How to Plan the Safe and Perfect Picnic

corn recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

As a kid, my Southern summers were spent fishing at our family pond and swimming in the ocean, pool, or lake and catching fireflies with my sister after dark. And, more than anything, summer meant dining outside. On the weekends, a mixture of friends and family would get together with coolers and wooden picnic baskets, laden with food. This year picnics are certain to be different, so check out my tips on how to plan a safe and perfect outing. (more…)

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What’s in Season: Best Corn Recipes
Creamed Corn with Bacon

What’s in Season: Best Corn Recipes

corn recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

It’s high corn season! And, this summer vegetable is so versatile we’re having it nearly every meal. From sides and appetizers to entrées and desserts, it can be a part of a sweet or savory dish. To  take advantage of summer’s sweet corn while at its peak, I’ve rounded up all of my favorite recipes in one place. Check out these top ten delicious recipes. (more…)

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Best Tomato Recipes

It’s Hotter than Georgia Asphalt

Tomato recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

It’s super hot and the peak of summer. We may be wilting, but tomatoes are thriving! A garden-ripe, fresh tomato is the absolute ultimate in summer produce. Out of season tomatoes are flavorless rock-hard orbs shipped from some other hemisphere. Out of season tomatoes are pure disappointment. In season, tomatoes are bursting with flavor, juicy and luscious. There is nothing as wonderful as the full, rich, almost wine-like flavor of a vine ripe tomato. So, when it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible. (more…)

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Great Recipes for the 4th of July

Serving Up Fantastic Rib Recipes, Tender and Juicy Grilled Chicken, Pulled Pork, Potato Salads, Refreshing Slaws, and Tempting Desserts

4th of July ribs on www.virginiawillis.com

Ribs, ribs, and more ribs — what’s the 4th of July without ribs? Check out this post with FIVE rib recipes along with info on the difference between baby back, spareribs, and country style as well as details on how to make BBQ ribs on the grill and in the oven. (more…)

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Potato Salad Recipes

Bacon, Southern, and Chef-Inspired Potato Salad Recipes

Potato Salad on www.virginiawillis.com

Ah, potato salad. The perfect combination of comforting carbs and decadent dressing. So many choices, so many styles! Different kinds of potatoes. Different drippy dressings. Different shapes. Wildly different flavors include the pungent pop of vinegar; creamy concoctions comprised of mayonnaise, hard-cooked egg, and sour cream; the salty, smoky kiss of bacon; and the crispy, crunchy bite of finely chopped onion and celery. All very different — and all very, very delicious. (more…)

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What’s in Season: Vidalia Onion Dressing

How to Make Homemade Vidalia Onion Dressing and other Great Sweet Onion Recipes

Vidalia Onion Dressing on www.virginiawillis.com

A few weeks ago I shot a video making Vidalia Onion Dressing for Facebook. Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit and while we liked it before, now we really love it! In this new version, I eliminated the apple cider vinegar and instead purée an entire onion for the dressing base. The result is mildly sweet and creamy with just enough heat from the mustard. This dressing is perfect for salads or as a dipping sauce for everything from crudité to chicken fingers. Homemade Vidalia Onion Dressing also makes a great spread for sandwiches and wraps–and it’s only four ingredients! (more…)

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What’s in Season: Asparagus

How to Cook Asparagus, How to Store, How to Trim, and How to Know When It is Done. 


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Spring is starting to kick into high gear! One of the first freshly harvested vegetables to enjoy is asparagus. Pencil thin or thick and hearty is a matter of personal preference. Regardless of size, when buying it in the grocery store look for spears that are firm and bright green, with intact tips.  Cook it as soon as possible as it deteriorates fairly rapidly.  Store it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel wrapped around the stems.  It will last 3 to 4 days.

The ends of fresh asparagus can be tough and woody. I prefer to slice off the last inch or so of the stem instead of snapping it off where the spear breaks naturally. Not only is it more visually appealing when all the spears are exactly the same size, but they will also cook at the same rate of speed. Large spears are more mature, less tender, and also need to be peeled. (more…)

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Wicked Healthy: Broccoli Cauliflower Slaw

Wicked Healthy Winter Salads on www.virginiawillis.com

 

Who says salad means lettuce? A typical “house salad” consisting of crispy lettuce with slices of juicy cucumber and chunks of winey vine-ripe tomatoes can be wonderful at the height of summer, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed in winter. Ugh. Limp lettuce from halfway around the world, flaccid hothouse cucumbers, and a wedge of rock-hard orange and yellow flavorless tomato. No, thank you. Instead, how about a crunchy, vibrant, zesty seasonal salad that’s good and good for you? Sign me up!  (more…)

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What’s in Season: Cucumber Fruit Salad

Cucumber Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

 Cool as a Cucumber

Did you know that cucumbers are more than 90% water AND the phrase “cool as a cucumber” is a scientific fact! The inside temperature of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside air. I love cucumbers and will snack on them, especially during the summer. They are good and good for you! Cucumbers are low in calories and contain a good amount of water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for promoting hydration and aiding in weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. They are available year-round from “somewhere else” or grown in a hothouse, but they are, like much other summer produce best at peak season. I love their crisp, juicy, and refreshing texture and grassy melon-like flavor. (more…)

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What’s in Season: Summer Tomato Recipes

Tomato recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Fresh from the Garden

A garden-ripe, fresh tomato is the absolute ultimate in summer produce. Out of season tomatoes are flavorless rock-hard orbs shipped from some other hemisphere. Out of season tomatoes are nothing if not a pure disappointment. In season, tomatoes are bursting with flavor, juicy and luscious. Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full, rich, almost wine-like flavor of a vine ripe tomato. So, when it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible. (more…)

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