Bandera Cornbread

Moist sweet and amazing cornbread from the Bandera chain of restaurants owned by Houstons. This is one of my favorites. It’s a clone of the cornbread from Bandera, with some changes I made. It’s easy, friggin’ outrageously good, and completely bad for you! – Jeff Weitzman ’85 

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time50 min
  • Total Time1 hr
  • Ready in60 minutes
  • Yield16 wedges
  • Cuisine
    • American
  • Cooking Method
    • Bake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 15 ounces creamed corn
  • 2 ounces green chili peppers, roasted style (half small can)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 eggs 



Preheat oven & cast iron skillet to 425 degrees.

Mix flour, cornmeal, salt & baking powder in a smaller bowl and set aside.

Melt butter and combine with sugar, creamed corn, and chili peppers in a larger bowl. Mix to combine. Add eggs one-by one and mix until well blended. Add cheese.

Fold-in flour mixture until mixed well; clumps are okay.

Carefully remove cast iron skillet from oven and evenly coat top and sides with butter.

Pour in cornbread batter (be careful, it may splatter) and return to oven.

After top firms up, if desired, sprinkle some coarse sugar and paprika on top for crunch and color.

Bake 20-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

To accurately clone the restaurant’s version, use small (6″) cast iron skillets. However this can just be made in one large 12″ cast iron skillet. Modified by Jeff for 1/2 the butter and higher cooking temps.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

The barley, cooked over a long period of time, adds a velvety texture as well as a nutty flavor to the soup.

  • Ready in1
  • YieldServes 6-8
  • Cuisine
    • American
  • Course
    • Main Course
    • Soup
  • Cooking Method
    • slow cooker
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 lbs), trimmed & cut into 1/2” pieces
  • Salt and pepper2 onions, chopped medium
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped medium
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves



Dry the beef w paper towels, then season w salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a 12” skillet over med high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, about 10 min, then add to the slow cooker.


Add the remaining 2 tsp oil to the empty skillet and heat over med heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until the veggies are softened, about 5 min. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute, then pour into the slow cooker.


Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, and barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beef is tender (6-7 hrs on low or 4-5 hrs on high). Before serving, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.



I like the “Make Ahead’ process. Also, if you have a nice butcher, ask him or her to cut up the chuck roast. I also prefer the dry thyme to fresh, since it seems to more evenly flavor the soup. If you use sea salt, hold back a bit. 

Try substituting 2 tbsp minced fresh dill for the parsley.

To Make Ahead


The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them overnight (browned meat in one container, and veggies and wine in another). In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker, then add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe. 

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup

A lemony chicken soup for chilly nights, or any night!

  • Cuisine
    • Mediterranean
    • Greek
  • Course
    • Soup
  • 1 leek (white part only), chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large boxes chicken stock (free range / organic)
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 chicken thighs (with skin & bones)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup rice
  • carrots, sliced rather thin
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • fresh lemon juice (1-3 lemons)

Saute chopped leek and chopped onion in olive oil with salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, and drop in chicken breasts and chicken thighs.  Cook thoroughly (about 20 minutes), then remove chicken.


Add rice and carrots to boiling stock.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes.


Shred chicken breasts with a fork (save chicken thighs for another use) and add shredded chicken back into stock.


Add fresh dill and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Barley

  • Cuisine
    • American
  • Cooking Method
    • Baking
  • Suitable for Diet
    • Vegetarian
  • 1 acorn squash (1 1/2 lb), halved pole to pole and seeded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb cored and chopped fine
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • balsamic vinegar



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil.


Brush sides of squash with oil and salt and pepper and lay quash cut side down on sheet.  Roast for 45-55 minutes until tender.


Cook barley as directed and set aside.  Heat oil and sauté fennel & shallots until softened and slightly brown.  Add garlic and seasonings.  Add garlic and seasonings.  Add barley, 1/2 cup parmesan, parsley, pine nuts, and butter.  Season with salt and pepper.


Scoop out squash halves leaving 1/8-1/4 “ thickness in each.  Fold in squash to barley mix and then scoop back into squash shells.  Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and bake in 450 degree oven 5-10 minutes.

Easy cheat:  use one of the rice/barley/quinoa mixes to shave stamps off prep time.

Smoked Turkey Soup

Our family often enjoys smoked turkey for Thanksgiving, whether it’s ordered from Greenberg’s Holiday Turkeys in Texas (you have to try them!) or off the smoker in the back yard. We love this recipe from Serious Eats for the leftovers, but I’ve also made it with smoked turkey wings and legs from the market as suggested in the recipe. Enjoy!

  • Cook Time1 hr 30 min
  • Yield4 to 6 servings
  • Cuisine
    • American
  • Course
    • Soup
  • 2 smoked bone-in turkey wings or drumsticks (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 large celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 lb. okra, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 14.5 oz can cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. malt or cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Pull the turkey meat from the bone and skin. Cut the meat into chunks and set aside. Put the bones and skin in a Dutch oven or large stock pot over medium heat. Render the fat from the skin for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, transfer the bones and skin to a separate medium saucepot and cover with the stock or broth. Simmer over medium heat while you prepare the rest of the soup.


Return the Dutch oven to medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery to the reserved fat and fond and sweat the ingredients for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to release the bits while the liquid cooks down until mostly gone. Stir in the mushrooms and okra and sweat the vegetables for another 5 minutes.


Add the reserved turkey meat, potatoes, and beans. Strain the stock into the pot with the other ingredients. Discard the bones and skin. Add the sprigs of thyme and simmer for 1 hour.


Stir in the vinegar and season the soup to taste with freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Okra, potatoes and beans add richness and viscosity to complement the smoky flavor of this substantial soup.