Recipe: Shrimp and Grits (+ our holiday team dinner!)

If you’ve never had (or heard of) Shrimp and Grits, it’s one you’ve gotta try! It’s most definitely a southern dish that’s pretty common around here in the Carolinas, but what I’ve found is there are all different ways to make it. Some add flour and broth to the shrimp to make more of sauce, some add all sorts of accompianents like bell peppers and mushrooms, and some kick things up a notch by using sausage instead of bacon. Now I’m not sure I’ve ever met a Shrimp & Grits dish I didn’t like, but inspired by my friend Valerie’s recipe and after some trial and error I’ve settled on this simple – yet delicious – version below. And by the way, we do think of this dish as a special meal at our house – last year I served it on Christmas Eve, and Valerie often serves it on New Year’s Eve. So hopefully you can find a way to add this recipe to your holiday table as well.

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Recipe: Pesto Cream Cheese Turnovers (an Appetizer!)

If you’ve got lots of potluck events coming up this month, then I’ve got the perfect solution for you. Make a big batch of these super yummy (and also impressive) savory Pesto Cream Cheese Turnovers, throw them in your freezer, and then pull out (and defrost) however many you need to take to each event! They can be reheated and served warm, but they’re also great at room temperature, which is often unavoidable at long holiday parties. And I know these look like they’re for grownups, but I’m just warning you—my kids devoured them, too. Enjoy! :)

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Video: How to Make Homemade Gravy in 3 Easy Steps!

Whether it’s for the upcoming holidays or just Sunday dinner – I beg you to please not use those highly-processed store-bought packets of gravy mix to make your gravy! The ingredient list is full of refined additives you would not cook with at home even including “corn syrup solids” – no, thank you! Plus it’s SO super easy to make your own homemade gravy from scratch.

It can be done in just three simple steps, and I even show you in the video how you can use butter instead of cooking fat and broth instead of cooking juices. This way if you really want to make gravy quickly you can get it done in just two easy steps ! Watch the video below to see how I do it, and I guarantee gravy will start showing up on your table for more than just Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy :)

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Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake (+ Other Holiday Recipes)

Today I’ve got a tasty new recipe for you that happens to be the final installment in our blogger #RealFoodHoliday progressive dinner series! I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally never been a fan of pumpkin pie (is anyone really?), but I do LOVE some pumpkin cheesecake. I think this is such a great update to the traditional dessert we’ve all seen year after year, and with the pecan crust you can easily accommodate any gluten-free guests you might be entertaining.

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Recipe: Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

Are you ready to kick up your classic mashed potato dish a few notches? If so, you are going to love this cheesy mashed potato casserole which has a layer of warm toasted cheese on top—yum! Plus, I’ve added a make ahead note so this recipe can easily make an appearance on your holiday table this year. And since it calls for unpeeled potatoes, you can count on that extra nutritional punch that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Southern Potato Salad (without mayo!)

I am on yet another quest to replace mayonnaise in a classic recipe. As I’ve explained before, store bought mayo isn’t exactly real food (and making mayo from scratch isn’t exactly my cup of tea). Plus not everyone is a mayonnaise lover anyway, so just in time for your holiday BBQ, here is my (non-mayo) Southern Potato Salad recipe that is just as good as the original!

And in case you need some more inspiration, here are a few other real food recipes that would be perfect for your holiday celebration:

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