The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking: 450 Essential Recipes Southerners Have Enjoyed for Generations

The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking: 450 Essential Recipes Southerners Have Enjoyed for Generations

by Louis Van Dyke, Billie Van Dyke

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"It's Ecstasy come Dixie." Southern Living

The Most Extensive Collection of Southern Recipes Ever in One Book

Voted Southern Living magazine's 1996 Reader's Choice Award for best small-town restaurant in the South and the "Best in the South" for six years straight, the Blue Willow Inn is the quintessential eatery for fans of traditional Southern cuisine.

Now, you can recreate the Blue Willow Inn experience in your own kitchen with over 600 classic Southern recipes, including:

Blue Willow Inn's Famous Fried Green Tomatoes (page 170)

Chicken and Dumplings (page 90)

Virginia's Vidalia Onion Dip (page 58)

Kudzu Blossom Jelly (page 83)

Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole (page 194)

Alabama "Blue Ribbon" Banana Pudding (page 342)

Southern Fried Chicken (page 247)

Thanks to proprietor Billie Van Dyke, as well as cooks from all over the South, you can now experience the culinary wonders of the Blue Willow Inn's delectable taste in your very own kitchen. Recipes passed down from generation to generation, adapted and enhanced through the years, have been collected into the most comprehensive collection of Southern recipes ever published.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781418586263
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 624,834
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Louis and Billie Van Dyke have been in the hospitality/restaurant business since opening their first restaurant in a small house that seated 68 in 1985. They purchased a Greek revival mansion in January 1991, located in Social Circle, Georgia, that had been vacant for almost 24 years, and after extensive renovation opened it to the public on Thanksgiving Day as the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant. They continue to serve the best quality food possible and treat every customer as a very special guest.

Read an Excerpt

The Blue Willow Inn

Bible of Southern Cooking

By Louis Van Dyke, Billie Van Dyke

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2005 Billie and Louis Van Dyke
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4185-8626-3



Cocktail is purely American both in the word and the mixture—an appetizer. At one time it was made almost entirely of liquors. Today, appetizers can comprise any number of dishes at the hostess's discretion. The use of fruits, vegetables, and meats is a delight to the palate whether it is prior to a dinner party or a casual gathering.

Asparagus Sandwiches

1 loaf sandwich bread
1 (15-ounce) can asparagus, drained and
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup chopped onion
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of garlic salt
Dash of seasoned salt
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
Lemon pepper (optional)

Cut the crust from the bread and cut the bread into rounds or shapes with a cookie cutter. In a medium-size mixing bowl mix the asparagus, mayonnaise, pecans, onion, soy sauce, garlic salt, seasoned salt, and cream cheese. Add the lemon pepper if desired and mix all together until well blended and smooth. Spread on the sandwich rounds and serve on a pretty platter.

Yield: 15 to 20 sandwiches

Bacon-Chestnut Appetizers

15 slices quality bacon
1 cup whole water chestnuts (about 30)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the bacon in half lengthwise and wrap each piece around a water chestnut. Secure with a toothpick. Place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Yield: 30 servings

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Dip

This dip is great for summer cookouts and celebrations, especially when tomatoes are garden fresh.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup ranch salad dressing
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
(about ¾ cup)
6 bacon slices, crisply cooked, drained,
and chopped
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
Lettuce leaves

In a medium-size bowl combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, and sugar. Mix well. Add the diced tomato, bacon, celery, and onion. Toss with a fork. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours (this will allow the flavors to blend). Line a small serving platter with the lettuce leaves. Fill with the dip. Serve with party crackers

Yield: 2 cups

Cherie Powell Newborn, Georgia

Bacon Roll-Ups
½ cup water
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1½ cups herb-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ pound hot or mild bulk pork sausage
2/3 pound bacon

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a saucepan heat the water over medium heat. Melt the butter in the water. Put the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir the mixture into the breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sausage to the breadcrumb mixture and blend thoroughly.

Place in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and shape into balls the size of walnuts. Cut the bacon strips into thirds and wrap the sausage balls with the bacon, securing the bacon with a toothpick. Place the roll-ups on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels prior to serving. Serve hot.

Yield: 3 dozen roll-ups

Bacon-Tomato Cocktail Rounds

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
12 plum or Italian tomatoes
36 thin slices fresh white bread
¼ pound chopped cooked bacon
¼ cup finely chopped scallions

In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, onion, and salt. Chill. Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Slice lengthwise into thin slices. Cut the bread into rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Spread the bread with the mayonnaise mixture. Top with a tomato slice. Sprinkle with the bacon and then the scallions.

Yield: 36 rounds

Cheese Ball

1 (8-ounce) jar soft cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
1 (8-ounce) package blue cheese
1 rounded teaspoon dry onion flakes,
soaked in a little water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
1 cup finely chopped pecans

In a medium-size mixing bowl mix the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese, onion flakes, and Worcestershire sauce together with a mixer and shape into a ball.

This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or can be frozen. When ready to serve, bring to room temperature and roll the ball in the chopped parsley and pecans. Place on a platter or cheese board and serve with crackers.

Yield: 15 to 20 servings

Cheese Cookies

This is a favorite recipe of Petra Broberg, who was a second grandmother to the Van Dyke children as they were growing up. Cheese cookies or cheese straws are a "must" at any southern special occasion such as teas, receptions, baby showers, or bridal showers.

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 pound (16 ounces) longhorn or sharp
cheddar cheese
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup pecan halves

In a medium-size mixing bowl combine the flour, chopped pecans, butter, cheese, and pepper. Mix well. On a lightly floured surface shape the dough into a roll about the diameter of a quarter. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator, and chill.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Slice and place the slices on an ungreased sheet pan about 1/8-inch apart. Place a pecan half in the center of each cookie. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not brown.

Hint: This dough can be put in a cookie press and used for cheese sticks. The baked cookies or cheese sticks freeze well. Place them in a tight tin with wax paper between each layer.

Yield: 125 bite-size cookies

Cheese Mold

This cheese mold serves well as an appetizer with assorted crackers before a meal or as one of several hors d'oeuvres at a reception. It can be made ahead and frozen and complements both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) grated sharp
cheddar cheese
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese,
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 drops Tabasco
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup strawberry preserves

Allow the cheddar cheese and cream cheese to come to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, chopped onions, Tabasco, and chopped pecans. Work the ingredients together using your hands (the heat from your hands should soften the cheeses and allow them to blend together). Once thoroughly mixed, the mixture can then be pressed into a mold.

Either lightly grease the mold or cover the inside of the mold with plastic wrap. When pressing the mixture into the mold, be sure to press into all of the cavities.

Chill 2 to 3 hours before serving or you can freeze for later use. When you are ready to serve, remove from the mold, place on a platter, and pour the desired amount of strawberry preserves over the top. Also, the sides of the cheese mold can be garnished with coarsely chopped pecans gently pressed into its sides.

If you have frozen the cheese mold, allow it to defrost and soften before serving.

Hint: Generally cheeses should be served at room temperature, about 70°, to bring out the flavors.

Yield: 20 to 25 servings

Chicken Bites with Sweet-Hot Tomato Chutney

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves,
about 8 ounces each
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
12 precooked bacon slices
½ cup hot mango chutney
½ cup salsa

Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut each chicken breast into 12 cubes. Sprinkle with the lemon pepper seasoning. Cut the bacon slices in half crosswise. Wrap a bacon piece around each chicken cube. Secure with wooden toothpicks. Arrange on a lightly greased rack in a broiler pan. Bake the cubes for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

Process the chutney and salsa together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with the chicken bites.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

This is a great recipe for those who like a "sweet" cheese ball.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
½ cup (1 stick) butter (no substitutes)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
¾ cup miniature semisweet chocolate
¾ cup finely chopped pecans
Graham crackers

In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add both the confectioners' and light brown sugar and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Place the cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, roll the cheese ball in the pecans. Serve with the graham crackers (regular or chocolate).

Yield: 15 to 20 servings

Vivian Beasley Monroe, Georgia

First Place Winner—Appetizers and Hors d'Oeuvre Blue Willow Inn Restaurant Recipe Contest, 2004

Crab Dip

1 (8-ounce) can crabmeat, drained and
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dry white wine

Drain and flake the crabmeat. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and salt. Stir constantly until smooth and well blended. While stirring, gradually add the wine. Stir in the crabmeat until well mixed.

Serve hot in a chafing or fondue dish with crackers or toast points.

Yield: 12 to 15 servings

Cream Cheese and Pineapple Finger Sandwiches

I have served these finger sandwiches for years. They are a family favorite and are easy to make. My daughter now makes them when she entertains.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple,
½ cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 loaf white sandwich bread

In a mixing bowl combine the softened cream cheese and pineapple. Add the sugar and pecans to this mixture. Trim the crust from the bread slices. Spread the cheese mixture on the bread slices and make into sandwiches. Place the sandwiches on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Chill.

When you are ready to serve, cut the sandwiches into thin slices about 1 inch in width and place on a decorative tray.

Hint: Tea sandwiches should be made of bread that is at least 24 hours old and preferably from a sandwich loaf. This gives better slices since the grain is closer than in an ordinary loaf of bread. Brown, white, and sometimes nut breads are those that are generally used. Whatever bread is chosen, all the crust should be removed. Tea sandwiches can be cut in a variety of fancy shapes with various cutters. If cutters are used, keep them damp by dipping them in warm water so the slices will not be ragged around the edges.

Yield: 20 to 25 servings

Joyce Dina Gainesville, Florida

Cream Puffs

1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
1 cup all-purpose or self-rising flour
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a saucepan heat the water and butter to a rolling boil. Bring the heat down to low and stir in the flour. Stir vigorously over low heat about 1 minute or until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until smooth. Drop the dough by the ¼ cupful 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and a golden color.

Cool the puffs away from any draft. Cut off the tops and pull out any filaments of soft dough. Carefully fill the puffs with a desired filling. Replace the tops. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use. These cream puffs may be filled with chicken salad, tuna salad, vanilla pudding, ice cream, or frosted with chocolate icing.

Hint: If smaller puffs are desired, drop the dough on an ungreased baking sheet by the rounded teaspoonful and bake only 25 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 16 to 18 puffs

Yvonne McMillan Red Springs, North Carolina

Cucumber Party Sandwiches

Note the hint on page 42 concerning tea sandwiches.

1 to 2 loaves sandwich bread, crusts
2 to 3 tablespoons garlic & herb or ranch
dry dressing mix
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
4 to 6 tablespoons milk
2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly

Use a small biscuit cutter or a small glass to cut the bread into rounds the same diameter as the cucumber slices.

In a small mixing bowl blend the dressing mix and the cream cheese well. Add the milk to thin to a spreading consistency. Spread the bread rounds with a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture. Top the round with a cucumber slice and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Arrange on a pretty tray with lettuce and cherry tomatoes.

Yield: 30 to 60 rounds

Double Oink Roll-Ups

It's no secret that pigs rule on southern menus. For breakfast, lunch, and supper; from streak o' lean to country ham; and from barbecue to Brunswick stew, pork is the meat of choice. That's a fact well reflected in these hors d'doeuvres, which combine a good mouthful of bacon and sausage in one piggy wallop!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ cup water
1 ½ cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 pound bulk mild or hot sausage
2/3 pound bacon strips

In a saucepan, melt the butter in the water over medium-high heat. Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl. Remove from the heat and stir into the breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sausage and blend thoroughly. Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and form into pecan-size balls. Cut the bacon strips into thirds and wrap around the balls, securing each with a wooden toothpick. Place them on a shallow baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Yield: about 30 roll-ups

Dried Beef Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese,
1 (8-ounce) container soft cream cheese
½ (16-ounce) bottle ranch-style dressing
1 small onion, grated
2 (2.25-ounce) jars chopped dried beef
1 head cabbage
Assorted crackers
Chopped pecans (optional)

In a medium-size mixing bowl beat the softened cream cheeses, ranch dressing, and onion until blended. Stir in the chopped beef. Serve in a hollowed head of cabbage with the crackers. Sprinkle with the pecans, if desired.

Yield: 4 cups

Famous Tomato Sandwiches

This recipe was printed in Southern Living magazine some ten years ago. These are pretty sandwiches when cut with seasonal cookie cutters. It's a great way to serve a tomato sandwich at church luncheons or showers. This is a different way to enjoy a southern favorite.

2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled
1 large white onion
16 slices white sandwich bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes and onion and layer them in a plastic container. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Cut the bread into circles (I use a pineapple can). Spread each slice generously with a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard. Discard the onion, drain the tomatoes, and place one slice of tomato on a bread round. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper to taste. Top with another bread round. When sandwiches are complete, place in a pan or tray and cover with slightly damp paper towels and plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Yield: about 15 servings

Robin Smith Buchanan, Georgia

Flamingo Floyd's Spinach Dip

This recipe came from the kitchen of Columba Bush, the first lady of Florida. She notes that it is delicious when served with different colorful vegetables, corn chips, or a nice crusty bread.

1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped
spinach, thawed
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped

In a large microwavable bowl place the thawed spinach, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, tomato, and onion. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheeses are softened. Remove from the microwave and stir. Return to the microwave and heat until the cheeses are melted. Remove and stir the ingredients until they are well mixed.

Yield: about 6 cups

Fruit Cheese Ball

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese,
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple,
1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, pineapple, pepper, and onion. Mix until all are well blended. Cover and refrigerate to chill. Before serving, form the mixture into a ball and roll in the nuts. Serve with crackers.

Yield: 15 to 20 servings

Chris Franks Stone Mountain, Georgia

Excerpted from The Blue Willow Inn by Louis Van Dyke, Billie Van Dyke. Copyright © 2005 Billie and Louis Van Dyke. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgements....................     7     

Foreword....................     9     

Introduction....................     11     

Appetizers....................     37     

Beverages & Punches....................     61     

Jellies, Jams, Preserves, & Spreads....................     79     

Soups & Salads....................     89     

Relishes & Pickles....................     123     

Gravies & Sauces....................     129     

Breads....................     139     

Side Dishes....................     163     

Main Dishes....................     211     

Desserts & Sweets....................     261     

Kids Korner....................     357     

Party or Family Reunion Planning....................     363     

Index....................     377     

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