My children love good food. When they were younger, of course, I did the easy chicken nuggets, fish sticks and all that jazz, but for the most part, I introduced them to foods so that they would not be picky eaters. They have grown up in this Southern household eating southern staples as well as my somewhat exotic kitchen 'must-trys'.

While planning the weekly dinner menu, my daughter asked for squash casserole. I admit that I had never made it before, but I was  not going to disappoint her, so I called up the only woman who has ever gotten me to eat squash and enjoy it--my mom.

Her sqaush casserole is so good. It reminds me a bit of cornbread dressing. She uses cornbread in it and bacon pieces. Add in cheese and oh yeah---golden squash heaven.

My mom moved too fast for me to take step by step photos telling me "I'm cooking for my grandbabies, not for your camera". I had to laugh. In this house, we eat what is cooked and photographed for this blog. Nothing gets posted that we do not eat. That means I usually end up photographing my actual plate and if not my own, I better move pretty darn fast if I want to take a photo, because they simply will not wait and they don't want to eat cold food. Ha! They make me work fast for a photo.

Southern Squash Casserole

You will need:
4 cups cooked and crumbled cornbread
7 Yellow Squash
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
2 tsp melted butter/margarine
1 or 1/2 cup of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper

Rinse your squash and begin cutting into 1/2 inch slices. Discard the ends.  In a pot filled with water, bring to a boil, once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook for ten to fifteen more minutes.  This helps tenderize the squash. Drain the water.

In large bowl, add in all your ingredients except the squash, broth and egg. Add in your salt and pepper 1 tsp at a time, tasting to get it to your liking.  Add in the broth slowly until the mixture is of a creamy consistency. You may not use all of it. You want it creamy, not soupey.  Add in your egg and mix well. Then add in your squash. Pour into two round cake pans or one 11x7 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until top is slightly crusted and golden brown.

Repost while I work on some amazing things to share! This sandwich is perfect for Super Bowl parties!

I love making sandwiches. With a family consisting of four children, it is quick, simple and the kids love them. Being that I love sandwiches, I am always trying different combinations so it does not get boring. Peanut butter and jelly is so good but this Italian Stallion meatball sub with tons of meat and marinara sauce is soooo much better.

Sometimes making the perfect sandwich is just throwing everything but the kitchen sink onto that bad boy. The possibilities literally are endless when it comes to making them, only your taste buds and creativity is the limit!

For this sandwich you will need:
Bread (of course or you can even try it in a lettuce wrap or tortilla)
Marinara Sauce
Canadian Bacon
Fresh Mozzarella

I did not get my camera out in time but for my meatballs, I mixed in sauteed sundried tomatoes that I diced, chopped fresh parsley and italian seasoning with a bit of Creole seasoning. I mixed well and formed into balls.

I cooked my meatballs on low/meduim while covered in a skillet until done.

Now you just assemble your sandwich. Start by spreading marinara on the brea, then layering the salami, canadian bacon and then slices of pepperoni. Add your meatballs, top with sauce and then slices of mozzarella. Place sandwich open in oven on broil until cheese melts into some seriously ooey gooey goodness.

Remove and serve hot and toasty. Kinda messy but seriously tastes like a pizza! It would have been even better topped with sauteed mushrooms and some sliced black olives. Oh yes, please!

Also, Go Gluten Free hits newsstands throughout the US next week! You will find two of my recipes in it. So thankful and excited about it!

It is so cold here. Not New York or Chicago kind of cold but for us Southerners, it is freezing. 34 degrees and it felt like a chili kinda dinner night. This recipe is super easy, as it calls for seasoning packets and canned beans. Usually, I have dried beans on hand, but when you are in a hurry, canned and packets are great.

This surely hit the spot for us and the chipotles added a nice flavor. A quick and super warm dinner. Yes.

You will need:

2 lbs ground beef
3 chili seasoning packets
3 cans of diced tomatoes and chiles
3 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 can chipotles (chopped)
2 cans of black beans
2 cans of red kidney beans

Garnish: Sour cream, cheese, fresh jalapenos, cilantro

Brown your ground beef with one packet of the chili seasoning. Once cooked, drain the grease and add in another packet of seasoning. Add in your tomatoes and stir. Transfer to a large pot on meduim heat. Add in your beans. When it begins to bubble, lower your heat to low and continue to cook for an hour or more.

This makes a large pot. You can cut in half for a smaller crowd. This feeds 6 people.

We are preparing for a really cold day tomorrow so that has my mom in the kitchen preparing her homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. While we all bundle up and share our day over a bowl of soup, I thought it would be nice to share some other warm bowls of goodness that I have pinned on pinterest.

Make dinner a warm and soothing soup or stew night!

I love tortellini so this soup from Heather Likes Food sounds amazing!

Puchero (Pork, Beef, and Chicken Soup) um, yes please! This looks like one great bowl of warmth!

Although this recipe calls for lamb and we do not have that here where I live, this would be fantastic with cubes of beef! Lamb and Potato Stew from Sinfully Spicy.

Here in the South there are certain 'traditional' foods that you just 'have' to make and eat on New Year's Day. For as long as I can remember, our meals on that day have never changed. It has been the exact same. This year was no different. My mother made ham hocks, neck bones, fried chicken and pig feet.

Why the pig feet? I mean, I can understand ham hocks, they at least have meat, but pig feet? Um, that is pure-dee fat.

Here it is day two of 2015 and guess what...the pig feet are chilling in the refrigerator in a sealed container because no. one. touched. them.

But everything else....gone!  The greens are supposed the be for money and the black eyed peas mean luck. I have no idea what the ham hock and pig feet are supposed to mean other than 'let's be daring and eat something completely fattening'....who knows.

Alas, it was an excellent dinner and I am so thankful to see another year.

Happy 2015!

*This twice baked sweet potato recipe will be up next week!

A few years ago I took my mom and children to an itty bitty town called Taylor in Texas. It is her hometown and while there visiting, I went to a local bakery for breakfast and had kolaches. They were so good. Light doughy balls of goodness with rich topping. Oh yes.

Being in Mississippi, I know of not one place where I can get these soooooo after all these years (and feeling a bit better about my bread making capabilities, I gave these a shot.

Recipe adapted from A Taste Of Home Bohemian Kolaches Recipe

Cranberry Filling
1 Cup of Cranberries
1 cup water
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Sugar

1 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

In pot, add in cranberries, vanilla, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until all cranberries have popped. Turn off heat and allow the cranberry sauce to cool.

In a bowl, add 1cup of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and yeast. Mix and allow it to sit until foamy for about 10-15 minutes.

(The original recipe called for more water, but I did not need any more water or milk added once I added in the yeast mixture.)

Add in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, yolks, salt, butter. I have a mixer, but I mixed by hand with a rubber spatula. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time. The original recipe called for more milk, but I did not have to add more water or liquid. I added in the flour until a sticky ball of dough formed.

Once dough was formed,  turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes and then place in  a bowl  greased with olive oil. Cover and let rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size.

Once it has doubled, remove dough so it falls back down and place back in bowl for another hour, covered.

After that turn once again on floured surface and flatten out the dough until it is about an inch or half an inch high. Cut out your circles and place on your baking sheet.  Allow them to rise once more and then pressing in center, create a indention. I used a shot glass covered in olive oil to make the indention. Fill with your cranberry filling and bake for about 15 minutes until golden at 350 degrees.

I added a simple glaze of 2 cups of powdered sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 tsp of water.

Every year this time, I plan a 'decorating' party for my children and friends. We would do gingerbread houses but we would use graham crackers instead. One year, we used the house base as rice krispy treats. This year we are going completely traditional and decorating gingerbread people.

Why not skip the gingerbread house kits and make your favorite cookies or use different types of items. Spread it all out on a table alongside and let everyone go at it.

Everyone gets their own icing bags, cookies, and the candy is in bowls for everyone to choose from.

At the end of the night, guests are given treat bags to fill up with candy to take home.

This is always a fun thing to do and I can't wait to shop for candy and icing tomorrow!
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