Posted by: scootrah | November 19, 2013

Cheesy Corn – a great Thanksgiving side dish

While Thanksgiving feasts are often about tradition and serving the family favorites, it’s also fun to add a new dish into the mix. I  like to have something that’s great for my vegetarian guests and makes a terrific leftover for the long weekend. And finally, what better thing to add to my menu than a delicious recipe shared by a friend?

“Cheesy Corn” definitely fits the bill and is a good substitute for traditional succotash on your holiday table. The recipe comes from Barbara Pritchard, Assistant Wardrobe Head at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Whenever Barbara brought this for lunch it smelled so good and she had such a look of pure satisfaction on her face while eating it, I finally asked her what it was. “It’s something my mom made when I was a kid,” she told me. “I like to make it because it’s quick, easy, and you can change it to get it exactly the way you want it.” What she didn’t mention is you can carry the ingredient list and the prep instructions around in your head, which makes it perfect for the  “I don’t know what to cook tonight” list because you won’t have to hunt through your recipe file for inspiration and you probably have the ingredients in the pantry already.

I’ve made it a number of times now and we almost never get to the “leftover” part of it, but maybe you’ll have better luck than I do!

Barbara’s Mom’s Cheesy Corn

  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 8 oz. grated sharp  cheddar
  • 6 eggs
  • small can of diced, roasted green chiles
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 3 or 4 drops of Tapatio* or your favorite hot sauce (optional)

Lightly beat the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into a small greased 9″ x 9″ pan (or loaf pan or pie dish) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

That’s it! So creamy, delicious and flavorful, and did I mention EASY? If somebody tells me they can’t cook this and make it turn out amazing, they are wrong!

Right from the oven - a beautiful dish for the holiday table!

Right from the oven – a beautiful dish for the holiday table!

Here are a couple of hints from Barbara and my own trials with Cheesy Corn:

  1. Use a good name brand can of cream corn for this, not a store brand – I didn’t believe Barbara when she told me this, but it’s true. The store brand is way too watery and the extra $.30 or $.40 you pay for the name brand is worth it.
  2. You can use pepper jack cheese for this if you want it spicier, or half cheddar and half pepper jack. Just don’t use something bland like a mild cheddar or American cheese because it doesn’t accent the flavor of the corn well.
  3. Try using 1/3 cup salsa instead of the canned chiles for a different taste or if you don’t have the chiles on hand.

I put a little bread crumb topping on this for a “crunch” when you bite in. Just mix a tablespoon of melted butter with 1/3 cup of bread crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking. You can also use crushed corn chips (the nacho cheese kind are great) or panko for extra crunch.

*Tapatio is my go-to flavoring. I think it adds a lot of depth to food without adding much heat, unless you use a lot. This is my own addition to the recipe and it’s really a seasoning/taste preference if you decide to add it or not.

Dig in! Maybe you'll have more luck getting leftovers from this than I do...

Dig in! Maybe you’ll have more luck getting leftovers from this than I do…

If you’re not trying this for Thanksgiving, it makes a great side dish with baked or fried chicken, or pork chops, and it’s just right for a light lunch as the main course served alongside a hearty mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette – you’ll love it!

Need some help planning and organizing your Thanksgiving feast? Check out my step-by-step plans  for a stress-free meal!

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