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Our recipe section will feature new recipes each week, using the freshest produce and vegetables available in the Southeast!

Spinach Artichoke Muffin Pan Quiches

These delectable little muffin pan quiches have puff pastry for crusts and are filled with baby spinach, artichokes, white cheddar cheese and bacon.

They’re a play on the famous dip that everyone loves starring spinach and artichokes.

Quiche is one of those things you can eat for any meal. Full of eggs and a smattering of bacon, they are perfect for breakfast and fancy enough for brunch.

It’s for those same reasons and more that I love them for lunch or dinner too, they’re savory enough and perfect paired with a salad or vegetables.

They also make the greatest hand-held appetizers – no forks needed. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them, then pop them out for a party or potluck.

Keep them on hand to bring to work for breakfast or lunch, or for those times when you don’t have a dinner plan or don’t feel like cooking.

It’s pretty obvious I use any excuse I can to cook with puff pastry.
Not only because I just plain can’t live long without stuffing those tender, flaky layers of dough into my face but because it’s convenient to use. Just defrost, roll out and cut into squares for these muffin pan quiches.

I love the bite of the artichokes and the salty bacon mingled with the melted cheese and eggs.

I’m not forgetting the spinach, a big player and another one of my staples that I sneak in everywhere. They also have a little bit of Parmesan cheese, onion and garlic for a boost of flavor.

I’ve given you every reason to make them and can’t think of one reason why you shouldn’t. . .

My job is done.

Cranberry & Sweet Potato Wild Rice Pilaf

This gorgeous wild rice pilaf is completely deserving of a place on your Thanksgiving table!

With sweet-tart dried cranberries, crunchy toasted walnuts, the unmistakable hint of bacon and tiny-diced sweet potatoes it promises to wow you over the same way it did me.

The rice is a wild/brown rice blend cooked in low-sodium chicken broth for a boost of flavor with bay leaf, parsley and thyme. It’s soft and chewy with a little nuttiness.

The sweet potatoes are cut into a small dice and sauteed with bacon, red onion and garlic until tender and infused with flavor.

The entire shebang including the cranberries and walnuts are mixed together for one of the most delicious side dishes you will ever taste.

One bite and I fell hopelessly in love, devouring it by the bowl full for every meal until not a speck of it was left.

If you know me you know Thanksgiving is all about my Mom’s stuffing – the one I dream of all year long.

Well, move over stuffing, there’s a new side dish in town.

This just might steal the show away from the beloved stuffing. {I can’t believe I just said that.}

It’s going to be a close call.

Very close.

Wild rice pilaf, I heart you.

Eggplant Lasagna With Basil Pesto

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe is incredibly flavorful, healthy, and surprising simple!

Some have said that they would choose Eggplant Lasagna with Fresh Basil as their last meal on earth. It is truly one of those summer meals that never grows old…my kids suggest I make it at the mere suggestion that an eggplant recipe is a possibility.

The thing I love most about this recipe is that is chock full of healthy ingredients – fresh vegetables along with the protein and calcium added from the stretchy gooey mozzarella and salty creamy ricotta cheese. Yes, it’s healthy and delicious… but to add to that, it’s easy! Could any busy mother ask for more – a one-pot healthy delicious and EASY meal? You can find it in my latest cookbook, Harvest.

Last week was one of the weeks for me that everyone has to have every now and then, if you get my drift. Well, seeking comfort, I wanted this meal, but I really didn’t feel like sautéing the eggplant. I just wanted a dish I could throw together and have it turn out marvelously.

In that I keep pesto (recipe below) at all times in my freezer and always have crushed tomatoes canned and ready for use in the pantry, Eggplant Lasagna with Basil Pesto was just a few minutes away. I placed the seasoned eggplant in a microwave-proof bowl and allowed the eggplant to release its juices. I then drained the eggplant and proceeded with the layering instructions below. The results were superb! No problems at all.

Not knowing this, my mother-in-law, who is an excellent cook, had been making my recipe all summer. She wanted a shortcut too. She told me that the last time she made this dish that she peeled and sliced the eggplant and continued with the recipe as if she had sautéed the eggplant. She reported that it was excellent. Even more simple.

Larger eggplants may be bitter. If you have a large eggplant, simply salt the eggplant and let it sit for a few minutes to draw some of the liquid out. Dry the eggplant with a paper towel and proceed with instructions.

Side-by-side, the sautéed eggplant is more flavorful, but if you find yourself short of time, it is a very close second. Sautéing and roasting always brings out flavors to their maximum potential. I just want to say, don’t let lack of time keep you from this delicious dish.

Southern Spice Pie: Perfect Holiday Dessert

Spicy Southern Pie has the texture of a chess pie and the spices of a pumpkin pie! It’s super great for the holidays with ice cream or just about anytime.

Southern chef Stacy Lyn Harris is the bestselling author of four cookbooks, founder of the popular Game and Garden blog, and a co-host of “The Sporting Chef” on The Sportsman’s Channel and “Rural Heritage” on RFDTV. Get social @stacylynharris on your favorite social site.

Braised Collards in Tomato-Onion Gravy

Serves 6

A few years ago, I was visiting my cousin Gene and his wife, Kathy, in Fort Valley, Georgia, and teaching a class at a local cooking school. We needed collard greens, so I told the owner I needed two bunches. She drove down the street to a pickup truck parked nearby and came back with two “bunches.” Well, these bunches easily contained two or three monster-size bundles, so big that I had to hug them with both hands. We laughed for hours about the size of Fort Valley collards.

Traditional Southern collards are cooked with fatback, ham hock, or bacon grease. There’s a lot of flavor in that fat, so when you eliminate it, you need to bump up the flavor elsewhere. Charring the tomatoes before adding them to the gravy is a great way to add a smoky, umami-rich note without adding fat or calories.

Calories 72 Fat 2 g Carbs 11 g Fiber 5 g Protein 4 g

Reprinted with permission from Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography © 2015 by Angie Mosier. For more information please visit www.virginiawillis.com

Chasing the Carrot Cake

Makes one 2-layer cake to serve 24

Carrot cakes are oil based, and oil-based cakes are easy, which is why they became so popular. It’s simply a matter of grating some carrots and measuring out the dry ingredients. There’s no creaming of butter and sugar, no egg whites to whip, no sugar syrup for the frosting. It’s a glorified quick bread. And it’s healthy, right? Big wrong. Remember the oil? More often than not, carrot cakes are a greasy, dense cake laden with frosting and topped with garish exclamations of orange and misshapen squiggles of green. This cake rescues the carrot cake. It still contains oil, but as little as possible and still stays moist.

Yes, you can have cake! Not fake cake, not dry-as-dirt cake—not cake that tastes like it’s meant to keep you regular. Real, moist cake. It’s still simple to prepare and swathed in a swoopy, winter white coat of sweetened cream cheese frosting, but much lower in calories and fat.

Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin

Serves 8 to 10

The amusing thing about Thanksgiving is that it is the one meal that is almost immovable in terms of menu. Each family member has that one dish that is his or her favorite, and for some, the entire holiday is absolutely, positively ruined if the sweet potatoes are topped with something other than toasty brown marshmallows or if the squash casserole is missing. The deal is, dishes can be added, but nothing can be removed from the menu. I learned this the hard way. I have had, without fail, some form of cooked winter greens at every Thanksgiving meal of my entire life. In late November, the fields have been kissed with a touch of frost, something that Meme said brings out their sweetness. I added this dish several years ago, and it has become a family favorite.

All recipes here are reprinted with permission of their respective owners.

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