Side dishes are one of those things that I am always unprepared for during meal planning. Sides are hard because I’m not the most skillful at coordinating the timing of meal components. Consequently, our sides are pretty boring–salad, maybe some bread or fruit and I’ll call it a day. I’m a fan of one-dish meals too that combine protein, veggies, and carbs–the less coordination required, the better. The exception to meals with boring sides are when we have company over. Then things can get interesting, and I spend more time planning, shopping, cooking, and experimenting. The following recipe is perfect for company. It can be [mostly] prepared in advance and baked right before mealtime.
My family first had this delectable Tex-Mex Corn on a family vacation. We were visiting my Great Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Cal and were served this dish at dinner one night at their then-home in San Francisco. Though it was made with the unfamiliar ingredients of chilies [probably my first experience with them, ever] and canned corn [I never eat canned veggies], it soon became an often-requested family favorite, and is still going strong, 12 years later.
I made this last weekend during a cooking spree with my mom and sister when I was visiting my family briefly, and as we made it, we realized it hadn’t been served since my parents moved into their new house more than two years ago! We always baked it in an 8×8 pan, which I inherited during the move. After a brief moment of panic realizing the necessary pan was MIA, we discovered that a 10 inch round pan would work just as well. Crisis averted! Well, except for the fact that the recipe had been abandoned for so long. Oh, the travesty! Alas, it has been rediscovered and is here for you all now.
This is not your average corn casserole. There’s just something about the creaminess of the cream cheese [imagine that!] with the slight tang and bite of paprika and chilies, and the unexpected taste of white corn [instead of the more common yellow corn] that does me in. Nothing simple, nothing fancy, but a lot of yum. I could eat almost a whole pan of this myself… and I would, except I was taught to share. And so I will. But you don’t have to! I won’t tell. 🙂
Aunt Charlotte's Tex Mex Corn
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 2 15-ounce cans white corn, drained
- 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
- 1/4 cup milk
- bread crumbs
- cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 8 by 8 inch baking pan [or a 10 inch round casserole dish] by greasing with cooking spray. In a small pot over medium heat, melt cream cheese and stir in milk until well combined. Mix in corn and chilies. Pour into prepared pan, cover with a thin layer of bread crumbs [if making them from scratch, use about 1-1 1/2 slices of sandwich bread] and a sprinkling of paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and crispy.
If preparing in advance, wait until baking time to add the bread crumbs and paprika or it will be soggy.
Question of the Day: What are some family recipes that you want to rescue from their poor, neglected state?