Food of the South

Carolina cuisine, recipes & history

Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes

Warm and comforting Scalloped Potatoes

As promised, here is the scalloped potatoes recipe that I put together the other night. The leftovers were amazing yesterday!

Southern Scalloped Potatoes:

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 half & half (trust me you won’t miss cream!)

3/4 cup chicken stock

3-5 large or medium Yukon gold potatoes

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

a pinch/dash/tablespoon of nutmeg, onion powder, garlic

I had some left over fresh parsley to top it off but there’s really no need for it.

Directions:

  1. Make your rue by melting the butter in a sauce pan or pot.
  2. Add the flour, nutmeg, garlic, and onion powder and whisk until the two are completely incorporated.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Continue to whisk and add the half & half and chicken stock slowly.
  5. Let it simmer on low until it thickens slightly.
  6. Add the sour cream and whisk.
  7. Once incorporated, add 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until slightly thick. If you think it will not be enough, add a little more chicken stock as needed.

Now you have the rue! Let’s build the scalloped potatoes.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a 9×9 Pyrex dish or a round 8×8 glass baking dish, spray with nonstick spray (learned this the hard way!)
  3. Clean and peel your potatoes then slice then 1/4 inch thick or thinner, width wide (making circles).
  4. Cover the bottom of the dish then layer with the rue you made, and shredded cheese (separately).
  5. Do this at least 3 times or until the potatoes and rue have run out.
  6. Top the mixture with shredded cheese, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe: Easy Fried Chicken

The fine finished product!

Happy New Year ya’ll!

So I started this blog last fall and as I’ve moved into winter, I started to get bored with a lot of my steady recipes. I’ve found a rotation. Chicken and pastry, dirty rice with smoked sausage, an Italian dish (either spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or penne Alfredo) and homemade pizza for fun on a night when I really don’t want to clean anything.
All of these dishes are delicious in their own right, but I’m bored.

So last night, I wanted to do something I’ve not done in a long while–fry.

When I say fry, I mean pull out the deep fryer, fill it up with oil and let her rip fry.

To top it off, I finally made scalloped potatoes the way they are suppose to taste. All of my attempts before lacked something: milk or salt or cheese but I figured out the secret: SOUR CREAM! It makes all the difference in the world! So enjoy the pictures and the recipes and try not to worry about the calories for the night.

Fried Chicken:

vegetable oil

chicken thighs (bone in)

1 and 1/2 cups of flour

1 Egg (beaten)

1/2 cup of Milk

Directions:

Follow the instructions on your fryer filling it with vegetable oil and heating it to 350 degrees.

In a Ziplock bag, place the flour and salt and pepper.

In a small dish with sides, mix the milk and beaten egg.

Using paper towels, dry each chicken thigh before beginning the breading process.

Dip the thigh into the beaten egg/milk mixture until it is coated.

Drop it into the flour bag and shake until fully coated.

Tap the thigh off to get rid of excess flour then slowly place it into the fryer.

I fried each one separately (I have a small fryer) and it also helped to keep the temperature consistent.

Fry for 10-13 minutes.

Place on a plate with a paper towel to allow the excess grease to pull away from the chicken.

While it is still hot, season the meat with anything from Cajun seasoning to simple salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

This is an extremely basic recipe. For more of a kick, add hot sauce to the egg/milk mixture or cayenne pepper to the flour for breading.

Scalloped Potatoes to come tomorrow!!

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Mimosa, buffalo dip and fresh black bean salsa for one of my love's bridal showers.

100 % not southern, 100% DELICIOUS!

This is one of those recipes that a friend made for a party and I loved so much I had to have the recipe. He had made the Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe. Then I played with it and wound up with this one. It’s still a go to party pleaser but not for those who don’t like heat.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 16 oz. packages of Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup of Ranch dressing
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, mix the buffalo sauce, ranch, softened cream cheese and cheddar cheese together.
  3. Shred all of the rotisserie chicken.
  4. Add it to the mix and incorporate it throughout.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are bubbling.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe: Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

This is not a southern recipe in the least, but it’s one of my fiance’s favorite recipes. I tried it in the crock pot and it turned out perfectly! If you need an easy, comfort meal this could be the one for you.
Ingredients:

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 lbs of beef stew meat

Beef Stroganoff Seasoning Mix

(If you don’t have it, add 1 tablespoon of garlic, corn starch and minced onion in addition to the rest of the ingredients)

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of sour cream

mushrooms (optional)

2 tablespoons minced onion

salt and pepper

1 bag of egg noodles

Directions:

  1. Mix the spices, salt and pepper, water, and cream of mushroom soup together in the Crock Pot.
  2. Add the uncooked meat.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Once finished, cook the egg noodles per package instructions.
  5. Stir in sour cream to the crock pot mixture and pour over the egg noodles.
  6. Enjoy!

Recipe: BBQ Pulled Chicken

There is a fantastic place in Wilmington, NC called the Front Street Brewery. Walking in, you are greeted by giant silver vats of beer in the making. I don’t drink beer, but the aroma is not off putting at all. In fact, it does the opposite; it pulls you in. This was one of the places I can always picture when I’m walking downtown in Wilmington. It’s far enough from the Cape Fear to not hear the tourists passing but close enough to walk. The food at this place is beyond bar food. They use their homemade beer to make some of the soups and their BBQ sauce which is where my favorite thing on the menu comes in: pulled chicken.

As someone who grew up eating pulled pork, I’d never thought of pulled chicken and instead of a vinegar and hot sauce base, they soak the tender, shredded meat in their Scottish Ale BBQ sauce. It comes with two sides and for me, a sweet tea. After moving back, I missed the taste of the pulled chicken, so I decided to work on a recipe for it. This pulled chicken takes me right back to Wilmington every time. Beside the Scottish Ale BBQ, I’ve hit the nail on the head and it’s a Crock Pot Recipe!!!!!

BBQ Pulled Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • A combination of:
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
  • KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce
  • John Boy and Billy Grilling Sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Place the boneless chicken breasts into the crock pot and pour enough water into the pot to cover the chicken.
  2. Add salt and pepper to the mixture
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (the longer it sits the better it gets normally, but in this case, you don’t want it to be complete mush when you pull it out)
  4. Using two forks, shred each breast until you have what looks like pulled pork
  5. Make your BBQ mixture and slowly add to the pulled chicken until it has soaked into the chicken.
  6. Add more or less to your liking.
  7. Enjoy!

Not only is this quick and easy but this same process could be used for a dozen different ideas! Shred the chicken and add salsa for a quick chicken fajitas mix. Add rice wine vinegar and teriyaki sauce for lettuce cups.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

This recipe should be called double chocolate pound cake because it is chocolate pound cake with chocolate chips. It’s not necessarily southern but this is my grandmother’s recipe from at least 20 years ago. She’s originally from Apex, NC and lives in North Carolina so technically this is a NC recipe.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.21 oz) box of yellow cake mix with pudding
  • 1 (3.9 oz) Chocolate instant pudding mix
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup of vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 8 oz. carton of sour cream
  • 1 6 oz. package of semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • (Optional) Powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the yellow cake mix, chocolate pudding mix and ½ cup of sugar and whisk to break up large lumps.
  3. Add oil, water and eggs to the mixture and stir until smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Stir in the entire pack of semisweet chocolate morsels.
  6. Pour into a greased and floured bunt pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the pan and cool before sprinkling with powder sugar.
  10. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Man vs. Food Nation: Ayden, NC

Maxim Magazine's BBQ Roadmap with Skylight Inn as the first stop

So if you missed Man vs. Food Nation last night, they did a solute to the Beasts of the Feasts. This show was not for vegetarians folks, but the highlight for me was the show featured the famous Eastern North Carolina establishment, the Skylight Inn, known to me as Pete Jones BBQ. Located in Ayden, NC (check out my North Carolina BBQ Map for the location), Adam and his crew traveled to NC to see how wood-cooked, whole hog BBQ is done. Sam, Pete’s son who has taken over the family owned operation, introduced Adam and the crew to the pit. The restaurant slow cooks pigs over hot, wood coals. They then chop the meat and skin together with giant cleavers on wood butcher blocks to serve to hungry customers. The place only serves slaw, BBQ and corn bread. They expand their menu for catering but when you go, your choices are limited and its not a bad thing. Adam sampled it all and even interviewed a sweetheart I grew up with.
I didn’t quite understand how Pete Jones BBQ fit into the Thanksgiving feast theme of the evening unless it had to do with the family history of the restaurant.  After Pete Jones passed away, his son, Sam, and Pete’s brother have continued the family tradition. Also, it was great to see another notch in their media belt. The BBQ Capital of the world, as the place is refereed to, has been visited by Carolina BBQ historians, countless bloggers and even named by Maxim magazine as the number one stop on the US BBQ road map.

Way to represent NC (and Ayden) guys!!

Quote of the night went to Sam:

Adam: (tastes the BBQ and rolls his eyes closed as he breaths deep and sighs)  “Can I be a Jones?”

Sam: Not missing a beat or blinking an eye “My daddy always said, ‘If you can’t be a Jones, marry one.'”

Photo from the Daily Reflector with Adam, Bruce, Sam & Jeff Jones

Recipe: Candied Sweet Potatoes

This was the recipe originally called Candied Yams. It stems back from my great aunt who is from Plymouth, North Carolina. This is something my mom fixes every year around this time and especially at Thanksgiving. She doesn’t always use fruit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 orange (peeled, cut into sections)
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes

Recipe:

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes until just done.
  2. While they are boiling, create a syrup by combining water, sugar, cinnamon and orange.
  3. Reduce until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Peel the sweet potatoes and place them in the mixture.
  5. Simmer in the syrup until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  6. Enjoy!

Try this one and let me know what you think!

Sweet Potato or Yam?

This post did not start out as a history lesson. With the holidays coming, I was starting to think of Carolina recipes most often associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I began to focus on the Sweet Potato or yam as it is called at my house. However, I was all wrong. The recipe I was originally going to post was called “Candied Yams” but after I started doing research, I realized it needed to be renamed. Although a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a sweet potato by another name is not a yam!

Often used interchangeably in the south, there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes. Both have wonderful, bright orange exterior that bake to tender, sweet mush, but they derive from two completely different areas of the world.

Yams Vs. Sweet Potatoes
Origins: Yams are native to Africa and Asia and now are popular in Central & South America, the West Indies, Africa and Asia. Sweet potatoes have their “roots” in tropical regions of South America.

Nutritional Facts: Yams are loaded with vitamin B6, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sources of beta-carotene, manganese and copper and a small one has 22g carbs and 3g fiber.

The look: The darker skinned sweet potato has a thicker orange skin with a sweet moist flesh, but the size is what gives it away.

Sweet Potato

Yam

Even in the grocery store, Southern yams are canned and marketed but alas, they are really sweet potatoes.

While doing research, I found one of the reasons why sweet potatoes are commonly called yams is because of its similarity to the African vegetable. Although the texture is sweeter and less starchy than their native yam, that is one explanation as to the sweet confusion. Yams, as they are known in Africa and Asia, are not largely marketed or grown widely in the United States. So when you get ready for Thanksgiving, call them what they really are.

Recipe: Mom’s Deviled Eggs

Delicious Deviled Eggs

Amazing Deviled Eggs

This is another recipe that is close to my heart. Nearly every holiday I can remember, my mom would make these and once I was old enough, I would help. It is a variation of a Southern Living recipe from a cookbook mom’s had since I was small. Most deviled eggs start the same way: hard boiling and peeling eggs, but once the peeling is done, the diversions begin. Some use relish; others don’t. Some use paprika; others don’t.

Feel free to use this as a jumping off point for your creativity because it’s a wonderful recipe my mom’s used for 20 years.

Recipe:

1/2 dozen (6) large eggs

1/4 cup of Duke’s Mayonnaise

1 tsp Mustard

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tablespoon Pickle Relish (Optional but if you would really like a sweet crunch, this will add another layer of flavor to your deviled eggs. If this is your first time, try cutting the portion in half and only adding it to the last half of your egg mixture)

Paprika (optional)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Place eggs in saucepan and cover the eggs with cold water. Bring to a rapid boil.

2. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of salt to the water.

**Adding the salt to the cold water is a trick that will make the eggs extremely easy to peel**

3. When the water starts to boil, cover and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 15 minutes.

4. Once the eggs are finished, prepare an ice bath of ice and cold water. Add the eggs to the water and let the eggs sit until cool.

Eggs in the salt water ice bath.

5. Peel the eggs.

6. Once you have peeled the hard-boiled eggs, cut the eggs in half, long ways and separate the yolks from the whites.

Eggs: boiled, peeled, cut in half & yolks removed.

7. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks with apple cider vinegar, mayo, Miracle Whip, salt and pepper, relish and mustard until the mix is smooth.

Eggs separated and ingredients for the yolks.

Eggs separated and ingredients for the yolks.

8. Load the egg mixture into a Zip Lock bag, clip the corner to make a piping bag and pipe the mixture back into the egg whites where the yolks were removed.

9. Sprinkle with paprika if you wish.

Enjoy!

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