Grits is a food that, along with baked oatmeal, chess pie, and mashed turnips, I had never eaten until I encountered the Pierces. My mom never made grits when I was growing up, and I therefore never felt compelled to buy or make them myself because I was unsure whether I would even like them. As it turns out, I like them quite a lot. My in-laws have made them for me, and I have tried them at a couple of restaurants, as well. But until making this sausage, egg, and cheese grits recipe from the Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Annual Recipes cookbook, I had only ever eaten grits as a side at dinner – never for breakfast.
What appeared to be a fairly easy recipe turned out to be more of a hassle than I had bargained for, but that was primarily due to (a) my ineptness and (b) bad luck (also known as the Pierce curse), rather than a flaw in the recipe itself.
My troubles began with the turkey sausage links. I had initially purchased a package of the links a few weeks ago with this recipe in mind, but then I went on vacation before I could get to the recipe. Before taking off for Wyoming, I threw the links into the freezer. I had meant to set them in the fridge to thaw the night before making the grits, but I forgot. No problem, right? That’s what microwaves are for! Well, something happened in the microwave thawing process that made the casings nearly impossible to get off without also pulling off a ton of the sausage. It was a mess, and a lot of sausage was lost in the process.
Then I managed to dirty up not one, not two, but THREE of the burners on my stove while trying to complete the following step from the recipe: Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring water, salt, and remaining milk to a boil. First, I made the mistake of putting the lid on my Dutch oven in an attempt to speed up the boiling process, not thinking that the lid is heavy and sturdy enough to prevent steam escaping. Thus, I had no steam signal; I just had half of my liquid boil up and over the top of the Dutch oven before I could do anything about it. Burner #1 was now a mess.
My “do anything about it” plan was to move the pot onto the next burner. There was enough liquid still dripping down the sides of the Dutch oven when I moved it that now Burner #2 was also covered in water and milk.
I dumped out what remained in the Dutch oven, washed both the inside and outside of the pot with soap and water, and completely started over. This time, I at least knew enough to leave off the lid. What I didn’t consider was that I was using a Dutch oven, not a saucepan with a handle, so that when the water/milk mixture once again started to boil, it also started to rise–rapidly–in the pot. So rapidly, in fact, that I could not grab the potholders and lift the Dutch oven off of the heat until it was too late. Burner #3 was a goner, too.
Luckily, not near as much liquid escaped from the Dutch oven this time, so I went with what I had and added in the grits. I managed to make it through the rest of the recipe without additional hiccups and headaches (and dirtied burners).
Unluckily, the result of all of this trouble was a little disappointing. The grits were good, but not stellar. I gave them 3 stars, but John could only give them a 2.5. The egg mixed in with the grits gave us both pause, but him more than me. If I were to cook this again, which is still to be determined, I would completely omit the egg from the recipe and increase the amount of cheese.
Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Grits
4 oz breakfast turkey sausage links, casings removed
1½ cups egg substitute
1¼ cups whole milk, divided
3 cups water
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
2 green onions, chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
1. Crumble sausage into a large skillet; cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Whisk egg substitute and ¼ cup milk; add to same skillet. Cook and stir until set; remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring water, salt, and remaining milk to a boil. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 5-7 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in half of the cheese. Add the sausage, eggs, green onions, and pepper; heat through. Serve in bowls; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup). Per serving, 6 PointsPlus.