Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Dishes of 2013

It's been a wonderful year but I'm looking forward to bringing you new, tasty dishes in 2014.  A quick thank you to all that visited Slice of Southern this year.  It's been fun sharing dishes, stories and travels with you.    Let's take a quick look back at the dishes made most popular by you!


Easy as a stir fry with Italian flair!

By far the most popular!


Another very popular dish!




Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Eve Appetizers

The last party of the year is upon us!  Bring on 2014!

Time to throw together some easy but tasty appetizers for you, your family and any guests you may be having over for the big countdown.

MGG and I love to have small bites to much throughout the night and these are so easy to put together you'll want to serve all of them!

First off is one of my favorites!  Garlic Rubbed Toast with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil is a take on the Roman classic bruschetta al pomodoro.  My mom and I ate this every night as our appetizer when we were in Rome.  These are such basic fresh ingredients, that you will be amazed at the brilliance of putting these simple items together will bring such flavor.

Use a good ripe cherry tomato, which should be available this time of year, along with a good loaf of country or italian bread.  I slice mine on a bias to give it that pretty look.  The rest is history, as they say.  Simple.  Flavorful.  Wonderful.

Garlic Rubbed Toast with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

serves 6

1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
16 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped or julienned
12 slices of country or italian bread, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
4-6 T extra virgin olive oil

Bread may be toasted in the oven at 350 about 8 minutes.  Once toasted rub a whole garlic clover over the toasted bread.  One garlic clove should cover about 3 slices.

To assemble:  Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the bread, dividing evenly. Drizzle with olive oil and top evenly with basil.  Serve immediately.

I also had the pleasure yesterday of assisting my friend at Williams-Sonoma in preparing quite and array of finger foods.

We made several items, beginning with Three Cheese Filo Triangles. (shown above) Super yummy, but a little labor intensive.  TIP:  They can be made ahead and frozen before cooking.  We also made some quick and easy bites that were right up my alley for putting together multiple appetizers for serving that are easy to put together.  All of these featured their line of "Entertaining Dip Starters".  Boy oh boy are these good!  Included are: Rosemary Garlic Crostini with Roasted Red Pepper Dip and Shaved Roast Beef. (Killer!)  Hot Spinach and Artichoke Crostini, and Crostini with Caramelized Onion topped with Roast Beef.

(Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip served on top of Crostini.  Just follow the directions on the jar! Done in 30 min.)
(Roasted Red Pepper and Roast Beef Crostini.  Using a garlic rosemary oil on the crostini before toasting.  This is the bomb!)  Trust me, I ate at least 4...

(my 4th one..!)
(I noticed I forgot a pic of the Caramelized Onion Roast Beef Crostini...hmmm.  Easy as pie, just heat up the jar of the dip starter and use as the base on the crostini)

All were fabulous but I'm most partial to the Red Pepper version!  So much so I bought a couple of jars of the dip to experiment with at home.  Woohoo!

So I hope this brings you some great ideas for quick serving snacks for your New Year's Eve plans.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Pot Meal: Chicken and Asparagus Skillet Supper

Hi there!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Ours was filled with pretty decorations, great food, and lots of love.

But, the party season isn't over yet!  New Year's is just around the corner.  Not sure about you but we're expecting lot of friends popping in over the weekend and into the new year.  

One thing I like to do after a big holiday spread is to cook some easy dishes. This chicken dish is a one pot wonder, done all in your skillet.  Don't you just love one pot meals?  Simple, good quality ingredients make for one tasty dish...plus the clean up is a breeze!

Chicken, asparagus and summer squash go great together, and when cooked in a wonderful broth you get that comfort feeling.  I would add a little white wine to the broth next time for added flavor, but it's wonderful as it is.  Then to top it off...we have BACON!  Just a touch for that extra something special.  Everything's better with bacon as they say...I do agree!

So when you need a quick meal on the table over the next couple of days, reach for your skillet and put this one together.  It's something the whole family will enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

Chicken and Asparagus Skillet Supper

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
salt and ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
1 small yellow summer squash, halved crosswise and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
2  tablespoons flour
1/2  teaspoon  finely shredded lemon peel
Lemon wedges 

Pound chicken between plastic wrap until they are even.  Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Add chicken to dripping and cook for 8 minutes, turning half way through.  Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.

Add asparagus and squash to the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.   In a small bowl stir together broth, flour and lemon peel.  Add to the skillet.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, several minutes.   Add chicken  and cook an additional 5 minutes more or until chicken is completely done.   Sprinkle with bacon and serve.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Dinner Ideas

It's almost Christmas time!
(amazing tree huh?)

Have you planned your Christmas Dinner?  Well, if you are still looking for some easy main courses to serve I have a few for you.  I know that a lot of people cook a turkey or ham as their primary meat, but we tend to do something with "Beef".  For years, and years I made a Beef Tenderloin.  Love them, but not quite as much as I love steak.  It has a different texture when cooked, more like a roast, rather than a steak.  

So in recent years we've been mixing it up serving various cuts of steak as our main course.  You know what, it's wonderful, special, and EASY to do!

I've learned that you don't have to put on the biggest, best, spread around...you just need good food, and good people.  And why not make it easy on yourself and treat yourself to something you love and don't eat very often.  Steak is it for us.  It's more of a special occasion dish since we don't eat it very often.  But, boy...do I love me some steak!

I've brought some of my favorite dishes, that are all relatively easy to prepare and present a wonderful dish for your holiday meal.

Hope these inspire you!

Braciole - A great dish for entertaining!  Tastes great and has a beautiful presentation.

Rosemary and Flat Iron Steak - succulent, tender beef with the flavors of the season.

Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce - My favorite steak....it melts in your mouth and the sauce is divine!

Teriyaki London Broil - This will feed a crowd.  Tender and flavorful.  Perfect for a holiday.

Herb Rubbed Flank Steak - another of my favorites!  This is a wonderful cut of meat that will feed a large group or may be cut to size to feed a family.  Very easy to make and the taste is out of this world!

Have a wonderful Holiday and an exquisite dinner.  Remember, the holidays are about family and friends and not about lavishly perfect meals.  Entertaining is about hospitality, not fussy perfection!

Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast Ideas Special Enough for Christmas Morning

Each year we gather around the tree and open presents first thing in the morning.  Since this can usually take a while, I usually wade through the mounds of wrapping paper toward the kitchen to make our Christmas Morning Breakfast around brunch time!

Traditionally I make my Jolly Breakfast Ring every year. (which I have yet to share...it's coming, promise!)  However, sometimes I do like to alternate and make some other quick yet festive dishes.

Here are a few of my favorites:

This is my new favorite pancake!  Holiday Pancakes are a variation of my ever so popular Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes with the addition of holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.  Excellent for Christmas morning! (See below for the recipe)

This Italian Breakfast Sandwich will be quick and easy to put together in the morning.  A wonderful combination of flavors for an easy breakfast.

A pretty presentation and tasty treat for everyone, this Tropical Crescent Ring is very festive.  You can change out the fruit and nuts to fit the holiday...cranberries and pecans anyone?

This is a perfect breakfast as it is made in the slow cooker.  Toss the ingredients for my Apple and Granola Breakfast Cobbler in the slow cooker while you open presents.  In know time you'll have a hot and comforting breakfast. 

Rosti, perfect for a crowd.  Scrumptious and hearty this potato and tomato dish rocks!

Holiday Pancakes

Adapted from Aunt Grace’s Farmstyle Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
½ t cinnamon
¼ t ground nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 c buttermilk
2 T vegetable oil
1 egg

In a medium bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Make a well in the middle and add the oil.

In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg. 
Add to dry ingredients and mix together until just moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.

On a pre-heated cast iron skillet, ladle batter onto skillet for each pancake.  Cook until golden brown and holes begin to appear on top.  Turn on the second side and cook until golden brown.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pear Sparklers

Holidays are for celebration.

What better way to celebrate that with a refreshing sparkling drink!

This drink is non-alcoholic so the whole family can enjoy.  We've also made an alcoholic version with Citrus Vodka which was delishhh!  I think rum would be a great addition as well. (I'm partial to rum drinks!)

This is very quick and easy to put together.  You can have a whole tray of drinks ready in a flash when guests arrive.  What a great way to greet people don't you think?  It makes them feel wanted and it is a very hospitable way to welcome someone into your home!


Pear Sparklers

Serves 8 to 10

Ice cubes as needed
1 1/2 to 2 cups bottled pear juice (such as Kern's)
4 to 5 cups sparkling water, chilled

Place ice cubes in tall glasses. Add about 3 Tbs. pear juice to each glass and then pour in about 1/2 cup sparkling water. 


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