Sunday, November 29, 2015

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Mama's Southern Cornbread
3 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup butter
2 medium onions, diced (2 cups)
1 bunch celery, diced (3 cups)
1 Tablespoon dried sage
4 eggs, beaten
5-6 cans chicken broth (10 oz. cans)
1 Tablespoon black pepper


  • Make Mama's Southern Cornbread and allow to cool completely. (I usually make this a day or so ahead of when needed.)
  • Crumble cornbread into an extra-large mixing bowl.
  • Add soft bread crumbs and stir together well.
  • Melt butter in skillet.
  • Add diced onions and celery and saute till tender.
  • Sprinkle in sage and stir well/
  • Add vegetables to bread crumbs and stir.
  • Sprinkle with pepper.
  • Add beaten eggs.
  • Pour in chicken broth and stir till well blended and makes a batter.
  • Spray one 13x9-inch baking dish and one 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable spray.
  • Pour mixture evenly into baking dishes. (I do this the day before and chill overnight.  If batter seems dry, add more chicken broth.)
  • Chill at least 8 hours.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve warm with turkey and gravy.
UPDATE: I added a few photos to this recipe today because I wanted to play with my camera.  I also thought I should update by letting you know that I have added chopped oysters to the small pan of dressing for the last few times I have made this because Mike has requested it.  I am taking his work for it that this enhances it and makes it even more wonderful!  I can eat fried oysters when I'm at the beach and have even enjoyed them.  In-the-raw, though, I can just barely make myself handle them to put in the dressing or a breading to fry them for Mike.  The things we do for love!

Mama's Pecan Pie

Deep dish pie shell
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup chopped pecans


  • Heat oven to 275 degrees.
  • Beat eggs, sugar, salt, syrup, and slightly cooled butter together.
  • Stir in pecan pieces.
  • Pour into unbaked pastry shell.
  • Bake 40-50 minutes.

Easy Yeast Rolls

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
6 cups all-purpose or bread flour

  • Add yeast to warm water and set aside. I just mix it in my two-cup measuring cup and set aside.
  • Place sugar in mixing bowl.
  • Cut butter into small pieces (about a half-tablespoon) and add to sugar.
  • Pour boiling water over and stir to melt the butter. (I usually use a wooden spoon or even my paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid Mixer.)

  • Allow to cool before adding eggs and yeast mix.
  • Mix well.
  • Add 2 cups flour and beat well to form a batter.
  • Add more flour one cup at a time to form a dough consistency.  (I usually take the paddle attachment off and use the hook when I have about 5 cups in the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl.)

This tiny little spatula is a fabulous tool for scraping down the sides as well as for cleaning out small things such as a measuring cup or a jar.
Notice that this isn't really like a dough that one would roll out - it is still a bit batter-like.

Move dough to an extra-large bowl and cover with greased wax paper or a bread cloth and set aside to rise.  (Mixture can be refrigerated for up to a couple of weeks.)
  • After dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface to about a half-inch thickness.
  • Cut with a small biscuit-sized cutter or into two-inch squares with a knife and place on a baking pan that has been buttered or sprayed with vegetable spray.
  • Allow to rise again for at least an hour.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until golden in color.  
  • Brush with melted butter and serve warm.
This recipe is also delicious rolled out thinner and spread with melted butter, cinnamon, a mixture of white and brown sugar, raisins and pecans.  Then, roll up jelly-roll style and slice for cinnamon rolls.  I have also rolled the dough into balls and placed three into a muffin tin for clover-leaf rolls.  The recipe is ultra-versatile and I have tried it in lots of different shapes and forms.  However, my favorite is just to cut it into rolls and bake and eat warm!

Sweet Potato Casserole for a House Divided

3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
miniature marshmallows


  • Wash sweet potatoes and dry with a paper towel.
  • Place in a large crock with an inch of water and bake.  (I baked mine for 22 minutes in the microwave.)
  • Allow to cool slightly and slip skin off the potato.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, brown sugar, and salt.  
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
  • Add vanilla and milk and mix.
  • Drop in potatoes one at a time and blend well.
  • Spread mixture into casserole dish.
For the Topping:
  • Stir together 1 cup brown sugar and flour.
  • Add melted butter and mix well.
  • Stir in pecans.
Top Potatoes:
  • Sprinkle topping over half of sweet potato mixture, slightly pressing into potatoes.
  • Sprinkle mini marshmallows over other half of sweet potato mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Serve bubbly and warm.
Mike likes the sticky, sweet crust of the marshmallows on top.  I like the crunch of the brown sugar and pecans.  So, I prepare half and half for our divided household.  While we were eating our recent Thanksgiving Feast, I mentioned that we must truly be a house divided because about half of each side was missing from the dish.  Bryan confessed that he had eaten some of both!  Loyalty!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mama's Southern Cornbread

The note on the recipe that Mama gave me says, "Got this recipe when Beverly started 4-H when she was nine-years-old."  She and I have used it time after time over the years.  I think the funniest story that goes along with this recipe is when my sister was nine-years-old and was making corn muffins for the local 4-H contest.  She would make a batch and then didn't think there were three that looked uniform - maybe the cracks weren't just-so, or they weren't the exact same size (because she didn't pour the same amount of batter into the tins), or maybe the color would be just a bit different.  My sister has always been a perfectionist!  We lost count of the number of recipes she stirred up before she got three nice muffins that suited her to enter in the contest!  I guess we ate cornbread for days.

1/3 melted shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1/2 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 Tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  I always mix this in a batter bowl with a pour spout.

  • Combine melted shortening 

with sugar.

  • Add egg 

and milk.
Isn't that a beautiful antique measuring cup?  It has three pour spouts on the top!

  • Stir together well.
  • In another small mixing bowl, blend dry ingredients.  Start with the corn meal.
  • Add flour.
  • Add baking powder and salt.

  • Stir with a fork to blend well.
  • Slowly mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients.

  • Stir just until well blended.
Batter will be thick and coarse.
  • Melt butter in iron skillet.  (You might also butter or spray a muffin tin if you would prefer to have a dozen muffins - or if you need muffins for your 4-H contest.)
  • Pour batter into the center of the melted butter in the skillet so the butter surrounds the batter and oozes over into the batter just a little bit.
I think my grandmother would be proud to know I'm using the cast iron skillet she gave me and taught me to season and care for years ago when I was a young woman!
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to set in pan for a minute or two before turning out onto a plate.

This is delicious eaten immediately.  It is even more delicious slathered with butter and eaten immediately.  I'm baking mine today so that I can make southern dressing for Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This is a recipe that Bridgette brought home after making in her middle school teen living class.  (I think that is the same thing I had in junior high school that was called home economics.)  These have been a family favorite for years and years.

1 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
12 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups oats
1 package chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
2 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine flour, soda, and salt and mix well.
  • Beat butter and sugars till creamy.
  • Beat in eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  • Add flour combination.
  • Stir in oats, chips, and nuts.
  • Drop by rounded Tablespoon-fulls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 9-10 minutes for a chewy cookie.  If you prefer a crisp cookie, bake 12-13 minutes.
  • Cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet.
  • Remove to wire rack.
  • Cool completely.
  • Store tightly covered.
Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Spinach and Ham Quiche

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I like Swiss but any casserole mixture is good.)
3/4-1 cup chopped ham
1 box frozen, chopped spinach
1 package Knorr Vegetable soup mix
1 9" frozen, deep-dish pie crust


  • Thaw spinach and drain in a mesh strainer.  Squeeze remaining liquid out by pressing with a paper towel.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat eggs in a large bowl with a wire wisk
  • Add milk and beat well to mix.
  • Stir in cheese, ham, spinach, and soup mix to mix well.
  • Pour mix into pie crust.  
  • Place pie on baking sheet.
  • Bake 55-60 minutes or till knife inserted half-way between center and edge of crust comes out clean.
  • Serve warm.  Is also delicious reheated!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

All-American Pasta Salad

This dish is a fresh, cool, simple, make-ahead treasure for summer pot-luck dinners like the one we are attending tonight!

1 pound Penne pasta
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese
1 jar diced pimentos
1 jar artichoke hearts
1/2 purple onion
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 green bell pepper
3 green onions
1 can sliced black olives

Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
2-3 tablespoons vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil up the pasta to the al dente stage.  Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool.

    • Slice the Gouda cheese wheel in half and cut into pie shaped wedges.

    • Then, dice up those wedges into small bite-sized pieces.
    • Admire it just a bit because it is beautiful, fragrant, and good-a!  
    • Slice half the purple onion and dice the slices up into little yummy pieces. (Save the rest for salads later in the week ahead.)
    • Slice and dice half the green pepper and put the rest in the fridge for another recipe.
    • Pick three beautiful green onions from Mike's garden and wash them up in the sink.  Well, you might want to pick yours from somewhere else but make sure you wash them up somewhere.  Then, snip them up into tiny little pieces. Yep, the whole thing - green and white as well.
    • Drain the black olives in your favorite little colander spoon thingy.
    • Drain, rinse, and chop the artichoke hearts - right in the heart of them.
    • Rinse the grape tomatoes.  It's okay if you eat a couple, too.  Then, slice them in half.
    • Open the jar of diced pimentos and pat yourself on the back that you thought to get the diced ones which will save you a bit of chopping.
    • Plop each of the veggie pieces on top of the al dente pasta in a big old beautiful bowl.  Do it in an arranged way so that the colors look beautiful for a photo.
    • Now mix up a little tangy and sweet dressing for this beautiful concoction.  Start out with a cup of mayonnaise.
    • Add some home-made sweet pickle relish - about two tablespoons.  (If you don't have home-made relish, it will be okay to use some of the bought kind.)
    • Plop in a couple of tablespoons of red pepper jelly to add some tang to it.
    • Pour in a little bit of vinegar - two to three tablespoons.  I used some out of my home-made bread-and-butter pickles so it would have a bit more bite to it.  Then, stir all this together and admire the beautiful little flecks of wonderfulness inside.
    • Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste and plop this right smack dab in the center of the bowl of veggies and pasta.
    • Toss everything together making sure to coat all of it with a bit of the yummy dressing.
    • Cover with some clear plastic wrap so you can admire the colorful beauty of it as you set it in the fridge for all the flavors to marry together for a couple of hours or so.  Give it a quick, refreshing toss just before you serve it!
    (It is quite alright if you dish yourself up a spoonful to eat with some left-over chicken livers as a late lunch so long as nobody - well, at least Mike - knows.  After all, somebody has to taste it to make sure it is going to be alright for the pot-luck!)