My husband, Karl, was the official cornbread maker in our house. His cornbread is not sweet and is typically served with a pot of pinto beans with ham, cooked greens, fresh tomatoes and onions. I also like to serve cornbread with my 5-hour Beef Stew (to be posted another day) or chili. I always save a piece to drown in honey from my neighbor, Gary’s, beehives.
CORNBREAD the old fashioned way
1 tablespoon bacon grease (or canola oil)
1 cup white corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup corn oil
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put one tablespoon bacon grease (heaping) in an iron skillet and let skillet get up to temperature of the oven. Take paper towel and spread grease throughout skillet. Pour off excess grease. You can be doing this while you are mixing the ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients. Beat egg and add wet ingredients. Mix. Blend dry and wet ingredients and stir well. You might need to add milk for the mixture needs to be runny.
When skillet is hot pour ingredients into it. Do not burn your hands. It’s easy to reach out and grab the skillet handle without using a pad or glove. Bake for 27 minutes.
Let cornbread cool for a few minutes, then invert onto plate. Serve warm with butter and honey or with the traditional pot of pinto beans, stew or chili.
Recently I was joining my neighbors for dinner and wanted to make a main dish from items I had in my pantry and freezer. I discovered this recipe in the Cornerstone Cookbook published by the Assistance League, Marshalltown, IA in 1976. My Mother gave me this cookbook, on my 23rd birthday, and it has become one of my ‘go-to’ cookbooks.
This casserole was a hit and will now join my list of favorite recipes.
CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
2 packages frozen (or fresh) broccoli
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken or turkey
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
Cook broccoli until tender. Arrange in bottom of buttered baking dish (9″x13″). Place two cups cooked, cubed chicken on top of broccoli.
Combine chicken soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice and curry powder. Pour over chicken and broccoli.
Combine crumbs and butter and spread over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
For years I have been hesitant to cook a beef brisket. A dear friend always serves a wonderful brisket and shared the recipe with me. It is so simple, yet so moist and tender. I’ve served this multiple times at dinner parties with great results. The sauce is wonderful served on the brisket, especially when using coca cola. Wish I had one cooking now!
1/2 pound beef brisket per person
Spices: kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, mesquite seasoning
Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke
Can of coca cola or beer
Remove excess fat from brisket (leave some for flavoring). Mix spices together and rub on both sides of brisket. Place brisket in pan or in Ziploc bag. Add Worcestershire and liquid smoke. Cover 2/3 of brisket with coca cola or beer and marinade overnight.
Cook in crock pot for 6-8 hours on low or in oven at 325 degrees for 6 hours. Cook with marinade. Add liquid if needed.
About an hour before the meat is done, remove some of the liquid and heat equal portions of cooking liquid and barbecue sauce. Simmer/reduce for 1 hour.
Remove brisket from crock pot or oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes, covered with foil. Slice on the cross-grain and serve with sauce.
Last fall I was attending a gal pal gathering and Forgotten Cookies were served. How in the world have I gone through life without EVER tasting one of these. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They also solve my cookie-baking dilemma of leaving them in the oven too long.
Wouldn’t this be a great recipe when your child remembers to tell you at 9 p.m. that you are supposed to bring cookies to school the next day? Mix them up the night before, pop them in the oven, and TA-DA…they are ready for you in the morning. Hmmm…maybe breakfast that day, too, after all, it does have eggs…
2 egg whites at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until they hold stiff peaks.
Add salt and vanilla. Stir well. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
Cover cookie sheet with foil and grease with butter or margarine. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the foil. Put in oven then turn the oven off. Leave overnight in oven with door closed.
Apples were plentiful in the Iowa countryside growing up. My Mother would also can or freeze apples for use during the year. This is a simple, country Apple Crisp that is easy to make any time of year. Dollop with a little whipped cream and enjoy.
4 to 6 medium cooking apples
1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 cup oats, uncooked (quick or old fashioned)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup melted margarine
1/2-3/4 cup water
Peel, core and slice apples. Place in greased baking dish with a bit of water. Combine dry ingredients, add melted margarine, mixing until crumbly; sprinkle on top of apples.
Bake in preheated moderate oven (375 degrees) for 30 minutes or until apples are tender.
Serve warm or cold with your favorite ice cream or topping.
My dear sweet friend and neighbor, Maribeth, made this dish for our family the summer of 1997. We had several family members in town and they were crazy for this dish. My step-daughter Karen, even had the leftovers for breakfast the next day.
It has since become a family favorite, any time of year. After Thanksgiving, I freeze any leftover turkey to use specifically for this casserole. Leftover chicken would work equally as well. I often make the casserole the day before and let the dish rest and enhance the flavors.
This would be a great dish for Super Bowl parties!
TURKEY ALA MUMBA
1 pound cooked turkey or chicken (3 cups)
2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
2 medium onions, chopped
7 ounce can diced mild green chiles
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped or 1 T. dried
1 pound low fat Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, grated
12 6″ corn tortillas, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside 1/2 cup black beans. Combine turkey, remainder of black beans, onions, chiles, soup, stock, garlic and spices.
Layer 12 tortilla halves in 9×13″ pan. Cover with half of mixture, sprinkle on half of cheese. Repeat layers of tortillas, mixture and cheese. Sprinkle reserved black beans across top.
Bake 45 minutes until cheese is brown. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Freezes well if you are lucky enough to have leftovers!
French Onion Soup was introduced to me in my 20s at a restaurant on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO. It was highly recommended and I have been in love with it ever since. Thank goodness food processors were invented to help with the teary slicing duty to make this dish.
This recipe is so simple yet so yummy. I have also added left over roast beef bits if I have them on hand. Take it for a spin and see if it is a hit at your house!
FRENCH ONION SOUP
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups thinly sliced onion
4 cans (10.5 ounce) condensed beef broth
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 slices French bread (1″ thick)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Heat butter in large skillet. Add onions and sauté’; stirring until golden–about 8 minutes.
Combine onion, broth, and salt in medium saucepan; bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast bread slices in broiler until browned on both sides.
Sprinkle one side of each with grated cheese; run under broiler about 1 minute, or until cheese is bubbly.
To serve: Pour soup into a tureen or individual soup bowls. Float toast, cheese side up, on soup.
My love of eggplant began when I was a young child. My mother would peel and slice the eggplant, sprinkle with salt, and let rest on paper towels for 30-45 minutes to remove the bitterness. She would then flour, salt and pepper the eggplant, and brown the eggplant slices in hot oil. The hot eggplant slices were then put on a slice of bread and eaten as a sandwich. I STILL love eggplant this way but have searched for healthier ways to cook eggplant.
This spread is a new favorite. Rumor has it that the original recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa.
It is difficult for me to resist eating the cubed eggplant straight from the roasting pan but the majority usually makes it to the food processor. I often eat this as a side dish as well as a spread. Either way…you can’t beat the wonderful flavor of eggplant. YUM!
ROASTED EGGPLANT SPREAD
2 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red (or sweet) onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1 inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread on greased baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing one time during the roasting process. Cool slightly.
Place the vegetables in a food processor. Add the tomato paste and pulse to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Optional: serve with crumbled feta cheese on crackers, bread or pita chips.
Posole (puh-SO-lay) is a dried hominy stew that I first experienced when I lived in Arizona in the late ’80s. Having Iowa roots and a true affection to anything corn, I was drawn to this wonderful, comforting Mexican stew. It’s not that much different from the hominy my Mother served in her Iowa farm kitchen. Posole is known to bring good luck for the New Year, or anytime you need a little luck (or just plain comfort food) in your life.
Bring in the New Year with a little luck and Posole. Your tummy will thank you!
2 cups dried posole
6 cups water (more as needed)
1 pound lean pork, cubed
1 teaspoon chile caribe
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon saffron (optional and I do not use)
avocado slices for garnish
Brown pork cubes in a small amount of olive oil until starting to brown.
Add water and add dried posole, chili caribe, onion, garlic, oregano.
Cover and cook over low heat until done (4+ hours). Check often and add water as needed. Add salt immediately before serving. Garnish with avocado slice. Serve with guacamole and chips, hot sauce or any other Mexican favorite sides.