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How we enjoy “The CMA Awards” + Fried Cheese Grits + Sweepstakes

Thank you Cost Plus World Market for sponsoring this post. I was selected for this opportunity and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Y’all, I’m so excited about the “The CMA Awards” coming! Oh YES, indeed! So, I wanted to show y’all what I consider to be some of the best southern food renditions, that are perfect for “The CMA Awards” viewing party.

Country music is a must in our house on so many levels! It keeps me going while I’m being all creative in the kitchen, working around the house, and especially on road trips. Yes, I’m a Georgia southern girl, and no matter where in the world I have traveled, listening to country music made me feel closer to home.

From the Man in Black, singing “A Boy Named Sue”  to Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”, I love them all. When I hear Johnny Cash, it reminds me of growing up and enjoying time with my grandparents. Every Tuesday, they would go to the local music hall to dance and listen to bluegrass and country music, while playing a bit of Bingo.

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I love the stories my grandmother used to tell about her cousins going around performing at the local music and dance halls, and how one of those cousins, June Carter, ended up marrying the Man in Black. Country music is so much a part of my family’s culture and heritage, and has given me such a deep love and appreciation for country music.

Actually, right now, I’m sitting here listening to Luke Bryan tellin’ me all about his kind of night, while nibbling on one of my favorite breakfast items turned appetizers, fried cheese grits! And as if there wasn’t enough cheese happening in those fried cheese grits, I’ve gone and made up a bacon, beer cheddar dip. Bear with me, as tell you all about the goodies I’m treating my family and friends to.

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I could have just made the Fried Cheese Grits with the dip and have been satisfied, that’s how good they are. But to have a proper viewing party for “The CMA Awards”, there had to be a few goodies, including a platter filled with Pulled Pork Sliders and BBQ sauce on the side! For the munchies and sweets, I made up a huge batch of candied pretzel trail mix, which I also set some aside and wrapped up using kitchen twine to secure for a cute and simple little take home treat.  Also on the table there has to be, pickled okra, those jumbo sourdough pretzels (yum), mini pumpkin cakes and an apple pie for the sweet tooth.

For the drinks, I mixed it up with some local brewed ales, child friendly drinks (of course) and this southern girl had to have some sweet iced tea served in mason jars to finish it all off. I highly recommend this galvanized drink bucket, it’s not too big or too small and it holds a good amount of bottles for serving your guest.

Complete southern fare at it’s best!

Some of the pieces I enjoy using the most are the ones that can be dressed up or down, such as the various styled cake stands with a vintage pie server, a natural jute table runner to add some rustic charm, and my favorite drink caddy turned utensil holder. Dotted around the table, I like to add little clear glass candle lanterns for a softened glow, making it all nice and cozy.

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*The Wired Cake Stand is only available in select stores.

For more ideas and to get inspired for your own viewing party, check out some of my other favorite entertaining essentials from Cost Plus World Market to create your own gorgeous party.

Now for a treat just for you, the “The  CMA Awards” Sweeptakes presented by Cost Plus World Market! 

The Grand Prize Package:

  • A trip for 2 to “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” this year in Nashville on November 2nd, 2016
  • Accommodations at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville
  • $1,000 World Market Gift Card

Plus, Three First Prize Winners:

  • $500 World Market Gift Card

Sweepstakes ends 10/21/16

To Enter, CLICK HERE, for your chance to win!

Fingers Crossed!

Don’t miss out, tune-in to the “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8/7c on ABC! Watch as the Country Music industry honors its finest entertainers and celebrates 50 years of excellence, with dozens of performances, one-of-a-kind collaborations, and countless special moments!

Personally, I can’t wait to watch “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” with my friends and family! Check out this video, I so love it y’all!

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Now for the food! Below is my recipe for the Fried Cheese Grits and the Beer Bacon Cheese Dip, which can be made the day before and then warmed up just before serving. I recommend making as much of your food 1 – 2 days before, so that you aren’t plumb tuckered when your guest arrive.

For more southern food or snack inspiration, Cost Plus World Market is there for you with plenty of ideas!

Fried Cheese Grits with Beer Bacon Cheese Dip

Yield: 12 - 24 pieces
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Enjoy these Fried Cheese Grits with this insanely delicious Beer Bacon Cheese Dip!

Ingredients

For the Fried Cheese Grits:

  • 2/3 cup Quick Grits (not instant)
  • 2 1/4 cup Water
  • 4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 2 oz canned Diced Green Chilies (I find them in the international food section at my grocery store)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Canola Oil, for frying

For the Beer Bacon Cheese Dip:

  • 12 oz Pale Ale, I used Sweet Water 420 - a local brew
  • 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 4 oz White Mild Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 8 strips Applewood or Hickory Smoked Bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 2 Green Onions, diced
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the Water to a boil, add in the Grits slowly and stir. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for about 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Add in the Cheese, diced Green Chilies, Garlic Powder, and the Salt and Pepper to taste. Mix well until the ingredients are incorporated well.
  3. Line a 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper, then spread out the Grits evenly. Should be about 3/4 inch thick. Chill for several hours or over night in the refrigerator or for about 10 - 15 minutes in the freezer (Do not leave in freezer too long or the grits will tend to crumble).
  4. Once ready, cut into triangles or squares.
  5. To fry, heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, about 1/2 inch deep.
  6. Mix together the beaten Egg with the Milk, place in a shallow bowl. Set up 2 additional shallow dishes, one with Flour and the other with the Panko.
  7. First dip the Cheese Grits into the Egg mixture, followed by the Flour. Dip again in the Egg mixture and then the Panko Bread Crumbs. Set aside.
  8. To check the Oil, you can carefully drop a few Panko Bread Crumbs in to the hot oil, if they start to sizzle/fry, then you can proceed to fry the breaded Cheese Grits.
  9. Fry for about 3 - 5 minutes on each side, or golden. Remove and drain on a paper toweled lined plate.

For the Beer Bacon Cheese Dip:

  1. While the Cheese Grits are chilling, is a perfect time to make the dip. In a medium saucepan, add the Ale and bring to a light boil for about 1 minute (this cooks out the alcohol). Remove from the heat.
  2. Add in the softened Cream Cheese, mixing in well. Continue to add in the rest of the Cheeses, stirring until well incorporated and cheeses have melted.
  3. Crumble the crispy Bacon, add 2/3 of the Bacon to the Cheese Dip. Reserve the remaining to garnish.
  4. Add in 2/3 of the Green Onions, reserving the remainder for garnish.
  5. Season with Salt and Pepper, to taste. Pour into serving dish and garnish with remaining crumbled Bacon and Green Onions. Serve warm.

Notes

For the Bacon Beer Cheese Dip, when very hot it will be on the thin side, but will thicken as it cools slightly. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, and easily warmed up on stove top or microwave. You can also add dried crushed chili pepper or hot sauce for an added kick.

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