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Southern Comfort Food.

A Southern Comfort Feast With Friends.

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Now that I’m a Southerner, I decided to try my hand at some new Southern style dishes for a recent dinner party with work friends. Although I tried to adapt the recipes to make them a bit healthier, these are still definitely indulgent, but hey… it’s the holidays, right?! The dishes turned out great and were rich, warm and, of course, comforting. If you’re in need of dishes for your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, these would all make great additions to your meal!

Green Bean Casserole

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Adapted from this recipe.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs green beans, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup light butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley dry ranch mix
  • 1 cup sliced baby Portabello mushroom
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup French’s fried onions, crushed
  • dash of salt (to taste)
  • dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Begin by boiling the green beans. Boil for about 5-7 minutes or until the green beans are tender. Drain the water and set aside. In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat and cook the mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes or until soft and set aside.

In a pot on the stove, melt the butter on low heat and slowly add in the flour to create a roux. Slowly whisk in the skim milk on low/medium heat. Continue whisking until all lumps are gone. The mixture can simmer but should not boil. Once the mixture has thickened, add the ranch mix, Parmesan cheese, dash of salt, and dash of cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked green beans and mushrooms with the sauce. Toss to combine so the ingredients are evenly coated and then pour the mixture into a large casserole dish. Top the mixture with an even coating of the panko breadcrumbs, French’s fried onions and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

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Adapted from this recipe.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 package pre-made biscuits, cut into quarters
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 32-oz containers of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/3 cup light butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • garlic salt (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sage

Begin by melting the butter in a large pot. Once melted, reduced the heat slowly add in the flour to create a roux. Once combined, slowly add in the milk, whisking continuously to remove any lumps. Allow the mixture to thicken on low heat and then add in the chicken stock, onion, peas and carrots and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium add in the biscuit dough. Cook with the lid on, stiffing fairly often, for about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, parsley and sage and stir well to combine.

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Corn, Arugula & Bacon Salad With Dijon Vinaigrette

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Adapted from this recipe.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags frozen corn
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4-5 large handfuls fresh arugula
  • 12-oz bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • dash of black pepper

Put the corn in a pot on the stove on medium/high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, to cook and thaw.

While the corn is cooking, mix the Dijon mustard, white vinegar, olive oil and salt/pepper together and whisk well.

Once the corn has cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature in a large serving bowl. Once the corn is room temperature, add the arugula, tomatoes and chopped bacon into the serving bowl and pour the dressing over top and mix well to combine.

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Kafta Batata.

Lebanese Meat Patties & Roasted Potatoes With Tomatoes & Onions.

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I absolutely love Lebanese food. In fact, it’s probably my all time favorite type of food. I have never really tried my hand at cooking anything Lebanese and usually just eat it at restaurants, so I wanted to give it a go at home. Kafta means meat patties and batata means potatoes… hence the name of this dish. This dish is the perfect comfort food and has simple, healthy ingredients. This dish is also naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. I served it with some simple herbed rice but you could eat with a side of veggies, salad or whatever you prefer. I’ll definitely be making this again soon!

Adapted from this recipe.

Serves ~6.

Ingredients:

Meat Patties~

  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large handful fresh curly parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Za’atar seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

Potatoes~

  • 5 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced circularly
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Sauce~

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • salt/black pepper
  • 1 large tomato, sliced circularly
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced

Begin by roasting the potatoes. Grease a large baking sheet with ~2 tbsp olive oil and line the sliced potatoes onto the sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, and then flip them and bake for another 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, combine the ground beef in a large mixing bowl with the parsley, diced onion, Za’atar seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into roughly 6 small patties. Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan on the stove and cook the patties for about 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned. This will only be to cook them about halfway. After they’re browned, place them into a large baking dish.

To make the sauce, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot on the stove the and stir in the tomato paste and season with a dash of salt/black pepper. Reduce the heat and allow this to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooked, layer them on top of the meat patties in the baking dish along with the sliced tomatoes and sliced onion. Pour the sauce over top into the baking dish. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes aluminum foil covering the baking dish. Serve your choice of side.

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