We always eat well on Wednesday. Wednesday is shopping day, Wednesday is “I’m off work” day, and Wednesday means I can actually spend a few minutes in the kitchen!

Shopping today was a lot of fun because we were out of everything! I didn’t go shopping last week because of the trip to San Francisco… no sense buying stuff just to sit in the fridge while we’re 3000 miles away. Besides, there was plenty of stuff in the freezer and cupboards to get us through.

Last night I was taking inventory and actually writing a list of basics we needed when I came upon a small package of blue cornmeal. It had been in the cupboard for a while. I think I bought it at the Lancaster farmer’s market, but it could have come from any number of places. Anyway… I decided I was going to use it today. I had a few ideas in mind… I have chopped green chilies, there’s some cheddar cheese… Muffins or cornbread would work. I was kinda thinking Mexican. I did my shopping without a clear picture in mind (typical…) and came home to figure out tonight’s meal. I had everything I needed to go in any number of directions, but I still wasn’t quite sure…

And then I came upon a Cornbread Stuffing recipe from Bon Appetit last November. It was perfect! It would use up the ham slice in the freezer, the chestnuts in the cupboard from Christmas… Out with the old, make way for the new! We were having Stuffed Chicken Breasts for dinner tonight!

The full meal was the stuffed chicken breasts served on a bed of Manishewitz extra extra fine egg noodles with a mushroom sauce and escarole braised in white balsamic vinegar and garlic. Oh yum!
Direct from Epicurious…


This simple, rustic cornbread is best used for making stuffing.

  • 1 1/4 cups medium-grind stone-ground whole-grain yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 11x7x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Whisk milk and egg in small bowl to blend. Add milk mixture and melted butter to cornmeal mixture and stir just until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cornbread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn cornbread out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap cornbread in foil and store at room temperature.)


For convenience, make the cornbread one day before preparing the stuffing.

  • Stone-Ground Cornbread
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 8 ounces ham steak, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 large celery stalks, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 7.25-ounce jar steamed peeled chestnuts, coarsely crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coarsely crumble cornbread onto large rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until slightly dried, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Maintain oven temperature.

Butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced ham and sauté until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer ham to large bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and sage; cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl with ham. Stir in chestnuts, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. (Toasted cornbread and ham mixture can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and store cornbread at room temperature. Cool ham mixture slightly, then cover and refrigerate.)

Stir crumbled cornbread into ham mixture. Whisk 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and eggs in medium bowl to blend. Mix into stuffing, adding more chicken broth by tablespoonfuls if dry. Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish. Dot with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spray sheet of foil on 1 side with nonstick spray. Cover cornbread stuffing with foil, sprayed side down. Bake stuffing 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes longer.

I more or less followed the recipes (at least as much as I ever follow a recipe…) but used my own homemade chicken broth and I added about a half loaf of whole wheat bread that I cubed and toasted. And another egg, and more broth…

For the sauce I sauteed about 4 oz mushrooms in a tbsp butter and browned them well. Added a bit of flour, then a couple of cups of the aforementioned chicken broth. A shot of garlic powder, and some S&P, and it was ready.

The escarole was a splash of olive oil in a frying pan, added the escarole, a bit of S&P, garlic powder, and a sprinkling of white balsamic vinegar. Cooked it until wilted. It was yummy, too!

Start-to-finish was about 2 hours – and that included making and baking the cornbread. Any and all parts can be done in advance, and it’s bake in the oven about 45 minutes!