Editor’s Note: Not exactly the most healthy dish in the world…but an easy dish and a crowd pleaser for a mother’s day BBQ just the same!
Potluck parties—some people love them and some hate them.
Those in the hate ‘em group either start the what-to-bring handwringing as soon as the evite drops in their inbox or they block it out and break into a hot-yoga level sweat each time evite reminders hit. This latter group will RSVP at the last minute and then search the Internet for recipes that may or may not turn out edible.
I’ve made a few such clunkers myself.
I shudder to recall a potato dish for a St. Patrick’s Day supper club. I made this untried recipe, which called for stewing together potatoes, leeks and cabbage. In theory it wasn’t a bad combination, though it turned into a standout disaster. It simmered and gave off a pungent odor that made my kitchen smell like wet dog. The end result was edible (I tasted it), but not good, and it pretty much went untouched at the party. I consoled myself by noting that at least no one got sick from it.
Recently, I read about professional chefs and their networking potluck dinners. These are events where restaurant chefs who don’t know one another gather to get acquainted, and like we civilians, each brings a dish to share. The article noted that the anxiety associated with such gatherings reached Defcon 1. And then there’s the hilarious piece over at The Onion about the guy who brought banana bread to a party and spent three hours watching as it went uneaten. He repeatedly checked on his bread, rearranged it on the table, cut into it to get the ball rolling, but by party’s end there were still no takers.
Who has time for failed recipes? I don’t. Life is busy and on any hectic weeknight, figuring out dinner is enough of a challenge. I consider the Panera Bread app a pantry staple, and the phone numbers for our local pizza joint and Chinese restaurant live on each family member’s phone contacts.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have that one potluck go-to recipe, the one that will disappear within an hour of hitting the buffet?
I have that recipe, and its name is Southwestern Corn Dip. Years ago, a friend shared this recipe with me and changed my bring-a-dish-to-share days forever. This recipe didn’t originate with her, or with the person who gave it to her. Truth is that I haven’t a clue as to the origins. But here’s what I do know—and what I’ve tested over time and events—it’s a crowd pleaser. Over the last ten years, I’ve made this dish for every imaginable situation: informal dinners, cocktails and appetizers, barbecues, bunco, book group, company gatherings, holiday parties, Halloween parties, birthday parties and a whole bunch of ladies’ wine (and whine) nights. Each time my oven-safe dish of Southwestern Corn Dip hits the buffet, within an hour it’s empty and the next morning my email is full of recipe requests. Like my friend before me, I have shared the making of Southwestern Corn Dip with people all over the country as well my husband’s colleague from Germany.
In theory, I love to cook. But that theory includes the idea that I have a lot of time on my hands. At fifty years old, my favorite recipes are those that require a limited commitment. Southwestern Corn Dip is that low-commitment dish. All it takes is five ingredients, six if you count a store-bought bag of tortilla chips.
Summer is almost here, but now your next evite or barbecue will be a no-sweat affair.
Here’s the full recipe:
Southwestern Corn Dip
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 4.5 ounce can of chopped green chilis/drained
1 11 oz. can Mexicorn/drained
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients and then pour that into an oven-safe casserole dish. If you want this to be extra easy, use a disposable metal pan from the supermarket. Then you don’t have to worry about getting your dish back at the end of the party. Salt and pepper the top to taste. Bake until the top is slightly browned, usually about 40-45 minutes. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Enjoy watching it disappear.
You can find Sharon on Twitter @sharonkurtzman1.