Jalapeno Feta Cornbread + Cast Iron Recipes

Um, YES PLEASE! Give me that Jalapeno Feta Cornbread — and find out why I don’t mind having a second slice!Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread SkilletMy Jalapeno Feta Cornbread will be the star of your next meal and makes the perfect paring for my Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili.  Bake up a batch of this old-fashioned quick bread in a cast iron skillet for the crunchiest crust, a country-style presentation and a surprising health benefit – extra iron in your diet!

Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread makes the perfect pairing with soups, stews, and salads.  Also, did you know that cooking and baking in cast iron helps add additional iron to your diet? Another reason to make a batch for dinner tonight.,

You heard me right, cooking and baking in cast iron can fortify a recipe with iron transferred from the pan. Iron is an essential mineral that the body uses to deliver oxygen to the body via our red blood cell. On average 10 of American women are iron deficient with one recent study suggested that more than half (56%) of recreational joggers and competitive runners suffer from an iron deficiency that may negatively affect performance. Runners, cyclists, CrossFit athletes and other athletes typically need more iron in their diet than the average Joe because this essential mineral is lost via menstruation, pregnancy, sweat, GI distress, and even repetitive foot-strike (“footstrike hemolysis”). Also, some chronic medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease can prevent the prober absorption of iron.

The more acidic a food (like tomato sauce), the more iron will be leached from the pan, but even baked goods like this cornbread can get an iron-boost from cast iron cookware. On average, one cup of cast-iron skillet food gains 6 to 8 milligrams of iron, helping you to meet daily allowance of this mineral (For women aged 19-50, the RDA is 18 milligrams per day).

However, don’t just count on cast-iron or iron supplements to get the optimal amount – getting iron from fresh foods is optimal. Beef, spinach, broccoli, beans, legumes, and dates are all high-iron choices, you can find out more on this earlier blog post I wrote about Anemia in Runners.

Here are some iron-rich recipes to serve up with this cornbread!

Molasses Steak Salad Dates Blue Cheese overheadSuper-Iron Boosting Molasses Steak, Spinach & Date Salad

Steak and Squash Harvest Stew comes together in the slow cooker for a hearty, healthy meal that is perfect for dinner on busy weeknights -- weekend meals too! Slow-Cooker Steak & Squash Harvest Stew

Best Ever Beef Chili

Best-Ever, Super-Secret Beef Chili.

Note, I originally developed this Jalapeno Feta Cornbread recipe for Litehouse Foods, using their deliciously tangy, creamy artisan feta cheese.

Truvia NectarAlso, let me just add — this cornbread is off the hook drizzled with honey — I like the new Truvia Nectar, a honey/stevia blend that has 50% fewer calories and carbs. Get a free sample! #sponsored #UseLikeHoney

 

 

What do you cook in cast iron? Cornbread fan? Do you make yours plain, or mix “extras” in? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Skillet
Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread
Print Recipe
The crispy crust and homey presentation of this easy cornbread recipe is the perfect addition to your best chili, soup or stew recipe!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread Skillet
Easy Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread
Print Recipe
The crispy crust and homey presentation of this easy cornbread recipe is the perfect addition to your best chili, soup or stew recipe!
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to large bowl and mix together.
  2. In separate medium bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk; stir into flour mixture until just combined. Stir in 3 ounces of the feta cheese, reserve remainder.
  3. Place butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish and set in oven for a couple minutes to melt. Remove skillet and swirl butter around to coat bottom. Pour remaining butter in batter and stir to combine.
  4. Top cornbread with sliced jalapenos, seed side up and sprinkle batter with chives and remaining feta. Bake cornbread in center rack until golden brown on top and toothpick pulls clean from center, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm. If not serving right away, turn from pan to cool on wire rack.
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2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust

2 Ingredient Ranch Pizza Dough whole pizza close up - litehouseDitch the delivery guy and make a delicious meal just about as fast as you can say “winner, winner, pizza dinner” 10 times.  Today, I’m sharing a pizza crust recipe that whips up in warp speed – just grab two simple ingredients and give yourself two minutes to create homemade dough that is ready to roll out and pile up with all those favorite toppings.  2 Minute 2 Ingredient Homemade Pizza Crust is an easy dinner solution that packs a little extra protein with Greek yogurt.

2 Ingredient Ranch Pizza Dough LitehouseI originally made this 2-ingredient, 2-topping Pizza Crust Recipe for Litehouse Foods using, their Homestyle Ranch. For Ranch Dressing devotees, the concept was capturing that signature buttermilk and herb flavor and baking it right into the crust – so no dipping, dunking or drizzling required! I must say, that crust was delicious! I’ve also swapped out the Ranch dressing with whole-fat Greek yogurt for a tangy, tasty twist that offers up a bit more protein – a consideration if you are making a veggie pizza.

While you only need 2 minutes to make the pizza crust, you’ll need another 12 minutes for it to bake in the oven, loaded with sauce, cheese, fresh veggies, meats and other toppings your crave. Still, you’re eating homemade pizza in less than 15 minutes and that is definitely faster than delivery! Homemade garlic pizza sauce tastes better, saves money and can be made ahead and frozen for a busy weeknight dinner solution.

You’ll also want to try my DIY Garlic Pizza Sauce, another 2 minute recipe (made in the blender) that will take your pie to a whole ‘nutha level.

tomatoesmozerella in bowl feetWhat fresh toppings do you put on your pizza? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

2 Ingredient 2 Minute Pizza Dough
2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust
Print Recipe
Have a homemade pizza on your plate in less than 15 minutes thanks to this easy recipe for a 2 minute, 2 ingredient crust!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
2 Ingredient 2 Minute Pizza Dough
2-Ingredient, 2-Minute Homemade Pizza Crust
Print Recipe
Have a homemade pizza on your plate in less than 15 minutes thanks to this easy recipe for a 2 minute, 2 ingredient crust!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 475 F degrees. Place pizza stone or unrimmed baking sheet in oven to pre-heat.
  2. In medium bowl, add self-rising flour and Greek yogurt, stirring to combine. If mixture seems too sticky, add in more flour a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Plop dough out on liberally floured portable work surface, such as large cutting board or unrimmed baking sheet. Shape into one large ball for a 12” pizza or two smaller balls for personal-sized pizzas.
  4. Use a rolling pin to flatten dough to approximately 1/3” thickness, using fingers to mend any cracks or craggy spots on edges. Add toppings of choice onto uncooked pizza dough (like sauce, cheese, veggies, etc.). Open door of oven and use baking mitt to pull out hot baking sheet. Carefully slide prepped pizza onto hot baking sheet.
  5. Bake in center rack of oven for 12 minutes or until edges golden brown and cheese bubbling on top.
  6. Slice into wedges. Enjoy!
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10 Reasons to Give Thanks for Sweet Potatoes and 9 Recipes

10 Reasons to be Thankful for Sweet PotatoesPerhaps the official vegetable of the holiday season, sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to a healthy diet any day of the year.   It’s easy to eat well with sweet potatoes — they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that are naturally designed to help your body attain peak performance.  If you don’t like sweet potatoes, keep an open mind (and mouth) and look beyond your grandmother’s icky-sticky, marshmallow sweet potato casserole — there are so many delicious ways to enhance the taste of this sweet, mildly earthy tuber. In a list I originally compiled for Core Power, here are my top 10 reasons to be thankful for the humble sweet potato — my favorite reason may be #5 – a healthy source of complex carbohydrates. Unless logistically impossible, I always include sweet potato with my night-before-a-big-race meal. Also, don’t forget to read down to discover my collection of Family Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes:

  1. Inexpensive Eats: The cheap price tag on sweet potatoes (less than $1/lb.) chops the “it costs too much to eat healthy” argument to the core.
  2. Year-Round Availability: While peak season for sweet potatoes is in the fall, this produce department staple is easy to load-up on year round thanks to a long shelf life and global economy.
  3. Stockpile Friendly: Don’t rush out and buy a lifetime supply, but do fill your cart when you see a sale — sweet potatoes stay good in the pantry for a season or two. Freshness can be maintained for up to six months when stored in a pantry, cabinet, unheated garage or other dark, cool space ideally in the 50 F degree range.
  4. Versatile Veggie: Sweet potatoes are awesome baked and eaten plain or can be cooked with much for creativity. Try them mashed, grilled in planks, oven-roasted in wedges, or add chunks to salads, stews and sandwich wraps. Sweet potato puree also adds lots of interest to smoothies, soups and baked goods. See my round-up of personal sweet potato recipes below!
  5. Healthy Complex Carbohydrates: Natural sugars in sweet potatoes are the “good” kind of carbs that are slowly released into the blood stream, providing sustained and balanced energy to fuel your body and brain. No blood sugar spikes and subsequent sugar crashes with this tasty tuber!
  6. Amazing Antioxidants: Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are a super source of beta-carotene (from vitamin A) that can help protect eyes and damage from the sun, among other things. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes feature powerful anthocyanins which have important antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Vitamin Rich: Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin. In fact, this veggie offers 100 percent of the daily value for Vitamin A, a powerhouse shown to be beneficial for anti-aging, eyesight and cancer prevention.
  8. Quercetin Factor: Quercetin, a dietary flavonoid, is abundant in sweet potatoes. Studies have shown that quercetin can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation and serves as a natural antihistamine to fight seasonal allergies. Additionally, studies on athletes have shown that this phytochemical bolsters health during the 3 to 72 hour window of impaired immunity following heavy training and also may help increase endurance.
  9. Potassium: Potassium is a mineral that helps your body balance fluids and minerals, maintain a health blood pressure, and keep your neuro-muscular system function normally. A medium, baked sweet potato offers about 450 mg of potassium (about12 percent of your daily value) — even more than the famous banana!
  10. Iron: Grown under the soil, sweet potatoes are a great source for iron, a mineral needed for oxygen delivery throughout the blood system. A surprising number of athletes are low in this important mineral (foot strike can actually be a contributor to deficiency) and an iron boost can help restore energy, resistance to stress and optimal immune functioning.

Family Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes for Thanksgiving, Holidays and everyday weeknight dinners.

Cinnamon Chicken Cashew Sweet PotatoI also love this no-recipe “recipe” from the CookingLight.com blog, Simmer & Boil — Cinnamon Chicken and Cashews on Baked Sweet Potato. Just toss a half-teaspoon or of ground cinnamon with warmed shredded chicken, pile on top of a baked and fluffed sweet potato, sprinkle with cashews and dig in!  What an quick and easy solution for busy weeknight dinners during the holiday season!

 

What is the one Thanksgiving dish you can’t live without? Do you have any big plans for the holiday?  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

Love a Loaf | Herb Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

you hate me breadBread is not necessarily the enemy. True, some people have Celiac disease and legitimate allergies to gluten and really cannot consume it without serious health repercussions leading to malnutrition. I understand. Recently though, I’ve noticed a wave of worriers, let’s call them gluten alarmists, who won’t touch traditional bread, pasta or other foods containing gluten with a 10-foot pole – in public, anyway. These folks might truly believe they are taking the healthy and virtuous high ground, but little do they realize that some (not all) of the processed gluten-free products marketed to them are filled with more calories, sugars, fillers and carby stuff.  You’re better off just eating the bread or making your own gluten-free goodies (check out this chocolate chip cookie I make for a special kid with allergies).

litehouse jennifer fisher bread and iitalian herb butter panini 700I also don’t have a problem with “carby” stuff – people always think I’m no-carb, low-carb, Paleo diet, Atkins, the Zone or whatever. True, I do typically eat a lower carb and higher protein diet, but not exclusively. I eat a what seems like an elephant’s portion of complex carbs daily in the form of vegetables and fruit, but when I want a sandwich, I eat it on bread. When I eat a burger, I have it on a bun. Okay, sometimes just one side of the bun, I’ll admit – but that’s so I can enjoy the sweet potato fries too! Plus, as an athlete, I require carbs as a quick source of energy – when the book The Paleo Diet for Athletes: The Ancient Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance came out, the authors finally acknowledged that the right carbs have a time and place.

Unless it’s a medical concern, let’s not worry so much about the gluten or the carbs. Instead, the best bet for a long life of living well focuses on a balanced diet that includes an allowance of carbs . . . and this means bread! When choosing breads, select whole grains whenever possible – whole grain products are higher in fiber and other nutrients than their bleached white counterparts and have been shown to play a role in the reduction of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic issues.  I was shocked to find out that only 3 percent of adults and 8 percent of kids are getting the recommended 3 servings of whole grains per day. Even though I already was a fan of whole grain bread, I completely switched over to serving whole wheat pasta and brown rice about five years ago and this just seems normal to the kids now.

Here’s one of my favorite easy, weekday bread treats:

jennifer fisher litehouse herb parm monkey bread

 Herb Parmesan Whole Wheat Monkey Bread Recipe

  • 2 14-ounce cans “grand” or “jumbo” style refrigerated whole wheat biscuits*
  • 3 Tbsp. Italian Herb Blend*
  • 2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp. finely diced fresh garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup butter

1. Cut each biscuit into quarters and separate pieces.

2. Mix all herbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add dough pieces and toss around to coat evenly.

3. Layer pieces in a 9” x 9” baking dish or Bundt pan.

4. In microwave-safe dish, melt butter on and pour over dough pieces.

5. Bake in 375 F degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 *Granted, these are only made with “some” whole wheat flour – but still a good compromise to scratch baking or going with an all bleached and enriched convenience product.

 **I am fond of Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh freeze-dried line of herbs and herb blends.