I created this recipe to be totally vegan. A gal in my Research Methods class decided to present an article review on an article about fake meat products so I decided to bring something totally vegan and made with a fake meat in to class for everyone to try. People tend to have a poor opinion of vegan food and vegan meat substitutes in particular.Now I hold with the opinion that meat subs are fun to use every once in a while, but they are no substitutes in a vegan or vegetarian diet for getting to know your vegetables. So although I will occasionally make something with a meat substitute, I definitely do not rely on them at all. Actually…I take that back. I will never go back to eating regular old meat hot dogs; I will always eat soy ones, even if someday I switch back to eating meat. Although I have no real clue what is in a meat hot dog, I know EXACTLY what’s in a soy one. Anyway, this recipe was inspired by my mom. I remembered my mom making cheeseburger “cups” and cheeseburger pie basically like little muffins or a pie made with things you’d find in a cheeseburger. I always thought they were so cool when I was a kid. My mom stopped making them after we grew older, I think maybe we stopped being amazed with them as much. Anyway, this recipe is a meditation on that original recipe, only trying to create a more Mexican taco kind of end product. I’ve named these “506 Cornbread Taco Cups” for the obvious reasons that they use a taco filling surrounded by cornbread and also the number of the class that these were made for “506”. Now here’s a little tip for you: Jiffy Cornbread mix is NOT vegan. There is lard in it. I had to make the cornbread from scratch for my class. But this is the way I’d do it if I was making it for folks who might not be so worried. These shortcuts are worth their weight in gold sometimes.
506 Cornbread Taco Cups
1 box Jiffy Cornbread mix, plus ingredients to mix it up
1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box Mexican SmartGround (or 1 lb. ground beef)
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 package grated vegan cheese (or real cheese)
2-4 roma tomatoes, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, sliced into thin discs
1. Mix up the Jiffy muffin mix as directed on the box, making alterations if you would like to make this vegan (such as replacing the milk with soy milk or the eggs with silken tofu).
2. Add the red pepper flakes to the Jiffy batter. Mix well.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F.
4. Line a muffin baking pan with muffin papers or grease the sides well.
5. Fill muffin cups 1/4 way full with muffin mix.
6. In a medium-large skillet, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender.
7. Add in the Mexican flavored SmartGround and spices and fry till browned evenly.
8. Place a spoonful of the Smartground mixture into the center of each muffin cup.
9. Top with a slice of roma tomato, then a sprinkle of the soy cheese and finally a jalapeno disc.
10. Bake 15 minutes, or till muffins are golden brown.