My older brothers both love to cook, love trying new recipes, and we regularly have text or email exchanges about something we ate or tasted that was so amazing it must be recreated RIGHT NOW IF NOT SOONER! I have spent many happy hours puttering in the kitchen with one (or both) of them. A few weeks ago I spent a wonderful few days in my brother’s kitchen, this sweet cornbread was the result. My people, it is AMAZINGLY delicious. The recipe calls for corn kernels, cornmeal, and masa harina, a corn flour. Mix that up with some butter, sugar, and cream and you have really got something! I have made this twice in the last 10 days and have eaten it for breakfast, as a snack, as a side to soup or chili, and as a dessert with a little dollop of thick whipped cream. And for those who care, it is completely gluten free. So, get thee to the grocery for a bag of masa harina and get cooking!
Masa Harina Sweet Cornbread
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup masa harina*
¼ cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed under cold water
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl (or stand mixer) beat butter until it is creamy. Add masa harina and water and beat until well mixed. Using food processor or blender, process thawed corn until chopped but still chunky. Add to butter-masa harina mixture. Sift cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add to corn mixture and stir to combine. Add cream and stir to incorporate.
Pour batter into an ungreased 8×8 baking pan, smooth with spoon or spatula and cover with foil. Bake 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve while still warm. You can cut this into squares or scoop out with a large spoon. If you let it cool you can use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes, like this photo. Warning, this is MUCH better warm than cold, so if you go the fun shapes route, pop it into the microwave for 30-40 seconds before eating to get everything warm and delicious again.
*Masa harina is corn flour, it is a finer powder than cornmeal, and can usually be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store. Look by the flour or the cornmeal.
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen…but do you recall the most red-nosed reindeer of all? Da-da-dum-dum…and so on.
Years ago when Pottery Barn first came out with their reindeer dinnerware I fell head over heels in love with the dashing plates (ha! a reindeer pun!). I was not, however, in love with the price tag. For several years I have been collecting these plates via eBay, one at a time, waiting for the right character and a low enough price. I finally have all 8 reindeer and am just waiting to find the Rudolph platter for the right discount. (I imagine that price won’t show up until after Christmas is over, and I am perfectly okay with that; I can wait.) Over the weekend I decided to pull out those reindeer plates and see what Christmas-y place settings I could come up with.
I am so pleased with how this all turned out! The red and white peppermint napkins are from Pier 1 (this year, currently on sale!), and the centerpiece is just a serving dish from IKEA filled with dollar store ornaments…meaning, they were $1.00 for a dozen five or six years ago.
I found these little reindeer place card holders on eBay over the summer, I think they are just so darling! And, um, my Photoshop skills are still on the amateur end, so this is the only place card pic I populated with a name. Meh, just keeping it real over here!
The red Fiestaware chargers were a wedding present, I love how festive they look with those stripey napkins.
Is this reindeer Donner? Or Donder? I always thought it was the latter, but Pottery Barn clearly goes the other way.
I love how Christmas-y this looks! The fun reindeer plates and darling stripey nakins make me want to turn up the Christmas tunes and bake some gingerbread! And now, for a list of what I pulled:
Red charger, Fiestaware
White Dinner Plates, Pottery Barn Catering Set
Reindeer Plates, Pottery Barn, collected via eBay
Glass goblets, Pier 1 (super old)
Peppermint stripe napkins, Pier 1
Silver napkin rings, Macy’s
Flatware, Target (super old)
Reindeer place card holders, eBay
I have been tweaking this recipe for several months now, and the great thing I’ve discovered is that no matter what you add to it the end result is pretty darn delicious. You can bump up the spices for a more flavorful dip, or add jalapenos if you’d like some more kick, you can throw in a half can of olives or top with some fresh salsa…the variations are endless. You should also make a habit of bringing this to every party you attend, you are practically guaranteed massive popularity because everyone loves this dip. I don’t eat chicken and I love this dip!
Chicken Enchilada Dip
Preheat oven to 325
2 12.5 oz cans cooked chicken (or leftover cooked chicken, or rotisserie chicken, whatever you prefer)
16 oz. Neufchatel cheese, room temperature (or cream cheese, if you prefer)
1 cup mayo
(optional: substitute 1/2 cup of mayo for greek yogurt)
1 10 oz. Rotel tomatoes with green chilies or Mexican spices
1 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 4 oz can diced green chilies (I used mild, but you can use medium or hot if you like things spicy)
1 – 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1-2 Roma tomato, diced (for topping)
2-3 stalks green onion, sliced thin (optional, for topping)
sliced olives (optional, for topping)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)
Combine everything except topping ingredients and mix well. Pour into 9×13 pan, spreading into an even layer, top with diced tomatoes, green onion, and olives, and bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through. As soon as dip comes out of the oven, top with the remaining cheese, the dip will be hot enough to melt the cheese perfectly without it pooling into oily puddles. Serve with tortilla chips.
This freezes beautifully; I just scooped the leftovers into a tupperware and popped it in the freezer. When I had a hankering for this again, I let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then warmed it up in the microwave for a delicious snack.