Spicy Cauli-Mac and Cheese

Spicy Cauli-Mac and Cheese

Do we really need another Macaroni and Cheese recipe? According to Restaurant News, “US consumers were eating 19% more cheese per capita at the end of the past decade than at the start, according to the USDA, and restaurants are finding new ways to feed the craving.” That and 10 months of COVID is “Yes, yes we do.” Pasta and cheese combined are one of the ultimate comfort foods — and often unhealthy fat bombs. Want to find out how to reduce calories and points, but not the rich, creamy flavor? Check out my Spicy Cauli-Mac and Cheese makeover.


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Baked Risotto


Baked Risotto on virginiawillis.com

Classic Italian risotto is creamy and comforting. Tender rice flavored with wine and nutty-rich Parmesan cheese and sweet butter. Do you love risotto, but standing at a stove-top and stirring for 30 minutes is more than you can take? Try my easy Baked Risotto that can be a blank canvas for all sorts of add-ins. (more…)

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Comfort Food: One Pot Pasta

One-Pot Pasta on www.virginiawillis.com

I hope this finds you and your family safe and well. I feel like I have started every email with that sentence for the past three weeks. These are certainly troubling times and that means that we all are yearning for comfort and assurance. Comfort food recipe searches are surging on Google Trends. (Although I did laugh because the number one recipe search last week in Georgia was for MARTINI!) (more…)

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Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast Ideas

Slow Cooker Overnight Grits

I often will use equal parts milk and water when cooking grits -- but you can't if you are cooking in a slow cooker as the milk will burn. If you want, you can add a splash of heavy cream at the end of cooking for extra creamy grits.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 5 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: crock pot, grits, slow cooker
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Grits toppings: Grated Cheese, Chopped Green Onion, Cooked Bacon, Cooked Sausage, Chopped Herbs, and Butter


  • Heat the slow cooker: Set a large slow cooker to HIGH. Place the grits in the slow cooker and whisk in the water. Reduce the heat to LOW. Add the butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours. (You can stir them after the 1st hour or so.) Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add optional cream. Serve grits with an assortment of toppings.

Make Ahead Holiday Breakfast Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-ahead meals can be your saving grace during the holidays, especially for breakfast! The last thing anyone wants on a busy morning in a house packed with relatives and guests — and an even busier day ahead — is a hectic scramble of making breakfast to order for the hungry hordes. Instead, think Creamy Slow Cooker Overnight Grits, Cheese Grits “Muffins”, Cheesy Sausage and Grits Breakfast Bake, and Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole with Caramel Apples. (more…)

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What’s in Season: Best Corn Recipes
Creamed Corn with Bacon

What’s in Season: Best Corn Recipes

corn recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

It’s high corn season! And, this summer vegetable is so versatile we’re having it nearly every meal. From sides and appetizers to entrées and desserts, it can be a part of a sweet or savory dish. To  take advantage of summer’s sweet corn while at its peak, I’ve rounded up all of my favorite recipes in one place. Check out these top ten delicious recipes. (more…)

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Ground Corn 101: Cornmeal and Grits

cornbread on www.virginiawillis.com

The importance of corn in the Southern diet cannot be overstated. Corn was eaten fresh in the summer, and dried and ground into meal for boiling and baking in the winter. Cornmeal has also played a major role in Northern foodways and while grits are far more popular down South, cornbread is a universally American dish. However, all ground corn is not the same. (more…)

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Living Well: Whole Grain Recipes

quinoa on www.virginiawillis.com

Several weeks ago I was asked by Dr.Oz’s website to do a 7-day Vegan challenge. I approached it with a plan of eating as many minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and grains, as possible. I knew that bean, umami-rich vegetable, and toothsome whole grain recipes would the keys to my success. (more…)

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