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Food for comfort!

Food for comfort!

It might be March, but Winter’s chill is still in the air. I’m not ready to forego cold weather comfort food completely. After all, you never know when the last snowfall will occur!!!

The Cornbread is easy to prepare, even easier to enjoy with the Chicken Salad. And I love the taste of a crunchy baguette topped with the tasty pepper salad. But there’s nothing more comforting than a baked ziti filled with gooey cheese. Add a salad, and maybe some red wine, you’ll feel very comforted indeed!! Enjoy!

Easy Savory Cornbread
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 1/3 C. flour
1 1/3 C. cornmeal
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 large eggs, beaten
1 C. buttermilk
1/2 C. whole milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8”x8” baking dish. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk and milk in a medium bowl. Whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. (Batter will be lumpy.) Mix in 3 Tbsp. butter.

Scrape batter into baking dish and bake cornbread until a tester inserted center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

Pepper Salad w/ Crostini
1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, halved, cut into 1/4” thick slices
1/4 C. thinly sliced garlic cloves
2 red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/4” thick slices
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/4” thick slices
2 orange bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/4” thick slices
1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. tomato sauce
1/2 C. pitted Nicoise olives

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and a pinch of pepper. Cook occasionally, until onion and garlic are translucent, but not brown. Add peppers and cook until peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, oregano and sugar. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and stir for 2 minutes. Season to taste.

Spread pepper salad on a large, prepared baking dish and bake for 10 minutes on rack in middle of oven. Remove from oven, cool and spread on prepared crostini… garnish with fresh basil.

Spicy Black Bean & Chicken Salad
1/4 C. olive oil
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. grated lime peel
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. coarse Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne red pepper

12 oz. cooked chicken, cut into thin strips
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 C. corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 C. chopped red bell pepper
1/2 C. chopped red onion
1 pkg. torn romaine lettuce

Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well.

Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Gently toss with vinaigrette. Plate lettuce on serving platter or on individual plates and top with salad/chicken/bean mixture.

Ziti w/Four Cheeses
2 C. half & half
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper
1 1/4 C. grated provolone
1 1/4 C. grated mozzarella
1 1/4 C. grated Swiss cheese
2 egg yolks
8 oz. ziti, cooked

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare 2-quart ovenproof casserole. Bring half & half, basil, crushed peppe to simmer in large saucepan. Add cheese and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in egg yokes. Season to taste. Add ziti and mix gently. Spoon into prepared dish and bake until heated through…. about 15-20 minutes.

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