Friday, January 6, 2012

Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad

As the holidays smoothly segue into football playoff season, there’s some last minute menu pondering and tweaking going on around here. An odd combination of Christmas and Steelers themes somehow simultaneously, and compatibly, will infuse our extended Jones-side-of-the-family celebration tomorrow.  Side-by-side, the Christmas tree and Terrible towels just seem to go together beautifully!  The joy of celebrating Christmas and the New Year with those we love and cheering on the team we love – all in the same afternoon – makes our annual party even more fun.  Red and green table linens festooned with Black and Gold Steelers plates and napkins work!

With several generations of Joneses (only one of which still carries the Jones name – hi Aunt Katie!) gathering around the buffet table, the menu will be football-crowd-friendly, yet appeal to all ages and tastes, the traditional and adventurous alike.  Of course, football food in Pittsburgh is food we’ve all grown up with and loved….we love pierogies and stuffed cabbage, hot sausages with peppers and onions, big, hearty sandwiches (with fries and coleslaw ON the sandwich at Primanti’s!)…and it’s always good to throw something different in there, too, to shake things up a bit. 

What am I serving?  Just as the party celebrates Christmas and football, the menu will be a combo of Italian and Tex-Mex…and other stuff tossed in just for the hell of it.  So far (and I’d better finalize this quick!), I’ve got appetizers of queso (yep, the recipe posted recently), chips and salsa – maybe guac if I can find good avocados today; two main dishes – a pepperoni-studded, sweet Italian sausage and spinach lasagna and hot sausages with peppers and onions on good crusty rolls; a simple, cool, crisp romaine salad with feta, garlic, kalamata olives and a good balsamic vinaigrette and a beautiful layered cornbread salad with tomatoes, corn, ranch dressing and black beans; and, crunchy, cheesy homemade garlic bread.  For dessert?  Fresh pineapple chunks, cool red grapes, sweet banana chunks and (gluten-free) pretzel sticks to swirl in smooth, warm, Kahlua-kissed dark chocolate fondue. 

You know, the menu is kind of like our family.  A sweet, spicy, fun mix that all gets along beautifully….and has a hell of a lot of fun doing so!  One more thing.  GO STEELERS!!!!

Cornbread Salad

  • 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix (or gf cornbread mix - use just 1/2 of the baked cornbread) baked, cooled & crumbled coarsely
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can corn, DelMonte Summer Crisp, drained or leftover corn on the cob cut off
  • 6 green onions, sliced well into the green tops
  • 3 large tomatoes, fresh, chopped (reserve a little for decoration) (in the winter I use the ripest Roma or heirloom tomatoes I can find!)
  • 8 ounces ranch salad dressing, made fresh from packet
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • pickled jalapenos, slices

In a glass bowl (to show off how pretty this is), layer:  cornbread, black beans, green pepper, 1/2 the ranch dressing, corn, green onions, tomatoes, rest of the ranch dressing and shredded cheddar.

Chill 2-3 hours.  Garnish with reserved tomatoes and pickled jalepeno slices.

Serve with additional ranch dressing to drizzle over.

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