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updated: 1/31/2013 3:17 PM

Mom's New and Improved Cornpone Pie

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1 pounds 95-percent lean ground beef

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)

teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes

1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained

Cornbread batter

1 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal

cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 large whole egg

cup drained unsweetened applesauce

1 cup skim milk

cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar

Lightly spray a large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion and cook, flipping and breaking up the beef until the beef loses all its pink color and the onion is soft; drain any excess liquid from the skillet.

Return the skillet to the heat and add chili powder, salt, Worcestershire sauce and tomatoes with their juice; breaking up the tomatoes with the edge of a spatula or spoon. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and remove the skillet from the heat.

Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish (3-quart) with vegetable oil. Place the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

For the cornbread batter: While the chili simmers, in a small bowl, whisk or stir together cornmeal, flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, drained applesauce, milk, cilantro and cheese until the mixture is completely combined and the sugar dissolves. Add the cornmeal mixture to the bowl and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened, 20-30 seconds.

Add the beef mixture to the prepared casserole, smoothing out the top. Top with the cornbread batter, spreading carefully with a wet knife. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serves six.

Nutrition values per serving: 560 calories (28 percent from fat), 17.4 g fat (8.8 g saturated), 60.3 g carbohydrates, 7.7 g fiber, 42 g protein, 88 mg cholesterol, 988 mg sodium.

Salt Sense: Using no-salt added tomatoes and omitting the added salt reduces sodium per serving to 628 mg.

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