Thursday, November 6, 2014

Joann's Overnight Cheese Grits

I am always on the lookout for great go-to recipes. You know the kind; amazingly delicious, yet surprisingly simple. The kind of dish that always gets recipe requests when you take it to a party. The kind of dish that requires you to beat off your husband and children in order to save said dish for party.

I recently came up with an idea for the best way to find a no-fail, crowd-pleasing recipe. Here it is:

1. Find a pastor's wife.
2. Ask for her go-to potluck dish.
3. Make that dish.

Chances are that the pastor's wife has attended more church suppers than she can count and has eaten more potluck dishes than she can even name, managing to snag several amazing recipes along the way. Or, if she's like my friend Lisa (also a pastor's wife), she has ample opportunities to test out her own recipes on the congregation until they are "go-to ready". (Lisa's yummy recipes available here.)

It just makes sense. These women must have a whole collection of go-to recipes. I bet the Food Network could do an entire series on it: Today, on this episode of "Church Lady Cooks," Tater Tot Casserole and Jell-O Salad! 

On second thought, maybe we should just give Lisa her own show.

At our church, our pastor's wife Joann, has a famous recipe for cheese grits that gets passed around the congregation as often as the offering plate.

 Joann's recipe is, of course, amazingly delicious, yet surprisingly simple. And it's always a hit.

I'll admit, growing up I never liked grits. I always thought grits looked like somebody mixed up a batch of Elmer's glue and wet sand, and they kind of tasted like that too. But that was before I learned the secret to amazing grits. And that secret is CHEESE. 

This recipe is basically a poorly veiled excuse to eat an obscene amount of butter and cheese, which is great, because I am always looking for an excuse to eat cheese.

Begin by boiling 3 cups of water. Then add 1 cup of stone-ground grits (not instant).

Stir regularly for 10 minutes.
Keep stirring! Luckily, this is the hardest part.
Add a stick of butter to help the grits not taste like glue and sand.

And seasoned salt...

...some beaten eggs...

...and the star of the show...


Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning bake uncovered at 325 for an hour.

I got a little fancy here and added some ham after the cheese.

In the version below, I used white cheddar and added some cooked breakfast sausage and green onions! Oh, the possibilities!

Thanks, Joann!


3 cups water
1 cup grits (white or yellow stone-ground, not instant)

1 stick of butter 
1 teaspoon seasoned salt 
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar 
2 beaten eggs

The night before you want to serve bring 3 cups of water to a low boil. Stir in the grits and boil on low for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. After ten minutes remove from heat and add all the remaining ingredients. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning bake uncovered at 325 for an hour.

NOTE: If you want to make it more like a casserole you can add ham or sausage or even some veggies (diced pepper, green onion, etc). If you use ham or sausage, OMIT the salt.

If you are serving a crowd, you can double the recipe and still bake and serve in a 9x13 pan!


  1. YES!!! I love this recipe!

  2. Thanks for sharing, this was fabulous! I made it like you suggested with the white cheddar and scookedsf sausage