Cornbread Combos

It’s been awhile since my last post—between the holidays I moved into a new home and have been busybusy getting settled and was not doing a lot of cooking!  Now I’m back in action with my new kitchen and have been cooking and testing away the new year!

Anytime I make chili, I make cornbread.  I’m quite certain I’ve never made the exact same cornbread twice, as I’m always trying new add-ins and tweaks.  Well, today’s version was by far the best yet, so naturally I had to share.

As a ‘short cut’ baker at heart, I’m always looking for tricks to cut prep time when I bake.  When I find a great product that helps me do that, I feel like I hit the Powerball.  There are lots of cornbread/corn muffin mixes on the market, and I grew up on Jiffy mix.  The Jiffy mix is perfectly good and simple, but once I discovered Trader Joe’s cornbread mix I never went back.  The TJ’s mix yields a very moist, flavorful result, and even has pieces of actual corn in the mix.

Here are some things I do to make it even better (various combinations):

  • Swap out the oil for an equal amount of applesauce.  This reduces the fat/calories, and gives it a sweet moistness that my kids love.  It has a more spongy texture, but I like that it’s less crumbly (and so do my floors).
  • Add in shredded cheese to the batter (about half a cup).  Cheddar, jack, whatever you have on hand to make a delicious Cheesy Corn Bread.
  • Consider making ‘mini’ corn breads by using a muffin tin instead of an 8×8 pan as the box calls for.  You could even plop a little cube of cheese into the batter of each tin so each mini-bread reveals a delicious gooey surprise inside!
  • Sprinkle the top with raw sugar (turbinado).
  • Add a tablespoon of honey to the batter for sweetness.
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped roasted red peppers and/or jalapeno peppers (the canned kind).
  • Add fresh herbs to the batter.  Cilantro, parsley, or my personal favorite (and the inspiration for this post), chopped fresh rosemary.  Trust me, this combo is heaven-sent.

Lots of chili-making opportunities on the way…football, apres ski, or just chilly weather!  Make sure you add some cornbread to the mix, and some mix-ins to the cornbread!

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Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

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