This 5-Ingredient Casserole Is the Only Thing I’m Bringing to Potlucks This Summer

Inspired by Jack Stack's Cheesy Corn Bake.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

I went on a date with a local radio show host during my freshman year of college (Go, Jayhawks!). He took me to one of Kansas City, Missouri's most beloved BBQ joints, Jack Stack Barbecue. Though he was likely too old for me and said more words per minute than anyone I've ever met, it was a memorable date because of the food.

When I took a bite of Jack Stack's Cheesy Corn Bake, one of the restaurant's most popular side dishes, I went to Lala Land and never returned to the date. It's velvety like creamed corn, very cheesy, and dotted with pieces of smoked ham—salty, sweet, creamy, and so delicious. It's been over 20 years, but the memory of this dish still makes me salivate.

You can find the original recipe and many copycats of Jack Stack's Cheesy Corn Bake on the internet, and I've tried them all. They're as delicious as you'd expect a mixture of cheese, corn, and ham to be. However, I've tweaked the recipe over several years and landed on a quicker and easier version that calls for five ingredients.

Bring this cheesy corn casserole to a get-together this summer, and be prepared to tell everyone where you got the recipe.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

How To Make My 5-Ingredient Corn Cheesy Corn Bake

To serve 8 to 10 as a side, you’ll need:

  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 (8-ounce) brick pepper jack cheese, shredded

  • 1 cup (3 ounces) crumbled or diced cooked bacon

  • 4 cups (20 ounces) fresh corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

There are two ways you can go about melting the cream cheese. First, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Then, place them in a small saucepan with the milk. Set it over medium heat, bring it to a simmer (do not boil), and whisk to combine. Or you can place the cubed cream cheese in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-second intervals until softened. Add the milk and use a whisk to combine.

Add the cream cheese and milk mixture, shredded cheese, bacon, and corn to an 8 or 9-inch casserole dish. Stir to combine, spread out into an even layer, and bake until bubbly and the edges are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

My Tips for Making This Easy Cheesy Corn Bake

Corn: Fresh corn stays a little crunchy even after it's baked, so it's great for textural contrast. I typically get one cup of corn kernels per cob. Here is an easy guide for removing the corn off the cob. You can use frozen (thaw it first) or canned (drained well) corn if fresh isn't available.

Cheese: I prefer pepper Jack for its sharpness, spice, and flavor. Sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or part-skim mozzarella are good alternatives.

Bacon: I usually cut cooked bacon into small strips, but store-bought bacon bits are a smart shortcut. Look for a brand with larger pieces—the small crumbles melt and disappear into the cheese sauce in a dissatisfying way. If you want to stick closer to Jack Stack's version, use cubed pieces of smoked ham.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.