So last night we needed something to supplement the not-quite-enough leftover chili portions from the weekend and the "simple" salad, or side dish of lettuce we had on hand. Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian has a creamy polenta dish that looks amazing, but it is not quite appropriate in terms of caloric content for a monday night side serving.
I flipped through Barefoot Contessa's newest cookbook, Back to Basics, and found her recipe for Creamy Cheddar Grits. Perfect! We cut her proportions in half, mimicked the flavors but used just a hand-full of cheddar cheese (probably about 1/4 of a cup), 1 tablespoon of butter, and just 2 tablespoons of half-and-half. 1 teaspoon salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper added just the right flavor. They ended up cooking for about 10-12 minutes, instead of 45 minutes. And most importantly, they were creamy and flavorful and satisfying.
I thought maybe this dish would conjure up unwanted breakfast nostalgia, but instead it was an easy starch alternative!
(simplified Creamy Cheddar Grits from Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics)
Bring 2 cups water to a brisk boil
add 1 teaspoon salt
pour in 1/2 cup old-fashioned grits while stirring
lower heat and cook 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. keep lid on when not stirring.
Add hand-full of cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons of half-and-half
Stir until creamy and cheese has melted
Add pepper to taste