Friday, December 28, 2012


This is a more savory instead of the sweet cornbread that is almost like a cake.  You could add different spices to change it up also.  It was great with a bowl of chili, which is a must meal on these cold nights.  This recipe by Hugh Acheson is from his new cookbook "A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen".  I am just getting used to using cast iron, it really does a great job on so many recipes.  I'm trying to be very diligent about keeping it conditioned.


2 c  cornmeal
1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c whole milk
3/4 c buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 c bacon fat 

preheat oven to 425°

Mix the dry ingredients together and in another bowl mix the wet ingredients together (except the bacon fat).  Add the wet to the dry and mix well.

Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and add bacon fat, when fat is hot add to batter and stir.  Pour batter into skillet bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool about 15 min then turn out onto plate and cut into wedges.

**I found adding a small 8 oz size can of creamed corn gives the bread a nice texture.

added halapeno's this time and baked in cake pan

It was Super Bowl in New Orleans so served it on a tray
with Mardi Gras beads and guacamole.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Whatever you call it there is something about that baked, savory bread that is a must have on every Thanksgiving table.  There might not be a more controversial item on the menu, it seems everyone has their idea of what is the best.  Regionally every where we have lived there have been different versions along with the unique family versions.  When we were in the south you had to have cornbread stuffing of course.  Pennsylvania has the Dutch influence with potato in the stuffing, they still serve both white and sweet potato at the meal.  Other additions oysters, sausage, chestnuts, raisins, apple, rice, nuts, mushroom, on and on.  Then the next decision is to stuff or not, if you don't stuff are you still allowed to call it stuffing?   Although I don't stuff I do call it stuffing most of the time.  I also make this ahead,  cover tightly and freeze it till the day before.

For me it is the very basic, if someone wants to bring another version we'll try it but I like the recipe right off the package of bread cubes.  I prefer the seasoned Pepperidge Farm whole grain seasoned cubes, with lots of onion & celery.

Holiday Stuffing

3 bags of Pepperidge Farm Seasoned bread cubes
6 C good quality turkey or chicken broth
chopped onion
chopped celery
salt & pepper

Saute onion & celery, when translucent add broth.  Empty packages of cubes into large bowl, pour broth mixture and mix well.  Spoon into casserole dish. Bake at 350° till heated through.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

The holiday cooking begins!  You have to love a recipe that can be made ahead, frozen, baked and served when needed.  Having some menu items ready to go takes a ton of stress off the day of cooking.  This recipe has been made by my family for years, I originally thought my dad's mother started it so when I asked her for the recipe she gave it to me but then told me she got it from my Aunt on my mom's side.  Aunt Ann originally from Arizona but a long time resident of Pennsylvania introduced this recipe to the family and it was an instant hit.  There are many versions out there, I'm sure many people have tweaked it over the years as I also have made minor changes.  You can't go wrong with anything under this topping!  This is my most requested recipe from friends.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 c sweet potato cooked and mashed 
1/2 c sugar (I totally omit this and cannot tell the difference)
1/2 c butter
1/3 c milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix this all together in a large bowl with a hand mixer till just blended.  Pour into casserole dish and top with topping below.


1 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1/3 c butter

mix with a fork or pastry blender

stir in 1 c pecans

Top casserole dish with pecan mixture and bake at 350° for 30 min or till heated through with the topping bubbly.

If you choose to make this ahead make it completely then cover it tightly with aluminum foil or lid if your dish has one and freeze.  Take out the night before you need it to defrost in the fridge.  If you are short on fridge space put it in an ice chest in the garage so that it is cool but not freezing. 

Another tip for less stress in the kitchen during this busy cooking season is to make a little extra for your dinner when you are cooking ahead to put things in the freezer.  Roast a turkey breast or cutlets, if you've made your stuffing/dressing and sweet potato ahead you can have a mini Thanksgiving meal.  Also if I am doing a ton of cooking in one day or my fridge is full for the big day the night before is a good time to order that pizza!

Add caption

The handwritten recipe from my grandmother.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zucchini Bread

 This is a combination of two recipes.  I was searching for a general Zucchini Bread recipe when I came across two that had great reviews so I took what I liked from each and came up with this.  It was so good I immediately made another batch and went for more zucchini to make even more.  Next summer when zucchini is at the peak I will be making and freezing lots of loaves!  I have some people that don't like nuts so I usually make a loaf of with & without either way it is  so good.  I originally made it with all white flour but have since added one of the cups as whole wheat slightly different texture of course but still good.  It also mixes up so quick.  After a day of cookie baking I put it in the oven to bake while I cleaned up.

Zucchini Bread


3 c all purpose flour   (I have mixed 1 c whole wheat 2 c white)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1 c canola oil
3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 c zucchini grated
1 c walnuts (optional)


preheat 325°  grease and flour 2 loaf pans

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, almond extract,  and sugars together.

Mix dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, mix well.

Stir in Zucchini & nuts.

Divide between two prepared pans.

Bake 40-60 min or till tester comes out clean.

Cool for 20 min before removing from pans.

Freezes well.

Light, moist recipe.

Wrap tightly in aluminum foil then
plastic ziploc bag to freeze.

Great for gift giving.
Added a special candy bar & bow.