Simple Roasted Chicken

Santa brought me a shiny new convection oven for Christmas, and I finally got around to reading the instruction booklet. I decided to make one of my favorite meals and it turned out perfectly! If you’re making this in a conventional oven  preheat to 425. Also, check your chicken for doneness at the end of our prescribed roasting time,  if you need to return it to the oven, do so in 15 minute increments.

Serve this roasted chicken up with root veggies and potatoes or your favorite side.  Left overs make perfect sandwich fare!



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Creamy Ham Casserole

Ham is a year round Southern Favorite. And a Creamy Ham Casserole is no execption !  With Easter around the corner you’re likely going to be looking for ways to use all that left over ham and this recipe is sure to please! Its never too early to plan!  

If you’re looking for the best easter recipes and DIY, check out our Pinterest Board, Simply Easter.

  simply easter(1)


We’ve got lots of goodies there and adding more daily!  But after Easter we ALL have left overs! Ham, Veggies and more, this Creamy Ham and Broccoli Casserole is the perfect way to use those left overs and still have a meal fit for a king. I’ve used this for family, guests and even pot-lucks! Grab a print and let me know how you like it! 

ham casserole

5.0 from 1 reviews

Creamy Ham And Broccoli Casserole
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Easy enough for a special family dinner. Special enough for guests! And a perfect potluck addition.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 4 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2½ cups cubed cooked ham
  • 1 (3oz can) sliced mushrooms (drained)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut broccoli into florets.Steam over boiling salted water (covered) 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepane over medium heat.
  4. Wisk in flour until smooth.
  5. Gradually add milk, wisking constantly until mixture starts to thicken.
  6. Add cheese and sour cream, stirring well until cheese is melted and sour cream is incorporated.(DO NOT BOIL)
  7. Stir in broccoli, ham , and mushrooms into cheese sauce and pour into 2 quart prepared baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over casserole .
  9. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces and sprinkle evenly over breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes.

 Do you have great Easter DIY ideas or Recipes? Leave a link in the comments and I”ll add you to our board!

Strawberry Spinach Salad


 This  Strawberry Spinach Salad is one of my favorites!

Its no secret, I’ve hit the treadmill this new year! And making changes in our diet have been easier than I thought.  With delicious choices like this, I cannot go wrong!  The dressing for this salad is semi-homemade ( a departure for me) but perfect and not too sweet! Top this salad with a handful of blue cheese or feta crumbles and a few chopped nuts and you’ve got a meal fit for a queen!


5.0 from 1 reviews

Strawberry Spinach Salad
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Not too sweet. A Perfectly refined flavor for dinner or lunching.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
  • 2 tsp Smuckers Seedless Sugar Free Strawberry Jam
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ½ small red onion, sliced
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, caps removed and sliced
  • 4 cups chopped baby spinach
  • Blue Cheese or Feta Cheese Crumbles for topping
  • Chopped Pecans, Almonds or Walnuts for topping
  1. In a medium bowl measure 2 teaspoons strawberry jam
  2. whisk in vinegar until smooth
  3. then wisk in extra-virgin olive oil.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss the spinach with strawberries and onions
  6. Pour on dressing
  7. Toss again thoroughly to coat the salad
  8. Top with crumbled feta or bleu cheese and nuts



Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie

This time of year I long for comfort.  One of the best ever comfort foods comes straight from my mama’s kitchen. Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie (with a few easier steps) is sure to please even your pickiest eater.  And its even beautiful enough to take center stage when you have guests!  Mama made her crusts from scratch,  and while I love homemade pie crusts, sometimes you just need to substitute a frozen or refrigerated crust for time sake. So, I’m giving you the substitute crust version here; its easy enough for a midweek dinner. The fillings are the same for both versions, take your pick! Either way you’ll love it!

mama's chicken pot pie

My Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie
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Old Fashioned Comfort Food Made Simple
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6-8
The Crust
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts OR
  • 2 Marie Callenders® frozen deep dish pie crusts (defrosted and placed in refrigerator) OR
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
The Filling
  • ½ can Campbells’ Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
  • ½ can Campbells’ Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 10 0z Chicken Stock (preferrably home-made but pre-packaged will do)
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup yellow onions, chopped (1 onions)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 idaho potato peeled and diced
  • sea salt
  • coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For The Crust
  1. Meanwhile roll out refrigerated crust for the bottom crust and place into 9-inch deep crust pie pan. OR
  2. Remove one defrosted pie crust from refrigerator and allow to come to room temp on counter after fitting into a 9-inch deep crust pie pan OR
  3. Roll each puff pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the chicken stock, soups and poultry seasoning (set aside)
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the soup mixture to the pot , stirring constantly for one 1minute more until it begins to thicken.
  5. Add half and half, salt and pepper, as you continue to stir.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add in the chicken and veggies and mix well returning to low heat for approximately 2 more minutes being certain ingredients are mixed well.
  8. Remove from heat again
  9. Spoon mixture into prepared pie pan and level as needed.
Prepared Top Crust Options
  1. Place remaining piecrust over filling; fold edges under, sealing to bottom crust, and crimp. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top of pie for steam to escape. Place pie on a jelly-roll pan.
Puff Pastry Top Crust Option
  1. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie.
To Cook
  1. Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 50 minutes. Brush lightly with melted butter and return to oven (covering the edges if needed to prevent burning)
  2. and bake 5 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool 15 minutes.


A Hot Southern Mess™

These pulled pork stuffed potatoes are what I call a ‘Hot Southern Mess™’ because you get all the comfort of a slow cooked pull pork combined with a creamy coleslaw served over a piping hot slow baked potato. A real mess to look at but oh so temptingly tasty. Substitute a medium sized sweet potato and what’s not to love?

Here in the Heart of Dixie we love our barbeque. We don’t push that love to the side, just because the weather’s cooled off or the rain has set in for the weekend! Bring it indoors and love that barbeque anyway. Pulled pork is one of our favorites, any way you can do it.

The beauty of most of my recipes is that whenever there is some item that someone doesn’t like, I just leave it off. So, if you don’t care for coleslaw, skip it!  Prefer your baked potato without sour cream, no dollop for you!  Its all so easy, the kids like making their own and well the adults become kids when this meal hits the table. Use your favorite coleslaw  and baked bean recipes. And again… bring out that slow cooker for the easiest ever pulled pork; so tender it really doesn’t need to be ‘pulled’ just flake apart with a fork.

overstuffed baked potato 10.12

5.0 from 1 reviews

Hot Southern Mess™~Overstuffed Potato
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A typically southern twist on the loaded baked potato.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
  • ⅓ cup Spanish paprika
  • 3 tablespoons ground dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 boneless boston butt or shoulder pork roast, trimmed (about 4 lbs)
  • 1 cup Deb’s Best Rib Sauce or your favorite Barbeque Sauce
  • 6 baking potatoes
  1. Combine the rub ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Use a wisk to combine throroughly.
  3. Rinse and pat dry the pork roast and place on foil covered baking pan
  4. Season on all sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle rub seasonings onto the roast, rubbing into the meat thoroughly.
  5. Turn fat side up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight
  6. Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  7. Place into large crock pot or slow cooker
  8. Pour in 1 cup water
  9. Cover pork with sliced red onions
  10. Cook 8-10 hours on medium or low
  11. Remove pork from cooker and discard onions, as well as the fat layer from the meat and any water and grease that remains in the pot.
  12. When roast is cool enough to handle, use two forks or your hands to shred apart meat
  13. Return meat to slow cooker and add in sauce
  14. Cook for 1½ hours on low
  15. Meanwhile, scrub 6 good sized idaho baking potatoes
  16. Lightly oil and salt skins
  17. Wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees (approximately 1 hour 15 min)
  18. Create a dotted line from end to end of each potato with a fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. (careful they’re hot)
  19. Top with pulled pork, your favorite creamy coleslaw, sour cream, cheese and chives.
Substitute medium sized sweet potatoes for the Idaho spuds for a taste treat! Don’t forget your favorite baked potato toppings: Grated cheddar cheese Sour Cream Chives (or chopped green onions) Crispy Bacon crumbled


Southern Shrimp and Grits

Grits are a must in southern cooking and this Southern Shrimp and Grits Recipe is no exception! We love our grits in the south and they’re not just for breakfast! If you’ve never been south of the Mason Dixon line, odds on you’ve never truly enjoyed these yummy bites of deliciousness. For those of you familiar with polenta (basically its yellow grits and a few more things) you’ll love the creaminess of this grits recipe.  Alton Brown of Food Network fame had a whole show on Good Eats dedicated to grits and polenta and the differences. I can tell ‘ya though the whole family will find something they love about this dish! Grab a print and  try this for dinner this weekend!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Shrimp and Grits
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A true Southern Creole classic made family friendly.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup uncooked regular grits
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons Asian type Sriracha hot chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese (or sharp cheddar if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons KerryGold pure Irish light-butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • sliced lemon wedges for garnish
  1. Bring milk and 1½ cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in grits.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, sprinkle Creole seasoning over shrimp and set aside.
  5. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 30 seconds.(watch closely garlic burns easily)
  6. Add shrimp, and until shrimp are almost pink.
  7. Add green onions, lemon zest, and hot sauce and sauté 3 minutes stirring constantly.
  8. Stir cheese, butter, salt and pepper into hot grits.
  9. Spoon shrimp mixture over warm grits to serve.
  10. Garnish if you like with fresh chives or cilantro and a lemon wedge.
We love the flavor of Gouda Cheese, if you prefer you can substitute sharp cheddar. Sriracha sauce can be omitted and a little hungarian sweet paprika substituted.


Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe

Southern Living calls it the Pâté of  The South. I just call it yummy. Comfort and food all on one plate, it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Pimento cheese is so ingrained into southern culinary heritage, most of us find it difficult to believe that people from other parts of the country have yet to taste this delicacy.  I was flabergasted to say the least when I discovered friends from the west coast  had never even tasted pimento cheese, let alone slathered it on a burger or a hotdog for the ultimate decadent treat!

Like most Southerners, I grew up with pimento cheese spread. From the the tasteless, pre-processed variety you find in the grocer’s dairy section. (It lacked soul, it lacked flavor it lacked everything that make southern foods comforting and warm. Basically, full of chemicals and not so full of anything good.) to the homemade variety, chunky and rich, flavorful and wholesome.

But, you won’t have to travel south to find this southern staple.  The ingredient list is short and readily available at all grocery outlets and this stuff is a cinch to make. No food processor or mixer necessary.

In my search for the best pimento cheese spread recipe I’ve thumbed through hundreds of cookbooks, with nary a pimento cheese recipe to be found. Little did I know, that recipe was a hand me down! Even today, you can cruise most published recipe books and you won’t find a single vestige of  a down home southern style pimento cheese recipe.  And while 100′s of sites, nay thousands of sites, recount  their favorite recipe, if you look closely you won’t see much difference.

My recipe for pimento cheese (handed down from my ex-mother-in-law) is one of the best I’ve ever tasted, but there are endless variations on the theme. Many include  lots of spices (cayenne and such); mine does not. Cream cheese is also a common ingredient that you won’t find in this recipe. One common combination I do use is blending Monterey Jack with Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Southern Style Pimento Cheese
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Decadent yet simple southern comfort food.
Recipe type: Main Course
  • 3+/- tablespoons real Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
  • 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 2 cloves. finely diced garlic (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1(8-oz) block Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  1. Stir together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in cheese in small portions until mixed well.
  3. Don’t mash or use a mixer, you want to be able to ‘see’ the shreds.
  4. Add a little more mayo if mixture is too stiff.
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Serve on freshly washed celery ribs, crackers, or between two slices of trimmed white bread for sandwiches. Cut thin slices of French bread, spread pimento cheese on as desired and run under the broiler until bubbly. Once you’ve gotten your basic recipe down, you can experiment with a myriad of additions like jalapeno’s, hot sauce, cayenne pepper and more.


Deb’s Best Rib Sauce Recipe

Thick or thin? Spicy or Sweet? Red or White?  Southern barbeque and rib sauces are as varied as the people who use them. Here’s the lowdown on ‘the secret’ sauce and seasoning rubs.

  • White Sauce: An Alabama favorite, developed by Bob Gibson almost 80 years ago, served with smoked chicken, its a mayonnaise-vinegar sauce, creamy and delish!
  • Yellow Sauce: South Carolina’s claim to fame, brought to them back in the 1700′s when the Germans settled there. (Makes a great marinade for ribs too!)
  • Red Sauce: Tomato based and can range from deep dark brown to rusty red in color. The most common variety, but only came to prominence after the invention of Ketchup back in the early 1900′s. Texas folks love a thick red, sweet sauce on brisket. That is if they sauce that brisket at all! Folks in Memphis who love ‘wet’ ribs slather on the red stuff. Obviously, Ketchup and vinegar form the base, the addition of things like molasses, Worcestershire sauce or chili sauce, change the flavor and color.
  • Clear Sauce:  Peppery, vinegar type sauces are mostly found in areas like the OBX of North Carolina, the shores of South Carolina and Georgia and Virginia.  Red pepper gives this its zing!
  • Black Sauce: Perhaps the least known of any sauce, only found (that I know of ) in Kentucky. Used as a dipping sauce for mutton barbecue , this one is traditionally made with vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.

And for the purists… Rubs take the spotlight!… 

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Tiropita Savory Cheese Pie Recipe

Today  I’m out on the road, and I’m turning the cooking over to a great cook and wonderful blogger, Nikki from Chef in Training. I’ll be back next week. In the mean time, show her some love in the comments here. And, if you have a recipe you’d like to see here on Simple Plate,  simply submit it with our Recipe Submission form. Don’t forget your images!  I fell in love with triopitas back in my home town as a young woman. Our Greek community had a fesitval every year and taste testing was always a big treat!  Enjoy! Thanks Nikki!

Hello Simple Plate fans! I am Nikki from Chef in Training and I am SO excited to be here with you today to share one of my family’s favorite recipes! Debbie is amazing and has become a great friend of mine. She is an incredible cook, designer, coder, photographer, writer and friend and I am extremely honored to be here today. I just adore her blog!

Like I said before, my name is Nikki and I am the face behind Chef in Training. I Love to cook, bake, and be in the kitchen. It is such a stress reliever for me..until I think about the dishes :) I am married to the love of my life and have 2 beautiful kids. Food has always been a big part of my life. I am quite the mix when it comes to my ethnicity. My mom is a blond-haired blue-eyed girl who was born and raised in California. My dad is half Greek and half Hispanic. He was born in Germany, spent his childhood in Greece with his mom, and moved to Texas to live with his dad for high school. He and my mom met at a Mexican Restaurant in California that they both worked at while my dad was going to college. My mom was introduced to so much culture when she met my dad, and with all that fun culture comes some GREAT food! This is a recipe I grew up with in my home and love. My grandma still lives in Athens, Greece and I have flown out with my family a few times to visit her. The food there is absolutely incredible! Tiropita are one of my personal favorite Greek foods because they are jam-packed with delicious flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!


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Chick-Fil-A Copy Cow Recipe

We LOVE. I mean  REALLY LOVE  Chick-Fil-A® around here. Somehow the craving hits hardest on Sundays though! And as we all know, Mr. Cathy has made it company policy from the very beginning that  the stores would be closed on Sunday, so that his staff can enjoy worship at their personal houses of worship and with their families. Wonderful policy if you ask me, but I digress.

I’ve always been one to taste all the subtleties of my food and when I’ve found a meal in a restaurant particularly appetizing, I’ve set out to figure out the components so that I could reproduce the same meal at home. Sometimes with less than success and sometimes.. like this one, EUREKA! I’ve become a copy-cow!

Mind you, I have NO connection with the Chick-Fil-A® company, nor do I know their secret recipe (but I think I’ve gotten darned close) Give these ‘nuggets’ a try! The recipe can be used for  strips or boneless chicken breasts as well, with equally good results.   I usually fry them up and toss them into a fresh garden salad and serve up with our favorite ranch or honey mustard dressing. Makes a great week-end meal or a quick and simple week day dinner.

Home Made Fli-A Nuggets
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Our version of the Original Chick-Fil A
Serves: 4
  • Buttermilk (enough to cover and soak chicken pieces)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized nuggets
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs made from dry, toasted bread
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s® season salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if needed to throroughly cover chicken)
  • 2 eggs, whisked thoroughly
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  1. In a large bowl, add chicken pieces and buttermilk.
  2. Allow chicken to soak in the buttermilk as long as you can (at least one hour, but preferably overnight).
  3. Place dried bread into a food processor and process until fine.
  4. Pulse in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, seasoning salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. In a large dutch oven (or deep fryer if you have one), heat 2 inches of vegetable [or peanut] oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.
  6. Transfer flour mixture to a bowl.
  7. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl.
  8. Piece by piece, remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge in bread crumb/flour mixture, then egg wash, then back into bread crumb/flour mixture.
  9. Once all pieces have been coated, you can start putting them into the hot oil.( Be careful not to overload your fryer basket or place too many pieces into your oil, the chicken won’t cook evenly and will take longer to cook)
  10. Cook for about 1½ minutes, then turn chicken pieces over, if necessary, and cook for another 1½- 2 minutes.(look for a golden brown crust, don’t over cook)
  11. Transfer chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  12. OR place on metal rack with paper toweling below for a crisper nugget.
  13. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Toss with a fresh salad or serve with fries or as a sandwich. Works equally well with boneless chicken breast or strips.