Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Four – Kansas – Cheesy Corn Bake

Welcome to week 34 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Kansas, who joined the union on January 29, 1861. The name Kansas is from a Sioux word meaning “people of the south wind”. It is part of the area included in the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, and Stephen H. Long explored the region between 1803 and 1819. The first permanent white settlements in Kansas were outposts established to protect travelers along the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.

Today, Kansas is a huge agricultural state, where wheat fields abound. An interesting fact about wheat in Kansas; in both 1991 and 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to provide everyone on Earth with six loaves of bread! It befuddles me that anyone in our country goes hungry when I read something like this. SMH.

In addition to wheat, Kansas is also known for cattle, and when I went looking for a recipe it was obvious that the cooking gods wanted me to sit around a barbecue and produce some sort of fantastic brisket. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. For as much as I love to cook, the grill is not my territory. And besides, it would have been so obvious that even my biggest fans would have thought it was a cop out.

So I continued to investigate and found out that in addition to cattle and wheat, Kansas also produces corn, beets and oats. With that, I discovered that along with good barbecue, Kansas is also very proud of its side dishes, and in particular Cheesy Corn Bake.


Interesting story. I have a friend named Steve who is originally from Kansas. He is quintessential barbecue, and regularly breaks out the smoker to spend a whole day cooking up tasty meats of all sorts. He is especially good at ribs and likes to try out all different kinds of rubs. I have been over to his place many, many times and one thing that often shows up on the table is a side dish of cheesy corn goodness. He always just called it corn casserole, but little did I know that it was an iconic dish from his state. When I started reading the recipe, I immediately knew that it was Steve’s corn dish and knew I just had to make it myself.

I was already familiar with Cheesy Corn Bake, and the recipe I found did not disappoint. It comes together super fast and is a great accompaniment to ribs, chicken or brisket. It is pretty rich, so you don’t need a lot, but I will warn you that you will find yourself picking at it if it’s left on the table. A little decadent, but a true crowd pleaser that I encourage you to add to your next barbecue gathering. Your guests will love you.

Since I am not a barbecue goddess, I had some yummy ribs courtesy of Costco, as some roasted romanesco on the side. A great dinner all around.

Kansas Cheesy Corn Bake with ribs and romanesco

Enjoy and see you next week in West Virginia.

Cheesy Corn Bake


2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup milk
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (3oz) pkg cream cheese, cubed
1 (14oz) pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
4 oz ham, diced


  1. In a large saucepan, melt margarine or butter. Stir in flour and garlic powder. Stir for 1 minute.
  2. Add milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Add the cream cheese and continue stirring until melted. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.
  4.  Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until melted. Stir in corn and ham.
  5. Transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Cheesy Corn Bake

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Three – Oregon– Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise and Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Welcome to week 33 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Oregon, who joined the union on February 14, 1859.  The area known today as Oregon was part of the Louisiana Purchase, which involved an incredible amount of land acquired by France in 1803. There was a strong desire to try to locate a continuous waterway across the country for trade, and the then president Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the region. The explorers were disappointed to not find an easy water route across the continent, but collected valuable information about the plants, animals and people of the area. They returned to the East with reports that sparked great interest among other explorers and entrepreneurs. By the 1840s Easterners were moving west in large numbers on what became known as the Oregon Trail.  As their numbers swelled, a shared agreement with Britain became strained, and eventually a resolution was crafted that pushed British control back to what is now British Columbia.

Oregon has grown to be known as a huge foodie region, and their abundance of both seafood and agriculture made it a fun recipe state to explore. They are the largest grower of hazelnuts in the US, but Matt is allergic to them, so all recipes with them were off the table. But what I did discover is that they are also known for salmon, chanterelle mushrooms and truffles, so that led me to a couple of recipe options.

I decided on a couple of recipes tonight. The first was for Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise. Since both Matt and Josh are not salmon fans, I added a second recipe for Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto.

Salmon Cake with Truffle Mayo and Chanterelle and Porcini Risotto

I liked both dishes. The salmon cakes were pretty easy; however they included a mushroom duxelle. Although it was tasty, it seems like a lot of added work to add in some mushrooms to the dish. If I made it again, I think I would rework it to find something with the same flavor quality without all the effort of a duxelle. The risotto was very good, but also very heavy on the umami. I was not able to find fresh chanterelles or porcinis, so I used dried that I reconstituted for half the mushrooms, and then added in a variety of other fresh mushrooms (cremini, oyster) for the other half. The end result was very rich, and we had a lot of leftover because you didn’t need to eat a lot to fill you up.

I think both dishes were pretty successful, although I probably would not make them together again. The addition of some fresh asparagus broke up the richness for a nice dinner.

Thanks Oregon. Those were some nice dishes. See you all next week in Kansas.

Salmon Cakes with Truffle Mayonnaise

Salmon Cake with Truffle Mayo


¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup cremini duxelles (see recipe below)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon dried dill
1 egg beaten lightly
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ pound cooked salmon
Truffle Mayonnaise, made by blending ½ tablespoon White Truffle Oil with ½ cup mayonnaise

Stir together the bread crumbs, duxelles, cayenne, dill, egg, and mayonnaise. When the mixture is blended carefully fold in the cooked salmon. Refrigerate for 1 hour before forming into cakes.
Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and roll them into a ball, then flatten into a pattie.
Place a medium non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and pour in the some cooking oil, about 1 tablespoon. When the oil begins to very lightly smoke add the salmon cakes. Fry until the cakes begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the cakes and repeat.

Cremini Mushroom Duxelle:

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and dry. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the wine and cook until reduced. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chanterelle and Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Chanterelle and Porcini Risotto


2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
¼ pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
¼ pound fresh porcini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cups white wine, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup Parmesan
½ ounce fresh white truffles, optional


Warm a wide large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium-low flame. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and melt together. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until translucent, and then toss the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to turn golden brown.
Pour ½ cup of the wine into the pan, and bring the liquid to a simmer, allowing the wine to evaporate. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are dry, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
Reduce the flame to low, and add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and melt. Stir in the rice and coat with the oil until the kernels are shiny, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of white wine and let evaporate.
Add the chicken broth, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid. Do not add too quickly so as to prevent the kernels from exploding. Stir over a gentle flame until each ladle of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until most of the broth is incorporated and the risotto rice is al dente, about 25 minutes.
Fold the mushrooms back into the rice and season with salt, pepper and parsley. Stir in the Parmesan and finish with slices of white truffle, if available. Serve immediately.


Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty Two – Minnesota – Hot Dish

Welcome to week 32 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Minnesota, who joined the union on May 11, 1858.  The name Minnesota comes from the Dakota Indian name Mnisota, which means “clear blue water”. The name is appropriate, since the state is nicknamed the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. It is also the origin of the Mississippi River and the westernmost point of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which runs through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

If you look at a map of Minnesota, you will notice that it has a small protrusion on its northern border; the result of a boundary agreement with Great Britain. This small piece of land makes Minnesota the northern most state in the 48 contiguous states.

When I was searching for a recipe for Minnesota, I kept coming back to a dish that my nephew Travis (he lives there) told me about called Hot Dish. In essence, it is a casserole. It typically contains a starch, a meat, and a canned or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup. Hotdish (pronounced hoddish) is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at communal gatherings such as family reunions and church suppers {from Wikipedia}.

Ok, so it’s a one dish casserole. This was not exciting me, but it really is the embodiment of Minnesota, so I decided to give it a try. I went with a recipe that, from my research, was the original version; the Tater Tot Hot Dish.

MN Hot Dish
Hot Dish

It is really easy to make, and for as much as I didn’t want to like it, it was pretty tasty. I tweaked it to bring a little more flavor to the filling, but tried to stay true to the original concept. Josh didn’t like it, mostly because he is not a vegetable kid. He liked the meat and sauce and tater tots, but the mixed veges were too much to just pick around. He ate some, then went and made himself a ham sandwich. Oh well.

I give this recipe a B+. Mostly because it uses canned soup and packaged tater tots. But honestly, I might work on it a bit more and make it into a dinner I might have again.

Thanks Minnesota.  See you all next week in Oregon!

MN Hot dish plate
Hot Dish

Recipe for Tater Tot Hot Dish


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1- 10 ¾ oz. can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1- 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
1- 16 oz. package frozen tater tots
1 cup cheddar


Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in the olive oil until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the meat is browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat. Drain off any excess fat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the soup, mix and Worcestershire sauce. Add the meat mixture and mixed vegetables and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a 2 ½ quart casserole dish sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Top with the shredded cheese, then cover with a layer of tater tots.
Bake uncovered 45-55 minutes or until bubbling and the tater tots are crispy. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

MN Hot Dish Served
Minnesota Hot Dish

Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday – Week Thirty One – California – Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema

Welcome to week 31 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome California, who joined the union on September 9, 1850. I am so glad that we moved on from the debacle of last week; although it was sort of fun creating two different dishes. Neither of them bowled me over though, so I was looking to find a real win this week, and California has come at the perfect time.

When I think of California, I think of fun, probably because I have been there many times and have always had a great time. One of my most memorable trips was a surprise birthday gift from my hubby a couple of years ago to Napa Valley. I love wine, especially Chardonnays from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma. It was my version of a pilgrimage to Mecca. Then add the fact that he scored a coveted table to The French Laundry, a true dining bucket list. What a trip. I could go back tomorrow!

Me and my hubby at The French Laundry

But I have been to many other places as well; LA, San Diego, San Francisco and most recently Lake Tahoe. I loved them all. And here is something I take away from every one of these places. California knows food. They are not afraid to mix it up a little and everything is super fresh. This may be because California is a treasure trove of produce. Here are some interesting food facts. Did you know…

California is the number one food and agricultural producer in the United States. More than half the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables come from here. Their leading commodity is milk and cream. Grapes are second (WINE!). Nationally, products exclusively grown (99% or more) in California include almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes, raisins, and walnuts. They are the leading producer of strawberries. They are also a grower of tomatoes, garlic, onions and avocados.

So when I went looking for my recipe this week, I wanted to embrace fresh flavors. There were literally hundreds of things to make, but what I finally decided on was something that pulled in a number of California’s local ingredients and also was truly local food. I settled on Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema. I originally was working with the classic ‘food truck’ fish taco, but that wasn’t going to appeal to Josh, so I decided to go with a shrimp version instead. The result is a super fresh, slightly spicy taco that was delicious. The shrimp marinade gave them a tangy and spicy taste, which balances nicely with the smoky Chipotle Crema and the crisp freshness of the Mango Slaw. A slice of avocado pulls the whole dish together.


Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema

This gets an A+. I will add this to my ‘make it again’ collection and encourage you to give it a try. Cinco de Mayo is only two days away! This would wow your crowd for sure. Of course, I added a nice glass of Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. If it was the 5th, I would have made a margarita.

Thanks California. This one was a true winner. See you next week in Minnesota.

Recipe for Mango Slaw:

1 – 9 oz. bag shredded cole slaw mix
1/2 mango, sliced, then julienned
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mango Slaw
Mango Slaw

Recipe for Chipotle Crema:

1 cup crema or sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 chipotle pepper in adobo with sauce, chopped
Chopped cilantro to taste, optional

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chipotle Crema
Chipotle Crema


Recipe Shrimp Tacos:

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (21-25 size)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Corn or flour tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
Lime wedges

Combine olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder and lime juice. Toss the shrimp and marinade in this mixture for 10 minutes
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp with the marinade and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes.

Sauteed Shrimp
Sauteed Shrimp

Heat the tortillas and fill with Shrimp, Mango Slaw and avocado. Squeeze fresh lime over the top and serve with the Chipotle Crema.

Shrimp Tacos
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw and Chipotle Crema