During the second year of my marriage I bought one of those little casserole cookbooks by the checkout line. I loved that cookbook. Our favorite recipe from it was called Cornbread Taco Bake. I made this recipe at least once a month until about seven years ago.... that's when we changed our diet and I wasn't sure how to do the recipe. A lot of my recipes went by the wayside when we changed our diet because I didn't know how to substitute certain ingredients. Along the way I learned how to do that for the majority of my recipes but sort of forgot about others. I came upon the recipe for the Cornbread Taco Bake just the other day and thought, wow.... there's GOT to be an easy way to make my own cornbread mix rather than using the icky prepackaged mixes I use to by and now I have found organic french fried onions that don't contain a lot of the artificial ingredeints that the brand names do. So I googled homemade cornbread mix and this is what I came up with (with a minor substituteion of my own).
HOMEMADE CORNBREAD MIX
4 cups flour (I use a mix of whole wheat and white: whole wheat is much healthier but a mix offers the same texture as what most people are use to)
1 TBSP salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup aluminum free baking powder
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I actually used half a cup of nonrefined coconut oil and 1/2 cup organic vegetable shortening - it turned out quite well! I will probably use all coconut oil next time!)
4 cups cornmeal
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender or using a mixer, blend this mixture until mixed well and fine. Add the cornmeal mix.
The original recipe says to store this in an airtight container for 3-4 months. I see no reason for this as it calls for nothing that requires refridgeration. My homemade bisquick mix calls for this too and I've never refrigerated it and have kept it around for many months....6 or 7. So I'm not refrigerating mine. I will see how it does.
FOR MIXING CORNBREAD
Combine 2 1/2 cups of your cornbread mix with 1 egg and 1 1/4 cup milk. Mix unitl the dry ingredients are well moistened. Pour into a greased 8" square pan or muffin pan and bake at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes (depending on pan you are using of course) until golden brown and bread springs back when lightly touched.
CORN BREAD TACO BAKE
1 1/2 - 2 pounds ground beef or venison
1 package taco seasoning mix (or make your own like I did! See recipe below!)
1/2 cup water
1 can whole kernal corn (organic preferred...otherwise it's GMO in the United States)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups corn muffin mix prepared with egg and milk as directed in recipe above
3 oz. french fried onions
1 cup shredded cheddar or colby or monteray jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In large skillet, brown ground meat. (My venison doesn't have much liquid...if your meat does, you may want to drain it at this point.) Stir in taco seasoning, water, corn, green pepper and tomato sauce; pour mixture into 2 quart casserole dish. Prepare corn bread mix as directed and stir in HALF of the french fried onions. Spoon corn muffin batter along the edge of the beef mixture (so that there is a round open hole in the center- this is just for looks though so you could just spread it across the top of the whole casserole) Bake, uncovered at 400degrees for 20 minutes or until cornbread is done. Top the cornbread with cheese and remaining onions; bake, uncovered, 1-3 minutes or until onions are golden brown.
Makes approximately 6 servings.
HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING
1 heaping TBLSP chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 2-3 cloves fresh garlic)
1/4 tsp onion powder (or 1/2-1 tblsp fresh onion, minced)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dreid oregeno
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt* There is a huge difference between ordinary table salt and sea salt. If you have been told to watch your salt intake, this is the salt you should be using (It's the salt you should be using even if you haven't been told that. There are processing issues that make table salt bad for you... but that's all for another post, another day....)
Mix all the ingredients together. This makes ONE serving or the amount to be used if a recipe calls for one package of taco seasoning mix. You can double, triple the recipe, etc. and store it in an airtight container for safekeeping!