Cheesy Mexicali Corn and Grits | Recipe and Critique

It was my intention to have Mexicali corn with our BBQ chicken last night, but I remembered that we had grits in the house.  I. Love. Grits.  It must be from growing up in the South.  My granny always had cheesy grits.  Yummo!  When I travel anywhere south, especially near the beach, I love to get Shrimp and Grits.  I love the spicy grits.  And everywhere I ate it on our beach trip a couple years ago, it was made differently.  Each had their own merits.  Although this Mexicali Corn and Grits dish wasn't that spicy, it was still good.  I still felt like it was lacking something, though.  And that is why this is a recipe AND critique! 

Here's what I used:

Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Green pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup of corn kernels

3 cups water
1 cup grits 
(We used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Grits)

1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Here's what I did:
Sautee the pepper and onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes.  
 Add corn into the peppers and onions and set aside.

Boil 3 cups of water with the chili powder, cumin and salt.
Once water reaches a boil, add the grits.  Turn to low.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
Add the pepper, onion and corn mixture and the minced garlic.
Cook over low for 4 1/2 minutes longer, stirring frequently.
Turn burner off and let sit for a couple minutes.
Add cheese and stir to melt and combine.

What I would do differently:
The peppers and onions definitely needed more seasoning.  Next to the cheese and grits, they were bland.  Next time I would either cook the onion and pepper in the grease from one strip of bacon or add 1/2 tsp. of salt and a little more cumin and chili powder while they're cooking.

I personally would like it a little spicier, but I was feeding it to three other people who don't enjoy spice as much as me.

I loved it except that the peppers seemed bland.

Do you eat grits (or polenta)?  What's your favorite way to cook them?

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