GINNA PARSONS: Rheta’s Grits good anytime

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I had the pleasure Sunday of introducing my friend Rheta Grimsley Johnson as the featured speaker at the Helen Foster Lecture series at the Lee County Library.
Rheta and I became friends about 10 years ago after being introduced by our husbands, who met in the late ’70s at Mississippi State and reconnected some 20 years later in Northeast Mississippi.
When speaking about Rheta on Sunday, I mentioned that often when Charlie and I would go to Iuka for a visit, her husband, Don, would cook a succulent pork loin on the grill and Rheta would prepare an array of side dishes.
One of our favorites was her Ro-Tel cheese grits, which are delicious anytime, but especially with pork. Often, we’d have enough grits leftover to reheat the next day for breakfast. There’s nothing quite like hot green chili peppers to get your eyes open in the morning!
A number of years ago, I printed Rheta’s recipe in this space. But because many folks asked for the recipe after I mentioned the dish at the lecture, I’m printing it again.
I haven’t made these in a while, mainly because I can eat the whole casserole myself (not at one sitting though). But I think this will find a place on this week’s menu, maybe served alongside baked tilapia and some spinach sautéed with garlic in a little olive oil.
If you want to dress them up a little bit for presentation, you can spoon the mixture into individual ramekins and top them with a sprinkling of paprika.

Rheta’s Grits
2 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
12 stick butter
Bring water to a boil and add grits. Cook until done (mixture will be thick).
In a saucepan, combine Ro-tel, Cheddar and butter. Cook over low heat until melted. Add grits to mixture and stir well. Pour into a greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.