In the Kitchen With Jeff Johnston

These recipes were contributed by Jeff Johnston, a Mansfield resident, and originally appeared in the MansfieldNOW April 2015 issue.

Jeff’s First-place Chili

  • 2 lbs. hot sausage
  • 2 lbs. venison sausage
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 10-oz. cans Ro-Tel 
  • 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Chili powder, to taste 
  • 4 fresh jalapeños, ribbed, seeded and diced
  1. Combine sausages and onion in frying pan. Cook over medium heat until meat is brown and onions are translucent. Reduce heat.
  2. Add Ro-Tel, tomato paste and enough water to cover mixture. Then add seasonings, to taste. Stir. Simmer on low for 4 hours. 
  3. Right before serving, add the fresh jalapeños, stir and enjoy!


Spicy Corn Dip

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided use)
  • 4 cups whole kernel corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, ribbed, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup green onions (green and white parts), chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 16 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (divided use)
  • Chili powder to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kernels are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Pour the corn into mixing bowl.
  3. Melt remaining butter in the same skillet; add onion and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, until translucent, stirring often. Add garlic, jalapeños and green onions. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Pour vegetable mixture into bowl with corn and let cool.
  4. Add mayonnaise, 8 oz. cheese and chili powder into the bowl with other ingredients. Mix well. Pour into an 8-inch-square baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Serve hot with your favorite corn chips.


Cornbread Pudding

  • 1 1/4 cups butter-flavored cracker crumbs (divided use)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided use)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (divided use)
  • 2 cups yellow corn (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, ribbed, seeded and finely chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Set 1/2 cup of crumbs aside for later. In a bowl, combine remaining crumbs with butter. Line a 9-inch baking pan with crumb mixture.
  3. In a skillet, combine 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, 1 cup milk, corn and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, add flour and remaining milk. Mix until smooth. Slowly pour into hot corn mixture, stirring constantly.
  5. In a separate skillet, add remaining unsalted butter, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic. Cook until translucent.
  6. Combine corn mixture with vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thick. Let cool slightly. Add onion salt and eggs slowly, stirring constantly. 
  7. Pour into the crumb-lined pan. Top with 1/2 cup of crumb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.