MY TOP RECIPES FOR 2015!

2015... it came and flew by like the wind!

It's never a shock to review my website traffic and find that Southern recipes- especially the old-school classics that we all remember from days gone by at the top of the list. I am always overwhelmed and so happy when I get messages from someone telling me they've made one of my recipes but I'm especially thrilled when they tell me it refreshes some childhood memory of a special holiday or occasion. That just makes my day and lets me know that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing! Here are my TOP RECIPES for 2015. If you have not tried these, please put them on your list.

MY MOST POPULAR RECIPE FOR 2015...  MY MOM'S SPICY SOUTHERN CHEESE STRAWS!

A Southern classic. Timeless. Perfect for any celebration. It would make my mother so proud to know people have loved and shared her recipe and that it tops the list as most shared, downloaded, and viewed recipe for 2015! Get the recipe...

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: Creamy with a sweet and savory flavor. A hint of maple and a dash of cayenne make it an annual best recipe.

CITRUS PICKLED SHRIMP: From my Food Network Star pilot, so many people who've made this recipe now include it in their own celebrations!

HAM DELIGHTS: One of my all-time party favorites from way back when. An oldie but a goodie. RECIPE

LIMONCELLO: If you've ever traveled to Italy, you've undoubtedly experienced the lemony deliciousness of Limoncello. Here's how to make it at home! RECIPE

MINT SWEET TEA: A lovely variation of a Southern classic sweet tea using a mint simply syrup. RECIPE

MOM'S LOST POUND CAKE: With a hint of almond flavor, this pound cake is the best ever and it has a great story to go with the recipe. RECIPE

PECAN DIVINITY: An old school Southern classic recipe that almost all of us remember from childhood but few want to tackle. The recipe makes it easy! RECIPE

SHRIMP & SAUSAGE GUMBO: Probably the recipe most associated with Southern food, this one is a sure hit for any celebration. RECIPE

SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN: Another classic I learned standing beside my mother in her kitchen, this former Sunday standard is making a comeback! RECIPE

CAST IRON SKILLET STEAKS: The very best way to make a steak-you may never cook one on the grill again. RECIPE

SUNDAY POT ROAST: Another family favorite and one we had every other Sunday growing up. An easy and affordable recipe that tastes like home to me. RECIPE

WICKED DEVILED EGGS: A classic Southern deviled egg recipe with a kick from Wickles pickle relish and a dash of cayenne. RECIPE

RECIPES: MY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

I made this recipe up about 10 years ago after having Butternut Squash soup for the first time at an event in Chicago. It was so memorable, I can still taste it. That’s what people tell me after they try mine. Perfect for any occasion, you just dress it up for Thanksgiving by serving in a beautiful bowl as a starter or serve it  in a mug with sandwiches for game day. Either way, everyone will want this recipe… and a second bowl so double the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in a thermos along with some goat cheese truffles, toasted crostini, and fresh fruit. Add a bottle of wine and you're ready for a fall picnic or apple picking party!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in a thermos along with some goat cheese truffles, toasted crostini, and fresh fruit. Add a bottle of wine and you're ready for a fall picnic or apple picking party!

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 (4-5 pounds) large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4-5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you may want to use more, depending on how thick you like the soup)

¼ cup organic maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper (I use a couple of dashes but I suggest you do one, taste and then another if you want more heat)

½ cup heavy cream (more if you like, and I always like!)

2 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Peel the butternut squash. Remove the seeds. Dice into large cubes. Drizzle the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with a salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan or roasting pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Check the squash after 12 minutes and turn with a spatula.

NOTE: You can roast the squash in the skin and scoop it out after you cook it. Either way works. With a heavy duty vegetable peeler, I find peeling it first is easier.)

While the squash is roasting, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook the onion until softened but not browned.

Add the cooked squash to the onion. Use a potato masher, a spoon or a spatula to break up the squash. Stir in the first 4 cups of chicken broth a little at a time. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, adding more chicken broth as necessary to keep the soup from becoming too thick.  Add the maple syrup, salt and both peppers. Whisk in the cream. If you like your soup with texture, stop here.  I like this soup very smooth so I use an immersion blender to make it smooth and velvety. When you get it to the consistency you like, add the heavy cream. Just before serving, stir in a tablespoon of butter and the finely chopped parsley. Check the seasoning. You may need to add a bit more salt. (you can also add the parsley before you use your immersion blender if you have people who don't like anything green in their food)

Depending on portion size, this serves about 8

I spoon this soup into quart-sized Mason jars once done; it, keeps in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. Sometimes I make a big batch and deliver it to friends around the holidays. It is always appreciated!

Print Friendly and PDF

RECIPE: BACON CHEDDAR BISCUITS

Bacon. Cheese. What could be better? I bake these in a mini muffin tin but I call them biscuits not muffins since to me, muffins are sweet. You would make these to accompany ribs for a BBQ or maybe to go with an all vegetable supper. I know this much; when I show up with these, there are never any left!

A southern classic; Bacon Cheese biscuits are kinda like muffins but I call them biscuits because to me, muffins are always sweet.

A southern classic; Bacon Cheese biscuits are kinda like muffins but I call them biscuits because to me, muffins are always sweet.

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon white pepper

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

Pinch dried thyme

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 egg, beaten

1 cup whole milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 2 mini muffin tins with butter or non-stick spray if you prefer.

Mix dry ingredients plus the cheese and bacon together in a bowl. Toss together to coat the bacon and cheese. Beat the egg in a separate bowl; add milk and oil and pour into the dry ingredients. Using a fork, mix together until combined; don’t over mix. Pour into the prepared tins, filling them 2/3 full. Bake 12-15 minutes or until puffy and golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let them sit in the pan to cool for 3 minutes and then remove them; place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen.