Around our office, the week before Christmas is one long episode of food excess. Each year, either the guys or the gals bring the food. The guys are in charge this year and they have not disappointed us bringing everything from chili, taco soup, bagels, cheesecake, veggie trays, breakfast casseroles, cake pops, and more doughnuts than you could possibly eat in a month – much less a week. Seriously, I’m pretty sure at one point yesterday, there were around four or five dozen doughnuts on the table (crazy!), including some bacon maple doughnuts that I stayed far away from. Yuck. :) Now, the Krispy Kreme Chocolate Covered Creme Filled doughnuts, I didn’t mind getting up close and personal with those!
Because of all this sweet excess, I can’t even think about sweet recipes right now so I thought I would share a few non-sweet recipes with you today. Today’s batch includes Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Mac & Cheese – good ‘ole Southern staples at any holiday meal.
First up is Mama Turner’s (Barry’s grandmother) cornbread dressing. I can eat some cornbread dressing, ya’ll! I’m pretty sure I could pass up virtually everything else at a holiday meal and just eat the dressing. Yum! It’s really quite simple to make but does take a little time because you have to make the cornbread ahead of time and then you have to be patient while it cooks. I’m not a patient cook.
4 cups finely crumbled corn bread
1 tablespoon sage
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick melted butter
½ cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
Ensure cornbread is finely crumbled almost to a grain texture. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Bake at 400° degrees for 1 hour or until center is set.
Next is my mom’s sweet potato casserole. This is an unadulterated, straightforward version of sweet potato casserole and you will not find one marshmallow on it anywhere because marshmallows do not belong on sweet potato casseroles! ha ha! There’s a debate for you – just ask people what they prefer: marshmallow or pecan topping. You can generate more heated discussions out of that subject than the Presidential debates! I prefer the pecan topping because I like the crunch mixed with the mush of the sweet potatoes, but my husband likes the marshmallow topping. Mixed marriages can be so hard sometimes. :)
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ cup margarine (at room temperature)
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
½ stick butter, melted
Mix all of the casserole ingredients together and pour into a 2½ quart casserole dish. Mix the topping ingredients together and spread evenly over the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.
NOTE: If using canned sweet potatoes, reduce the amount of liquid and sugar in the mixture.
This recipe was given to me by a friend and former LifeWay coworker (and excellent cook, and all around sweet person!), Marylee Kennedy, in 2002. This is very easy to make and is perfect for a large group. The greatest benefit is that it frees up your stove top and oven for something else while it just does its thing in the crock pot.
Crock Pot Mac & Cheese
2 (8 ounce) boxes macaroni, cooked & drained
3 tablespoons oil
2 (13 ounce) cans evaporated milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
2 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 cups shredded cheddar cheese
⅓ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons fresh minced onion
Toss cooked macaroni in oil. Add all remaining ingredients. Pour into lightly greased crock-pot. Stir well. Cover and cook on low 5 hours. Stir occasionally.
That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for a few more sweet treats – they’re oldies but goodies.