Posts tagged ‘cornbread’

Mexican Paradise Pie

Hisa and I went swimming this morning, but it was not the most pleasant swim. Actually, it wasn’t pleasant at all, because the water was freezing.

The only reason I’m able to get up at the crack of dawn and go lap swimming when I’m barely awake, is because the water is always nice and warm. It’s almost like sliding into a really big bathtub (and then swimming laps in it).

When I got in the pool this morning, however, the water was freezing.

I really hate the cold, and I hate being cold, so you can imagine that getting into a pool with very cold water in February at the crack of dawn when I’m sleepy and barely awake is not very high on my list of things I want to do. It’s not anywhere on my list of things I want to do. In fact, it’s on my list of things that cause me pain and suffering. Like the dark side of the force. Boo hiss.

Since we’d already bothered with getting up and getting there, however, rather than wimp out and leave early, I was determined to finish my swim. And I did! Yay me. I basically swam as fast as I could to try and warm up and get it over with as soon as possible.

Right before we left, I asked the people working why the pool was so cold. They said that when they got to the pool this morning, the pool was flooded, a hose was broken and spraying water everywhere, and the boilers were out. By the time we got there, the flooding and spraying hose were under control, but they just got the boilers fixed as we were leaving. I would say the pool employees had a pretty rough morning too.

I’m just happy the boilers are fixed now though! I really hope the water is never that cold again!

Mexican Paradise Pie is a Mexican casserole that’s a wonderful one pot dinner, hearty, and just happens to be vegetarian. My whole family loved it. Even the meat eaters!

I love one pot dinners, because it just makes everything so much easier. They’re quicker to make, easier to serve, and there’s less dishes to wash when your done. Love it.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C). In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Add one diced onion, one diced green bell pepper, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until onion and pepper are tender.


Add 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. cumin powder, and 1 tsp. coriander powder. Saute for another minutes.


Add 1 (14 oz.) can each of drained and rinsed black beans and kidney beans, one can of original Rotel (undrained), and 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour everything into a greased or sprayed deep casserole dish.


Next, make your cornbread topping. In a large bowl, add 1 c. unbleached flour, 1 c. cornmeal, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 c. sucanat, rapadura, or sugar. Mix well. In a separate bowl, add 1 1/2 c. buttermilk, 1 large egg, and 1/4 c. melted butter or oil. Mix well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, and stir until mixture comes together. Add 1/2 c. cheese and mix.


Pour the cornbread mixture gently on top of the bean mixture, and smooth it out with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown. If you want, add some more shredded cheese on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.


Serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream.


Aww, Paradise!


Mexican Paradise Pie

(serves 6 – 7)

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can original Rotel (undrained)
  • 1/2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. sucanat, rapadura, or sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 c. melted butter or oil
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese, plus more for topping
  • fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high  heat, add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion and pepper are tender.
  3. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, and coriander. Saute for another minute.
  4. Add black beans, kidney beans, Rotel, and broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mixture into a greased deep casserole dish.
  6. In a large bowl, add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
  7. In a smaller bowl, add buttermilk, egg, and oil. Mix well.
  8. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture, and stir until comes together. Add cheese and mix well.
  9. Carefully pour cornbread batter on top of the bean mixture in the casserole dish. Spread around evenly with a spatula.
  10. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until cornbread topping is golden brown. Add extra cheese as topping during last 5 minutes of baking (optional).
  11. Serve with fresh cilantro leaves and sour cream (optional).

February 21, 2012 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Feb. 20 – 26

I’m running a bit behind today, so I’ll be brief.

Here’s this week’s menu plan….
(that was pretty brief, wasn’t it?)

Minestrone soup

Chijimi (Korean savory seafood pancakes)

Mexican burger burritos


Menu Plan for February 20 – 26:

Mon: Pinto beans and cornbread (good old fashioned food! At least, in this area it is!)

Tues: Minestrone soup and fresh bread

Wed: Mexican burger burritos

Thurs: Kimchi chigae (spicy kimchi and tofu stew) and chijimi (savory seafood and onion pancakes)

Fri: (eating out)

Sat: Fish chowder and plain scones (it may seem an odd combination, but it’s great! Trust me!)

Sun: Roast chicken with baked sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts

February 20, 2012 at 9:42 am Leave a comment


Whew, I’m beat.

Today, Hisa and I closed two banks accounts, took our TV to the electronics store to throw away, went through our apartment and bagged up all the non-burnable trash to take out tomorrow morning (all my dishes and pots and pans! Aww!). Hisa also cleaned the windows and balconies (there’s 3 of ’em, so this is no easy task), and I vacuumed, cleaned the air conditioner, washed some of our blankets, and cleaned the bathtub.

We still have a lot more work to do tomorrow, but fortunately, we don’t have to go anywhere (except somewhere to eat since we have no food, no dishes, and will soon have no stove. Oh, and the drug store to throw away our old batteries and light bulbs. No, we can’t throw them away with the non-burnable trash, and yes, the drug store will dispose of them for us. So I guess we do have to go a few places. Scratch that statement about not going anywhere).

We still have to pack, clean, and throw even more stuff away. On top of that, some guy is coming to uninstall our air-conditioner, and a lady I know (Hi Kristie!) is coming to take our stove and my chair. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but it’ll probably come back to me sometime tomorrow.

On a different note, it’s getting colder here in Kanto area Japan, and one of my favorite things to eat when it starts getting cold (or in this case, colder) is chili and cornbread. Cornbread is needed in my biscuit and cornbread dressing, which I posted about yesterday, but I realized I haven’t posted my cornbread recipe before (scandalous, I know).

This cornbread recipe is simple, but delicious, and goes perfectly with a hot bowl of chili.

Why, hello there.

Mmmm, chili and cornbread. The bad thing about writing a post right before dinner, is it tends to make one rather hungry…


(makes 9 pieces)

  • 1 c. cornmeal (finer ground is better)
  • 1 c. flour (I usually use a mix of whole wheat flour and unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. honey or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 – 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. melted butter (or oil)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F (200° C). Grease a 9 x 9″ baking dish.
  2. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Mix milk, butter, and egg in a small bowl.
  4. Pour wet mixture into bowl with dry mixture. Stir just until comes together.
  5. Pour into baking dish, and bake for 20 – 25  minutes, or until golden brown.

November 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Biscuit and Cornbread Dressing for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, although I have to admit, I haven’t thought of it all that much.

My mind is pretty much focused on 2 dates: This Friday when we move out of our apartment, and Dec. 6th when we move back to the U.S.

Usually, I cook up a big (well, big for two people) Thanksgiving dinner for Hisa and myself, as we’re always unable to visit my family in the U.S. during Thanksgiving, but this year we’ll be in the middle of traveling around western Japan (instead of traveling to Thailand), so we won’t really have the chance to celebrate it. I’m not complaining though. I’m looking forward to traveling with my husband, and also looking forward to seeing my family in December.

For those of you who will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner, I wanted to share with you my all time favorite Thanksgiving dressing recipe. This is my mom’s recipe, and she’s made it every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. When I moved to Japan, I made sure I got her recipe, so I could make it on Thanksgiving as well.

Normally, you would serve this in the pan you baked it in, so the top is crunchy and wonderful, and the inside is soft and delicious, but I needed the pan to bake something else. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a Japanese kitchen with only a microwave sized oven and two pans is hard. I’m just sayin’.

Here’s a slightly better picture. Normally, you would also want to bake this in a 9 x 13″ baking dish, but I only have a square baking dish…so I crammed it really full. One must improvise in times of need and tiny kitchens. Check out that pea salad and maple roasted sweet potatoes with walnuts, mmmmm.

If you want to make this really good, and save time on Thanksgiving day, I recommend getting everything mixed together (except the chicken broth), cover it, and refrigerate it overnight. This will allow the flavors to really incorporate into the bread, and it’ll taste that much more delicious when it’s done. This will save you time on Thanksgiving day, because all you’ll need to do is pour it in the baking dish, pour on some chicken broth, and bake it. Easy-peasy.

One last thing, thanks Mom!

Biscuit and Cornbread Dressing

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 batch of biscuits (10 – 12 biscuits. It doesn’t have to be exact)
  • 1 pan cornbread (baked in a 9×9″ baking dish)
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 3 tsp. sage powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c. chicken broth (approximately)
  1. Crumble cornbread and biscuits into a large bowl.
  2. Add onion, celery, eggs, sage, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight (optional).
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  5. Slowly drizzle chicken broth over dressing and mix until dressing is wet, but not soggy.
  6. Pour into a 9 x 13″ baking dish and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Commercial announcer voice: “This dressing is part of a complete Thanksgiving feast.”

And no, that’s not a turkey. That’s a chicken. You think I can find turkey in Japan, much less bake one in my microwave? I didn’t think so.


November 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Today’s Lunch

Since today is Hisa’s last day of work (already?! I can’t believe it came this quickly!), this will also be his last packed lunch for awhile. We’re moving a week from today, so until then we’ll be finishing packing, cleaning our apartment, getting rid of stuff, closing bank accounts, etc.

Once we get settled down in the U.S., and Hisa starts working again, hopefully I’ll be able to start making him packed lunches again.

All the lunches I’ve made are on the Packed Lunches page, so feel free to check those out if you need some inspiration or ideas.

Happy lunch packing!

Today’s lunch: Chili, cornbread, chickpea and veggie salad, and a mandarin orange

November 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Nov. 7 – 11

Things have gotten a little busy around here.

In less than two weeks we’re moving out of our apartment, and in four weeks, we’re moving back to the U.S.

In case you’ve never experienced it before, moving internationally is a pain.

In addition to simply packing, you have to sell, give away, and throw away most of your worldy possessions. What you keep, you have to either mail the country your moving to (expensive!!) or try to cram it into your suitcase at the last minute and end up paying overweight fees, because you had more stuff than you thought you did.

In addition to that, there’s the closing of the bank accounts, the terminating of the cell phones, the canceling of the credit cards, the car to get rid of, appliances and furniture to get rid of, etc. I could go on and on.

Fortunately, Hisa and I have been preparing for this move for months. We made a list of everything we need to do each month up until we leave, so that’s kept things very organized and not crazy (well, at least not that crazy).

Nonetheless, the closer it gets to the move, the more things there are to do.

This past weekend, we mailed the last of our boxes to the U.S.; made a final trip to the supermarket; went to the electronics store to ask them how much it would cost for them to dispose of our TV; called the gas, electric, water, sewage, and telephone companies and arranged for those services to be terminated; arranged for our mail to be forwarded; and attended two going away parties, one of which was in Tokyo.

Yeah, it was a busy weekend.

But things are going smoothly, and we’re both excited about the move. Bring it on!

Menu Plan for Nov. 7 – 11:

Have a great week!


November 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

Typhoon! …and Today’s Lunch

Hisa and I and our two friends had an amazing four days in Nagano. We had so much fun!

I had every intention of posting a bunch of pictures and writing a normal post today, but we’re literally right in the middle of a typhoon right now!

If you’ve ever lived in Oklahoma, you know the wind can get incredibly strong there sometimes. That’s nothing compared to the wind of this typhoon though! It’s crazy!

Hisa came home from work early before the worst of the typhoon hit. I think the eye of the storm is almost over us or almost over us. I’m hoping it will turn a tiny bit west and the eye will miss us, but if that’s the case, then my in-laws will get a direct hit, and I don’t want that to happen either. Either way, I think it’s a bit late to hope it turns, because it’s basically here already!

Also, my internet has oddly been getting slower the closer the typhoon gets. Go figure.

Hisa just informed me that the power may go out, so we may want to eat dinner a little earlier than usual. Considering I have two loaves of bread in the kitchen rising right now, I’m gonna get on that and get those babies in the oven!

On that note, here’s today’s lunch!

Chili, homemade cornbread, and a mandarin orange

September 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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