Birthdays are celebrated by everyone, everywhere once a year. Katie Denton and her husband Matt intentionally designed a special way for their girls – Piper (5) and Penelope (3) – to celebrate each year.
“A tradition we started when Piper turned one was the birthday morning cupcake. Each of our girls has her own special garland that we hang, a group of party animals that parade onto the scene and a cupcake pedestal that displays a cupcake with a candle on the morning of their actual birthdays,” shared Katie. “A very funny fact is that both of our girls RAGED when they turned two. Piper kicked her cupcake to the ground and cried. Penelope held her cupcake, dumped it upside down and fled the scene very angrily. I’m happy to report that all other birthday cupcakes have been well received.”
The Denton Family recently relocated back to the area after a few years spent in Santa Clarita, CA. Their love for this area is what brought them back to Fairhope.
Katie recently accepted a teaching position locally where she will be coupling her Bachelor’s degree in English and Education with her passion for performing arts. Her husband Matt is a campus pastor at City Hope Church in Foley.
The family loves to play games together, have spontaneous family dance parties, splash in the water and they enjoy taking after dinner walks. They also are working towards a personal garden but that hasn’t quite taken root yet.
“I am sharing a Taco Bake. This is my spin on a recipe that my high school best friend’s mom, who is still like another mom to me, always made. She continues to make it whenever our family goes over to eat,” Katie shared.
“It’s not necessarily a birthday-specific meal but it’s a delicious one that works for any occasion or run-of-the mill evening.”Katie
Katie’s Taco Bake
- 2 lbs ground beef (or any ground meat)
- 2 envelopes taco seasoning mix (I use Matteo’s Southeast Ranch Taco Seasoning)
- 1 8 oz package fiesta blend shredded cheese (or any shredded cheese you prefer or have on hand)
- 2 boxes of corn muffin mix (probably needs milk and eggs)
- 1 can (11 oz) corn, drained
- 1 can seasoned black beans, drained
- 9”x13” baking dish (or whatever you have!)
The following ingredients are optional but totally make the meat/cornbread mixture sing:
- 2 T. butter or 2 T. cooking oil of your choice
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 1 jalepeño, diced
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
- 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup mini bell peppers, diced
- 2 tsp Trader Joe’s Everything but the Elote seasoning
The following are optional for toppings, but 10/10 recommend:
- 1-2 avocados, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 can sliced black olives
- Sour cream
- 1 lemon + 1 lime to zest in the sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400°F (or whatever your cornbread mix tells you to do)
- In a large skillet, heat butter/oil and sauté onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and a tsp or two of the diced jalapeño.
- Once the onions are soft, add beef and brown. Drain and return to the pan.
- Add taco seasoning and prepare according to the package directions.
- While the meat is simmering, mix the cornbread in a mixing bowl. Add and mix in 1/2 cup of cheese. *If you have the Trader Joe’s Elote seasoning, add it to the cornbread mixture and stir until incorporated.
- Mix 1 cup of cheese into the beef mixture and stir until melted.
- Spoon ground beef into baking dish.
- Evenly layer black beans and corn over the meat.
- Top with the cornbread mixture, spreading evenly to the edges of the pan.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the cornbread is all the way baked by sticking a toothpick into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s ready!
- Cut into squares and garnish with desired toppings!
(This recipe is easily cut in half with 1 lb of meat and 1 pack of cornbread.)