Better than Anyone’s Pea Salad

The classic pea salad. A southern staple, if you will. You see it at family picnics, at showers for brides and babies, and the cafeteria line at Luby’s. It makes a tasty and light side to bring along to any potluck or even a funeral reception to comfort loved ones. But what makes some pea salads just “ok” vs. a pea salad that is so good you seek out the person who made it and ask them for the recipe? THIS is that recipe. The one that beats all the other pea salads in the south. Save it, share it, enjoy it!

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce package frozen sweet peas, thawed and uncooked
  • 2-3 medium/large eggs, hard boiled and chopped
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped (extra bacon never hurt nobody)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, mild or medium sharp
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Combine uncooked, thawed peas (thaw in warm water for a few minutes or leave on counter for an hour) eggs, bacon, green onion, cheese, and celery in a salad bowl. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing, add the mayonnaise and sour cream and then mix in pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Combine dressing with pea mixture until fully mixed. Cover and place in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Makes 4-6 servings. Double or triple for a larger group.

Calabaza Squash Sauté

I love making this as a side to accompany almost any Mexican style dish. It is healthy, simple, and full of flavor. I have adapted this recipe over the years, sometimes adding in a jalapeño for a little spice. The cumin, cilantro, oregano, and garlic all blend together with the fresh tomato juices, red onion sweetness, and fresh squash. If I pick this type of squash up at my local grocery produce department, H-E-B, it is labeled as “Calabaza” squash. This type of squash is used in latin cuisine and is often called “calabacitas”, with added corn and even pork or chicken as a main dish. If you google “Calabaza squash” you will not get this, rather a large gourd-looking type. After further research I discovered the true name of the type of squash coined “calabaza squash” here in South Texas, is actually named ‘Cuarzo’ Squash. It looks very similar to zucchini and tastes almost identical, however Cuarzo has small light colored spots on its outer skin. Zucchini can be substituted for this recipe.

Cuarzo Squash, or ‘Calabaza’ Squash

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • 3 large calabaza or zucchini, quartered
  • 1 medium ripe roma tomato, diced
  • 1 half medium red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, fresh (minced) or dried
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil for pan

Instructions

  • Cut ends off the squash, begin slicing into rounds. Once rounds of squash have been cut, cut them into quarters.
  • Dice the Roma tomato, chop the red onion half, mince the cloves of garlic, and mince the cilantro.
  • Heat a sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil.
  • Add your chopped produce into the pan.
  • Season with cumin, oregano, and salt.
  • Stir ingredients while heating, then cover with lid.
  • Intermittently stir ingredients and cover with lid after.
  • Allow to cook for about 15 minutes until veg appears tender.

Southern Style Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup Enriched Corn Meal
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 whole egg, beaten

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 8 or 9 inch pan with butter and flour.
  • Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Serve warm with salted butter!

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon

Ingredients

  • 2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground peppercorn medley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, approx. 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread the broccoli out in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  • Squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before roasting for a refreshing, tangy finish.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until florets are tender enough to pierce the stems with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to a serving platter.

Cheesy Garlic Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Russet potatoes sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 2 cups onions chopped small
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup butter (½ stick)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese grated, divided
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese grated
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and spray a 14 x 11½ x 2¼ baking dish with a non stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Peel and thinly slice potatoes, approximately 1/8″ thick. Place in a large bowl until ready to use.
  3. In a large frying pan, melt butter over low flame then add onions and garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, stir and cook for a couple minutes.
  5. Gently pour chicken broth into pan and stir, add salt and pepper, seasoning and heavy cream. Stir until thickened, remove from heat just prior to boiling and then add 2 cups of cheddar cheese. Stir.
  6. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in baking dish then add 1/3 of the sour cream and 1/3 of the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
  7. Top with 1/3 of the Parmesan, 1/3 pepper jack cheese and 1/3 of cheddar cheese.
  8. Repeat layering 2 more times ending with cheddar cheese.
  9. Cover with foil and place in oven. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  10. About 15 – 20 minutes prior to potatoes being done, remove foil to brown the cheese a bit.
  11. Remove from oven, let sit for about 15 minutes, then enjoy.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

One of my favorite things about the fall is all the glorious seasonal fruits and veggies, two of my all-time favorites are brussels and butternut squash. Both of these have a nuttiness to them, brussels on the savory side and butternut squash on the sweet side. I love pairing these together for a holiday side or even for your weeknight dinner. There is a lot of room for creativity with sheet pan veggies because you can season them how you wish. For this recipe I kept it simple, a little EVOO, sea salt, pepper blend (Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper, my fav), and garlic powder. Simply place them on a sheet pan and bake until tender, or until brussels are a bit charred on the edges… love me some charred brussel leaves!

Ingredients

  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces brussels sprouts, halved
  • 16 ounces butternut squash, peeled and diced 3/4-inch
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pepper blend, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large sheet pan with oil.
  • In a large bowl combine the brussels sprouts, butternut squash, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and arrange the vegetables onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasted and tender. Makes 4 cups