1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 1-quart oven-safe baking dish.
2) In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the milk, salt, and cornmeal. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Let cool for 5 minutes while you choose and prepare the ingredients for either the spicy red pepper or the cream cheese and chive version.
3) To make the spicy version: Stir 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, the onion, red peppers, and jalapeños into the basic spoon bread batter.
4) Add the eggs. Stir well and pour/spoon into the buttered baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared pan.
5) To make the mild version: Stir the softened cream cheese into the basic spoon bread batter.
6) Stir in the chives and eggs. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and dot with the tablespoon of butter.
7) To bake: Bake either version for 25 to 30 minutes. The top and sides will be browned and the center will be just set. Spoon bread is much softer than regular corn bread, so avoid over-baking.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.