My Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill & Air Fryer is WONDERFUL...

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 18, 2021

I'm totally obsessed with my Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Indoor Grill & Air Fryer. I love the convenience, it's totally enclosed so there is no mess, it never smokes, and the best feature is the probe. Just insert it and set meat to the desired cooking preference, rare, medium rare, etc. it cooks it to perfection and alerts you when it's finished. The air fryer has a really large cooking surface, too . 

This is the best piece of kitchen equipment I've bought since my Instant Pot and I use it multiple times weekly. It's well worth the $$ to upgrade to this model with all it's great features. And no doubt, it will be on sale Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We never use our outdoor grill anymore, this is so much easier to use and cleanup is a breeze, I just put everything in the dishwasher. 

Think about it, what a great Christmas gift this would make.

Here's the Amazon link to see all the great features.




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Slow Cooker Chicken In a Bag, the most tender chicken you will ever make

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 18, 2021

So easy, so good and it literally falls off the bone, it's that tender.   And it's so simple.  All you need is a slow cooker, a Reynolds Chicken Size Cooking Bag and a chicken.  I posted this recipe years ago but it's definitely worth repeating.

You just take a whole chicken, season it, put it in a Reynolds Cooking Bag, (the kind you put a turkey in at Thanksgiving, but a smaller size for a chicken, or just use the big turkey bag if you can't find a small one) squeeze out the air, twist it shut with a twisty, and put it in the slow cooker, no liquid, nothing, don't worry it won't burn.  Cook it on low for 8-10  hours, that's the key, low and slow but if you're in a pinch you can cook it on high 6 hours and the chicken literally falls off the bone.

Lift the bag out of the slow cooker with an oven mitt, snip the end and drain the chicken stock in a large bowl to use later.

This is a win-win recipe, you will love it!  Pinky swear you will.

Note:  I don't pierce the bag before I cook it because I want the chicken to steam.  When the chicken is ready to take out of the slow cooker the bag will be puffy with air, so I pierce the bag close to the twistie, let the steam escape, then take it out with my mitts and snip a corner of the bottom of the bag over a bowl to drain the liquid.


Season it with fresh herbs, stuff it with lemons, apple, oranges, any kind of fruit you want.  Sprinkle ranch dressing on it, or taco seasoning, the possibilities are endless.  I like it with just salt and pepper myself.

You will never make more tender chicken than this.

Photo Source:  Adobe Free License Stock Photos
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Pioneer Woman Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with a Few Changes

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 15, 2021


Our family loves candied sweet potatoes, and cooking them to the syrupy consistency without being watery is a challenge every . single . year.  Mother was the queen of candied sweet potatoes, I can just see her standing over the stove with a wooden spoon, her eye constantly on them until they were candied to perfection, with lots of thick, sweet syrup. But it's been hit or miss ever since she's been gone.  Some years they are syrupy and some years they are watery and I am always on the search for a solution.

A few years ago Pioneer Woman published a recipe for Slow Cooker Candied Sweet Potatoes and I was all over that like mayo on white.  Could it actually be this easy?  And the answer is YES!!!!  I adjusted her recipe though because we're not a fan of spices and vanilla in our sweet potatoes.  

I made them the way we always have:

Several large sweet potatoes

 1/2 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

A little dash of salt

Half a stick of butter

1/4 cup water 

2.5 heaping Tablespoons of cornstarch

Be sure and toss the sweet potatoes with the cornstarch until they are well coated.  I used more cornstarch than Ree did in her recipe, probably because I always use really large sweet potatoes.

I cut them in smaller chunks, cooked first on low, after an hour switched to high because I was afraid they wouldn't get done. Then I cooked an hour and a half on high and they were PERFECTION!


Here is her original recipe

6 to 7 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons salted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Juice of 1 orange

1/4 cup water

Pinch of kosher salt

Chopped walnuts, toasted, for serving

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Toss the sweet potatoes with the cornstarch in a bowl to coat well. Add the mixture to a slow cooker and dot with the butter. Sprinkle over the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cayenne. Pour in the vanilla, orange juice and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low, stirring once or twice, until the potatoes are tender, about 3 hours.

Toss the potatoes once more and transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with the walnuts and parsley and serve.

Source: Food Tv

Picture courtesy of Adobe Free License Stock Photos




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Perfect, Yummy Cranberry Sauce

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 14, 2021

Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan, saving 1/2 cup and transferring to a small bowl. 

Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. 

Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. 

Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Source:  Food Network

Winter Minestrone

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 11, 2021


Who doesn't love soup on chilly winter days. It's soul soothing, warm and wonderful.

This Minestrone is so good and it freezes really well.  I'm a big fan of Ball wide mouth jars for freezing soup.  I just leave three inches of headspace to allow for expansion, don't put the lid on until it's fully frozen and it freezes beautifully.  So, if you're in the mood for soup, this adaptation from Giada DeLaurentis is just that good!

1 onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces lean (8 percent fat) ground beef - sometimes I omit this
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
4 cups low-sodium beef broth - I use better than beef bouillon a very large tablespoon scoop of it 
1 can of italian diced tomatoes
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, Great Northern Beans work well
One 15-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 head of chopped cabbage
1/2 cup of ditalini pasta
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
Turn Instant Pot to saute and brown ground beef, if using.  Add the rest of ingredients, pressure for 3 minutes, Quick Release, TURN INSTANT POT OFF - then I just let it set until it cools.

No Instant Pot, just put it in the slow cooker for 4 hours or simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.  Anyway you cook it, it's a winner!

The Best Healthy, Delicious Taco Soup

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 10, 2021

I've made this soup countless times.  It started with an old Weight Watcher recipe and I tweaked and tasted until I got it right. It's easy, delicious and good for you...

1 lb. cooked chicken breast.  Rotisserie chicken is an easy way to make this, I also used Kirkland Canned Chicken Breast from Costco sometimes
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 ounce pkg Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix, I like El Paso
1-15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
2-15 ounce can kidney or red beans rinsed and drained
1 bag frozen corn
2-15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, I used mild
1 can green chiles
14.5 ounce can chicken broth 

I'm an Instant Pot girl, so I just dump all of this in the Instant Pot, pressure for 5 minutes, quick release. No Instant Pot, no problem, just simmer on your stove for 20-30 minutes until onion is tender.

If you're not a chicken lover, just substitute 1/2 pound lean ground beef if you're watching calories, if not, take a walk on the wild side and add an entire pound 😏. Then substitute a can of beef broth for the chicken broth, either way you make it it's a great recipe.

Paula Deen's Savannah Red Rice

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 09, 2021

I made after watching Paula make it in a video. It was so good, we loved it and served it with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and crusty bread. Yes, mashed potatoes, don't judge 😜 corn is good with this, too. This recipe is very similar to jambalaya without all the creole seasoning, I like it so much better than jambalaya. 

1 cup chopped onion - I used a large onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper - I used a whole yellow pepper

2 tablespoons butter

I used 1/2 lb. of garlic kielbasa, cut a thick piece, then cut the piece into 4ths, just use whole ring if you want more meat

1 (14.5 oz) can with juice crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon hot sauce - I used Franks. Don't cut back on the hot sauce, this was just the perfect amount, it wasn't hot, just a little spicy. If you like more heat, just serve hot sauce at the table.

1 small 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup water - next time I will use 1-1/8 cup water because my 8 oz. of tomato sauce didn't measure quite a full cup

1 heaping Tablespoon Chicken Better than Bouillon

salt to taste, I didn't add much salt, maybe 1/4 tsp, the bouillon is salty

pepper to taste

1 cup uncooked Instant Rice

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper in butter. Add sausage; heat until mixture is slightly browned. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, tomato sauce, water and bouillon cubes. Season with pepper and salt as needed. Stir in rice. Pour mixture into a greased 9x 12 casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. She leaves it totally uncovered, I covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 15 and it was perfect.

Pumpkin Custard

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, September 08, 2021

Let's go back, way back to September 16, 1997.  I sent my bestie, V a recipe for Pumpkin Custard.  I loved that recipe and thought she would enjoy it as well.  Well, me, being me, lost the recipe, many times, MANY times, and I would have to ask her for it and she always came thru.  For some reason I never posted this online and it was on the hard drive of my old computer that crashed and had to be reformatted and I lost it once again.

Meridee's Breadbasket Swedish Coleslaw

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 16, 2021

 If you're in the Nashville area, Meridee's Breadbasket in Franklin is definitely something you won't want to miss.  Our family loves Meridee's, it's my favorite restaurant, wonderful food, fresh baked pies (the key lime is ahh-mazing and you can never go wrong with the cherry)  homemade bread, what's not to love.

The Best Recipe Ever for Freezing Corn

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 29, 2021


This is an old, really old, family recipe from the Missouri cousins on mother's side of the family, shared with me from another cousin ❤️  I first made this August of 2020 and it is wonderful.  

Pasta Primavera

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, April 14, 2021

 This was ah-mazing.  So good and so easy...

The original recipe came from TheVegLife, but I made substitutions since hubby isn't a fan of zucchini and summer squash.  I used a large onion, a yellow pepper, matchstick carrots and mushrooms.  Next time I may add water chestnuts. I know, I know, its not Asian, but it would give it a nice crunch.  Another alternative would be to roast the veggies in a 450 degree oven and then proceed with recipe.  Grilled chicken would be a great option, too.