Category Archives for Appetizers & Side Dishes

Southern Peas & Dumplings Recipe

Chicken and Dumplings is a well known southern delicacy. It’s just as good during the week as it is for Sunday supper. Dumplings don’t just go with chicken though. Another southern favorite, at least ’round my parts, is peas and dumplings. But we don’t use the slick dumplings for our peas & dumplings recipe. Instead, we use something called drop dumplings. Now, drop dumplings are more of a biscuit than a dumpling but they’re made mostly the same way. The biggest difference is you don’t need to roll them out or cut them.


This is the way Granny makes her peas and dumplings and it’s one of the best comfort foods I’ve had. Sick in bed? Peas & dumplings (as long as there’s no fever)! Just got dumped? Peas & dumplings! There wasn’t much growing up that a big bowl of peas and dumplings couldn’t fix. The beauty of Peas & Dumplings is they can be a meal on their own or act as a side dish – totally up to you. We had them the other night with some rosemary baked pork chops.


Southern Peas & Dumplings Recipe
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • [b]Peas & Stock[/b]
  • 2 cans sweet peas, drained (or 1 bag frozen or 4 cups fresh, hulled and cooked peas)
  • 4 cups milk (2%)
  • 2 sticks butter (I never said this was healthy!)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • [b]Dumplings:[/b]
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. [b]Peas & Stock[/b]
  2. Bring the milk and butter to a simmer in a large pot. Season and carefully add in the peas and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. While you’re waiting for your stock to boil make the dumplings.
  4. [b]Dumplings:[/b]
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix in the milk and butter and form a dough ball.
  6. Pinch off pieces of the dough (I use a cookie dough scoop for uniform sizing), roll into balls and carefully drop into the boiling stock.
  7. [img src=”” alt=”Southern Peas & Dumplings Recipe” width=”700″ height=”467″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-1821″]
  8. Cook for 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked.



Corn Fritters Recipe

Fried food in the south is pretty much commonplace. If it’s edible chances are we’ve fried it at least once. If you live or have visited the south you know this is true. One of my favorite sides as a kid was my moms corn fritters. She’d serve them up in a basket with syrup as a dipping sauce. Fritters are pretty common around here – oyster fritters, clam fritters… so corn fritters fit in with our lifestyle.


This is the corn fritters recipe my mom taught me when I first moved out on my own. Kids love them because when you dip them in syrup they’re almost dessert sweet. Adults love them because they’re simple and we can call them healthy since they’re filled with corn. *Note* they’re not actually healthy – we just make ourselves feel better by calling them that.


This recipe can easily be transformed to savory with the addition of onion, jalapenos, scallions or other savory ingredients. I like them just the way they are though! They make a great side dish to pretty much any southern meal. They’re also wonderful as an appetizer or just a snack – versatility at its best – booyah!


The ingredients for your basic corn fritters are pretty modest and chances are you already have them on hand. They take only minutes to prep and cook so I’m sure you see why these are so popular around here!

Corn Fritters Recipe
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 can of corn, drained (not creamed)
  1. Heat vegetable oil to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Beat in the egg and milk, then dump in the corn.
  4. Stir to combine well.
  5. Drop the mixture into the fryer 1 tablespoon at a time. Drop 3 – 5 spoons per batch.
  6. When the fritters are golden brown and floating remove from the fryer and place on a paper towel line plate to drain.
  7. Serve warm with syrup or honey.


White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns – Easter Tradition with a Twist

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, Hot cross buns! If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons…

I love, love, love me some hot cross buns. Waking up on Easter morning, running into the kitchen to see Hot Cross Buns in the oven was life altering. Something so simple and easy yet so irresistibly good – how could they not change lives?!


Of course we always had them on Good Friday, but us kids didn’t really understand what that was. But boy, when we got tucked in and told we were having Hot Cross Buns in the morning it was like Christmas Eve.

You remember that anticipation that kept you from closing your eyes for more than a few minutes at  a time.


I love that my son gets to embrace this tradition today, and I imagine he’ll share it with his children too. Or at least marry someone who will. Everyone has their own way of making hot cross buns, and I’ve added a little twist to mine. My mom used to use raisins  her mom used currants, I use white chocolate chips. Don’t judge me, they’re soo good!

white chocolate I make my Hot Cross Buns pretty big, but we like ’em big. Truth be told, they would probably bake better if they were smaller. We’ve never had enough leftovers to need to freeze them, but I imagine they would keep for a couple days at least. What do you think?

How do you like your Hot Cross Buns?

White Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
Author: Amber
  • 5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or stick with cinnamon if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, plus 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk into a small bowl. Add the yeast and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the honey, 2 eggs, butter, pumpkin pie mix, salt and white chocolate chips. Mix in the flour, slowly. While mixing, carefully add the 1 cup of milk.
  3. Once the mixture is dough like, dump it onto a counter and knead 4 times. If it’s too sticky add a little flour to smooth it out. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size; about 20 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough on it. Pull off pieces about the size of a baseball (or your preferred size) and make them into balls. Place the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until all the dough is used. Cover again with plastic wrap and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. I like to sit my buns on the oven to rise while it’s preheating. This take between 10 and 15 minutes.
  5. Uncover the buns and cut crosses into the tops. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes or until browned.
  6. To ice the tops I melted 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips and piped the crosses on with that. Yummy!


Bacon, Egg, Apple & Cheese Frittata with Butternut Squash Hash browns

Frittata’s are so versatile. You can enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner. What I love most about them is I can make them for dinner and serve the leftover’s for breakfast. It saves me a ton of time and puts a smile on everyone’s face. This frittata is packed with flavor and is so simple. Serve it with the butternut squash hash browns and you have everything you need to make a complete meal.


 This Frittata has amazing layers of flavor. The sharp cheddar cheese, sweet gala apples and the bacon take turns dancing on your pallet. And like I said before, it’s great reheated in the morning so you stretch your food and your time!

Bacon, Egg, Apple & Cheese Frittata with Butternut Squash Hash browns
Recipe Type: Brunch
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 1 gala apple, cored and diced (1/4 inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook your bacon to slightly crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  3. Either clean the pan or get a new one.
  4. Heat the butter and apples in a heavy cast iron or other oven proof skillet over medium heat until the apples are al dente (about 6 minutes.) Add in the bacon and cook for 2 minutes on low heat.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, cheese, milk and seasonings. Mix until the eggs are well beaten.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the apple mixture and bake for 30 minutes.

bacon 2

The Butternut Squash Hash Browns are the perfect replacement for the starchy counterpart. While not comparable to potatoes, the crispness of the squash delivers what is wanted from a popular morning offering. The hint of garlic powder gives these a delicious flavor that takes away the awkwardness for some that eating squash brings.

Butternut Squash Hash browns
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Amber
  • 1 cup shredded squash (about half a small butternut squash)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking
  1. Press the shredded squash between 2 sheets of paper towels to dry.
  2. In a medium to large bowl mix combine the shredded squash and seasonings
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy pan.
  4. Form the squash mixture into whatever shapes you prefer (or toss it in unformed) and cook until brown.
  5. If you formed the squash fry it until it’s browned and holding on the bottom (about 3 minutes), flip and repeat.
  6. Drain on paper towels and serve war.

Savory Mashed Cauliflower

You know how every now and then (not very often around here) you need something lighter than what you’ve been eating? Especially when it comes to carbohydrates! Carbs make up a big part of our meals and after a while we feel it. You know, that sluggish “ugh, I’m not getting out of bed this week” feeling. I’m feeling that way this week so I’m trying to lighten up our meals for at least a few nights. Tonight I did this by replacing our traditional mashed taters with some savory mashed cauliflower.

savory 0

It took me a long – and I do mean long – time to work up the courage to bring cauliflower into my home. I was tortured with them as a little girl; that happens when you have 3 brothers (at least that’s what my therapist told me!) Anyway – they used to chase me around the house with these telling me they were brains and that when I ate them I would turn into whoever “wore” the brains last. I had such horrible nightmares and went to bed hungry any time they were on the table.


Tonight I broke down and made the savory mashed cauliflower and I’m so glad I did! This whips up so fast it’s crazy and is truly a savory side dish. If you need to lighten up your meals this is a great choice and very easy to make. Using a mixer would make these more creamy but I like my taters with some texture, so that’s how I made this mashed cauliflower.

Savory Mashed Cauliflower
Author: Amber
  • 1 medium – large head of cauliflower, cleaned, cored and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (or margarine if you want to go vegan), room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced – plus 1 peeled clove
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Steam your cauliflower and 1 clove of garlic in the vegetable stock until it’s tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower is steaming, melt the butter in a small sauce pan with the herbs (medium-low heat.)
  3. Strain the excess liquid from the cauliflower and transfer it to a large bowl. Discard the garlic clove.
  4. Pour the melted butter over the cauliflower and smash with a masher or mixer. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.