The names of the recipe submissions from our Regions family for our newest holiday Good Recipes edition sound like the remarks people make when they watch fireworks exploding in the sky – “Spectacular,” “Mighty,” “World’s Greatest,” “Absolute Best EVER.” No doubt these dishes will be a blast this Labor Day.
Or your first family football game day gathering of the new season.
Here’s what I recommend: Start with The Jeters Spectacular Hickory-Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers (I’m suggesting you take Laleasha Jeter’s advice and use the honey pecan-flavored cream cheese), and then add in Tina Jones’ pineapple-spiked Mighty Meatballs. Then don’t forget the World’s Greatest/Almost Famous Deviled Eggs because, as Patty Hotmire says, “a summer holiday just wouldn’t be the same without deviled eggs.”
When it comes to sides, you won’t want to miss the Absolute Best Creamed Corn EVER, handed down at least four generations in Heather Wilson’s family. Pair that with Julie Bates’ Grilled Half Potatoes and Lorraine Zimmerman’s Yellow Summer Squash, and your sides are set.
If you’re in a bind and need a quick-but-delicious dish for the neighborhood bash, whip up Stephanie Wiesneske’s Pasta or Betty Watkins’ Cold Spaghetti. But, if you’ve got the time, nothing says holiday weekend like Ashley Woodall’s Bacon-Wrapped Apple Pie/Peach Pie-stuffed Pork Tenderloin (just try to keep your eyes from rolling to the back of your head!). Then, top your menu off with Kim Jackson’s Famous Carrot Cake and some Really, It’s That Easy Peanut Butter Cookies, à la Lisa Gillespie.
The Jeters Spectacular Hickory-Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers
“This recipe has to be included because with the football season approaching; this appetizer will be a family favorite and a Popping hit!!”
- 10 large jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
- Salt and ground pepper
- 12 ounces maple-flavored bacon
- 8-ounce package cream cheese (with this item I like to add a really good kick and get the honey pecan flavored cream cheese. This is optional but ohhhhhhh so good!)
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 roll of hickory-flavored breakfast sausage
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper mix well and set to the side.
In a small skillet, fry your breakfast sausage. When done, drain and stir into the cream cheese mixture.
Place peppers on cutting board and cut as perfect as you can to have 2 halves, lengthwise. With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno half with about 1 tablespoon of mixture. When all jalapenos are filled, wrap the bacon around the peppers. Depending on how large your peppers are, it may take up to 2 strips of bacon.
Place poppers on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Or, if you prefer, you can grill them. The time is about the same as well. ENJOY FRIENDS!
World’s Greatest/Almost Famous Deviled Eggs!
“Must be included because, well a holiday just wouldn’t be the same without deviled eggs!”
- 1 dozen older eggs, hard boiled and cooled
- 1 large plastic zip-close bag (quart or gallon-sized)
- 1 tablespoon of stone-ground or spicy mustard
- ¼ cup of Duke’s Mayo (no other brand will do, and not the low-fat version either!)
- ¼ cup of Thousand Island dressing with bacon! (This is the secret ingredient)
- Salt and pepper to taste (about ¼ teaspoon each)
- Paprika to sprinkle on top (or Spicy Mrs. Dash)
Peel the eggs under warm running water (the water helps to ease off the shells). Cut the peeled eggs in half lengthwise and dump the yolks into a separate bowl. Use a fork to mush the yolks and mix with the salt and pepper. Once yolks are smashed up finely (no lumps), dump them into the plastic bag. Add mustard, mayo, and Thousand Island dressing to the bag and squeeze until mixed (at this point you can choose to transport the ready-made mayo mix in the plastic bag along with the egg white halves to your destination for easy transport). When ready to serve, cut a small corner of the bag and squeeze the mayo mix into each egg white half, then sprinkle with paprika (or Spicy Mrs. Dash).
“This recipe should be included because it is a delicious twist to cooking meatballs.”
- 5-pound bag of meatballs
- 32-ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
- ½ cup of grape jelly
- 8-ounce can of pineapple tidbits
Combine all ingredients in a crockpot (or boiler) and cook until meatballs are tender.
Absolute Best Creamed Corn EVER
“This recipe is so simple, but the absolute best creamed corn EVER!! My great-grandmother used to make this for me all the time. My grandmother, who is the sweetest person you will ever meet, gave it to my mom. My mom, and best friend, gave it to me. This recipe has been passed down from mom to daughter for as long as we can remember. The only thing that sets this recipe apart is the love that has been passed down with it. We always used fresh corn from our garden. They never really measured anything, but my mom and I have measured some ingredients out.”
- 10 ounces corn or 4-5 ears fresh (we used whole ears and cut the kernels off, it just tastes better, I don’t know why)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2-3 tablespoons flour (add more to reach desired thickness)
- 4 tablespoons butter (more if wanted)
- Salt and pepper to taste
You will need a deep skillet or pot, whichever you have. Add corn to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes; stir constantly. Add salt, pepper, butter, and heavy cream; boil for 8-10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk flour and milk together to form a paste. Add to skillet. Simmer on low for 5 minutes to thicken.
Flavor tips: Add hot sauce for a nice little kick or some dry parmesan cheese.
Grilled Half Potatoes
“The concept came from an item that used to be on the menu at our favorite restaurant. I loved getting it with my meal so I kind of made it up.”
- Baking potatoes
- Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Wash and cut baking potato lengthwise. Blot cut side of potato to remove liquid. Spread softened butter and sprinkle Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on cut side of potato. Place halves face up on microwave-safe plate and cook in microwave for 2 minutes per half on high. Carefully remove plate from microwave and place potato halves cut side down on hot grill; grill 25-30 minutes. Enjoy plain or add toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, or bacon bits.
Yellow Summer Squash
“Here is my simple summer recipe for yellow summer squash that won’t heat up the house.”
- 2 medium or 3 small yellow squash
- 1 small white or yellow onion
Thinly slice the squash and the onion, trying to keep both at the same thickness. You can cut the onion in half to slice, but not any smaller. In a lidded casserole dish, lay out a single layer of squash. Dot the layer with small bits of butter. Sprinkle about 1/8 tsp of salt and pepper over the squash. Lay out as much onion as you like. Repeat until all of the squash is gone, or the dish is full. Put on the lid and put in the microwave. Cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes. You can add or delete minutes depending on how firm or soft you like your squash and onions.
“This is one of my favorite pastas and you can make it a hot or cold meal.”
- Large container of bite-sized heirloom tomatoes
- Purple onion or sweet onion, chopped
- Large feta cheese square
- Loose feta cheese
- Whole-grain (or regular) penne pasta
- Olive oil
- Deep cooking dish
Combine tomatoes and chopped onion with 2 tablespoons olive oil in cooking dish (I use a Pyrex 9×9 dish). Place block of feta in the middle. Sprinkle all over with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary. Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil pasta. Drain and pour into bowl. Combine sauce, arugula, and pasta and garnish with loose feta and fresh cracked pepper.
I have added many different proteins to this, and it is so refreshing. I suggest shrimp, chicken or salmon. If you want to make it cold, bake the tomatoes with one teaspoon of olive and the above spices for 30 minutes until they blister and let cool; let pasta cool as well. Then in a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, arugula, pasta and container of loose feta.
“I really just made up this recipe when my son Bradley was little. He loved spaghetti and all the other ingredients! He will be turning 40 in July and still asks for this at all of our family gatherings!”
- 1-pound spaghetti
- 1 bottle of Italian salad dressing
- Fresh tomatoes, diced
- Purple onions or green onions, chopped
Cook spaghetti; drain under cold water until cool. Transfer into large bowl and pour dressing over top. Stir in tomatoes and onions; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. The longer it marinates, the better.
Bacon-Wrapped Apple Pie/Peach Pie-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
“Everyone who has tasted this has had their eyes roll in the back of their heads. Friends contact me wanting me to cook this for them.”
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 large packet of bacon (thick cut not suggested, just regular)
- 1 can apple pie filling or peach pie filling (I do one of each)
- Favorite barbecue rub (I like the applewood rub flavor)
Remove tenderloin from packaging and wash under water; pat dry. Butterfly tenderloin down middle, DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Season with favorite rub. Fill with apple or peach filling. Gently close tenderloin, keeping as much filling in as possible. I use toothpicks through the top to secure tenderloin shut. Wrap bacon around tenderloin. I like to lay bacon on bottom and then crisscross at top, gives it a little more stability.
Once wrapped, take remaining pie filling gel and smear all over top of tenderloin. Sprinkle more of favorite rub on top, using jelly as a binder for it to stick to. I smoke mine, 225 degrees for about 3 hours, until internal temp has reached 145 degrees.
Take tenderloin out, let rest for about 5 minutes, then slice and enjoy! I use a smoker for mine, but this can be enjoyed with an oven also.
Kim’s Famous Carrot Cake
“This cake has been a favorite of my family and friends for nearly 30 years (I’ve been baking since I was 5!) and has brought in the highest bid in many bake sales. I have never shared this recipe with ANYONE, so I hope you love it!”
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1-pound shredded carrots
- 1 cup oil
- 4 eggs
Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 cups pecans, depending on preference
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line three 8-inch round pans with parchment paper circles. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix thoroughly. Add the carrots, eggs, and oil, and stir until incorporated. Bake in the 8-inch pans for 25-30 minutes or a 13×9 inch pan for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
After removing the cakes, roast the pecans for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool. While cooling, whip the butter and cream cheese in a mixer for a few seconds until blended and smooth. Add the milk and vanilla. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar a little at a time until you get to desired consistency; you may not need the whole 2 pounds. Once at the desired consistency, whip for 2 to 4 minutes on medium speed to bring air into the frosting; it will be almost pure white in color and almost doubled in volume. If the pecans are whole, chop into fine pieces and then fold them into the finished frosting. Simply spread between each layer and on the sides of the finished cake. Another option is to not mix in the pecans but press them against the sides of the frosted cake. Store cake either on the counter or in the fridge for up to a week.
Really, It’s That Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
“Why should this recipe be included? This recipe has saved my life so many times. Need a last-minute item for the class bake sale—BOOM—triple the recipe and you have 36 cookies for a forgetful student to take to school. Let’s say that you have a hankering for something sweet but don’t want to make anything with too many steps or ingredients: make a single batch and eat most of the sweet snack evidence yourself. They are gluten-free, protein-packed, extra-chewy, and incredibly delicious.”
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the peanut butter, egg, and sugar together until thoroughly blended. Use either a non-stick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Scoop out some of the mixture with a spoon; roll it into 1-inch balls.
Place balls about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies with a fork in a crisscross pattern. Cook them for 9 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven (as all ovens heat differently). The cookies will not look browned and will appear to still be a bit soft. Remove; allow them to cool on the cookie sheet. As they sit, they will firm up in the cooler temps outside the oven. Then, you may transfer them to a container or plate.
Store cookies in an air-tight container. This size batch of cookies yields about a dozen cookies. This recipe is easy to double, triple, quadruple, etc.