| | Isocaloric Smoky Grits Casserole

Author / John

In continuing with our isocaloric recipe series, I wanted to solve a common problem any busy person has. Breakfast. It can be one of the most challenging meals; most of us are rushing off to an early morning barbell session or the office and spending time in the kitchen doesn’t fit into our am parameters.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serves 10

Calories:  395, Protein 32 g, Fat 16 g, Carbs 32 g (33/33/33%’s)

Smokey Grits Casserole - An Isocaloric Recipe

This casserole can be assembled up to 4 days ahead of time and kept in the fridge.  An hour in the oven on Sunday and you’ve got breakfast and or snacks for the week.

This isocaloric recipe calls for grits.  As a self respecting southerner my grits of choice are not quick cooking but rather the kind you cook long and slow.  That may or may not fit into your frenzied lifestyle.  There are options. . .

*Most commercial corn today is from GMO’s.  I find it worth my time and effort to source out non GMO organic stone ground grits.  I soak them and it takes a solid 60 minutes to cook them.  Luke might call me”weird” but this is important to me and worth the time.  On the other side of the coin the quick cooking 5 minute grits may be more practical for the majority of people.  It will not alter the taste or nutritional content of this recipe and will aid in the ease of preparation and save you time.

Another way to look at it — it’s no less healthy than the revered tacos with corn shells that are loved dearly and consumed in mass quantities by Power Athletes the world over. It’s not a deal breaker and is far better than many packaged foods on the shelves and those found in chain restaurants.


10 oz nitrite/nitrate free kiolbassa (Polish sausage), chopped
1, 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 cup uncooked quick cooking grits*
10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
1 cup raw milk
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs, slightly beaten

Fruit Salad
3 oranges, cut into sections and quartered
1/2 grapefruit, cut into sections and quartered
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into chunks


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Brown sausage and chicken in large cast iron skillet over medium high heat stirring often for 6 to 8 minutes; drain on paper towels.  If using quick cooking grits bring 4 1/2 cups of water and the salt to a boil over high heat; slowly stir in grits with a whisk, return to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened stirring occasionally.

Photo Feb 20, 8 18 13 AM

Remove from heat; add cheese stirring until completely melted.  Stir in milk and next 4 ingredients.  Stir in meat.

Smokey Grits Casserole - An Isocaloric Recipe

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased (with butter) 13- x 9-inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown. If made ahead and kept in the fridge let stand at room temp 30 minutes before baking.

Smokey Grits Casserole - An Isocaloric Recipe

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Smokey Grits Casserole - An Isocaloric Recipe

Winter Fruit Salad
Peel the oranges and the grapefruit.  Pull apart into sections.  With a pair of scissors cut off just the top of each section and discard the seeds.  Cut orange section into 2 smaller pieces and each grapefruit sections into 3-4 pieces.  Combine with the pineapple into 10 individual servings.

For more Power Athlete friendly recipes check out my blog Paula Lean Primal Queen!

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John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.


  1. Ingo "Joey Swole" B on February 24, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I was thinking of making this, cutting it into portions, and freezing. How well does it freeze?

  2. billpain2 on February 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Keep these coming Paula, great recipes.

  3. Paula on February 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    @billpain2 Thank you!

    @ingob good question. I’ve never froze it, we always eat it all. It should freeze ok but it does keep in the fridge cooked for at least 5 days.

  4. mprice311 on February 27, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    @shebeast what is the estimated serving size? Starting the leaning protocol so gotta have them macros dialed in.

  5. Paula on February 28, 2016 at 4:58 am

    @myprice311 1/10th of the entire casserole and 1/10th of the fruit salad = 1 serving. Macros are in the first paragraph. Good luck on your spring leaning!

  6. Ingo "Joey Swole" B on February 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Made this over the weekend. Grits = polenta. Mind blown. Never knew that, and we eat polenta.

    Freezer reaction TBD, but I had a few pieces fresh. Good stuff. Very filling, which I like. Next time, I’ll try adding some veggies. Def in my frozen-for-later casserole rotation.

  7. Paula on March 1, 2016 at 2:54 am

    @ingob pretty much. My grandmother made polenta and served it with spaghetti sauce. Then I married a southerner and he put butter on them and called it grits. Spinach might work well although I would pre cook and drain. Keep me posted on how it freezes.

  8. Ingo "Joey Swole" B on May 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Forgot to update – I recently thawed and reheated a piece. Flavor remained intact, but it kind of fell apart and was a bit watery. Not a showstopper though. I am still a fan and will freeze leftovers for future meals without hesitation.

  9. Paula on May 19, 2016 at 8:42 am

    @ingob thanks for the update. Might be the cheese; I froze it once and it was very crumbly and slightly watery afterwards…

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