We ate Easter dinner with our friends, Dale and Ed, in their Topsail home. Dale and Ed are long-time New Bern residents and still maintain a residence in River Bend, though they mainly live in Topsail now. Dale moved here from Ohio and owned and operated Pac 'n Ship on Glenburnie Road until she retired. Ed, a local New Bernian, was a higher-up in BB&T before retirement. Now they watch the beautiful ocean from their beachfront home when they're not pursuing other hobbies.
A wonderful spiral-cut ham was the centerpiece of our meal, and flavorful sides completed it in style. Everything was delicious, but the pineapple casserole grabbed my attention. Dale informed me that the recipe came from Paula Deen, well-known southern cook. This must be a Savannah dish, because Ed said he had never seen or heard of it before now. The dish calls for a good amount of sugar, but Dale substitutes Splenda, since Ed is diabetic. She also uses pineapple tidbits instead of chunks. And there really is no better accompaniment for ham than this sweet pineapple dish. The cheese tempers the sweetness without overpowering the other flavors. In fact, I didn't know there was cheese in the dish till Dale told me. This is one recipe I will keep for future ham dinners, and I hope you will, too.
I brought the dessert -- a mixed berry pie with a Limoncello pie crust that I named "Antioxidant Pie." I'll be posting the recipe for this delicious pie on my Judy's Kitchen blog soon.
Paula Deen's Pineapple Casserole
Bear Rating: 9 out of 10
- 1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
- 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks (or tidbits), drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
- 1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.