Friday, January 30, 2015

Corn Pudding

For many years the traditional corn dish we have always served for holidays is "Scalloped Corn". It's an old family recipe that includes crushed saltine crackers and was always on Grandma Betty's table. But almost every recipe can be improved upon, and about ten years ago Mom did just that.

Enter "Corn Pudding", our NEW favorite corn dish. It uses both whole kernel corn and creamed corn, sour cream, corn bread mix and a whole stick of butter. It's a very moist, rich dish, and could almost be served for dessert.

Serving this side dish with ham is a must, whether it's for a holiday, or any day of the week. 

A ham is such an easy thing to heat up in your oven, and leftover ham sandwiches can't be beat. Especially if they have a side of "Corn Pudding" beside them.

Corn Pudding                                                                                                  Printable Version

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 8 1/2 oz. package corn muffin mix (this is the size of the Jiffy Brand, but we also use the Krusteaz brand, and just measure out the correct amount, saving the remaining mix for a batch of cornbread).
1/2 c. milk
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream style corn

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 3 quart glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, then add the corn muffin mix and milk. Fold in both cans of corn. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and level with a rubber scraper to even out the top. 

Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes until golden brown.  Keep checking it after the first 45 minutes and take it out when there is just a bit of jiggle left in the middle of the pudding.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grilled Cheeses

A grilled cheese sandwich has always been the epitome of comfort food to me. When my mom would babysit Riley when he was little, she would always make him one, on special Artisan bread that Dad picked up at a local bakery that was just perfect for grilling. And of course there would always be Campbell's Tomato Soup to dip it in. Inevitably it would be so yummy that he would request the same thing for dinner that night, and most of the time I would oblige. Once someone brings up "grilled cheeses", it's hard to pass up the opportunity to eat one.

You could use any kind of bread and any kind of cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich, but it's best to have a bread that will turn crunchy when it's toasted just right, and cheese that will be gooey and messy when melted.

The Kid has this figured out, as witnessed by this four layer monstrosity he created recently. We had just watched the movie "Chef" for the first time, and he has been inspired in the kitchen ever since. If you haven't seen it yet, you will want to make sure that you have the fixin's on hand to make a grilled cheese sandwich about halfway through the movie. If not, you will be craving one until you can get to the store for bread and cheese. Trust me.

Years ago we discovered the wonder that is Penzey's "Sandwich Sprinkle". Their headquarters is in Wisconsin, but they have retail outlets in many other states in the U.S.  I buy all of my spices and extracts a few times a year from the Penzey's website. I add a dash of Sandwich Sprinkle to both sides of the buttered bread before grilling it and it's FANtastic.


Grilled Cheeses                                                                                               Printable Version

Two slices of bread, 1/2" thick
Two or more slices of cheese (American, Colby-Jack, Provolone, or a combination)
Penzey's Sandwich sprinkle (optional)

Butter one slice of the bread, getting all the way to the edges. Shake on some Sandwich Sprinkle, if using. Place the bread butter side down in a medium skillet, then turn it on to medium heat. Place the cheese slices on the bread, and top with the second slice of bread. Butter this piece, then shake on additional sandwich sprinkle. Let the sandwich cook slowly, so as not to burn it. Peek under the sandwich occasionally to see when the bread has browned to your liking. Flip the sandwich over and brown the other side. When finished, flip the sandwich onto a plate "hot side" up to prevent it from getting soggy, cut it in half, and serve with ketchup or tomato soup for dipping.