Smaller Servings

VeggieSoupNow that the big dinner is over, I’m back to learning something new. Cooking for two. My tendency is to fill a big pot and cook so much, we have to eat it for days. So I’m training myself to create smaller servings.

legs-434918_1280You can take the girl out of the country … you know that saying. I’ll always be a country girl at heart. I love a piping-hot skillet of cornbread. So I figured out how to make it smaller. I buy a well-known brand of cornmeal that comes in a round box with a recipe on the side. I follow the recipe and combine all the dry ingredients. That’s my “step one.”

Step two – I get out my kitchen scale. I love that thing. You can also use measuring cups, but for what I’m about to do, the scale is easier. I divide the dry ingredients in half. I try to get as close as possible. I bag up one half, label it as “cornbread mix,” and put it aside. Then I finish the recipe with the other half.

I think heating the pan with the shortening in it makes a big difference. You can use an 8″ skillet, an 8″ pie or cake pan–I’ve even used a glass pan–like the one you use for a small batch of brownies. I put half the amount of shortening in the pan (remember you’ve halved the recipe). I have to say here, I’m generous with shortening. I use half butter and half coconut oil.

You can’t halve an egg, so I use the whole thing, then half the milk–pay attention to this one–I tend to pour in the full amount. Yeah, thin batter. Take the hot pan out of the oven and pour most of the melted shortening into the batter and mix it. This is why I’m generous with the shortening. I leave a good layer of it in the pan. Pour the batter into the hot pan (I love the sizzle). Then place the pan back in the oven and leave it there for the required time. By the way, you can also heat the pan on the stove top or the microwave (if it’s glass) to melt the shortening. Handle with care.

I go away and do other things. It seems to take a long time for the stuff to cook, but that’s only because I’m waiting. It’s like waiting for water to boil. Now, don’t burn it, but don’t take it out too soon. In the last couple of minutes, it turns this beautiful, toasty brown. I love that. It has a nice crispy, crunch to it, and the center is moist.

cornbread2If you’re a fan of cornbread mixes, you’re probably wondering why I go to all this trouble. Here’s the reason: because I want to–it’s very satisfying–and I like it better than any mix I’ve tried.

So I guess my last “Thankful” is that I’m cooking for two, not one. We almost lost one this year.

I love learning new things. Actually, I try to make enough to send to work with hubby the next day. So maybe I’m actually cooking for three.

What’s your favorite small recipe? As the Christmas holidays approach, sometimes it’s easier to pick up a meal out, but what if you’re on a budget? I’ve found many things I can cook at home quicker and easier than waiting for someone else to do it. I know the ingredients are quality, and I trust the cook. 🙂

Link to simple cornbread recipe: http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipe/golden-corn-bread

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