A few months ago, my coworkers and I were all having lunch. It was your typical lunch – we all brought food from home and were discussing what we were going to be doing for the weekend. Somehow, we got onto the topic of food – Southern food to be specific. One of our coworkers was sharing that even though she had been living in South Carolina prior to moving to Florida, she really hadn’t tried that many Southern dishes. The rest of us, who are truly from the South, naturally started sharing some of our favorite dishes. “Oh my gosh – you’ve never had greens?” and “Oh, what about corn fritters?” were exclaimed as we just couldn’t believe she’d never had these things.
I remember joking about how we should all cook these items and bring them in for her to taste. I went back to my desk and couldn’t shake the idea from my head. I sent an email to the other girls and asked, “What about if we had a Southern style luncheon at someone’s house and everyone made a dish or two?” They were all on board with the idea, so we picked out a date and set it on our calendars (yes – I’m THAT person). Now for the hard part….choosing what to cook! There are so many delicious options out there, from fried chicken to fried catfish, from okra to black-eyed peas, all the way to banana pudding!
We just hosted our Southern luncheon last weekend, and it was an absolute success! I feel like it should be an annual affair for our circle of friends. Today, I’m sharing the recipes from our party so you can throw your own Southern Comfort party. All the key players are here – from country fried steak, to collard greens, to banana pudding! I know there are several dishes missing, but we’ll get to sample those at the next luncheon we host. But for now, check out these recipes we featured at our very first Southern Charm Luncheon. Be sure to which one is your favorite!
Paula Deen’s Corn Fritters
1-1/4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1, 15.25 oz can corn, drained
Vegetable oil, for frying
- Heat oil to 325 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: cornmeal mix, flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and eggs. Add the milk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring well.
- Stir in the butter and corn.
- Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven or a deep-fryer. Drop batter by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until golden, turning once.
- Drain on paper towels.
Country Fried Steak & Sausage Gravy
Chicken Fried Steak:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds cube steak (tenderized round steak that’s been extra tenderized)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Mashed potatoes, for serving
- The first thing you’ll tackle is the steak. Set up an assembly line of two bowls and one plate.
- In the first bowl, mix the milk with the eggs. In the second bowl, mix the flour with the seasoned salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper. The plate will be at the end of the line and used to hold the breaded meat.
- Starting with one piece of meat, sprinkle both sides with black pepper. Next, place it in the flour mixture. Turn to coat both sides evenly.
- Dunk the meat into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat.
- Finally, place it back in the flour mixture and turn to coat. Place the breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with the remaining meat.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it’s sufficiently hot. When the butter sizzles immediately, you know it’s ready.
- Cook the meat, 3 pieces at a time, until the edges start to look golden brown. This will take about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat to a paper towel-lined plate and keep them warm by covering lightly with another plate or a sheet of foil. Repeat until all the meat is cooked. I kept warm on a foil-lined cookie sheet in the oven at 300 degrees.
- After all the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the skillet, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup of the grease back to the skillet and allow it to heat up.
- Now it’s time for the gravy. When the grease is hot, sprinkle the flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix the flour with the grease, creating a golden-brown paste.
- Add more flour if it looks overly greasy; add a little more grease if it becomes too pasty/clumpy.
- Keep cooking until the roux reaches a deep golden brown color.
- Pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the seasoned salt and black pepper to taste and cook, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thick, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
- Serve the meat topped with the delicious gravy!
Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
8 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
- Heat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a cookie or baking sheet with parchment. Grease with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In a measuring cup, stir together the chilled buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms small clumps.
- Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Using a greased ¼-cup measuring cup, drop the dough aonto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 ½ inches apart.
- Bake the biscuits for 12-14 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and crisp.
- Serve warm with your favorite jam, butter, honey, or gravy!
“Lightened Up” Paula Deen’s Macaroni & Cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2½ cups grated sharp, low-fat cheddar cheese
½ cup light sour cream
1, 10.75 oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup
½ tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp black pepper
- Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes. Drain and set aside.
- While the macaroni is cooking, combing butter and cheese in a medium saucepan. Stir until the cheese melts.
- In slow cooker, combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper. Add the drained macaroni and stir again.
- Cook on low for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately with your favorite entree!
Slow Cooked Creamed Corn
3 (15.25-ounces) cans whole kernel corn or 8 ears of corn, cooked and drained
1 cup milk
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
- Place corn into a slow cooker. Stir in milk, sugar and pepper until well combined. Without stirring, top with butter and cream cheese.
- Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours.
- Uncover and stir until butter and cream cheese are well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Southern Collard Greens
64 oz. chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 smoked ham hocks
2 lbs. fresh collard greens, washed, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 T white vinegar
- In 10-quart stockpot, heat broth over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ham hock and bring to a boil.
- Carefully add collards greens, one bag at a time. Once greens have wilted, stir in salt, pepper and vinegar.
- Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or until greens reach your desired tenderness.
- Remove ham hock. Remove ham from bone; discard bone. Shred ham; return to stockpot and stir.
- Serve warm with black-eyed peas and pepper sauce.
Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
2 T butter
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 smoked ham hock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
- Soak peas in 6 cups water overnight (10-12 hours). I know it may be tempting but trust me – don’t skip this step.
- Drain peas, rinse well with cold water, and then drain again. Set aside.
- In a large stock pot, sauté onion in butter until onion is translucent and tender.
- Add 2 cups water, black-eyed peas, ham hock, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to pot.
- Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
- If you have more liquid than you’d like, simmer on medium heat, uncovered, until liquid has reduced to your liking.
Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, rinsed and dried, ends trimmed, sliced in half lengthwise
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, drizzle Brussels sprouts and garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice. Quickly toss, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss again before spreading them evenly onto a cookie sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven, until golden brown on edges, about 25 – 30 minutes.
- Serve warm topped with parmesan cheese.
Southern Style, Not-Your-Mama’s Banana Pudding
4 bananas, sliced
3 cups milk
1 box Nilla Wafers
2 small boxes instant French Vanilla pudding
1, 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1, 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1, 12 oz. container Cool Whip
- Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with Nilla Wafers.
- Slice the bananas and lay evenly on top of the wafers.
- In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend using a handheld mixer.
- In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese & condensed milk until smooth. Gradually fold in Cool Whip.
- Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mix & stir until well blended.
- Pour evenly over the bananas. Place the remaining Nilla Wafers on top of the mix. Chill until ready to eat!
I’ll leave you with this tasty idea – sweet tea vodka mixed with sweet or unsweet tea. Nothing says southern like a nice, cool glass of iced tea! It’s only fitting to have a little bit of the sweet tea vodka mixed in!