Be it a main dish or side, when the cool, crisp autumn winds start to blow my oven comes back to life with warm, comforting casseroles! I’m a waste not, want not kind of girl, and had odds and ends of this ‘n that to use up, so into the dish they went! My hubby had one request of his own to add, and that was corn! Oooookay, I aim to please! I love mixing my corn into my mashed potatoes, so why not, right? And it was really delicious! I only needed half of the can, so I now have a new extra ingredient to start off the next crazy concoction with! I see some sort of pot pie in the very near future…
I had a “secret ingredient” of my own up my sleeve, too. Blue cheese. The hubs hates it. I love it. But when you add just a touch, you don’t notice it’s in there, just that the casserole tastes extra cheesy and rich! It adds that “classy restaurant quality” that makes people say, how come your potatoes always taste so much better than mine? Well, that’s one of the secrets why! 😉 I also had 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream left that I did not want to go to waste! So instead of doing the whole béchamel thing, or stirring flour into the milk before adding, I thought to just use the cream and let it do it’s magic on it’s own as it cooks. Worked like a charm! Cream thickens quite a lot after simmering or boiling, and when combined with the starchy potatoes and cheeses, it thickened beautifully! I let them rest the entire 20 minutes or so while I prepared the rest of dinner and they were perfect. Not thick and pasty, nice and cheesy creamy, and stayed very hot even leaving the lid off. These could easily have been lidded and left to sit 30-40 minutes no problem. Good to know! I LOVE no-fuss dishes like this that taste like a million bucks!
Onions are just plain a gimme, so that of course made the cut, but I also happened to still have some cooked bacon in the freezer! Bacon makes everything taste good, doesn’t it?! So I love to bake a whole pound, let it drain on paper towels, wrap in clean ones and store in the freezer in a ziploc freezer bag for handy use whenever I want it. Just bake in a 375 degree oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sided – not flat, and bake for about 25 minutes for thick-cut, turning during the last 5, until baked to desired crispiness! So easy, and no mess compared to frying! Clean-up is a breeze and it’s all done in one shot! To reheat frozen, nuke on high 15-20 seconds, or thawed for about 10 seconds, wrapped in paper towel until re-sizzling. I don’t know who the first person was to think of this cooking method for bacon, but I sure wish I could thank them!!
I’m betting you could add a layer or two of thinly sliced chicken, turkey or even ham and turn this into a main dish casserole using upcoming holiday leftovers, too! That’s the wonderful thing about casseroles, they can literally be made out of almost anything your heart desires! And such a nice way to use up leftovers, bits of this ‘n that, and toss in a few surprises to make them special!
Sorry the photos were “quickies”! But I was running out of light fast! And we were gettin’ awfully hungry smelling all of this wonderful food! 😉
So there we have it! The first casserole in our house made for the new fall season! It was dreamy rich and cheesy, and loaded with lots of goodies! Definitely a golden indulgence, but a royal treat eaten in moderation that the whole family will surely enjoy! Happy Fall Ya’ll!! 🙂
WHITE SHOEPEG CORN & POTATOES AU GRATIN with BACON, CHEDDAR, BLUE CHEESE & ONIONS
3 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced 1/4″ thick discarding ends
1/2 medium onion, sliced very thin
3 rounded Tbl. shoepeg corn, fresh, frozen or canned/drained well (half of an 11 oz. can)
4 slices quality lean bacon crisp-cooked and torn or snipped into 1/2″ pieces, *save aside half a strip for garnish on top
1 (8oz.) block extra-sharp cheddar, shredded, *save aside 3/4 cup for top, divide rest in half
3 rounded tsp. blue cheese crumbles
paprika, dried parsley flakes and 1 green onion thinly sliced at an angle for garnish on top
2 Tbl. butter, cut up
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 2 1/2 quart deep, round casserole/baking dish with butter-flavored cooking spray. Place one layer of potatoes on bottom overlapping. (1/3 of the potatoes.) Layer with 1/3 each of the onion, corn and bacon. Save 3/4 cup aside of the shredded cheddar. Top with half of the remainder and 1/3 of the blue cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times making 3 layers total, ending with the blue cheese. THEN top with the reserved 3/4 cup shredded cheddar.
In glass measuring pitcher, whisk cream mixture ingredients, and evenly and slowly pour over casserole. Sprinkle top with a little paprika and dried parsley flakes to garnish top. Dot top with butter.
Top with lid, and place into preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 40 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and bake 30 minutes longer. *Casserole will be bubbling hard. Don’t worry it’s fine. Let rest at least 15-20 minutes before serving with lid off. Just before serving, garnish top with reserved bacon and sliced green onions.
*When removing from oven, if there appears to be a small pool of oil on top from the cheddar, just use the corners of a paper towel to carefully blot it up without disturbing top.