There are so many southern comfort food recipes out there, but I believe this is one of my all-time favorites. Stuffed tomatoes make the perfect side dish to almost anything, so you could have them every single day if you wanted.
I consider this to be the best stuffed tomato recipe out there, even though it is simple. Sometimes, simple really is best. You can use store-bought tomatoes for this classic southern recipe, but I highly suggest using those that are home-grown, or come from a farmer's market for unbelievable flavor.
You can bake these tomatoes on a standard baking sheet or cookie pan like I did if your tomatoes are slightly flat on one side. If you are using really round ones, you can nestle them in the cups of a muffin pan to help keep the upright. A good-quality muffin pan can serve many purposes other than baking muffins if you use your imagination.
Alrighty. Let's get to the recipe.
What You Need:
4 large tomatoes
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
How To Make It:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally, and scoop out the pulp. Set the shells aside.
3. Remove the seeds from the firm portion of the pulp, and discard. Roughly chop the pulp, and place in a medium-sized bowl.
4. Stir in the the remaining ingredients.
5. Fill the tomato shells with equal amounts of the cheese mixture, and bake for 15 minutes.
One of my favorite sides/appetizers is stuffed mushrooms. I have tried them from many different restaurants, but the majority of them seem to be lacking in flavor. The secret to a delicious stuffed mushroom recipe is spice, spice, and more spice. These mushrooms aren't flaming hot, but they do have enough spice to really brighten up their flavor.
You can use any variety of mushrooms you like, but I personally prefer baby bellas. They are flavorful and firm, allowing them to withstand being stuffed without going mushy.
As far as Parmesan cheese goes, I DETEST the powdery kind you find in a plastic container in the pasta aisle. If you want a ton of flavor, use real Parmesan and grate it yourself. There is a huge difference in both flavor and consistency.
What you need:
12 whole baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Panko bread crumbs (optional)
How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil, a silicone mat, or lightly coat it with olive oil.
2. Remove the stems from the caps of the mushrooms. Very finely chop the stems.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in the oil until all moisture has disappeared. Take this slowly so you won't burn the garlic. Let this mixture cool.
4. Once the mushroom mixture has cooled, stir in all of the remaining ingredients. The mixture will be very thick, so use a little elbow grease here.
5. Using a spoon, fill the caps of the mushrooms with equal amounts of the mixture.
6. If you want a crunchy topping, toss a handful of Panko bread crumbs with a little melted butter and sprinkle on top.
7. Bake the mushrooms for roughly 20 minutes, or until hot and a little liquid begins to form underneath the caps.
Biscuits are a staple on any Southerners table. Although they are fairly simple to make, biscuits are one of the most overlooked scratch-made foods out there. It's quicker to pop open a can of premade biscuits and throw them in the oven, but they can't compare to the taste or texture of freshly baked ones made from simple ingredients.
How to make flaky buscuits
A lot of people have asked how I get my biscuits so flaky and tall. The secret is in how you fold the dough, and using COLD ingredients. Once you have added in the liquid, use your hands to scrape the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and fold it in over itself. Do this several times JUST until the mixture has come together.
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and pat it into a rectangle. Fold that rectangle into thirds by grabbing the right side and folding it over to the middle. Then, grab the left side and fold it over to the middle. Think of it as folding a letter to go into an envelope. Once the dough is folded, roll it out and use a biscuit cutter no more than 2 1/4" to 2 1/2" in diameter. This will cause them to rise up tall.
Let's get on to the actual recipe.
What you need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled for an hour in the freezer (I HIGHLY suggest using 1/2 cup of your own homemade butter here, but if you don't make butter, store bought will have to do.)
3/4 cup full-fat buttermilk, chilled for 20 minutes in freezer
extra buttermilk for brushing the tops of the biscuits
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
3. Cut the butter into small chunks, and cut it into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.
4. Add in the buttermilk, and mix together like I explained above.
5. Turn out the dough and pat and fold like I explained earlier.
6. Roll the dough out until it's a little over 1/2 inch thick.
7. Cut out biscuits and place on a baking sheet.
8. Make a small indent in the top of each one with your finger, then brush the entire top with buttermilk. This will give the tops a slight crunch, and a really pretty golden sheen.
9. Bake for roughly 15 minutes, until golden brown.