Julia's Simply Southern: December 2015 >

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.


  • 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!


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.


  • 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.

Print Friendly and PDF