Soup and cornbread isn’t the first thing you think of when it’s 100º outside, but the bright vegetables, fresh succulent crab, and sweet corn make me feel like summer. And this cornbread…one of my favorite creations ever! It’s southern comfort at its best and 100% whole grain, butter-free, and only 115 calories per slice before the cheese. You might be thinking, “Cornbread without butter? It has to be dry and dense.” Wrong! This cornbread is moist and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, perfect with any soup or classic southern BBQ. So, restricting this cornbread to certain seasons would be an abomination.
Plus, as the school-year begins, we’re all searching for quick, easy, healthy recipes that don’t require much planning. No one wants to stress about having all the right ingredients, or prepping far enough in advance when school, work, errands, or your child’s soccer game occupies all of your attention. But it’s also not satisfying to succumb to take-out, delivery pizza, or Hamburger Helper every night. How about a beautiful, made-from-scratch meal AND the time and ability to make it on a busy night? Sounds pretty good to me.
So here are some strategies to make your meals hassle-free:
1) Use your freezer. Stock up on frozen vegetables, meats, seafood, breads, (and ice cream, of course), so you have lots of options for meals without frantically running to the store. Also, freeze leftovers whenever possible so you’re not stuck with the same dinner several nights in a row, or throwing out smelly old food you forgot to eat. This soup gets a lot of its color and texture from all the frozen veggies–lima beans, baby peas, corn–just thrown right in without any work! And the cornbread freezes perfectly; just pop it in the oven for 10 minutes at 400º from frozen whenever you want a delicious, crispy yet moist, healthy side. (Or bake 5 minutes, slice and fill the center with cheese, then bake 5 minutes longer, until crispy.)
2) Buy carrots and celery already cut into sticks. No washing, shaving, or bulk to deal with, and they’re also great for throwing in lunch boxes with peanut butter, spreadable cheese, or bean dip.
3) Steam-in-a-bag green beans! Just get a bag of organic trimmed green beans, pierce the bag and microwave 5 minutes, transfer to a tupperware and enjoy all week. They are perfect in cold salads, reheated for a dinner side, all by themselves with a little lemon juice and black pepper, and (of course) thrown into soups!
4) Jarred minced garlic, canned diced/crushed tomatoes, and bottled chicken/veggie broth. Don’t know what I would do without these!
Maryland Crab Stew
Serves 2, but can easily be multiplied for more
- 1/2 – 1 tsp EVOO
- handful chopped yellow onion
- 1 stalk (or 2 sticks) diced celery
- 1/2 – 1 whole carrot (or 2-3 sticks), diced
- 150 g (1 serving) golden baby potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- salt/black pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup frozen lima beans
- 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/4 cup frozen baby peas
- 2 oz chopped steamed green beans*
- 4 oz lump crab meat, picked through to remove shell pieces
Heat EVOO in a medium/large saucepan; sauté onion, celery, carrot, and potatoes a couple minutes. Stir in garlic another 30 seconds, then diced and crushed tomatoes, broth, water, Old Bay, salt and black pepper to taste, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a light boil 25 minutes. Add frozen lima beans and cook about 10 minutes longer, until potatoes and lima beans are tender. Then stir in corn, peas, steamed green beans*, and crab. Cover and simmer another 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
*If using frozen or uncooked green beans, add toward the beginning so they can cook in the soup.
Healthy Cheddar-Stuffed Cornbread
Makes 6 pieces
- 72 g (scant 1/2 cup) whole grain, medium grind cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 58 g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
- scant 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 Tbsp applesauce
- 2 tsp EVOO
- 4 tsp honey
- sliced sharp cheddar
Preheat oven to 425º. Thoroughly mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white, yogurt, milk, applesauce, olive oil, and honey. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just to combine. (Lumps are okay, preferable, even.) To bake, you can line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper, or grease an 8 in skillet, and pour in batter. Bake about 12 minutes, or until no longer moist in the center. Cut into 6 pieces.
At this point, you can set aside the pieces you want to save for later; after they have cooled, seal in a plastic baggy and freeze. For the remaining pieces, slice through the center, add sliced cheese (as much as you want!), and sandwich together. Place on a baking sheet or pizza pan (greased or on nonstick foil if necessary) and return to oven for 5 minutes, until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melty. Enjoy!