October 6, 2010

New Pantry, Corn Pudding and Husker Burgers

My friend Jen Shatel is a native Nebraskan and a mom of three darling girls. Today Jen shares two great Crock Pot ideas. With the onset of Autumn is seems natural to bring out the Crock Pot to provide the heavy-duty work in the kitchen. And now, thanks to two new marvelous black chrome five-tier stands in my reorganized pantry, I can actually find my Crock Pot. See!

I'm feeling oh-so like Martha Stewart right now. (And just wait til I tell you about my grand schemes for sewing homemade Halloween costumes, and we also have to make about 30 homemade Halloween cards too. Now, I'm feeling tired again.)

Back to food. Jen writes: "My easiest and yummiest recipe involves corn — appropriate for the Cornhusker state. It's a simple crock pot recipe."

Jen Shatel's Corn Pudding
2 cans cream corn
2 cans whole kernel corn (with the water/juice)
2 boxes of corn muffin mix
1 stick of margarine
8 oz sour cream (optional)

Mix all ingredients in crock pot.
Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours until the mixture thicken and "sets" and looks like this:
And it tastes amazing. In fact, I think I'll have some for breakfast. (And it makes a large batch, too.)

Simplest Crock Pot Chicken
Jen also uses her Crock Pot to cook frozen chicken breasts. "I put them in by themselves and turn it on low," Jen says. "Once they cook, I shred the chicken breasts in their own juices and we put the shredded chicken in tacos, on buns with BBQ sauce, or in quesadillas. Very simple and very good flavor, too."

It was Jen and her husband, Tom, who first introduced me and my husband, Joe, to the Husker Burger. This was after 2005 because I remember standing in line behind then-alumnus -- still all-time great Husker QB -- Tommy Frazier to get into a downtown Lincoln bar. I don't think any of us waited long to get into the bar. Can you ever imagine Frazier getting overlooked in Lincoln?

So the Husker Burger is shaped like the state of Nebraska, but the real fun is garnishing it with ketchup and mustard. The mustard snakes across the burger like one of the state's rivers and then the ketchup .... okay, let me check with Jen on the CORRECT way to dress a Husker Burger. (Thursday's NU football game is against my Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan., and I can assure you there are no traditions in that college town that deal with condiments -- or at least that I can recall as I'm writing this at 10:42 p.m. on a week night.)

Check out Corn Nation's blog where they nominated their favorite stadium foods in the off-season. It makes for an interesting read. And lookie, I found a site that's part of Yahoo that's finding the best food in each state. They picked the baked bread stuffed with meat sandwiches called Runzas for Nebraska. (They also picked Chicken Fried Steak for Kansas. Even though their report came out in June of this year I can assure you I didn't see this list until today. But I'm happy to agree with these Yahoo/Shine people on my birth state of Kansas. Runzas are tasty, but I'm still partial to the Husker Burger. Besides Husker Burger just so much more catchier to say. It's way more fun than saying "Runza, Runza, Runza.")

I'm also noticing this pride in all things corn (though the state is the third-leading producer of corn behind Iowa and Illinois). But those states also don't have a team that proudly (and I mean PROUDLY call themselves the CORNHUSKERS. Sitting in a sea of red on a football game day is a site to behold. Their stadium hot dogs are OF COURSE dyed a bright RED, too. And the automatic hot dog thrower at games is called Der Viener Schlinger. I'm telling you, life is better than fiction; you couldn't make up a name like that. (Technically, SOMEONE did come up with that name and got it approved or offered enough $$$ to get it approved.) Why doesn't some action movie film a scene where the hero in white has to run through Memorial Stadium's packed game-day crowd, grabbing Der Viener Schlinger to fell the bad guys chasing him (or her — I'm all for female heroines.*)

* Our fam's favorite new heroine is Eva Nine from Tony DiTerlizzi's "The Search for Wondla."

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