Betty’s Scalloped Corn

When I asked my siblings for recipes that I might use on Courage in the Kitchen, my sister Betty offered this one. She says that Mom and Dad liked it when they visited her and Rollie. My brother-in-law has died, so Betty doesn’t cook as much as she used to, but this was one of the recipes she made often years ago.

It is a version of a midwest comfort food that many of us remember from our childhoods. With just six ingredients, it is quick and easy to prepare. I have added two steps to the preparation. Betty said that she just laid the bacon strips over the top of the casserole, but I like the results when the bacon is chopped into bite-sized pieces and cooked a few minutes before being added to the batter.

Scalloped corn is an excellent side dish to complement beef, pork or chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

About 1/2 row soda crackers (1 cup crushed and divided)
3 strips of bacon
1 large egg
1 15 oz. can creamed corn
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE:

Preheat the oven to 375º, grease a one quart casserole and crush the crackers. Reserve two tablespoons of crackers to sprinkle on top of the casserole or crush a couple of extra crackers when you are topping it off.

Cut the bacon into half-inch pieces and fry it over moderate heat until it just begins to brown. The bacon should not be crisp.

Beat the egg until it is lemon yellow in a mixing bowl. Add the corn, milk and crackers to the egg along with half of the bacon. Season with a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and a dash of salt. Stir well and pour the batter into the casserole. Top with the remaining bacon and crackers.

Bake uncovered forty-five to fifty minutes. Use a table knife inserted near the center of the casserole to check for doneness. If the knife comes out clean, the casserole is done.

NOTES: Be careful with the salt in this recipe as three of the ingredients have plenty of salt. The amount of salt I use is about what I sprinkle on an egg cooking for breakfast.

This recipe makes four generous servings. If you are cooking for a larger party, you can double the ingredients and extend the cooking time a few minutes.

Jerri’s Meat Loaf

Many years ago at a church potluck, someone asked Jerri for her meat loaf recipe. “I don’t have one,” she said, but she shared some tips with the admirer of the loaf that evening.

It’s possible that part of the magic of her meat loaf is the fact that she bakes it on a rack in the oven, so any excess fat cooks out of the loaf as it cooks. I followed her advice and bake my meatloaf on a rack as well. I won’t say that it is a low fat loaf, but it never tastes greasy, even when I eat it cold in a meat loaf sandwich.

Here is the way that I usually make meat loaf today, and Jerri approves. I sometimes cut this recipe in half or substitute one or two dashes of garlic powder for fresh garlic, but the result is still very tasty.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. 85% lean ground beef
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium onion (2 1/2 – 3 inches)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup plus extra for glaze
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
2 large eggs

PROCEDURE:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Crush the soda crackers between sheets of waxed paper. Peel and chop the onion to about a 3/16 inch dice and peel and mince the garlic. You should have about a cup of chopped onion. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork or with your hands.

Shape the meat into two loaves and place them on a baking rack in a pan. Squeeze a little ketchup on top of each loaf as a glaze.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

NOTE: Testing my last meat loaf for doneness with our instant read thermometer prompts me to suggest that every cook should have one of those little gadgets. Ours is an inexpensive analog thermometer that registers only to 220 degrees, but it has served us well for many years and ended the guesswork about when the roasts were done.