10.24.2014

Chili and Cast Iron Cheesy Cornbread

Nebraskans eat cinnamon rolls with chili. It's a rule. Since I like breaking rules, I have been opting for cornbread lately. Tonight's cornbread features a great local product - Jisa's Farmstead Cheese New York Cheddar Curds. Delightful! The Jisa family owns a dairy and makes cheese in a facility on their farm about a half an hour from where I live. They are one of a few local cheeseries I love to support. Fortunately, I can get Jisa's many varieties of cheese at my local supermarket.

This is a great example of a meal that comes together quickly with the aid of some starters. The secret to the chili is Dei Fratelli Seasoned Diced Tomatoes. These tomatoes already have garlic, onions, celery, etc. in them so I don't have to clean and chop any of these. I LOVE these tomatoes. They appear often in our diet. I have been known to save a little in one of the cans to eat straight from the can. They are that good.

I usually have browned ground meat or cooked shredded meat in the freezer in one pound packages. This also speeds up the preparation of this recipe. While pulled pork is our favorite version, the image shown is ground beef. Depending on what is going on when I am preparing these packages, they may include shredded veggies - usually carrots, onions and sometimes zucchini. This is another time saver. While I am finding the pan and opening cans, the meat can be defrosting in the microwave.

Depending on my day, this chili recipe can be done in the slow cooker, on the stove or in the oven. It involves about five minutes of prep.

Chili

3 14.5 oz. cans Dei Fratelli Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
1 15 oz. can No or Reduced Sodium Black Beans
1 lb. browned ground beef, sausage or turkey or leftover pulled pork or roast beef
Chili Powder to Taste

For Slow Cooker: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
For Stovetop: Combine all ingredients in a heavy dutch oven or stock pot. Simmer on medium 20-30 minutes stirring regularly.
For Oven: Combine all ingredients in a heavy dutch oven. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1-2 hours.

Cast Iron Cheesy Cornbread

4 tbs. butter
1 8.5 oz. supermarket or name brand corn muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese Curds - I use Jisa's Farmstead Cheese's New York Cheddar Nuggets

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Put the butter in an 8-12-inch cast iron skillet. Place the skillet on the oven's middle rack to melt.
Prepare the muffin mix according to the package's directions. Fold in cheese curds.
Pour batter in hot butter in the skillet. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes. I find adding the cheese increases baking time a bit. Check for doneness using a knife or toothpick in the center of the cornbread. It should come out clean.

In this instance, I had chili and cornbread. For leftovers tomorrow, I'll have chili over cornbread or maybe broken cornbread chunks in my chili. You have some options. Like all chili, it can be served with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, a sprinking of cheddar cheese, onions, avocado, olives or other toppings that work at your house.

Enjoy! How do you like your chili?

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