When you’re in a rut about what to cook, add a little Southern flair to the menu. Whether it’s breaded pork chops, hot chicken sandwiches, blackened catfish or slow cooker barbecue, these Southern selections will be on your summer rotation for years to come, becoming a hit both for family dinners and friendly gatherings.
Homemade Cheese Crackers
These Cheddar cheese-centric savory crackers with a hint of spiciness from Spice Islands® Chili Powder are a version of the Southern classic — cheese straws. Make a batch for guests or family to snack on before a meal or pack into a cute tin to gift.
Southern-Style Crunchy Pork Chops
To make a quick Southern classic, turn to Spice Islands® Southern-Style Crunchy Panko Seasoned Coating Mix. Panko breadcrumbs, crushed corn flakes and spices like paprika come together for a crisp coating. Use on thick-cut pork chops, boneless chicken breasts, fish fillets, or even sturdy vegetables like eggplant slices. Bring the Southernness up a notch with a side of Potato Salad Beau Monde flavored with Spice Islands® Beau Monde Seasoning.
Hot Chicken Sandwich
The term for super-spicy fried chicken that originated in Nashville, Tennessee, this Carla Hall recipe for hot chicken is like a visit to one of the famous chicken shacks in the area. The chicken is first brined in pickle juice and a habanero chile, coated in a black pepper-heavy flour mixture, and finished with a seasoned spicy oil using Spice Islands® Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder and Sea Salt.
Stuffed Vidalia Onions
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on Georgia-grown Vidalia onions, let the sweetness of these onions shine with a preparation that highlights them in all their glory. This recipe for Roasted Stuffed Onions does just that, filling the onion’s cavity with a traditional stuffing enhanced with figs and pine nuts seasoned with Spice Islands® Garlic Powder, Fennel Seed and Fine Grind Black Pepper.
Blackened Cajun Catfish
With a hefty shake of Spice Islands® Louisiana Style Cajun Seasoning and the sizzle of melted butter, catfish fillets are easily turned into a flavor-packed dinner entree that evokes New Orleans charm.
Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Sliders
Nothing screams Southern more than tender shreds of pork in a drippy barbecue sauce. One way to achieve this without standing by a grill all day is to utilize the slow cooker like in this recipe. Just cut a pork shoulder or butt pork roast into a few pieces and cover with barbecue sauce made zesty with the addition of Spice Islands® Crushed Red Pepper, Bay Leaves and Thyme. Come home to an aromatic kitchen and dinner on the table in a flash.
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Another Southern favorite, mac and cheese is a surefire crowd-pleaser. Made with two types of Cheddar cheese, this recipe gets its zing from Spice Islands® Ground White Pepper and Cayenne Pepper, and can be shaken up further by combining other cheeses, like gouda or gruyere, or even different cheddar flavors, such as horseradish cheddar. Go wild with a crunchy topping — think crushed corn flakes or Ritz crackers.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
A splash of Kentucky bourbon adds depth to the traditional Southern pecan pie flavored with Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract. Double down on the Southernness by adding one tablespoon of bourbon to two cups of heavy cream. Whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until peaks form and dollop on top of the pecan pie when serving.
Andrea Lynn is a Southern-raised food writer and recipe developer, now living in New York City and on a continual quest for the best fried chicken.