Monday, March 17, 2008
Kiss My Grits
I try really hard not to order out. Even on days that end in stress induced tears and my inevitable collapse in front of a Rock of Love marathon, I do everything I can to keep from reaching for the phone. Having been caught in a dial-a-dinner rut in the past, I know how easy it is to convince oneself to just make the call today and promise to start cooking again tomorrow. I came really close to selling out and calling for a big bowl of noodle soup after a particularly exhausting week recently, but fortunately, I was able to wrangle the thoughts from my mind and find my way to the kitchen.
There are a few ingredients that I always keep around in the event that I begin to feel the order-out-itch around dinnertime. In addition to the potatoes, eggs, chickpeas and lentils that I often rely on for last minute meals are also grits and kielbasa sausage. Grits (or polenta) are a great pantry staple whether they're instant, quick cook or traditional. You can top them with pretty much anything--shrimp, sausage, eggs, or veggies--and have a delicious, fresh and filling meal in minutes. I really like kielbasa prepared simply with blackened onions--which is really just a fancy way of saying that they've been caramelized slowly until their natural sugars darken. I really like the contrast of the plump, savory sausage with the crispy, sweet onions over a nice heap of creamy, cheesy grits. I don't usually even bother with any spices, I just saute the onions in olive oil, then add the kielbasa, all while the grits cook away. It's quick and easy, and even if you use the Hillshire Farm kielbasa in your deli section (already partially cooked), the meal is still fresher and healthier than ordering out.
There's no real recipe today, just the idea of serving something you love over grits or polenta. I just heat up some olive oil, start caramelizing the onions then toss in the kielbasa and cook until browned. For the grits, I cook mine in a mix of water, milk and butter, then add tons of cheddar and Parmesan right before serving and dinner is done :)