Small Dice Challenge: Johnny Cakes


I was hoping my daughter would choose our leftover Chinese food, and I could call it a day. I saw this on Facebook and wanted to make a burrito from the fried rice and sesame chicken.  But, alas, she chose some pretty ridiculous things.



Annie’s organic mozzarella pizza poppers

Campbell’s Organic chicken noodle soup featuring Frozen characters

Garbanzo beans

I was a little distraught that she chose items which were supposed to be my lazy mama back-up lunches, but my daughter quickly reminded me that Chopped had “weird” ingredients, and these were, indeed, “weird” ingredients. So I began to think what the H I was going to do with this crap.  Well I remembered that I saw an episode of Chopped where a guy made Johnny cakes with some random food.  I knew I just needed some cornmeal to make it legit.  I believe the last time I had seen some was when my mom visited after my baby was born back in January, and she made cornbread. And sure enough, there it was in the back of my freezer untouched by my own hands. Was it still good? Yep, it still had a month to go.  I was on my way.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is throw everything in the pot and hope for the best.  In this case, I chopped up the pizza rolls and used part of the chicken soup to add to the mix.  I, then, brought out the muffin pan (because my daughter likes all things mini), oiled it, and started filling it up.


Then, put it in the oven at 350 degrees, because that is the temperature I use for everything.  While that was baking, I moved on to my plans for the garbanzo beans and pickles.  I figured my cornbread would be dry, so I thought it needed a dip. The best thing to do with garbanzo beans is to make hummus, so I made a poor man’s hummus by adding pickles for a salty flavor, some pepper, and pushed purée.


I, also, put some broccoli in the steamer, because I didn’t want my child to get away with just eating “bread” for dinner.  By the time that was done, the Johnny cakes were ready, totaling about 20 minutes (25, if you count prep).  Now, it was time to present.  I tried to create a fancy plate design with the dip, but really the color wasn’t that eye-catching, plus it would’ve been lost on my daughter.  So, I just ended up scooping it onto her plate like I was squirting ketchup.  IMG_20151001_184742207Her first reaction was, “Where’s the soup?!” And her second was, “Can I just have a pickle by itself?” After explaining the genius behind my meal preparation, she started to eat.  Let me provide a little background to my daughter’s eating habits before I reveal the results.  She IS a picky eater, but she is a moody picky eater. Let me explain. I can give her the exact same meal every day of something she likes and, depending on her mood, she will either eat all of it, and it is the best meal ever…or she will find a piece of something in it, not a hair, just, like, a pepper flake, and it’ll become “too spicy,” “too sweet,” etc.  I never know if she is going to like anything I set in front of her.  My common southern response is “Just eat it,” but that can be monotonous and quite tiring.  Well back to the results.  She was quiet throughout supper, because she was eating, she even asked for more dip.


At bedtime, before going to sleep, she told me, ” Mama, that was a really good supper.” It was very sweet and very confusing.  To me, the bread was a little dry, and my dip could’ve used some garlic.  But, to a six and a half year old, bland can work for you. Hallelujah. Good night.


Author: HungryEyes

I am a mother of two married to a Pastry Cook. I have worked in restaurants in various positions, but ended up as a teacher. Since having my last child, though, I am a stay-at-home mom trying to survive by cooking from home. I have never been someone who could open the fridge and whip up meals willy-nilly, but have been inspired by watching reruns of Chopped this summer. My post Small Dice is an ode to the show and, also, a challenge to myself to become a better cook and a more efficient mom. In addition, I love movies and music. I will be harassed throughout this blog for my love of Doris Day and Billy Idol, because they will be sure to come up, but I don’t care, it’s nothing new for me.

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