October 24, 2016

Frito Corn Salad

Remember the time I took my shirt off and ran around my back yard in my bra taking pictures? No? Oh, right… because I haven’t told you about that yet because it just happened.

It literally just happened.

So, I take my food pics on the back porch because that’s where I have the best natural light in the afternoons (that’s sunlight, not Natty Light, though one could wonder since I just told you I didn’t have a shirt on). This time of year, taking food pics can be a challenge because the sun goes down so early and my window of opportunity is pretty narrow.

I whipped up this (insanely delicious, stupid easy, totally addicting) salad and set about staging things to take some pictures. When I stepped outside I realized the sun was setting QUICK so I knew I had to hurry with my little photo session. As I was taking pics I noticed the dish had this bizarre orange tint? No matter what angle I tried, there was a neon glow. What the what?? Then I realized it was my shirt! I was wearing a neon orangey-pink sweatshirt (yes, ma’am, you heard that right… complete with matching neon leggings because I’m over 40 and I do what I want) and the shirt was casting a glow on the food. With not a minute of sunlight to spare, I looked over at the neighbor’s house to see if their blinds were open (they were, but again, I’m over 40 and I do what I want) and then whipped off my shirt to finish taking pictures.

Husband walked outside and said, WHY is your shirt off?! I quickly explained and he said, The neighbors can SEE you. To which I replied that I didn’t have anything that they hadn’t ever seen before and since they’re still in their twenties it’s prolly time they got a good look at what things are going to look like some day.

As you can see below, the second picture is a bit orange but just know that’s just me and my big loud shirt and not the actual color of the salad!

Speaking of the salad! My friend Kristie Marshall introduced me to this last summer when our boys were playing all-stars together. As we’re prone to do around here, everyone pitched in with covered dishes for a team supper one night after practice and Kristie brought this salad. I’d never heard of such a thing but that didn’t stop me from digging in! It was the hit of the shin-dig! I went back for thirds before we broke camp.

Kristie gave me the recipe she uses, which I learned is a Paula Deen recipe. The only thing I did different was to add a little sour cream (vs. using all mayo…. y’all know my girl Paula loves her some mayonnaise) and I garnished it with a little fresh chopped cilantro because I LOVE cilantro.

Calling this a salad is a bit of a stretch but I don’t care. It has veggies in it and it’s delicious and that’s all I care about! Don’t leave out the bell peppers or onions even if you don’t love those things by themselves. The crunch and freshness make for the perfect contrast with the rich creaminess from the cheese, sour cream and mayo. You will LOVE this! I promise!

Frito Corn Salad! Easy and delicious corn salad made with Chili Cheese Fritos for a fantastic crunch and super tasty flavor!

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October 10, 2016

BIG BATCH Beef & Bean Chili

It seems like we’re always entertaining these days. Which is fine by me! There’s not much I love more than feeding people and making them feel welcome in my home. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth saying again… my favorite way to entertain is to put out a big spread of munchies for grazing and make one big pot of something to have on the stove.

I just set out a stack of bowls, a bunch of spoons, maybe rolls or cornbread, a bottle of hot sauce and call ‘er done. I love this method better than having an official “supper time” for several reasons:
  • Number one is I don’t have to miss any of the party action because I’ve already done my cooking. I can wash my hands, pour myself a cold one and unwind with my company.
  • I also like this because people can eat when they want. Sometimes social gatherings can get too stuffy if everyone’s on a schedule. If you’re hungry, go get you a bowl. If not, it’ll still be there when you’re ready.
  • When you cook a one-pot meal like this, you don’t have to make 40-leven side dishes either. Doing it this way says, “Here’s y’all some snacks, supper’s on the stove when you’re ready and if you’re looking for the linen napkins you’re at the wrong house!” It kind of establishes a casual pace for the evening and that’s how I usually like to roll.
  • Eating like this is great when there are lots of kids around too. Everything doesn’t come to a screeching halt when I holler “supper’s ready!” and half the adults have to go make plates for the kids.
  • When everyone’s eating on their own schedule, you don’t have to worry about seating (or place settings, fixing drinks, etc.). It can be hard accommodating 20 people with a spot at the dinner table.
  • This is also great on game day or when you’ve got something going on outside because nobody’s going to miss that big interception or their turn at cornhole because they’re fourteenth in line waiting to fix their plate.
In the past when I’ve made chili for a crowd I’ve just quadrupled my regular chili recipe but when I’m entertaining I like to try to step it up a notch so I thought using Hurst’s 15 Bean Soup mix would add so much variety and contrast to the chili and I was right! The seasoning packet adds a hint of smokiness that is just perfect for chili (kinda reminds you of smoked chipotles). I’ve made this recipe twice since the first time because I loved it so much (freezing the leftovers for quick suppers during the week – double score!)

If you can’t find the 15-bean soup mix in your local grocery store, ask for it! My grocery store now carries all sorts of products they didn’t have before simply because I asked for them. Just ask the cashier who to talk to to request a product and s/he will point you in the right direction. My store has a list at the Customer Service desk where they notate products their customers' request.

BIG BATCH Beef & Bean Chili! This recipe serves 18-20 people and is perfect for game day!

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September 22, 2016

Get the New Cookbook, What's in it, and Why I love y'all!

Since y’all are my readers – like, the people who actually hang around for the recipes and to hear what crazy shenanigans my crew is up to – I wanted to take a minute to tell you the new cookbook is officially available to buy online now!

But I really wanted to sit down and take a minute to tell you how much I appreciate you. I still sometimes wonder how it’s possible that I have a cookbook – make that two cookbooks!

But it is possible. Because of you.

Y’all are the ones who visit my blog. Y’all are the ones who cook my recipes. Y’all are the ones who bought my first book (so they let me make another one – HOLLA!) Y’all are the ones who comment and email and remind me why I love feeding people so much.

So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of bare feet to the top of my nappy, curly head.

OK, about this book!

The BEST thing for you are all the NEW recipes in the book that aren’t on the blog! Here’s a sampling of the brand-spankin-new recipes you’ll find in the book that aren’t on the blog:

Southern Heirloom Lane Cake! Get this and hundreds more Southern recipes in the latest cookbook from Mandy Rivers in the South Your Mouth Series, 'South Your Mouth Some More!'
This is the Southern heirloom, Lane Cake.
  • Low Country Hurricane Punch
  • Mama’s Blue Ribbon KahlĂșa Cake
  • Hummingbird Cake
  • Lane Cake
  • Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
  • Chicken Bog for a Crowd (this recipe is my most prized possession!)
  • “Cinnamon Roll” Biscuits
  • Cream Biscuits
  • French Toast Bread Pudding
  • Hoe Cakes
  • Grandma Betty’s Peanut Butter Fudge
  • Lemon Crumb Squares
  • Blackberry Cobbler
  • Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie
  • Simply Southern Sweet Potato Pie
  • Snickerdoodle Bars
  • Bull’s Eye Roast with Mushroom Gravy (you can put on the dog with this one!)
  • Dawn’s Delicious Grape Salad
  • Mediterranean Orzo Salad
  • Grecian Baked Ziti
  • Pierogi and Sausage Skillet
  • Country Fried Steak with Onion Gravy (one of my all-time favorite foods!)
  • Beer Battered Fish
  • Browned Butter Potato-Crusted Tilapia
  • Crispy Tuna Croquettes
  • Melt-In-Your-Mouth Marinated Grilled Salmon
  • Perfect Steamed Shrimp
  • Easy Slow Cooker Broccoli Rice Casserole
  • Son-Of-A-Gun Oyster Stew
  • Southern-Style Vegetable Beef Soup

And there are tons of photos and stories too! Here’s a little excerpt from the Blackberry Cobbler:
Nanny lived on a dirt road and had a big ol’ bramble of wild blackberry bushes right by her driveway. She’d send me out with a quart-size mason jar to pick berries whenever she wanted to cook up something sweet. I was taught at a young age to be mindful of snakes in places like that so I wasn’t too alarmed when a baby rattlesnake slithered by my bare foot. Being about 8-years old at the time, I thought he was pretty neat so I scooped him up, tossed him in my mason jar and flew up to the house to show Nanny. Well, Nanny threw me, that jar and the snake off the porch and tried to knock me into next Tuesday with her straw broom. She told me to get back down the drive and get her some blackberries and if I ever tried to bring another serpent into her house she’d cut my behind! I believe she would have too! Ever since that day I can’t help but think of her and smile anytime I see blackberries.
OK, you can order online two ways: on Amazon or at Quail Ridge Press (my publisher). I get a little more of the pie when you buy it straight from QRP but I’m an Amazon Prime member myself so I understand if you’d rather buy the book at Amazon!

Get the latest cookbook from Mandy Rivers in the South Your Mouth Series, 'South Your Mouth Some More!'

Click here to order from Quail Ridge Press (a little better for me)
Click here to order from Amazon (might be better for you and that’s OK with me!)

p.s.... I see that Amazon might be sold out right now because the link says ships in 2-5 weeks (sold out?! YASSSS!) but I know Quail Ridge has books in stock.

Anyway, thank you again for being on this journey with me. I love all y'all to pieces!

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