Budget Stretcher: Leftover Makeover Fried Grits
Growing up in the South I learned early on to not only like grits but to love them...when they are made right! It's really an economical hot grain to add to a breakfast menu or to let stand on it's own as a bowl of cereal. You can eat it as you like it: with cheese, with scrambled eggs stirred in, with butter, or even with sugar and milk if you like, though I confess we've never gone that far in this household!
So yes, grits truly are a standard in my home for breakfast. I've learned over the years to make just enough for breakfast and not have leftovers, but the other morning, I slipped up and put in too much salt, so I made some more grits to mix with the two salty grits. I didn't quite get the balance right but near enough that the grits were edible. However, I had an abundance of grits. There were leftovers.
Tuesday. Two days out from grocery shopping and the fridge is looking mighty thin, except for a handful of leftovers I really needed to use up. Which included that bowl of grits. What to do? I remembered a recipe from my favorite old cookbook a leftover use for grits: fry them. That reminded me of Mama and I visiting the lovely little town of Forsyth and stopping to eat at their well known Grits Cafe where the croutons on my salad turned out to be cubes of fried grits.
I'd altered my menu for the day to use chicken breasts I'd thawed for a company dinner and then hadn't used. Santa Fe Chicken breasts sounded good and I thought fried grits would go well with the dish.
Warm grits are easier to smash and remove lumps from. So I heated them slightly in the microwave then put them in a bowl. I smooshed them about until the lumps were all gone, added to my roughly 1 cup of grits, 1 egg and 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper and mixed well.
The flavor of these cakes is hard to describe but it's a good bit like a cornmeal cake only lighter and creamier and more delicate with a more definite corn flavor than corn meal. John was VERY skeptical when I told him my intent but he ate every one on his plate and said "You could do that again sometime," when he'd finished. Them's high words of praise from The Man of this house.