Guest Chick: Jodi Rath

We’re so happy to host Jodi Rath, author of the Cast Iron Skillet Mysteries, for the first time. And she’s sharing a tasty recipe…

Spicy Plots and Twists

Book one of The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series was a bit sweet. How could it not be with a title like Pineapple Upside Down Murder! For book two, coming June 21, 2019, I wanted to spice it up a bit. Plus, I ADORE spicy food. One of the things I love the most about writing a culinary cozy mystery series is that I get to incorporate recipes into each book.

I also do a Mystery A Month (just a short 2-minute mystery) for my newsletter subscribers where we play with recipes and share there as well. One part of my job is to try out new recipes, research recipes, mix and match recipes to come up with new and improved cast iron cooking. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it y’all!

Spicing it up meant I was on the hunt for recipes that would burn my tongue. I was thrilled to try out some jalapeño cheddar cornbread recipes. I messed around with four of them to be exact. Then, I began experimenting and adding or subtracting ingredients to get the right amount of cheese to peppery tang. I believe I mastered it. Thus, the title, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder was born. And a recipe was, too!


Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

• 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds* removed and diced
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup fine cornmeal
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk, or buttermilk** to equal 1 1/2 cups
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*** plus bit more for top before baking
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 2/3 cup sugar
*see Notes


1. Place diced jalapeños in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack. Preheat oven to 400°F and leave skillet with jalapeños in oven as it preheats. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon,**** just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cooled jalapeños. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.
5. Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Spoon batter into hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese. Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

*If you like your food extra spicy, then leave the seeds in the jalapeños.
**This means you add the corn kernels to a measuring cup first, then pour in the milk until the milk rises to the 1 1/2 cup level. (I was not able to find buttermilk at my local store. If you have the same problem, then you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every one cup of milk.)
***I’m a cheese lover—I added an extra half cup of cheese!
****I tried the recipe mixing with a wooden spoon and again using my Kitchenette mixer. Call me crazy, but I truly believe it tasted better when using the wooden spoon to stir ingredients.

This recipe was adapted from and

Readers, have you ever tried a recipe from a cozy mystery? How did it go?

BIO: Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

FB Author page: @authorjodirath
Twitter: @jodirath


36 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Jodi Rath

  1. I haven’t followed a recipe exactly from a cozy mystery, but I did attempt a version of a grilled cheese sandwich thanks to a cozy recipe. It sounded so good I had to try it (using my vegan cheese substitute). I think it was actually from one of Leslie Karst’s books. That may be the only cozy recipe I ever tried. Can you tell I’m not much of a cook?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Ha! I bet it was the Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Spinach and Red Onions, from A MEASURE OF MURDER (with Sriracha-mayonnaise). I hope you liked it, Marla! What kind of vegan cheese substitute did you use? Does it melt well?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yes, that’s the one, Leslie! I used Trader Joe’s vegan shredded mozzarella. It melted fine, although there are probably better cheeses out there for this purpose. But it’s the only one I have on hand regularly. And, come to think of it, I used TJ’s vegan mayo too. So maybe I should say my sandwich was more “inspired” by your recipe, since I obviously didn’t follow your instructions very well.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree I am so honored my grandma gave me this skillet. I model Grandma Opal’s character off who my Grandma Evelyn is–she is truly a hoot and will be 89 this October. Also, I feel dense, but I’m not able to like anything on the comments or I would. It keeps trying to sign me in for some reason–but it allows me to comment?


  2. Owning four cast iron skillets of varying sizes, as well as two different-sized cast iron Dutch ovens, I can tell I’m gonna love your books, Jodi! I’ve been a fan of jalapeño corn bread (with cheese, of course!) since the 1970s when I first discovered it. Gotta try this recipe, for sure!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks, and congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jodi, thanks so much for visiting! The recipe sounds great. I bought a cast iron skillet on a whim but barely use it, and now it’s got rust stains. I love cast iron skillet recipes, though, and your series sounds great!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for having me Ellen! You can get the rust out with soft steel scrubber until rust is gone and back to cast iron. Then wash it thoroughly. Dry it with soft rag. Spray a bit of Pam in it and wipe. While dry and storing sit a paper towel between skillets to keep it from rusting more.😀 Hope that helps! Again, thanks for having me!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve only done a couple recipes from Joanne Fluke’s books, but it’s been years since I made any. There are several I want to try, but not many I have made it to yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jodi, the recipe and the book both sound fantastic!! I’ve not tried a recipe from a cozy, but I think this would be the perfect opportunity to change that. 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting, and congrats on the latest release!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Congrats on the new book, Jodi — and I’m all about cheesy cornbread! I have a cast iron skillet, but I only ever make two things in it — fried catfish and cornbread. Thanks for hanging out with us today!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fried catfish is something I haven’t tried yet. If you love pineapple upside-down cake, then YOU MUST try it in a cast iron skillet. I’ve had it both ways and it is SO moist and delicious in cast iron!


  7. The corn bread sounds good, I’m leaving some of the seeds in. The one recipe I’ve tried (and continue to use) is from a Mary Kay Andrews book (not really a cozy mystery). “The Fixer Upper” and the recipe is Jimmy Maynard’s Beer-braised Barbecued Ribs. The ribs are perfect every time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do eat meat, but I’m a very picky meat eater. Ribs are something I LOVE, but I only like to get ribs at two places b/c I’m EXTRA picky about good ribs. You have me wanting to try this now, though, Mary! Thanks for the info!


    2. Hi Mary, I tried to send a comment a minute ago and I guess it didn’t post? I had said that I do love meat, but I’m a very picky meat eater–ribs especially picky. Your post makes me want to try that recipe though! I appreciate you sharing!


      1. I could never find a recipe for ribs that I really liked, until this one. And the fact that it’s kind of flexible as to ingredients (the rub and the beer, the dark beer is good, but so is any other beer you care to use) makes it a keeper.


  8. I find having a good iron skillet means you don’t need a towering pile of inherited fry pans (can’t give those away, sigh, although I’ve tried). I’ve successfully attempted a few great recipes from Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic series–mostly of the dessert variety. The books are set in FL, so coconut and lime. Yum. Thanks for dropping by Chicks, Jodi. Your series sounds like a lot of sweet and spicy fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for having me, Lisa! I love coconut and lime together. I will have to check that out. Also, I buy the bath and body works coconut and lime soaps too! LOL


  9. I feel like I should try all the recipes when I’m editing a book; is that being overly fastidious? But I couldn’t bring myself to try Linda Kozar’s Squirrel Sauce Piquant. First ingredient: Two Squirrels o_O EEP! Do they make a vegan substitute for THAT?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Congratulations on your books, Jodi, and thanks so much for visiting us!

    I’ve never made anything from a cozy, but when the recipe is included in the book, I do always read them! Ha.


  11. God bless people who cook! About three years ago, I finally bought a cast iron skillet because I was always stumbling on recipes [that I’d never actually make] that called for one. It’s still in my cabinet with the tags on. But someday … I swear!


    1. My hubby used to be more of the cook than me–I’m a follow the recipe kind of gal where he was “let’s experiment.” Now, with my cast iron skillets–I’ve somehow changed into becoming the cooker and baker in the house and the experimental type!


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