January 31, 2014

Stuffed Chicken with Gravy

Chicken thighs stuffed with Stove Top stuffing and baked with prepared gravy make for a super easy weeknight meal.

This casserole is the mother of easy recipes.

Y’all asked me for easy casserole recipes and I think I delivered on this because it don’t get no easier than this.

It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing.

And y’all are going to laugh at me but I didn't know where to find Stove Top or a jar of gravy in the grocery store and had to ask for help. Twice.

I wouldn't pull this out if the boss was coming to dinner but for a quick weeknight supper, it was spot-on! And the onions totally gobbled it up.

Stuffed Chicken with Gravy
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1 6-ounce box chicken stuffing mix (such as Stove Top)
1 12-ounce jar chicken gravy, heated
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Prepare stuffing mix per manufacturer’s instructions, cover and set aside. I've used traditional and cornbread stuffing in this and love them both!

Spray a 13x9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Trim excess fat from chicken then season both sides with salt, pepper and garlic. Place about 1/4 cup of stuffing mix on each piece of chicken then wrap sides around to create a little bundle. Place bundles in casserole dish. Spoon remaining stuffing into casserole dish around chicken bundles. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove dish from oven. Remove aluminum foil then continue cooking, uncovered, for 15-20 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Pour gravy over chicken and stuffing when ready to serve.

Boom. Done.

*Can substitute chicken breast cutlets if desired but I think the thighs are amazingly flavorful and moist. They’re kinda my favorite weeknight protein right now.


January 27, 2014

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Garlic Cream Sauce

A rustic, simple recipe for stuffed pasta shells with Italian sausage, spinach and mozzarella topped with an easy garlic cream sauce.

I love sausage. Like, to the point that most people love bacon. I really only cook bacon to get the drippings for cooking with. I would rather have sausage any day of the week.

And I really love Italian sausage. I often use Italian sausage instead of ground beef when making weeknight spaghetti. TIP: easily make mini meatballs using Italian Sausage links by removing the casings then pinching off little one-inch pieces of sausage then rolling them into little meatballs.

I make a more traditional recipe for Classic Stuffed Shells using tomato sauce (that is GREAT for serving guests and even freezing) but I wanted to change things up.

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Garlic Cream Sauce | A rustic, simple recipe for stuffed pasta shells with Italian sausage, spinach and mozzarella topped with an easy garlic cream sauce.

So I had the idea to make these stuffed shells using mostly just Italian sausage and spinach. And while I'd usually serve stuffed shells with marinara or some other red sauce I decided to go with an alfredo-type sauce with this recipe because sausage and spinach just go with cream sauce!

This Garlic Cream Sauce is super simple to make but you could totally skip it and just use a prepared jar or tub of alfredo sauce from the grocery store. Trust me, I know all about going the quick and easy route when you're trying to get supper on the table quickly! But this sauce is super simple and easy and packs an amazing punch of fresh, homemade flavor. And, it’s really frickin easy.

Now, all that being said, you could totally skip the creamy sauce and just use marinara sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce too. Just use whichever you prefer!

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Garlic Cream Sauce | A rustic, simple recipe for stuffed pasta shells with Italian sausage, spinach and mozzarella topped with an easy garlic cream sauce.

Sausage, Spinach, Stuffed Shells, Pasta, Garlic Cream, Sauce, Alfredo, Italian, Cheesy, Cheese, Easy, Recipe
Yield: 5-6 Servings

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Garlic Cream Sauce

prep time: 10 minscook time: 45 minstotal time: 55 mins


Stuffed Shells:
  • 10 ounces jumbo shells (approximately 20-25 shells)
  • 1.25 pounds hot Italian sausage, casings removed if applicable
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Garlic Cream Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed (not minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Prepare Garlic Cream Sauce first so that it can be doing its thing while you’re cooking everything else. Add cream and smashed garlic to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally (to smash your garlic, just lay your chef’s knife over each clove and give it a good whack or two). Once sauce begins to simmer, add salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon, stirring occasionally. Whisk in parmesan cheese and continue cooking over low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat until ready to use. 
  2. Cook shells in liberally salted water per manufacturer’s instructions for al dente preparation. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, crumble sausage in a large skillet and cook until nicely browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and place in a large mixing bowl. Add drained spinach to sausage then stir well. And when I say “drained” I really mean it. I usually have to wring it out with my hands to get all the water out of it. Add 2 cups mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste then stir to combine.
  4. Spray a 13x9 (or 14x10) baking dish with cooking spray. Stuff shells with sausage mixture then arrange in baking dish. If you have any sausage mixture left over, just spoon it in between the shells. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of mozzarella over shells. Fish garlic pieces out of garlic cream sauce then spoon sauce over and into stuffed shells. Cover dish with aluminum foil then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. 

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Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Garlic Cream Sauce | A rustic, simple recipe for stuffed pasta shells with Italian sausage, spinach and mozzarella topped with an easy garlic cream sauce.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Poke Cake

Chocolate poke cake with peanut butter pie filling, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

I somehow ended up with three jars of peanut butter in my pantry. Now, I’m a frugal shopper and don’t have a ton of space so I don’t usually pile up on reserves of stuff. Actually, I think I might be finally losing it because I also have three giant boxes of spaghetti. And three cartons of salt. And three cans of sweetened condensed milk. And what’s with three of everything? Why not two? Or four?

Seeing how the universe decided I needed to have three of everything, I decided it was trying to tell me something with the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk. I think the universe wanted a peanut butter pie.

But I didn't have what I needed to make a chocolate crust and didn't feel like going to the store. What I did have was a chocolate cake mix. And then I got to thinking how thin the peanut butter pie filling is when you first mix it up and thought it’d probably be amazeballs on a poke cake. And it was!

This was so easy to make and it was just so dang beautiful too! I will definitely be making this to bring to the next family function or potluck because it’s easy and beautiful and delicious!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Poke Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
Eggs, oil and water for cake
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 12-ounce tub cool whip, divided
Chocolate sauce (such as Hershey’s)
3 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)

Prepare and bake chocolate cake mix per manufacturer’s instructions for a 13x9 cake. Cool cake completely. Using the handle of a standard-sized wooden spoon, poke 30-35 holes in cake (do not use a fork - the holes have to be big enough for the thick peanut butter pie filling).

Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl or stand mixer and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add peanut butter and continue mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Add half of the cool whip (about 3 cups) and continue mixing until mixture is well combined and smooth. You'd typically be told to "gently fold" cool whip into a recipe like this but here you're going to want to really mix it - the longer you mix it, the thinner it will become and you need it to thin out a little to spread and fill the holes. Spread peanut butter mixture evenly over cake. Cover and refrigerate at least six hours.

To serve, spread remaining cool whip over peanut butter mixture. Drizzle chocolate sauce over top then sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Store in refrigerator.

  • The filling will work perfectly so long as you follow the recipe, particularly the following steps:
  • Your cream cheese truly be softened at room temperature.
  • You must use something big like the handle of a wooden spoon to poke your holes - the holes have to be big enough for the thick filling.
  • You have to mix the cool whip in with the electric mixer, not fold it in gently. It needs to thin out some.
  • You have to let it rest at least 6 hours.


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January 21, 2014

Chicken Burrito Bowls

We don’t eat a lot of fast food or takeout. It’s just not in the budget. We’re looking at a good $25 bucks just to eat at McDonalds. And I can buy a lot of groceries with $25! Every time we go, I sit there and think how many meals I could make if I’d spent that same money at the grocery store.

Anyway, when we do go for fast food, the kids always want Mexican. But Ima tell you what, ordering Mexican food, with all the different variables and options, at the counter for five people will make you want a shot of tequila. Or three.

Can I get 6 burritos? Four chicken, two beef. Sour cream on one of the beef ones. No lettuce on two of the chickens. We only want tomatoes on three of those – the two without lettuce and the beef one without sour cream. No beans on any except the beef one with tomatoes. Does rice come in those? Is it hot in here? Where are the kids? Did Brutus leave with that hairy man in the trench coat?

So I decided to make it easier and cheaper and make my favorite type of burritos – burrito bowls! You could easily serve all these ingredients in a flour tortilla as well, but y’all know I love me some rice!

Chicken Burrito Bowls
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet fajita seasoning
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 batch Mexican Rice (recipe below)
1 can pinto or black beans, heated and ready to serve
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings of choice:
Chopped cilantro
Pico de gallo
Avocado slices
Diced onions
Diced tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Sour cream
Fresh lime juice

Add chicken breasts, fajita seasoning and vegetable oil to a large bowl and toss to combine (I used my hands). If your chicken breasts are super thick, slice them into two thin cutlets (or buy cutlets if available).

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to skillet and cook in a single layer for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through. Cook in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.

Let chicken rest 5 minutes then cut into bite-sized pieces.

To assemble bowls, add a layer of rice, then beans, then chicken, then cheese. Top with toppings of choice. I served everyone a prepared bowl of rice, beans, chicken and cheese and set the table with all the toppings so everyone could add what they like!

Mexican Rice
1/4 cup butter
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 small onion diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste

Sauté rice and onion in butter over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking until rice has started to brown and gives off a nutty aroma (about 5 minutes total cooking time).

Add rice, broth and chili powder to a 1-quart baking dish. Salt to taste if necessary (you want the broth to be as salty as you want your rice).

Cover dish with a fitted lid and microwave on high for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 50% then microwave for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

*You can also cook, covered, in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour or on the stove for 20 minutes on medium-low, stirring occasionally.

While sharing links to South Your Mouth © 2011 is welcomed and encouraged (please and thank you!), do not copy/paste full recipes to any social media (Facebook, etc.), blogs or websites without express written consent. Unauthorized use of content and photos from South Your Mouth © 2011 is a violation of both the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and copyright law.

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!


January 14, 2014

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with Sweet Asian Hot Wing Sauce

The secret to CRISPY wings baked in the oven! These chicken wings are amazingly easy and just as good and crispy as fried wings. Plus a recipe for sweet Asian hot wing sauce.

Me:  OHMUHGAH, I read THE most amazing, life-changing article on BAKING chicken wings in the oven that are actually CRISPY!

Beth:  Me too!

Me:  Can you believe the secret is to… Wait. You’re making fun of me aren't you?

Beth:  Yep!

Jessica:  I knew something was up because when does Beth read??

Me:  I know, right?!

Beth:  Hey! Don’t make fun of me, Mandy’s the only dork who would get that excited reading about chicken wings.

Me:  This is true.

So, I came across this article months ago and it just blew my mind! I love chicken wings but I hate cooking them because frying them is a major time-consuming, expensive, messy undertaking and baking them has always yielded gummy, sticky, fatty wings. Wings have to be crispy! But ain't nobody got time to fry them!

And yes, I am a total dork when it comes to food. If I found a marathon of Alton Brown’s Good Eats on TV I wouldn't be able to leave the couch. Learning the whys of cooking is just fascinating to me. And the scientific approach that chefs like Alton Brown and websites like Serious Eats take have taught me how to create better recipes.

So, anyway, this article from Serious Eats goes into all the technical reasons why, but ultimately, to get crispy wings from the oven, you have to desiccate or dry them out first. You do this by coating them in baking powder (a natural desiccant) and leaving them in the refrigerator, uncovered for several hours (refrigerators also dehydrate).

I know many of you will feel weird about leaving chicken out in the open in your refrigerator. Just remember to have everything else sealed up so no smells or germs are floating around and I think you’ll be good.

I bought a 3-tier cooling rack at Wal-Mart for less than $10 to dry my wings. I needed one anyway and using a stackable rack made it much easier to find room in the fridge for all these wings.

Now, about the sauce! Remember that little honky tonk I worked in waaaaay back in college? Well, we had ah maze ing wings! And I've never had anything like them anywhere else. The story goes that the recipe came from one of the bigwig wing places that hit the scene during the Buffalo Wing explosion in the early 90’s. Our hot wing sauce wasn't the typical, cloying, orangey-red chili pepper based sauce, but more of a glaze that was a little sweet. I've always thought of it as sort of a sweet Asian hot wing sauce so that’s what I’m going to call it!

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
4 pounds chicken wing sections
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder*
Salt & pepper
Equipment: cooling racks

Carefully dry chicken wings with clean kitchen towels or paper towels (really do a good job at this – there can’t be any moisture left on the wings). Arrange wings on cooling racks in a single layer. Sprinkle wings with half of the baking powder (I added mine to an old spice jar to make easy work of the sprinkling). Flip wings and sprinkle the other side with the remainder of the baking powder.

Place wings, on racks, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours.

Season wings with salt and pepper then arrange in a single layer on one extra-large or two normal baking pans sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake wings at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip wings then continue baking for 15-20 minutes longer or until crispy and golden brown.

Toss wings with wing sauce and serve immediately.

*You want 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every pound of wings you use.

Sweet Asian Hot Wing Sauce
makes enough for about 30 wings
3/4 cup hot sauce* (such as Texas Pete or Frank’s)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Discard garlic when ready to serve.

Want a little more Asian zing? Add fresh ginger and red pepper flakes!

*Hot sauce, not hot WING sauce


January 13, 2014

The Perfect Cheesecake

A no-fail recipe for New York style cheesecake that cooks perfectly every time.

Remember how that frog from Looney Tunes would sing "Hello My Baby" while strutting around with his top hat and cane?

Hello my baby, hello my darling, hello my ragtime gal!

Well, that’s what I’m doing right now in my mind.

Because, I've been looking forward to giving you this recipe for years! And I finally made it this weekend!

The Perfect Cheesecake | A no-fail recipe for New York style cheesecake that cooks perfectly every time.

And I literally (yep, literally) strutted around my kitchen this weekend singing like that frog at the top of my lungs when I served this.

I’m pretty sure Husband thinks I've finally cracked my nut.

My mom’s friend, Suzy, gave us this recipe forever ago and it is the single best cheesecake recipe I've ever made. EVER. Suzy calls it Awesome Cheesecake and that, it is, but I’m going to call it Perfect Cheesecake because, well, it’s perfect!

I like to make it with a gingersnap crust made from store-bought gingersnaps (or these homemade gingerbread cookies would be amazing too!) but if that’s not your thing, feel free to substitute graham crackers.

The Perfect Cheesecake | A no-fail recipe for New York style cheesecake that cooks perfectly every time.

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Yield: 12-14 Servings


prep time: 10 minscook time: 1 hour and 25 minstotal time: 1 hour and 35 mins


Gingersnap Crust
  • 2 cups gingersnap crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling
  • 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream


Make the gingersnap crust:
  1. Break gingersnaps by hand then add to a food processor. Pulse broken cookies into crumbs and until no chunks remain. I used about a half of an 18-oz. bag to yield 2 cups. Combine gingersnap crumbs and sugar in a medium-size bowl then add melted butter; mix well.
  2. Press crumb mixture on the bottom and about an inch and a half up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. 
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes then cool crust completely.
Make the cheesecake filling:
  1. Beat cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla in a large bowl or stand mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy (use the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer).
  2. Add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing until well combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  3. Add sugar and flour and continue mixing at low speed for five minutes, scraping down sides of bowl periodically as needed. Add whipping cream and mix just until filling is smooth and creamy. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Prepare water bath and bake:
  1. Set oven rack to the middle position in your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap the bottom half of the springform pan in aluminum foil then set the pan in a large baking dish. Fill the baking dish with enough HOT tap water to cover the bottom of the springform pan by about an inch. The foil is just to prevent any water from seeping into the springform pan and into the cheesecake.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and set and the filling no longer jiggles. RECIPE 911: If you overcook your cheesecake and it cracks or just isn't pretty on top, mix together 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) until smooth. Spread sour cream mixture on top of cheesecake. Boom. Crisis averted.
  4. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil (or place in an airtight container) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  5. Serve plain or with chocolate sauce, cherry pie filling, lemon curd, fresh fruit or whatever else suits your fancy. I was fancying some cherries so that’s what I used!

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January 8, 2014

Friendship Fruit Cake {plus Starter Recipe}

A recipe for Friendship Fruit Cake (sometimes called Fermented Fruit Cake) as well as the Starter recipe.

So… fruit cake. Yeah, I know, it sucks right? Those hard, dense loaves that circulate around Christmastime that you could build an igloo with need to go back to whichever decade they crept out of.

Except, guess what? Not all fruit cakes are blechy. As a matter of fact, this one is anything but. It’s moist and airy and bursting with yummy bits of tender fruit. And this one is special. This one is special because you can only get it from a friend.

That’s right. You have to be chosen.

When you first get one, it comes with a mysterious “starter” jar filled with this syrupy pink liquid. And you’re all like, ummm… thanks, pal. What am I supposed to do with this jar? Light it on fire and hurl it at the neighbors like a Molotov Cocktail? And… a fruit cake, really… you shouldn't have. Really.

But then you taste the fruit cake and you’re blown away with how awesome it is and feel bad for acting like a brat about it.

And then you actually sit down and read the recipe and start to feel all superior because you see how much thought and planning went into it and you were chosen to receive it.

And now, instead of thinking what the crap am I supposed to do with this? you’re secretly wondering which of your other friends were chosen and which weren't and you want to go set your pink jar on the porch and point a spotlight at it so everyone will know you were chosen.

Or something like that.

This is a lot of fun and makes incredible gifts. You just have to plan ahead and buy a few jars. I plan on getting the onions involved with making the next batch because it’s kinda like a science experiment. Plus math. And it’s chocked full of life lessons about booze and being chosen. Ha.

And guess what else? I’m going to show you how to make your own Starter. So you can make all of it you want and sit on your porch all be all like, Oh, you didn't want to give me one? Well, suck it because I made my own!

I’m going to end on that note because I seem to be getting away from the true spirit of friendship :o) though, my friends are seriously kooky and will think this is funny even if the rest of you think I have finally lost it.

Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 16-oz. can apricots, drained
1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, drained and cut into chunks
1 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 1/4 cups brandy
1 1/4 cups sugar

Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar and stir well. Cover with a LOOSE-fitting lid* (nothing air-tight) and let stand at room temperature for three weeks. Stir mixture 2-3 times each week.

Drain fruit, reserving liquid (Starter). Serve fruit over pound cake or ice cream or anything else that suits your fancy. Pour reserved liquid into a pint-sized jar and give to a friend with the recipe for the Friendship Fruit Cake or use it yourself to make the cake and more starter.

*you can either set the lid askew or cover with a kitchen towel or cheesecloth but DO NOT seal it with a tight lid or it may burst.

Friendship Fruit Cake
Fermented Fruit:
1 pint Friendship Fruit Cake Starter
1 16-oz. can sliced peaches, with liquid – do not drain
1 20-oz. can pineapple tidbits, with liquid – do not drain
2 10-oz. jars maraschino cherries, drained and halved
6 cups sugar, divided
Cake Batter:
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 boxes yellow cake mix
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
2 cups raisins (optional)

Day One
Pour Starter into a large glass jar. Cut peaches into chunks then add peaches and liquid from the can into jar. Add 2 cups sugar and stir well. Cover jar with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and secure with a rubber band (do not seal lid tightly as the mixture needs air to ferment). Stir mixture once each day for 10 days.

Day Ten
Add pineapple tidbits, with liquid to the jar. Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.

Day Twenty
Add drained and halved cherries to the jar.  Add 2 cups sugar, stir well and cover. Stir mixture once each day for 10 more days.

Day Thirty – Time to Bake!
Grease and flour 4 small (8-inch, 6-cup) or 2 regular (10-inch, 12-cup) bundt pans*. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Drain fruit, reserving liquid to be given away as Starter (should yield 3-4 pints of liquid).

Combine eggs and oil in a large bowl and mix well.  Add cake mixes and pudding mixes and stir until combined (small lumps are OK).  Stir in fruit, nuts, coconut and raisins.

Divide batter evenly into pans. Bake at 325 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (40-50 minutes for small, 60-90 minutes for large). Remove cakes from oven and cool in pans. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Store cakes in an air-tight container or cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to three months.

*I like to make 4 small cakes. I keep one for myself and give the other three away with pints of the starter and copies of the recipe.

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!


January 6, 2014

Man-Pleasing Super Bowl Appetizers

This list chocked full of man-pleasing ingredients like burgers and kielbasa and ground beef and cheese! 

Most of these are super easy and even made in a crock pot!

Pictured above, clockwise from top-left corner:
Not Pictured:

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

All the goodness of cabbage rolls without precooking the rice or parboiling the cabbage in this deconstructed cabbage roll recipe that cooks in a skillet! 

Once again I found myself staring at a pound of ground beef trying to think of something new to do with it. Lord, I get sick of it but I’m thankful for it nonetheless because, when we’re on that last stretch before payday, sometimes it’s what gets us by.

So anyway, I’m standing there with the refrigerator door open, hoping inspiration will smack me down when I spotted a head of cabbage. I immediately thought of a conversation I’d had the week before with a sweet little lady at the grocery store about cabbage rolls. Then I shot that idea down because I didn't feel like taking the time to blanch the leaves.

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet | All the goodness of cabbage rolls without precooking the rice or parboiling the cabbage in this deconstructed cabbage roll recipe that cooks in a skillet! #cabbage #rolls #unstuffed #deconstructed #recipe

But I still had cabbage rolls on the brain when the wheels started turning… What if I cooked all the ingredients together in a skillet and made sort of a deconstructed cabbage roll dish!? Like a casserole. But quicker! Kinda like an “unstuffed” cabbage roll!

I grabbed up all the ingredients and prayed it would work!

And it totally did!

I ate and ate and ATE this stuff last night! I couldn't get enough of it! Husband kept telling me to lay off or me and my belly full of cabbage were going to have to sleep on the couch! Hahaa!

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet | All the goodness of cabbage rolls without precooking the rice or parboiling the cabbage in this deconstructed cabbage roll recipe that cooks in a skillet! #cabbage #rolls #unstuffed #deconstructed #recipe

This recipe was shared at the Weekend Potluck!

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small cabbage, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14.5-oz. can beef broth 
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
Tangy Tomato Topping:
  • 1 10.75-oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


You’ll need a large skillet with fitted lid to cook this dish. If you don’t have a lidded skillet big enough to hold all of the ingredients, see alternative preparation below. It is important to have a tight-fitting lid when cooking this dish to ensure the rice cooks properly.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and continue cooking until cabbage is slightly tender. Add beef broth and rice and stir well. Cover skillet with fitted lid, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove skillet from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve with Tangy Tomato Topping.

Alternative preparation:
Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and continue cooking until cabbage is slightly tender. Add cabbage mixture, beef broth and rice to a large pot or Dutch oven and stir well. Heat over high heat until broth starts to boil. Cover pot with fitted lid, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove pot from heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve with Tangy Tomato Topping.

Tangy Tomato Topping:
While the finished cabbage dish is resting, combine condensed tomato soup (without water), vinegar and brown sugar in a small pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sauce starts to bubble. Drizzle topping over prepared cabbage dish or individual servings.
Recipe card created using The Recipes Generator

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Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet | All the goodness of cabbage rolls without precooking the rice or parboiling the cabbage in this deconstructed cabbage roll recipe that cooks in a skillet! #cabbage #rolls #unstuffed #deconstructed #recipe

January 3, 2014

Loaded Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese with bacon, garlic, cayenne and green onions.

I started to make the Baked Pimento Cheese Dip the other day and got hung up. I whipped it up, spread it into the baking dish and had a moment. You know? A moment.

I just stood there looking at it before it was baked and thought, maaaan DANG, that looks good just like that!

I had some veggies out that I’d chopped for the little snackers so I grabbed a celery stick, loaded it up and took a big ole bite.

And totally fell in love.


P.S… everybody I've talked to in LA lately says totally all the time. It’s like the 80’s are back in full force out there. Again. Totally.

The irony of me poking fun at someone else’s funny saying is not lost on me.

Anywho, the next time you want to make regular Pimento Cheese think about trying this version out! The crisp green onions, creamy cheese and chewy bacon make for a total texture party in your mouth. Totally.

Loaded Pimento Cheese
10 slices bacon
1 pound cheddar cheese (medium or sharp)
1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained well
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bunch green onions, diced

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces then cook until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels. Set aside.

Shred cheese* then add to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add cooked bacon, pimentos, mayonnaise, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic then mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Fold in green onions.

Spread cheese mixture into a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve as a sandwich spread, atop burgers or with crackers, pita wedges, celery sticks or anything else your little heart desires.

*You really, really, really need to shred your own cheese when making Pimento Cheese.


January 2, 2014

Cheddar Barbeque Mini Meatloaf Cups

Mini meatloaves cooked in a muffin tin, topped with cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce.

I really love meatloaf. Which is odd considering I spent the first half of my life hating it (see the post for my traditional meatloaf recipe for the scoop on that).

But we’re so busy all the time that I never have time during the week to make it. I have to get supper on the table in under 30 minutes most nights so that rules out meatloaf since it takes over an hour to cook.

Or does it?

I knew the muffin tin method would drastically reduce the cooking time so I thought I’d give it a shot. And to try a little something different, I topped these with barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese.

These were a huge hit with the onions! They were actually picking them up whole and eating them like muffins! I whipped up some baked onion rings to go with these and it was the perfect combination.

Done and done! Holla!

Cheddar Barbeque Mini Meatloaf Cups
based on my traditional meatloaf recipe
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, grated
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef*
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup barbeque sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, worcestershire and onion in a large bowl and mix well. Crumble ground beef into bowl on top of egg mixture. Add bread crumbs and gently combine all ingredients with hands, taking care not to over-work the meat (don't "squeeze" it through your fingers).

Divide meatloaf mixture into 9-10 cups of a muffin tin. Using the back of a spoon, press meatloaf mixture firmly into cups then create a shallow indentation or divot in each (no more than 1/4-inch deep). Bake meatloaves at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove meatloaves from oven. Pour off any excess grease if possible (I did this easily by tilting the pan) or use a clean paper towel to blot it up.

Add about 1 tablespoon of barbeque sauce into the divot of each meatloaf. Sprinkle meatloaves evenly with cheddar cheese. Return pan to oven and continue cooking until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

*Use lean ground beef because the excess fat won’t have a way to cook away from the meatloaf cups in the muffin tins.

This recipe was featured at the Weekend Potluck!