"Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born - it's an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, high school football, country music, and acoustic guitars. It's being hospitable, being devoted to front porches, magnolias, the good Lord, and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way."


Canine Cordon Bleu

For Christmas, I decided to make treats for my dogs. I was going to make the Puppy Cookies that I've posted here before, except that I had bought a dog-bone-shaped cookie cutter so I wanted to roll them out.
I picked up the baby food at the grocery store, just grabbing the first few meats that I saw, and when I got home I noticed that I'd gotten chicken & ham. Which made me think of Chicken Cordon Bleu. Which gave me an idea.
So I modified the recipe below by adding whole wheat flour. I added it by the tablespoon until it the dough was thick enough to roll out. I think I ended up with 7 tablespoons. Then I floured my cutting board and cut out the cookies.
I baked them for about 10 minutes; for my dogs I have to be careful that they don't get hard.
THEN....then I took out some slices of swiss cheese and cut them out with the cookie cutters. I placed them on top of the cookies and put them back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
Viola! Canine Cordon Bleu!
The dogs loved it, but of course they love practically any & everything.

I had so much fun with these things! Here's the basic recipe.

Puppy Cookies
3 small jars of baby food, chicken or beef flavor (or ham!)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup dry milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients and drop with a tablespoon onto a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.


Sausage & Rice Casserole

I used to make this dish more often, but for some reason, I hadn't made it in years. John doesn't remember ever having it, nor do the younger kids. So when I made it this week, the whole family fell in love, and Elayna requested this as her birthday dish next month!
It's easy and delicious!
It contains the Holy Trinity of Southern Cooking - bell peppers, onions, and celery. So you know it's gonna be good.

Sausage & Rice Casserole

2 lbs. ground sausage (mild or spicy)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups rice
2 cups water
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used the kind that contains roasted garlic too)
1 can french onion soup

Brown sausage, celery, onion, and bell pepper in a large sauce pan. Drain grease. In a medium bowl, mix soups, water, and (uncooked) rice until smooth. Add sausage mixture. Pour into a large, lightly greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for one hour, stirring halfway through.

It's off the chain!


Mama's Meatloaf

Mmm, meatloaf. One of those comfort foods that's especially good in the winter.

Growing up, our meatloaf was very plain. Meat, salt & pepper, and ketchup.
I hated it.

But my ex-husband's late mother shared a secret with me. (when she was still alive and we were still married, of course.) She told me that she put pineapple in her meatloaf.
And I nearly gagged. But then I tried her meatloaf, and it was delicious.
And she was not even Southern! She was from Michigan, for crying out loud. But she sure could cook some meatloaf.

So I started experimenting and came up with a meatloaf recipe that I love. The problem is that I don't measure anything, so I'm going to estimate amounts, and you can play with them and make it the way you like it!

Mama's Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 packet of French's Meatloaf Seasoning
1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup ketchup
1 small can of crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Yes, it's yucky, but that's just the way you have to do it! Squish it all together, then put it in a 9x13 casserole dish and shape it into a meatloaf shape. I always squirt some ketchup on top in a swirly pattern, too. Then bake for 30-45 minutes, making sure it's done in the center.
It's off the chain!

You just have to make mashed potatoes with this. I recommend Pioneer Woman's recipe.


Saltine Cracker Candy

My sister-in-law made this candy last year at Christmas time and sent some home with my parents, who gave some to me. Lucky me! My sister-in-law is a great cook, and one of my cooking inspirations. Many of my recipes come from her kitchen.

A Facebook friend told me they call this stuff Christmas Crack, so that's what we're calling it now.

I took some of this candy to work last year and it was gone before I could even turn around! This stuff is delicious, easy, and totally addictive. It's that wonderful combination of salty and sweet.
It's great to throw in a tin and give as a Christmas gift!

Saltine Cracker Candy

1 stack of saltine crackers
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 (12 oz) pkg Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (completely cover it) and spray with cooking spray. Cover the bottom with crackers.

In a medium saucepan, bring butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over crackers, spreading out as best as you can. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle top of hot crackers with chips and chopped pecans. Cover with wax paper, pressing firmly with oven mitt to insure pecans “stick”. Place cookie sheet in freezer (might want to put towels underneath pan, since it will still be very warm) until “set” (about an hour). Once ready, peel of wax paper and foil and break apart. Store in a container in the refrigerator.


Apple Dumplings

Last night, while we were decorating our Christmas tree, I had Apple Dumplings baking in the oven.

I got the recipe from Mrs 4444s, who got it from The Pioneer Woman's cooking blog.
They were Off.The.Chain! And ridiculously easy.

You gotta try 'em!

I did two things differently; I used Golden Delicious apples because that's what I had on hand, and instead of white sugar I used brown sugar. I didn't have much white sugar on hand and we were out of sweet tea. And hello, this is Southern Loving food blog. Tea is a must around here!

They came out fabulous!

I have pics, but I will add them later, because right now blogger is ticking me off.
The recipe is Pioneer Woman's.


  • 2 whole Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Cinnamon, To Taste
  • 1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda

Preparation Instructions

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

WARNING: Prepare this dish at your own risk. It is beyond imaginable.