This is one of those casseroles that I like to get ready ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate for an easy to make dinner. I pop it into my toaster oven and dinner is ready without much effort on my part. The amounts listed below are for one Cheesy Chili And Grits Casserole; just multiply the amounts by the number of casseroles you need if you want to make extra for freezing.
1/4 cup of dry grits or polenta
1 cup of whole milk (you can use water or skim milk if you want to decrease the calories, but it won’t be as creamy and delicious)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Enough olive oil to lightly grease an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish
1 15 ounce can of your favorite prepared chili
1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 green onions, both the white and green parts
The most time intensive part of this recipe is cooking the grits. You can substitute instant grits if you are in a hurry; just follow the directions on the package of instant grits. Otherwise, put the milk and sea salt in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and heat over a low flame. Once the milk is hot, but not yet simmering, slowly whisk in the dry grits. Cook over a very low flame until it thickens; this should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Lightly grease an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish. Pour the prepared grits into the dish and evenly spread them out with a spatula. Pour the can of prepared chili over the grits. Evenly spread out the chili. Sprinkle the shredded Cheddar cheese all over the top. Tightly cover the baking dish, with either a lid or aluminum foil. You can either cook the casserole immediately or move it to either the freezer or refrigerator for later use.
Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees F. A casserole at room temperature will need to bake for about 30 minutes. One at refrigerator temperature will take about 50 minutes, and one that is frozen will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes. You should always check the internal temperature of any casserole and make sure it reaches 165 degrees F to be sure it is safe to eat. Let it cool slightly before serving.
Thinly slice the green onions and sprinkle them over the cooked casserole just before serving.