Keep this simple rule in mind: a “feelgood” meal such as the “Chicken-Sausage and Asparagus Sauté Over Cheese Grits,” (recipe below), from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food, is a heavy meal. It requires -- and deserves -- slow ingestion and slow digestion. You must take the time to enjoy the great flavors, salty tang (thanks to the goat cheese), and satisfying textures. And you need not be intimidated by the notion of “grits” if you’ve never prepared them before. The stirring and thickening process is exactly the same as that for preparing polenta; this mix will remain creamy, like porridge.

Chicken-Sausage and Asparagus Sauté Over Cheese Grits
Everyday Food, May 2008
Serves 4

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 precooked chicken sausages, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch lengths
4 tsp. fresh thyme
4 tsp. lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high. Cook sausage and onions until browned, tossing occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Cook onion until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add asparagus, thyme, and 1 1/3 cups water. Cover, and steam until asparagus is just tender and water has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add sausage and lemon juice; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 6 minutes.Stir in cheese; season with salt and pepper. Serve sausage and asparagus over grits.

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I browned my fully cooked, organic, Applegate Farms Sweet Italian Chicken & Turkey Sausage for 4 minutes. I cooked the red onions for 10 minutes. My asparagus steamed for 15 minutes. I used some fresh lemon thyme. After cooking my grits for 7 minutes, I added the crumbled cheese. Make sure you don’t over-salt this dish; the goat cheese will add a quantity of saltiness. Do sit back and savor this meal. Your guests will be pleased, as you all should take your time with this one.

RECIPE: a great, hearty meal: one bowl is all you’ll need to be very satisfied
you can eat in 45 minutes
enjoy your tasty sausage, asparagus, sweet onions, and goat cheese … slowly

Next time, I want to plan a fun summertime meal: “Marinated Vegetable Kabobs,” from the February 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times, along with “Potato Salad with Celery and Scallions,” from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food. Come back to my site on Tuesday, July 29, to see what happens with these.