How to make yellow squash casserole (recipe)

I love squash and enjoyed growing it in my garden for years. For now, because I’m working away from my garden, I get mine at the local farmers’ market (locations in New Orleans).

This recipe is inspired by one of my and my son’s heroes, Sidna Brower Mitchell, who is well known as a great cook and food writer but perhaps even more importantly as the unjustly maligned student editor of The Daily Mississippian on the Ole Miss campus when it was forceably integrated in 1961.

My recipe is an adaptation of hers, with a few extra ingredients. It’s great in the summer when the produce is bountiful. It’s also an easy veggie side dish throughout the year.

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How to make homemade chicken-vegetable soup like a real Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Cold weather just sets my soup-cooking emotions to stirring.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

After a look into my post-Thanksgiving freezer, I realized I had a variety of frozen vegetables I’d like to do something with because I’m not going to make them individually just for myself.

That’s when “soup!” came into my mind. I’ll have some for myself and some to share with friends, which is why I make a big pot of it. It’s also great to freeze in quart-size Ziplock bags for a no-trouble supper or lunch. Just add a salad or a toasted roll and you’re in business.

My only word of advice is to refrain from adding the chicken until the soup’s almost done. Otherwise, it will cook out all its juices and taste dry, even in the midst of the broth.

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How to make cornbread dressing like a real Southerner

Thanksgiving turkey isn’t complete without moist, yummy cornbread dressing. It’s taken me years to get this one right, so I’ll share my experience with you.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

First, my wonderful mother, Betty – who adored Thanksgiving and cooked for weeks in anticipation of hosting a crowd that day – died on Halloween 1999 and left me, the eldest child, to make our first holiday meal without her. I had no idea what to do. Thank goodness she left recipes, although some have taken years to get just right. (You know how cooks are about secrets.)

This is her cornbread dressing, which I like topped with a splash of smooth turkey giblet gravy (recipe). It’s also fabulous to slice thinly onto leftover turkey sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise (recipe) and a sliver of cranberry sauce (easy recipe). Goodness, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Header image via Angie’s Southern Kitchen and used in accordance with the Creative Common license agreement.

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Sweet potatoes

How to make ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole like a true Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Some years ago, Mississippi’s Jill Conner Browne wrote a series of hilarious books based on her “Sweet Potato Queen” stories and philosophies of Southern culture. Fortunately, she also offered a recipe for said-named casserole, which I’ve expropriated and adapted through the years because my daughter likes it so much.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

It’s now a staple of our Thanksgiving feast and equally delicious leftovers. That’s why I usually make two casseroles – one for the midday meal and another for later.

You will love it, and it couldn’t be much easier. It’s a nice, fluffy, modern “company” side dish that I think is far superior to grandma’s marshmallow-topped version. You will appreciate it even more, if you read Jill’s books.

Header image via louisianasweetpotatoes.wordpress.com and used in accordance with the Creative Commons user agreement.

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How to make garlic cheese grits like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

My mother, Betty, wasn’t the world’s greatest cook but she did a few things very well. One was garlic-cheese grits, which is a great side substitute for potatoes or rice or all by itself.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

My daughter, Margaret, once had the flu more than 10 hours away from home and only had the strength to make one thing to sustain her. You got it – these garlic-cheese grits. She forever sings their praises and asked me to make them for this blog.

Garlic-cheese grits is perfect for a couple of folks or for a buffet brunch/dinner for company. You also can make the dish ahead of time, then pop it into the oven for baking later.

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How to make Southern spoon bread like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK   

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

New in Nola’s leader, Carlie, reported her first taste of Southern spoon bread recently and was curious about how it’s made.

Carlie, you are in luck! I’ve discovered my great-grandmother’s recipe amongst my collection from my mother and grandmother. It looks pretty easy, and I’m going to test it out for everybody. I could use a hand-mixer for this, but I suspect “Mummy” did not, so I’m going old-school with a wooden mixing spoon.

This is a great Southern alternative to potatoes or rice. It tops well with gravy or a dab of butter or nothing at all.

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How to cook shrimp and grits like a New Orleans native

Shrimp & grits is a dish that’s gone from the mundane to haute cuisine in just a decade or so. My rendition is a bow to the famed version at City Grocery on Mr. Faulkner’s fabled Square in Oxford, Miss., although I’ve always thought City Grocery’s was too pepper-hot. I’ve adjusted this one accordingly.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

The recipe is a perfect entree for 4, plus french bread and a tasty salad.

Header image is shrimp and grits from Wishbone in Chicago. Image via flickr user Discopalace.

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How to make pot roast like a New Orleans native

Pot roast is equal to mac & cheese when it comes to comfort food. Summer or winter, a succulent hunk of beef with carrots, onions and potatoes is just a gift from the food gods.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Not only is it great for company, it’s a perfect weekend dish, which I prefer to braise in the oven over a couple of hours (which is why I make it on the weekends). Then, the leftovers are to-die-for, either reheated as the main dish or on an open-face sandwich with the gravy over the top.

Anyway you slice it, pot roast is delicious and hearty.

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How to make mac & cheese like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK   

Perhaps no comfort food is more beloved than macaroni and cheese.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

For years, I thought you could just make some pasta, throw on a little butter and cheese, run it into the oven and expect great results. Not really.

Now, here’s a real creamy, golden crusted version with Bechamel sauce and a little Creole cayenne for pop. It warms well for leftovers, too.

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How to make pain perdu like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK   

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

“Pain Perdu” means “lost bread,” which in this case is from a loaf of French bread. (Typing a pronunciation is a little difficult to spell out other than “pan” has a short “a” like in “bran” but you come off the “n” pretty quickly. Perdu – first syllable is like the first in berry, and second syllable is the strong emphasis, “dew.” I’m sure that explains it.)

My son loves this French toast, so I nearly always make it when he visits. It’s crunchy on the outside and soft, custardy inside. Top with a little butter and powered sugar and add some fresh sliced strawberries – ooh, la la!

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