Monday, May 31, 2010

40. Artichoke-Cheese Spread

From 2004 Southern Living Annual Recipes

This was my other contribution to today's cookout...and it was my kind of appetizer. It was easy to put together, could be assembled ahead of time, had a pretty presentation, and tasted great. It was incredibly addictive!

The ground red pepper in the cheesy artichoke mixture gave it some kick, tempered by the cream cheese. I walked away from this for about 15 minutes, and it was half gone when I came back through the kitchen. I'd count that as a success!

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion tops (I omitted)
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped

Stir together cream cheese and green onions, blending well. Set aside.

Stir together artichoke hearts and next 5 ingredients.

Spread one-third of cream cheese mixture on bottom of a 4-cup glass bowl lined with plastic wrap. Layer with half of both chopped peppers and artichoke mixture. Repeat, ending with final third of cream cheese. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Invert onto a serving plate and remove plastic wrap.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

39. Lemonade Cupcakes

From 2004 Southern Living Annual Recipes

For my parents' Memorial Day cookout tomorrow, I decided to make something I knew my three young nieces would enjoy..."pupcakes."

We're the kind of family that has 5 different appetizers and no desserts at our get-togethers, so this was a step-out, but I knew the girls would be excited.

I had read some reviews on SL's site that the cream cheese frosting the recipe calls for was a little bit too much, so I opted for whipped vanilla frosting instead...and it was perfect.

The lemonade was just enough to give these cupcakes a little something, a tartness that wasn't overpowering but gave them a special flavor.

As I was spooning the batter into the liners, I noticed that it was very thick, and I worried that the cupcakes would be dense...but they were light and moist.

Update (5/31): The girls found these a little too "tangy," but they were a hit with the adults. I think these would make a great addition to a baby shower.

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can cream cheese frosting

Combine all ingredients, except frosting, in a mixing bowl. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until moistened. Beat at high speed 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; cool completely on wire rack. Spread evenly with frosting.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

38. Baked Polenta with Cheese and Okra

From 1999 Southern Living Annual Recipes

When you're talking about Southern food, cheese grits and okra are two staples. So, it made sense when I saw the two combined.

Both the bottom and top of the dish had a great crust, with creamy grits in the middle. Putting the cheese in cubed was a great idea, as it made little pockets of cheesiness.

I used frozen cut okra instead of fresh, and it worked just fine. Next time, I'd probably use garlic salt instead of regular, just for a little more flavor. All in all, a yummy, unusual, and visually attractive side dish, perfect with a grilled steak.

4 cups water, divided
6 small fresh okra pods
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 (8-ounce) block sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add okra and cook 10 minutes. Remove okra with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in pan. Cool okra slightly and coarsely chop.

Add remaining 2 cups water to reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in grits and salt; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5-7 minutes. Gradually whisk about one-fourth of hot grits into eggs. Add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in butter. Stir in okra and cheese. Spoon into a lightly greased 11x7 baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until set.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

37. So Good Brownies

From 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes

(For the record, this is the actual title of the recipe!)

This is my first baking venture NOT using a box mix as a starter. Brownies...from scratch.

Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, flour...pure and simple.

I tend to like my brownies a little more cake-like and these were more fudge-like the first day (and very rich)...but once they sat overnight, the consistency became more like cake.

Lining the pan with foil (which came off the brownies very easily) made these a cinch to cut into perfect squares for serving. I dusted mine with a little powdered sugar.

Want to "fancy" these up a bit? Click here for Southern Living's stir-in and topping variations.

4 (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large bowl on high 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in flour, vanilla, and salt.

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2-3 inches to extend over sides. Lightly grease foil. Pour mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-44 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil and cut brownies into 16 squares.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

36. Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Three things I love: my Bundt pan (Why? Because it turns out pretty food), cinnamon, and new breakfast recipes. So, this had my name all over it, even though I'm not a big "sweets" person.

I've never made a glaze or glazed a cake check that off my list of things to do on this cooking adventure.

The cake was delicious...very moist and not too sweet. It had a beautiful presentation (thank you, Bundt pan)...and would make a great addition to a brunch buffet table to complement savory dishes.

I brought in half of the cake to share with co-workers...and it lasted about an hour in our break room.

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Beat first 3 cake ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1-1/2 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Grease a Bundt pan with shortening. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Spoon one-third of batter into pan. Sprinkled brown sugar mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack and cool 20 minutes.

Mix together glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze over slightly warm cake.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

35. Southwestern Squash Casserole

From 2005 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I just can't seem to get casseroles to photograph well!

That said, this was a good Mexican twist on a classic Southern dish.

There's quite a bit of taco seasoning in this recipe, so be sure you like that flavor, as it really comes through. I'm wondering if halving the amount would make the taste more subtle...without being under-seasoned.

I think I may have crushed the tortilla chips a little too fine, as there wasn't that "crunch" I was looking for...but the vegetables still had a nice bite to them even after being steamed, so the dish still had texture.

1 pound yellow squash, sliced
1 pound zucchini, sliced
1 cup water
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
1/4 cup chopped onion (I omitted)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Monterey jack and Cheddar cheese blend

Place first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pierce wrap with a fork several times to vent. Microwave on high 8 to 9 minutes or until vegetables are tender, drain. Press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Stir together cooked vegetables, soup, and next 5 ingredients until well blended. Spoon into a lightly greased 11x7 baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

34. Sausage-and-Chicken Cassoulet

From 2005 Southern Living Annual Recipes

When I read this recipe, I loved all of the ingredients, but I was a tad unsure how it would come together, taste-wise. I have to say, I was very pleased.

This is a very hearty dish. I probably should have made it a few months earlier, in fact, because it's a perfect cold-day recipe. It wasn't rich, but it had a definite stick-to-your-ribs quality.

I was a little concerned when I poured the cornbread mixture over the top, as most of it appeared to sink instead of settling in as a crust. However, the final product turned out perfectly.

1 (16-ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced
1 pound uncooked chicken breast strips, chopped
1 (15.8-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, drained
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme (I omitted)
1 (6-ounce) package buttermilk cornbread mix
2/3 cup water

Cook sausage in a 2-1/4 to 3-quart ovenproof skillet over medium heat 8 minutes or until browned. Remove sausage and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet.

Cook chicken in hot drippings in skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until brown.

Return sausage to skillet with chicken. Stir in beans and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Stir together cornbread mix and water. Pour evenly over hot mixture in skillet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

33. Easy Chicken Pie

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I have been craving chicken pot pie lately, so I went through the cookbooks and found this recipe. The ultimate comfort food!

I should have noticed that the recipe didn't call for any seasonings...the chicken mixture definitely needed salt and pepper.

On the other hand, the canned soup was elevated with the addition of stock, buttermilk, and wine to take it beyond that "cream-of" flavor. I could smell the wine when I opened the oven door.

I used a bag of mixed vegetables instead of just peas and carrots, which added grean beans, corn, and lima beans to the dish.

Be sure to keep an eye on the crust. When I peeked in about halfway through, I saw the edges were starting to get too brown, so I covered them with foil.

With a little salt and pepper added to my plate, this dish completely satisfied my craving!

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 can cream of chicken soup with herbs
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Unroll piecrust on a lightly floured surface; roll into a 14x12 inch rectangle.

Stir together remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 11/7 baking dish. Top with piecrust; fold edges under and crimp. Cut slits in top for steam to escape.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.