Cheesy Corn Casserole

Summer is almost over <sigh>, but with that said, there has been some really, and I mean really good corn this year. We have tried a variety, but there is one batch that my coworker brought in from Fondy’s Farmers Market that was probably hands down the best corn I’ve had in quite some time. The texture was spot on and the sweetness just blew our mind, plus they were some of the larger types of corn I have seen in some time now. With that said, my coworker brought in two large paper bags of corn, loaded to the top and said take what you want. I probably took about 12 or so ears of corn, and this recipe was inspired not only by the corn, but a conversation my colleague and I had about a cheesy corn casserole. His idea sounded so good I was going to go out on a limb and try coming up with my own version.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe
Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce.  Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients
Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.

Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

The end result is nothing short of fantastic. You get the sweetness and the pop from the corn, the cheese blend (don’t get me started on how good that is), and the savoriness from the ham. Did I mention the garlic? Good Lord this stuff is great and is perfect for your backyard gathering, plus this one feeds a small army. Comfort all around, even in the summer. Hope you enjoy and hoping everyone has a great rest of your summer!

Cheesy Corn Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • ½ tbsp garlic salt
  • 1½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.
  4. Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

 

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Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese

Kale chips are one of those awesome snacks, that amazingly enough, that all of my kids eat. I’ve always been surprised that my kids love them, probably because it has the word chip in it, and trust me, my kids love chips. As I normally bake the standard curly kale, especially when it is on sale, I decided to try something different this time around. When I went to my farmer’s market last weekend and visit with my favorite farmer’s, they had a bunch of lacinto kale, commonly known as dinosaur kale, and it looked really good. When I asked them about the kale, they really came out with excitement and stated it was their favorite and that it was less bitter. I was sold, and that night I decided to make these baked kale chips with parmesan cheese as an appetizer for the family.

Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese
Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese

These were so good, and if you are not a kale fan I dare you to try them, that they were instantly gone. I kind of wished I would have bought two heads of the lacianto kale, but maybe I’ll do that this weekend instead.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of lacianto kale, rib removed from each leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Simple stuff, and that’s what I love about these. The farmer’s had it right, these kale chips were slightly less bitter than the standard kale, and now I’m a total fan. I always thought that because the lacianto kale was a bit thicker that it would not make for a great kale chip, but now I know I was wrong the whole time, and that’s a darn shame.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

During this time, prepare your kale, and make sure you remove the leaves from the ribs. Place these into a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt. Use kitchen latex gloves for easier cleanup if you have them, and lightly toss the kale, ensuring that all of the leaves are lightly coated.

How to make kale and parmesan chips
How to make kale and parmesan chips

If you have parchment paper, go ahead and use it and line a baking sheet with it. If not, don’t worry. Line your kale leaves onto the sheet, being careful not to overlap them. You can bake these in batches.

Place them into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or so, until they are nice and lightly crisp. Once they are lightly crisp, take a bit of the parmesan cheese and sprinkle onto the kale chips.

Bake another few minutes, then remove from the oven and serve. Repeat with all remaining kale.

The kale itself was awesome. No kidding. I know everyone is tired of hearing about kale, but not only am I a fan, but I’m totally sold on this lacianto kale. These are a must make, especially with the grated, and lightly melted parmesan cheese. Hope you enjoy!

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Zucchini Bread

I told you that currently my garden is just getting out of control. That’s a good thing, and as uneventful as my life has been, it is a real joy to head back and tend to it, and to pick a handful of vegetables on a daily basis. Besides the tomatoes and cucumbers, zucchini has been in abundance. I’ve given some away to family and neighbors, and I’ve made an interesting zucchini baba ghanoush, but there is more on my counter. My daughter is always itching to make something, and that’s when it came to me to have her make some zucchini bread, not only to keep her busy, but zucchini bread is delicious!

Zucchini Bread Recipe
Zucchini Bread Recipe

To me, zucchini bread is a strong competitor to banana bread, and in all honesty, I may like it better.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole, medium sized zucchini, grated
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • Cheesecloth, or kitchen towel

You have options here if you want to add anything else into your batter. You can add nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate. I go plain so make sure I can please everyone at the table.

Start by grating your zucchini. You could throw them into a food processor if you want as well, but the grating works pretty good and keeps my kids busy.

Take the grated zucchini, and place all of it into a cheesecloth, or kitchen towel. Have you ever seen how much water gets extracted from zucchini? It’s crazy.

So once you have the zucchini wrapped up, give it a spin, and begin squeezing as hard as you can. Keep squeezing. Take a break, catch your breath, and squeeze some more. You want all of the liquid extracted.  Discard the juice, and set the zucchini to the side.

How to make Zucchini Bread
How to make Zucchini Bread

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter, or use cooking spray, and lube up your bread pan, and set it to the side.

Next, get two bowls out. One for dry ingredients, and one for wet ingredients. To one bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. To the other bowl, beat the eggs, then add in canola oil, vanilla extract, and plain and brown sugar. Mix to combine both, then pour in the dry into the wet, add the zucchini, and gently stir to make a batter.

Place the bread pan into the oven, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until when you insert a knife into the middle and it comes out clean. Once clean, remove from the oven, and let it cool to room temperature.

If you are wanting a bit of glaze, like I did, take a bit of powder sugar with a bit of brandy (hey, I’m from Wisconsin), and drizzle that over a slice.

Delicious? Yes, very delicious. Was my daughter happy? Heck yes. If you have an abundance of zucchini, give this one a try. It’s a real winner, and a great snack. Hope you enjoy!

Zucchini Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole, medium sized zucchini, grated
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • Cheesecloth, or kitchen towel
Instructions
  1. You have options here if you want to add anything else into your batter. You can add nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate. I go plain so make sure I can please everyone at the table.
  2. Start by grating your zucchini. You could throw them into a food processor if you want as well, but the grating works pretty good and keeps my kids busy.
  3. Take the grated zucchini, and place all of it into a cheesecloth, or kitchen towel. Have you ever seen how much water gets extracted from zucchini? It’s crazy.
  4. So once you have the zucchini wrapped up, give it a spin, and begin squeezing as hard as you can. Keep squeezing. Take a break, catch your breath, and squeeze some more. You want all of the liquid extracted. Discard the juice, and set the zucchini to the side.
  5. Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter, or use cooking spray, and lube up your bread pan, and set it to the side.
  6. Next, get two bowls out. One for dry ingredients, and one for wet ingredients. To one bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. To the other bowl, beat the eggs, then add in canola oil, vanilla extract, and plain and brown sugar. Mix to combine both, then pour in the dry into the wet, add the zucchini, and gently stir to make a batter.
  7. Place the bread pan into the oven, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until when you insert a knife into the middle and it comes out clean. Once clean, remove from the oven, and let it cool to room temperature.
  8. If you are wanting a bit of glaze, like I did, take a bit of powder sugar with a bit of brandy (hey, I’m from Wisconsin), and drizzle that over a slice.

 

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Thai Curry Chicken Wings

I will be up front with you… I’m a sucker for chicken wings. They are probably one of my favorite finger foods, and as I do not make them on a regular basis, we do tend to go out for them at one of our local restaurants. I do this only to sample the variety of sauces and dry rubs that chicken wing places have to offer. As I have my ‘go to’ sauces, there is one that I really enjoy, and that is the red Thai curry sauce. It is always creamy, a bit salty, and has just the right amount of heat. With that said, I decided to make that sauce and bake up some wings for my son and I. Did I mention that my oldest is a chicken wing nut as well? He is, and as much as he does not venture out to try anything sauced, I figured that I would make him a batch of Slap Ya Mama dry rubbed wings, along with some of these awesome Thai curry chicken wings.

Thai Curry Chicken Wings Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings, drumette and wing separated
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, minced

You have options here when cooking the wings. Fry or bake. I bake them, on lower heat, for about a good hour or so or until they are nice and crisp. You can cook them to your desired preference.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

To a large baking sheet, add the wings, and back until both sides are nice and golden crisp.

Before you remove the wings from the oven, make the sauce.

To a small sauce pan, on medium heat, add in the red Thai curry paste. Stir the paste for a few minutes, then pour in the milk. Stir, and mix the paste until you have a nice sauce and the coconut milk reduces, about 5 minutes.

Thai Curry Chicken Wings Ingredients

 

Remove the wings from the oven, and place into a mixing bowl. Pour over the sauce, add in the kaffir leaf and lemongrass, and mix the wings so that everything gets nice and coated.

Plate and dig in.

The result is a really good chicken wing. Creamy, a bit spicy, and if you have never had red Thai curry paste, you must try it. We love this stuff and make chicken curry with this paste all of the time. The lemongrass and kaffir give it a nice boost as well. One of my favorites, but who am I kidding? I love pretty much any type of chicken wing. Hope you enjoy!

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