Cheesy Grits with Ham and Rainbow Chard-Pantry Dinner

Between seeing patients, writing, teaching and parenting, I’m busy.

No busier than many of you, we all have our Busy Badges as a paleo friend says.

Just the typical post work routine: running between appointments, striving to remember the details of carpools, sports schedules and due dates for assignments.

Oh, and dinner.  There is always dinner to be made.

I keep things in my pantry at all time to make those fast dinners to prevent the,” I have to eat NOW,” hangries at bay from both our daughters and myself.

Cheesy Grits Ham Rainbow Chard- Pantry Dinner

This dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes. I promise!

Organic Grits with Kerrygold Cheddar, ham and Rainbow Chard
Organic Grits with Kerrygold Cheddar, ham and Rainbow Chard

From my dry goods pantry, a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Polenta.

Yes, I know that it isn’t the gluten-free polenta, but we only eat Organic Corn since it is one of the crops highest in genetic modification. Since all those GMOS are created for resistance to pesticides, I’ve eliminated them from our diet. No hormonal disruption in my family, thank you very much.
Although this isn’t labeled gluten-free, I’ve never had a problem using it. I’ve seen the factory, I know how clean they keep it.

From the fridge, Kerrygold cheese. I picked the Vintage Dubliner this time for a richer, sharper flavor. You kind of need a big cheese flavor to stand up to the creamy polenta.

Ham- a bit of leftovers from our Easter Carlton Farms ham. We got this lovely meat from our friends at Carne. They procure all their meats from clean farms, those that don’t use hormones or artificial nitrates.

And Finally, a bag of Cut and Clean Rainbow Chard. Cause having it already harvested, washed and cut makes dinner really easy.

Now if you want to keep this meal vegetarian, leave out the ham. There is plenty of nutrition in the greens, cheese and corn combination.
I’ve been known to fry an egg and place it atop too. Especially after a track meet.  My girls need more food then :)

Vegan? leave out the ham and cheese. Still plenty there for everyone.  When we have a vegan friend over, this is the simple meal that I serve.


Cheesy Grits with Ham and Rainbow Chard-Pantry Dinner
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gathering from the pantry and fridge for this meal means I have dinner on the table in ½ hour. I make my polenta in an unorthodox manner. By cooking the grain with butter before adding the liquid, my polenta never sticks together in a big lump, but still gets creamy as you stir. Save yourself the trouble. Feel free to change it up, use whatever greens, cheese and meat you have in house. It can be as different as you like but still satisfying.
Recipe type: Gluten Free
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ bag Organic Polenta
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced Ham
  • 1 bag Cut and Clean Rainbow Chard
  • 2-4 ounces of Kerrygold Vintage Dubliner cheese- grated
  1. Melt butter in large pot.
  2. Add the polenta and salt, stir till each grain is coated.
  3. Add boiling water and stir.
  4. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Cover, turn off and let sit till greens are done.
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute ham in olive oil till warmed.
  7. add the chard and cook till bright green.
  8. Give the polenta one last stir, then divide into bowls.
  9. Sprinkle each bowl with ¼ of the cheese,
  10. Top with greens and serve


  1. says

    Dr. Jean, your strategy and method for this is wonderful, as is the healthful result. We love this and are going to make it for our staff next week at work!

    We”ll also share it on our Facebook and other social media sites and link here so people
    can see how easy it is to be green.

    Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens