VIK’S CORNBREAD AND PIMENTO CHEESE SAMMIES

Pimento cheese and cornbread are a traditional, Southern staple.  Over the years I have had my share. I have liked some more than others, and made it a mission to come up with my own version. I have been making both of these recipes for some time.

My original cornbread recipe uses a half cup of sugar and is made in a 4×4 pan or into muffins. While I love sweet, cake like, cornbread, this wasn’t the place for it. I did omit some of the sugar in this cornbread because it really doesn’t need to be sweet.

This pimento cheese spread has a bit of a kick; courtesy of Franks Hot Sauce. If you don’t want the kick, omit it.  I’ve tried different combinations of cheeses; I always come back to extra sharp cheese. The sharper, the better for my taste. The cheese can be kept on it’s own in the fridge for up to a week.

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Vik's Homemade Cornbread & Pimento Cheese Sammies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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FOR THE CORNBREAD

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 ¼ C all purpose flour
• ¾ C yellow cornmeal
• ¼ C sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• 1 C skim milk or buttermilk (I love the tang of buttermilk)
• ¼ C vegetable oil
• 2 eggs, beaten

DIRECTIONS:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, place baking rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Grease an 8×8 inch glass baking dish.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk with a wire whisk.
4. Combine the milk, oil, beaten egg, add to the dry ingredients and mix together until just moistened.
5. Pour into the prepared pan.
6. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check for doneness halfway through the cooking time. Ovens will vary.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

FOR THE PIMENTO CHEESE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 oz softened, cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C miracle whip (you can use all mayo if you prefer)
  • 2 t Franks hot sauce or hot sauce of choice
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 oz. diced and roasted, red pepper (also known as pimento)
  • 2 C shredded, extra sharp cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and hot sauce, in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment. Cream until smooth.
2. Add the garlic, paprika, onion, salt, and mustard powders and combine until thoroughly mixed.
3. Fold in the shredded cheddar and diced roasted red pepper, gently, with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until combined.
4. Remove and put in a sealed container.

ASSEMBLY:
1. Cut the cornbread into 8 equal portions, remove from the pan and slice in half. **Also cute if you cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. (don’t throw away the leftovers, cube them and put them in the freezer to use later for croutons)
2. Put the desired amount of pimento cheese on each.
3. They can be wrapped separately in parchment or put in a large lidded container.
**Keep on ice if taking on a picnic since there is mayonnaise in there.

NOTE: These are crazy good served with fried chicken and potato salad and/or coleslaw. Also good on their own with a green salad. It’s also good on beef, chicken, or turkey sandwiches. If you really want to kick it up……….grill these sandwiches as you would any grilled cheese. Truth is….you could just eat it with a spoon and be very happy.

Happy summer y’all. Have fun, stay cool, be safe!

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

BASIC WHITE BREAD

Well…..I find myself in sunny Aruba again. This is where ATBB first started 2 years ago. Football playoffs are on so we are hanging out at the old hacienda today.

I’m not as enthused with Football as my husband. The Baltimore Ravens made it; they are playing the Chargers today. So in support of our local team I am logging a little bit of time. Since the TV is in the kitchen / sitting area I decided to bake and watch.

I am a big fan of my Kitchen-Aide mixer when it comes to making dough. Unfortunately, there isn’t one here. So what’s a baker to do??? Make it by hand of course. Yes, old school, kneading from beginning to end. It was actually kind of fun. It yields 2 loaves so I will have one for our guests arrival.

It has basic ingredients. All purpose flour, yeast, salt, water, oil, and a sweetener. I love using honey in bread. It gives it a nice mellow sweetness. You could use sugar if you like. Just remember, yeast loves sugar.  Sweet is essential for the rising process to occur. I used olive oil because that’s what I had. You could use vegetable or canola or any oil of your choice. They all work!

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The first rise takes place in a greased bowl. The dough is then divided in half and shaped into a loaf. The second rise takes place in two greased loaf pans. I put it in the oven with the oven light on. Cover it with a lint free towel. Dough loves warm places, free of drafts.

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Once the loaves have doubled in bulk it’s time to bake them. Bake for 30-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. When done they should sound hollow when tapped with your finger and golden in color.

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That’s it! Go bake some bread. The biggest challenge will be waiting long enough to let it cool to eat.  You’ll be tempted to never buy store-bought bread again.

BASIC WHITE BREAD

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 C warm water (110-115 degrees) if you aren’t sure use a thermometer
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp honey, or sugar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt, or sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 6-7 C of all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. (if if is too hot it will kill the yeast. It can be cooler,  it will just take longer for it to bloom.)
  2. With a wooden spoon add 3 C of flour the sugar, and the salt. Beat well until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour a cup at a time until if forms a soft dough.
  3. Flour a surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour if it is sticky. Continue to knead until it is no longer sticky and when you poke the dough and make an indent it should spring back immediately. Form into a ball and place into a well-greased bowl, turning over once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. Once doubled, punch straight down into the center of the dough with your fist. Turn out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each into a loaf and place each in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with a lint free towel and let rise until doubled again, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Bake the loaves at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves from the pans to a wire rack to cool.

This also freezes well. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in aluminum foil. When ready to use just remove it from the freezer and let it thaw to room temperature in the wrapping.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

BREAKFAST BISCUITS (Keto)

In my last blog for Crab Pie, CRAB PIE (KETO FRIENDLY) I mentioned that I needed to cut out white flour, and sugar. I never realized just how much I loved it until trying to get rid of it. I’m not suggesting that you do. I am letting you know, that there are good alternatives.

Both my husband and I love the sausage and cheese biscuit from Hardee’s. We have them maybe, two or three times a year. We’re smart enough to know they aren’t good for us. They are extremely tasty, and filling. After eating one though, I feel like somebody dropped a flour bomb in my gut. Not so good!!!!

I am trying to use almond and coconut flour as a substitute. Is it challenging? Uhh, heck yes!!! But I’m making adjustments slowly. This one rivals our fast food biscuit. I am serious; this was some tasty breakfast. It was so good I felt like I was cheating. And furthermore, they were so easy to make.

You will need small mason jar rings; eight of them to be exact. They are easily found in most department and hardware stores. They are very inexpensive and can be reused again. The other equipment you need is a blender, a sheet pan, olive oil spray, and non-stick aluminum foil.

You line your sheet pan with the non-stick foil. Place the rings on top and spray the inside of them with your cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Mix all of the ingredients in your blender and pour into the rings! Approximately 2 tablespoons per ring. Put in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set. All ovens vary, so just watch yours closely the first time.

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Let them sit in the rings for about 10 minutes to cool slightly. Take a sharp knife and gently go around the edge to help release the biscuit. Turn upside down and gently push them out of the ring.

Be prepared to be AMAZED! These are truly as good as my Hardee’s biscuit. In fact better, because there is no white flour, no sugar, and little carbohydrates. 2 biscuits make one serving. I can not even tell you how happy these little gems have made me today!!!!!

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BREAKFAST BISCUITS

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 C almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp swerve (or other erythritol granular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and place 8 small mason jar rings onto the pan. Spray the inside of the rings with cooking spray.
  3. Place the 6 ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape the sides down to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
  4. Pour evenly into the rings, approximately 2-3 Tbsp per ring
  5. Bake 12-15 mins. (watch carefully as ovens vary) Bake until lightly browned and set in the center.
  6. Let set for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife gently go around each ring to help loosen the biscuit. Turn over and gently push the biscuit out of the ring.

FILLINGS:

You can use any number of fillings inside. Eggs, bacon, cheese, sausage, etc.

SERVINGS 4, CALORIES PER SERVING 193, TOTAL FAT 16.8, SATURATED FAT 4.6, CHOLESTEROL 109, SODIUM 369 mg, TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES 6.4 g, FIBER 2 g, TOTAL SUGARS 2.1 g, PROTEIN 8.2 g

These are so good who says they just have to be used for breakfast. Oh, the ideas that are running through my head.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

Funny how holidays come and go so quickly. Memorial Day at the beach in Ocean City is the opening day of summer. At least for those of us here, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Rain or shine, it never seems to deter people from all over, piling “down the shore hon”.

This weekend was no exception. My mother-in-law lives about 15 minutes outside of Ocean City. LIQUID ASSETS (LA) IN OCEAN CITY We spent the weekend with her and my sister and brother-in-law. They live in Michigan and love coming here, especially in the summer.

Before Dawn married and moved to Michigan, we cooked a lot together. It’s always fun when she comes home. We still love to cook together and talk about food. There were lots of laughs and lots of food. I decided to make these muffins for a quick breakfast. I also had blueberries I didn’t want to leave, for fear of them spoiling. I don’t know about you, I HATE to waste food.

These muffins area an adaptation from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”. Her cookbooks are fantastic! I have every one she has written. She has a new one coming out in October. Of course, I pre-ordered it.

https://www.amazon.com/Barefoot-Contessa-Family-Style-Everyone/dp/060961066X/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=attb54-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=512bad22bdaa82960a9c60eab7eeaeb3&creativeASIN=060961066X

It makes 18 muffins. I used a half cup ice-cream scoop so they all came out the same. I lightened them up by cuting some of the butter and sugar. I also used skim milk, light sour cream, and non-fat yogurt that had been strained overnight. They come out moist and light and loaded with blueberries.

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BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

  • Servings: 18 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 C sugar
• 3 extra large eggs, room temperature
• 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla
• ½ C light sour cream
• ½ C nonfat plain Greek Yogurt, strained
• ¼ C skim milk
• 2 ½ C all purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems and washed and drained

DIRECTIONS:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 16 muffin liners in muffin pans.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with kitchen mixer using paddle attachment.
3. At low speed add eggs one at a time, then vanilla, sour cream, yogurt, and milk.
4. In a separate bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisk all together with a wire whisk.
5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat until just mixed. DO NOT OVER-MIX.
6. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
7. Using an ice cream scoop (large) scoop the batter into the muffin pans, filling each one just over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are lightly browned on the top and a cake tester comes out clean.

TIP: greasing the top of the muffin tins makes it easier to remove the muffins.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

SKINNY BANANA NUT BREAD

We like bananas but I always seem to buy too many. Which means, I am left with brown, over-ripened ones. I hate throwing anything out, so what’s a woman to do? Why, make banana bread of course!

Quick breads have long been a favorite of mine. In fact, I just made some zucchini bread for a co-worker. It was a birthday/nurses week gift! I had promised to make some for her well over a year ago. I figured it was time to make good on my promise.

One of the problems with most quick breads is the amount of fat and sugar in them. Just because it has bananas in it doesn’t make it healthy. I turned to a recipe by Gina Homolka, the author of Skinny Taste. She has multiple cookbooks out that are fantastic. The recipes are big on flavor, and nice portions that won’t leave you starved. Check out her website Skinnytaste.com. She is also worth the follow on Pinterest.

(Affiliate Ad, see more at Amazon.com)

This recipe uses 7 bananas which makes it very moist and tender. It makes 2 loaves. I made one with nuts and one without. The one without nuts was gifted to my daughter. Both turned out beautifully! If you don’t want to gift one, wrap it tightly and freeze it. When you are ready to serve it, let it thaw at room temperature.

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LOW FAT BANANA NUT BREAD

  • Servings: 13 slices per loaf
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7 ripe bananas, mashed chunky with fork
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 C light brown sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz. chopped walnuts or pecans
  • baking spray

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8×5 inch loaf pans with baking spray. (I lined both with parchment paper and sprayed the paper, and left some overhang on either side to assist with removing from the pan.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, apple sauce and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and blend at low speed until combined, add another 1/3 of the flour and blend at low speed, add remaining  1/3 of flour mixture and the bananas and blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in the nuts if using.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pans and bake on the center rack for 50 – 52 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let the pan cool at least 20 minutes before removing. Let cool completely before slicing.

Serving Size = 1 slice  Freestyle Points = 4  Points Plus = 3

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

MOTHER NATURE IS BI-POLAR

Is anybody else out there tired of the cold and rain? I guess in some areas you folks are still getting snow. Mother Nature is going through naturepause or something. Seriously, I’m on the verge of needing medication or another vacation on an island somewhere.

I had to light a fire because it’s damp and cold. There’s not much else to do since I’m stuck inside. I said to myself, why not make some bread? So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to make a loaf of Egg Bread EGG BREAD or CHALLAH and I think I’ll make some of my grandmothers yeast rolls Grandmom Minnie’s Yeast Rolls.

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I love to bake bread. It makes the whole house smell so inviting and warm. It also reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen when I was little. It’s amazing how certain scents evoke such pleasant memories. Like the smell of a rose; it reminds me of my mother. It’s one of those days for reminiscing.

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Know what goes good with homemade bread? Why soup of course! It’s doesn’t matter what kind. It just has to be good and one of your favorites. I have several I’ve posted, one of my favorites is vegetable soup. WEEKEND IN ANNAPOLIS and Vegetable Soup. I love to make it in my Instant Pot. Of course if you are a good planner, the Crock Pot is also a great method.

I’m praying for mother nature and I ask that you do too. Maybe if we all pray real hard she will come out of her funk.

Send me some of your favorite soup recipes. Nothing better than a tried and true recipe that has been passed down. Keep smiling and find some sunshine inside. Bake a loaf of bread or make a recipe that brings back good memories.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxox

Viki D