Whenever I cut a recipe from a magazine, I typically make the dish once to experience something new, and then I forget about it. The dish has to taste really good and be fairly simple to make to elevate it to repeat-table-appearance status.
My lifestyle (I do not have children or other dependent family members) and eating preferences (I graze throughout the day) also lead me to “assemble” more than I actually cook. I tend to eat a rotation of scrambled eggs and TLT (turkey, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches for lunch and dinner, and I snack throughout the day on fruit, baby carrots, and popcorn. Oh all right, a fair share of baked goods make their way into the snack rotation as well.
Though I am firmly planted in the baking camp rather than the cooking camp, it’s really a shame I don’t think to cook more because I really enjoy sitting down to a meal. Unlike some crazy people I know, I even like leftovers the next day.
I have loved to eat grits since I was a little girl, so it’s really no wonder I moved from the Midwest to the South. I grew up eating grits primarily for breakfast and served with just a pat of butter, salt and pepper. As I grew older, I would stir in some cheddar cheese and eat grits for dinner. Sadly, that’s pretty much where my culinary skills stopped in relation to grits. So when I saw a recipe for pumpkin sage grits in the April 2010 Better Homes and Gardens, I cut it out and saved it in my binder for another day. It took a year and a half for that day to get here (I told you I don’t cook!), but it arrived.
Aside from Thanksgiving stuffing, I’d never cooked with sage. In this recipe, the herb means business! I was at first surprised by the intensity of its flavor, but it was pleasant once I got used to it. The pumpkin does not impart a lot of taste to this dish, but it certainly thickens the grits and makes them creamier.
The recipe called for the dish to be served with cinnamon roasted chicken. Though I was focused on the grits when I set out, I went ahead and baked the chicken as well. I don’t know that I would like the cinnamon rub if eating the chicken alone, but it paired very nicely with a bite of the pumpkin sage grits. Dinner is served.
Pumpkin Sage Grits & Cinnamon Chicken
- 1/2 cup grits
- 1/2 cup pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon sage, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- For the grits, stir grits into two cups salted, boiling water.
- Add the pumpkin and sage and return to boiling.
- Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
- Stir in cheddar cheese.
- Garnish with sage leaves if desired.
- For the chicken, coat the chicken breasts in vegetable oil.
- Whisk together the salt, black pepper and cinnamon and rub over both sides of each chicken breast.
- Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes until no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.