Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picnic Oven Fried Chicken

Picnic chicken, prepared similar to our classic, southern fried chicken, is lightly dusted in a highly seasoned flour then oven fried in butter and set aside to cool completely, before packing for the picnic.

Picnic Oven Fried Chicken

When you see recipes for oven fried chicken it's most often a low fat attempt to recreate deep fried chicken, often using cornflakes as a coating. This is not that.

When you see the term "picnic" fried chicken, it's generally referring to a fried chicken that has been prepped for skillet frying, but is done mostly, if not completely, in the oven. Left to cool, it's delicious at room temperature or straight from the fridge, making it the perfect picnic chicken. This is that.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Around Town - Top of the Hops Beer Festival



A great event is returning to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for its second year! It's a fun event and if you're a connoisseur of all things beer, it's one you'll want to check out.

Top of the Hops Beer Festival will be held at our beautiful Mississippi Coast Convention Center at the Coliseum in Biloxi, this Saturday, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This event showcases the growing popularity of craft beers from around the country and the world, in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Patrons will receive a commemorative sampling mug and have access to two-ounce samplings of over 150 craft beers from distributors across the world. The festival will also feature a Brew University Education Area where patrons will enjoy beer seminars such as Cooking with Beer, Food Pairings, Brewing 101 and other beer education sessions and, all new for 2012, the Bayou Teche Cask Garden. Come enjoy the mass of craft beers with live music and fun games like corn-hole and ping pong.

Grab a sneak peek brochure here, or pop over to the Top of the Hops Festival site for tickets and more information. C'mon down and have some fun y'all!

NOTE: Must be 21 or older, with a valid ID to enter festival and ID will be checked for all patrons. Have fun, but drink responsibly, and plan for cab transportation or schedule a designated driver to go with you. Local cab service will be available, and any brew crew volunteer/staff member or security personnel will call a cab for you if necessary.

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing this information with my readers, I received two general admission tickets from Red Mountain Entertaiment.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Vegetables

Pork roast, slow cooked in the crockpot and simply seasoned with garlic salt, freshly cracked black pepper, Cajun seasoning, thyme and sage and topped with cream of mushroom soup.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Vegetables

While slow braised beef roast would be my husband's top favorite roast, a pork roast rules in my eyes, and the slow cooker is a great vehicle for it for sure. Though most people think of the cut only for smoking or slow cooking for pulled pork sandwiches, I love a good pork shoulder or Boston butt prepared as a roast. This preparation is also great with a leaner pork loin however.


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stewed Baby Lima Beans

Baby lima beans, stewed down to creamy perfection and seasoned nicely with bacon and ham, are as at home as a side dish as they are a main dish, when paired up with a nice garden salad, cornbread and iced tea.

Stewed Baby Lima Beans

I mostly prepare frozen baby lima beans as a side to be honest, like in succotash, but we don't eat them as often as I like, because they require some advance planning for cooking, and unfortunately I tend to forget about them! Unlike my beloved butter beans, it's a rare occasion where I make them from fresh or dried, but I don't know why, because they are just so much more delicious and worth the effort.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Strawberry Delight

A layered dessert, made with a buttery shortbread crust, topped with a cream cheese and whipped topping layer, a layer of fresh or frozen strawberries and finished with more whipped cream and chopped nuts.

Strawberry Delight

I have a secret I've been keeping. In the midst of this recent wintery weather, which for some of you has meant snow, I have been chowing down on fresh, local strawberries. Louisiana strawberries. They show up this time of year, every year, and I sure do look forward to it.



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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Southern Chicken Casserole

Probably considered "the" southern chicken casserole for ages, this casserole has birthed multiple variations, including Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole and Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. It remains a popular and beloved dish on the party, church supper and potluck circuits.

Southern Chicken Casserole

This Southern Chicken Casserole is another one of those basic casseroles that has been around for years. Indeed, a fabulous recipe, perfectly delicious all on its own in this bare bones version, but also a great blank slate to build on, making it the foundation for many of our southern chicken casseroles.

You can vary it with a wide range of ingredients by adding in cooked white, brown or wild rice, cooked raw vegetables, or even frozen or well drained canned vegetables. For extra flavor, add in a little sauteed onion and celery. For crunch, include chopped water chestnuts, sliced almonds, or finely chopped pecans. You can also switch out toppings for buttered plain or seasoned bread crumbs, panko, fried onion, or even shredded cheeses. You are limited really only by your culinary imagination.

While this casserole most often uses cut up or shredded chicken these days, originally it was made with poached bone-in chicken, bones removed, but leaving the chicken in whole pieces, making it an appropriate company casserole. Leftover turkey makes a fine substitute too.

Please don't scoff at the use of cream of soups here y'all - it is indeed traditional for this yummy casserole. Period. It's certainly okay to use reduced sodium or lower fat cream soups and sour cream of course, and you can absolutely substitute your own homemade sauce also. You know I love my cream soups, and in my little ole humble opinion, if it's good enough to be served in its original form as a regular dish in the buffet room of Blue Willow Inn Restaurant, a popular and well-loved Georgia restaurant, well then, it's sure good enough for my table too.

Here's how to make it.


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Referred to by some tailgaters as "crack dip" because they find it irresistible, this sour cream and mayonnaise dip, made with Ranch dressing mix, shredded cheddar and bacon, is a sure winner.

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Now y'all know I love my my dips, though I'm probably a bit more endeared to hot dips than I am cold ones, but with The Big Game coming up, I thought it'd be nice to get this favorite up on the site.


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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Southernized Italian Wedding Soup

A southernized version of classic Italian Wedding Soup, made with spicy sausage and beef meatballs, collards and black-eyed peas.

Southernized Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup has long been a southern favorite, but this version inspired by John Besh, makes it even more regional for us, and, it's a great way to use up some of those leftover black-eyed peas and collard greens you made for your New Year's Day meal. Don't fret if you don't have any leftovers on hand though, because you can certainly used canned products very successfully here, or fresh, quick cooking greens such as turnip, mustard or even baby spinach.


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