I kissed a giraffe. Well, kind of. See?
Actually, during our class field trip last Friday, I fed a giraffe a leaf out of my mouth. But his lips gave me a little peck (read that *slobber*) on my chin ... so, I consider that getting a big ol' kiss from good ol' Mr. Giraffe.
As you can see in the photo, I was a bit apprehensive about my giraffe feeding adventure. It's just a tad unnerving to see this giant giraffe head (look at his head! ... it's huge!!) coming straight at your face. To block this out, as you can also see in the photo, I closed my eyes. As if this makes a giant giraffe head coming straight at your face any better. But despite my apprehension, I really wanted to feed the giraffe. I mean, how often do you get the chance to feed a giraffe from your mouth??
Plus, my students thought I was the coolest teacher. Ever.
So, what does me feeding a giraffe have to do with Ham & Cheese Grits Casserole? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. I just couldn't pass up sharing that story with you.
Now let's look at some Ham & Cheese Grits Casserole, shall we?
This is an original recipe of mine, based on this Shrimp & Grits Casserole adapted from Cooking Light magazine. I figured if Shrimp & Grits Casserole was so yummy, then Ham & Cheese Grits Casserole would be too. I was right.
Just like with the Shrimp & Grits Casserole, start by whipping up some creamy grits. Then stir in lots of ham, lots of cheese, an egg, and some seasoning.
Bake it up until its set and lightly golden brown on top.
Finally, dig in and serve up a big bowl. Hmmmm, I wonder if my new friend the giraffe would like it?
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Ham & Cheese Grits Casserole
Source: A Tracey creation
2 c. milk (I use whole milk, but any 'slimmer' variety is fine too)
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 c. quick-cooking grits
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese (less fat Neufchatel-type is fine)
1 or 2 T. chopped fresh chives (you can also use dried)
3 T. fresh parsley or 1 T. dried parsley
1 T. lemon juice
2 c. chopped ham
1. Bring milk, chicken broth, and chopped onion to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.
2. Remove grits from heat. Stir in cheddar, butter, and cream cheese until melted; then stir in remaining ingredients.
3. Spoon grits mixture into a 11x7" baking dish generously coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until set and the top is just starting to get some golden brown areas.