Hot Water Cornbread

 

This is another favorite from my childhood. It’s a Southern classic. My Dad used to add in shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced onion, and minced jalapenos to his hot water cornbread mixture before frying. Experiment with the add-ins. The possibilities are endless. I like my hot water cornbread simple, plain. I’ve been known to dip mine in ketchup, but others like them drizzled with honey are maple syrup. They go great with a nice pot of pinto beans.

Hot Water Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying

Add about an inch of oil to a cast iron skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal and salt in a bowl. Add the boiling water and mix well. Let the mixture cool slightly. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into patties by forming a ball with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the mixture and then flattening it into a 1/2-inch patty with your fingers. Fry the patties in the hot oil in small batches, turning often until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

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Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

This Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie is so quick and easy. There is also minimal cleanup involved. Yay! The cookie comes out soft and delicious. It is awesome on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cast iron skillets come in a variety of sizes and are usually numbered. The skillet number is often marked on the bottom of the skillet or on the handle. The numbers range from 0 – 20. The 0 skillet in tiny, while the 20 skillet is humongous (and hard to find). The numbers are not universal and depends on the cast iron skillet’s manufacturer. I have a vintage number 8 (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) and a Lodge number 10 (which is about 12 inches in diameter). For this recipe, you want a basic 10 – 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2  large eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Melt the butter in a number 8 cast iron skillet (which is about 10 1/2 inches in diameter) over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture in the skillet. Mix well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and spread the dough evenly in the skillet.

Place in the preheated oven. Bake 25 minutes at 350º F, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool about 15 minutes before slicing.


Stacked Enchiladas

This is one of my go-to meals when I don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. New Mexican-style stacked enchiladas are super easy, inexpensive (less than $5 for the whole meal), fast (20 minutes from start to finish), and delicious. I serve the enchiladas with black beans, which meshes really well with the enchilada sauce.

Stacked Enchiladas

3 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

oil
corn tortillas (3 or 4 per person)
shredded cheese (I used cheddar, Monterrey jack, or a Mexican blend)

To make the enchilada sauce:  Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the ground cumin and garlic powder. Gradually whisk in the 1 1/2 cups of water. Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens. Add the can of tomato sauce and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low and keep the sauce hot, stirring occasionally, as you prepare to make the enchiladas.

To make the enchiladas:  Heat about an inch of oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Briefly fry the corn tortillas until they are soft, but not crispy. Remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.

To assemble the enchiladas:  Put a large spoonful (about 1/4 cup) of the hot enchilada sauce on a plate. Top with a softened corn tortilla. Top with another spoonful of hot enchilada sauce, making sure the whole tortilla is covered, and sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 2 tablespoons). Layer with another softened tortilla. Repeat the process….sauce, cheese, tortilla…..until you have a stack that contains 3 or 4 corn tortillas total. Finish the last tortilla/enchilada stack with more sauce and a little more cheese. Serve immediately.


Quick Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Quick Broccoli and Cheese Soup

So, Publix had 8 ounces packages of Kraft shredded cheeses on sale for $1.40 this past sales cycle. That’s the lowest price I have ever seen for them. I may have gone a little crazy and bought more shredded cheese than I needed. My cheese drawer is stuffed. I’m pretty sure my family thinks I have a problem.

This morning my plan was to come home after I dropped the kidlet off at school and work on an online class I need to finish before heading to work. Instead I made this Quick Broccoli & Cheddar Soup for breakfast. I used some of the cheese! Priorities.

Quick Broccoli and Cheese Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth is fine too)
1 10 – 12 ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli (cuts & florets are fine too)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus a little more for garnishing (I like mild cheddar)
1 cup half & half or milk
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and let cook for a minute. Whisk in the broth, a little at a time, until smooth. Add the frozen broccoli. If I am using frozen broccoli cuts or florets, I will run a knife through them to make the pieces smaller before adding them to the soup. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, stirring often. Whisk in the cheese and then add the half & half. Warm through and then turn off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional shredded cheddar cheese for garnish.


Pinto Bean Burgers

I keep a well-stocked pantry. I almost always have a variety of canned beans on hand for quick meals. One can easily prepare bean burgers using canned beans in about 30 minutes. Bean burgers can be made with almost any type of beans (I’ve made them with black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, lentils, and pintos). By switching up the type of beans, condiments, spices, and additions, bean burger variations are limitless. You will never be bored with this vegetarian meal.

Pinto Bean Burgers

1 15.5 ounce can pinto beans, drained
1/2 small onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs

butter

hamburger buns
condiments and toppings of choice

In a bowl, coarsely mash the pinto beans with a fork or potato masher. Add the onion, jalapeno, BBQ sauce, spices, and beaten egg. Mix well. Add the bread crumbs, a little at a time, until the mixture can be shaped into a patty. You don’t want it to be too moist, but you don’t want it falling apart. Divide the mixture into 4 – 6 equal portions, depending on how hearty you want the pinto bean burger to be. Shape each portion into a patty (roll mixture into a ball and then press down gently with fingers, turning to ensure evenness, to flatten).

Melt some butter (about 2 tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pinto bean burger patties and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Melt a slice of cheese on the tops of the burgers, if you wish. Serve the burgers with toasted hamburger buns and condiments and toppings of your choice.


Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie is great for a light lunch or dinner. Since it is very quiche-like, it is also perfect for breakfast. No matter what meal you eat it for, it is sure to become a favorite. Jazz it up with the addition of herbs. Basil, cilantro, or oregano are all delicious additions to this pie.

Slice of Savory Zucchini Pie

Savory Zucchini Pie

1 prepared pie crust (I just use store-bought)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and then thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheese (I like a combo of cheddar and mozzarella, but feel free to use your favorite cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, stirring often. Add the sliced zucchini and continue to sauté until tender. Add the shredded carrot and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Combine the beaten eggs, cheese, and a little more salt and pepper together. Add the egg and cheese mixture to the zucchini mixture. Pour into the pie shell. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pie comes out clean.


Raspberry Muffins

Raspberry Muffins

These are easy enough to whip up for a weekend morning breakfast or brunch. Feel free to substitute blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or a combination of berries for the raspberries in this recipe.

Raspberry Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (you do not have to defrost the frozen berries)
extra sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins

Preheat oven to 400º F. Spray muffin pans lightly with cooking spray (or use paper baking cups) and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.  Combine the milk, oil, vanilla, and egg together and then add to the dry ingredients.  Mix until moistened, but do not over mix. Gently mix in the raspberries.  Fill muffin pans about half full with batter. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little bit of sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes approximately 12 large muffins or 24 mini muffins.