Friday, December 12, 2008

I know it sounds weird, but trust me...

A few years ago I had a suspicious dish called pineapple casserole for the first time. An apparent southern classic, I had never been introduced to what I was sure was going to be a strange concoction of ingredients that should never be in the same dish together. I was wrong. Very wrong. It was like pineapple heaven from the first bite.
So, I decided to try my hand at the dish and let me tell you, it is so easy and SO delicious! Below is the Paula Deen recipe I used and my modified notes to keep a few extra calories off of your hips (you are welcome). I am confident my version is just as tasty as Paula's and I can eat it (almost) guilt free.

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar (I used freshly grated 2% sharp cheddar)
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan (I greased the pan with Pam and used just over a 1/2 stick of butter here)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Also, I have been working from home for 3 days now as I seem to have contracted viral laryngitis. While my husband is getting quite a kick out of the fact that I cannot speak, it is quite annoying. While working yesterday I caught this recipe on Paula's show as it played in the background. As someone who has a hard time eating her veggies, I think I could handle this. And, the presentation is so pretty it could easily be served at a holiday party.

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus

8 or 9 asparagus spears, depending on size
1/2 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (I think this would be better with a richer fresh grated cheese like gruyere)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Reserve 1 stack for later use. Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Place 2 to 3 asparagus spears on the short end of the sheet. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Repeat until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

On a side note, I love watching Paula's show. I love seeing her big white waterfront home in Savannah with the wrap around porch. Don't be afraid to try her recipes- many of them are easily modified to be healthier and I have had very good luck with those I have tried.

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