Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Testing a recipe's forgiveness factor

Cowboy Casserole
101 Things To Do With A Casserole Copyright 2005

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
2 packages (6.5 ounces each) corn bread mix
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style corn
¾ cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a frying pan, brown beef with onions and peppers until beef is done. I seasoned this with salt and pepper. Drain any excess grease and set aside.

In a bowl, combine corn bread mix, salt, baking soda, corn, milk, and eggs. Spread half the batter over bottom of a greased 9x13 –inch pan. Sprinkle half the cheese over batter. Spoon meat mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over meat mixture, and then spread remaining batter over top. Bake, uncovered, 35 minutes, or until corn bread is golden brown and set in the center.

Makes 6-8 servings.

While making this recipe, I thought leaving out the can of creamed corn would be a good test of how to attempt to save a recipe gone wrong. Yeah, that's what happened. I planned on leaving the corn out. Yep. I did it on purpose. Sure.

Um, okay, I didn't mean to leave the corn out. The corn was one of the main reasons I chose to make this casserole. That can of corn was acquired for some unknown reason and never used. It was the oldest canned good in the cupboard and I felt sorry for it. I also had a couple of jalapeños in the produce drawer, from a recipe that was removed from the line up when that stomach bug hit our house. All I needed was a couple of packages of cheap cornbread mix and cheese and I was good to go.

I should have realized my mistake earlier than I did. I could see that after spreading half the batter in the bottom of the dish that there wasn't much left to 'spread' over the top. There wasn't much on the bottom either, for that matter. I layered the ingredients, sans creamed corn, and could only the cover the top in cobbler fashion. Then I remembered the creamed corn.

I figured I had three choices. A - I could leave it out. B- I could mix everything together. C- I could attempt to separate the layers of cornbread batter, cheese and (hot) meat. Well I couldn't bring myself to leave it out, even though the resulting dish would have been edible, that can of corn would still be living in my cupboard. I thought about B for a while but decided I would miss the meat center too much. Meat dispersed throughout the cornbread batter just isn't the same. So I did my best to deconstruct the dish and then mixed the can of creamed corn into what I hoped was a good portion of the batter.

And it turned out okay, IMO. This isn't fancy but it's a nice cold weather casserole, inexpensive and easy to prepare. Something my husband would appreciate. It tastes just like cornbread, cheese, ground beef, onions and peppers. Imagine that.

Since I'm physically unable to leave Costco without purchasing a cookbook, I picked up this little number there on my last visit. It was just after the stomach bug episode and I was in the mood for this type of homey food. I think every cream of soup recipe and potluck casserole I've ever heard of is in this one handy book. There are other versions of this book - 101 Things To Do With A Slow Cooker, 101 Things To Do With a Tortilla, 101 Things To Do With BBQ, etc. This is the only one I've examined closely but I think the concept is fun and these could fill a nice gift basket for a college student (especially the 101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles) or other novice cook, one who likes this homestyle sort of cooking.


Heather said...

I have done this too many times. And I would have decontructed the whole thing too.
I like your site it has a similar idea behind why I started mine... I collect all of these recipes, but wasn't doing anything with them. Now I feel like I have people waiting for me to write something (in my own mind), so I must cook something new and post about it.
Great minds think a like.

Heather said...

I know your site is new to me, but I thought I would tag you for the You are What you eat Meme!

Anonymous said...

Cool thanks nice recipes keep it up.

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