Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ONIONS at the Ritz CASSEROLE - Church PotLuck Side Dish

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Sweet, a little crunchy, cheesy, creamy, nostalgic memories of my youth and a huge surprise!

This is one of those unusual recipes that your grandmother knew about but has been lost down through the years.  An idea of an onion only casserole sounds odd until you factor in the now legendary Vidalia Sweet Onion.  Back in Granny's day, sweet onions were very much a seasonal thing, only available for a couple of weeks (or maybe a single shipment) in stores outside of Georgia.  Now variations of sweets come from Hawaii, Texas, Oregon and Washington State, California and maybe your own back yard just about any time of the year.  I recently received a gift of Texas 1015 Sweet Onions, along with this recipe.

Sure enough, I remembered it as soon as I made it.  This was a staple at my beloved church potlucks of my youth.  I never knew why it was only available a couple weekends a year, but I sure was grateful when I saw it on the table.  This recipe came out of an old church recipe book that collected these hidden seasonal gems and were used as fund raisers.  That old church got new choir robes and I got to relive my youth.

Needing to spend the morning looking over that book a little more closely.

OK... Here's what I did...


  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 3 Large Sweet Onions (Walla Walla, Vidalia, Low Sulfur content in them means no onion bite)
  • 8 Ounces Swiss Cheese, grated
  • 1 Cup Crushed Butter Crackers (Ritz)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a small 8X8 Freezer to oven to table casserole dish (Pyrex works perfect) with nonstick spray.
  2. Melt Butter in a large Skillet. Meanwhile, slice onions in half moon slices. separate the rings. Add to the melted butter and saute over medium heat until tender and translucent.... about 10 minutes.
  3. Put half of these onions in the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the Cheese and half of the crushed Ritz crackers.
  4. Repeat with another layer of remaining onions and cheese.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour this mixture over the onions, sprinkle with remaining crumbled Ritz.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until top has started to toast and become golden brown and delicious.
  8. Serve warm and ENJOY!
Makes a terrific side dish for any meal... like alongside Beef Short Ribs (next post), Green Bean Bundles and mashed potatoes.


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Ways to Cook Side Dish Recipes"!!!

Sure the meat gets all the glory but real cooks know it's the spread... the specialty Side Dishes that makes a meal rise or fall. Here's a few of my favorite recipes that will help to create that illusive COMPLETE MENU!

LOTS of Potato Sides, Vegetable Sides, Specialty Salads, Bread and MORE!


This recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Church PotLuck Dishes"!

A list of something NEW worthy of being shown off at a neighborhood BYODish (Bring Your Own Dish) Party, a Family special occasion dinner, Any Big Holiday Gathering or of course that glorious day when you bring a dish to share with your Church family...

Ages ago, literally almost a half century ago I was listening to our pastor talking about a PotLuck Dinner. It happened to be scheduled around a church work day when we were expected to weed, polish and do general cleaning and maintenance around the church (you know, back in the day when there were no no-wax floors and church pews smelled of Old English furniture polish). I am of course paraphrasing, but as I recall the pastor said,

"A potluck, like a church requires work. At a potluck everyone is expected to contribute.. At a church no one should come empty handed and no one should leave unfed".
I will confess that in my youth I brought more store bought plastic spoons and forks than I ever brought covered dishes and crock pots of fresh made love and caring delights. But now that I have become a hobbyist cook, I occasionally am reminded of those days and people from my youth. I reminded and I do wish that I could drop a dish of some new creation on those old tables at my fondly remembered Liberty Baptist Church.  Tables covered with newspapers and loaded with God's bounty prepared with love and caring... Enjoy


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