TWOsday Recipes

Hi, y’all! I hesitate to even call what I’m sharing today “recipes.” I wanted to share some easy go-to ideas for your events. Each recipe has only TWO ingredients!

First, my favorite sweet dip is what I call Marshmallow Fruit Dip. Simply combine a 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme with an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese. Whip it together by hand or in a stand mixer. This is a hit with my kids! They love dipping grapes and strawberries into it.My next delicious duo is Chili-Cheese Dip. Combine an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese with a 10-ounce can of chili (no beans). Heat on the stove until the cheese has melted. Bake in a cast iron skillet in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Another savory dip is the Classic Cheese Dip. For a 16-ounce brick of processed cheese (Velveeta), add two 10-ounce cans of tomatoes with chiles (Ro-Tel). I always just put mine in the crock pot. This is also perfect with Fritos or tortilla chips!

Finally, my last recipe is for making sugar molds! This is the easiest way to fancy up a tea party. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of water for every 1/2 cup of sugar. Blend both items in a food processor until all sugar is evenly wet. Spoon into mold, making sure to pack the sugar down well.

Invert onto a cookie sheet by placing the cookie sheet upside down on the mold and then turning both over. Gently remove the mold and let the sugar molds rest for at least 30 minutes.

Get these flower-shaped molds for only $1.99!


Or try the heart-shaped molds, if that’s more your style.
***Edited to add a new recipe!***

Lime-Sherbet Punch. Anyone else always pronounce it “sherbert?” I think it drives my husband crazy. Anyhow, I usually do a quart of slightly softened lime sherbet (but you can use raspberry or orange to change the color!) to a 2-liter of ginger ale. Now, we’re flexing on the two-ingredient rule, but if you’re having a 1950’s themed Christmas, add in some maraschino cheeries for color! Really, though, you only need the sherbet and the ginger ale.

Southern Cooking With A Cast Iron Skillet

One of my favorite kitchen tools is the classic cast iron skillet. My mom and granny both cooked in one religiously. My granny’s cornbread skillet has to be the smoothest and best seasoned skillet I know. My mom has a rare talent for finding old, warped skillets and making them like new again with her seasoning skills.

Seasoning in this instance is not like salt and pepper, for those who don’t know. Seasoning refers to a technique for prepping a cast iron skillet. If you treat a cast iron skillet correctly, you won’t need to season regularly.

Soap should never be used on cast iron skillets.

Trust me on this. The skillet is very porous, so the soap residue will remain, which will seep out into your food. My home economics teacher in high school taught us that the very best way to clean a cast iron skillet is with hot water. One you’ve cleaned it, heat it on the stove to ensure that every droplet of water is removed.

If you find an old skillet (those are my favorite kind), the rare exception to soap maaay be right before you season it. This is incredibly debated, though. If you choose to use soap, make sure you use a heavy duty scrubber with lots of hot water after you do so.

After you dry it, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil all over the interior of the pan. I mean thin. You don’t want build up on your pan. Finally, place your skillet upside down in a 400-degree oven for an hour.

Lard was originally used in place of oil. This is still commonly used by people who regularly use their skillet. Animal fat, though, can go rancid if you don’t use your skillet often, so this will need to be a personal preference.

Once your skillet is seasoned, you can just maintain it. To maintain, sfter you wash your skillet with hot water, add a very, very minute amount of oil to your pan. I also like to place paper towels in between skillets.

While old skillets are my favorite, Lodge is a great brand, so I wanted to at least give y’all a link if y’all are interested in looking into these skillets more. Click on picture to learn more!

If you cook with cast iron, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

Here’s a super, super easy two-ingredient “recipe” for you to try!

Combine an 8-oz brick of cream cheese with a can of Hormel chili (no beans for us Texans). Heat on top of top to melt cheese. Place in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!

 

Entertaining Made Easy

THANK YOU to everyone who sent an email recently asking about easy entertaining recipes. I’m going to try to encompass the three different occasions mentioned. Also, if you ever have a topic request or a question you would like answered, please feel free to email etiquettebyemily@gmail.com. I do my very best to answer each one!

So, for starters, if you are taking a side to a potluck dinner, these garlic-cheese biscuits are amazing. Amazing. They couldn’t be any easier, but I will admit it – I cheat and use biscuit mix (Bisquick).

Mix 2 c. of bisquick with 2/3 c. of milk and 3/4 c. of cheddar cheese until just combined. I mix by hand so as to not make the dough hard. Then, I drop 8 huge spoonfuls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Mix 1 stick of melted butter with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Brush on top (don’t be shy) of the warm biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven. Again, amazing. These are excellent warm, but they’re still just as good at room temp. They’re very transportable, and they’re the perfect gift for someone who is new to the neighborhood.

Now, Banana Muffins. Yay! If you are hosting a brunch, these are it.

Mix 3 overly ripe bananas with 1/4 c. of honey. Add in 1/2 c. of greek yogurt, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon (yes, it sounds like a lot) of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. After all of that is very well mixed, add in 1 1/2 c. of unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix until just wet. Then, toss in 1/2 c. of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Mine usually take about 23 minutes. It makes one dozen. *Note* Make sure to line your muffin tin. These are very low fat, and that causes them to stick more than normal.

Finally, the easiest side in the world. Roasted asparagus. I simply cut or break the woody ends off of the asparagus, lined them out on a cookie sheet, toss on a little olive oil and salt. That’s it. Roast at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. My kids eat them up every time.Thank you for reading!