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Antipasto Salad

Here's an easy recipe to enjoy this summer!

12 oz. Veggie Rotini, cooked and drained
14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained
12 cherry tomatoes
1 cup black olives, halved
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced
12 oz. creamy Italian dressing
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
seasoning salt and pepper, to taste

In large saucepan, cook Rotini as directed. Rinse in cold water and drain. In large bowl, combine artichokes, tomatoes, black olives, green peppers, onion, and carrots. Add Rotini and toss with creamy Italian dressing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, seasoning salt, pepper as desired. Refrigerate one hour before serving. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ What Can I Bring?

What Can I Bring? Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up, by Elizabeth Heiskell

It is usually the first question you ask after receiving an invitation to a gathering or event: "What Can I Bring?" Now you'll have the answer! Based on the popular monthly feature "What Can I Bring?" in Southern Living magazine, no matter what the occasion, you'll have the perfect dish. From housewarming party to garden party, a new baby, a wake, a wedding, christening or anything in between, Elizabeth delivers over 100 delicious recipes, including appetizers, mains, sandwiches, desserts and more, that are sure to please a crowd, no matter how big or small. Additionally, these are all dishes that can be prepared in advance and travel well.

But let's not forget the most important question: What can I bring to my own table? Whether you're looking for some new ideas for dinners to please a fractious family or want to make Sunday brunch a more special event, What Can I Bring? has you covered.

Recipes include Elizabeth's take on Sour Cream Coffee Cake (perfect for welcoming a new neighbor!), delicious salads - Chicken, Shrimp, and Pimiento (you won't go wrong at the church picnic), amazing sides, including Lemon Rice and Spoon Bread (perfect for rounding out the potluck table), and comfort food that no one will be able to say no to, including Vegetable Beef Stew, Chicken Pot Pie, and Chicken and Dumplings, plus an array of desserts so good that that's the only thing people will remember about the meal.

Above all, these are all delicious dishes, served straight from the heart, with no stress required. Purchase the book HERE.

Elizabeth Heiskell is a regular food contributor to the "Today" show and a seasoned caterer, chef and culinary instructor. Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, she grew a passion for combining her love of food and the history of the rich agricultural area she was raised in. Under the brand name The Debutante Farmer, she sells home grown gourmet pickles, jellies, jams, salsas, and her popular Bloody Mary mix.

Strawberry Cake

Here's a delicious recipe that's easy to make and quite delicious. You may also switch out the strawberry ingredients for raspberry, which is also very good.

1 box white cake mix with pudding
1 small box strawberry jello
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, mashed

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pureed strawberries
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, mix together on low speed cake mix, jello, eggs, oil, and buttermilk until combined, about 1 minute. Mix an additional 3 minutes on medium speed. Stir in mashed strawberries. 

Pour batter into a greased oblong cake pan, spreading to edges. Tap pan once to remove bubbles. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cake springs back in center when touched. Allow to cool. 

To prepare frosting, combine powdered sugar, strawberries, and butter in a medium bowl. Beat together until smooth and creamy. Spread onto cooled cake. Serves 20-24.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Beef Teriyaki with Vegetables

Here's a delicious recipe that rivals that of your favorite Chinese restaurant. Great with Fried Rice, and/or Egg Rolls.

2 pounds round steak, sliced thin
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups broccoli florets
3 button mushrooms, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped

In large skillet, heat oil and cook strips of steak until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, onion, zucchini, and green pepper to skillet. Add 1-2 tablespoons water to steam vegetables for 3-4 minutes. In large bowl, combine water, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and onion powders, ground ginger, and cornstarch. Stir well. Pour over vegetables and cook on medium heat until sauce thickens. Add steak strips and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

Wine Recommendation: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2013
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Jason C Joyner's Tex-Mex Chicken Skillet

Jason C. Joyner is a physician assistant, a writer, a Jesus-lover, and a Star Wars geek. He’s traveled from the jungles of Thailand to the cities of Australia and the Bavarian Alps of Germany. He lives in Idaho with his lovely wife, three boys, and daughter managing the chaos of sports and superheroes in his own home. Launch, a YA superhero story, is his first published novel. Learn more about Jason HERE.

Jason's New Book Release: Launch  

Sixteen-year-olds Demarcus Bartlett and Lily Beausoliel are among a select group of youth invited to an exclusive, all-expenses-paid conference at social media giant Alturas’ California headquarters. Led by charismatic founder Simon Mazor, the world’s youngest billionaire, this isn’t the typical honors society. It seems that everyone here has some secret, untapped potential, some power that may not be entirely of this world. An ancient prophecy suggests that if these teens combine their abilities, they could change the course of history. The only question is: Will it be for better or for worse? Purchase the book HERE.

Jason's recipe for Tex-Mex Chicken Skillet

1/2 - 1 cup spinach per serving
1-1.5 lbs. chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon avocado oil or other cooking oil
1 can black beans (drained)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1-2 teaspoon Tex-Mex seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream
Optional - avocado slices

Heat the oil on medium. Add the chicken and the tex-mex or similar seasoning. Cook until done, then add the black beans and cook for a few minutes. Add the cheese until melted. Add salsa and mix if desired. Serve over a bed of spinach. Top with a dollop of sour cream and optional slices of avocado. Serves 2-3. I am trying to eat healthier with slow digesting carbs, good sources of protein, and healthy fats strategically used. This was concocted using these principles and my wife and I enjoy this a lot now. Plus, it feels quite Californian, which is where my novel takes place.

Chocolate Biscotti

I'm a huge fan of biscotti and always thought it would be too difficult to make, but it's so easy! Here's a delicious recipe that earned a thumbs up from my family.

2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking liner. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips and almonds. 

Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheet and pat it into a flattened log about 13 inches long, 3 inches wide, and about 3/4" thick. Smooth out the top and sides using a wet spatula.  Bake for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven. Spray with water, spritzing the sides and top. This will soften the crust just enough to make slicing easier. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Wait five minutes, then cut crosswise with a sharp knife, 1/2" slices. Place cookie slices on baking sheet standing up on edge. Bake for another 30-35 minutes, until biscotti feel very dry and crisp around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes approximately 26 cookies.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Skillet Cornbread

This recipe so good. I never knew how good cornbread could be until I made it in my cast iron skillet. Delicious!

4 tablespoons oil or bacon grease
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk

Pour oil in cast iron skillet and place in oven while preheating to 425 degrees. In medium bowl, sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add buttermilk. Let set for a few minutes while skillet is heating. Remove skillet from oven and pour mixture into the hot oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Especially good with Ham and Beans. Enjoy! 

Fourth of July Menu Ideas

Here are a few menu ideas for your Fourth of July Celebration. Enjoy! 

Tarte Flambee

Here's a delicious recipe we enjoy when we want a lighter meal. Yummy! Fromage Blanc and Creme Fraiche are really difficult for me to find at our local market, so I've included homemade versions with this recipe.

1 cup Fromage Blanc (see homemade version below)
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche (see homemade version below)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Sourdough Flatbread (recipe HERE)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
6-8 slices thick bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces and cooked crisp

Set baking stone on oven rack and preheat "convection" oven to 475 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together Fromage Blanc and Creme Fraiche (or mix together homemade version). Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside. Prepare flatbread. Working with 1 piece at a time, set dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, work dough to a thin 10 x 5" oval. Transfer dough to parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. 

Spread one quarter of fromage blanc mixture over dough, leaving 1/2" border around edges. Place one quarter of the onion and bacon on each piece of flatbread. Slide parchment paper onto baking stone and bake for 5-7 minutes until topping are browned in spots and crust is puffed and golden. Serve immediately and repeat with remaining dough. Serves 4. Wine Pairing - Serve with a dry Riesling or a Pinot Gris

Homemade Fromage Blanc + Creme Fraiche
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream

In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, cream cheese, and sour cream. Whisk together until combined. Makes 1 1/2 cups. 

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Blackberry Cobbler

Here's a yummy dessert my husband calls "your best dessert ever." You'll have to decide for yourself. Enjoy!

2 pints blackberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In small bowl, combine blackberries, sugar, and nutmeg. Mix until sugar dissolves and makes its own juice.

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Add egg and milk and stir until moistened.

Pour blackberries into round greased baking dish. Add dots of butter over fruit. Spoon biscuit mixture over fruit in mounds, spreading to edges. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden brown and topping is cooked through. Serves 6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.