Tag Archives: southern

Hummingbird Cookies

It’s Spring and Easter is fast approaching!  These two things ALWAYS bring to mind one of my favorite desserts of all time, the southern staple, Hummingbird Cake!  Now, one of the most commonly asked questions about this delight is “what the heck is that??”.  Well, for a real quick history lesson, its origin is from Jamaica, but the recipe was eventually printed here in America in 1978 in an issue of Southern Living Magazine.  The Hummingbird Cake is actually the number 1 most requested cake recipe in the magazine’s history.  It’s really that good!

The flavors of this layered cake contains pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting.  It stays moist and flavorful for days.

Now, that all being said, this year I decided to make the recipe a bit more fun and turn it into a handheld cookie!  Trust me, this idea was also out of convenience to not have to pick up cake crumbs from my young boys.  For some reason cake crumbs are way worse than cookie crumbs….anyway.  These cookies pack that same flavor and are just as pretty to look at!  Again, try these for your upcoming Easter get-together or church potluck.  They will not disappoint!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, drained and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped

*Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour.  Packing will result in a dense, heavy cookie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, combine butter and brown sugar.  Mix in vanilla, mashed banana and mashed pineapple.  Stir in 2 tablespoons flour.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Add to wet ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in pecan pieces.

With a medium size cookie scoop, portion dough onto your prepared cookie sheets.  Press each cookie gently with your palm to flatten; bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on edges.

While cookies are cooling, make the frosting.  Mix the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar until creamy.  Frost the top of each cooled cookie and sprinkle with the pecan pieces.  Enjoy!

hummingbirdcookies

Southwest Flank Steak Chili & Grits

My days growing up in hot & spicy Arizona has met our southern grit life here in the south with this one!  All of the flavors of a traditional chili soaked up into yummy, bacon and cheese loaded grits.  The juxtaposition of textures and flavors is on point with this recipe!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-3/4 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4oz can green chilis, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup American-cheddar blend cheese, shredded (pepper jack or cheddar works too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Prepared grits (I loaded ours up with green onion, bacon crumbles and cheese)

 

To your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the tomatoes, pinto beans, green chiles and jalapeno.  Roughly tear 2 of the corn tortillas up and add to the liquid mixture.

Butterfly the flank steak horizontally, without cutting all the way through (opening like a book).  Lightly pound the steak until about 1/4 inch thick.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.  Press the cheese over the steak in an even layer, followed by the cilantro and arrange the last 2 of the corn tortillas over top, overlapping if needed.  Starting with the long side, roll up into log-form/pinwheel and tie with kitchen twine; tuck ends in and tie lengthwise as well.  Transfer your steak pinwheel to the slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cover and set to low for 7 hours.  *Add corn in 30 minutes prior to eating.

Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice into pretty pinwheel medallions and serve over loaded, bacon’y, cheesy grits with a ladle of the slow cooker juices and vegetables over top!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

ChileGrits

Biscuit & Gravy Sausage Dippers

Life gets busy, it gets hectic, it gets messy….literally at times.  So one morning, while cleaning the house up in a hurry for unexpected company, my boys were just about begging me for biscuits and gravy.  I had zero time for that nonsense, but the “mom-guilt” was setting in.  Scanning my fridge and pantry I found a few staples that I could conjure up into their breakfast favorite; my fingers were crossed at least.

Whelp, all I can say in conclusion is that THIS is the way I may always make them “biscuits and gravy” from here on out.  It was quick, virtually no cleanup, and no mess with having young boys try and cut their biscuits with a fork, dropping crumbs on the ground, gravy dribbles across the table…sausage grease on the stove, flour on the counter…nope!  Just baked and rolled sausage crescent in hand with a gravy dipping sauce.  Oh the obviousness that’s been in my house this entire time…

*For a “crustier” baked dough, simply brush a bit of egg wash (1 egg+ 1 Tbsp water) overtop the prepared sausage crescents prior to baking.

**You can also add cheese and/or scrambled eggs, cooked bacon, jalapenos etc. to this prior to rolling up and baking.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package crescent roll dough
  • 8 sausage links (precooked/ready-to-eat)
  • Cream gravy (homemade or packet, ‘Pioneer’ brand makes a pretty good one)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Lay out the perforated triangles of crescent roll dough onto your baking sheet and place a sausage link, horizontally, at the widest end of the triangle.  Roll the sausage and dough up towards the point, making sure there’s about 1-2″ in between each one.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the dough puffs up and turns a beautiful golden brown.

Serve with a cup of warm peppered, cream gravy to dip into and some fresh fruit!  Enjoy!

BiscuitandGravySausageDippers

Glazed Cinnamon Sugar Apple Fritter Bread

I do not think that this needs a hefty introduction.  I mean, heck, entire candle lines were built around the scent that will come from your oven…

The above being said, this will make your family happy and your neighbor’s jealous on the smell alone.  Really, what says comfort and Fall more than apples, cinnamon and brown sugar?  Exactly.

So, on your next breezy, crisp and possibly rainy day, bake up a batch of this apple bread and take in the praises from your loved ones. xoxo

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
    2 eggs 
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 cup milk
    2 apples, peeled and chopped , mixed with another 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon *I used both green and red apples, but feel free to use what you prefer.

Glaze Topping

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
    1-3 Tbsp of milk, depending on thickness of glaze desired

*Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional and encouraged!

CSAppleBread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray roughly a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Prepare your peeled and chopped apples tossed in the cinnamon-sugar according to the above listed ingredients (2T/1T/2t).

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a large bowl (or a KitchenAide mixer), beat the granulated sugar and softened butter together until creamy with an electric mixer.  Next beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla extract.

Next, whisk together the flour and baking powder and add in to the creamed butter and stir will well combined.  Finally, mix in the milk till the batter reaches a smooth consistency.

To your prepared loaf pan: pour 1/2 of the batter to the base of the pan, followed by 1/2 of your spiced and chopped apples and lastly, 1/2 of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

REPEAT with the remaining half of ingredients.  With the tip of a butter knife, insert straight down into loaf pan, without scraping the bottom, and give a slight swirl throughout. *This will not only make it “pretty” but will incorporate the flavors throughout.

Place the pan into your preheated oven for at least 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  *In one of my oven’s, this needed to bake for closer to 80 minutes before toothpick was clean, FYI.

Allow to sit out for about 20 minutes, transfer to a serving platter, then drizzle the prepared glaze overtop!

CSAppleBread2

 

 

 

Texas Style Jalapeno Sausage Kolaches

If you live in the great state of Texas, you can now forgo your local (albeit delish) donut shop drive-thru and make your own southern state staple!

Now yes, I am quite aware that these are also referred to as klobasnek’s/klobasniky’s and were brought to our beautiful USA from equally wonderful Czech immigrants.   I am also grateful that once they settled here, they turned the traditionally sweet pastry into a savory one…and eventually we added that kick of jalapeno!

Lastly, friends, let’s not confuse these with the so-so, flavorless aspects of a “pig-in-a-blanket”…oh no, no, noooo.  No matter where I have purchased one: many a donut shop, a gas station, a quaint mom & pop restaurant or even in West, Texas (THE self-proclaimed “Kolache Capitol” of the state) they are so much more!  The dough is baked with the most pillowy interior, the sausages are just that..sausage..no Oscar Myer hot dogs here and then a layer of gooey cheese and slightly spicy, pickled jalapenos.  Get.In.My.Mouth.  THIS is the (my) breakfast of champions!

*Feel free to omit the jalapenos for your little ones.  I usually make my batch half & half!

** Line your baking sheets with foil, parchment paper or a silpat sheet.  The cheese will inevitably ooze some of its way out and this will help with clean-up! 🙂

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg highly active yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups  AP flour
  • 1 pckg of Lil Smokies sausages
  • Cheddar or American cheese slices, cut in half
  • Jalapeno slices, pickled 
  • 1 egg + splash water, beaten

    I like to prepare the dough the night before we’ll  be enjoying these for breakfast.

    So we’ll start this by mixing the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.

    Meanwhile, melt the butter with the milk in a small pot.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, to the slightly cooled milk, careful not to scramble.  Add this milk mixture to the yeast.  Add in the flour and salt.  Mix it together with a dough hook until it forms a ball. Put this mixture into a large greased bowl and let it rise, covered, for an hour in a warm spot.  Finally, place in the refrigerator, still covered, overnight.

    Rise and shine!!!   The next morning, set the dough out on the counter for at least 30 minutes.  Once it is no longer cold to the touch, turn it out onto a well floured countertop and roll the dough out (using more flour if necessary) to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into 14 equal pieces (I use my pizza cutter or bench scraper).  Lay a few jalapeno slices down the center lengthwise of each rectangular piece of dough and then a thin slice of your preferred cheese.  Lay 2 of the sausages down the center.  Fold the sides of the dough over the filling (you may have to press the dough out a bit with your fingers..it’s easy, really).  Place them seam side down on a sheet pan. Lay additional jalapeno slices on top to show which Kolaches are “spicy”.  Let them rise in a warm spot, covered loosely with a tea-towel for 30-45 minutes.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the egg with some water and brush the tops of each kolache with the egg wash. Bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until the dough is done all the way through and the tops are browned.  *My previous oven’s temperature was always off and this took more like 45 minutes, so just watch for the golden brown hue/toothpic test if needed. 

    Kolache6Kolache7

Green Chile Tomato Pie

There are two kinds of tomato pie here in the United States.  One is the Italian version, aka pizza, the other is one of my summertime faves, the savory oh so Southern Tomato Pie!

This not too heavy pie is filled with fresh ripe tomatoes from your garden and bright herbs and onions.  Topped with a warm cheesy topping that gives you that comfort food feel pie always brings.  My only change up to the classic is I like to add a bit of that Tex-Mex flair with sliced jalapenos and green chiles.  I swear on a baby, they only enhance the flavors of the dish and do not overpower with heat..promise!

*You can drain and dry your tomatoes ahead of time and keep between paper towels on a plate or large Ziploc baggie in the refrigerator.  You can also make the cheesy topping ahead of time and keep in the fridge as well. 🙂

**Another great ingredient you can add in is bacon!!  Bacon is good in everything, right?

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 deep dish pie crust, frozen works great!
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes, sliced and patted dry
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped/torn
  • 4oz can green chiles, I prefer ‘hot’
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

TomPie1.JPG

Preheat your oven to your pie crusts directions (mine was 375 degrees).  Once the oven has heated up, take a fork and prick the bottoms and sides of your pie dough shell a few times and place in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove the par baked pie dough and set aside.

Meanwhile, rinse and slice your tomatoes.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and lay in a colander and let drain for 20-30 minutes.  Also pat dry with a towel or paper towel.  You really want to remove as much moisture as you can from the tomatoes so that the pie wont be soggy.  TomPie2.JPG

Once the tomatoes have drained, layer in the half-baked pie shell.  Sprinkle the green onions, sliced jalapeno and torn basil leaves overtop the tomatoes.

In a large bowl, simply combine the mayonnaise, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, drained green chiles and a pinch each of salt and pepper,  Fold together till mixed.  Top this mixture evenly overtop the fresh vegetables and place in your oven, now at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!!

 

 

Serve by itself for a light lunch, bring to a brunch or as a side dish along with grilled pork chops!  Just delish!!

TomPie7

 

Jalapeño Creamed Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Like most, when the outside air turns warm (hello 💐 Spring!!) and our grill is always going, I love me some corn!  Not many vegetables go so well with grilled meats and BBQ!  However, to avoid the debacle that is shucking corn and/or soaking it, taking up room on our grill (we were also making racks of ribs, friends) and messy corn-on-the-cob eating faces..I decided for a different route!

Besides corn, cream and spice are my other two favorite food groups, so let us combine them shall we??  You may think, “oh, I’ve had creamed corn growing up.  I don’t like it.  Way too sweet.  Too gloopy.  No cans for me.”  Well, just try it my way, please!!  The corn here keeps its slight sweetness, but it also keeps its shape and crunch!  The cream doesn’t taste artificial and a slight heat from the jalapeño really brings life to this dish!  Jalapeños bring life to me, but that’s another blog post in the making….anyway, just try it would ya!

*ok, the tomatoes are optional, but they’re adorable, easy and healthy!  If you prefer just the jalapeño creamed corn, I don’t blame you one bit.  I “sampled” this far too often before I stuffed the roasted tomatoes for our meal.  

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 on the vine tomatoes 
  • 16oz frozen corn 
  • 1-2 jalapeños, minced (we like a bit of heat, so I used two and left seeds in!)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt & pepper 
  • Milk, to thin at the end (about 1/2 cup)


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place a rack about 6″ under your broiler.  Also prepare a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse and pat dry your tomatoes.  Using a serrated knife, carefully cut off the tops of each tomato and set aside.  Now using a spoon, also carefully run along the inside and scoop out the seeds/juice.  *It may seem tough at first, you can use your knife to get things going, but it all scoops out together beautifully.  Sprinkle the insides of each tomato with a pinch of salt and ground pepper and set the cored tomatoes aside along with their “lids”.

Now, heat a medium sized skillet with 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  *I used my favorite, fabulous green chili infused oil from our local oil & vinegar market, 1890.  Sooooo good!  Pour the bag of corn straight into the hot skillet along with the minced jalapeño(s).  Toss around a bit till you really start to smell that roasting flavor, about 4-5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds.

Drop the temperature down to medium-low.  To the now heated through corn and peppers, add in the cubed cream cheese, butter, cayenne and salt & pepper.  Stir to combine and help melt.  

After it sits for a bit, prior to stuffing the tomatoes, I stir in a bit of milk to thin to your desired consistency.  It will come back and hold together, I promise.


*While the creamed corn is coming together, place the cored tomatoes onto your baking sheet and pop in the oven for a few minutes, allowing to soften and heat up.

Once combined, (and thoroughly sampled) remove the sheet of warmed tomatoes from the oven and scoop spoonfuls of the spicy, creamy corn straight in!  I like it overflowing!!  Top each filled tomato with its “lid” and place the baking sheet back into the oven and switch over to broil.  Now you can use low or high setting, but just watch closely!!  This just takes mere minutes, especially if on high!

Remove from oven and serve with ..oh I dunno…maybe a rack of ribs, roasted potatoes and cheddar biscuits!  We kind of liked that 😉 Enjoy!!

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