Trail’s End cornbread

This cornbread would give my grandmother the vapors. It is sweet (which I love — don’t tell her), which makes it Yankee Cornbread. I actually cut the sugar some, and it’s still fabulously sweet without being, you know, a cake. I also cut the recipe in half which made a great size (an 8 inch skillet) for us.

The recipe is originally from Disney’s Trail’s End, but I found it linked here.

Trail’s End cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter or bacon grease

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven AND SKILLET to 375F
  2. Mix together cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour with a fork
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in milk and egg; beat egg with fork, then stir to combine all ingredients
  4. Remove hot skillet from oven and add butter or bacon grease (carefully! It will sizzle) to skillet, swirling around till it melts and coats the pan
  5. Pour excess butter/bacon grease into cornbread mixture, stir quickly to combine, then pour back into hot skillet and slide it into the oven
  6. Bake until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes

Sweet, savory carrots

I am not the world’s best vegetable eater. I know this about myself, but I also know they’re, you know, vegetables; I need to find ways to make them taste good to me.

And friends? I have found the way with carrots. I am in LOVE with these. I’ve eaten them with lunch every day this week. This is HUGE.

I started with bacon, because so many good things start with bacon. I fried it up in a pan, then added some carrots (I used baby carrots because I had them; any kind will do). I poured in some chicken broth I had in the freezer and let them simmer a long time, because I’m Southern and I like my vegetables cooked a long time. I salted them and they were really good, but could maybe use something else, so I was digging around the fridge looking for inspiration and I found it: apricot preserves. Seriously, one tablespoon simmered in with the chicken broth and they were heaven on a plate. Please try it and let me know what you think!

Sweet, savory carrots

Ingredients

  • two slices bacon
  • half pound carrots, cut however you like them
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves

Instructions

  1. In a shallow pan, fry the bacon till crispy, then add in carrots, chicken broth, and salt; simmer, covered, till the carrots are as soft as you like them
  2. Add in apricot preserves and simmer with the lid off, stirring periodically, till preserves are all melted in and sauce is slightly thickened
  3. Serve with a little sauce spooned over the top (these are awesome served over rice so the rice can soak up a little sauce as well)

Sweet potato bake

Kiddo is not really a huge fan of sweet potatoes (or many other vegetables),  but he LOVES this. He calls it “the sweet potatoes with the eggs” and is almost guaranteed to eat it. Peanut loves it too, and this cooks up thick enough that I can cut it and give her little finger-food sized pieces. Honestly, I love it as well! I’ve yet to meet a sweet potato I didn’t like, but these are especially good.

Sweet potato bake

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • extra cinnamon sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes (or microwave!) till completely soft; discard the skin
  2. Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes, then mix together with sugar, beaten eggs, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla
  3. Dot the top of the mixture with butter, and sprinkle with extra cinnamon sugar if so desired
  4. Spoon into a buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned

Notes

After baking, I slice this like a pie and freeze the pieces individually; they warm up beautifully in the microwave and are a great way to add easy veggies to lunch!

Of course sweet potatoes make me think: what is your stance on the mini marshmallows on sweet potatoes? Yay or nay?

Broccoli bites

My little Peanut, as you may have heard, is NUTS for broccoli. Like, a crazy woman. I actually thought I didn’t like broccoli for years and years — it was roasted broccoli that won me over, and now I just love it in general. Since Peanut loves broccoli all the time any time, I was looking for some new ways to prepare it to give her a little variety. These turned out to be so good that we both ate them! I dipped mine in a little ranch dressing; quite tasty!

Broccoli bites

Yield: about a dozen

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chopped broccoli, drained well
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then scoop out with a cookie scoop, gently shaping into patties on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes; flip them over and bake for another 10

Since Peanut is ALL ABOUT THE BROCCOLI I would love to hear more broccoli ideas! How do y’all use it?

Flour tortillas

These. Are. Amazing. I can say that without bragging because it’s not my recipe; I just made ‘em.

This is a Mark Bittman recipe that I scribbled down on a piece of paper without much documentation; I’ll assume it’s either from one of his NYT articles or from How to Cook Everything. These top every single homemade tortilla I’ve ever made or eaten, and they’re quick and easy to boot. NO BRAINER.

Flour tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (7 oz) AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. lard (yes, lard, people — don’t be afraid)
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Dust off your food processor and dump in the flour, salt and lard; pulse about ten times to cut in the fat
  2. With the machine running, add the water till the dough kind of all the sudden comes together in a ball
  3. Dump it on the counter and knead by hand for about one minute, then wrap in plastic wrap to rest for at least 15 minutes, but up to all day at room temperature
  4. Cut the dough into six pieces and heat a large (cast iron if you have it) skillet for 4-5 minutes on medium; roll out or press the tortillas till they’re quite thin, then cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side, till little browned spots appear. Eat immediately (duh), or keep warm by wrapping in a towel, or cool then keep in the fridge in a large zip top bag.

I used these to make quesadillas with some leftover steak and cheese, but they’re also heavenly for veggie wraps, or slathered in butter and cinnamon sugar and rolled up for breakfast. Enjoy!

 

Caesar dressing

We had one glorious almost-70-degree day here in Nashville and it made me SO READY for spring rightnowthisinstant. This, of course, made me want a good salad! I found this dressing recipe in Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures, which I love. The recipe is insanely quick, easy and good, which I also love.

Caesar dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Crush peeled garlic (putting it in the microwave for about 5 seconds first will make this easier) into a 2-cup glass jar with a lid
  2. Add all remaining ingredients into the jar, cover tightly and shake
  3. Store in jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Enjoy, y’all. Spring is coming!

Yeast rolls

My sister accused me of stealing these from Logan’s and passing them off as my own. They are that yummy. This is, of course, a King Arthur Flour recipe; can you ever go wrong with those? I think not.

Yeast rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast; I use instant/bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 cups AP flour (12 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Instructions

  1. If you use anything but instant yeast then quit it; it’s too high maintenance. I kid! Mostly. Not really. No, but if you’re using non-instant yeast dissolve it in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar and let it sit for 15 minutes; otherwise go to step two
  2. Combine all ingredients and knead together in a stand mixer for about six or seven minutes on the second speed; the dough should clean the sides of the bowl and probably stick a little on the bottom; you don’t want it too dry
  3. Let the dough rise, covered, in a lightly greased bowl at room temperature until it’s just about doubled; this will probably take about an hour but make sure you give it enough time to get nice and puffy
  4. When dough is puffy lightly grease two 9″ round pans (I use a pie plate) or a 9×13″ pan with butter, then gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a silicone mat or a lightly greased cookie sheet to work with it; cut into 16 roughly even pieces
  5. Shape each piece into a ball, pulling the dough down to the bottom of the ball so it makes a tight skin around itself; place eight rolls in each pie/cake pan or all in the big pan spacing them out as evenly as possible (they won’t be touching at this point), then cover with lightly greased plastic wrap
  6. Preheat the oven to 350, and let the rolls rise at room temperature till they’re all nice and puffy and touching each other, filling out the pan
  7. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until they’re nice and golden brown on the top; remove from oven and top with butter if you’re feeling particularly decadent (I clearly was) and let them cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Or your mouth (I kid — too hot! For a minute anyway)

I must add: if you’ve never had one of these for breakfast the next morning spread with Nutella, you’re just not really living.