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Creamed corn, slow-cooked in a dairy-rich sauce. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

Creamed corn, with its sweet-and-salty flavor and comforting richness has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I'll admit it: I even like the canned grocery store variety. That said, homemade is abundantly better and, to be frank, nearly as easy, especially if you have a slow cooker. The best part? You can bump up the flavor by adding some easy aromatics (like thyme sprigs and bay leaves), and cheese.

I like mine rich and creamy, so this version contains a triple dairy hit of cream cheese, crème fraîche, and melty American cheese. I know you're thinking what?! But don't knock it until you try it. These flavors really work, melding into a creamy, cheesy tang that offsets the sweetness of the corn.

If you can't get your hands on fresh ears or just want to be more cost-effective, two 16-ounce bags of frozen sweet corn work just fine. Go ahead and make this one in advance. It reheats nicely. Plus, the flavors improve. And because the dish is hearty all on its own, you can pair it with a light salad for a great vegetarian meal (think of it as macaroni and cheese with corn in place of the pasta).

That said, it's also a killer side for grilled steak.

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

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