Friday, November 26, 2010

80. Quick Artichoke Dip

From 2002 Southern Living Annual Recipes

The Iron Bowl (Auburn-Alabama football game) is practically a holiday in Alabama...Birmingham itself literally shuts down for four hours. I'm a Georgia fan (and I know I shouldn't say that with any pride this year), so I never have a dog in this hunt, but I'm always up for a party.

This dip made a fabulous addition to the spread at my friend Jenny's get-together. It was sooo easy to put make, and it was delicious...tangy, creamy, undertone of artichokes. The Italian dressing gave it great flavor. YUM!

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 (0.6-ounce) envelope Italian dressing mix
1 (16-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Process first 3 ingredients in a food processor until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. Add artichokes and cheese, pulsing 5 to 7 times or just until artichokes are coarsely chopped.

Spoon mixture into a serving bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.

79. Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

For my family, dessert isn't a big deal. We're much more interested in savory food, but we've learned to add in sweets as we've gained members over the years who won't accept having no dessert.

These were the perfect end to Thanksgiving meal...instead of tackling a full piece of pecan pie after a big dinner, these are ideal tidbits of a little something sweet. The original recipe makes six dozen, but it was easy to third.

They're flaky, crunchy, sticky, chewy bites...all the goodness of pecan pie in prettty little  packages.

3 cups chopped pecans

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 (2.1-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.

Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, and next 3 ingredients.

Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell, and place on 2 large baking sheets.

Bake at 350º for 20 to 22 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

78. Summer Squash Casserole

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

For Thanksgiving, my parents make the turkey and dressing, and my sister and I cook the rest of the side dishes and desserts.

My family has been great testers of the recipes I've been making for this challenge all year...but my sister was quick to point out that she wanted me to make "real" green bean casserole for the holiday.

So, since squash casserole isn't a staple of our Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to experiment with this dish. While the squash mixture was good, we weren't fans of the stuffing topping. The herb seasoning was just too overpowering. That said, I think this would be fantastic with crushed Ritz crackers on top.

1 1/2 pounds yellow squash

1 pound zucchini
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 cup grated carrots
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 (8-oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (8-oz.) package herb-seasoned stuffing
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash and zucchini into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place in a Dutch oven. Add chopped onion, 2 tsp. salt, and water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook 5 minutes; drain well.

Stir together 1 cup grated carrots, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl; fold in squash mixture. Stir together stuffing and 1/2 cup melted butter, and spoon half of stuffing mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Spoon squash mixture over stuffing mixture, and top with remaining stuffing mixture.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown, shielding with aluminum foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

77. Broccoli-Spinach Casserole

From 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Every good Southern woman knows a delicious casserole begins with a can of cream of mushroom soup and ends with a topping of crumbled Ritz crackers...and this one's no exception.

I can guarantee that this dish will make fans out of broccoli and spinach haters. It has tons of goodness holding it together. I served it with steak, and it was a fantastic accompaniment. Perfect for a potluck, too. Plus, it's easy to put together (and halve, as well).

I got home from the grocery store and realized I didn't have any mayonnaise (how is that possible?), so I substituted some dijonnaise I had on hand...and it added a perfect extra flavor to the dish. I'll definitely make that "mistake" again.

2 (10-oz.) packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

2 (10-oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
36 round buttery crackers, crushed

Stir together first 10 ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crushed crackers.

Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until set.

76. Eggnog Pound Cake

From 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I've been hanging on to this recipe all year, waiting for eggnog to hit the shelves, which I mistakenly thought happened after Thanksgiving.

This cake is a such a surprise in your mouth. It looks like a traditional pound cake, so that's what you're expecting, and then you're hit with the rich, creamy, decadent flavor of egg nog, which takes this dessert to a higher level. What a perfect addition to any holiday gathering. It just tastes like Christmas.

My only complaint was that this over-browned in my oven, which always cooks true, so I will decrease the cooking time next go-round.

1 (16-oz.) package pound cake mix

1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat all ingredients together at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to medium, and beat 2 minutes. Pour into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

75. Chicken Spaghetti Supreme

From 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipes

My standard recipe for chicken spaghetti, handed down from my mother, is made with a sauce of Velveeta and cream of mushroom soup. When I saw an entirely different version, I knew I had to give it a try.

The tomatoes stew and become tender in the oven, and the mushrooms soak up the flavor of the Italian dressing. When you shred the chicken and stir it all together, it makes such a wonderful sauce. Adding the cheese at the end thickens it up perfectly.

This is definitely a must-make!

4 skinned and boned chicken breasts

2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup Italian dressing
1 (8-oz.) package spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place chicken breasts in a single layer in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top evenly with onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Pour dressing evenly over chicken and vegetables.

Bake, covered, at 375° for 45 minutes. Remove chicken and vegetables from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Shred chicken using two forks.

Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Combine shredded chicken mixture and spaghetti, tossing well. Top evenly with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

74. Monster Meatball Sandwiches

From 2008 Southern Living Annual Recipes

These had all the potential to be great...but, somehow, they just weren't. I expected the meatballs to have a sweet, thick coating, but they ended up tasting bland. I wonder how they'd be if they were just cooked in the chutney, without the chicken broth to dilute the flavor.

I couldn't find the particular relish the recipe called for, so I got sweet-n-hot salad peppers and chopped them up. They added all of the flavor to these sandwiches. I ended up putting them both on the bottom and top, so that every bite had crunch.

I loved the presentation for entertaining, so I'll definitely try this recipe again with some adjustments.
32 bite-size frozen meatballs

1 (9-oz.) jar mango chutney
1 cup chicken broth
16 fresh dinner rolls
1 (16-oz.) jar sweet-hot pickle sandwich relish

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut rolls vertically through top, cutting to but not through bottom. Place 2 meatballs in each roll. Top with desired amount of relish.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

73. Spicy Party Spread

From 1997 Southern Living Annual Recipes

Don't let this picture keep you from making this dish...I could not make it photograph well, but it was ridiculously delicious!

The oddest part of this recipe when I first read it was the pecans...and I still can't figure them out. You can't pick up their taste or the texture in this dish.

That said, it was soooo good. It was creamy, cheesy, and "taco" spicy (almost like it had meat in it). Next time, I think I'll add pickled jalapeno slices on top at the end, for color, texture, and a little extra kick.

This is a fantastic football party's great hot or room temp. The dish was cleaned out in no time!

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine, melted
Pinch of salt
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 to 3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup (1.3 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup picante sauce

Bake pecans in a shallow pan at 275°, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes or until toasted. Stir in butter, and sprinkle with salt.

Stir together cream cheese and next 4 ingredients; stir in pecans, and spoon into an 8-inch square baking dish.

Bake, covered, at 375° for 45 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with crackers or corn chips.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

72. Tomato 'n' Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust

From 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I've had this one on my list for awhile, thinking it would be a nice twist on the traditional "baked ziti" type of casserole, with polenta in place of the pasta.

And while this was good, it wasn't great. The polenta was delicious, with the steak seasoning and cheese, but the meat mixture lacked flavor. Perhaps I should have used hot Italian sausage...or Italian instead of plain tomatoes.

Some of the reviews on the SL site suggested pre-baking the layer of polenta to form more of a "crust," but I decided to follow the recipe, and I didn't mind the soft texture of the polenta.

Overall, this was an okay casserole that could be great with a few tweaks.
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground chuck
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Spread cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Brown ground chuck in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and transfer to a bowl.

Sauté onion and zucchini in hot oil in skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture over cornmeal crust. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

71. Sausage-Cheese Muffins

From 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipes

I absolutely love sausage balls...I make them every chance I get, from brunches to football season to Christmas morning. So, I was intrigued by this recipe, which sounded very similar, just in a different presentation (and minus all of the rolling!).

But, I was surprised that these had a different sort of taste...delicious, but different. They were a little more dense...and one was very filling.

They turned out beautifully, presentation-wise, and would make a great addition to any entertaining.

Note: These lose their flavor at room temperature, so be sure to serve warm.
1 (1-lb.) package ground pork sausage

3 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can condensed cheese soup

3/4 cup water

Cook sausage in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and cool.

Combine sausage, baking mix, and shredded cheese in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

Stir together soup and 3/4 cup water; add to sausage mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans, filling to top of cups.

Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned.