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Ingredients add zest to corn bread

The only thing I like better than a big bowl of chili is a big bowl of chili with a side of corn bread.

Corn bread is simply a quick bread that incorporates cornmeal into its list of ingredients.

All cornmeal is made from dried kernels of corn. There is no difference between white and yellow corn meal other than the color of the corn it was ground from.

In my opinion, corn bread is best served straight out of the oven and slathered in butter or margarine with honey drizzled over the top because, well, it just tastes better that way.

The following recipes are great with a heaping helping of chili, but also pair well with fried chicken, fish, a bowl of soup or just as a quick snack when you need to whip up something a little different.

Sweet and Hot Corn Bread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs

4 tablespoons oil

11- to 15-ounce can of fiesta-style corn, drained

1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

1/4 cup chopped jalapeno peppers, drained (from a jar not fresh)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In another bowl combine the milk, eggs and oil; whisk to combine.

Add the corn, cheese and chopped peppers to the egg mixture and mix to combine.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Do not over mix. Spoon the mixture into the greased pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Serves 6 to 8.

Cornbread Tex-Mex Style

2 eggs

1/4 cup oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 (8 ounce) can creamed corn

1 large onion, chopped

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. In a bowl combine the eggs, oil and buttermilk. Whisk to combine. Add 1 cup shredded cheese, creamed corn, onion and peppers. Mix to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serves 6 to 8.

Bacon Crusted Corn Bread

10 slices of hickory smoked bacon (you can use regular)

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 1/2 cups flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 2/3 cups milk

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh)

In a skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Save the grease in a bowl and drain the bacon on paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with two to three tablespoons of the bacon grease.

In a bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl combine the milk, eggs, honey and butter; whisk to combine.

By hand, stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in the corn. Pour batter into skillet. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top of the batter.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden on top. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

– Modified from recipe submitted by Randy Macosi Sidmons of New York, N.Y. Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at eztlog@gmail.com or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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