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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Banana Nut Bread


Banana Bread is a "quick bread". It's easy to make and so delicious. Nuts are optional. This is one bread that is always a favorite.

The day before Christmas Eve I had plans to make a banana pudding for our family dinner the next day. An accident in the area left us without power for a few hours and threw my cooking schedule off. The next day in the rush to catch up, my dessert of banana pudding got scratched off the menu since we already had pies ready. Sad, I know, I know.

Well the holidays are now behind us and I find myself with a bunch of ripe bananas. Well obviously I must make banana nut bread rather than throw the bananas away. This recipe doubles well if needed for a double batch.



Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of Butter, melted
  • 3/4 c Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 c Flour, all purpose
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c Mayonnaise, preferably Duke's (you can use sour cream if you prefer)
  • 1/2 c chopped Pecans (optional)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl combine melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat together until well combined. Add flour, baking soda, salt and mix to combine. Add mashed bananas, mayonnaise and mix together. Lastly mix in pecans.

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and add banana nut bread batter.

Bake in a 350 degree oven 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.


Allow bread to cool. Slice and serve.

See it at Meal Plan Monday
See it at Full Plate Thursday

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Southern Christmas Dinner Recipes and Menu Ideas


The holidays! They all happen so fast. By the time we've finished Thanksgiving dinner it is time to start planning the Christmas dinner menu. It's not so tough though since our Southern holiday dinners are almost the same. Maybe a change here or there, but it is pretty much the same. I love Christmas and all the traditions that come with it. Spending time with family and friends, good cheer, and the happiness and warmth that fills the air.

So let's talk about the food y'all!

"Authentic Southern cooking is as diverse and multicultural as the regions in the South and the families who live there."- Sheri Castle

Southern Deviled Eggs - The staple for any Southern party or holiday meal. I think it might even be a law y'all that you Must Have Them! Just kidding, but it should be.


Herb Roasted Turkey - Sure to be a favorite!

Smoked Turkey - I have to admit that I use this as a time saver and it still takes me two or three days to cook holiday dinners. Turkeys take up a lot of oven space and take a while to cook. A few years ago I ordered a smoked turkey. It's delivered to me, it's not frozen, and all I have to do is heat it up for 45 minutes to an hour and we're done. Seriously it's so good that the first time I had it, I decided right then and there that this was my turkey from now on. Don't get me wrong, I love the traditional turkey too. If you're going traditional turkey I recommend you brine your bird. Here's some more Turkey Talk & Tips for you.

Baked Ham - It's not unusual to have turkey and ham for holiday dinners in the South, sometimes even more than that depending on how large the crowd is that you're cooking for. The ham will be either a country ham, or a regular (city) ham that is baked. The regular hams often get a glaze of some sort. Here's some recipes to use up some of that leftover ham Ham Salad - 3 Ways 

Crown Roast
Photo: Food Network

Southern Cornbread Dressing - It's our comforting, traditional side dish in the South. I saw a poll that asks people which holiday side dish was their favorite - most people picked the dressing. So it's really the star of the dinner. Maybe we should call it dressing with turkey instead?!? HaHa, no, just no - Turkey & Dressing sounds much better.
* Time Saving Tip - Make your Southern Cornbread 1-2 days ahead and store until ready to use in your dressing recipe.

If you don't have a crowd to feed and making a dish of dressing is just too much, make these Stuffin Muffins instead. They are easy to make and only require a few simple ingredients.


Bread -  You get your choice of Rolls, Southern Buttermilk Biscuits , or Angel Biscuits . You can even make up some Homemade Butter the day before.

Green Beans - Traditional Southern style Country Green Beans or Green Bean Casserole will do just fine. My family prefers the country green beans at holidays so I usually make the "flavored up" green bean casserole occasionally during the year. Both are delicious so you can't go wrong no matter which you choose.

Cranberry - It is so easy to make your own Cranberry Relish but there are a lot, I mean a LOT of people who prefer the canned jelly stuff. That's okay. I like either one myself just as long as you have it for the dinner.

Southern Baked Macaroni & Cheese - Cheesy, wonderful, comfort food goodness!



Southern Potato Salad - This is a favorite all year for any get together. It's not unusual in my house to have more than one potato dish at holiday meals to accomodate everyone's wish list for dinner - so you may see Mashed Potatoes, Hash Brown Casserole or New Potatoes with Parsley Butter Sauce served too. Potato salad is my favorite so it's definitely on the menu.

Choices in other side dishes can vary so just pick your favorites. I try to do a few different choices and I like for the meal to have some "color" so try to pick a variety that is festive for the occasion.

Roasted Carrots

Sweet Potatoes - Typically in a casserole or souffle for the holidays.

Tasty Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Garden Veggies - This dish is delicious and colorful with the peppers. Plus it's got bacon!

Southern Style Collard Greens

Christmas Collard Dip

Cooked Cabbage 

Simple Pea Salad

Black Eyed Peas

Christmas Sandwich Cremes

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding - YUM! I love 'Naner Puddin' or try this Pineapple Pudding

Sweet Tea - House wine of the South!

Eggnog

Here are some links to Southern Christmas Dinner Recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers along with one of my post:

Deep South Dish - Southern Christmas Dinner Menu & Recipe Ideas - Y'all if you haven't discovered Mary's recipes on Deep South Dish you're just missing out! She has everything Christmas here - food gifts, cookies & candies, the holiday breakfast, appetizers, beverages, main courses, sides, desserts, and more!

South Your Mouth - Southern Christmas Dinner Recipes Mandy at South Your Mouth has wonderful recipes and great humor. I bet she has you smiling by the time you're done reading some of her posts!

Julia's Simply Southern - Holiday Recipe Collection I put this collection together for Thanksgiving but since the Christmas meal is so similar you'll find great recipe ideas here for Christmas dinner too. It includes recipes from favorite food bloggers, cookbook authors, and tv food personalities.



Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!






Southern Baked Macaroni & Cheese


Southern baked macaroni and cheese is at every Southern holiday meal. Creamy, Cheesy, Delicious! I love macaroni and cheese. I love the different southern recipes and have tried most all of them. This is one of those dishes that most people have their own version. I hope you'll give this one a try, I'm sure you'll love it too. It's got a secret ingredient. Well I guess it's not much of a secret since you can buy it anywhere, but might be a bit different. I think all baked macaroni and cheeses need a couple of key elements - creaminess and cheesiness. This will give you just that. I came across the "secret" part one holiday preparing this dish and instead of making a cheese sauce decided to try something. It turned out great! I'm telling you anyone who's had this mac and cheese raves about it. I don't even have to put butter in it. Shocking, I know, I know. Trust me though, it's so good. This recipe is for the large size casserole.

Ingredients:


  • 1 1/2 lb Macaroni Noodles
  • 2 10 3/4 oz cans Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 1/4 c Heavy Cream
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 c Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 lb Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 8 oz Colby Cheese, grated
  • 4 oz Seriously Sharp White Cheddar, such as Cabot
  • 4 oz Smoked Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Salt for boiling pasta

First, I'm going to give you a time saving tip: Grate all of the cheeses the day before. Put in a large zip lock back and mix them all together.

Fill a large stock pot with water and add salt. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Boil on medium high heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat two eggs together with milk. Add salt and pepper and half of the grated cheese. You'll reserve the rest of the grated cheese for layering and covering the casserole.


When the noodles are done, drain well in a colander to remove all water. In the pot you cooked the pasta, return to the burner (turn off the burner) and add the canned cheddar cheese soup. Stir in heavy cream. Add the drained noodles and mix well to combine. 




Pour the cheese and milk mixture into the pot and combine. 


Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Add half of the macaroni and cheese mixture. Layer on some of the grated cheddar. Add the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture and cover well with remaining grated cheddar. Do not overfill your casserole dish! You will regret it if you do cause you'll have a big ole mess in your oven. Nobody wants that. 


Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until macaroni and cheese is bubbly browned on top.
Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving so it can set up. 


Enjoy! You'll be going back for more and leftovers are great too!


Variation Recipe:

For quick stove top macaroni and cheese just cook macaroni and use the cheddar cheese soup and heavy cream with a dash of salt and pepper. It's great for weeknight meals. 


See it at :




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December is National Eggnog Month


December is National Eggnog Month! Ah the holidays, sitting by the fire, drinking eggnog (with a touch of bourbon), and sharing memories. 

You can buy eggnog in the stores, but if you ever make your own, you'll always make it. It's just so good!

Here are few recipes for the drink of the season:







Mulberry Plantation




In 1714, the house at Mulberry Plantation, located in South Carolina, was built on top of a cellar fort, complete with slits for firing built right into the foundation walls. It's one of the earliest plantations in the United States. During the Yamassee War (1715-1716) colonists fled to the fortification for safety, taking their valuables with them. But none of those valuables are in question in the treasure that's supposedly buried here. Instead, a renegade band of American Indians supposedly buried gold and silver somewhere on or near this site. The treasure trove in its entirety has never been located.





Monday, November 30, 2015

Stuffed Zucchini


The family requested a dinner of grilled peppercorn beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and zucchini. While I was thinking about the preparations for dinner my mind started wondering - how should I prepare the zucchini. Cause you know, sometimes you just want something a little different. I decided to make a stuffed zucchini and OH M GEE it turned out so good that I had to share it with y'all! The stuffed zucchini that I used as a side dish, honestly could have been a meal itself. This recipe serves four. It takes about 15 minutes to prep and bakes for 45 minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 small to medium Zucchini
  • 1/4 lb Country Breakfast Sausage, I used Neese's but any brand will work
  • 1 fresh stack sleeve of original Ritz Crackers, crushed. If you do not have fresh stack sleeves, just use half of a regular sleeve.
  • 2 tbs grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbs Sour Cream
  • 1/8 tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c Shredded Cheese, I used cheddar
  • Chicken Stock or Broth


Start by cutting your zucchini in half and scoop out the middle with a spoon, leaving about 1/4" of the shell. Reserve the zucchini you scoop from the shell, it will be used in the filling.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a small skillet scramble cook the sausage. Chop up the zucchini you scooped out and add to the sausage when it's browned and saute for 3 or 4 minutes.



In a small mixing bowl crush a fresh stack sleeve of Ritz crackers. I used crackers because I didn't have bread crumbs on hand. If you prefer to use bread crumbs, use 1/4 cup of bread crumbs instead.
Add the browned sausage & zucchini mixture to the bread crumbs. Add the grated Parmesan, sour cream, salt, pepper and onion powder. Stir to combine. Add egg and mix everything together.


Add your zucchini "boats" to a baking dish and fill each one with the filling mixture.

 Add 1/4" of chicken stock or broth in the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, top with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for another 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.


Let stand 5 minutes before serving. They are incredibly delicious! You'll be wanting these again!










Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cranberry Relish


Making your own fresh cranberry relish is easy and delicious. The perfect accompaniment to your holiday dinner turkey. I don't know if the holidays would be the same without it. 

I will sometimes look for taste testers when I work on a recipe. Often it's my family. They tried it and liked it, then said but we want the canned kind. Lawd! I then asked a kind neighbor to be my taste tester so I could get a better opinion, other than my own. My neighbor thought it was quite good, so did I. Neighbor approved, Yay!

Ingredients:

1 10 oz pkg Fresh Cranberries 
1 c Orange Juice
Zest of 1 Orange
2 tsp Ginger, fresh grated
1 c Granulated Sugar
1 c Dried Cranberries 
Dash Salt
1 crack of Black Pepper
1 small Shallot, diced (optional)


Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer stirring occasionally. Simmer 20-25 minutes. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. Chill before serving. It's so good  y'all! It has the right amount of sweetness and a hint of tart. 



See it at:

Southern Cornbread


Real Bona Fide Southern Cornbread! It seems like everybody in the South has their favorite way of making cornbread. Cornbread is a southern staple, just like biscuits. I grew up eating it as did generations before me. One thing for sure, we like it savory, not sweet! Sweet cornbread is a preference of our Northern neighbors, respectably.

I remember my grandmother even having leftover cornbread covered in buttermilk, eating it like cereal. There's nothing like having a piece of cornbread with soup or a bowl of beans. That's a meal! 

This basic cornbread recipe is what I mainly use. Sometimes I will switch it up and add onions, cheese, or jalapenos too. This is also the basic cornbread that I use in my Southern Cornbread Dressing for holidays.



Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Self Rising Cornmeal (I prefer stone ground, white cornmeal but yellow will work fine too)
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs Beaten Lightly
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 1/4 Cup Buttermilk, more if needed to get a batter consistency
  • Butter, Shortening, or Bacon Grease to oil skillet
  • Cast Iron Skillet preferred but you can make it in a baking/cake pan or muffin pan
  • Melted Butter to brush the top of the cornbread after it comes out of the pan.


Combine all ingredients well, pour batter into an oven heated cast iron skillet. I put the skillet into the oven while it's pre-heating. Once I remove the skillet from the oven, I coat in butter, shortening, or bacon grease then add the batter. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. 

If you're using a muffin tin, adjust cooking time as the muffins do not take as long to brown. 

If you do not have self rising cornmeal on hand and your using plain cornmeal, add 1 tsp baking powder to recipe so that the cornbread will rise.

Here are some other cornbread recipes you might enjoy:
Cheesy Jalapeno Corn Muffins
Vidalia Upside Down Cornbread
Honey Jalapeno Cornbread




Friday, November 20, 2015

Amicalola Falls - Georgia

Photo: Source

At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi, located in Dawsonville, Georgia. It's known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The word Amicalola is Cherokee, meaning "Tumbling Waters". 

Before the 19th century, there was little information about the waterfalls. The area was controlled by the Cherokee tribe until 1838. The discovery of gold in North Georgia eventually led to the forced removal of the Cherokee from their lands due to the Treaty of New Echota. This was the beginning of the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee had to give up their lands and migrate to an area now in present day Oklahoma.

In 1911, the falls were purchased by Georgia and a state park established in the area surrounding the falls.  

Photo: Source




The waterfalls are a stunning, natural beauty. The Amicalola State Park is one of the most popular in the state. 

Photo: Source

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Crown of Southern Cooking - Cookbook Review



I've spent the last two weeks going through a wonderful cookbook ~ "The Crown of Southern Cooking", by Evelyn Roughton, published by Quail Ridge Press. Evelyn and her family own and operate The Crown Restaurant in Mississippi. The Crown is a well known landmark. They've been serving up lunch for over 40 years. A restaurant and store all in one. They leave their famous desserts on the table for guests to help themselves. You can learn more about Evelyn in this Interview Video.

The book is so charming. You'll love the personal stories that are shared throughout the book. The pages are filled with wonderful recipes. You'll have plenty to choose from, the book is categorized into:
 Appetizers, Beef, Beverages, Bread & Brunch, Cakes, Candies, Chicken, Cookies, Desserts, Pies, Pork, Salads, Sauces & Seasonings, Seafood, Soups-Stews-Chilis, and Vegetables & Sides.
The recipes are simple and easy to follow. I read the book cover to cover, and here are a few of my favorites:

Chunky Cold Artichoke Dip
B.B.'s Pickled Black-Eyed Peas
Open Faced Crab Sandwiches
World's Best Catfish Salad
Delta Cheese Grits
Mississippi Mud Cake
The Crown's Bourbon Sauce
The Crown's Plantation Pie

Photo: Plantation Pie - The Crown Restaurant

I could go on all day, there are so many great recipes! A couple weeks ago I had a giveaway and part of the entry was to answer a question - What do you look for in a cookbook. The number one answer was "I just love cookbooks", followed by "simple recipes". You will get both those in this book. Your mouth will be watering with every turn of the page. 

Evelyn was also the author of a cookbook on Catfish. She shares several delicious catfish recipes in this book as well. 

In addition to the delightful stories, there are helpful tidbits offered. A great book for anyone's collection.













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