Corn, Bacon & Cheddar Pie

I do have a few more desserts to share, but I am interrupting those posts to share this amazing savory pie. It was ridiculously good. Worth every calorie in every indulgent bite. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark.  I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour in the cornmeal crust (delicious) and adapted the method.

I made it with fresh sweet corn but I can imagine it would also be wonderful with frozen corn. We ate it with roasted potatoes and a giant green salad- a very satisfying meal. Fluffy and fabulous!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 cup/65 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup/65 grams whole wheat pastry flour (can substitute all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup/40 grams cornmeal or polenta/grits
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup/115 grams cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cubed
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 large or 1 small red onion
  • 1 T fresh lime juice, plus more to taste (from 1/2 lime)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces bacon (4 slices), diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 2 ears if fresh)
  • 2 T chopped pickled jalapeño, plus more slices for topping (I used Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Green Chilies)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coarsely shredded sharp Cheddar (3 ounces)
  • 3 T chopped parsley

To Prepare the Crust:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix together flour(s), cornmeal and salt until combined.
  2. Add butter, and either pulse or use your finger to smoosh it in until butter is the size of lima beans.
  3. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse or mix just until dough comes together. There should still be large flecks of butter left in dough.
  4. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. (At this point, I placed the disk in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.)
  5. Between 2 layers of plastic wrap, or on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12-inch circle.
  6. Transfer dough to a 9-inch deep pie plate; trim and crimp edges. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before baking. (Dough can be made up to 5 days ahead.)(I made the dough the night before.)

To Make the Filling and Finish the Pie:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Place the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove foil or paper and pie weights or beans. Bake until pale golden and dry to the touch, about 4 to 7 minutes more.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  5. While crust is chilling and baking, prepare the filling: Cut red onion in half across the equator (not root to stem), then from the center, cut out two very thin, round slices. Separate onion slices into rings and put them in a bowl with lime juice and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Set aside while you assemble the rest of the tart. (I used half-moons because I used 1/2 of a red onion.)
  6. Coarsely chop remaining onion and set aside. (I used half-moons in the filling as well.)
  7. Scatter diced bacon in a cold 12-inch skillet. (I used a cast iron skillet.) Turn heat to medium, and cook until the bacon is golden and the fat has rendered, 8 to 14 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave fat in the skillet.
  8. Stir chopped onion into pan with bacon fat and place over medium heat. Sauté until golden-edged and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  9. Stir in corn, 1/2 teaspoon salt and chopped pickled jalapeño. Cook until corn is tender, 2 to 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and scoop 1/2 cup corn mixture into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  11. Add cream, sour cream and eggs. Blend until you get a purée.
  12. Using a spatula, scrape corn purée back in pan with whole corn kernels.
  13. Stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar, the parsley and the cooked bacon.
  14. Scrape mixture into the baked pie shell.
  15. Top filling mixture with pickled red onion slices and jalapeño slices. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar.
  16. Cover the edge of the pie crust to prevent over-browning.
  17. Bake until puffed, golden and just set, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower & Tomatoes

I have a couple family friendly comfort food pasta casseroles to share. In my house, this type of dish always seems to be the perfect meal in cold weather.

We recently enjoyed this one on a snowy evening- eating by candlelight. I thanked my lucky stars that it had finished baking before our power went out… hence the candlelight! 😉

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I used diced tomatoes and substituted fontina for provolone. I suppose half and half could be substituted for some (or all) of the heavy cream, but I went for the full indulgence on this (dark and cold) occasion.

  • 1 pound pasta, such as medium shell or tube pasta (I used Capunti pasta)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 4 ounces fontina, coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces extra sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • room-temperature butter or nonstick cooking oil spray (for pan)
  • fresh herbs such as thyme, basil, or parsley, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until about halfway cooked (it needs to be very firm at this stage so that it doesn’t overcook when baked). Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
  3. Combine mozzarella, fontina, cheddar, Parmesan, cream, diced tomatoes, and reserved ½ cup pasta cooking liquid in a large bowl; mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Add cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  5. Grease a 3-qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish with butter or cooking oil spray.
  6. Scrape in pasta mixture and spread out into an even layer.
  7. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake pasta until hot throughout and steaming when foil is lifted, 20–25 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425◦, preferably on convection.
  9. Continue to bake pasta until sauce is bubbling and top is browned and crunchy in spots, 20–30 minutes.
  10. Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, as desired.

Note: Pasta can be assembled 2 days ahead. Cover and chill until ready to bake.

One Year Ago: Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

Two Years Ago: Oscar Night Waffles

Three Years Ago: Chicken Parmesan with Chicken Thighs

Four Years Ago: Chicken, Shrimp, & Clam Jambalaya

Five Years Ago:

Potato, Broccoli, & Cheddar Soup with Cheese Toasts

My husband likes soups that have a thicker consistency. As he loves our gold standard Cauliflower Cheese Soup, I knew that he would love this one too; I just used more potatoes to give it a heartier consistency. It was perfect. It would also be difficult to argue about eating a soup that is garnished with garlic-cheese toasts! The roasted broccoli floret topping was another bonus. 🙂

This soup is quick enough to prepare and serve on a weeknight, but is even more wonderful if made in advance. The recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used some chicken stock for water and increased the amount of garlic, potatoes (unpeeled!), and lemon juice. I also used a sourdough baguette to make the cheese toasts instead of Italian bread. Great.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds broccoli, stems peeled and chopped, florets cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups florets, divided)
  • 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 packed cups grated sharp white cheddar (from an 8-ounce block), divided
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon, plus grated zest for serving, or to taste
  • 8 slices (each 1/2 inch thick) sourdough baguette, sliced on a diagonal or 4 slices (each 1/2 inch thick) rustic Italian bread
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, 4 cloves of garlic, broccoli stems, potatoes, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add stock with 3 cups water; season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 3 cups broccoli florets; cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender with 1 cup cheese; puree until smooth. (I used an immersion blender instead.)
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  6. Stir together remaining cheese and garlic. Place bread on one side of a rimmed baking sheet, and remaining broccoli florets on other. Drizzle both with oil; season with salt and pepper. Top bread with cheese mixture.
  7. Roast broccoli and cheese toasts for 15 minutes, tossing florets halfway through.
  8. Serve soup topped with toasts, florets, and zest, as desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Black Bean Empanadas

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I was originally going to combine my two vegetarian empanada posts… but that would be such a disservice to their fabulously different flavors!

My husband had to work on Super Bowl Sunday this year. 😦 We don’t usually go to a party, but my husband, kids, and I really enjoy celebrating the big game with a festive menu. I decided that I wanted to be a superstar spouse and deliver a special meal to him at work- just so that he wouldn’t miss everything

My daughter’s special pig “Honey Pie” – another football fan in our house!

If you read my last post, you know how obsessed I am with empanadas- and so you know what a super-special Super Bowl meal this really was!! These black bean empanadas were the second vegetarian empanada version we had for the big game. This filling had a really creamy texture and a spicy bite that held up well to the dough. Great.

Like my “green” empanadas, these empanadas also star Carla Hall’s famous (famous to me, at least!) Cream Cheese Dough. When Carla was on Top Chef, she seemed to be always cranking out both savory and sweet fillings with this wonderful, tender dough. I am SO happy to have my hands on the recipe!! 🙂 I modified her perfect recipe to incorporate whole wheat flour- pretty daring, I know- but it really worked out. 🙂

I cut the dough into 5-inch circles, and we ate the empanadas as a main course with refried beans and brown Basmati rice. (We had chips and guacamole first, of course!!) If the dough is cut into 3-inch rounds, they would be the perfect size for an appetizer. This recipe was adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. I also adapted the baking time to use a convection oven.

I am bringing these tasty morsels to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #54 over at The Novice Gardener. I am co-hosting this week with my friend Sonal of Simply Vegetarian 777. So exciting!! Join the fun- it is a great way to meet other bloggers and increase the exposure of your own blog! Click here for the guidelines to join the party.

Yield: 9 (5-inch) empanadas

For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 9 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice

For the Black Bean Picadillo Filling:

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground Mexican chiles, such as ancho
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro

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  1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
  2. With the paddle attachment, beat on low-speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
  3. On a large piece of plastic wrap, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  4. Make the Filling: In a small bowl, cover the raisins with the hot water. Let soak.
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion just starts to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the ground chiles and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  8. Stir in the beans, corn, and raisins with their soaking liquid.
  9. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  10. When cool, stir in the cheese and cilantro.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch round cutter (I used a bowl), cut 9 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.
  13. Mound 2 tablespoons of the filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. (Alternatively, start at one end, pinch one corner between your thumb and forefinger and fold it over the rim. Pinch the dough next to the fold and fold again. Continue pinching and folding to create a decorative rope rim.)
  14. Arrange the empanadas on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 20 minutes (on convection) or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until browned and heated through. Serve the empanadas warm or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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When I saw this recipe from Nancy of Feasting with Friends, I forwarded a link to my husband at work to see if he would like to have it as part of our Thanksgiving feast. The response: “Are you joking? Of course!”

This casserole was insanely HUGE! My son ate potato casserole with a side of potato casserole for his Thanksgiving feast. 🙂 My husband ate his fair share as well- they were both absolutely thrilled- especially with the cheesy bacon topping. 🙂 This tasty recipe was adapted from Feasting with Friends. I used fat-free Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream. (No one noticed….)

Yield: Serves 15+

  • 18 medium russet potatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of whole milk (may use less depending on consistency of potatoes)
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • chopped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (convection). Scrub potatoes and pierce each several times with a fork or sharp knife.
  2. Bake the potatoes (directly on the oven rack) for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Fully cooked potatoes will give slightly when squeezed (use an oven mitt – they’ll be hot).
  3. If baking completed dish immediately after prep, reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  4. Cool potatoes slightly, until able to handle. Spritz a baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  5. Cut each potato in half. Scoop out the insides and place in a large mixing bowl. Set the skins aside.
  6. In two batches, using a stand mixer, stir on low until potatoes are broken down a bit, incorporating about 1/2 cup of milk in each batch. Add half of the cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Repeat with the second batch.
  7. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Add additional milk (a tablespoon or so at a time) if potato mixture is too thick.
  8. Roughly chop about 1/2 of the potato skins and place in the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, place the potato mixture on top of the skins. Smooth and level the potatoes. Cover with foil.
  9. At this point, the potatoes can be baked immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If refrigerating, allow dish to stand at room temperature about 1 to 2 hours prior to baking and start in a cold oven, set to 325°F. Add about 10 minutes to the bake time below.
  10. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes, remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are completely heated through. Immediately after removing from the oven, top the potatoes with the shredded cheese and crumpled bacon. Return to oven briefly to melt the cheese.
  11. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Fewer guests? For every 3 potatoes, use approximately: 1 ounce cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and 1 slice crumbled, cooked bacon.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Stove-Top Pasta and Cheese

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I had so many excuses to make this rich & cheesy weeknight dinner… it was 16 degrees colder than average, raining, I was tired…. I also needed something great for Fiesta Friday #14 at the Novice Gardener! It was a tasty, quick cooking, one-pot meal. A crowd pleaser. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. …and, yes, amazing Garlic Bread was served on the side. We did eat it with huge green salads as well for veggies and color. 🙂

  • 2 to 3 slices rustic bread, such as ciabatta, trimmed of crusts and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used 2 slices of Tuscan Pane)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 ounce white extra-sharp cheddar, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  1. Toast the cut and trimmed bread in a 400 degree oven util lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor (I used a mini) until coarsely ground (you should have 1 cup). Add melted butter, pulsing to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse to mix.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, both cheeses, cream, and mustard in a bowl.
  5. Return pasta to pot and add egg mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with breadcrumbs.

 One Year Ago:

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