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Monday, November 19, 2012

Lumley Bell's Cornbread Dressing

I am getting really excited about Thanksgiving, and believe it or not it is not just because of the food. This year we are doing something that I have always wanted to do on Thanksgiving. Instead of spending the entire day focused on gluttony we are planning to focus on others for a bit and serve at a local mission. I pray that after serving those in need we have a new appreciation for the many abundant blessings that the Lord has given us.

Although I am most excited about serving, I am still looking forward to indulging in the annual yummies. You may have seen on Facebook that I recently shared that my grandmother's cornbread dressing was my favorite Thanksgiving dish. It is the best I have ever had and think it is the best in the world. Since there is still time for some last minute grocery shopping I thought I would share this treasured Thanksgiving recipe. Sorry there are no photos. I will snap some on Thursday and add them to the post.

My Grandmother, Lumley Bell Vinzetta, Grandfather, and Dad in the 1940s.

This recipes easily feeds 4-6 people, but when all the family is together we double it. 

Buon Appetito!

Lumley Bell's Cornbread Dressing
prep: cornbread (15 minutes) dressing (30 minutes)
bake: cornbread (about 25 minutes) dressing (30-45 minutes)
yield: 9 x 13 pan 
calories: 523
fat grams: 26
carbs: 52 grams

Buttermilk Cornbread:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter or bacon fat

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Sift dry ingredients. 
  3. Combine egg and buttermilk; add them to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 
  4. Heat butter in pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Tilt pan to coat. Pour in batter.
  5. Bake 20 or 25 minutes or until passes the toothpick test (Insert toothpick. If it comes out clean the bread is done.)
  6. Dump out so it doesn't get soggy. (This isn't necessary when using for cornbread dressing.)

Cornbread Dressing:
Buttermilk Cornbread, crumbled
1 can water chestnuts (I do not add this. My hubby doesn't care for them.)
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup of butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed
Sage to taste (I usually add about 1/2 of a .62 ounce container.)
About 1/2 cup chicken broth (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Saute onions and celery in butter. 
  3. Combine all ingredients except chicken broth into a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Stir until well mixed. 
  5. Put into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. 
  6. Optional ~ At this time you can pour a little chicken broth over the top to keep the dressing from drying out, or I usually pour it on after it has cooked then let sit until ready to serve. It doesn't take much, no more than 1/2 cup.
  7. Bake 30-45 minutes or until browned. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Low Fat Oatmeal Muffins

I know you have heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah, blah, blah.  Well, it's true.  Did you know that skipping breakfast can make weight control more difficult, and eating a healthy breakfast can actually help with weight loss and aid in maintaining a healthy weight?   Maybe we all understand that it is important, but let's face it, mornings can be CRAZY!  Getting everyone to school and work on time is hard enough without trying to cook a well-balanced breakfast.  Often it is easier to grab a cup of coffee or fall victim to the plethora of store bought convenience foods like sugary cereals, donuts, muffins, waffles, and my most despised item ~ toaster pastries (which my kids love ~ ugh!).  Have you ever actually read the ingredient labels on most package breakfast foods?  I mean, are half the ingredients even food?  My thought is if I can't pronounce it, I probably shouldn't eat it.

Even amidst all the morning craziness eating a healthy breakfast is possible, with a little planning and some delicious recipes, of course.

Muffins are great for busy mornings. They can be baked the night before and simply warmed in the microwave in the morning, or if time permits, the batter can be prepared the night before and then baked in the morning.

These Low Fat Oatmeal Muffins are delicious and healthy and a perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. You can customize the recipe by adding raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, nuts, or apples. I love that they only have 110 calories and less than 1 gram of fat each.  Now that is my kind of breakfast!

Buon Appetito!!

Low Fat Oatmeal Muffins
prep: 15 minutes
soak: 1 hour
bake: 20-25 minutes
yield: 12 muffins
calories: 110
fat grams: 0.7

1 cup rolled oat (old fashioned oatmeal)
1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I like to use 6 Tbsp honey instead)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak oats in milk for 1 hour.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Spoon into a muffin pan that has been lightly greased or sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.
Variations: To make Oatmeal Raisin Muffins, Oatmeal Apple Muffins, or Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, add raisins/chopped apples/chocolate chips to the batter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bayou Brownies

Would you like a super easy knock-your-socks off dessert?  Well, look no further than these blonde Bayou Brownies.  The first time I baked these my 16 year old son loved them so much he had to practice some severe self control to keep from eating 1/2 the pan.

When I originally made these I didn't have time to take pics so I saved some in the freezer.  The brownies were in the freezer for a few weeks and not wrapped very well I might add.  After the photo session, my son ate the rest of the brownies and still commented on how good they were.

These brownies are a nice change from typical chocolate brownies and would be perfect for a potluck or holiday party.

Buon Appetito!

Bayou Brownies
prep: 10 minutes
bake: 40 minutes
yield: 15 servings
calories: 417
fat: 20 grams

1 cup chopped pecans 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
3 large eggs, divided 
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix 
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1. Combine pecans, butter, 1 egg, and cake mix, stirring until well blended; press in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
2. Beat remaining 2 eggs, cream cheese, and powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour over cake mix layer.
3. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Turnip Green Stew

When we lived in Meridian, MS we had some of the best neighbors.  Buster and Jewel was an elderly couple that lived across the street and became like grandparents to our family.  I remember the first time we met Mrs. Jewel, she was so excited to tell us about her church and how much they loved the pastor. She was so convincing that we visited the church.  We loved the church too and ended up joining and serving for three years until Brandon received orders to Charleston, SC. 

Mrs. Jewel loved sharing recipes, shopping deals or anything else that she thought would be of interest to me. This was one of those recipes. She told me it was the best turnip green recipe she had ever eaten. She was right about the church so I was certain that these greens would be great.  It is now one of my favorite recipes.  Mrs. Jewel is so wise.  

The recipe makes a lot, so for our family of four I typically prepare only 1/2 the amount. These greens go great with a side of buttered cornbread!

Buon Appetito!

Turnip Greens Stew
prep: 5 minutes
cook: 30 minutes
yield: 6 to 8 servings
calories: 114
fat: 5.1

  • 2 cups
     chopped cooked ham 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 3 cups chicken broth 
  • (16-ounce) packages frozen chopped turnip greens
  • (10-ounce) package frozen diced onion, red and green bell peppers, and celery
  • 1 teaspoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  1. Sauté ham in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add broth and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.
  2. Collard 'n' Black-eyed Pea Stew: Substitute 1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped collard greens for turnip greens. Prepare as directed, and cook for 15 minutes. Add 1 (16-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained, and cook 10 more minutes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This chocolate pecan pie is my favorite variation of the Southern classic, Pecan Pie. Several years ago when I was a Southern Living at Home consultant one of my hostesses served this pie at her home party and I fell in love! I prefer this over regular pecan pie any day. This is would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast!

Buon Appetito!

Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie  

  • source:
  • yield: 9 inch pie
  • calories: 655
  • fat grams: 35.9

  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts 
  • large eggs 
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

  1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
  2. Whisk together eggs, light corn syrup, and next 6 ingredients until mixture is smooth; stir in chopped pecans and morsels. Pour into piecrust.
  3. Bake on lowest oven rack at 350° for 1 hour or until set.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shrimp Casserole

This yummy casserole is similar to many casseroles that I have cooked before.  It contains onions, celery, rice, canned creamed soups and meat.  The main difference is that this casserole includes shrimp.  I don't cook a lot of shrimp, but I really should.  Shrimp is a healthy low fat food and cooks super fast.  My family loves it.

Many Southern casseroles include canned cream of _____ soups.  These soups have been a staple in Southern kitchens for at least 50 years.  Nowadays they are getting a bad wrap.  Many people are snubbing their nose at the once kitchen staple.  The Real Food and Clean Eating movements have exposed the lack of nutritional value in processed foods including canned creamed soups.  Please understand, I am all for eating "real food" and cutting out processed ingredients.  While living in Italy, I was introduced to a whole new way of eating.  Real or whole food tastes much better than any processed food and our diets should consist mainly of these wonderful God given nutrients.  However, there are many delicious recipes like Poppy Seed ChickenChicken Pot Pie, my grandmother's cornbread dressing (which is the best in the world), and this delicious Shrimp Casserole that call for canned creamed soups.  So, in our family, we still enjoy these dishes once in a while.  I have cut way back on the amount of processed foods that I cook with, but I am not quite ready to jump on the soup bashing band wagon and dismiss this staple forever.

Buon Appetito!

Shrimp Casserole
yield: 8 servings
prep: 30
cook: 17
bake: 30
calories: 418
fat grams: 18.4

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice (I like using wild rice.)
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium-size raw shrimp 
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • green bell pepper, chopped 
  • onion, chopped 
  • celery ribs, chopped 
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • green onions, chopped
  • (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of shrimp soup, undiluted*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar-colby cheese blend 
  • 1/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs


  1. 1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. 2. Peel shrimp, and devein, if desired.
  3. 3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add bell pepper and next 4 ingredients, and sauté 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in soup, shrimp, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. (Do not overcook.)
  4. 4. Combine shrimp mixture and rice. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs.
  5. 5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  6. *2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of celery soup, undiluted, may be substituted.
  7. Chicken-and-Rice Casserole: Substitute 3 cups chopped cooked chicken for shrimp and 2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted, for cream of shrimp soup. Proceed with recipe as directed.