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Trader Joe's Cornbread Mix

  • j

I hate really really really simple cooking tasks. They make me incredibly anxious.

I've got a box of TJ's cornbread mix. It says "you will need: 1 egg, 1/2 cup oil, and 3/4 cup milk".

So...what oil? I'm figuring olive would be too strong-flavored. So...like Maxola? Wesson? I don't OWN oil!

And milk...shall I buy full fat, or can I use my usual 1% and fatten it up with some butter? Or should I use butter in lieu of oil?

Also, can I cut this thing in half? It's a 15 oz box, and I'm likely to be the only one eating this stuff, and I don't want its termination to be my life's work for the next two weeks. That could interfere with my obsession with Mina (see outer boros board).

And I need an 8x8x2 pan? I don't have a full set of wrenches, and certainly not of baking pans. Can I just do this in, like, an aluminum take-out container or something?

Ah, ease. Ah, convenience.

ciao

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  1. Jim - a 8-inch cast iron skillet would work or a pie pan.

    Corn, veg, saf. oil, good. Melted butter, better. Leftovers make a nice corn-bread salad mentioned here months ago. Or you can freeze without a noticable difference.

    Good Luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bryan

      Not only can you freeze it, but leftovers are great split,toasted,and buttered. Or split and covered with extra sharp cheddar or cheese of choice and toasted in toaster oven. You DID get a new toaster oven, didn't you, Jim?
      Maybe you should do some yoga before attempting any of this, though.

    2. You can buy a disposable aluminum 8 X 8 pan at the grocery store (often in "Housewares").

      Oil means, basically, like you said Wesson with little flavor. Butter has a higher burning rate, but you can use that or mix them. Like you said, some oils have flavors that will come through.

      Milk is to your taste. If you like non-fat, okay. If you like fatty, use it - or even cream. If you want a bite, use buttermilk and add some green chilis. Just remember that the amount of milk needed is the amount of "liquid" needed. So, if you add soaking green chilis or a can of creamed corn, you have to adjust the amount of liquid to get the batter consistency right. (A note for next time)

      By the way, try Marie Callendar's ready mix cornbread next time. You just add eggs and water. You might find it in any grocery store. It's in a yellow can (pictured lower right corner - you may have to scroll to the bottom right corner)

      And, does it tell you when it's done? Some ovens are different. So, look for it pulling away from the sides of the pan. and it sill be springy to the touch in the middle. Make sure there is enough room in the oven so that it doesn't rise and hit the rack above it. You can also make it in cupcake cups, but, then the baking time is different -less - same theory of pulling away from the sides, though.

      Good luck.

      Link: http://www.mccornbread.com/main.php3?...&

      1 Reply
      1. re: kc girl

        I'd definitely use an iron skillet. And if you add those chilis and corn, add some super sharp cheddar. And put a big pot of pinto beans on. And maybe some mac n cheese. And there you have it, I'm homesick again... Sure there's good soul food here, but you just can't find East Tennessee in Los Angeles :(

      2. Use an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet. Preheat it in the oven with the shortening (preferably lard) in the skillet. Add the hot shortening (or oil, if you must, but avoid soybean oil and corn oil - the first due to the weird taste it gives real cornbread and the second because it leaves a sticky residue), mix, and pour into skillet. Cook for the required time (until light golden brown on top). If you use buttermilk, you will need to add baking soda to the mix - maybe about a level teaspoon full. Otherwise any sort of sweet milk will do. I hope the mix doesn't have flour or sugar in it, so that you can have real true cornbread. If it does contain these, it isn't cornbread, it's cake.

        I could put away that much cornbread in about a day and a half by myself, mostly just by snacking on it.

        1. Boy, you do eat out a lot. Cornbread is pretty foolproof. You don't need cast iron (works nicely, though), you don't need proper sized pan (anything works -- muffin tins, loaf pan, 9x12, roasting pan -- anything). Oil is plain old Wesson style vegetable oil. All vegetable oils are flavor neutral, so it doesn't matter which, really. I use skim milk because that's what's in the house. I suppose it is not as rich, but as I said, cornbread is hard to mess up. You can enrich with some cream (even a couple of tablespoons of melted vanilla ice cream would work), but butter won't substitute (it will make it taste nice and buttery, but not rich). You can halve recipe. If you use odd size pan, just make sure to leave some room for rising, and don't rely on cooking time (cooking it in a 13x9 roasting pan will take less time than in a small, tall loaf pan). The aluminum pie shaped take out containers should be fine for a half recipe. Bake until golden brown.

          1. (applause) very cute comentary on "time saving" box mixes....... what happens when you pick up one of those box meals were everything's included??? (:

            1 Reply
            1. re: K A/O

              Apoplexy.

              I don't know how I got suckered in. Really, I like other people cooking. And when I do cook, I like to either 1. stick to the dozen things I make really well, or 2. improvise. There's just no room for these semi-convenience items in my life; I should stop pretending they're for me.

              Thanks for the advice, everybody.

            2. n
              Natasa Sevoleva

              "I hate really really really simple cooking tasks. They make me incredibly anxious."

              Are you an Aquarius?

              1. Remember the thread a while back about what to do with leftover cornbread? Some great ideas-- especially the egg scramble with cornbread, cheese, onions and whatnot.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JoanB

                  "especially the egg scramble with cornbread, cheese, onions and whatnot"

                  oh, that's a given. There are very few items in my kitchen that wouldn't get scrambled into eggs. Having bonded with matzoh brei at an impressionable age, I'm very licentious with eggs.

                  ciao

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/writing/matz...

                2. Trader Joe's cornbread mix is more like cake than cornbread, I think. It's good, but it's very sweet. I add a little bit of salt when I make it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Basilgirl

                    Good tip, thanks. Not crazy about sweet cakey cornbread, but if it's good...

                    should I also add some stoneground corn meal maybe?

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      Um, you could add some, but it's pretty gritty as is. It also contains little dried corn kernels.

                      Try it, you'll like it.

                      Chow.

                      1. re: Basilgirl

                        I just looked at this stuff (assuming it is the same mix) at TJs today and corn meal is only the third ingredient, after sugar. Probably wouldnot hurt to add an additional bit of the cornmeal! Didnt notice it included any corn kernels or anything. I would definitely substitute melted butter or baconfat for some of the oil to get a heartier flavor.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          It's definitely sweet and cakey (which is the way I like it). It's also very oily using the recommended amount; if I ever made it again, I'd cut back.

                  2. t
                    torta basilica

                    My 12 year old loves it (and I've got to admit I won't turn it down either...) Add a can of drained corn. Bake. Split & slather with butter & a little honey - heaven. Comfort food at it's best.

                    1. Well, i did it last night.

                      I found some Mazola in the back of my cupboard, but decided not to use it because someone said corn oil "leaves a sticky residue", and I decided that should be avoided at all costs. In fact, I had a "thing" about the sticky residue, so I tossed out the Mazola. Also it was likely about fourteen years old (I'm the type who brings half bottles of corn oil with him every time he moves) and while I'm not sure Mazola Corn Oil ever goes rancid (I suspect not...it seems a pretty inert substance, like helium), it's probably no longer at the peak of freshness. I bought some canola oil, thinking of all the salubrious qualities a quarter cup of this healthful oil might have on my organism.

                      Let's see, one further bit of angst. The box gives that most terrifying of instructions: "Do not overmix!" So, of course, from the moment I took spoon to bowl, I was positive I'd overmixed, each stir sealing my fate by ensuring tough, ropy corn bread, not to mention cancer-causing chemical byproducts, etc.

                      I found a round ceramic baking dish I'd bought in Spain, and searched the internet for the mathematical formula to compute the volume of a circular object - to determine whether it was the same 64 square inches of an 8 x 8 pan, but it started getting late, so I decided to just Live Dangerously.

                      I coated the pan with butter, figuring it'd add a good flavor to the crust. Since someone said the result with Trader Joe's mix tended to be oily, I slightly reduced the oil and increased the milk (I went with the 1% milk I keep around - I'd scoured local delis for those little pints of whole milk, but found none).

                      I let it cook pretty brown, smelled great. It's no kind of coarse Southern cornbread....cakey and sweet, but delicious. I finished a quarter of it immediately. Not really the substitute for dinner I'd hoped for, but a good treat nonetheless.

                      The real test, of course, is how it tastes next day. Jim's Law of Baked Goods states that "Anything is great just out of the oven...even pencils." Let's see how it holds up.

                      The Happy Home Chef

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        Good second day. I'm impressed. Seems too sweet, though, for a scrambled egg mash (though the sharp cheese everyone's suggesting would probably provide an ok bridge).

                        1. re: Jim Leff

                          Ha ha ha!

                          I love the part about "Do not overmix." When I first started cooking that freaked me out too. Of course it never said HOW YOU WOULD KNOW if you overmixed. hee hee hee.

                          Thanks for that.

                          1. re: Celeste

                            a! I know I always overmix my scratch pancakes, because they're always tough, whereas the Bisquick ones aren't, dammit. Not sure how many stirs = overdone

                            Jiffy cornbread mix is a less-sweet alternative to from-scratch, not near as sweet as the Marie Calendars, and you can mess with them using chiles, buttermilk, etc- and they're pretty bulletproof.

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              once the liquid hits the leavening, bubbles immediately start to form. If you whisk until you've disintegrated every last little clump of corn meal/flour/egg/milk into a homogenous batter, you've also destroyed some of the levening power by deflating the bubbles. So stir with a fork, gently, reaching those dry pockets at the bottom, bringing them up and swirling the batter. When you've no vast dry deposits anywhere along the bowl surface, you're done.

                              Have the oven HOT and pan buttered and ready before you put liquid into dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the pan and get it right into the oven. That way you get extra rise and a nice crust on the bottom and sides. Any old pan will do but cast iron does amke a superior crust. Cold butter, cut in, tastes way better than oil.

                              I'm surprised these old threads get ressurected, but now that the Chowhound programming is scanning the files for related posts, anything is bound to happen.
                              Wonder what the heck Jim is up to these days.

                        2. I've used extra virgin olive oil for all sorts of these mixes and unless you are talking angelfood cake you can use evoo just fine.