I love cornbread and this spicy version doesn’t disappoint. It is slightly sweet without being too much so and the addition of jalapenos and Cheddar cheese adds complexity and makes it decidedly more sophisticated than your ordinary cornbread. It makes a tasty accompaniment to a spicy bowl of chili or corn and vegetable chowder and in warmer weather a chilled gazpacho turning your soup into a full fledged meal. And since I prefer savory to sweet when it comes to breakfast I love eating a piece of this toasted and topped with a dab of butter. Now that is good.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce can minced jalapeno peppers
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the butter, canola oil, sugar and eggs until a thick slurry forms.
- Add in the buttermilk and yogurt and whisk until combined.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined.
- Fold in the jalapeno peppers and Cheddar cheese.
- Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown.
- Let cool on a wire rack before slicing into wedges. The cornbread can be served either warm or at room temperature.
I’m always on the lookout for new side dishes that are both fast and flavorful so I fell in love with these potatoes adapted from Cuisine At Home magazine the minute I saw the recipe. They are so easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or chicken. You can adjust the amount of heat by using more or less of the jalapeno pepper and even substitute other types of cheese for the Cheddar. Yum!
Japapeno-Cheddar Fried Potatoes
1 pound, red skinned potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup diced pancetta (optional)
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
!/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the broiler.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water.
- Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.
- Place the pancetta in a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium-high heat until crispy.
- Add the oil to the skillet with the pancetta.
- Fry the potatoes in the oil and pancetta, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5-8 minutes.
- Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese and place the skillet in the oven.
- Broil for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
I’ve always loved quesadillas. Whether there are simply made with whatever cheese you have on hand and eaten like a grilled cheese sandwich or filled with interesting ingredients like these caramelized onions and mushrooms, they are an easy snack, appetizer, or even light dinner. They are that versatile. I love making them for my family. I can adjust the fillings to please even the most finicky of palates.
But, one of my all time favorite fillings is the combination of mushrooms, onions, and cheese. The mushrooms and onions are best when cooked down slowly. If you are pressed for time you can always cook the vegetables ahead of time then pop them into the tortillas when you are ready to make the quesadillas. Yum!
CHEDDAR & PORTOBELLO QUESADILLAS
4 small flour tortillas
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pinches salt, divided
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 small portobello mushrooms, sliced
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sour cream (for serving if desired)
- Place two tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan set over medium-low heat.
- Add the sliced onions and 1 pinch of salt.
- Saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and lightly browned. about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a small amount of water if necessary to keep the onions from sticking. Set aside.
- Place the remaining olive oil in another small saute pan set over medium-low heat.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and the remaining pinch of salt.
- Saute, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft, browned and have released their liquid, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, lightly coat it with non-stick cooking spray.
- Reduce the temperature to medium.
- Place one tortilla in the center of the pan and lay 2 slices of cheese in the center of the tortilla.
- Add half of the onions and half of mushrooms, evenly distributing them over the top of the tortilla.
- Top with 2 more slices of cheese and another tortilla.
- Cook until the tortilla is lightly browned and toasted and the cheese has begun to melt, 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the tortilla and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Slice the tortilla into four wedges and serve with sour cream if desired.
Yields: 8 tortilla wedges
If you are anything like me, whenever you cook up a pot of rice you inevitably make too much. No matter how many people I am serving I always end up with extra rice. Every single time. Rice is one of those grains that is difficult to reheat; the texture changes and I usually end up with a sticky mess that no one wants to eat. My solution? Repurposing the rice into a completely new side dish.
I love this baked rice dish that I adapted from Food 52. More of a method rather than an exact recipe, this dish combines your leftover rice with herbs, greens and cheese to create a tasty rice dish that is both creamy and crispy. I used green onions, parsley, and Cheddar cheese but you could easily substitute whatever aromatics and cheese you have on hand. Not only does this dish make for a great accompaniment to meat at dinner, it is a nice addition to a brunch buffet table. And if you have leftovers, simply reheat them the next morning in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. It will taste like a crispy risotto cake. Yum!
CHEDDAR & PARSLEY BAKED RICE
4 tablespoons butter
3 bunches green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 cups cooked white rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round pie plate with either more butter or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saute pan set over medium high heat.
- Add the green onions and cook until they are soft and golden with just a bit of crispiness.
- Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and allow to cool slightly.
- Add the cooked rice and stir to combine. All of the rice should be coated with the butter and onion mixture.
- Combine the eggs and milk in a medium sized bowl then add to the rice mixture, stirring to form a thick batter.
- Add the shredded cheese and the chopped parsley, stirring well.
- Season again with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the rice mixture to the prepared pie pan.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the rice has set.
- Allow to cool slightly then slice into wedges.
Chances are, if you are baking up a ham for dinner today, you will find yourself with quite a bit of leftover meat. How about using some in these sweet and savory muffins? Ham and cheese are a natural pairing but when you add some apples you have the perfect trifecta. There are many types of ham out there but this recipe works best with a spiral cut honey ham since its sweetness is the perfect contrast for the sharpness of the Cheddar cheese. If you find yourself with a boiled ham, increase its sweetness by tossing the ham in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar before adding it to the batter.
HAM & CHEDDAR APPLE MUFFINS
3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 medium apple, shredded (I prefer Macintosh)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cooled
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and eggs.
- Fold the yogurt mixture into the flour until just combined.
- Add in the ham, cheese and apples and fold until just combined.
- Gently stir in the melted butter.
- Evenly divide the batter amongst the muffin cups.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes then allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool an additional 10 minutes before serving. These muffins are best served warm.
Yields: 12 muffins