During the February 2021 historic snow and ice freeze down here in Texas, we were ready with a well stocked pantry and could easily survived another couple of monthS of need be. But after a few days there were no milk or eggs available—and I had a hankering for some cornbread.
I looked around the internet and came up with this concoction, a blend of several ideas.
Dodie mentioned when she lived in Phoenix some years ago, her friend Deanne and she went to a cooking class. They wound up being paired off to make something called “polenta.”
Shoot, I thought I’d give it a try so I made us a batch of it. We’re calling it our “No-Milk-or-Eggs-But-Stuck-in-a-Snow/Ice-Storm-in-Texas Dish.” It goes something like this:
About 4 cups of water, with a pinch of salt.
1 package of yellow cornmeal (a bit over a cup worth)
1 can of mixed vegetables
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
4 oz. salsa (we used H-E-B Restaurant Style Salsa usually found in the chip aisle).
2 oz. diced onion
2 (15oz. each) cans of chili and beans
2 cups of cheddar cheese divided
Cooking spray to coat baking pan. We use olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. I used our large heavy 3 quart Kitchen Kraft pan to bring the water and salt to a boil.
2. Reduced heat to a kindler, gentler boil to SLOWLY and PATIENTLY whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon for about 17 minutes and 22 seconds because that was when I noticed this polenta thickening enough that it pulled from the sides of the pan.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of the cheese until melted.
5. Coat a 13×9-in baking pan with cooking spray. Spread the polenta layer on the bottom and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
6. While that’s baking, prepare/heat the chili per instructions.
7. Spread vegetables over the polenta. Top it with chili and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake about 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted the way you like it. Let it stand about 10 minutes before serving.
There was plenty of leftovers so we froze some of it for some other days.
When I make it again, I’ll include some diced tomatoes and more onion.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.