Reduced fat sour cream, garnish

Favorite bottle salsa (medium heat), garnish

For the grits: In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth and half and half to a boil. Stir in grits, return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Mexican cheese mixture. Keep warm.

For the peppers: Preheat broiler. Rinse and dry peppers. Arrange on a spray-coated broiler pan. Broil peppers about 5 inches from heat source, with oven door slightly ajar, until peppers are blistered, about 5 minutes per side. Place peppers in a heavy zip-top bag, close bag and let stand about 10 minutes, to loosen the skins. Remove skins from peppers. Carefully cut peppers lengthwise on one side, leaving stems attached. Scrape out seeds.


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To stuff: Spoon the creamy grits evenly into the peppers. Or cut a corner from a small plastic bag, add some grits and pipe them into the peppers. Secure filling inside peppers with toothpicks.

To fry: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and half and half. In a shallow plate, combine well the flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper and cayenne. Dip stuffed peppers first into egg mixture, shaking off excess, then in flour/cornmeal mixture.

In a large, heavy skillet, add peanut oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat to 375 degrees. In batches (2 or 3 at a time), fry coated peppers, cut side up, until puffy and golden, about 2 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

To serve: Arrange on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce. Top with small amounts of cheddar, scallions, sour cream and salsa. Serve additional garnishes on the side. Makes 6 servings of two peppers each.

Grits pie(s)

You can enjoy grits for breakfast (savory or sweet), as mentioned above. And for dinner, as also mentioned above. But grits can abet the sweet toothed among us by providing a post-prandial treat. Here we use canned pineapple and store-bought pie crusts – which you always have in the house, of course -- to create a yummy eating incentive for the nights when you figure the "troops" won't be thoroughly enamored of what you've done with the leftovers from Sunday's dinner.

This recipe makes a couple of pies, because if you're going to the trouble to make one …

2 cups water

1/2 cup quick-cooking grits (uncooked)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple (natural juice)

1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crusts

Spritz-on whipped cream, garnish

Favorite fresh berries, garnish

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add grits and salt and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

In a blender, combine grits, pineapple and cream cheese and blend until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. With blender running, add eggs, one at a time. Add sugar, milk and vanilla and blend until smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Divide grits mixture evenly between crusts.

Bake for 1 hour, until mixture is set. Cool on a wire rack. When ready to serve, cut one pie into wedges, and arrange on small dessert plates. Spritz with whipped cream and garnish cream and sides of plate with berries. Makes 6 servings per pie.