As our days get busier, we are far more likely to reach for pre-packaged mixes and other convenience foods to lighten our load and make dinner prep a bit easier. These are some of my favorite homemade kitchen helpers you can make in advance and keep handy for those extra-hectic evenings… or even the non-hectic ones. Work smarter, not harder!
This is another kitchen staple that I have been making for years. And while it’s legit to argue that corn is not the most nutrient dense of foods, cornbread is an essential staple of any proper southern kitchen. We may have moved away from the south, but as born and bred Texans, this mix sees quite a bit of use at my house.
Have you ever looked at the list of ingredients on a box of store-bought cornbread mix? It’s seriously no bueno.
This cleaned-up copycat cornbread mix is so easy to whip up in advance and store in a jar in the refrigerator until needed. Toss some vegetables in it for a quick breading (my Texas-born husband is crazy about pan fried okra!) or combine the mix with an egg and buttermilk, and you’ve got yourself a fast and easy cornbread, corn muffins, corn casserole or cornmeal fritters. The sky’s the limit!
The best part is, when you make your own mixes, it’s easy to elevate individual ingredients to create a much healthier product. I usually use organic sprouted cornmeal and sprouted spelt as the base of this recipe. You could also use a gluten-free flour blend. Add a high-mineral salt and a healthy, high-smoke-point oil such as avocado or ghee, and you’ve turned a junk convenience food into something that’s actually quite nutritious – without sacrificing flavor or the convenience factor.
Pro tip: Try topping your cornbread with a drizzle of herb-infused honey (such as willow honey ♥) to take it up another notch!
I originally developed this mix in order to make a healthier version of the cornbread casserole my mom made for every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas since I was a kid. I wanted to maintain our beloved holiday tradition without the junk and trans fats.
Aside from the Jiffy mix, the original recipe also called for a can of creamed corn. What’s wrong with creamed corn, you ask? Well, because 85%+ of all corn grown in the US is genetically modified to contain pesticide in its DNA, we don’t buy non-organic corn anymore. Unfortunately, an organic cream-style canned corn product just doesn’t seem to exist – trust me, I’ve been searching for years!
There’s no shortage of homemade creamed corn recipes on the Internet, but they typically contain additional cream and butter, neither of which is actually in canned cream-style corn. I figured this recipe already included plenty of (sour) cream, salt and butter, so I sub a bag of organic frozen corn pulsed in the blender with a little water until its texture looks similar to canned cream-style corn. You can’t tell the difference.
Keep reading for my cleaned up version of my mom’s cornbread casserole recipe, using the homemade “Jiffy” cornbread mix.
Many moons ago, I started bringing this dish to my office’s holiday potlucks and it got so popular that every year, when my co-workers would pass the potluck sign-up list around the office, by the time the list made it to me, someone had already added “cornbread casserole” next to my name. Every year.
Better than “Jiffy” Cornbread Mix
2–1/2 c organic sprouted spelt (or all-purpose flour)
2–1/2 c organic sprouted cornmeal (or yellow cornmeal)
1/2 c organic granulated sugar
1/4 c baking powder
2 tsp cracked black pepper (optional — not in commercial Jiffy, but we ♥ pepper in our cornbread)
2 tsp high-mineral salt
1/2 c ghee, melted
8.5 oz mix (by weight) or 1-1/2 cup (by volume) equals one box of “Jiffy” mix.
Combine 8.5 oz + 1 egg and 1/3 c buttermilk or sour cream to make the cornbread muffins or “Johnny” cake from the Jiffy box.
For the cornbread/ Johnny cake, pour batter into greased 8” square pan; bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
For the muffins, pour batter into greased muffin tins or paper baking cups; bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cornbread Casserole, Cleaned Up
1 can organic corn, undrained
12oz bag defrosted frozen organic corn, pulsed in blender with ~2/3 c water
8 oz sour cream
8.5 oz (1–1/2 c) “Jiffy” cornbread mix (recipe above)
1 stick salted butter, softened
1/2 tsp high mineral salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well mixed and no clumps remain.
Transfer to a buttered, 9″ x 9” baking dish and bake at 350F for 45 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow casserole to cool slowly in an open oven. ♥
To double recipe, use a 9” x 13” baking dish and extend bake time to 1 hour, 15 minutes.
For extra festive looking cornbread casserole, top with chopped red and green bell peppers!