Easy Chili and Honey Cornbread

Who’s tired of turkey?  I am, I am!  I’ve eaten nothing but turkey and leftovers since Thursday and I’m ready for something new.  The problem is that after preparing such a big meal last week, I am not in the mood to make anything complicated or time consuming.  For times like this, I have my two old standbys: my mom’s spaghetti and chili.  It was rainy and cold all day, so that translates to the perfect weather for some chili.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this is not some mind-blowing recipe for chili.  There are probably tons of more creative recipes out there.  But I’ve been making this stuff forever and it tastes great and gets the job done.  I like it because I can make it up in 10 minutes in the afternoon and let it simmer until dinner time or if I didn’t remember to make it early I can whip it up, cook for less than 30 minutes and it’s still good.  For my money, it’s better if you let it simmer for at least an hour, but Brandon usually can’t wait that long and digs in after 20-30 minutes and he loves this stuff.  It works great with the cornbread because you can whip it up and let it cook while you’re making the cornbread (which is also dead simple) and the chili will be ready when the cornbread comes out of the oven.  I usually make a big pot at the beginning of the week and we wind up getting 2-3 meals out of it.

It’s also infinitely customizable: use whatever meat you have on hand or none at all.  Throw in some corn or different kinds of beans.  Basically, this is a great chili base for you to make to your tastes.  Brandon and I have simple tastes so we keep it simple.

The cornbread is a whole other story, though.  I’ve been searching for this cornbread recipe for years.  See here’s the thing:  I don’t like cornbread.  I know that completely goes against my southern heritage, but I’ve never liked it.  Cornbread I’ve tried in the past has always tasted like a mixture of cardboard and sand to me.  That is until I traveled up north to find that they have this wonderful thing called sweet cornbread.  They don’t make this in the south!  Or at least nowhere in the south I’ve ever lived.  This cornbread was served in the bread basket at a restaurant and it pretty much blew my mind.  I didn’t even want to eat my entree, I just wanted the cornbread.

But then I came back home to the blackhole where sweet cornbread doesn’t exist and made peace with the fact that I’d probably never eat such a wonderful thing again (because back then I didn’t know about wonderful sites like allrecipes.com and even if I did, I rarely made things that didn’t come from a box).  That is until a few weeks ago when I remembered this mythical food (amidst all the talk of cornbread stuffing…yuck) and finally decided to look it up.  I was not at all disappointed.  All the reviews said it was the best cornbread recipe on the site and while I don’t think any recipe could come close the mythical cornbread from that restaurant (I’ve built it up in my head for so long!) this was about as close as can be.

The cornbread I’ve eaten in the past has always been tough and dense, but this cornbread is the definition of melt in your mouth. One warning, it’s VERY crumbly when warm and that seemed to be the only reason some reviewers disliked this recipe, but everyone else raved about it.  I’m definitely in the rave camp, crumbly is a-ok with me.  It was perfect with the chili because I could crumble it on top.  So. Freaking. Good.

Easy Chili

Easy Chili

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from Back to the Cutting Board

Dinner | Servings: 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 packets Chili Seasoning mix (I usually get a packet of mild and a packet of original, otherwise it’s too spicy for me)
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes with chilies, undrained
  • 2 cans kidney beans or black beans (or one of each), drained

Process

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, cook the ground beef and onions over until the meat is cooked and the onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess oil (usually not a issue with turkey or lean beef).
  2. Add seasoning mix and garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beans. Bring to boil.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.

Recipe Notes

If the chili is too thick for your liking, throw in a extra 8 oz. can of tomato sauce or another 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes.

Honey Cornbread

Honey Cornbread

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adapted from All Recipes

Bread, Side Dish | Servings: 9-12
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the cream, oil, honey and eggs; stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of pan comes out clean.