Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sausage Cheese Grits Casserole

I almost called this Christmas morning casserole, because it's very similar to one that my mother makes every year. We decided to have breakfast for dinner, and I knew this recipe I adapted from Sugar and Spice by Celeste would fit the bill perfectly. 

The key to good grits, for those outside of the South, is to stir, stir, stir. This ensures they'll be creamy and smooth. Add in the flavors of sausage and cheese, and you're guaranteed to have a crowd-pleaser. I brought leftovers in to work, and I've been hearing the microwave beep all morning. 

This is also a great make-ahead dish for breakfast/brunch...wake up and pop it in the oven! 

Printable recipe

1 cup uncooked grits
1 pound ground hot sausage
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown and drain sausage and set aside. Cook grits in 4 cups of boiling water until thick, whisking frequently. 

Add butter, egg, cooked sausage, and one cup of the cheese to grits. 

Pour into a 9x13 dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Add remaining cup of cheese and bake for another 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Ziti with Two Sauces

I re-pinned this from a friend of mine, and I loved the idea of combining marinara and Alfredo sauce. How could that not be good?

Well, it was absolutely delicious. Creamy, comforting, cheesy, and very filling. I added chicken to make it a little more hearty, so I decreased the amount of pasta from original recipe to balance it out and make sure it wasn't too dry. The original also called for a layer of cheese sprinkled on top, but I decided to skip this step.

Printable recipe

8 ounces ziti
1 15-ounce jar Alfredo sauce
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to directions and drain.  Mix the sauces together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mozzarella and stir to combine. Add ziti and toss to coat. Pour into a 9x13 dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I have been wanting to make Shepherd's Pie after watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives that featured a restaurant specializing in this dish. I found this recipe over at Real Simple.

(By the way, even though I'm a magazine editor, I would happily do ANY job on Triple D just for the experience. And, one recent episode spotlighted a couple who has made it a quest to visit all of the restaurants featured on the show, which I think is so neat.)

Back to the recipe...

I liked the variation of using turkey, even though I'm not a huge fan of its color when cooked. The chicken gravy punched up the normally bland flavor and made it seem richer, but not as heavy as beef.

It's pretty well-documented that I love a casserole, so you can pretty much combine any variety of ingredients and it's appealing to me. Meat...peas...potatoes...cheese. How can you go wrong?

One thing...I might use a little less water in the turkey mixture or cook it on the stove a bit longer to thicken it up a little more. It would also kick up the flavor to use garlic mashed potatoes instead of plain.

Printable recipe

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey   
1 1.2-ounce package dry chicken gravy mix
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed, or can of peas, drained
1 24-ounce package refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Brown turkey. Add the gravy mix and 1 cup water. Stir frequently until the sauce comes to a boil; cook 1 minute. Grease a 8x8 baking dish and spoon in the turkey. Top with the peas, then the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until top is golden.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Feta-Artichoke Dip

I wanted to make a new dip for the SEC championship (it was a great first half....and that's it) and I had found this recipe over at Deep South Dish. It's your basic artichoke dip recipe, but the feta definitely brings a different element to it. The crumbles add a unique tang to a standard dish. Great party recipe...and easy as pie!

I wish I had paid more attention to how this dip was originally served. I used Frito Scoops...but she spread hers on little slices of bread. That would have been delicious!

Printable recipe

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 2-ounce jar chopped pimientos, drained

Stir together all ingredients and pour into greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ranch Scalloped Potatoes

I'm sure some purists are going to scoff at the use of boxed potatoes in this dish...but I'm not afraid of a little reliance on convenience products. Plus, I hate to peel potatoes. This recipe comes courtesy of Betty Crocker herself. (I halved it.)

The ranch dressing is the star in this dish. It's easily one of the best potato casseroles I have ever had. It (obviously) comes together quickly. Don't be tempted to leave off the French-fried onions...they give the dish a great crunch and complement the tang of the ranch dressing nicely. 

1 box scalloped potatoes (Betty Crocker)
1 package (0.4 oz) dry ranch salad dressing mix
1-3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup half-and-half
1 can French-fried onions

In an 8x8 glass baking dish, stir together dry sauce mix from potatoes, ranch dressing mix, boiling water and half-and-half with whisk. Stir in potatoes. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Top with onions; bake 10 minutes longer. Let stand 5 minutes before serving (sauce will thicken as it stands).