Grits and Green Chile

Grits and green chile with a bit cheese makes the most awesome breakfast. #grits #greenchile

[Jump to the recipe]

Grits and green chile is the ultimate fusion of southern and New Mexico cuisine. It’s creamy, spicy, and cheesy, and definite comfort food.  It takes about 15 minutes to make and has only 5 ingredients, two of which are water and salt. You can’t make an easier or more comforting breakfast, lunch or dinner. With this dish, I have turned many people who disliked grits into grits lovers!

Ever since I discovered green chile back in the 70’s, this has been our favorite cool/cold weather breakfast. Bobby wasn’t that big on grits, but once he tried them with green chile, he became hooked and this is now one of his most requested breakfasts (right alongside Huevos Rancheros). I make grits and green chile at least once a week from fall to spring. It was a standard breakfast on camping and backpacking trips, and is a regular request from our houseguests.    And, like my Mushroom Garlic Soup, it’s a great dish to ease the common cold.

Even if you think you don’t like grits, please give this dish a try. You will be converted – I guarantee it! 🙂  And for those of you who don’t know what grits are, fear not – check out the Kitchen Notes.

Grits and Green Chile
Ingredients for Grits and Green Chile

Grits and Green Chile Recipe
5 mins
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
The cure for the common cold!  This recipe can easily be increased or decreased. Check out the Kitchen Notes. Prep and cook time assumes you already have some roasted green chile either fresh, canned or frozen. 

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Fusion
Yields: 3 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking grits* (not instant!)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green chile* (the amount depends on the heat of the chile and how much heat you want)
  • 1 overeasy or sunnyside up egg per person (optional)
  1. Bring the water with salt to a boil.
  2. SLOWLY whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and cover. Whisk every 1 minute or so to prevent lumping and sticking to the pot.
  3. Once the grits have thickened, stir in the cheese and chile. Cook for another 1 minute, stirring.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into bowls.

  5. If desired, top your bowl of grits with a fried egg.
Kitchen Notes

Instant grits vs. quick cooking grits vs. slow-cooking grits – Remember the movie My Cousin Vinny? There is a classic line from that movie that says “No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits.” Well, I don’t use “instant” grits, but I do use "quick-cooking" grits which cook in 5 minutes. Bob's Red Mill White Corn Grits are my favorite. I don’t feel at all guilty about it because my mother, who lived in Louisiana all of her life, used quick grits. And if they were good enough for her, they are good enough for me.


Green chile – New Mexico roasted, peeled, and chopped green chile is best. However, you can also use roasted and chopped poblano, and if you don’t like spicy, roasted sweet bell peppers work great.  If you have chipotle you can make my Chipotle Grits with Feta and if you have some roasted red chile, then you could always make this Roasted Red Chile and Grits.


Cheese Choices – We use a mild cheddar cheese, but any mild semi-soft cheese works - Monterey Jack, sharp cheddar, Fontina, and even feta. You could also leave the cheese out altogether. In addition to just omitting the cheese, you could replace it with 1 tablespoon butter or butter substitute (if there is such a thing 🙂 ).


An egg on top – Bobby loves an overeasy egg on top. Me…not so much, which is surprising since I do love fried eggs on pasta and enchiladas. But for some reason, I prefer my grits without an egg.


Increasing the recipe – As with polenta, if you want to increase or decrease the recipe just work with a ratio of 1/4 cup uncooked grits to 1 cup water.


Grits and green chile with a bit cheese makes the most awesome breakfast. #grits #greenchile

What are grits?  Grits can be a couple of things. First of all, grits can be a Girl Raised In The South (like me), or they can be coarsely ground corn.  There are white grits and yellow grits. White grits (the ones I prefer for this dish), are ground from hominy which is an alkali-treated corn.  Yellow grits are ground from yellow corn.  Coarsely ground yellow corn is also used for polenta.

Comparison of grits and polenta

If you like grits or polenta, here are some other recipes to enjoy:

Peaches with Fried Grits and Pecans

Shrimp and Grits

Smoky Polenta with Aged Cheddar

Southwestern Pork Stir fry over Polenta


This Grits and Green Chile post has been shared with Thursday Treasures, Gluten-free Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Hearth and Soul, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Made From Scratch Monday, Creative Thursday, My Meatless Monday


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94 Responses to “Grits and Green Chile”

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  2. Lois April 21, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Hi Mj
    I love your website and was wondering about the grits…
    I use a mill to grind most of my whole grains and wondered
    if I could substitute ground corn or my cornmeal for grits in
    this recipe.
    Love your recipes and especially all the chile recipes/inspiration!
    We spent a week in NM in the fall and bought heirloom
    chile seeds from Espanola area and are they ever beautiful
    plants this spring as we start our garden from seed in the house!
    Vigorous and flowering at 4″ tall!
    Can hardly wait to see them grow and then harvest them!!

    • mj April 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks so much for your nice comments Lois! I’m so glad that you are enjoying my website!
      In answer to your question – I’d say to go for it! I’ve never ground my own grains and am very impressed that you do. That’s pretty awesome! The only recommendation I would have is to not grind it too fine. As you can see in the picture, grits are coarsely ground, about the same size grain as the coarsely ground cornmeal that I use for polenta or yellow grits. So give it a try and please let me know how it turns out.
      That’s fabulous that you are planting Espanola green chile plants! You’re going to make all of your friends jealous once you start picking and roasting. I bought a huge bag of dried red chile pods last fall from a market in Espanola and have been using them for my red chile sauce this year. They are HOT, but they are SO good!
      Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and thanks so much for contacting me. I love hearing from my readers! You make my day!
      Cheers – MJ

  3. March 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanκs fоr finаllу writing about > Grіts and Green Chile Recipe | MJ’s Kitchen < Liked it!

  4. Chaya February 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I would love this. I hope to find it on our table, soon. Thanks MJ.

  5. Minnie@thelady8home January 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    I have never cooked grits….I need to rectify that soon! This sounds heavenly!

  6. Nads January 9, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    NOW WE KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember how we have often discussed why my grits and green chile don’t taste as good as yours? I wanted some the other day so i made the grits and the only cheese I had left was a little smoked gouda, so I used that, and then added some of the chile you brought me. IT WAS THE CHILE!!!!! It was so delicious I ate a double bowl.

    • mj January 9, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      Yep! It’s hard to beat New Mexico chile!!! That’s why when you see it at your markets during the late summer and fall, buy it, roast it, peel it and freeze it so you too can have it all year long! Oh – I love the idea of using smoked gouda!!! XOXOX

  7. Swathi December 18, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Love this Mj, you make delicious dishes. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  8. Rhonda December 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Sometimes i think I’m a displaced Southerner. I adore grits (and many other Southern foods). I’ll have to add this to my repertoire.

  9. Mary Hudak-Collins December 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    MJ, I bet my husband would love this dish! Thanks for sharing this month in our recipe linky! Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  10. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey December 13, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    MJ this looks absolutely wonderful! A great dish for days that it decides to get cold here in NM! I’m saving this recipe for a comforting meal soon.

  11. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) December 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    This is on my to make list! My hubs will be so happy! 🙂 Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂
    I hope to see you again this week!

    Stop by this week to see if you were the winner of the Sugar and Spice Prize pack! We had a super great variety of recipes and entries this week!

    Cindy from

  12. Asmita December 11, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I have never cooked grits at home but have tried it and like it. Your dish looks warm and comforting! Would love to try this out.

  13. Nami | Just One Cookbook December 8, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    What a comforting meal. After blogging, I learned about grits from other bloggers but I’ve never tasted or seen it before. You always make food look so appetizing and it was such a fun post learning the new ingredient. 🙂

  14. Baker Street December 6, 2012 at 1:59 am #

    Chile with grits sounds interesting, MJ! A must try combination.

  15. wok with ray December 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    I have never tried grits before. Thank you for the introduction and for educating us about different types of grits. My favorite is the girl raised in the South. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying the rest of the week, MJ! 🙂

  16. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings December 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I’ve only had grits a handful of times, but each time I try it, I like it. For some reason also, every grit dish I tried seems to be different…not sure why…I’m certain your dish is super delish!

  17. Giulietta | Alterkitchen December 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Super easy and yet super tasty… it’s even a perfect comfort food, what could you ask more to a dish?! 🙂

  18. Treat and Trick December 5, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    I never tried grits before but when you had paired it with green chile, I think I’m going to love this….

  19. Food Jaunts December 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I’ve actually never had grits 🙂 But I love polenta so I’m not sure why I haven’t given grits a shot. I think they’re just a big intimidating since they have the bad rap of being known as not a good food. I’ve got to rectify the never having grits problem soon and this looks like a great recipe to ease me into it – thanks!

    • mj December 5, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks FJ! I think the reason why grits have been given such a bad rap is that the “traditional” way to prepare them is with a huge slab of butter – the way my mama use to make them. 🙂 Without the butter, they are just cooked, ground cornmeal. With green chile and a little cheese, they are a lot healthier and tastier than that slab of butter.

  20. Adora's Box December 4, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I have never tried grits but seriously want to. There’s a Filipino corn that’s similar to hominy (dense and white and sticky). The taste of that in a porridge consistency is probably very comforting.

  21. Carolyn Jung December 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Yum! It’s been ages since I’ve been to New Mexico, but you make me hungry for it all over again. 😉

  22. Christie - Food Done Light December 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    So glad you shared on Thursdays Treasures. I just love the mix of flavors. What a great way to elevate breakfast.

  23. Karen (Back Road Journal) December 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Growing up in Texas, grits were breakfast food a lot. Love your green chili and grits!

  24. Daniela December 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    What a wonderful and creative fusion!
    Looks amazing too!

  25. Charissa December 3, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    If you can’t get grits, would oats work too? (Actually, I’ve already made savoury oats once, wasn’t too thrilled about them, but maybe with the added chile…)

    • mj December 3, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks for the comment Charissa! To be perfectly honest, no – I don’t think oats would work at all. I love cooked oats, but I wouldn’t add green chile to them. You can order grits online if so inclined. They aren’t expensive. Have a great week!

  26. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies December 3, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I need to give grits a try now that I live in the south. And this looks like a good way to do it! I love the addition of green chile. 🙂

  27. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb December 3, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I was trying to figure out since earlier what grits is! It sounded familiar and yours is so white, then it dawned to me that you meant polenta when I saw the yellow version. ^.^ I am the biggest polenta head in India, I just can’t get enough of the maiz. Now that i know what grits is I can recreate your recipe MJ. yay!

    • mj December 3, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Thanks Helene! Yes, the yellow polenta would work fine, but it does taste a little different than the white version. Because white grits are made from the alkali-treated corn, the flavor is a bit different. Let me know if you make this! I’d love your feedback as always!

  28. Biren @ Roti n Rice December 3, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    The first time I tasted green chile, I was hooked too. Yes, freshly roasted green chile are a must. They make the best green chile. I have not tried grits but looking at yours make me want to try it soon. 🙂

  29. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats December 3, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I think I only had grits once. Definitely bookmarking this recipe. Thanks for sharing MJ!

  30. Tessa December 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I love grits! I just learned about grits only a few years ago. I discovered them on a trip to the East Coast and have been a fan ever since. Great recipe MJ!

  31. Charles December 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I’ve still never tried grits – not sure if they even sell it here, but if it’s just made from ground corn then it sounds pretty ok to me… that name though… makes me think of little pebbles in my mouth – eek!

    Lovely dish… green chili, yum (and spicy wooo!!)

    • mj December 3, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      🙂 You’re funny Charles, but so right! The word grits does make you think gritty. 🙂 However, with the right amount of water and cheese, these are very creamy. I know that grits aren’t found in many parts of the world, but if you can find a coarsely ground cornmeal, that would work as well. You can also order online. Have a great week!

      • Polo Ralph Lauren August 8, 2013 at 9:57 am #

        I love it when folks get together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!

  32. Nancy/SpicieFoodie December 2, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I’ve never eaten grits but being Mexican and consuming many corn products, I know I would love them. Your recipe made my mouth water as I read it. Would love to start my morning with this…maybe even try the fried egg on top.

    • mj December 3, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Nancy – since you love corn products, you’ll love grits! Give the fried egg a try. Bobby won’t eat his grits without one! 🙂

  33. Raymund December 2, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    Honestly I never had tried grits, I hope I can find some here. It is very uncommon to see this in the supermarket

  34. Shut Up & Cook | The Attainable Gourmet December 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Grits have such a terrible reputation, and yet they are so delicious.

    This sounds like a fantastic recipe. All my favorite flavor combinations.

    Excited to explore your blog further!

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment! I hope to see you again! You’re right – grits have gotten a bad rap and they are SO good!

  35. Zsuzsa December 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Beautiful photo Peach Lady. I would have loved this when I was younger and I could eat chili. Cream of wheat with maple syrup is what I do these days. Now I know what grits are. Please don’t laugh, I thought grits were something similar to pork rinds.

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks Zsuzsa! Actually cream of wheat with maple syrup sounds pretty darn good! “thought grits were something similar to pork rinds.” Sorry – I had to laugh. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  36. Lori Lynn December 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I can’t wait to make this. I have hatch chiles in my freezer. Perfect!

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      WooHoo! Hope you enjoy!!

  37. Terra December 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    I am sooooo in, GRITS ROCK!!!! There was a manager at one of my restaurants having a conversation about grits, and which brand/type you should buy. I agree here in the South, grits are beyond delicious. I love a bowl full with lots of butter, crispy bacon, and salt and pepper…..YUM! Love the idea of addding green chilies:-) Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks Terra! Oh yes – bacon, salt/pepper and LOTS of butter! So good!

  38. Sissi December 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    So this is how the grits look like! The word “grits” makes me think instantly of the southern US, but I have never seen them here (I must check the American grocery though). White grits look particularly intriguing. This dish looks extraordinary, with the chile and the egg… If one day I buy grits, this is the first dish I will prepare!
    Your photos are simply amazing. I wish I could obtain something of similar quality one day.

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      oh Sissi – don’t sell yourself short! Your pictures are lovely!!!! Yes, these are grits – kind of like a grainy porridge. And yes – grits definitely is one of those foods that define the south. Hope you can find some grits. Have a great weekend!

  39. Hotly Spiced December 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I do love the sounds of this as I’ve always liked the taste of green chile. I’ve never eaten chillies for breakfast before! And I love polenta and it’s so great with an egg xx

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      “never eaten chillies for breakfast” – Here in New Mexico we always eat chile for breakfast. 🙂 Common NM breakfasts are breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros smothered in either red or green chile. It’s a great kick to the start of the day. Better than coffee! 🙂

  40. France @ Beyond The Peel December 1, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I’ve never made grits before, but I do make polenta. DO they essentially taste the same since they use such a similar ingredient list?

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

      Grits and polenta do have different flavors. Since grits are made from alkali treated corn or hominy, it’s flavor is different (not so “corny” 🙂 ), but the texture is the same. If you like polenta, I’m sure you would like grits.

  41. Soni December 1, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    This looks perfect for this weather and the green chile and egg sounds fantastic as a topping!! Never made grits but love the creamy texture and know that I would enjoy it a lot 🙂

  42. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen December 1, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    This DOES look so comforting for a cold morning. I have never tried grits but I’m intrigued!

  43. Debra December 1, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    So what do you call this fusion? Besides delicious?

  44. Nads December 1, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Having been one of your fortunate house quests, you know your grits and green chili is my favorite. I was thinking of this last night. I made shrimp and grits for dinner. As I stood over the pot of bubbling slow cooking yellow grits stirring and stirring so they didn’t lump, I thought about your great dish. For some reason, when I make the grits and green chili at home they never taste as good as they do at your house. Maybe I use a different kind of chili or cheese. My guess is that it’s the company I’m missing.

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Thanks Sis!! I certainly know that I miss your company!!! Shrimps and grits – YUM! Another favorite of ours! To be honest, I think the difference is the chile. I actually bought some frozen chile the other day and it wasn’t near as good as what I get from Frontier. Hope you’re having a great weekend!!!

  45. ChgoJohn December 1, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    First off, thank you for the link to your chile post. As a chile neophyte, I tend to overlook recipes that call for green or red chilies because I don’t know the kind of chile to purchase. That post of yours helped to clear things for me. 🙂
    I enjoy grits. It reminds me of polenta and we Bartolini love polenta! Now that I know what chiles to shop for, I’m sure to give your recipe a try. Thanks, again!

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      Thanks John!!! Hey – us New Mexicans are very proud of our chile so if you want to know about it, just ask. 🙂 Hope you find the right chiles and get a chance to make this. I think you’ll love it!

  46. Sanjeeta kk November 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Awee..those cute little bowls are lovely, MJ! And we do make almost a similar dish minus the cheese in Rajasthan (India) during winter. In fact I was planning to post the same soon….how our food unite countries…

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks Sanjeeta! Bought the little bowls at a Thrift store for a buck a piece. 🙂 Can’t wait to see your post and see how our different cultures unite with this dish!

  47. Christie - Food Done Light November 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Love the combination of grits and green chiles. I need a spoon to dig in now. Would love for you to share on Thursdays Treasures

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Cristie! Headed over to your blog now.

  48. Jane November 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I love grits, but have never tried them with green chile, sounds good! Although I do like the “girl raised in the south” acronym. Nice!

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Jane! Hope you are over your jetlag and having a great weekend!

  49. john@kitchenriffs November 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I think quick-cooking grits are fairly good — in a taste test I’m not sure I could distinguish them from long-cooking grits. However, the instant grits are a cut below, at least IMO. I really like the idea of green chile in my grits. Not something I’ve thought of, but I’ll definitely give it a try. Super recipe — thank you.

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      I agree John. I have found the only difference between long cooking and quick cooking grits is the time to make. Instant grits on the other shouldn’t be allowed on the grocer shelf. 🙂 Hope you enjoy! Thanks and have a great weekend!

  50. Rathai November 30, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    “… grits can be a Girl Raised In The South”. You are funny, MJ. 😀 I haven’t cooked with grits before but I love to experiment in the kitchen and you always introduce me to new, wonderful ingredients and dishes. This is something I know my parents would love. I love your props and bowls!

    • mj December 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks Rathai! My sister gave me a baseball cap that says “GRITS”. 🙂 If you can’t find grits where you are, you can always order online. They are really good! Hope you get to try them and learn to love them.

  51. Choc Chip Uru November 30, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Spicy comfort food is the best 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  52. Angie@Angie's Recipes November 30, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    I love the combo of grits and chile. Looks comforting and delectable.

  53. Roz November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I am so glad to have found your blog to follow along!!! What a great combo for grits with the green chili addition! I used to live in AZ and now i live in SC, so I LOVE the way you are pairing Southern with Southwestern. SO CREATIVE!!!!

    • mj November 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

      Thanks Roz! So nice to meet you! I hope to see you again and thanks for such lovely comments!

  54. The Wimpy Vegetarian November 30, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I love grits! My mom was a GRITS from Alabama, so grits were a regular at the table when I was growing up. This looks wonderful!!

    • mj November 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      Thanks!! Yep – us GRITS do like our grits! 🙂

  55. Ramona November 30, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    I have yet to cook grits…. but you’ve peaked my interest with all that lovely green chile. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

    • mj November 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      YOU haven’t cooked grits!? I figured you had cooked about everything. I’ve seen such a variety of ingredients on your blog, that I’m surprised you haven’t had grits. Well, you SO need to change that.! You have a wonderful weekend as well. 🙂

  56. Reese@SeasonwithSpice November 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    15 mins cook time. I like that! I haven’t tried grits, but I remember seeing it at the supermarket. From the way you describe the dish, I am confident that it will be up to my alley. The texture kind of reminds me of rice porridge we have back home, so I am really curious with grits now. Spicy, creamy & cheesy…definitely a new dish I’d love to try!

    • mj November 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Thanks Reese! Actually in some places, grits is described as a porridge, so you are so right! If you have never had them, you really need to give them a try. Try them with just a slab of butter first, then with grits and cheese. Too completely different but delicious bites!

  57. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen November 30, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    This looks so good! I’d have a bowl for breakfast. I’ve yet to make grits or polenta, but they’re definitely on my list, just like this recipe!

    • mj November 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Barbara! You really need to try one or the other. I like polenta and grits more than rice.

  58. CJ at Food Stories November 30, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Never tried chile with grits but your version looks amazing 🙂


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