Caribbean Cornbread Crab Cakes for a Perfect Summer Supper

As much as we talk about the food traditions of the Mid-South, the food traditions of coastal areas of the South are equally as rich and interesting. As with most locations, the food traditions usually come from the heritage of the people and the resources available in the area. The coastal heritage is different to other parts of the South as the French and English settlers (in addition to many others) influenced the cooking style. Crops and the availability of fresh seafood created a cuisine unique to that part of the county.

Crab, shrimp and fish sustained all types of people – the rich and the poor. I remember driving through South Carolina many years ago and seeing a small refrigerated truck with shrimp for sale. This was so surprising because shrimp was a rare delicacy to me at that time. In time I realized the shrimp were right there for the taking, just as catfish are abundant in the inland South.

We are blessed to have easy access to seafood so we can enjoy it much more often. Summer is the perfect time to use seafood in our cooking. This recipe for Caribbean Cornbread Crab Cakes is a delicious example. A National Cornbread Cook-Off winning recipe, these crab cakes are held together by cooked, crumbled cornbread. The mango salsa topping combined with pineapple and seasoned with the fresh flavors of lime, ginger and cilantro give it the perfect summer touch.

What’s your favorite summer seafood dish?

Put a Southern Spin on the Sandwich

If you grew up in the South, you’ve probably eaten cornbread in many different ways, but have you ever had a sandwich on cornbread?  Our National Cornbread Cook-Off participants always amaze me with their creative uses for cornbread. Two of our past National Cornbread Cook-Off winners made cornbread sandwiches!

Bacon and Gorgonzola Cornbread Sliders with Chipotle Mayo was the first place winning recipe in 2010. Instead of the typical small bun, these sliders are made on cornbread muffins. By adding flour, sour cream and an egg to a cornbread mix the muffins are moist enough to use instead of a bun. Chives, bacon and gorgonzola cheese add such great flavor to these sandwiches which would be delicious served with soup, salad or chili. To finish the sliders, split the muffins in half and spread with chipotle mayo, add a small cooked ground beef patty, cheese and grilled onions. Delicious!

8082-MW-ULTIMATE-GRILLED-CHEESE-HERO-1200X1200_mediumIn 2014, The Ultimate Southern Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe took third place. The cornbread for this sandwich is cooked in a cast iron skillet, cut into 4 wedges and sliced lengthwise. Cut sides are spread with ranch dressing. On the bottom wedges, place cheese slices, bacon, grilled onions, tomato slices and more cheese. Grilled in butter until golden brown and crunchy, these grilled cheese sandwiches are really an ultimate grilled cheese.

Recipes like these continue to remind us that good cornbread can be used in many ways in addition to the beloved accompaniment to fresh summer vegetables!

Lodge Cast Iron Crowns Cook-Off Winner at 20th National Cornbread Festival

In a weekend-long celebration of cornbread, dishes with French influence and southern flair take home top honors at the National Cornbread Festival.

Lodge Cast Iron® hosted the 20th Annual Cornbread Festival in its hometown of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, at which Ronna F. of Rockville, Maryland, was crowned the winner of the 20th Annual National Cornbread Cook-Off. As winner of the 2016 Cook-Off, Ronna’s original recipe, Cornbread-Topped Cordon Bleu Skillet, earned her the coveted cast iron skillet crown, a $5,000 cash prize, a 30-inch stainless steel gas range from FiveStar® Professional Cooking Equipment (a $3,250 value), and special gifts from Martha White® and Lodge Cast Iron.


1 large egg

cup milk

¼ cup sour cream

¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 package Martha White® Cotton Country Buttermilk Cornbread & Muffin Mix

1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced

1¼ cups bottled Alfredo sauce

1 4-ounce can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

2 ounces thinly sliced deli-style cooked ham, roughly chopped

4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese

cups panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried parsley


Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Blend in cornbread mix. Set aside.

In a 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet, combine chicken, Alfredo sauce and mushrooms. Lay the spinach leaves over the chicken mixture. Scatter the ham over the spinach. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese on top of the ham. Spoon the cornbread mixture evenly over the top.

In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the cornbread.

Bake at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Cut into wedges.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Lodge is a trademark of Lodge Manufacturing Company.

National Cornbread Festival is a trademark of National Cornbread Festival, Inc.

Bob’s Bama Hoecake Sliders Takes First Place at 20th Annual National Cornbread Festival

It was a beautiful weekend for the 20th Annual National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, TN. – the home of Lodge® Cast Iron. Cornbread lovers flocked to the small town to celebrate the perfect marriage of cornbread and cast iron.

Martha White® invited five past cook-off judges – all cornbread experts – to compete for a donation to their favorite food related charity. The competitors prepared an original appetizer recipe made with corn meal or a cornbread mix and cooked in cast iron. Every recipe was so creative, and the judges had a challenge to select a winner. After much deliberation, Bob Carlton, a food writer for The Birmingham News, was declared the winner for his Bob’s Bama Hoecake Sliders. He selected Magic City Harvest and Jones Valley Teaching Farm to share the $2,000.00 donation.

In addition to being delicious, part of the charm of Bob’s recipe is his use of Southern ingredients. Bob created his appetizer sliders by making little buttermilk hoecakes using Martha White Self-Rising Flour to use as bun, filled with pimento cheese, local smoked sausage and spicy pickles.


2 cups Martha White® Self-Rising White Enriched Corn Meal Mix

1 large egg

1¾ cups buttermilk

¼ cup Crisco® Vegetable Oil

2 to 3 tablespoons of Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening (optional)

12-ounce container of pimento cheese (your favorite brand or see recipe below)

1 pound of smoked sausage

1 16-ounce jar of spicy pickle slices

Beat egg in medium bowl. Add buttermilk, vegetable oil and corn meal mix and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Slice smoked sausage into 2-inch pieces. Then slice pieces lengthwise to cut in half. Set aside.

If making your own pimento cheese, follow the recipe below or use a favorite family recipe.

Cut individual pickle slices into quarters. Set aside.

Heat a 12-inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet (or a Lodge Cast Iron griddle) over medium to medium high-heat.

After skillet gets hot, add the sliced sausage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. After sausage reaches the desired degree of doneness, remove from skillet and let drain on paper towel. Repeat this step until all of the sausage is cooked.

Leave sausage drippings in skillet and (while skillet is still hot) begin dropping heaping spoonfuls of corn meal mixture into skillet to create medallion-sized hoecakes (about 2 inches in diameter).

Brown for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes and then flip. Brown other side for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes and then remove hoecakes.

Place on a cookie sheet and keep warm in oven on low heat (about 200 degrees). Repeat this step until all of the corn meal mix is cooked. If sausage drippings run out, add 1 tablespoon of shortening to the pan for each batch of hoecakes.

To build the hoecake sliders, take one hoecake and spread with pimento cheese. Top with two slices of sausage and about four of the pickle quarters. Spread pimento cheese on another hoecake and then place it on top to create a small sandwich or slider. Hold it together with a toothpick if necessary. Repeat this step until you have used all of the ingredients.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

Makes 16 servings


Optional pimento cheese recipe:

8 ounces of sharp white cheddar cheese

8 ounces of red-wax hoop cheese

2-ounce jar of diced pimentos, drained

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Grate cheese into large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and pimentos and stir thoroughly until all ingredients are blended. Serve immediately or store in a sealed, plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Lodge is a trademark of Lodge Manufacturing Company.

National Cornbread Festival is a trademark of National Cornbread Festival, Inc.

Virtual Cornbread Potluck

My husband and I recently hosted a potluck dinner and invited a variety of guests, many of whom did not know one another. It was amazing to see how the food became a common thread that brought everyone together. Nancy’s chicken and dumplings, Charlotte’s salad and Lovella’s banana pudding were shared among the group, spurred new friendships and made for a wonderful day.

Even though we can’t all physically sit around the dinner table today, we can join together for the third Annual Martha White® Virtual Cornbread Potluck. Let’s use this opportunity to exchange recipes and memories with each other.

At the 20th Annual National Cornbread Festival, Martha White will host a Past Judges Cook-Off for Charity event. This is an exciting milestone for cornbread and the perfect time to join together with ten of our blogger partners to highlight and share their favorite cornbread recipes. The below links will take you directly to the individual blog sites making it easy to check out their delicious creations.

My virtual potluck recipe will be a Fresh Tomato Tart with Black Pepper Cornbread Crust – a cornbread crusted version of tomato pie. I love this recipe because it’s a perfect appetizer for a potluck, cook-out or any casual summer party.


Your Virtual Potluck Hosts:

Stacey – Southern Bite: Blueberry Cornbread
Brandie – The Country Cook: Caprese Cornbread
Stephanie – Plain Chicken: BBQ Chicken Cornbread Muffins
Tina – Mommy’s Kitchen: Southern Cornbread Salad
Melissa – Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen: Cheddar Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread Loaf
Christin – Spicy Southern Kitchen: Sloppy Joe Cornbread Muffins
Christy – Southern Plate: 2 Ingredient Hot Water Cornbread
Angela – About a Mom: Mini Corn Dog Muffins
Brett – This Mama Loves: Chicken Chili with Cornbread Crust
Jenny – Picky Palate: BLT Cornbread Salad

What are you bringing to the potluck?


Come Celebrate 20th National Cornbread Festival With Us!

On April 23 & 24, 2016, the picturesque Tennessee River town of South Pittsburg, TN, will celebrate the 20th National Cornbread Festival. Paying homage to the South’s perfect union of cornbread and cast iron, the Festival will be a great fun-filled weekend for the entire family.

nationalcornbread logo

At the 20th anniversary of the Festival, Martha White® will host the 2016 Past National Championship Cook-Off Winners’ Charity event on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Past judges from The National Cornbread Cook-Off will compete for a food-related charity of their choice. These food experts will prepare an original appetizer recipe with a Martha White Cornbread Mix that has been prepared in Lodge® Cast Iron cookware. You’re sure to leave the Cook-Off with some great new ideas for delicious party food to share with your friends.

Lodge® Cast Iron will also sponsor a consumer Cornbread Cook-Off.  Creative home cooks will prepare their original main dish recipes for a panel of judges at the Festival. The recipes will be made with a Martha White Cornbread Mix and cooked in Lodge® Cast Iron Cookware.

Make a point to arrive early so you can see the 4-H Student Cook-Off. Seeing these young 4-H members competing will give you hope for the preservation of good cornbread for the next generation.

Last year we invited past winners to prepare their winning recipes and interestingly one of our earlier recipes, Festive Good Luck Cornbread Skillet, was the winner. The dish features smoked sausage, black-eyed peas, collards and cornbread and proves that cornbread combined with traditional ingredients is always a winner!

Come and share the fun with us. See how cast iron cookware is made by touring the Lodge Manufacturing plant. Explore opportunities to enter prize drawings, shop the crafts, enjoy the music and eat lots of good cornbread!  For more information, visit

Mini Jalapeno Popper Muffins

The following post was written by our friend, Tina at Mommy’s Kitchen.

This time of year I’m always on the hunt for easy appetizers or finger foods. Whether you’re entertaining for a party or throwing a last minute get-together, portable appetizers are always a must.  These Mini Jalapeno Popper Muffins are the perfect little bite size appetizer and crowd-pleaser. If you’re a fan of Jalapeno Poppers then you’re going to love this recipe.

Fresh jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese baked inside mini cornbread muffins. These tasty little muffins have everything you love about traditional jalapeno poppers, but in a corn muffin form. If you like things a little spicy, try using the Martha White Mexican Style Cornbread & Muffin Mix. Either way you will want to make a double batch, so there’s plenty to go around. Let’s get started on this easy appetizer.


Ingredients needed: one packet Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix, milk, one egg, shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese, cream cheese, 2-3 fresh jalapeno peppers.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions, adding the milk and egg. Using a wooden spoon lightly mix to combine. Add the chopped jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese to the cornbread batter, and mix until blended.


Using a one inch cookie scoop or a spoon, add one tablespoon of cornbread batter to each mini muffin cup. Press one cream cheese cube into the batter, and cover with additional cornbread batter until muffin cups are 2/3 full. Bake 10 – 14 minutes or until the muffins are cooked and lightly golden brown on top. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then using a small offset spatula loosen the edges and remove muffins.


Mini Jalapeno Popper (Cornbread) Muffins

1 – 6 oz packet Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix
1/2 – cup milk
1 – Egg
2 – 3 – fresh whole jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 – Cup cheddar or Colby jack cheese, shredded
6 – Oz cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non stick spray and set aside. Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions, adding the milk and egg. Using a wooden spoon lightly mix to combine.

Add the chopped jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese to the cornbread batter, and mix until blended.

Using a one inch cookie scoop or a spoon, add one tablespoon of cornbread batter to each mini muffin cup.

Press one cream cheese cube into the batter, and cover with additional cornbread batter until muffin cups are 2/3 full.

Bake 10 – 14 minutes or until the muffins are cooked and lightly golden brown on top. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then using a small offset spatula loosen the edges and remove muffins.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Yields: 12 mini muffin poppers

Recipe source: