Spoon bread (healthy, easy version)

For those of you who haven’t gotten to experience spoon bread yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s basically corn and sour cream baked into a corn bread.  The fancier versions treat it like a soufflé, with whipped egg whites and everything, but for weeknights, that’s just a little intense for me.  This can be made as complicated or as simply as you want.  For this variant, I’m going with a super easy, pantry friendly version, but feel free to make this as indulgent as you want.  

Ingredients*

  • 1 box (8.5oz) Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 (15oz) can corn kernels (we used the corn off of 3 cooked cobs, and it was just right)
  • 1 (15oz) can creamed corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (most recipes call for 1 stick, but we didn’t miss it with only half that)
  • 5 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz sour cream (could omit the Greek yogurt and just use 1 cup of sour cream, but the yogurt does save some calories, and gives you a lighter texture without whipping eggs)
  • 3 eggs

 

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix ingredients in a large bowl.  Dump into greased baking dish (I used 8″x8″).  Bake until set, 40-45 minutes.  If desired, brown the top under the broiler. Cool, and serve.

*Note on additions-you can add pretty much any additional flavoring agent you could want to this.  Bacon? Go for it.  Jalapeños? Absolutely.  Cheese? Go nuts. Green onions? Why not?  Think of it as a blank corn-based canvas.

This is a really nice side dish with baked barbecue sauce chicken (as seen here), or anywhere you might otherwise serve corn.  This will probably make it into the rotation for side dishes for those days we’re running the smoker.

 

 

 

Moroccan spiced carrots

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a complete novice when it comes to Moroccan cuisine. I have been to a Moroccan restaurant, enjoyed the tagine, and otherwise my exposure to the food has been through Al Fez brand jarred sauces.  That said, we do keep those sauces on hand in case we need an easy weeknight dinner, or are just too lazy to go out. Tonight was one such night, so to go with our jarred sauce and couscous I made some sautéed carrots.   These were tasty enough that I decided I might actually want some record of what the heck I did when I was making them.  This is also why there aren’t many carrots in the photo.  I was not expecting them to be blog-worthy tasty, so no picture until we had each gotten some.  Oops.

Mmmm...carrots.

Mmmm…carrots.

Ingredients

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ thick rounds

1 tsp ghee or butter

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout (spice blend-we bought ours, but you could get close with a mix of cumin, ginger, pinch of cayenne, cardamom, cloves, allspice, and paprika.  Or you could probably use a garam masala, add some paprika and cayenne and call it good)

Pinch ground ginger and ceylon cinnamon

1 tbsp dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp tomato paste or ajvar (pepper and eggplant past that is AMAZING)

1/4 cup water

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Heat oils in a medium skillet (with a lid) over medium heat.  Add carrots and a pinch of salt and sauté until they start to soften slightly.  Add seasonings, ajvar (or paste) and water, and slap the lid on.  Let simmer until carrots are soft, then remove lid and let the sauce thicken.  As you can see in the photo, you want the spices to stick to the carrots.  This was a really nice, very easy side dish for our lazy tagine night.  The Ras al Hanout provided a nice back of the mouth heat which was a nice counterpoint to the sweet of the carrot.  The ginger and cinnamon played up that sweet angle, while the parsley helped keep the entire mixture from becoming too cloying.  All in all, a really nicely balanced side dish.