter and salt are the very minimum of what is added to grits during a common breakfast serving. Grits have very little flavor of their own, but similar to rice, can absorb other flavors beautifully. This is why grits are served with many different types of meals and recipes.
  • Many Southerners will claim that there is only one way to cook grits: using their recipe. Again, just nod and smile politely like your momma taught you to do.
  • Despite common Southern arguments to the contrary, “instant grits” are not the work of the devil. I spent a good part of my childhood in Germany, where grits – surprise! – are not in high demand. Instant grits work just fine if that is all you can find or what you are comfortable using.

Now that you have the basics covered, let’s get to the yummy recipe!

The Ingredients

  • 2 eggs per person
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup/80 mL of diced ham per person (As in many of my recipes, I use the healthier Jennie-O brand turkey ham. You can’t taste the difference.)
  • 1 small pat of butter
  • Grated cheddar cheese, 1/3 – 1/2 cup/80 mL – 120 mL per person
  • Paprika (not smoked or sweet varieties!)
  • Garlic powder
  • Quaker brand Grits (with no additional flavoring), 1/4 cup/60 mL for every 2 people served
  • Water, 1 1/4 cup/ 295 mL for every 2 servings


Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat and toss the ham in to caramelize for around 5-6 minutes. Stir the ham occasionally to give it some nice browning on all sides.

While the ham is cooking, start your water to boil for the grits. When the water is boiling, add your grits…

…then stir the grits well, cover the pan and set your kitchen timer for the correct cooking time based on your serving size:

2 servings = 10 minutes, 4 servings = 12 minutes, etc.

(Really, use a timer, it’s helpful later!)

Your ham should be done about now and it should look something like this:

See the toasted sides of the ham? You will! Remove the ham from the skillet and set it aside. You can save the skillet for when it is time for the eggs.

During the grits’ cooking time, come back and stir the grits thoroughly at least once every 2 minutes. Be sure to really scrape the bottom of the pot with your spatula. There is nothing more miserable to clean than burnt-on grits in a pan.

Right about now is when you should start cooking your eggs in batches of two. The best eggs for this recipe have a runny yolk. We recommend fried or over-easy eggs with a little salt and pepper over the tops of them. You can reuse the skillet from the ham this way, too.

(I didn’t take a picture of us cooking eggs, because I’m assuming you already know just how you like your eggs cooked.) Just slide them onto a plate and set them aside until we add them to the grits at the end of the recipe.

When your grits are done, remove the lid, stir again, then add in the garlic powder. I use five shakes of the bottle for every two servings. This is just enough garlic flavor without it becoming overpowering.

Stir well and then we add the paprika.

The total amount of paprika should just cover the top of the grits in the pan like this:

It may seem like a lot, but this seasoning isn’t overpowering either. After you have mixed the paprika in well, the grits will start to resemble the golden yellow color of polenta.

Next comes the cheese! Pour it all in…

…then stir it well as it melts into the grits. Now it will really look like polenta:

And we’re almost done! Time to serve! Put one helping of grits into a bowl and top with a portion of the chopped ham:

then add the eggs on top:

Oh, and you’ll want to eat this with a spoon, so you don’t miss a bite of cheesiness!

Happy Eating!

If you’re new to grits, are you interested in trying them now? Any of our European readers game to try this American classic? Do you have a great grits recipe to share? There are so many good ones out there! Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Psst! BIG House Tour in tomorrow’s post! Be sure to stop by!

Posted on July 11, 2011, in Food, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Randi Mathieu

    Can’t wait to get back south and get me some grits! I never could make em right, so up here in MI I use instant…not as good as homemade but better than nothing.

  2. This looks yummy! I love grits, but I’ve never made them at home. My favorite is shrimp and grits. I’m going to try this.

  3. This looks wonderful !! Can’t wait to try this recipe. I don’t know if I will be able to get my hubby to try…. He only seems to like Grits with Grape Jelly.. (ewwww!) ;o)

    • Wow! I’ve never heard of grits with grape jelly. Those must be a very interesting color! LOL
      Try swapping the ham for diced bacon if you really need to exert some leverage with your husband, Tammy. Mr. CARO, along with (I believe) most other men, will never say “no” to bacon!

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