If you've never eaten this particular dish before, then chances are, you probably aren't from the South. It's a Southern thang. Well, I think. I don't really know the history or heritage of this dish, to be honest. I suppose it could be a Northern thang as well. I live in Virginia, so we're kinda middle folks here. Heck, most folks in Southern Virginia consider folks in Northern Virginia to be Yankees. And many folks in the deep south don't really consider Virginia to be southern. But all that is besides the point to this dish.
If you've never eaten it before, you will probably think it is the weirdest combination of ingredients you ever heard of. Who knew pineapple and cheese could make such beautiful music together? Well, they can. The sweetness of the pineapples and glaze combined with the zing of the sharp cheddar and slight saltiness and crunchiness from the Ritz crackers makes for a surprisingly amazing flavor combo. You're gonna have to trust me on this is all I can say. And really, you should never trust anyone who says "Trust me." But ya know, I'm saying it anyway. But not in a sleazy, used car salesman kinda way. Not that all used car salesmen are sleazy, mind you. I'm just sayin'...trust me, it's good. It is meant to be a side dish. And it goes amazingly well with ham. I could eat this as a side dish or as a dessert really. I think once you've had a bite, you'll be hooked too.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. pineapple gelatin mix (Jell-O)
3 tbsp. corn starch
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits or chunks (in 100% juice)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium pot over medium heat, whisk together water, sugar, 3 tbsp. pineapple gelatin mix, and 3 tbsp. corn starch until thoroughly combined and you get all the lumps out.
Turn heat up to high and let mixture to come to a boil and thicken. Continue to whisk. Once thickened take off heat. Drain pineapple chunks thoroughly, setting aside 1/2 cup of the juice.
Add drained pineapple chunks to pot and stir.
While pineapple mixture is cooling, begin making topping. In a large Ziploc bag, finely crush Ritz crackers.
Add crackers, melted butter and 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice into a medium bowl and stir until combined.Add shredded cheese to cooled pineapple mixture and pour into baking dish.
Spread Ritz cracker topping over pineapple mixture.
Bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes (until topping is golden brown).
PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE