Sunday Family Dinner

Southern Comfort Fare for Sunday Family Dinner

September 2013 Fam Din

For September’s Sunday Family Dinner, we decided to jump back to North America and head down South for our inspiration. Southern American Comfort Food to be exact.

You know….the type of food that kind of sticks to your ribs but is OH-SO-GOOD! Worth every calorie.

September 2013 Fam Din

So we gathered the fam to my seester T’s house on a September Sunday—which just so happened to be one of the craziest, scorching last days of summer. (Which explains why our hair was done up like fräuleins to combat the heat!)

And how cute are my seesters‘ with their fams?

Seeblings

To combat the heat and toast our monthly Family Dinners, we started off with cold, refreshing cocktails—my version of a Sparkling Hard Lemonade. Freshly made lemonade, vodka, citrus soda, lemon slices, and fresh mint sprigs all in a mason jar….to keep with the Southern theme. 🙂

Sparkling Hard Lemonade

And what’s a Southern meal without collard greens?

Collard Greens

Eldest seester, N, stewed down these green beauties with this lovely ham hock. Salty, porky, slightly bitter and just darn tummy -lovin’!

Ham Hock

And since we were dabbling in the South, I had to channel Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Matherson, and Mary-Louise Parker. Yeah..you know what I’m talking about….

Fried Green Tomatoes

My version was quick, crispy, slightly tart and deep fried.

So. Good.

Fried Green Tomatoes

I also took the lead with our main dish…..Crispy Fried Chicken.

It was a no brainer that I opted for Chef Thomas Keller’s beloved Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken. It’s one of the most popular dishes from his restaurant Ad Hoc and after trying it, I don’t doubt it!

The recipe is not difficult but it does take time. The citrus and herbaceous brine makes the chicken so incredible juicy and aromatic. And the crust–when done well, it becomes surprisingly light and almost feathery!

We did have a little trouble with our chicken as we fried them in Dutch Ovens on the outside barbecue burners. But since the burners couldn’t hold a consistent level of heat, we kept on having to adjust the temperature and move the chicken around. Nothing too crazy but it did take a bit longer than expected.

Fried Chicken

Unfortunately these photos didn’t do it justice (I went from using my DSLR to my iPhone) but the rest of our dinner was just as scrumptious! Seester T made rich Mac & Cheese and down-home delish Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy. There was also some grilled corn but I just couldn’t fit it in my tummy!

Southern Family Dinner

Now I’m told that original Southern Comfort Food was rich and filling in order to give folks the sustenance and energy to do a full day of hard, physical work. We DEFINITLEY didn’t do any of that after inhaling this goodness but we DID take a 15 minute stroll around the block. 🙂 Better than nothing, right?

And then we came back from our walk to have some dessert….

Caramel Apple Pie a la Mode that was INSANELY good. So good that I actually didn’t feel bad about eating it after our gazillion calorie dinner.

As I said before….Worth Every Calorie.

#fact

Caramel Apple Pie a la mode

And with that dear friends, we wrapped up another successful Sunday Family Dinner!

October’s Theme?

New England Fare! Lobstah’s and shellfish beware! 🙂

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Sparkling Hard Lemonade
Appetizers: Fried Green Tomatoes
Entrees: Crispy Fried Chicken, Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens
Dessert: Caramel Apple Pie a la Mode

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Breakfast/Brunch

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

The last Friday of every month, my team does a gluttonous but delicious Breakfast Potluck.  With 15 people on the team bringing in all types of goodies, you can imagine what kind of extensive spread we have.

Sure, some may think it’s not so productive to gorge ourselves so early in the morning. And yes, I’m usually in a food coma for the better part of the day—but it’s just so darn tasty.

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

At our last go around, I decided to make an easy but hearty breakfast casserole— a Breakfast Biscuit Casserole to be exact. And you want to know my shortcut? I use a can of ready-to-bake biscuits. Yup, the same type you use in monkey bread—–mmmmm, monkey bread.

Breakfast Biscuit Casserole

The end results in something fluffy, eggy, cheesy and just plain über delish! The prep time is nothing at all and by the time your morning coffee is ready, you’ll have the casserole in the oven.

Easy. Peasy.

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Breakfast Biscuit Casserole
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ pound breakfast sausage
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
3 eggs
½ cup milk
2 heaping tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
kosher salt
black pepper
1 can ready-to-bake biscuits (1 pound)
cooking spray
1 heaping cup shredded sharp cheddar
2 scallions, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium and add the breakfast sausage. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage and break into small pieces. Cook the sausage until browned and transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until just tender. Transfer to the plate with the sausage.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Take each biscuit and cut them into quarters. Grease a 10-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread the biscuit pieces evenly in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Pour the egg mixture over the biscuits and sprinkle the sausage and mushrooms over the top. Top the casserole with the cheese and scallions. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Breads · Side Dish

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits…REDEMPTION!

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits

Man, oh man… You’re going to really want to make these. For real.

Some of you may recall a few months ago when I tried to make a knockoff of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits. They were good—but not great. And lucky for everyone, this gal was determined to find a better version. I was on a mission. And Hallelujah! I’ve found it!

Thanks to a little tweaking and edits to Cooks Illustrated Drop Biscuits, I am happy to share these little goodies with you all. Cheesy, flavorful and super easy to make. And since they’re “drop biscuits”, you don’t have to mess around with rolling out the dough.

I’m a happy camper! In fact, I’ve got to show you them again. Just indulge me, okay?

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits

And of course, these would be fabulous for any upcoming holiday festivities. 🙂

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Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 12 biscuits

Ingredients:

2 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Sugar
¾ Teaspoon Table Salt
½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder, plus 1 teaspoon to be added to the 2 tbsp melted butter for brushing biscuits
1 Cup Cold Buttermilk
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chives (or scallions)
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, garlic powder and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Fold in cheese and chives. Using greased ¼ cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2¼  inches in diameter and 1¼ inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1½  inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

Brush biscuit tops with a mixture of the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter & 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Breads · Side Dish

Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits….(Kind Of)

Carbohydrates, bread in particular, are easily one of my greatest vices. I’m totally a CARBOHOLIC! I’m typically one of those people at restaurants that fill themselves silly with complimentary bread that by the time my entrée arrives, I’m already full! And one American chain restaurant has the tastiest complimentary bread….Red Lobster’s Cheddar Cheese Biscuits ®. SOOOO GOOD!

So when I came across their “top secret” recipe on ABC News’ website, I HAD to give them a try! By using Bisquick baking mix ®, it was SUPER easy and can be made in any home within a few minutes.

After pulling these golden beauties from the oven, I quickly pulled one apart and popped it into my mouth. Was it good? Sure! Dense…crumbly….cheesey. Did it taste like Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits ®? Eh….not really. Yes, it was a nice biscuit but something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on it. I did add chopped scallions to the batter for a nice onion flavor but I think if I try this again, I’ll substitute the regular whole milk for buttermilk. The extra creaminess and tang that buttermilk has may be the trick.

Still—we enjoyed them, especially with our BBQ! And although they weren’t like Red Lobster’s ®, it was still tasty!

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Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits ®
Makes 12 Biscuits
From ABC News

Ingredients:

2½ Cups Bisquick Baking Mix
¾ Cup Cold Whole Milk
4 Tablespoons Cold Butter
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Scallions, chopped
1 Heaping Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

Brush on Top:
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
¼ Teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or a large fork. You don’t want to mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in there that are about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, scallions and ¼ teaspoon garlic. Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.

Drop approximately ¼-cup portions of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

When you take the biscuits out of the oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter is a small bowl in your microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder and the dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Use up all of the butter. Makes one dozen biscuits.