chicken, tomato + cabbage ditalini soup.

Yes, I’m bringing you another soup. What can I say, my blog is a true reflection of what I actually eat, and I’m eating soup. You would be eating it as well, with single digit temperatures and feet of snow on the ground! And you should, regardless of the weather outside! This is flavorful, filling, healthy, and satisfying, thanks to the addition of pasta in the soup.

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I very rarely use pasta noodles in my soups, but I was craving a ‘noodle soup’, and I’m a frequent visitor to reddit’s r/eatcheapandhealthy subreddit, and they had a thread some months back about favorite soup recipes. So many of them sounded delightful, but there was one in particular that caught my eye: a tomato and cabbage broth-based soup that used ground turkey and orzo, but I swapped in a diced chicken breast and ditalini pasta. Any small, short pasta will work in this, and feel free to use ground turkey or chicken in place of the cooked, diced chicken. You’ll be surprised at how far a single chicken breast and a half cup of dry pasta will go in this veggie-packed soup.

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Serve with a slice of toasted, seeded whole grain bread and enjoy this twist on chicken noodle soup. As a very January-esque bonus, a serving of this soup is under 200 calories! So go ahead, have some bread. 🙂

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chicken + vegetable ditalini soup.
inspired by and adapted from a reddit eatcheapandhealthy subreddit! 

ingredients
1 tablespoon oil
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups savoy or green cabbage, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
28 ounce can stewed tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 dried bay leaf

directions
In a 1.5/2 quart pot, heat water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and the chicken breast, and poach until the chicken breast is cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breast. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat the tablespoon of oil and add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning. Add the cabbage, salt, basil and turmeric and stir, allowing the spices to become fragrant and coat the onions, garlic and cabbage. Cook for 2 minutes further until the cabbage begins to soften and the onions are translucent.

Add the stewed tomatoes (undrained), chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken and bring to a boil. Add the ditalini pasta and reduce to a simmer (medium/medium-low), stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and add the pepper. Stir, taste to add more salt if desired.

Serve immediately or allow to continue to cook on very low until ready to serve. Freezes well.

Serves 6.

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Indian mulligatawny lentil soup.

Hello from crazy, unpredictable upstate NY! Our weather here has been all over the place, with the past two days reaching in the high 50s, with a forecasted low tomorrow of -1! Never fear, however, because I have just the recipe to fill you up, keep you warm, keep you energized for all that shoveling (boo) with this vegan, gluten free soup! That’s right – SOUP season is back with a vengeance. Hooray!

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Today it’s Indian mulligatawny soup, which I made recently during the cold snap that hit much of the U.S, with temperatures in the negative 20s and 30s with the wind chill. Mulligatawny is a British soup with Indian origins, and literally means ‘pepper water’. This soup is very spicy, but you can scale the pepper down to your taste preferences. We get some of the spiciness from all the warming spices, as well as the fresh ginger. The coconut milk added at the end cools it down some and adds a nice creaminess to the finished soup. This freezes beautifully, so make a double batch for an easy dinner when winter seems never-ending. 🙂

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Indian mulligatawny soup.
inspired by the wanderlust kitchen.

ingredients
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced (can sub 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced, (scale back to 1 tablespoon if you prefer less heat)
1 medium firm apple, peeled and diced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
cilantro, to garnish
slivered raw almonds, to garnish

directions
Heat a large, heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once shimmering, add the onion and carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Once onions and carrots are slightly softened, add the garlic, pepper, ginger and apple and cook, 2-3 minutes longer, until all the vegetables are tender, reducing heat to medium if needed (you want the vegetables/fruit to sweat [cooking with no color]). Add the tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add the 3 cups of vegetable stock and lentils and stir to combine again.

Increase heat to a rapid simmer and then reduce to medium-low and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.

Using an immersion blender (or a stand blender), puree about 50-75% of the soup (I pureed about 75%, but next time I would go a little less, I like a chunkier texture). Taste, and add the sea salt and pepper. With the heat on very low, add the coconut milk and stir to combine and let rest for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld.

Serve, topping with chopped cilantro and silvered almonds. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter course.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

winter wassail cocktail.

Hey you! How were your holidays? Mine were full of family, friends, and food. So much food. It was glorious. I served up this cocktail, which is delightfully festive and perfect for any New Years Day celebrations you may have… even if your plans are akin to mine, aka loafing around in your comfy clothes, watching tv, and maybe, just maybe, doing some light housework. Hey, at least you’ve got a cocktail in hand!

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This cocktail was mentioned to me by a friend who tried a sample of this winter wassail juice from Trader Joes, and while the clerk mentioned that it’s wonderful warmed (yum!), he immediately turned it into a cocktail.

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As mentioned, the main ingredient it is this winter wassail, which is essentially an apple/berry juice with mulled spices, so any juice combined with classic mulling spices would be perfect! Classic mulling spices are cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, orange peel, etc. You can even make your own wassail juice by picking up a mulling spices jar at your market and combining it with an apple or cran-apple juice! So many options! Be sure to use real maple syrup here, garnish with a cinnamon stick, or even a cinnamon sugar rim and a burnt orange peel if you’re feeling extra fancy. Cheers to 2018!

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winter wassail cocktail.

ingredients
1.5 ounces brandy or cognac
3/4 ounces pure maple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
winter wassail juice
ice
cinnamon stick, to garnish
white sugar/ground cinnamon (optional, to rim the glass)
lemon or orange peel (optional, to garnish)
rocks glass

directions
Pour ice into rocks glass. Add brandy, maple syrup, lemon juice and top with winter wassail juice. Stir virtuously to combine. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

Makes one cocktail. 

sausage, egg + biscuit breakfast casserole.

Although I prefer to make everything from scratch, sometimes that is just not realistic. Especially during the busy holiday season! This easy breakfast casserole made the perfect dish to make for my dad and stepmom; the latter of whom is recovering from a head injury, and needs comforting foods that will appeal to her limited appetite. Using pre-shredded cheese and refrigerated biscuit dough makes this a snap to pull together.

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This recipe is incredibly basic, but you can jazz it up in a variety of ways: saute some onion, bell peppers and/or mushrooms with the sausage to add some veggies. Switch up the cheeses, swap bacon or ham for the sausage, or add in some seasoned salt for a flavor boost. I kept it simple: but that’s the beauty of classic recipes such as this. As a bonus, this keeps well for leftovers, and is great at room temperatue for easy entertaining. If you’re having guests for the holidays, I suggest adding this to your menu. You can even prep it all the night before, which will make breakfast a breeze!

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sausage, egg + biscuit breakfast casserole.

ingredients
1 16 ounce can refrigerated biscuit dough
16 ounces ground breakfast sausage (poultry or pork)
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 eggs
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1/2 cup cheddar or jack cheese, one tablespoon reserved
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausge. Cook for 5-7 minutes, breaking it up, until it’s cooked through. Drain off all excess oil and set aside.

Open the can of biscuit dough and cut each biscuit round into six pieces. Place them evenly in the baking dish. Top with the cooled sausage and sprinkle on the 1/2 cup cheese.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the biscuit pieces/sausage/cheese and top with the remaining tablespoon of cheese.

Bake for 25-30 mintues or until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Cut into 8 pieces and serve.

Serves 8. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.

When faced with two leftover sweet potatoes and a smattering of cooked, chopped up bacon pieces, what’s a girl to do? Why, make an impromptu dish of mashed sweet potatoes, of course!

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In truth, I had an entirely different recipe planned for you today, but despite liking it, I still felt (and feel!) that something was missing, and it needs a bit more tweaking before it makes its way to you. Instead? I turned some leftover ingredients into a decadent yet relatively healthy (yes!) side dish.

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Now I know sweet potatoes are considered a staple on Thanksgiving holiday tables, but why regulate them to just that holiday? I love love love sweet potatoes, especially when they are paired with more savory ingredients – like the bacon, chipotle pepper in adobo here. Chipotles in adobo comes in little cans that you can typically find in the International foods aisle in your supermarket, but if you can’t find them or don’t want to purchase a whole can for this recipe, you can substitute one teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. However — the chipotles in adobo freeze really well, so I encourage you to buy the can! The leftover chiles are amazing in chili. Enjoy these – they are simple to make yet fancy enough for your holiday table!

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smoky maple bacon mashed sweet potatoes.
adapted from cooking light. 

ingredients
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 3-4)
1 tablespoon grassfed butter
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
4 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, minced
sea salt and black pepper

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and roast 60 minutes or until a fork would pierce the whole potato easily. Once cooked and cool enough to handle, remove the skins and place the cooked potatoes in a large bowl, mashing slightly.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towel and roughly chop.

Add the bacon, maple syrup, chopped chipotle chili, sea salt and pepper and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

hoisin chicken stir fry with sweet potatoes + cabbage.

During these busy days of December, I rely on recipes that are super quick to whip up so I can save myself from an unhealthy meal on-the-go while running seemingly endless errands for the upcoming holidays. This hoisin-spiced stir fry definitely fits the bill of fast, simple, healthy, and oh-so-delicious!

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I normally dislike when hoisin sauce (essentially a Chinese barbecue sauce) is a major ingredient: I find that on its own, the flavor is overpowering for me. However, mixed with the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flake and the vegetables: the finished dish was aromatic, complex and balanced.

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The longest part of this dish is the cooking of the sweet potatoes: covering the skillet partially and slicing them relatively thin is essential to keeping the cook time under 12 minutes. Adding a splash of water helps prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan and avoiding too much browning. Once that’s done, the rest of the cooking comes together in no time flat.

I think you’ll love this creative take on a stir-fry as much as I did! It’s wonderful for using up leftover produce – as a bonus, cabbage, celery and sweet potatoes last forever in the fridge and pantry, so this is easy to whip up any time!

hoisin spiced chicken stir-fry with sweet potatoes.

ingredients
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped into half moons
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 medium head)
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of crushed red pepper, optional

directions
Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes and onion; stir-fry until yams are just tender, adjusting heat if browning too quickly and adding water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 12 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage; stirfry until chicken is cooked through and cabbage is wilted but still slightly crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in hoisin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cilantro.

Transfer stir-fry to serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

I think sometimes we all need fast and easy recipes to go back to time and time again. This recipe for an easy and filling soup is one of those recipes for me.

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The potatoes keep this broth-based soup rich and hearty, and the inclusion of Italian poultry sausage helps add flavor, so we can keep the ingredients list nice and short. Of course, we’re adding kale, because, well, it’s me, and I love it! You can substitute escarole, spinach, or even mustard greens in place of the kale, but please know that mustard greens are spicy, so you’ll end up with a higher heat level in the finished soup.

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I used ground sausage that was out of the casing already because it was on sale at my grocery store, but you could certainly use links if you’d prefer. Just cut into rounds and brown them in the first step.

To make this vegan, you could substitute brown lentils or white beans for the sausage, and add in a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Enjoy this – a fast, easy recipe that is perfect for a midweek meal!

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kale + potato soup with chicken sausage.

ingredients
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound turkey or chicken sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup water
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaved shredded
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

directions
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up into pieces until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside (cut into rounds now if using links). Pour off all but one tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for one minute longer.

Add the stock, water, and salt and bring the soup to a boil. Add the sausage, potatoes, red pepper flakes and bring back to simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the kale and bring the soup back to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes and kale are tender, about six minutes longer. Add the black pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and parmesan shavings, if desired. Serves 4.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

curried chickpeas with spinach.

Hi! How was your Thanksgiving holiday? I hope it was filled with friends, family, and absolutely delectable food and drinks. 🙂  I was in D.C. visiting beloved friends, and it was absolutely splendid! Below are just a sampling of the spectacular day.

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But alas, we’re back to real life! To rectify the absolutely incredibly yet gluttonous eating, I’m starting the week off with this curried chickpea + spinach dish! It’s crazy simple, vegan, gluten free, and comes together in less than 20 minutes!

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Every once in a while, I challenge myself to cleaning out the fridge and pantry down to the bare bones (aside from longterm staples like spices, vinegars, etc.). It helps keep my budget in check, too. I had purchased a huge container of spinach and when I realized I was in danger of letting it go bad before I got to it, I made this dish. Bonus — I had all the ingredients on hand already, and this is super freezer-friendly. Hooray!

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This dish is only chickpeas, tomato sauce, spinach, ginger, garlic, onion and a few spices. That’s it! Serve over rice like I did, or with some naan. This is incredibly filling, and versatile! Add in any other cooked veggie that you’d like (cauliflower would be oh so delicious, as would potato, a la chana aloo, frozen peas, you name it!).

If you make this ahead to freeze, I would freeze just the chickpeas and spinach and then cook up some rice the night you want to serve it. I don’t love the texture of frozen rice, but if you don’t mind it, go right ahead! This is perfect for winter evenings when you want something fast, filling, healthy, and warming.

curried chickpeas + spinach.
barely adapted from Budget Bytes.

ingredients
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces baby spinach
cooked rice, for serving

directions
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent and garlic and ginger are fragrant. Add the curry powder and smoked paprika and cook for another minute, allowing the spices to bloom.

Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until well combined and fragrant. Add the spinach in 2-3 batches, and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the spinach wilts slightly. Season with the sea salt and pepper and serve with rice.

Serves 3-4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.

The sage love continues! I know fall means everyone goes crazy over pumpkins, apple, cider, and I love all those things too, but the thing I really love is sage. The woody, musky flavor it imparts on dishes… heavenly. Sage butter is where it’s at, everyone!

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This soup is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters: the sweet potato and squash impart not only a natural sweetness, but a velvety smooth texture without any cream! The addition of cayenne pepper offsets the sweetness so that the finished soup is rich and balanced, but not cloying.

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I garnish this with raw pumpkin seeds for some texture, but this is also wonderful with some toasted baguette or pita. I am SO glad soup season is back in full swing! This would also be a lovely second course for your holiday table!

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roasted butternut squash + sweet potato soup with sage butter.
adapted from epicurious. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grassfed butter or coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced (about 1 medium onion)
3-4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray, add the butternut squash and sweet potatoes and sprinkle generously with the teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and light golden. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat and put the sage in and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sage leaves being to get dark and crinkly. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cook for 30-45 seconds, stirring well to combine.

Add the roasted squash and sweet potatoes and broth. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a light simmer, and partially cover. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Let cool for five minutes and either transfer to a blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the soup smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and/or pepper.

Divide amongst 4 bowls and top with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. This soup freezers great, too!

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving sides. I mean, the holiday is less than two weeks away (what??), and aren’t we all hyped about the dinner for the sides? Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey, smattered with cranberry sauce, but the sides always to tend to steal the show. If you serve this dressed-up-in-its-Sunday-best cornbread, you’ll steal the show, too!

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Cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes to make, and it’s so easy! It saddens me that it’s often regulated to buffets and as a throwaway to chili. Not so! There are so many ways to make it; Northern recipes often call for a bit of sugar, where Southerns would balk at such a thing. Or so I hear… you can find recipes with the inclusion of creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, jalapeños, peppers, you name it! And cheese. Mm. You do not need to ever reach for the boxed mix AGAIN.

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I took a decidedly autumn twist by the inclusion of sage butter (<– when is this ever a bad thing?), and cheddar cheese. Don’t like or have cheddar? Use anything you like! Parmesan? Fontina? Monterey Jack? Sure! I use a coarse ground cornmeal, I love the texture in the finished bread. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a fine ground cornmeal. Make sure to preheat your cast iron skillet – the sizzle and toasty/golden brown edges are not to be missed.

Serve this anytime you’d serve bread, and enjoy!

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sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.
adapted from Bobby Flay. 

ingredients
1.25 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 sage leaves
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a different skillet, combine the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and begins to darken, and the sage leaves are dark and crinkly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, removing the sage leaves.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and melted and cooled sage butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (carefully!), and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with additional butter. Scrape the batter into the hot pan (it will sizzle) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve.