Sweet Cornbread

Cornbread is one of my husband’s all time favorites.  He grew up calling it Johnny Cake, a term I had never heard, but one which now is common in our home, too.  He loves it with soup, or with chili, or with baked beans, or just smothered with butter and honey.  It took a while for me to come up with a recipe that we both loved, because truth be told, I am not the biggest cornbread fan.  It can be gritty and crunchy (why crunchy?) and lack depth and texture… but this recipe is so good.  It’s light and fluffy but dense, sweet but not too sweet, delicious!  A cornbread that my whole family loves!  We go through batch after batch of this… yum!

Sweet Cornbread

  • 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ sticks butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking pan, or 20 muffin cups.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Combine the milk, butter and eggs and gently stir into the cornmeal mixture.

Pour the batter into the baking pan or muffin cups (about 2/3 full).  Bake for approximately 25 minutes for the pan or 20 minutes for the muffins… until the top is lightly browned.

Look for our post tomorrow for the perfect complement to this yummy cornbread and a fantastic fall meal!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Nothing says comfort food quite like Mac N Cheese. And that was the kind of  mood I was in this weekend. I have been craving the familiar taste of homemade macaroni and cheese. And not the orange powder stuff I lived on in college. The creamy, cheesy, milky, yummy, totally bad for you homemade macaroni and cheese. So I made it! It somehow brought the fall season into my home. It almost motivated me to make some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but we will save that for a different post my dear friends.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into Tablespoon portions
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 c. grated cheddar/colby mix cheese
  • 2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (OPTIONAL)  Shannon and I both prefer without!
  • 1 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling water, according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat the milk in a microwave safe bowl or cup measure for about 4 minutes, until hot, but not boiling.

Then in a large stockpot, melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and stir with a whisk for 2 minutes, over low heat. Continue whisking and add the hot milk. Cook for a minute or two more until mixture becomes thickened and smooth. Remove from heat. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper. (add nutmeg here also if you like) Stir. Add the macaroni and stir until combined. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Combine bread crumbs with the remaining 2 Tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is bubble and the macaroni is browned on top.

Sauteed Rosemary Polenta

Ok, so I know that polenta is one of those food items that you either love or hate.  I happen to be a lover.  I love it sautéed, creamy, on the side, as an appetizer or with a roasted chicken breast arranged a top it!  I love the texture, and the flavor.  So, for all you polenta lovers out there… this is for you!  This is the best sautéed polenta I’ve ever had.  Make some for yourself and tell me if you agree!

Sautéed Rosemary Polenta

  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter (used in 1 Tablespoon increments)
  • flour to dust cooled polenta triangles

In a large stock pot heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and sauté for 1 minute, until the garlic is cooked.  Add the chicken stock, half & half, and milk, turn up heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from heat.   Add the cornmeal slowly, while whisking.  Return to heat and cook on low until thick.  Remove from heat and add the parmesan cheese, stir till melted.

Pour into a 9×13 pan & refrigerate till cold.

Once cold, make a cut down the center of the pan length wise., and divide into 3 portions width wise. Then proceed to make cuts on the diagonal  until you end up with triangles, as shown in the picture.

In a large skillet, melt 1 Tablespoon butter with 1 Tablespoon Olive oil.  Dust several pieces of the polenta (as many as will fit on your skillet) and put in skillet.  Sauté lightly on each side, until edges are crusty, and polenta is heated through.  Replace the butter and oil as need, as the polenta soaks it up!  Remove to a plate, and serve with your favorite marinara sauce.

Makes 12 servings.

Roasted Asparagus

 

I tried roasting asparagus for the first time a couple of years ago and it turned out so delicious. I was getting tired of the same old butter and salt for flavor. This is a yummy way to give some more flavor to the veggies you serve. And the best part is that it is quick and easy.  Well the best part may be that you won’t have to bribe your kids to eat their veggies! My kids absolutely love this! You can do it with cauliflower, peppers, broccoli, and of course, asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus

  •  30 or so spears of fresh asparagus
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 Wash and trim asparagus. Lay them in a single layer on a 11×17 rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for one more minute. Serve hot!