Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sweet & Tangy Little Smokies|Easy Crockpot Version

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With a house full of testosterone, I'm sure you can appreciate how much game day food I make and share. Mr. A Southern Soul is from Indiana which of course means basketball, we live in North Carolina which is loaded with great schools with tons of sports fans, my youngest plays Lacrosse for his high school and then, there's me, the football NUT. Now that you know how things work around here, you understand a little more about why I have so many flavor packed, easy recipes that are great for tailgating, "couch gating" and can be doubled to feed a crowd. 
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Here's my newest addition to my game day food line up ~ Sweet & Tangy Little Smokies made in the crock pot. Just grab your slow cooker, mix up the 5 delicious ingredients in the recipe and you are on your way to scoring a goal, basket or a touchdown!
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Sweet & Tangy Little Smokies
2 packages of Little Smokies cocktail weenies
2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 can of cranberry sauce
3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Place cocktail weenies in crockpot. 
  • Mix together BBQ sauce, jelly, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard in a bowl and pour over little smokies.
  • Cook on low for 3 hours until thoroughly heated.
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Friday, January 29, 2016

Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Bread

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The conversation started like this…"Mom, remember that time you made that really good bread that had cheese on it"? My answer was, yes, but I make lots of different kinds of bread with cheese.
I really had no idea what my boy was talking about. Of course, being the smart, tenacious young man that he is, he was NOT going to let it go. So, our talk continued with him using very descriptive words and phrases, adding in some hand gestures trying to help me remember what I'd made all those months ago. We ended up laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our faces and then it happened…I remembered! At that point, I had to add in a famous Mom comment - "well, why didn't you say that in the first place"! We laughed again and he rolled his eyes. After all of that, I had to honor his request for the pull apart bread so I headed to the store for supplies, smiling all the way. Sharing times like that with my boy makes me unbelievably happy and my heart overflowing with joy.
Pepperoni & Cheese Pull Apart Bread
1 round loaf of  bread2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package mini-pepperoni or 
regular size rounds cut in half
4 T butter - melted1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoon shredded Parmesan Cheese

Jar of your favorite marinara sauce  
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut into bread, ALMOST to the bottom, horizontally and vertically making squares in the load. Do not cut all the way through so that bread stays in tack. Place bread on a tin foil lined baking sheet.
  • Stuff the pepperoni and  mozzarella into the slits of the bread.
  • Add garlic and Italian seasoning to melted butter and stir. Brush mixture over the bread. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Cover loaf with foil and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove foil and place bread back in oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Serve bread with warm marinara sauce.
Check out more Bread recipes along with delicious Appetizers by clicking on the titles at the top of the page!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Honey Nut Marshmallow Treats

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We are still dealing with the remnants of a winter storm around here and even though school is cancelled, there's still lots going on. There's snow to shovel, dogs to walk, lacrosse practice, and all the daily "stuff" that needs to be done. The good news is before the storm hit, I had a fully stocked fridge and pantry so keeping everyone fed has not been a problem. Of course, at some point my guys wanted something sweet to eat and I surprised them with this new twist on a old favorite. Using my tried and true recipe for Rice Krispy treats, I switched out the cereal for Honey Nut Cheerios. I sprinkled in a little cinnamon and salt, mixed everything together and TA-DA, I had a winner! 
A Southern Soul
Honey Nut Marshmallow Treats
5 tablespoons butter
1 bag marshmallows
6 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
  • Prepare a 9X11 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium size pot in medium high heat. Add cinnamon and salt, stirring to incorporate. When butter is melted, add marshmallows and stir until melted.
  • Remove from heat and add in cereal. Stir until well mixed.
  • Place mixture in prepared pan, pressing down to make an even layer. Place in fridge to set up, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, cut into squares and serve.
A Southern Soul

And just in case you are looking for MORE great marshmallow treat recipes, well, here ya go…

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Polenta Croutons with fresh greens & blue cheese

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Recently, I saw a great segment on a cooking show about making a big, delicious salad topped with polenta croutons. I was immediately intrigued. I had all the makings of a fresh salad, so after a quick trip to the grocery store, I had all the ingredients I needed to make the croutons. Things worked out great because I'd invited friends over for dinner so I had my "taste testers" ready to check out a little something new on my menu. 
A Southern Soul
I cooked the polenta, (Italian ground cornmeal - similar to grits) added in extra flavor with cheese, herbs and garlic, poured it into a pan and popped it in the fridge to set up.
A Southern Soul
About an hour before dinner, I cut the polenta into croutons and baked the squares in the oven. 
A Southern Soul
Next came the salad. I used fresh baby romaine, blueberries then added in chunks of rich, creamy blue cheese. I made a jar of my homemade vinaigrette dressing and set everything aside until dinner was ready. Right before serving, I topped the salad with the polenta croutons then poured over the dressing. 
A Southern Soul
Oh, my goodness - y'all, this salad is crazy good! It may seem strange to get so excited about a green salad but I promise, once you make these croutons, you'll agree with me. The polenta stays soft and creamy on the inside and the squares are toasted and crunchy on the outside. They soak up just the right amount of the dressing and when paired with the fresh lettuce, blueberries and creamy cheese, you've got the perfect bite! 
A Southern Soul
We had a great dinner and my new menu addition passed everyones taste test. There were a few croutons left over but they didn't last long. Let's just say they made a great snack with a little blue cheese dip while playing a highly spirited game of cards!
A Southern Soul
Polenta Croutons
4 cups water
1 cup quick cooking polenta
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (can substitute any other herb of choice)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Bring water to boil and slowly add in polenta whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. 
  • Turn off heat and stir in butter, cheese and herbs. 
  • Line an 8 by 8 pan with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray. Pour polenta into pan. Cover and place in refrigerator to set up approximately 1 hour.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove polenta from fridge. Unmold from pan and cut into squares. Place crouton squares on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes until lightly browned on edges.
  • Cool then serve with a salad, as a topping for soup or as an appetizer with your favorite dip.

Click on the photo for my favorite vinaigrette dressing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

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Over the Christmas holiday we enjoyed lots and lots of great food. I got creative with several of my standby recipes and today I'm sharing one that's become a family favorite. I used new potatoes, olive oil, butter and some grated parmesan cheese to create this yumminess - Crispy Smashed Potatoes.
They are crunchy on the outside yet creamy and soft in the middle. I served them with my Christmas Day ham and received oohs and ahhs from around the table. This is a great dish to make if you are in a time crunch since you can boil the potatoes ahead of time and when ready to cook dinner, just smash then crisp them up.
You can also get creative with any herbs and seasoning that your family likes to give this dish your own special twist. I use a cast iron skillet which allows the potatoes to brown and become extra crispy - then I just take it to the table to keep my dish warm while the family digs in!

Crispy Smashed Potatoes
1 1/2 pound new potatoes - washed
Salt
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer cooking potatoes until done. Approximately 20 minutes. Drain potatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet until better is melted. Add potatoes to skillet. Using a potato masher or large fork, smash each potato until skin is broken.
  • Sprinkle potatoes with thyme, salt and pepper. 
  • Place skillet in oven. Cook potatoes until a crispy edge forms around the pan, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and return to oven for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are crunchy on top.
  • Remove skillet from oven. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Check out this recipe and many more, check out the Week Potluck at The Country Cook!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Traditional Southern New Year's Day Menu

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New Year's Day is right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. I rank this "food day" right up there with Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the firm hold of tradition it has on me.  When I was little, everyone in my family would head over to my Grandmother's house every New Year's day to eat black eyed peas, collard greens, warm cornbread with butter and enjoy a slow cooked pork roast.  Now mind you, that even if you didn't like one of those dishes, too bad, Mama Swain made you at least taste it because of the meaning it held going into the new year. I grew to love that special meal and now my family does too. 
For the past few years we've invited friends over on New Year's Day to share this meal and start our own tradition. I make all of the "required" dishes of the day and have added a few more. 
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I'll be serving a pork roast, with a bright corn relish, sausage & cheese bread, sautéed squash, deviled eggs, cheese grits casserole, sweet & spicy collards, corn bread and fried black eyed peas. We'll all gather sometime in the afternoon and the fun will begin. Not only will we be sharing a meal, we'll be telling stories of the past year, playing jokes on one another and discussing plans for the future.
I hope you will find at least one dish on my New Year's Day menu to enjoy with your loved ones. Just click on the links below to take to you to the recipe post.
Collard Greens 
Here's to tradition, great meals with family & friends and 2015.
I'm sending everyone prayers and positive thoughts for a joyful, healthy, prosperous 2016!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Southern Dressing Stuffed Zucchini

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I can't wait! I love all the food traditions that my family has served over the years and one of the most beloved is southern style dressing.  We always bake our dressing and serve it along side our juicy turkey then pour over the rich homemade gravy. Well, truth be known, not everybody loves dressing that way and this year we have a guest that's a vegetarian.
A Southern Soul | stuffed zucchini
So, I thought about how I could change up one of my favorite dishes and came up with this ~ dressing stuffed zucchini. I think it combines all the wonderful flavors of traditional dressing with a great veggie!   
A Southern Soul | stuffed zucchini
The only change was the addition of a little parmesan cheese and once baked, my little boats turned out absolutely wonderful.  They are great right out of the oven or at room temperature and I think they'd be great sliced and served as an appetizer.
A Southern Soul
Southern Dressing Stuffed Zucchini
1 small onion - chopped
2 celery stalks - chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups Pepperidge Farms herb stuffing
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup grated Parmesean cheese (reserve 1/4 for topping zucchini)
4 medium zucchini
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a medium size skillet, add butter and olive. Once butter is melted, add onions and celery and cook until onions are clear. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Set aside.
  • Add herb stuffing, stock, salt, pepper, celery salt, thyme and 1/4 cup of cheese to onions and celery. Mix well.
  • Place zucchini on a foil lined baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle salt in the well of each zucchini and stuff with dressing mixture. Lightly drizzle each zucchini half with olive oil. Bake in oven for 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place back in oven until cheese is melted.