Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet Cornbread.

I have never been good at making homemade cornbread. Mine always ends up dry, crumbly and not that tasty. But that has changed! The other day we had a dinner with a mission team from Texas. Some of them stayed at our house and some stayed at our pastor Chris' and his families house. For dinner Shell and I decided we would have a get together at my house. Chris made his delicious gumbo and I provided the rice and dessert. But going into the day I decided that we really needed some good cornbread to go with it. I like my cornbread a bit sweet and I love when you actually put real corn and other yummy additions into it. When we lived in Florida, Keith and I loved the sweet cornbread from Sonny's BBQ. It is so good I could eat it for dessert! So in my mind I had this vision of sweet cornbread. As I said before I am NOT a great cornbread maker. Usually I cheat and make a box of Jiffy because it is easy and usually turns out edible. But we are halfway into our year and into our years worth of groceries for the year, which means I have used up my Jiffy boxes up. As I climbed the stairs from my pantry I made a mental note to add more Jiffy boxes to my "To Buy" list for this summers shopping trip. After making that mental note, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe for a sweet cornbread. So to Google I went, researching different recipes and checking out all the reviews for each one. So bravely I decided to try the one with 5 stars and tons of good reviews about it. I am definitely putting this one in my recipe book. It turned out great! Everyone eating it commented on how delicious it was and I was very happy with how it turned out. I won't be cheating anymore with Jiffy but will be making this one. I like how you can add different things to it to change the flavor.

Sweet Cornbread
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk ( the recipe called for Half & Half but I didn't have this)
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
4 TBSP melted butter
1 can corn drained ( I put these in my chopper and chopped them good)

Optional add ins: Any or all can be added to your taste
A pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Grated cheese (cheddar, pepper Jack, Montery Jack)
Green Chillies
Chopped Jalepeno

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter an 8X8 pan (I doubled the recipe and made this in a 13X9)
In a large bowl mix together flour sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl whisk together milk, eggs, oil, melted butter. when mixed add to the flour mixture and stir till combined. Mix in corn and any other add-ins. Transfer to greased pan. Bake 35+ minutes till done. (the 13X9 pan took close to 50 minutes.) Stick knife tip in and see if it is done. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Today it is chilly in Texas. Sounds strange for an Alaskan to say that but here you have yo factor in the wind AND humidity. It bites to the core!!  So today we need some nice warm soup to keep us warm. This is the recipe that taste JUST like the soup from Panera Bread. It is one of my favorite items to order from there. I like it in a bread bowl or with some bread on the side to dip in it. Yum! Enjoy!

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP Flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup Half & Half( I use evaporated milk)
2 (14.5 oz) cans Chicken Broth
1 (16oz) package frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup Julianne cut carrots or shredded carrots
1 pound loaf Velvetta cheese
8 oz shredded Cheddar Cheese
salt and pepper to taste. ( i didn't add salt because the cheese is already salty)

In a large sauce pan, melt together butter and onions on low to medium heat. cook a few minutes to cook onions a bit. Add flour and mix well. Slowly add Half & Half a little at a time while whisking till thickened and smooth. When incorporated add Velvetta and stir till completely melted. Add broccoli and mix. Add Broth one cup at a time mixing well. When mixed well, add carrots and simmer about 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking add the cheddar cheese. Serve when all the cheese is melted completely. Serve with some warm bread.