Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Skillet Cornbread

In my last post, I promised a recipe for homemade cornbread, so before things get too busy around here, I want to share that information with you from page 80 in the cookbook "A Pinch of This... A Smidgen of That."

Pat's Cornbread

Let's begin, by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F.

Then, we can collect the ingredients for the recipe:

1 ½ cup Martha White self-rising corn meal

¾ cup Gold Medal self-rising flour

1 ½ Tbsp. sugar (or heaping tablespoon)

¼ cup cold bacon drippings

2 X-large or 3 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

½ (or less… just to thin the mixture) cup canned evaporated milk

To begin:
Grease a 9” skillet with Crisco solid (plain, not butter flavor). A medium sized loaf pan also works well for this and provides nice slices of cornbread for serving (just like they serve at Jack's BBQ in Nashville, TN).

That's right... I use my fingertips to grease the pan. It's quicker and better than trying to use a paper napkin. You may noticed that most skillet cornbread recipes ask you to melt the grease and heat the skillet to sizzling hot before adding the batter for baking. I have found that the crust is much better if you begin with a cold skillet and solid shortening. (My humble opinion only. Just taste the cornbread, Hon! Then, you decide.)

 Combine dry ingredients, mixing well.
Add cold bacon drippings and eggs.
Beat eggs into dry mixture along with bacon drippings.
Add buttermilk, sour cream, and evaporated milk to thin and remove all lumps.

Stir until you have a smooth batter.
Pour evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. (Note, If using a loaf pan or smaller baking pan, you may need to bake longer than 40 minutes. Just watch the top of the bread.)

Remove immediately and serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers.

Leftovers are great served with cold milk. Crumble the bread in a cereal bowl and add milk, just as you would for cold cereal. Use a spoon to gobble up the wonderful "Cornbread & Milk" snack you've just created!
If you haven't checked it out yet, try the cornbread with my Chicken Corn Chowder. The recipe can be found at http://pinchofthissmidgenofthat.blogspot.com/2010/10/comfort-food.html#links

Have a BLESSED week!

A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That: Comfort Food

A Pinch of This ... A Smidgen of That: Comfort Food

Comfort Food

After a whirlwind of activities the past few weeks (a family reunion, two funerals, one wedding, a family member hospitalized due to stroke, a family member had gall bladder surgery, extra babysitting for our 17-month-old "grand" while his mom recovered from surgery, and a virus or two tossed in for good measure), I hope I've found a few minutes to share two of my favorite comfort foods with you. I actually made these (and photographed them) a few weeks ago when my sister and nieces were staying here and visiting my brother-in-law who was in rehab recovering from a stroke.

Chicken Pot Pie is great to have in the refrigerator where hungry visitors can fill a bowl or plate and warm it in the microwave for a quick "pick-me-up" meal. Add a tossed salad, and you're ready for a yummy full lunch or dinner. Chicken Corn Chowder with Cornbread has to be the ultimate of comfort foods---warm, creamy and so soothing. You can take a bite and close your eyes while savoring the potatoes, cream, bacon, corn, and a whole blend of delicious flavors.

If you're ready, let's get started. First, I'm actually going to modify, just slightly, a recipe that's in the cookbook (Angie's Chicken Pot Pie, page 45).


First, locate your ingredients:

2 Pillsbury Pie Crusts
2 Chicken breasts (boiled and deboned, or boneless), or 1 large can chicken breast, well drained
1 large or 2 small cans of Veg-all (or Kroger Mixed Vegetables), well drained
1 Tsp. California Garlic salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 Stick butter
2 to 3 Tbsp. flour
2 C. hot water
1 Chicken bullion cube
1/2 C. canned evaporated milk (Carnation or Pet)
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup

1 egg
2 Tbsp. water or milk

1) Allow your pie crusts to warm slightly so you can unroll them. I always flour the surface of waxed paper and place the crusts on it to gently roll them out just a bit. Place the first crust in the bottom of a large casserole dish or baking pan.
2) Layer well drained chicken pieces on top of crust. Sprinkle with California garlic salt and pepper, to taste.
3) Layer well drained veggies over chicken layer. If you have enough chicken and veggies, you can do the layers twice.
4) Dissolve chicken bullion cube in water. Mix well and add milk and Cream of Chicken soup. Set aside.
5) In a large skillet, melt butter and add flour, stirring to mix well at medium high heat. When bubbly, pour milk/chicken bullion/soup mixture into the skillet stirring constantly to form a roux. (Stir until it looks like a thin gravy.)
6) Pour as much of the creamy roux over the veggie layer as you can. Allow time for it to drain down to the chicken and bottom crust, then pour more and allow to settle.
7) Top the layers with the second pie crust, tucking under the edges. Cut a + in the center of the pot pie and several slits around the outer edges to allow steam to escape.
8) Use a fork to beat one egg and two tablespoons water (or milk) until froathy. Use a pastry brush to spread a light coating of the mixture over the top crust to aid in browning.
9) Place in preheated 375 degree oven until browned and bubbly (about 40 minutes). Allow to sit about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a tossed salad.

Ready for some yummy chowder? The recipe is on page 19 in the cookbook. (If you don't have a cookbook and you'd like one, email me at pkrains@tcworks.net I'll tell you how to get one---or more! :-). Here we go:

First, let's assemble all our ingredients:

We'll need:
2 tbsp. extra Virgin olive oil

6-8 strips bacon, diced into small pieces

2 c. cubed potatoes

2 c. diced chicken breast

1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn (sometimes, I use 2 cups frozen cream style corn from our garden) (I’ve also substituted 1 cans—drained---of Kroger sweet-n-crispy whole kernel corn)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. Kroger garlic powder (or Kroger’s California Garlic powder)

1 c. chopped onions

3 - 5 ribs of celery

2 c. chicken broth

1 (8 oz.) can corn (I use 14 oz. can white whole kernel corn or 1 additional can of the sweet-n-krispy from Kroger.)

1 c. light cream (I used 1 ½ to 2 cups of half & half.)

Now that we have everything gathered and ready to put together, let's begin by adding oil to the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven to prevent bacon pieces from sticking (it’s okay if it sticks a little, because it leaves drippings for your veggies and chicken to cook and pick up the flavor). Cut bacon into small pieces.

Heat on medium-high heat until bacon sizzles. Fry until crisp. Keep stirred so it doesn’t burn.

Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, cool and use these “bits” later for garnish or for an extra flavorful chowder, add them back to the soup near the end of cooking.
Saute onions and celery in bacon drippings in the Dutch oven until tender (8 to 10 minutes).

Add diced chicken and seasonings (salt, garlic powder, and pepper) and stir frequently to cook through.


Add potatoes, chicken broth, whole corn, cream corn, light cream (or half-in-half), and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.

When potatoes are tender, you can add the bacon back to the mixture, or save it for garnish. Serve warm. Garnish each serving with parsley and crumbled bacon bits. Serves 8. Goes well with cornbread.

Sometimes, simplier is better. Simple Chicken Corn Chowder and Cornbread makes a meal that warms the tummy and the heart! (Check back later this week for Pat's Cornbread recipe :-).
Blessings on your week ahead!

Check out Pat's Cornbread recipe here: