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Pineapple and Cheddar Casserole

March 21, 2010

You know what annoys me?

Unlabeled food at buffets.

Well, honestly, buffets annoy me.  But I can deal with that.  But why, oh, why does it seem to take a supreme act of Mother Nature to get someone to identify the dishes on the buffet line?  Given that the majority of the items are covered in breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, marinara sauce, it only seems natural to inform the eater what lies beneath…

But actually, upon deeper thought, I think I should not be *so* annoyed.  Especially because I was introduced to perhaps the most delicious baked casserole side dish to ever grace your Easter Luncheon or Thanksgiving Table.  I assumed it was mac&cheese.  It wasn’t.  And if I knew what it actually was, I would have never tasted it.

Cheddar Pineapple Casserole.

Well just wait.  Gather yourself, reader.  You love Hawaiian Pizza.  You love the pineapple black bean enchiladas. Even those cream cheese and pineapple finger sandwiches are yummy.  Why should this be any different?  It isn’t.  It just sounds gross.  But, I promise, it is heaven on a plate!

Last evening I was tossing and turning, and this delicious side dish that I last enjoyed my freshman year in college popped into my head.  I was a different eater then, and I cared not for the calorie content or nutritional value of my food.  But now I am Branny and I care!  So I realized if I ever wanted to approximate my delight when I bit into the non-mac-and-cheese and discovered cheddar-and-pineapple, I knew I’d have to do some serious thinking.

First I swapped out the traditional crumbled Ritz cracker topping for whole wheat bread crumbs and Smart Balance.  Naturally I reduced the cheese, but simply doing that would have left us with a rather sparse casserole.  So in the place of a cup of shredded cheddar, I substituted pureed butternut squash.  Remember the sucess of Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese?

And with a slight reduction in sugar and a major reduction in butter, I was off.  And I was right on target.  This dish was everything I wanted it to be, needed it to be.  The Omnivore ate it with pork, a natural pairing.

One Year Ago: Honey Mustard Potato Salad

Brannyfied Cheddar Pineapple Casserole (6 servings)
1 20oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 20oz can pineapple chunks, drained
2 pieces whole wheat bread, toasted and crumbled
3.25 oz cheddar cheese (1 cup finely shredded)
1.25 cup cooked, mashed butternut squash
1/3 cup sugar
Smart Balance

Drain cans of pineapple and combine.  Place in a greased 9×13″ casserole.  Combine squash, sugar, and cheddar cheese in a food processor.  It is best to have the squash warmed so it melts the cheese and sugar into a cheddary sauce.  Pour over pineapple.  Spread breadcrumbs over casserole and dot with slivers of SmartBalance.  And when I say slivers, I mean slivers:

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until bubbly.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Based on 6 servings
Calories 291.7
Total Fat 6.4 g
Potassium 438.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 56.3 g
Sugars 41.1 g
Protein 6.4 g

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2010 10:15 am

    That sounds so good! Yet another way to use my stockpiled frozen squash puree! Maybe next week, I have a pork shoulder on my grocery list and I agree, that is a perfect pairing.

  2. March 22, 2010 9:50 pm

    DEFINITELY making this soon! It looks wonderful!!!!

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