Most of our daily problems can be solved with a bite of Southern comfort food, but sometimes fried chicken, sweet tea and barbecue just won’t cut it. If you’re sick of the same ol’ down-home specialties, try putting new spins on your favorite dishes like Little Big Town singer Kimberly Schlapman does on her show, Kimberly’s Simply Southern.
Whether it’s a surprising dash of cocoa in a savory dish or some maple syrup to cool down spicy chicken, we guarantee you won’t be bored with your comfort food again.
A tablespoon of cocoa balances out the cayenne pepper in Kimberly’s dry rub, and instead of big beef ribs, she opts for spareribs instead. When topped with smoked barbecue sauce, the ribs fit right in with your favorite Southern classics.
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Tune in to Cooking Channel at at 2:30pm ET for a taste of GAC’s Kimberly’s Simply Southern with Kimberly Schlapman, of the band Little Big Town, bringing us authentic Southern recipes from her Nashville kitchen.
As Kimberly tours America with her country-singing quartet, she explores the wonderful local foods in each city. This life on the road helps her learn about different ingredients while meeting the many fascinating people that share her love of food. Everyone she meets adds a touch of inspiration to her classic Southern recipes, and back in her kitchen in Nashville, Kimberly whips up her own twist on some traditional family recipes. And don’t be surprise when Kimberley welcomes a few fellow country artists into her home to help her cook and feast on the authentic Southern meals.
Looking for some Grandmother-approved fried chicken? Look no further. Or how about Captain Jim’s Lobster Casserole, inspired by Little Big Town’s tour stop in Maine?
For more Southern-inspired dishes, tune in to Kimberly’s Simply Southern at 2:30pm ET on Cooking Channel. Then find out when to watch the all-new season 2 on GACtv.com.
One of the things I love most about Southern food is that it draws flavor inspiration from cultures all around the world, yet still maintains a unique identity of its own. It truly is a melting pot of tastes—hot, sticky, spicy and sweet—all boxed up in one.
Take spoon bread for example, a quintessential down-home dish. Its name may not turn any heads (or open any mouths), but one bite is enough to convert even the biggest of skeptics. Spoon bread, in fact, has a pretty distinguished pedigree if you ask me. It’s part French soufflé, part English Yorkshire pudding, but once you add the cornmeal, it’s all Southern.
If you still can’t wrap your head around this old-fashioned recipe, just imagine a rich, custardy version of cornbread worthy of scooping up with a spoon. Or better yet, picture the lightest, fluffiest grits casserole you’ve ever had. I mean, what’s not to like?
Continue Reading Cheesy Parmesan Spoon Bread
There’s an unspoken rule in our house that when there is pork butt, it had better be smoked. And pulled. By a man. And while I think I have a pretty great recipe for oven pulled pork, it often gets scoffed at by the self-declared pit master I reside with. Problem is, I have barbecue cravings during the 50 weeks he’s not out back drinking beers and worshiping fire. So I found a loop hole. (Apparently the “pit master” doesn’t have any beef with me cooking chicken.)
It took a few tries, but I think I perfected my barbecue chicken recipe—a bold statement—but just ask my fiancé. He gave it his hard-earned seal of approval, which I gladly accepted. The secret is not really in the braise (although it helps) but in what comes next. To get the blackened, crispy ends that you expect from a barbecue joint, you’ve got to throw the chicken under the broiler. As for the results? You could fool anybody that’s not in on your scheme.
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Banana pudding sits high in the royal court of Southern desserts, and it doesn’t get much better than the classic recipe on the back of the Nilla wafer box. But sometimes it can’t hurt to experiment, and it’s not often difficult to find a line of folks ready and willing to try my latest spin. Two of my greatest hits are MoonPie Banana Pudding and Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie. Seriously, how bad can those be?
Not being able to leave well enough alone, I decided to give the recipe another go. This time I added brown sugar and bourbon to my vanilla pudding base, giving it a hint of butterscotch and a bit more grown-up appeal. And to further the recipe’s cocktail-lovin’ flare, I substituted in sweet and spicy gingersnaps for the usual plain wafers—my nod to the old Southern standby “Jack & Ginger.”
While most recipes for banana pudding call for a big trifle dish, I thought these would be best piled into my favorite cocktail glasses; the individual servings are perfect for your next adults-only dinner party, no I.D. required. Now the only thing left is to figure out how to get these down with a straw.
Continue Reading Bourbon Banana Puddings
Texas Sheet Cake
There may be plenty of beauty queens in Texas, unfortunately this sheet cake isn’t one. But hey, it’s supposed to be about the inner beauty, right? Whether that’s the case or not, this classic recipe would still take home plenty of “Miss Congeniality” awards; it never fails to win over a crowd.
Texas sheet cake is an old Southern standby—some version of it is guaranteed to grace the table at almost any potluck, church picnic, or 4th of July celebration below the Mason Dixon. You can find a recipe for it in almost any community cookbook known to man. In the case of my old grade school’s tiny cookbook, I found three. (It often falls under many different names, but Texas sheet cake seems to be the most popular. I guess because it’s as big as Texas!)
This is my take on the cherished recipe I grew up with. The boy next door (who just so happened to be my childhood crush) loved it so much that my mother would often bake up an entire pan just for him. As I begrudgingly carried it over to his house, I always wondered what a girl needed to do to get one of her own.
As I’ve become a more experienced chef and baker, willing to attempt the most complicated of cakes, I still know with confidence this Texas sheet cake will withstand the test of time. Perhaps one day I, too, will have a daughter whose heart I can make go aflutter as she drops one off at a young heartthrob’s door. (And it’s funny now, how it all just started making sense.)
Continue Reading Texas Sheet Cake
I tasted my first hushpuppy at a seafood shack in Georgia, a divey little place we took my grandparents to after church every couple of Sundays. I was just a gangly little thing with a voracious appetite, and my parents — my father in particular — were schooling me in the glories of all things Southern and fried. While the grownups exclusively ordered the catfish and shrimp, I went straight for my go-to: kid-friendly chicken fingers. (Catfish brought up thoughts of my beloved feline, Munchkin, and I couldn’t bear the thought of eating anything related to her.)
I had no problem, however, stealing the sides of hushpuppies right off my parents’ plates. (Funny that I didn’t seem to mind eating anything that sounded as if it had something to do with the family dog.) I’d snatch those little balls of fried dough faster than anyone could wave a hand to stop me. Eventually my dad had to start getting an extra order for the table. I was utterly hooked on hushpuppies.
Continue Reading Creamy Corn Hushpuppies
One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is a fresh loaf of banana bread, still warm from the oven. To create a decadent dessert, I have combined that simple loaf with a velvety chocolate ganache. Top it with a spoon of crème fraiche or a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the result is an elegant comfort food fit for any occasion — even breakfast.
Continue Reading Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding
Get ready for a whole new season of Kelsey’s Essentials. This time around, Kelsey’s spending some time out of the kitchen, looking for inspiration as she develops new recipes.
Tune in to today’s premiere as she steps into the role of butcher at the Meat Hook in Brooklyn, New York. Kelsey gets a lesson a butchering, gaining a new appreciation for a butcher’s favorite cut of meat, the eye of round steak (much less expensive than other premium cuts). Plus, she learns how to make fresh sausage, tailoring the ingredients to her recipe.
Kelsey puts her new skills to use by serving up Chicken Fried Steak and Sausage and Shrimp Over Grits.
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Three ingredients were the key to my survival in college: tortilla chips, shredded cheddar and chunky salsa. Armed with a Chevron card borrowed from my father, I would charge anything and everything under the sun, except actual gasoline. My starving-student diet consisted of Dr. Pepper, chocolate milk, hot dogs, bologna and, yes, even “homemade” nachos. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
I’ve come a long way since those junk-food days (well, depending on who you ask), yet those trashy nachos still remain firmly rooted in my culinary arsenal. It often humors my boyfriend when I return home ravenous from a late night at work and immediately pull the chips from the cabinet. Even with a fridge full of more civilized ingredients, sometimes all a girl wants is something fattening and familiar. But before you judge, just think about your favorite nostalgic treats. Come on, I know there has to be a dirty secret lurking somewhere in your refrigerator.
Fortunately, I’ll spare you the “recipe” for that ol’ heat-and-eat mess. I’ve decided to give nachos the old college try, and I think even the haters out there will approve of this Southern-style update. Imagine slow-cooked pulled pork drizzled with sweet-and-tangy barbecue sauce and ladled with creamy cheddar. It’s finished off with cilantro-sour cream, pickled jalapenos and a sprinkling of queso fresco. Each of the components is delicious in its own right, but paired together you get something truly sublime. The only way these nachos could get any better is if they’re washed down with an ice-cold beer. And that, my friends, is how to earn a culinary diploma!
Continue Reading Pulled Pork Nachos