So, I was looking for new ideas for some summer vegetables like zucchini and corn one day since I had bought a little too much on my visit to the farmers market. How could I have done that, yet again, when I promised myself not to buy too much when I went. But, the vegetables were so beautiful and there is nothing like fresh homegrown zucchini and sweet corn right from the garden. Sometimes I just saute them with a little olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper, and I am just fine. But, with the holidays coming up, I wanted to invent some sort of casserole to incorporate my incredible vegetables. I started thinking of some flavor profiles from the south, especially, Texas. Barbecue squash? No. Spicy vegetables? No. Tex Mex corn? Maybe. Then from out of nowhere I started thinking about yummy pimento cheese spread. You know, the creamy, tangy, slightly spicy spread that sings to you as you walk by it in the cheese section at the grocery store. You know, the one that is ver-bot-en, unless it is a special occasion…yes, like Thanksgiving!!! And, by the way, nothing screams Texas like pimento cheese. I am sure, I was probably just craving the stuff, but who cares, I wondered what it would taste like in a dish with vegetables. But, the invention of Southern Vegetable Casserole does not end there.
Right about the time I was dreaming up this dish, Lays Potato Chips was having another one of their contests to name the next favorite potato chip flavor. One of the contenders was Fried Green Tomato flavored potato chips. How perfect. Fried Green Tomato Potato Chips! Did I already say that? That would certainly be a great addition to my Southern Vegetable Casserole I thought. Can you tell, I really had fun on this recipe invention.
So, with the combination of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, onion and corn, that’s where it began. Then I tossed the veggies in a creamy and flavorful pimento cheese sauce. Finally, I topped it with a crunchy potato chip topping and baked it until it was warm and bubbly. Southern vegetable heaven!
Also, to let you know how my cooking brain works, the potato chip topping got me thinking about other recipe inventions. I won’t give away the secrets but keep an eye out for future posts that include Crispy Taco and Everything Bagel Potato Chips. I think I am onto something. Have a great time inventing your own creations. That’s what happens here in the Memorable Kitchen!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into half moon slices
- 2 small yellow squash, cut the
- 2 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz light cream cheese
- 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- 2 oz (half of a small jar) chopped pimentos
- 1 cup crushed Fried Green Tomato Lays Potato Chips or Plain, or flavor of your choice
- ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat olive oil in a large frying or saute pan over medium high heat. Saute onions in oil for about 5 minutes until slightly translucent. Add zucchini, squash and corn. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute for another 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl combine cream cheese,1 cup cheddar cheese, milk, seasonings and worchestershire sauce. Whisk until smooth. Add in pimento stirring just until combined. Pour over vegetable mixure. Place in the prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- In a food processor or plastic bag, finely crush the potato chips. If using plain potato chips, combine with Cajun seasoning. Place in a bowl and combine with remaining cheddar cheese. Set aside.
- Remove vegetables from the oven. Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Sprinkle potato chip mixture over vegetables. Return vegetables to oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes until brown and bubbly.