Big Game Party Recipes plus Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits #SundaySupper

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Big Game Party Recipes plus Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits #SundaySupper
Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits

Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits Photo by Sunday Supper

Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits is whole lot of New Jersey mixed with a traditional taste of the South. I started experimenting with Sausage and Peppers after I married a Jersey boy. And the grits? Those I first made when I moved to Florida nearly 25 years ago. Talk about cultural appropriation.

I like this dish for a smaller football-watch party. Not all of us have a big gang to entertain, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have a feast. This recipe serves four and it can double for eight easily. Today’s Big Game event features more than 60 Sunday Supper recipes fit for a crowd. Versatility is the name of the game here. (The Denver Broncos squaring off against the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7.)

Most sausage and peppers are made on the stovetop. I like to bake mine after sauteing onions and peppers and browning fresh sausages. The whole mess goes into a big baking dish, covered with foil and then baked for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I don’t think it tastes any different, but it frees up the stove for other dishes. Hey, it’s just the way I make it.

I often cook a mix of mild and hot Italian sausage and then try to guess which is which when serving. In this version, it’s easy because I cut the cooked sausage on an angle because I am not putting them in sub rolls. (Hubby tells me not to call them hoagie rolls. “That’s Philly,” he says.) Whole sausages require knife and fork, not such a great deal when you are eating in front of the TV.

I always use green peppers and then mix in either a red, yellow or orange pepper, all of which are more expensive than the work-a-day green pepper. If they weren’t I’d use more.

The cheesy grits make a tangy, creamy base. Use kind of grits (instant, quick-cooking or stone-ground) following the directions on the packaging, but I l prefer long-cooking stone-ground grits. Like polenta, these types of grits require about 45 minutes of cook time and plenty of stirring to keep them from sticking. They can be cooked in water, chicken broth, half-and-half or a mixture of all three. I use two parts water to one part half-and-half, which makes them creamy. To me, the end result is worth the time. Stone-ground grits, which have not been stripped of their covering, are corn kernels crushed between stones, rather than steel rollers.

These type of grits have more body and bite, and they hold up well to the heavy sausage and peppers mixture. I also use stone-ground grits when I make Shrimp and Grits, a dish from the Low Country of South Carolina. (Another cultural appropriation. I come from Northern California, Italian polenta country. Polenta could also be the cradle of this dish.)

Sausage and Peppers is filling and for a smallish football party you won’t need much more. I serve it with a green salad. Maybe chips and dip to start. Oh, and dessert. Lots of dessert.

Sausage and Peppers Over Cheesy Grits #SundaySupper
Serves: Serves 4
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 2 green peppers, cleaned and cut into strips
  • 1 yellow, orange or red pepper, clean and cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, cut in thin slices
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1.25 pounds uncooked Italian sausage (5 links)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes with garlic and onions
For grits
  • 6 cups liquid (any combination of water, broth and half-and-half. I use 4 cups water
  • and 2 cups half-and-half.)
  • 1 ½ cups stone-ground grits (See note)
  • Salt
  • 2 cups shredded white sharp Cheddar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté pepper in thin coating of olive oil, until just soft, about 7 minutes. (Don’t over cook because they will go in the oven.) Remove to a baking dish, big enough to fit all ingredients. Do the same with the onions, stirring in sliced garlic and red pepper flakes if using for the last minute of cooking. Add to baking dish. Brown sausages on all sides. Top peppers and onions with browned sausages.
  3. Add diced tomatoes to the skillet, scraping bottom to release all the bits and incorporating them into the tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes on top of sausage and peppers mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until sausages are cooked through. (There will be a lot of liquid created in the cooking process. Make sure the pan is large enough to hold the mixture.)
  4. While sausage and peppers are cooking, heat liquid for grits in a large saucepan. When it is bubbling, whisk in the grits slowly so that they don’t clump. Turn down heat so the mixture is barely bubbling. Add a large pinch of salt. Stir regularly to prevent sticking. The grits will take about 45 minutes to cook through. When done, add shredded cheese and butter. Stir until butter and cheese has melted.
  5. To serve, cut sausages into four pieces each. Scoop grits into a shallow bowl and top with pieces of sausage and spoonfuls of the peppers and onions.
  6. Note: You can use any other type of grits that you liked, including quick-cooking. Follow instructions on packaging for cheese grits.

Join us on tonight for Sunday Supper’s Big Game Twitter Party at 7 p.m. ET. Until we chat, check out this week’s amazing and exhaustive list of party recipes.

Appetizers and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts and Drinks

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Janet K. Keeler

Award-winning journalist Janet K. Keeler was the longtime food and travel editor of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fl. She is now an assistant professor of journalism and food writing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Janet retired from daily newspaper journalism in April 2015, ending a 35-year career. She has been a news reporter, copy desk chief, and features editor. She is also the author of “Cookielicious: 150 Fabulous Recipes to Bake & Share,” which was published in 2010 by Seaside Publishing.


  1. What a lovely, comforting dish, Janet! This would make a great supper any day of the week!

  2. I love this dish! It so beautiful!!! Yum!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. This is awesome and yes so comforting looking. I could curl right up with a blanket, the game and this!!

  4. Can you believe I had not even heard of Sausage, Peppers, and Onions until I was in my 20’s?! I moved to Las Vegas and I went to an Italian street fair where I fell in love with them! Now that I live in North Carolina it seems natural to add the grits to the mix. Such a great idea!

  5. It’s not a ball game without sausage and peppers. I’m so glad to see you’ve dropped the bun. I love anything with grits or polenta so I look forward to trying this soon!

  6. lk529

    What a fun twist! I didn’t know “sausage and peppers” was a Jersey thing. Definitely thought it was southern-ish. Shows how much I know about food culture…


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