But along with the meat and potatoes come, well, the meat and potatoes. We all gotta eat, right? Here at Volunteer Maryland, we have a tradition of sharing “AmeriRecipes” with each other.
What does it take to qualify as an AmeriRecipe? Well, in light of the fact that Volunteer Maryland Coordinators live on a modest stipend, these recipes should feature affordable ingredients. And in light of the fact that Volunteer Maryland Coordinators have a busy, full-time work schedule, these meals should, ideally, take minutes to prepare. Finally, these recipes need to exist in that sweet spot wherein lies the nutritious and the delicious.
My current favorite recipe that falls squarely in the AmeriRecipe category is what I grew up in Illinois referring to as Soup Beans and Corn Bread. I love this meal for many reasons — not the least of which is that it has many iterations. Traditionally made with ham, it is easily converted to a vegetarian dish. Want to go the extra cheap, nutritious route? Buy dried beans and soak them overnight before preparing. Navy, Great Northern or Cannellini beans(or some combination) work beautifully.
Here is my latest version:
Combine 3 14.5 ounce cans of beans with 1 can of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth (add water or another can of broth if you want a soupier consistency) in a dutch oven.
Chop up two carrots, and onion, and one or two potatoes and add to soup.
Bring to a boil and then simmer, adding minced garlic, salt, pepper, basil and/or other seasonings to taste.
If desired, add leftover ham or bacon.
Simmer until vegetables are soft.
While the soup simmers, heat the oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, ¾ cup of cornmeal, 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 and a half teaspoons of baking powder and ¾ teaspoon of salt.
In a small bowl, combine 2 beaten eggs, a cup of milk and and ¼ cup of oil. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.
Pour batter into a greased 8x8x2 inch pan and bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean).
For vegans, here is a good alternative cornbread recipe.
Serve warm with bean soup and enjoy!