50 Great Grains

Round out your dinner with these simple sides. 
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Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4)

Photo by: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

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Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4)

1. Barley with Roasted Corn Toast 1 1/2 cups barley in butter in a saucepan over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes. Saute 2 chopped leeks and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme in olive oil over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn; warm through. Toss with the barley; season to taste

2. Barley with Mushrooms Cook 8 chopped bacon slices over medium-high heat until crisp. Add 3 cups chopped mixed mushrooms; cook until browned, 5 minutes. Make Barley with Roasted Corn (No. 1); toss in the bacon and mushrooms

3. Barley with Artichokes Cook 2 cups barley in salted water as the label directs. Brown one 9-ounce package thawed frozen artichoke hearts, 2 cups halved Peppadew peppers and 1 sliced garlic clove in 1/4 cup olive oil. Toss with the barley and 2 tablespoons chopped marjoram

4. Barley with Kale Pesto Cook 2 cups barley as the label directs. Puree 3 cups chopped kale, 1/2 cup each Parmesan and olive oil, 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon each lemon zest and kosher salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a food processor. Toss with the barley.

5. Barley with Carrots and Parsnips Toss 1 pound each sliced carrots and parsnips with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees F until lightly browned, 30 minutes. Make Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4); toss with the carrots and parsnips. Season with salt.

6. Slow-Cooker Polenta Bring 5 cups water, 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a simmer. Pour into an oiled 6-quart slow cooker. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups polenta (not quick-cooking) and add 1 rosemary sprig and 2 bay leaves. Cover and cook on low, stirring halfway through, 2 hours. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mascarpone and 2 tablespoons butter; season to taste. 

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Slow-Cooker Polenta with Mushrooms (No. 7)

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Slow-Cooker Polenta with Mushrooms (No. 7)

7. Slow-Cooker Polenta with Mushrooms Make Slow-Cooker Polenta (No. 6). Brown 1 pound sliced oyster mushrooms in olive oil in a skillet over high heat, 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley; season to taste. Serve over the polenta and top with crumbled Gorgonzola.

8. Polenta with Pesto Bring 3 cups each water and milk, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper to a simmer. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking polenta. Cook, whisking, until smooth, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup Parmesan and 3 tablespoons butter. Top with pesto.

9. Sweet Potato Spoonbread Bring 2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons each butter and brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; whisk in 1/2 cup cornmeal. Cook, whisking, until thickened, 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup canned sweet potato puree, 3 egg yolks and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Remove from the heat. Beat 3 egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into the batter. Transfer to a buttered 8-inch square baking dish; bake at 375 degrees F until puffed, 30 minutes.

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Millet with Roasted Carrots (No. 10)

Photo by: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

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Millet with Roasted Carrots (No. 10)

10. Millet with Roasted Carrots Cut 1 pound small carrots in half lengthwise and slice 2 red onions into wedges; toss with olive oil, salt and 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Roast at 425 degrees F until tender, 30 minutes. Cook 2 cups millet in salted water as the label directs. Drizzle with olive oil; top with the vegetables. 

11. Kasha with Sweet Potatoes Saute 1 chopped onion in butter in a pot over medium-high heat until browned. Add 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups chopped peeled sweet potatoes and 3/4 cup kasha. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes. Stir in 4 ounces cooked bow-tie pasta and 1/4 cup each chopped parsley and sour cream; season with salt.

12. Maple Wheatberries and Rutabaga Cook 2 cups wheatberries in salted water as the label directs, adding 1 diced rutabaga; drain. Stir in 3 tablespoons each maple syrup and butter, 1 tablespoon chopped sage and a pinch of cayenne.

13. Lemon-Herb Rice Bring 3 cups water, 2 cups jasmine rice, 3 wide strips lemon zest, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 20 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley and chives.

14. Black and White Rice Make 1/2 batch Lemon-Herb Rice (No. 13). Cook 1 cup black rice as the label directs. Toss the rice with 2 cups each baby spinach and sliced mushrooms; drizzle with walnut oil. Season with salt.

15. Cheesy Rice Cook 2 cups converted rice as the label directs. Stir in 1 cup each chopped scallions, shredded cheddar and sour cream; season with salt and cayenne. Transfer to a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Dot with butter and top with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Bake at 450 degrees F until golden, 20 minutes.

16. Rice-Stuffed Squash Halve and seed 3 acorn squash; bake cut-side down at 350 degrees F, 30 minutes. Make Cheesy Rice mixture (No. 15), adding one 10-ounce package thawed frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry). Fill the squash with the rice; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees F until the squash is tender, about 1 hour. 

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Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto (No. 17)

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Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto (No. 17)

17. Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto Saute 1 minced shallot and 2 teaspoons chopped sage in butter in a pot over medium heat, 2 minutes. Stir in 1 3/4 cups Arborio rice. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper; bring to a boil. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker; stir in 3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash. Cover; cook on high, 2 hours. Stir in 1 cup grated Parmesan.

18. Red Beans and Rice Saute 1 each chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic clove with 1 tablespoon tomato paste in vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups water, 2 cups converted rice and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin and kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender, 20 minutes. Stir in two 14.5-ounce cans red beans (rinsed).

19. Rice, Beans and Collards Make Red Beans and Rice (No. 18). Meanwhile, saute 6 cups chopped collard greens in butter over medium heat until wilted, 5 to 8 minutes; season with salt and chipotle hot sauce. Add to the rice.

20. Red Rice with Andouille Bring 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups red rice and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender, 25 minutes. Brown 12 ounces sliced andouille sausage in vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups sliced okra and 1 cup each chopped scallions and red bell pepper; saute 5 minutes. Toss with the rice; season to taste.

21. Harissa Rice Cook 2 cups basmati rice as the label directs. Stir in 2 cups thawed frozen peas, 1/2 cup shredded carrots and 1/4 cup each sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and harissa (Moroccan chile paste). Top with plain yogurt.

22. Dirty Rice Cook 2 cups basmati rice as the label directs. Brown 8 ounces each crumbled Italian sausage (casings removed) and chopped chicken livers in vegetable oil over high heat. Add 1 cup each chopped onion and celery and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Toss with the rice and 1/2 cup each chopped prunes, parsley and chestnuts. 

23. Saffron-Pomegranate Rice Saute 4 minced shallots in butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups water, 2 cups basmati rice, 2 each cardamom pods and star anise, and 1 teaspoon each saffron and kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 20 minutes. Toss with 3/4 cup each pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chopped cilantro.

24. Nutty Cranberry Wild Rice Cook 2 cups brown rice as the label directs. Saute 1/2 chopped onion in butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, 3 minutes. Stir in 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup wild rice and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover; reduce the heat to low. Cook until the wild rice is tender, 45 minutes. Drain. Toss with the brown rice, 1 cup each chopped pecans, dried cranberries and halved red grapes, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and the juice of 1 lime.

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Brown Rice and Brussels Sprouts (No. 25)

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Brown Rice and Brussels Sprouts (No. 25)

25. Brown Rice and Brussels Sprouts Cook 1 1/4 cups brown rice as the label directs. Separate the leaves from 1 pound Brussels sprouts; toss with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and lemon zest, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss with the rice, 1 grated garlic clove and 1/2 cup each toasted hazelnuts, grated Parmesan, chopped parsley and olive oil. Season to taste.

26. Asian Rice with Sausage Bring 3 cups water, 2 cups jasmine rice, 2 slices peeled ginger, 6 sliced dried Chinese sausages and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a simmer. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 17 minutes. Stir in 4 sliced scallions and 2 teaspoons sesame oil.

27. Fried Rice Make Asian Rice with Sausage (No. 26); cool. Brown 8 ounces sliced mushrooms in vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat, 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and 2 teaspoons soy sauce; stir-fry until crisp.

28. Spiced Beef Rice Pilaf Brown 8 ounces ground beef and 1 chopped onion in butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; remove and wipe out the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 cup broken vermicelli; toast until golden, 4 minutes. Add 3 cups water, 2 cups converted rice, the beef and 1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 17 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts.

29. Curried Rice Saute 1 chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons curry powder in olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add 3 3/4 cups water, 2 cups basmati rice, 3/4 cup dried red lentils, one 2 1/2-inch piece ginger (peeled and sliced) and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 17 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup dried currants and 2 tablespoons butter.

30. Tropical Rice Bring 2 cups each water and jasmine rice, one 14-ounce can coconut milk, 3 wide strips lime zest and 1 teaspoon each sugar and kosher salt to a boil. Cover; cook over low heat until the rice is tender, 20 minutes.

31. Farro Risotto Saute 1 minced shallot and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme in butter over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups farro and 1/2 cup white wine; cook until evaporated. Add 6 cups chicken broth in 1-cup increments, stirring, until absorbed, 30 minutes. Stir in 2 cups corn, 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup each Parmesan and parsley and 4 ounces Taleggio.

32. Farro-Stuffed Peppers Drizzle 4 halved bell peppers with olive oil; bake at 400 degrees F, 15 minutes. Make Farro Risotto (No. 31); stuff into the peppers. Top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden, 30 minutes.

33. Broccoli Farro Cook 1 1/2 cups farro as the label directs; cool. Toss with 1 bunch chopped steamed broccoli (cooled), 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley and mint, and the zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons. Season to taste.

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Citrus Farro Salad (No. 34)

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Citrus Farro Salad (No. 34)

34. Citrus Farro salad Bring 3 cups water, 1 1/2 cups each farro and orange juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 bay leaf to a simmer. Cook until the farro is tender, 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Toss with 2 cups frisee, 6 segmented oranges and/or grapefruits, and 1 cup each sliced celery, red onion and black olives. Season to taste.

35. Farro with Leeks Cook 1 cup farro as the label directs. Bring 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a simmer; add 6 cups chopped leeks. Cover; cook until tender, 15 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons each Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, then the farro.

36. Farro Caprese Cook 1 1/2 cups farro as the label directs; cool. Toss with 2 cups halved grape tomatoes, 1 pound bocconcini, 1 cup torn basil, 6 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar. Season to taste.

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Quinoa Salad with Beets (No. 37)

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Quinoa Salad with Beets (No. 37)

37. Quinoa Salad with Beets Cook 1 cup quinoa as the label directs; cool. Whisk 2 tablespoons cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard; whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil. Toss with 4 cups mesclun greens, 2 cups diced cooked beets, 1/2 cup each candied walnuts and sliced red onion, and the quinoa; season to taste. Top with blue cheese.

38. Quinoa with Apricots Combine 3 cups water, 1 1/2 cups quinoa, 1 can chickpeas (rinsed) and 1 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander and kosher salt in a saucepan. Cover; cook over low heat until the quinoa is tender, 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup each sliced dried apricots and chopped cilantro and the juice of 1/2 lemon; drizzle with olive oil.

39. Cherry-Almond Quinoa Make Quinoa with Apricots (No. 38), replacing the spices with 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and the apricots with dried cherries. Add 1 cup sliced almonds.

40. Sesame Quinoa Cook 1 1/2 cups quinoa as the label directs; cool. Whisk 1/4 cup each rice vinegar and vegetable oil with 3 tablespoons sesame oil; toss with the quinoa, 1 1/2 cups each shredded napa cabbage, grated carrots, sliced almonds and sliced scallions, and the segments from 2 tangerines. Season with salt. 

41. Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables Toss 1 each chopped fennel bulb, red onion and bell pepper with olive oil, salt and 2 tablespoons za'atar spice; roast at 450 degrees F until browned, 30 minutes. Cook 1 1/2 cups quinoa as the label directs; toss with the vegetables. Season with salt. Top with chopped parsley.

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Bulgur with Roasted Cauliflower (No. 42)

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Bulgur with Roasted Cauliflower (No. 42)

42. Bulgur with Roasted Cauliflower Cook 2 cups bulgur as the label directs. Toss 1 head cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper; roast at 425 degrees F until browned, 30 minutes. Toss with the bulgur, 1 cup each chopped cucumber, mint, parsley and scallions, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup each lemon juice and capers. Season to taste.

43. Sun-Dried Tomato Bulgur Make Bulgur with Roasted Cauliflower (No. 42); toss with 1/2 cup each chopped sun-dried tomatoes, dill and feta.

44. Bulgur with Raisins Cook 1 1/2 cups bulgur as the label directs. Saute 1 chopped onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup each pine nuts and raisins; cook 2 minutes. Toss with the bulgur, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley and green olives and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Season to taste.

45. Bulgur with Figs Make Bulgur with Raisins (No. 44), adding 1/2 chopped fennel bulb with the onion; replace the pine nuts with cashews and the raisins with chopped dried figs.

46. Apple-Grain Salad Warm 6 cups frozen cooked mixed grains as the label directs; cool. Toss with 2 diced apples, 1 cup each candied walnuts, sliced celery and crisped chopped prosciutto and 3 tablespoons each white balsamic vinegar and olive oil; season to taste.

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Mixed Grains with Dates (No. 47)

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Mixed Grains with Dates (No. 47)

47. Mixed Grains with Dates Cook 2 cups mixed grains as the label directs; saute in butter over medium heat, 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped dates and mixed herbs (such as dill, tarragon and/or parsley); season to taste.

48. Grain-Cabbage Gratin Make Mixed Grains with Dates (No. 47); stir in 3/4 cup sour cream while still warm. Saute 8 cups shredded red cabbage and 1 sliced onion in 1 stick butter in a pot over high heat, 10 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds and season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup each raisins and white wine; cook, 10 minutes. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; top with the grains. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 35 minutes.

49. Tex-Mex Grits Bring 6 cups chicken broth to a boil. Stir in 1 1/2 cups grits and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Stir in 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese and 2 tablespoons butter. Top with 1 cup each thawed frozen fire-roasted corn and black-eyed peas tossed with 1/3 cup each chopped green chiles and scallions.

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Pimiento Cheese Grits (No. 50)

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Pimiento Cheese Grits (No. 50)

50. Pimiento Cheese Grits Bring 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons each hot sauce and kosher salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; whisk in 1 1/2 cups grits. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 2 cups shredded cheddar, 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup finely chopped pimientos and 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish and top with 1 cup crushed saltines tossed with 2 tablespoons melted butter; bake at 375 degrees F until golden, 20 minutes. Top with chopped chives.

Photographs by Ryan Liebe

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Barley with Kale Pesto (No. 4)

Cook 2 cups barley as the label directs. Puree 3 cups chopped kale, 1/2 cup each Parmesan and olive oil, 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon each lemon zest and kosher salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a food processor. Toss with the barley.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Slow-Cooker Polenta with Mushrooms (No. 7)

Make Slow-Cooker Polenta (No. 6). Brown 1 pound sliced oyster mushrooms in olive oil in a skillet over high heat, 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley; season to taste. Serve over the polenta and top with crumbled Gorgonzola. 

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Millet with Roasted Carrots (No. 10)

Cut 1 pound small carrots in half lengthwise and slice 2 red onions into wedges; toss with olive oil, salt and 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Roast at 425 degrees F until tender, 30 minutes. Cook 2 cups millet in salted water as the label directs. Drizzle with olive oil; top with the vegetables. 

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Slow-Cooker Squash Risotto (No. 17)

Saute 1 minced shallot and 2 teaspoons chopped sage in butter in a pot over medium heat, 2 minutes. Stir in 1 3/4 cups Arborio rice. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper; bring to a boil. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker; stir in 3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash. Cover; cook on high, 2 hours. Stir in 1 cup grated Parmesan. 

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Brown Rice and Brussels Sprouts (No. 25)

Cook 1 1/4 cups brown rice as the label directs. Separate the leaves from 1 pound Brussels sprouts; toss with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and lemon zest, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss with the rice, 1 grated garlic clove and 1/2 cup each toasted hazelnuts, grated Parmesan, chopped parsley and olive oil. Season to taste.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Citrus Farro Salad (No. 34)

Bring 3 cups water, 1 1/2 cups each farro and orange juice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 bay leaf to a simmer. Cook until the farro is tender, 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Toss with 2 cups frisee, 6 segmented oranges and/or grapefruits, and 1 cup each sliced celery, red onion and black olives. Season to taste.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Quinoa Salad with Beets (No. 37)

Cook 1 cup quinoa as the label directs; cool. Whisk 2 tablespoons cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard; whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil. Toss with 4 cups mesclun greens, 2 cups diced cooked beets, 1/2 cup each candied walnuts and sliced red onion, and the quinoa; season to taste. Top with blue cheese.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Bulgur with Roasted Cauliflower (No. 42)

Cook 2 cups bulgur as the label directs. Toss 1 head cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper; roast at 425 degrees F until browned, 30 minutes. Toss with the bulgur, 1 cup each chopped cucumber, mint, parsley and scallions, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup each lemon juice and capers. Season to taste. 

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Mixed Grains with Dates (No. 47)

Cook 2 cups mixed grains as the label directs; saute in butter over medium heat, 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped dates and mixed herbs (such as dill, tarragon and/or parsley); season to taste.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

Pimiento Cheese Grits (No. 50)

Bring 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons each hot sauce and kosher salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; whisk in 1 1/2 cups grits. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 2 cups shredded cheddar, 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup finely chopped pimientos and 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish and top with 1 cup crushed saltines tossed with 2 tablespoons melted butter; bake at 375 degrees F until golden, 20 minutes. Top with chopped chives.

Photo By: Ryan Liebe ©Ryan K Liebe

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