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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quick and Easy Cornbread

This cornbread is truly a "frugal, fast, and fun" accompaniment to chili or soup. While I rarely buy canned vegetables, I keep some creamed corn on hand just for this recipe. The chiles can be omitted, but they add just the extra flavor boost needed to make this bread stand out. And don't hesitate to spread a little homemade jam or apple butter on the cornbread even with the chiles--the mix of sweet and savory is really good.

Quick and Easy Cornbread

2 packages corn bread mix (the size that makes 6 corn muffins)
2 eggs
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1/2 to 1 4 oz can diced green chiles, including liquid (if you use only half of the can, the remaining chiles can be frozen for another batch later)
1 to 2 T butter
1 T canola oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the butter and oil into a glass, ceramic, earthenware or other heavyweight 9 X 13 pan OR 10 inch cast iron skillet and place in pre-heated oven.

Meanwhile, stir all the remaining ingredients together. When the butter is melted and just beginning to sizzle (don't let it burn!), remove the pan from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While this is best served warm, it is good the next day with leftover soup and chili too.

This serves far fewer than you might think, because everyone comes back for seconds and more!

The frugality? In early 2011, I can buy the cornbread mix for 33 to 35 cents a box. I watch for sales on the green chiles (Cinco de Mayo in May and Mexican Independence Day in September are good times for all things Mexican to go on sale) and stock up. Half a can is enough to give the bread good flavor, so that is one way to reduce the cost of the bread more.

Fast? With all the ingredients on the shelf, this can be put together in about 3 minutes, so the longest time required is waiting for the pan and butter and oil to heat.

Fun? Adult help will be needed with the heating of the fats, but the rest of the recipe can easily be handled by young cooks, so it's a good starter recipe for kids.

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