Savannah’s Savory Bites

Posting Schedule - Monday: recipes from other sources that I’ve enjoyed, Wednesday: my original or family recipes, Friday: themed recipe blog hop

May 3, 2012

Strawberry Jam with Homemade Biscuits

There are lots of fancy dishes that make my stomach growl and that I long to sit down and enjoy.  But there is something about the simplicity of strawberry jam and it's simple and perfect flavor, that excites me every spring.  Here is the SureJel recipe I use and a very easy recipe for self rising flour biscuit is at the end of this post.  There are many very good biscuit recipes, but if you are looking for a no fail and quick recipe, this is a good choice.  

Strawberry Jam
(printer friendly version)

4 cups prepared strawberries (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin

Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.

Add sugar; stir. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

Betty Crocker Self Rising Flour Biscuits
(printer friendly version)

2 cups Gold Medal® self-rising flour (all southern wheat flours would work well)
1/4 cup shortening (I keep mine in the fridge, as this makes fluffier biscuits.)
3/4 cup milk

1 Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. Place flour in large bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Another alternative would be to process in a food processor.  Add milk; stir with fork until soft dough forms and mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl.

2 On lightly floured surface, knead dough just until smooth. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with floured 2-inch round cutter. Place biscuits with sides touching on cookie sheet.

3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

May 1, 2012

Roasted Center Cut Pork Loin

Not only did I make Texas Sheet Cake for Bloodhound's birthday, but I also roasted a center cut pork loin.  Please note that this is not a standard pork loin, which has a thin layer of fat running the length of one side.  This is the center portion of the loin and as such there isn't any fat to keep it from drying out.  I served this with mashed potatoes with gravy made from the drippings.

Roasted Center Cut Pork Loin
(printer friendly version)

1 3-4lb loin
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pieces bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Sprinkle loin with seasonings and brown in skillet on all sides. When the loin is browned remove from heat and drape with bacon.  Place in 350F oven and cook until internal temperature is 150F.  Allow to rest for 3 minutes before carving.  Use drippings to make gravy.  

This post is linked here: A Little Nosh

April 30, 2012

Texas Sheet Cake

This cake is simple and moist and now one of my favorites.  I found it at and although some reviewers complained about the taste of the cinnamon, I thought it lent a wonderful flavor to the cocoa and buttermilk cake.  If you don't have any buttermilk on hand reduce the milk a bit and add vinegar or lemon juice to make up the difference.  This should be about a 2 tablespoon substitution.  I didn't make it with nuts, as my children are nuts and don't like nuts.  If I were single (oh the places I could go with that statement) I would add pecans to the icing and serve with fresh cut strawberries.  Enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake
(printer friendly version)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
6 tablespoons milk
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9x13 inch cake pan.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup shortening, 2 ounces chocolate, and water. Heat until chocolate is melted; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Make a well in the center, and pour in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add melted butter/chocolate mixture, and beat until smooth. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake tests done. 

Five minutes before cake is done, make frosting.

To make frosting: In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 2 ounces chocolate, and 6 tablespoons milk. Heat until bubbles form around the edge; remove from heat. Beat in confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and nuts. Frost cake while still warm. Allow to cool totally before cutting.

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April 23, 2012

Recipe Exchange with AKM Designs and Delights - Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This recipe comes from AKM Designs and Delights and I encourage you to visit her site, as it is full of delicious recipes.

The first time I made these oatmeal cookies I made them quarter size and ate them with hot tea, and it was a wonderful combination.

The second time I baked them much larger and didn't use the cinnamon chips, and we ate them as breakfast on-the-go.  Either way you make them, you will enjoy the strong cinnamon flavoring and this is a great recipe to have in your collection.

Spicy Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
from AKM Designs and Delights
(printer friendly version)

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. butter flavored shortening
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. cinnamon chips

Beat butter and shortening with sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in separate bowl.  Add to butter mixture.  Stir in oats, raisins and chips. Preheat oven to 350F.

To bake:

Quarter size - drop teaspoons of batter onto un-greased baking sheets, cook for 10 minutes, allow to cool for 3 minutes before transferring to rack.

Breakfast size - drop by 1/4 cup scoops onto un-greased baking sheets, flatten a bit and bake for 15-18 minutes, cool on sheets completely before transferring to rack.

April 17, 2012

Vidalia Onion Pie

When the Vidalia onions come in, it is always a treat.  These sweet onions are delightful in many ways but my favorite is on a salad.  Recently while going through some of my mother-in-law's old recipes, I found one for Vidalia pie.  I didn't make it with the crust because I was looking for a lighter side dish.  It would, however, be lovely baked as a pie for a brunch and served with ham and sliced tomatoes, on the side.  The flavors blend wonderfully and the parmesan becomes a crisp shell.  If you don't have Vidalia onions replace with another sweet onion.  Enjoy!

Vidalia Onion Pie

1 pie crust
2 lb vidalia onion, peeled and cut very thin
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in 10 inch skillet, then add onions and salt.  Cook until translucent.  Beat eggs and combine with sour cream, and pepper.  Remove skillet from heat and add sour cream mixture to skillet.  Thoroughly combine and then pour into pie crust or greased pie pan.  Do not use deep dish, no matter whether you use a crust or not.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 450 F for 20 minutes and then reduce heat to 325F and bake for 20 minutes more.  We like the dark crust and the way the Parmesan cheese becomes crisp.  If you do not adjust your 450F cooking time to 10 minutes.

April 16, 2012

S and S Review - Pork and Cabbage Soup & Jerk Butterflied Chicken with Gravy

S and S Brand Seasonings are the product of two chefs from Sanfancisco - Spencer O'Meara and Sarah Buchard.  After a successfully offering southern BBQ in his restaurant to the city, there was a demand for the sauce.  These chefs now bottle their barbecue sauce and seasonings and sell them online.  I was offered two rubs - Coffee and Cocoa, and Jerk, to experiment with and these recipes were the result of that creative process.  I made the soup because many homes have felt the recession and I wanted to offer a healthy meal that was also affordable.  If you invest in wonderful seasonings cheaper cuts of meat and basic vegetables take on a new life.  Jerk Chicken with Gravy is also a simple and budget friendly recipe.  It is a remake of one of my most popular recipes, Butterflied Chicken.  The S and S Brand Jerk Rub lends a new flavor and paired with the gravy it gives this familiar baked poultry a new flavor.  Enjoy!

Pork and Cabbage Soup
(printer friendly version)

1 lb bulk sausage
1 onion, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can petite cut tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons S and S Coffee and Cocoa Rub

Brown sausage and then drain well. Remove all of the sausage grease from the skillet, except one tablespoon.  Place a few layers of paper towels on a cookie sheet, pour drained sausage over and use more paper towels to press remaining grease out of meat.  Saute onions in skillet until translucent.  Add onions, sausage and the remaining ingredients to a dutch oven and cook over medium heat until the cabbage is cooked.  Allow to simmer, adding water as needed until ready to serve.  The longer this simmers down the more flavorful it becomes.  Just make sure to continue adding water to maintain the original level.

Jerk Butterflied Chicken and Gravy
(printer friendly version)

1 roasting hen
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon Jerk Rub

Cut the back bone out of the chicken.  Now this isn't hard so don't wig out on me, here.  Just flip the bird upside down and use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to cut right down either side of the backbone.  After this flip the bird back over and press down on the breast, to break the breast bone and produce a flat, or butterflied chicken.  Dry completely and place in fridge on a grated roasting pan for one hour.  This will allow the skin to dry, making it crispy in the roasting process.

While the bird chills set the butter out to warm up.  When it is soft cream the butter with the S and S Jerk Rub.

Remove the hen from the fridge and run your fingers under the skin over the breast.  Create a gap and then push the her butter up under the skin.  Preheat oven to 500F.

Roast for about 40 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through cooking time.  Use a thermometer and remove from oven when the breast reaches 160F.


Add 1/4 cup of the drippings from the chicken into a skillet.  Over medium heat add 1/4 flour.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Add 4-5 cups of chicken broth, whisking constantly.  Heat until thick and serve over chicken

April 12, 2012

Chicken Rotini with Swiss Cheese Sauce

This dish is a creamy delicious feel good meal without any preservatives or canned soups.  You will only need two pans to create it and then just add a salad. Enjoy!

Isn't the purple flower in this picture vibrant?  It is the bloom from my Clematis vine.  This is a truly pathetic plant in my yard.  It is starving for space as it is tiny and invaded by the grass.  This popular southern vine is truly breathtaking when it is full grown.  It is deciduous and enjoys morning direct sunlight with shade in the evening.  Today I am going to weed around it and give it a chance to shine.

Chicken Rotini with Swiss Cheese Sauce
(printer friendly)

1 lb rotini pasta
3 chicken breast halves, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch crushed red pepper, optional

Heat coconut oil in skillet and add onion and celery.  While these sauté put water on to boil for pasta.  When the onion and celery are translucent, add chicken and continue cooking over medium heat.  Drain pasta and return to cooking pot.  When the chicken is cooked transfer everything in the skillet to the pasta pot.  Use a paper towel to clean the skillet that the chicken and vegetables were cooked in.  Add butter and melt. Whisk in flour and then milk, salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Allow to continue cooking over medium low heat until thick.  Stir a few times as this happens.  Stir in swiss cheese until combined.  Reduce heat to low and add meat and vegetable dish to cheese sauce.  Serve sprinkled with pepper for a bit of heat.

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This recipe is linked here:

A Little Nosh 

April 10, 2012

Salmon and Rice

This dish is a variation of the southern salmon and grits and it would be fine to substitute with traditional grits.  The sauce gives it wonderful flavor and the natives I share a home with consumed it in record time.  I'll be keeping a few cans of salmon in the back of the pantry so I can make this in a pinch.  After all when you live miles from civilization, pizza delivery is not an option on those nights you are too tired to cook.

Salmon and Rice
(printer friendly version)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 stalks celery, chopped finely
1 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons dried chives
1 teaspoon basil
4 cups rice, cooked
2 cans salmon, drined

Saute celery and onion in butter.  Add flour and stir until butter is absorbed.  Whisk in milk.  Add cumin, pepper, salt, thyme, chives and basil.   Continue cooking over medium heat until thick, whisk frequently to create smooth sauce.  Add 2 cups of rice to 2qt dish that is sprayed with oil.  Gently break each can of salmon into four chunks.  Layer over rice and when sauce is finished ladle 1/2 of it over salmon.  Top with remaining 2 cups of rice and finish by covering with the last of the sauce.  Bake in 350F oven for 30 minutes.

April 7, 2012

Gold Label Tropical Traditions Giveaway

Earlier this week I reviewed Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil and today I am kicking off the giveaway.  Good luck and the final day to enter is April 21st.

Watch this quick video to learn a few more ways to use coconut oil.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 6, 2012

Louisiana Chicken Creole from NOLA Mommy

Many of you may not know this, but for eight years we lived in the great city of New Orleans.  I was 23 years old and had two small children when we moved nine hours away from our families, here on the coast.  It was a growing experience and I miss this part of the country...and their food.  Oh and the zoo, too.  Before I digress any further down the road of nostalgic taking my older children to the Aquarium of the America's and D-Day Museum, I'll get back on task.

I recently discovered Tricia's site "NOLA Mommy" and after recovering from pangs of memories I sat down and enjoyed her blog with a smile on my face.  When she agreed to a recipe exchange I was delighted and I immediately chose her Louisiana Chicken Creole.  It lived up to my expectations and I am so glad to be sharing it with you, today.

Louisiana Chicken Creole
from NOLA Mommy
(printer friendly version)

1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. minced fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried oregano)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Cajun Seasoning to Taste (I used about 2 tsp total)
1 lbs. cooked chicken*

In a large cast iron skillet, saute green peppers, onion, celery, and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil until tender.
Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has evaporated.  Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano, lemon juice, basil and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Add Cajun seasoning and chicken.  Heat through, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.

Serve over rice of your choice, and serve with a bottle of Tabasco Hot Sauce!

*Tricia uses uncooked chicken to make her recipe and if you'd like to follow her directions click here.

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