Sunday, August 31, 2008


I had a dinner planned for Saturday and was really excited about it. When I looked more carefully at the recipes, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up some ingredients at the grocery store. My chili called for a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce, which I didn't have. I do quite a bit of cooking, yet I didn't have tomato sauce?!? I had spaghetti sauce, but knew that wouldn't be close enough. So, I improvised. In my pantry, I found a can of diced tomatoes. A few minutes in the food processor did the trick. It wasn't exactly sauce, but it was good enough.

So, I assembled my chili, and let it cook in the crockpot all day. Then, I went to make my jalapeno cornbread. Heaven help me, I had forgotten to buy buttermilk at the grocery store. I was going to use regular milk, but my innovative husband suggested some butter along with the regular milk. Guess what? It worked! Along with the butter, he suggested some cheese with the cornbread, so I added that as well.

The result was a tasty supper with some modifications. The chili could have used more spice. I should have chopped up a jalapeno from my garden and added it to the cooking chili. The cornbread was by far my favorite part though. It was moist, and had just enough cheese. I couldn't taste the jalapenos, but that's my fault. I didn't produce a very spicy crop of peppers this year.

Enjoy my improvisational meal (is that a word?) below. You probably are going to be more responsible than me though and make sure to have tomato sauce and buttermilk on hand.

Slow-Cooked Chili
from: Pillsbury One-Dish Meals Cookbook
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage (I suggest Hot)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 to 1.5 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (15 oz.) spicy chili beans, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed

1. In large skillet, cook ground beef, sausage and onion until beef is browned and thoroughly cooked. Drain.

2. In crockpot, combine browned meat and onion with all remaining ingredients; mix well.

3. Cover; cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours or until thoroughly heated.

Jalapeno Corn Bread
from: with Pachey's modifications
1.5 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter melted
3/4 to 1 cup of milk
1/4 cup olive oil
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and oil. Melt the butter and add to a 1 cup measuring cup. Pour in milk until it fills the measuring cup. Add the milk/butter mix to the eggs and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in jalapenos and cheese. Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

2. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cut into squares or wedges. Serve warm.