The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen

The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen

by Jennifer Chandler


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Using checklists and smart strategies, Jennifer Chandler helps readers unearth dozens of Southern meals waiting to be discovered in their well-stocked pantries.

Nothing can discourage a home cook quite like being unprepared—running to the store for that one item, getting halfway through a recipe and realizing something is missing, or simply not knowing quite where to begin. Kitchen pro and popular cookbook author Jennifer Chandler returns with The Southern Pantry Cookbook, a fail-safe game plan for ensuring mealtime success.

Chandler helps readers stock their shelves with ingredients that will get them out of the kitchen quickly and around their table with family and friends. From rice and beans to sauces and seasonal produce, Chandler demonstrates how to turn basic recipe supplies into memorable Southern-style meals. With just a little bit of planning and a whole lot of down-home flavor, Chandler has some pretty delicious answers to the question, “What’s for supper?”

Recipe highlights include:

  • Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
  • White Bean and Country Ham Soup
  • Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Grits
  • Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Drunken Peaches
  • Cheesy-Jalapeno Hushpuppies
  • Blackberry Skillet Cobbler

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401605216
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 10/14/2014
Pages: 255
Sales rank: 457,903
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class with Le Grand Diplôme and a Mention Très Bien in Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee,and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and the author of Simply Salads, Simply Suppers , and Simply Grilling .

Read an Excerpt

The Southern Pantry Cookbook

105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen

By Jennifer Chandler

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Chandler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4016-0522-3



I LOVE TO HAVE GUESTS OVER FOR DINNER. SOME OF MY MOST FAVORITE memories have been sitting around the dinner table with good friends and family.

When having guests over, I want to offer them something to snack on while I am finishing up the meal. I set the appetizers up on my kitchen table so my guests can be in the kitchen with me while I am cooking. I want to spend time with them—not have them in another room while I'm in the kitchen!

Nibbles and dips that can be made in advance are my tried-and-true go-tos. Many of the items in this chapter, such as the Pickled Shrimp (page 11), Cheddar-Pecan Shortbread (page 4), and the Texas Caviar (page 20), can be made the day before. Items like the Tex-Mex Corn Dip (page 19) and Spicy Sausage Balls (page 15) can be assembled in the morning and then popped in the oven just before guests arrive.

Simple yet flavorful fare is my secret to easy entertaining.


Deviled eggs are the classic Southern party snack. They are a requisite for myriad events ranging from cocktail parties to summer picnic potlucks. What follows is a basic recipe, though there are many wonderful variations you can make.

6 large eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Dash of hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika, for garnish

* Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand for 12 minutes. Place eggs in a colander to drain, and run cold water over them until cool.

* Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks, keeping the whites intact, and place the yolks in a medium bowl. Reserve the whites.

* Using a fork, mash up the egg yolks. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce, and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* Spoon or pipe the egg yolk mixture into the whites. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. Before serving, sprinkle with paprika.


* COOKING TIP:Adding a little salt to the cooking water and as peeling the eggs under cold water help make the peeling easier.


Similar to cheese straws, these slice-and-bake savory cheese shortbreads are tasty nibbles for a cocktail party. I think they are the perfect complement to a glass of red wine.

2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

* Place the cheese, butter, flour, salt, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough just begins to form a ball, about 10 to 15 seconds.

* Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. Divide into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1 ½-inch thick log. Wrap each log with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

* Place the pecans in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Unwrap the dough, and brush each log with the beaten egg whites. Roll the logs in the pecans to coat, pressing the pecans lightly to adhere. Slice each log crosswise into ¼-inch rounds, and place on the prepared baking sheets at least 1 inch apart.

* Bake until crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


* VARIATION:Instead of having chopped pecans on the edges, you can also make the shortbread with 1 pecan half in the center of each cookie. To make this variation, prepare the dough as instructed. After chilling, slice each dough log, placing the slices onto the prepared baking sheets. Brush the slices with the egg whites and press a pecan into the center of each half. Bake as instructed above.


Oh my! This stuff is sinful. When I make it for a party, I have to hide it to make sure my family doesn't eat it before our guests arrive! I think it's best with corn chips, but you could use your favorite crackers or thinly sliced French bread as well.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ cups finely diced yellow onion (2 large onions)

* Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

* In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the Parmesan and onions, and stir until well combined.

* Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.


* PANTRY SHORTCUT:Frozen onions can be substituted for fresh. Just be sure to thaw and press the onions with paper towels to remove the excess moisture before adding to the dip.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This dip can be assembled up to one day in advance. Just allow 5 to 10 extra minutes' cooking time when heating straight from the refrigerator.


A sausage and cheese plate is a tradition in Memphis barbecue shops. It's a quick and easy appetizer to put together for almost any affair.

Vegetable oil, for the grates
1 link (14 ounces) smoked sausage
½ cup barbecue sauce, divided
4 tablespoons barbecue dry rub, divided
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, cut into sticks or cubes
Pickles, optional
Pepperoncini, optional

* Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

* Evenly slather the sausage with ¼ cup barbecue sauce. Season with 2 tablespoons of the dry rub.

* Place the sausage on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once, until browned and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the sausage to a cutting board and cut into ½-inch thick slices.

* To serve, arrange the sausage and cheese on a serving platter. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of dry rub evenly over the top. Serve with the remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce on the side. Garnish with pickles and pepperoncini if desired.


* COOKING TIP:The sausage can be cooked indoors on a grill pan or in a cast-iron skillet.


Classic shrimp cocktail gets a flavorful twist when the shrimp is pickled. It's so easy to make this elegant-looking party food with pantry staples. And as an added bonus, no cocktail dipping sauce is required since the marinade imparts so much flavor.

¾ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon ground dry mustard
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 pounds peeled and deveined large cooked shrimp (16/20 count), thawed if using frozen
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion (1 large onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced

* In a large glass bowl stir together the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, dry mustard, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Add the shrimp, onion, garlic, and lemon slices, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove the bay leaves and serve chilled.


* COOKING TIP:Be sure to marinate the shrimp in either a glass bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Avoid metal containers because they impart an unpleasant metallic taste to marinated foods.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This dish actually tastes better when made the day before you plan to serve it. The extra time allows the flavors to all come together.


There are not many foods as Southern as pimento cheese. I like to serve it at parties as a dip with pretzels and celery sticks.

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon sugar
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (4-ounce) jar finely diced pimentos, drained
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce, optional

* In a large bowl stir together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sugar until smooth. Add the cheese and the pimentos. Stir, mashing with a fork, until well combined and relatively smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of the hot sauce if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


* COOKING TIP:Roasted red peppers can be used in place of the pimentos. I prefer the texture of the pimento cheese when I shred the Cheddar cheese myself. But if you are in a hurry, you can use packaged shredded cheese.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This recipe makes approximately 3 ½ cups of pimento cheese. Pimento cheese will keep for up to four days in your refrigerator (if it lasts that long!).


In the South, sausage isn't just for breakfast. These spicy sausage balls are always a favorite on the buffet table for both elegant and casual events. Many of my friends serve it with a simple Dijonnaise dipping sauce. Just mix together ½ cup mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

* In a large bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese, and toss to coat. Add the sausage and butter, and mix until well combined.

* Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place the balls, 1 inch apart, on the baking sheets. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.


* COOKING TIP:You can mix the ingredients by hand, but it tends to be fairly sticky. Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment does the same trick with a lot less mess.

* VARIATION:For a not-so-spicy version, use mild breakfast sausage instead of the hot variety. Pepper Jack cheese would be a tasty substitute for the Cheddar.

* FREEZES WELL:Freeze the sausage balls uncooked. If cooking from frozen, add about 5 more minutes to your cooking time.


I love spinach dip! And to be honest, it's one of those dishes that truly tastes better when it's made with frozen spinach rather than fresh. I like to serve mine with salsa and sour cream on the side. A little of all three on a tortilla chip is a party in one bite!

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup half-and-half
Dash of hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

* In a medium bowl stir together the spinach, garlic, Parmesan, ¾ cup of the mozzarella cheese, sour cream, half-and-half, and hot sauce until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* Transfer the mixture to a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella evenly over the top.

* Bake until bubbly and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.


* COOKING TIP:When using frozen spinach, it is very important to drain off all the excess water. I put my thawed spinach in a mesh strainer and press down on it to squeeze out as much water as possible.

* VARIATION:If you have a jar of marinated artichoke hearts on hand, you can chop some up and add to the mixture before baking for a spinach-artichoke dip.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This dip can be assembled one day in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake.


My friend Jenny Vergos is always whipping up something yummy. This simple dip is packed with flavor. Folks at your next party will be asking you for the recipe just like I asked Jenny.

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups corn kernels, thawed if using frozen
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

* In a large bowl stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic powder. Add the corn, pimentos, green chilies, and cheese. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* Place the mixture in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.


* VARIATION:For a spicier dip, add ¼ cup diced jalapeños.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This dip can be assembled one day in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake.


I am not sure how this dip got its name originally, but I'll take it over real caviar any day! This light and refreshing salsa is so versatile. Serve it as an appetizer with chips, as a side dish, or as a garnish for chicken or fish. Whichever way you choose, it is guaranteed to be a hit!

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
½ cup finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
½ cup finely diced red onion (1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* In a medium bowl toss together the black-eyed peas, green pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.


* COOKING TIP:For an extra zing, add a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce. Fresh cilantro would also be a nice addition.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This dip can be made one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


PANTRY STAPLES CAN MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS SALADS. SOME OF THE salads in this chapter are best suited as the main course, whereas others are perfect sides.

The simplicity and versatility of most pantry staples allow you to be enormously creative when devising salad recipes. Salads are quick to prepare and impossible to mess up. You can make a salad with just about any food. It's as simple as tossing together a handful of flavorful ingredients. There really are no rules.

My first cookbook, Simply Salads, focused on salads made with leafy greens. The salads in this book are many of the composed salads that grace tables across the South. Traditional Southern dishes such as Southern Chicken Salad (page 37), Egg and Olive Salad (page 27), and Good Old Potato Salad (page 28) are perfect for your next luncheon or picnic. I also offer a modern spin on a few classic salads. I think you will love the fresh and bold flavors of my Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pecans (page 41) and my Three-Bean Salad (page 42).


This simple salad is one of my summertime favorites. Light and refreshing, it is the perfect accompaniment to a piece of grilled chicken.

4 cups corn kernels, thawed if using frozen
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup finely diced red onion (1 small onion)
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large basil leaves, sliced into thin strips

* Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the corn and cook until tender yet still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.

* Place the corn, tomatoes, and onion in a large bowl.

* In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, and dry mustard until well combined. Pour the dressing over the corn mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in the basil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.


* COOKING TIP:A quick trick to cut basil into thin strips, also known as a chiffonade, is to place clean leaves in a pile, roll the leaves lengthwise, and thinly slice the roll crosswise.

[check] DO-AHEAD:This salad can be made up to one day in advance. It is best to stir in the fresh basil just before serving.



Excerpted from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Chandler. 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


Welcome to My Table, xi,
What's for Supper?, xiii,
TIPS, xv,
A Well-Stocked Pantry: Southern Pantry Essentials, xvii,
Kitchen Tools, xxix,
Nibbles & Dips, 1,
Salads, 23,
Soups, 47,
Chicken, 69,
MEAT, 93,
FISH & Shellfish, 117,
Pasta and RICE MAINS, 139,
Veggies and Sides, 155,
Sweet ENDINGS, 185,
Rise and Shine, 213,
Weeknight Classics, 237,
Many Thanks, 241,
Credits, 243,
INDEX, 245,

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