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Jalapeno cornbread muffins, chili, crock-pot stew and any vegetable soup or stew are good to prepare when the weather get cooler. Plan ahead and have the ingredients for these recipes on hand to prepare as needed. You can prepare the chili and stew ahead of time and freeze in individual containers to thaw and heat when needed.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus 12 teaspoons for muffin tin)

2 cups grated cheddar cheese, (reserving a little to top muffins with)

1/3 cup diced fresh jalapenos (about 1 1/2 to 2 jalapenos)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add one teaspoon of vegetable oil to the bottom of each cup of the muffin tin. Put tin in oven to preheat tin and oil while oven also preheats. In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Set aside. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil. Use the fork to mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until the batter is mostly smooth. Fold in all but a small handful of grated cheddar and all jalapenos. Remove muffin tin from oven. Carefully tilt in a circular motion to cover lower sides of muffin cups with oil. Spoon batter into muffin cups. (Hot oil should sizzle). Fill cups almost completely full with batter. Top with leftover cheese. Place in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool five minutes before removing muffins from tin.

Chili

2 pounds ground beef

2 onions, chopped

2 bell peppers, diced

2 large cans diced tomatoes

2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 small cans kidney beans

2 to 4 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

Brown ground beef and drain. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer a couple hours.

Crock-Pot Stew

1 pound ground beef

1 onion

1 can English peas

4 to 5 Irish potatoes

4 to 5 carrots (raw)

10-ounce can tomato soup, salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef in skillet. In bottom of crock-pot, put sliced potatoes, sliced carrots, English peas, ground beef and dilute tomato soup with one can water and pour over top. Cooks on high in about five hours and on low in about eight to ten hours. You should salt and pepper each layer as you go. You may need to stir the last hour of cooking.

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