Creamy Cheese Grits!

These "Creamy Cheese Grits" take grits and kick them up to a whole new level!  They are so good!  I love grits any way you prepare them.  I will let you know that growing up, we did not eat 'cheese grits' and to some southerners, adding all of this to grits is not really smiled upon.  My mother prepared grits in the classic southern style, with butter, salt and pepper only.  That is how grits are supposed to be eaten and if you are truly southern, you already know this.  However, through the years, grits have evolved and adding a little this and that to them, has made them more palatable for non-grit eaters to enjoy.    This recipe for 'cheese grits' is wonderful for those who think they don't eat grits.  It's also really good for recipes that use grits for a base, like "Shrimp and Grits"!   Here is what you will need for these wonderful cheesy grits!

4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup quick cooking grits (do not use instant)
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of black pepper to taste
dash of hot sauce (optional)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 Tbs. butter
1 cup shredded cheddar or Gouda cheese

Place water and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium high  heat and bring to a boil.  Here is a tip for cooking grits, always salt the water you cook them in, because you cannot salt grits after they are cooked.  They will just never taste salty.

 Stir in the grits, stirring until well mixed so lumps don't form.  Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until they are thickened.  You need to stir them several times during this so they don't stick.

Stir in the garlic powder, black pepper, dash of hot sauce, cream cheese, butter and shredded cheese.   I usually use shredded cheddar, but when I have Gouda it gives this a decadent creaminess that is so good!  The Gouda is also perfect when making this for the base for Shrimp and Grits! The cheeses should be melted through before serving.

Pour into a serving bowl and top with a little crumbled bacon or some additional cheese!  

Slow Cooker Ranch Pork Chops!

This is absolutely the easiest and best slow cooker recipe I have ever made.  I originally saw this on a slow cooker site, but I did change it just a little by adding a cup of sour cream to the sauce at the end.  
Here is what you will need:

2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1 pkg ranch dressing mix, 1 cup sour cream and 5 or 6 boneless pork loin chops about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.  I usually just buy a whole pork loin and slice my own to save money and to be sure I get the thickness I want.   You can substitute boneless chicken breasts in this for the pork and it would be great also!

Spray your slow cooker liberally with cooking spray.  This really makes clean up so easy. Lay your pork chops in the bottom.  Sprinkle with pepper.  The soup and the ranch dressing mix have enough sodium in them that you won't need extra salt.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high 4-5 hours depending on your slow cooker.  At the end of the cooking time, add a cup of sour cream to the sauce.  You will need to temper your sour cream gradually with some of the hot sauce before adding it or it will curdle (not a good look).  If you are not serving immediately, turn the crock pot to warm to hold it. 

I usually serve this over hot buttered egg noodles, but it is also excellent over rice or mashed potatoes.  Add a salad and rolls and you have a great meal!