Cheesy Creamed Corn Casserole

I’m not afraid to admit that I absolutely, unapologetically, and with every single ounce of my being, adore casseroles. The creamy, cheesy baked dishes often get a bad rap in the foodie world. Maybe it’s because they are old-fashioned by nature, typically don’t include the latest trendy ingredients, or are just not fancy enough in a world full of macarons, truffle oil and gourmet cheeses. For me, however, they are everything that is right about family food traditions. It’s about my Aunt Rene’s broccoli casserole being on the table for family dinners… about scalloped potatoes (that were always made from a box) sitting squarely between my cousin Kristy and I so we could take seconds and thirds before anyone else… about eating the crunchy onion topping off of the green bean casserole and giving the vegetables to my mom or sister. Food doesn’t always need to be fancy or complicated to be good and much appreciated. It’s amazing to me how many memories are conjured up just at the mere mention of a particular recipe, seeing it in a photo, or smelling something similar. So, I power on with casseroles, updating them as I go, but letting them shine in all of their creamy, cheesy, comfort food glory.

While I’ve tried in recent years to eliminate the “can of cream” from some standby casserole recipes, I always appreciate having a handful of recipes at my disposal that I know are fantastic and that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes, even if a shortcut or two are used. This is one such recipe, which uses a box of corn muffin mix, but that can be prepared in literally 5 minutes. It’s such an incredible recipe, full of wonderful flavor and texture, and it will have family members fighting over the last piece (I don’t foresee any leftovers). In fact, my Chief Culinary Consultant described it as “cornbread on crack” and as soon as my mom tasted it, she insisted that we make it for Thanksgiving.

So, who cares if Aunt Sally swears by processed cheese in her famous potato casserole? Many times, it’s the simple joys about surrounding yourself with family and familiar flavors that provide the most vibrant holiday memories.

One year ago: Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes
Two years ago: Mashed Sweet Potato Brûlée
Three years ago: Thick and Hearty Chili

Cheesy Creamed Corn Casserole

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A fabulous cheesy corn casserole, a perfect side dish for holiday dinners.

Ingredients:

1 (15¼-ounce) can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14¾-ounce) can sweet cream style golden corn
1 (8¼-ounce) package corn muffin mix
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix together the corn, muffin mix, sour cream, melted butter, and ½-cup of the cheese. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer.

3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow the casserole to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Note: This baked up fairly thin in the 9x13-inch casserole dish, so you may consider using a smaller, 2-quart baking dish if you'd like a thicker/higher casserole.

(Recipe barely adapted from Paula Deen)