Southern Dinner in February

It has been strangely snow-less here in Vermont but we've taken a bitterly cold turn. And when the weather gets cold I go to two extremes- comfort food or cooking like I live in a warmer climate.

We enjoyed a "Southern" themed night the other night complete with crockpot BBQ chicken, corn pudding & wax beans with mustard. I've listed all three recipes individually but they do come together to make a great meal. The corn pudding is especially popular with my toddler. When she was younger I would puree the corn and feed it to her as an early baby food. The texture of it is light and airy and she loved it. Now that she's got chompers she feeds it to herself with a spoon and enjoys smashing each corn kernel to smithereens.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken
(serves 4-6)

1 pkg split chicken (mine was roughly 3 lbs & had been on super sale) 
1/3 cup bbq sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's) (You'll need extra as well to drizzle later.)
1 pint sweet tea

1. Put chicken into crockpot. 

2. Drizzle roughly 1/3 cup of bbq sauce over the chicken. 

3. Make up a large mason jar of sweet tea. Dump half into the crockpot. (Yes I am aware that it's not "real" sweet tea. It's Vermont in February, I improvised.)

Drink the other half.

Set the crockpot for either 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, depending on your dinner timeline & starting time. Wait for the delicious sent of BBQ to waft thru the air.

4. When the crockpot is done and it's dinner time pull out super-tender chicken for everyone. I like to squirt a little extra sauce on top. Enjoy!

Corn Pudding with a Bite
(serves 6-8 as a side, this can be made as a great, quick vegetarian main dish as well serving 4)

12 oz frozen corn (during the summer I would use fresh)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar (I omit this if I'm using fresh corn)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
3 TBS Frank's Hot Sauce (we're an Xtra Hot household)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a saucepan over low heat melt the butter. Once melted add in flour & mix to make a roux. Add salt & sugar. 

2. Stir in the milk and mix well with a spatula. The mixture will start to thicken and will darken a bit. 

3. Beat the eggs until they're bubbly. 

Add the Frank's into the eggs. 

Turn the heat off under the pan on the stovetop. Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture, stirring. Quickly dump in the frozen corn and mix well. Pour into a glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. 

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until the top is slightly crackly and shiny looking. 

Enjoy as a side dish or as a main dish. If you have kids who are picky about corn you can process the corn in the food processor before adding it and call this "cornbread".

Wax Beans with Mustard
(serves 6 as a side)

8 oz wax beans (I used some I put up from last summers farm share)
1 TBS mustard (I used a champagne mustard I had on hand)
1 TBS butter

1. Boil wax beans on stove for about 6 minutes until tender. If you're using canned ones they can be cooked a little quicker.

2. Drain the water off and add butter and mustard to the pan. Sometimes I add a splash of vinegar as well for a tart kick. Mix the butter and mustard into the wax beans until they're covered. 

All done! Enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this Southern themed dinner's components either all together or on their own. Let me know what you think......

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