Cheesy Corn Casserole

Not long ago, I posted a yummy “comfort food”-type side dish called Easy Corn Casserole. It’s really good and very easy to make. Being a cheese-lover, I thought I’d try making another version with some sharp cheddar cheese and a little chopped green onion added in–and I loved the result! So I just had to share it with you! When you want something warm and cheesy, this is just the comforting kind of side dish you’ll want. It would be great served with a bowl of hot chili!

CHEESY CORN CASSEROLE by NancyC

Makes a 9×9″ pan

  • 1 (15.25-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream, light sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • Optional: 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9×9″ casserole dish or pan; set aside.

In large bowl, stir the two cans of corn and corn muffin mix. Add eggs, sour cream and melted butter, stirring everything together well, then stir in 1 cup of the shredded Cheddar cheese (and the optional chopped green onion, if you want to add a little savory flavor).

Pour this mixture into the 9×9″ pan and bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes or until set and golden. Remove from oven and top with the remaining Cheddar cheese. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

I usually crave comfort food like this corn casserole in colder weather, and we’ve definitely been having our share of that this winter! What kind of comfort food have you been making lately?

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My Word for 2018

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year, I’m picking a word that will be “my one word” to focus on during the year. There’s actually a book called My One Word and a website, too–MyOneWord.org. This is not a new book–it was first published in 2012. But it’s new to me. I’ve not read the book, but I’ve browsed the website and I like the idea of having “one word” to focus on instead of a list of resolutions that I probably won’t keep!

Here’s part of a description of the book and the “one word” concept you can find over at AmazonThe concept of “My One Word” is simple. Lose the long list of resolutions―all your sweeping promises to change―and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year. This single act will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. As you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep, sustainable level. Growth and change will result.

Over at MyOneWord.org, there are 3 steps to help you choose your word, which I’m condensing and editing a little here:

  • STEP 1: Determine the kind of person you want to become. Go beyond simply being healthier and wealthier. What’s going on in your heart and soul? How is God speaking to you and what do you need to focus on to become the person that God has created you to be?
  • STEP 2: Identify the characteristics of that person. Is that person gentle or generous? What are the qualities of the person you want to become–the qualities you’re sensing God wants you to grow in?
  • STEP 3: Pick a word. Just one word that stands out the most to you. Commit to this one word for the year–it will provide you with a lens to see the changes you need to make as well as help you see whether or not change is actually happening. Staying focused on your word will help you move in the right direction and see God working in your life.

You can visit MyOneWord.org, to see words other people have chosen for themselves to focus on during the year. That may help get you started.

So what is my word for 2018?

Yes, SIMPLIFY–this word has been on my mind and heart for a few months now, but I’ve never really fully focused on it. I want to simplify my life so I’m not distracted by unimportant things. I want a more uncluttered life so I can focus on what is most important and hear God speak more clearly.

Do you have a word you’ve chosen for 2018? If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late! Please share what your word is in the comments below–I’d love to hear!

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Tomato Carrot Soup with Basil

Soup is such a great thing to eat on a cold winter day. Like this Tomato Carrot Soup with Basil. Although, I have to admit, it’s also good in the summer made with fresh tomatoes. But during the winter you can use canned diced tomatoes and I think it tastes just as good.

I’ve been having lots of soup lately, because it is cold and because I’ve been getting over a nasty bout of bronchitis, which I had over most of the holidays. I was disappointed at not being able to post more holiday recipes, but just didn’t have much energy to cook or do much else!

So I thought this would be a good time to post a soup recipe–most people love a good bowl of soup in the winter and this is so good for you. It has a good variety of veggies in it–carrots, celery and onion–all blended to a smooth consistency. Garlic and basil also add to the flavor. It makes a great meal with some crusty bread. Or serve it before a main course for dinner.

TOMATO CARROT SOUP WITH BASIL by NancyC

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  •  2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced (or 2 [14.5-ounce] cans diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 Tablespoons dried basil, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

In large saucepan, cook carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, in olive oil, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of the tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer mixture, in 2 batches, to a blender or food processor and add 1/2 cup water to each batch. Cover and blend until smooth, then return mixture to saucepan.

Stir in the salt, half of the basil, and the remaining tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil and balsamic vinegar and heat an additional 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

If you are a fan of tomato soup, you’ll want to try this sometime! I love trying out new versions of tomato soup. Do you have a favorite tomato soup recipe?

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Hoppin’ John

I learned a few years ago that this dish, Hoppin’ John, is a New Year’s Day tradition, probably more popular in the South. It’s said to symbolize good health and prosperity in the coming year. The black-eyed peas are supposed to represent coins, which tie in with prosperity. And since black-eyed peas are actually beans, they’re good for you (they have lots of fiber and are a good source of potassium, protein, and iron), so that certainly ties in with the “good health” part of the symbolism.

In addition to black-eyed peas, Hoppin’ John also has chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, and some canned diced tomatoes with chiles. This is traditionally made with a smoked ham hock, but you can use chopped smoked ham or smoked sausage instead. I actually used veggie sausage in this and it tastes good that way too–something to keep in mind if you’re not a meat-eater. The taste of this dish reminds me a little of Red Beans and Rice–if you like that, you’ll probably like Hoppin’ John! 

HOPPIN’ JOHN by NancyC, adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 (1-lb. bag) dried black-eyed peas (about 2 cups), soaked overnight and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons light olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium size green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped smoked ham or smoked sausage (or use 1 smoked ham hock)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups hot cooked brown or long grain rice
  • Optional: 1–2 green onions, sliced, and/or 1–2 Tablespoons bacon bits or crumbles, for garnish

Sort and rinse peas, then place in a large pot and soak in 6–8 cups of water (enough to cover the peas) for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and rinse soaked peas; set aside.

In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, celery, and green or red bell pepper; sauté about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic; sauté about 2 minutes.

Add chopped ham, smoked sausage or ham hock. Then add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and cayenne pepper. Heat mixture to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer, then stir in soaked peas. Add salt to taste. Cook 50 to 60 minutes or until peas are tender. If using a ham hock, remove ham from bone–discard bone, shred ham, and stir ham into the mixture.

Stir all ingredients and garnish with sliced green onion and/or bacon bits or crumbles, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice.

If you want a real Southern-style meal, serve your Hoppin’ John with collard greens and cornbread. And have a Happy New Year! 🙂

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Christmas Sugar Cookie Rounds

I’m getting a late start on my Christmas-cookie making this year. So I’m making some easier recipes that are still very Christmasy and yummy. Like these Christmas Sugar Cookie Rounds. The batter is mixed in one bowl, so that helps with the kitchen cleanup. The sugar cookie dough is chilled for 20 to 30 minutes, then rolled into balls and then rolled in red and green sugar. Just 10 minutes of baking time and voila–you have lots and lots of festive little Christmas cookies to eat and share! And when I say lots of cookies, I mean lots–if you roll your cookies into 1″ balls, you’ll end up with about 8 dozen. You can roll them into larger dough balls, but I prefer the smaller size. If you like sugar cookies, you will need to try this easy holiday version!

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIE ROUNDS by NancyC

Makes about 8 dozen

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Red and green sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter with the powdered and granulated sugars, blending well. Add in oil, eggs, and vanilla, mixing everything well. Then add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt, mixing everything well. Chill dough for 20–30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1″ balls, then roll in red or green sugar and place a few inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350˚F for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on pan, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

So the recipe makes about 8 dozen, but you’ll probably be eating some of these as you bake them, so in reality, you may only end up with 7 dozen. 🙂 But that’s still plenty, right? Have you made any sugar cookies for the holidays?