Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Grilled Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

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With summer in full swing around here, we like to take things nice and slow. I guess you can already tell that by the fact that I've not posted in a while! Sorry, friends. We've been "sleeping in" a little, taking day trips to spend time with old friends and we've tackled a few projects around the house. Since we've been moving at a slower pace, we tend to eat dinner a little later and my dishes always center around seasonal ingredients. In a recent addition of Southern Living, I saw a beautiful salad made with fresh lettuces, strawberries and goat cheese. I loved all the ingredients and was inspired to make my own version.
Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad
I combined my favorite greens (spinach, romaine and butter lettuce) then tossed in the strawberries and cucumbers. Sauteeing the goat cheese was easy and I added grilled chicken to make this salad into a complete meal. Lastly, I blended up the strawberry, poppy seed dressing. The combination of flavors with the smokey, grilled chicken along with the creamy goat cheese and sweet dressing made a delicious meal. This was one beautiful, easy recipe for the slow, lazy days of summer.
Strawberry Dressing & Goat Cheese Salad
Grilled Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad 
1 goat cheese log (8 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
large egg 
2 tablespoons whole milk 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
5 cups mixed lettuces
1 1/2 cups strawberries - sliced
cucumber - thinly sliced
3 grilled chicken breasts - sliced
  • Cut goat cheese log into 8 rounds. Gently press each round to 1/2-inch thickness on a baking sheet lined with parchment and freeze 20 minutes.
  • Place flour in a small bowl. Whisk together the egg and milk in a second small bowl. Combine the panko, salt, and pepper in a third small bowl. Dredge goat cheese rounds in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture until coated. Place on a plate, and chill until all goat cheese rounds are breaded.
  • Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium until hot. Add goat cheese rounds to skillet, and cook until golden brown on each side, 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Arrange salad greens on a serving platter; top with strawberries, cucumber, onion, and goat cheese croutons. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
1 cup quartered fresh strawberries 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon poppy seeds 
  • Toss together strawberries, sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the strawberry mixture to a blender, and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Turn blender on low, and gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
  • Return mixture to bowl, and whisk in poppy seeds. Whisk vinaigrette just before serving.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Grilled Pork Tenderloin | Fresh Herb Marinade

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If you've been hanging out with A Southern Soul for very long, you know how important family dinners are to me. I love having my guys gathered around the table sharing a meal. Those time are always special to me. There's always lots of laughter and some crazy story about something that happened to one of us. When I get the opportunity to have everyone together, I try to make something special for everyone to enjoy.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin | A Southern Soul
About a week ago, I knew everyone was going to be home for the evening. I'd picked up a pork tenderloin at the grocery and with fresh herbs growing right outside my backdoor along with weather that was perfect for grilling, I had the makings of something delicious. I threw together a quick marinade that included oregano, rosemary and thyme along with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. After marinating the pork in this savory mixture for about an hour, it was time to get cooking.
Herb Marinade
Once the tenderloin was grilled, I was in the homestretch. To complete my meal, I served fresh, roasted green beans and creamy cheese grits. We headed outside to the table, filled out plates, said the blessing, then dug into the dishes I made. The smiles, fun and sharing started and it was a wonderful night with the people I love most in the world. 
Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Herb Marinaded Grilled Pork Tenderloin
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves - smashed
2 tablespoons Worsheschire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 - 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 - 3 sprigs fresh oregano
2 pork tenderloins - about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds each
  • Mix first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl. 
  • Place pork tenderloin and herb sprigs in a zip top bag. Pour marinade over meat. Seal bag and place in refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.
  • 30 minutes prior to grilling, remove tenderloin from fridge and place on counter to gently warm up.
  • Heat grill to medium high heat. Place tenderloin on grill. Cook for 5 minutes on first side until grill marks appear. Turn tenderloins and cook for 5 minutes. Continue turning so that each side of the tenderloins are grilled. Cook tenderloins a total of about 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.
  • Remove from heat, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with juices.
A Southern Soul

My tips on growing your own fresh herbs
how to grow your own herbs | A Southern Soul

Recipe links to complete your menu.
Roasted Green Beans | A Southern Soul
Cheese Grits Casserole | A Southern Soul

Friday, June 3, 2016

BEST Baked Beans

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I don't know about y'all but when summer arrives and we fire up the grill, it's one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely LOVE eating outside and taking things a little bit slower while relaxing with family and friends. To make things easy on myself, I prepare my main dish ahead of time and have everything ready to go on the grill.
BEST Baked Beans | A Southern Soul
Now, comes the good part…the sides. I am gonna tell you right now, at any cookout, picnic or gathering in the summertime, I always head for the side dishes first. Anybody? Are ya with me? I love garden veggies made into fresh, crisp salads or roasted over hot coals, grilled peaches and ice cold fruits like watermelon or cantaloupe. Then of course, there's the traditional, never to be forgotten, best ever baked beans. I've made this sweet, slightly spicy recipe for years and it never gets old.
A Southern Soul Baked Beans
There have been times when I've not made them "on purpose" and boy, have I heard all about it! My people were not happy. So, now, when we have burgers, dogs or maybe my Grilled Flank Steak, I make sure to inquire, "anybody want baked beans for dinner"? The answer is always the same, "yes, why'd you even ask"? So friends, get your dishes ready, head outside and enjoy your friends and family over a slow, relaxed dinner. Just make sure, you don't forget the baked beans! 

Best Baked Beans
4 cans Pork-n-Beans (12 oz) - plain, no additives or flavorings
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
5 slices bacon - chopped (I used my precooked bacon but you can use uncooked just cut into small pieces)
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Drain beans but DO NOT rinse.
  • Mix ketchup, BBQ sauce, sugar, honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder in the bottom of a medium size dutch oven or baking dish. Add beans and mix well.
  • Layer bacon on top of beans. Cover with dutch oven lid or tin foil. 
  • Place beans and cook for 30. Remove covering and cook for an additional 30 minutes. 
BEST Baked Beans from A Southern Soul

For a great night of grilling and dinning al fresco, here is a one of my all time best menu plans…

Best Baked Beans

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bacon & Egg Hash Brown Nests | Cookbook Giveaway

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Excited, overjoyed, happy and giddy are just a few of the adjectives I could use to describe how I feel about the launch of my friend, Melissa's cookbook. One of the best reasons I'm so thrilled for her is because even though she put in long hours, tested and retested recipes, writing this book has been a dream come true. Based on the recipes from her hugely successful blog, Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen, my girl has picked her best of the best dishes and is sharing them in one great collection.
Bacon & Egg Hash Brown Nests
This beautiful book has over 100 recipes for entertaining, big family breakfasts and quick & easy dinners. Like so many of us, Melissa learned to cook from her grandmother and mother and her love of food, cooking and family shines through with her recipes. I had the privilege of getting a sneak peak at Melissa's book when she asked if I'd like a copy to review. Of course, I jumped at the chance! When my book arrived, I had my trusty sticky notes ready and started marking all the recipes I wanted to cook. One that jumped out right away, were these awesome, ham & egg hash brown cups. 
Bacon & Egg Hash Brown Nests
My family loves breakfast, so I knew I had a hit on my hands. This recipe is simple and can be customize to your liking. I've made these little nests at least 4 times recently and they are perfect for breakfast, a quick snack or as a light lunch with a green salad. I've learned my guys love them so much that I make extra, so they can just pop them in the microwave, heat 'em up and eat 'em!
Blogger Friends in Greensboro, NC
After all this talk about food, I'll share just a little bit about Melissa. Even though we haven't known each other very long, we've become fast friends. Strangely enough, we met through blogging and didn't even know we lived in the same town! After several texts & emails, we found out just how much we had in common. We shared stories of our upbringing, how we learned to cook from many incredible women in our lives, and talked about our faith and love of family. Melissa has been a great encourager to me and a tireless listener when it comes to my questions about blogging. I guess I wanted to share this because I'm so happy for my friend plus you just never know how one unexpected encounter can develop into a wonderful friendship.
Bacon & Egg Hashbrown Nests
So that everyone can have a chance at making these wonderful dishes from Melissa's Southern Cookbook, I'm giving away copy to one lucky reader! Just register in the giveaway below and leave a comment to be eligible. You can also purchase a copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and QVC.
Melissa's Southern Cookbook | Giveway
Bacon & Egg Hash Brown Nests
1 package (20 oz)refrigerated hash browns
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 medium eggs
salt and pepper
4 strips bacon - cooked and crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chives - chopped
  • Heat oven to 450 degrees. Liberally spray cups of a standard 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together hash browns, Colby-Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture evenly above the 12 muffin cups. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of the cups.
  • Place tin in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Lower oven temperature to 425 degrees. Remove the muffin tin from oven and quickly crack one egg into each nest. Season eggs with salt and pepper and return to oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges of eggs are cooked to your preference.
  • Gently loosen edges of nests with a knife and let rest for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.
  • Carefully transfer nests to a serving platter. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and chives.
  • ***My notes ~ I cracked the eggs into a bowl and beat until white & yolks were blended, then poured over the cooked hash browns and finished per recipe instructions. This is due to the fact that my boys prefer scrambled eggs.
A Southern Soul | Bacon & Egg Hash Brown Nests

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pot Roast with Peppadew Peppers

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About a month ago, Mr. A Southern Soul and I along with 3 other families banded together and purchased a cow. Honestly, it's kinda awkward saying that and just doesn't quite sound right but anyway, you know what I mean. After several emails with details like how thick we wanted our steaks cut and did we want bones, we came up with a plan. I got our freezer ready, then, just waited until our farmer called with a delivery date.
Pot Roast with Peppadew Peppers
I had no idea what to expect but kept an open mind since the 2 main reasons we decided to do this was price and quality of meat. The day finally arrived and we loaded up our freezer and I started planning what to cook. Friends, I am SO HAPPY with our purchase. Every piece of meat that I've cooked has been delicious!
Pot Roast Ingredients | A Southern Soul
One of my families new favorite recipes is a braised chuck roast made with onions, garlic, beef stock and peppadew peppers. The peppers give the beef a mild, spicy flavor that is enhanced with rich juices made from braising. This easy recipe could also be made in the crock pot.
A Southern Soul | Braised Pot Roast
I've served this roast with my cheese grits casserole and a fresh salad. If you live in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, here's the link to where you can purchase beef along with other locally grown food from my farmer friend.
Pot Roast with Peppadew Peppers
Pot Roast with Peppadew Peppers
1 chuck roast - 3 to 4 pounds
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 jar peppadew peppers
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil. Season roast with salt and pepper then sear until brown on each side. Remove beef from pot and set aside.
  • Add onions to dutch oven and cook until slightly golden. Add garlic and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot. Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add roast back into dutch oven. Pour wine, stock and peppers including juice around roast. Sprinkle over thyme. Cover with lid and place in oven. Cook for 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours. 
  • Remove roast from pot, slice and drizzle with drippings.

A Southern Soul

Monday, May 2, 2016

Roasted Leeks

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The other day, my youngest son and I were having a lovely conversation about "stuff" and he turned to me and asked what my favorite color was. I started laughing, which of course he found interesting, and my answer was this "change is my favorite color." Of course, he thought that statement was ridiculous and told me that was not an acceptable answer. Well, truth be told, I do like change. I get a little antsy when things stay the same for too long. Okay, back to our conversation... I don't really have a favorite color, except for maybe red, orange or green and I feel the same way about the seasons.
Roasted Leeks | A Southern Soul
Folks often talk about their favorite time of the year, and again, I don't really have a favorite. If I did have to pick, I guess I'd say spring and fall, just because they are like the beginning of something good. You know, they kinda get you all excited for the big event that's about to come. With all of these ramblings, I can say that one of my favorite things about spring is fresh vegetables. Spring peas, ramps, onions and leeks are abundant this time of year and are great to cook with.
A Southern Soul | Oven Roasted Leeks
Leeks can be used in soups, stews and casseroles but for me there is nothing like roasting them. With just a little olive oil, salt, pepper and a splash of fresh lemon juice, you've got something fresh and delicious. The high heat of roasting brings out all the mild onion flavor of this vegetable. I serve them along side grilled chicken or fish and they are perfect addition to a salad. So, I guess there are a few things in life I can call out as a favorite…like springtime and leeks.
Oven Roasted Leeks | A Southern Soul
 Roasted Leeks
2 - 3 leeks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Slice leeks in half length wise. Place in a shallow pan filled with water to clean. Gently open the layers of the leek to remove any sand, then rinse under cool water. Lay on paper towels to dry.
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place leeks on roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven to roast for approximately 15 minutes or until edges turn golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle on fresh lemon juice.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Layered Mexican Dip with Pico de Gallo

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This is a recipe that most of you have made at one time, seen on Pinterest or been to a party where it was served. Well, I made it last week as a special favor to some folks who were visiting from out of town.
Layered Mexican Dip with Pico de Gallo
Note, that I said - special request. I rarely, if ever make this crazy, good dip. Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with it. Yes, I do LOVE it and could grab a bag of chips and just go to town! Instead, I don't keep the ingredients in my house because I don't need the calories and would not be able to help myself if I had easy access to everything. Dang y'all, I'm trying to be strong here.
Dip with Pico de Gallo
Then again, when push comes to shove, I try to freshen it up a little by topping it off with homemade Pico de Gallo. I feel like the ripe, juicy tomatoes, crunchy onions, and herbs lighten up the layers of the beans and sour cream. Of course, this just might be my twisted way of convincing myself that I'm eating something healthy!
Layered Mexican Dip
Layered Mexican Dip with Pico de Gallo 
Pico de Gallo
1 cup cilantro - chopped
2 limes - juiced
2 jalapeƱos - seeded and chopped
1 red onion - chopped
4-5 ripe tomatoes - chopped
1 tablespoon salt
  • Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
Layered Mexican Dip
2 cups sour cream
1 package taco seasoning mix
2 cans - 15 ounce, low sodium refried beans
3 cups guacamole - homemade or store bought
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
homemade pico de gallo
  • Mix together sour cream and taco seasoning. Set aside.
  • In a 9 X 13 inch pan, layer refried beans. Layer guacamole evenly over beans. 
  • Spread sour cream mixture over guacamole layer, then sprinkle over cheese.
  • Spoon homemade pico de gallo over all layers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Serve with taco chips.
Layered Mexican Dip with Pico de Gallo