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Category Archives: Cooking in the south

Southern Succotash

10 oz fresh or frozen lima beans (2 cups)

4 slices center cut bacon

1 C chopped sweet onion (from 1 small onion)

4 oz fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch slices (or frozen)  (1 cup)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 tsp)

3 cups fresh corn kernels (or canned/frozen)

1-1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 Tbsp butter

5 oz cherry tomatoes, halved (1 cup)

1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook lima beans in pot of water, covered.  Bring to a boil over medium-high.  Reduce to medium-low and simmer until beans are just tender, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

While beans are simmering, cook bacon in cast iron skillet until crisp, about 8 minutes, turning once after 5 minutes.  Remove bacon to paper towels, crumble and set aside.

In bacon drippings in skillet, add chopped onion, okra and garlic cooking over medium heat; cook, stirring often until onion is tender, about 6 minutes.  Stir in corn, salt, pepper and lima beans.  Cook until corn is bright and tender.  Add butter, stirring constantly until butter is melted.  Remove from heat, add tomatoes and basil and bacon.  Serve & enjoy a taste of the South!  



“Olive Oil’s” Version of Southern Biscuits

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4 C Bisquick

1 C Sour Cream

3/4 C Club Soda

1 Stick of Butter

Mix Bisquick, sour cream and soda. Pat out 1/2 inch thick. Melt butter. Pour half of the butter on cookie sheet. Place biscuits on cookie sheet. Brush biscuit tops with remaining butter. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. These are delicious!!

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LA Shrimp and Grits Casserole

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    • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock 
    • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 
    • 1 cup uncooked yellow grits 
    • 12 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups) 
    • 1 tablespoon canned tomato paste 
    • 1 large egg 
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (from 1 [10-oz.] onion) 
    • 6 ounces sliced fresh button mushrooms 
    • 1 cup chopped carrots (from 2 large [6 oz. total] carrots) 
    • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp.) 
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 1/2 cup chopped scallions (from 3 scallions), divided 
    • 2 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, drained 
    • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) white wine 
    • 1 1/2 pounds large peeled, deveined raw shrimp 
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring stock and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Whisk in grits; cook, whisking often, until smooth, about 20 minutes. Whisk together cooked grits, cheese, tomato paste, and egg in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

While grits cook, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, mushrooms, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and 1/4 cup of the scallions; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp, pepper, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Remove from heat.

Spread grits mixture into a 13- x 9-inch casserole dish. Top evenly with shrimp mixture. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven until casserole is bubbly and shrimp are cooked through, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup scallions.

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King Cake Crackers

40-42 saltine crackers                               1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter                                 Green decorative sugar

1 cup brown sugar packed                        Yellow decorative sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon                                        Purple decorative sugar

12 oz white chocolate chips + more for drizzling **After going to two stores with no luck, being solution oriented as we are, chose 3 boxes of 4 oz Baker’s white chocolate; then chopped them in food processor;  perfect!!!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Place saltine crackers side by side on the parchment paper. Set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the mixture evenly over the crackers. Use a greased spatula to spread over the crackers as needed.

Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Top with 12 oz white  chocolate chips. Let rest 5 minutes. Use a spoon to spread the   melted white chocolate evenly over the crackers. Decorate the top with green, yellow and purple decorative sugars. Drizzle with    additional white chocolate as desired. Cool in the freezer for 30 minutes. Break into pieces, removing from the paper. Store in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag or airtight container.

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Chicken Gnocchi Soup

3 Tbsp butter                           2 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 onion, diced                        1/2 C carrots, diced

1/2 C celery, diced                   4 cloves garlic, minced

Coarse salt & black pepper   1/3 C flour

4 C chicken broth                    1.5 C Half & Half                             

2 C cooked white chicken, shredded*

1 lb potato gnocchi                 3 C fresh baby spinach

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil    Fresh Parmesan or Romano


     In a large Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until tender over medium-low about 10 minutes, stirring often.

     Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir into vegetables.  Cook 3 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, followed by the half & half. 

      Add the cooked chicken.  Bring to a simmer and maintain for 20 minutes stirring often.  Stir with salt and pepper to taste.

      Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions.  Add to the soup along with the spinach.  Simmer until spinach wilts.  Stir in basi.  Serve with grated cheese.

      Tastes just like the Olive Garden version — so perfect for a cold winter night. 



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1 pound bacon

2 cups milk

8 eggs

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 red potatoes, thinly sliced

5 mushrooms, sliced

Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon grease. Crumble bacon into pieces.

Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish with reserved bacon grease.

Place milk, eggs, seasoned salt, and black pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 5 minutes.Add bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, onion, and green bell pepper; beat until combined, about 2 minutes more.

Layer potato slices in the bottom of the casserole dish. Pour egg mixture over potatoes. Arrange sliced mushrooms on top. Cover casserole with aluminum foil.

Refrigerate over night. Bake in 350 degrees preheated oven, about 35 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake until eggs are set, about 30 minutes more.



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Niki’s Sweet Potato Dumplings

2 cans crescent rolls                              2 cups water

2 cups sugar                                             1 ½ stick of butter

1 tbsp vanilla                                           1 tbsp cornstarch

1 pkg sweet potato patties (cut each in ½)

Cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat Oven to 350º. Unroll crescents. Place potato piece in wide end. Tuck sides around potato; does not have to be completely sealed. Place pointed end down in baking dish.

In saucepan, combine sugar, water, butter and cornstarch.  Heat over medium heat, stirring to make sure that cornstarch doesn’t clump.

Remove from heat when fully combined and melted. Add vanilla. Pour over dumplings and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes.

 Oh so good! Thank you Niki from Commerce Title for sharing this sweet treat!

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Crane House Pumpkin Bread

1 Cup Corn Oil                                           4 Eggs

2/3 Cup Water                                            3 1/3 Cups Flour

2 Cups Canned Pumpkin                          1 1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Nutmeg                                             1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Baking Soda                                     2 Cups Sugar

Grease and flour 3 loaf pans. Combine oil, eggs, water and pumpkin by hand or by mixer. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and sugar. Bake at 350 for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean! Stays moist for days!

I found this recipe many years ago in a vintage cookbook, “Fanny Pierson Crane, Her Receipts 1796” while serving as a docent at the open hearth kitchen at Magnolia Mound Plantation.  The recipes were originally prepared in the 18th century manner and adapted for today.

This recipe has become a family treasure and favorite … I makes it year round!  May it become a staple in your kitchen too!

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Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad

3 Tbsp. olive oil divided

3 Tbsp. lime juice

1/2 C chopped red onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 C chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp. jarred jalapeno slices

1/2 C chopped red bell pepper

2/3 C black beans drained and rinsed (I used whole can)

2/3 C frozen corn thawed (I used whole bag)

6 cups peeled sweet potato chunks (about 2 1/2 pounds)

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 425°F. Coat foil lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. On prepared pan, toss together sweet potatoes, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast about 30 minutes or until potatoes are crisp and cool. In large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, corn, black beans and cilantro. In blender, puree lime juice, garlic, jalapeno and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss with potato mixture and serve. Soooo Good!!

Compliments of our good friend Holly Clegg and her cookbook Eating Well To Fight Arthritis. We pray for Holly as she is in hospice care right now and want her to know her recipes continue to bless us.


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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili w/ Sweet Potato and Black Beans

1 Can (15oz.) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil, divided                 1 Tbsp. chili powder

3 Cups peeled & diced sweet potatoes                 2 Garlic cloves minic

1 Pound lean ground turkey                      1 Large onion, finely diced

2 Cups vegetable or chicken broth                 1/4 Tsp. paprika

1 Tsp. Jalapeno pepper, minced                 1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/4 Tsp. black pepper                                1 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin                            1/4 Tsp. dried oregano

Topping for serving: hot sauce, diced avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, diced onions, salsa, thinly sliced green onion, etc.


In a large pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and saute sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, until softened. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sauteing. Add sweet potato mixture to slow cooker. Turn up heat to medium-high. In same pan, add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Saute onions, jalapeno pepper, garlic and ground turkey, stirring & breaking up the meat. Cook until meat is no longer pink & onions softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sauteing. Drain off any grease. Add meat mixture and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, stirring until well combined. Slow cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.


From our teammember Laura: “every one of my 4 children love it! And it lasts for several meals!!”


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