Comfort Food: Beans and Cornbread

I’ve enjoyed talking comfort food with y’all over the last few Tuesday posts. Today’s comfort food of choice is beans and cornbread. Growing up in Kentucky, beans and cornbread were a family favorite at the supper table. In fact, at my grandmother’s table pinto beans were a daily occurrence right alongside whatever else was fixed–with ten kids to feed, they were filling and cheap. While my mother didn’t put them on our table that often, we did have beans and cornbread frequently. I loved them then and love them now.

I had no idea how many different ways people made simple ‘beans and cornbread’ until years after I left home and had babies of my own. We called them brown beans, I later learned they’re pinto beans. Live n learn, as I always say.

As I started to type my recipe for making the beans, I remembered seeing this recipe(click there) which is almost exactly what I do when making beans except I often use my slow cooker. I certainly couldn’t put up a better post–especially with pictures–, so I’ll just refer you there for details. Go on, clickity click.

Cornbread is one of those southern things that has as many recipes and preferences as there are Grandmas. My personal favorite is a simple recipe with one constant. That constant is my iron skillet. No matter the cornbread recipe, a hot iron skillet is the key.

For my cornbread, I pour a bit of oil into the iron skillet and put it in a hot oven for about 5 minutes whilst I mix up the cornbread, then pour that cornbread mixture into the sizzling skillet and bake…perfection!

My current preferred cornbread recipe is a family secret that I shall share with you today. Here it is:

Yep, on the side o’ that bag for the world to share. See, I told y’all I’m not a food snob but just a gal that loves cookin’ now and again.

Do you have a beans and cornbread recipe that warms you inside and out? If not, what is your similar comfort food?

Comfort Food: Macaroni and Cheese

Last week I rambled on about my love for biscuits and gravy, after which several of you via FB, Twitter and email shared that biscuits and gravy were definitely on your comfort food list as well. MMmmMM.

Today, let’s consider another high-ranking comfort food favorite…

****drumroll****

Macaroni and Cheese!  Oh yeah, childhood and love all in one bowl, am I right?

First there was this:      (along with fish sticks, y’all remember??)

Then this:

(ooo the creaminess, we thought)

And my first ‘homemade’ was this: 

plus this: 

Before we go on, let me just say that if one of the above is your true mac n cheese comfort foods I am not here to change your mind. *shaking head* No, really, I am not. I understand all too well how comfort food isn’t always about quality, but about who served it, where you were and the feelings that come with remembering all of that. 

Upon the start of my cooking-from-scratch journey a few years ago, I saw an episode of Good Eats and attempted the recipe a few times.

While I liked the results well enough, the rest of my family has not been as impressed. They say ‘Just make your usual recipe Mom’, which is that giant yellow processed block pictured above. Yes, feel free to shudder(or not).

I suspect that, for my picky tribe here, the problem is the sharp cheddar and its overpowering taste. Mayhap that cheeses shall be a kitchen quest very soon? For I’m on a mission to make a good, homemade mac n cheese that my family will love and ask for.

 **edited this day in 2014 to add: I have decided that the above pictured process block of yellow stuff just has to happen in my mac n cheese…I now use a trio of shredded cheddars (not sharp) plus a small chunk of the not-named stuff. Delicious, creamy…tis all good!**

Now, I’ve said before that I’m not a food snob and tis true, I’m just a fun lovin’ momma n wife who loves good food and enjoys cooking it from time to time.

That being said, what does your macaroni and cheese comfort food look like? Whether box, semi-homemade or made-from-scratch,  I really want to know!