Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pineapple for Dinner? Oh, yes.

There are recipes that have been floating around out there, in the ether or in community cookbooks, just about forever-- some for sentimental value, some because they're just plain good. This tasty casserole of pineapple, oddly mixed with cheese and topped with buttery crumbs, falls into the latter category. It may sound too '50's kitschy to stand, but like a well done backyard barbecue, it deserves to be revived and enjoyed for the sheer pleasure it brings.

When I first saw this posted on the CLBB, I knew it must have come from a recipe developer for a commercial kitchen. But the simple combination of ingredients was still appealing, and the buzz about the dish was 100 percent positive, so I gave it a try last night, and I'm here to tell you, it's good stuff.

 How could it not be? A favorite fruit in convenient canned form, plus the age-old formula of crisped crumbs and cheese. You can top almost anything with crumbs and cheese to make it edible, and in fact, that was my primary strategy for getting my ex to eat vegetables he wouldn't otherwise consume. Here, it's a surprising but inspired approach for baking fruit-- the sweet, acidic pineapple plays off the sharp creaminess of cheddar, and the buttery crumb topping absorbs the extra juice and ties the whole thing together. And it tastes richer than it's calorie count would suggest.

 My own addition to this popular recipe was a bit of ginger and coriander (dried, but I think fresh would be wonderful). The recipe recommends serving this with ham or pork, of course, but I used it as a side for a non-cheesy tortilla casserole, making for a very comforting, easy oven meal. It would be an excellent brunch dish, with something spinach-y alongside, like a salad or omelet, and maybe some nut bread. I may serve it for breakfast soon with a good soy bacon; it takes only a few mintues to put together and 25 minutes to bake, so very doable for the mornings when we're not up at 3:30 am.

 Originally posted to the CLBB by Linda in MO, I believe, and revived by request for vbak, this is the soon-to-be-famous

Pineapple Cheese Casserole, adapted slightly by both Linda in MO and Mari.

1 -20 oz. can pineapple chunks (drain and keep juice)
3 T. flour
1/4 Cup sugar
1/8 tsp each ground ginger and coriander, optional
1/2 Cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (grate your own for this-- it makes a difference)
3-4 T. melted butter
1 C crushed Ritz type crackers ( I used an Aldi's brand)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, sugar and 4 T. pineapple juice.

Add cheese, spices if using, and pineapple, and stir.

Spoon into deep pie plate or casserole dish.

Mix cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Cover casserole with crumbs.

Bake 25 minutes or until heated through. Serves 2-4*, depending on your willpower.

*NOTE : You can double,triple, or quadruple this recipe depending on how
many you are serving.

 Have a great week!

    Peace, Mari

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