Hush Puppies & Grilled Cheese

Hush Puppies as an Alternative

These are a nice change to serve with Family Chili instead of Cornbread .
After having a he-child, I found out why they are called “Hush Puppies” and it has nothing to do with canines!  LOL  I don’t know where I got the recipe so many years ago, but our family has loved it for a long time.

Hush Puppies

1 3/4 C corn meal
1/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 small sweet onion, very finely chopped
1 C buttermilk
1 fresh farm egg, beaten

Heat your deep fryer oil to 375* in Deep Fryer.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in your favorite mixing bowl.
Carefully stir  the onion in.
In a separate bowl , mix the buttermilk and egg well.  Add to the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly.  Remember that you can’t get rid of the lumps because of the onion.

Carefully, drop batter by spoonful into the hot oil.
When it floats, carefully turn each hush puppy over to finish cooking.
Drain on paper towels, then serve hot with real butter.

*I have found that we like them better with smaller spoons, perhaps about 2T of batter to be about the size of a walnut when done.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Oddly enough, I have found that there are many ways to make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Some are edible, while some are delicious!  Let me share with you how I prefer to make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches to go with Homemade Chili.

Quality food begins with quality ingredients, so you want a dense bread that gets nice & crispy on a cast iron  griddle. Sometimes I like to use Sourdough Bread.

Grilled Cheese sandwich, by definition, must have a good cheese.  Stop using that fake stuff that comes individually wrapped in a cool, plastic sleeve.  Instead, you want either American Cheese or Cheddar Cheese or Provolone Cheese.  Sometimes, you will want to use more than one. Sometimes, you will want Longhorn or Colby or Monterey Jack cheeses.

Then, of course, you want real butter. Real butter, whether salted or unsalted is the only choice to make.

Step One

Turn on the fire under your cast iron griddle to heat.  A hot griddle is essential for proper browning.


Get out your ingredients … bread, cheese, butter … and a table knife with serving plates.  On my work surface, I like to place a long square of waxed paper, just for ease of clean-up.  Get two slices of bread.

If the bread is dense, butter the surfaces of the bread that will touch each other.  When the griddle is hot, place the two slices of bread butter-side-down on it.  While it is on the griddle, butter the top sides.  When it is browned, nice and crispy, flip over one slice of bread.  Quickly put two layers of the desired cheese on top, cover with the other browned slice, with the browned side against the cheese.

Notice what you have … the bread has grilled sides on the inside of the sandwich, against the cheese.  The outside of the sandwich has two buttered sides.  When the first side browns, flip it over and brown the last side.  Serve it hot next to a bowl of Chili or other Soup.

Second Option

If your bread is nothing special, just regular loaf bread, that’s fine.  You still want to have a hot cast iron griddle ready.

This time, just butter the outsides of your bread.  If you are making sandwiches for a crowd, you can stack them with buttered sides together.  When it is time to cook them, you can easily separate the slices, place one piece buttered-side down, put your two slices of cheese on top, and then add the final slice of bread with buttered-side up.

Brown it as desired and flip gently to brown the second side.  Serve hot with a bowl of chili or whatever else you like with a grilled cheese sandwich!

My Homemade Chili, a Family Favorite Quick Meal

Quick Meal

This is what we considered a “quick meal” while the children were growing up.  I regularly made it with 3-4# ground beef and served it with my  cornbread and shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese on top.  Now, with just Farmer Graybeard and myself, I’m learning to make it with just 1# burger….  For the family portion, just proportionately increase all ingredients.

Family Chili

1# lean ground beef
1 small or medium sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can light red kidney beans
chili powder, to taste

In your smaller stock pot , brown the ground beef and chopped onion.
Add the chili powder & mix in well.
Add the soup & kidney beans and heat thoroughly.

Serve with cornbread tortilla chips , grilled cheese, or hush puppies.

*This recipe can be easily multiplied for larger batches.
Use one can of soup per pound of ground beef, plus one.
So, for 3# meat, add 4 cans soup.  That was my typical batch while the children were growing, and I would use a large sweet onion.
This travels well in a slow cooker for potluck dinners.

Corn Bread in a Cast Iron Skillet

Corn Bread Recipes

In my opinion, this is the only way to make Corn Bread!  I will share with you the recipe that my mother used when I was growing up, and I will share my slight changes.

Mom’s Recipe

2C degermed yellow cornmeal
2T white, all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
2C soured milk
1 med egg, beaten
1/4 C shortening

Preheat your oven to 450*, putting your 8-10″ skillet & shortening in when you turn on the oven.

In your  batter bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
Make your soured milk by putting 2T vinegar in your measuring cup and filling to the 2C line with sweet milk.
Add the egg to the milk, then add to the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Once your oven & skillet are hot, carefully remove the skillet and carefully swirl the now melted shortening around the pan to coat, then pour it into the cornbread batter.  Stir in.

Pour the batter back into the hot skillet and return to the oven.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  It is done when browned and releases from the sides of the skillet.  It should turn out of the skillet easily when inverted over a plate.

Cut into wedges, butter, and serve hot with brown beans, chopped onions, and fried potatoes, or with your favorite chili recipe.

My Corn Bread Recipe

Basically it is the same recipe, but with whole grain ingredients.

2C organic, stoneground cornmeal
2T whole wheat flour
2tsp baking powder, non-aluminum
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
2C yogurt, plain or vanilla
1 large farm egg, beaten
1/4 C oil

Put a dry iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 450*

In your batter bowl  whisk  together the dry ingredients.
Put the yogurt and egg into a mixing bowl  to mix thoroughly, then add to the dry ingredients, and stir together.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven when it reaches 450*, and pour  oil  in the hot skillet.  Carefully swirl it around the skillet to coat it, then pour into the batter.  Stir it in, then pour the batter into the hot skillet, and carefully return the skillet to the hot oven.

Bake it for 20 minutes.  Important to note the difference in baking time!
It is done when browned and releases from the sides of the skillet.  It should turn out of the skillet easily when inverted over a plate.

*A different substitution can be made by using buttermilk instead of soured milk or yogurt.  In that case, bake for 30 minutes.  I have absolutely no idea why the baking times are different, and they may vary differently for you.