08 January 2022

Weekend Cooking: Southern Living 2021 Annual Recipes

Book cover of Southern Living 2021 Annual RecipesYou've heard me rave about Southern Living recipes many times on this blog, so it should come as no surprise that I was excited to receive a review copy of Southern Living 2021 Annual Recipes from Abrams as part of the Abrams Dinner Party Review team.

This cookbook collects the entire year of recipes from the magazine and presents them with beautiful photographs along with tips, variations, and serving ideas. The cookbook is arranged by month, so you can pick recipes based on what's in season or by occasion, like burgers, peaches, and berries in the summer and soups, stews, and clementines in the winter. Features group recipes into suggested menus, such as a BBQ party that fuses traditional Korean flavors with Southern classics.

Though the Southern Living 2021 Annual is founded on the year's magazine issues, it offers several bonuses. The front of the book lists the readers' favorite recipes from each month, and throughout you'll find extra recipes shared by Southern Living readers and staff members. These are tried-and-true favorites and are presented with a personal story. Each month ends with a Southern Living "Cooking School" feature that presents a variety of trips and tricks from the magazine's test kitchen.

Photo of mini meatloaves and vegetables in a cast-iron skilletOne of my favorite chapters is December because it has a lot of party ideas and recipes for snacks, cookies and gifts. I appreciate that the chapter moves beyond Christmas to include some Hanukkah and Kawanzaa ideas. The other section I'll turn to often is found at the end of the Southern Living 2021 Annual: almost 20 pages of appetizer and nibble recipes--cold, hot, dips, snacky, elegant--something for almost every get-together.

I relied on this cookbook quite a bit over the last several weeks. As I expected, everything was delicious. The photos here show my versions of Red Rice, a dish with West Africa roots that can easily be made vegetarian; Chicken-and-Quinoa Salad with Pepper Jelly Dressing, which I made with farro because Mr. BFR is not a fan of quinoa (it was still really delicious); and Skillet Turkey Meatloaves with Mushroom Gravy, though my photo shows beef meatloaves and was taken before I added the gravy.

Poto of a chicken and grain saladI also made a half dozen other recipes, some vegetarian (a sheet pan lasagna) and some with meat (like flank steak). I served the beet and goat cheese dip for Christmas Eve dinner and a layered nacho-inspired dip for New Years Eve. I have many more recipes marked to try throughout the coming year. I'm sure the Southern Living 2021 Annual will be one of my go-to cookbooks.

Recommendation: Southern Living: 2021 Annual Recipes is for anyone looking for some new ideas for both everyday family cooking and for meals with friends, from summer cookouts to cozy winter evenings by the fire, from special occasions to casual Sunday brunch. Vegetarians will find a number of appropriate recipes. Gluten-free and vegan eaters will also find recipes, though the dishes aren't marked by diet preference.

Instead of recipe, I decided to share the following "Puff Pastry Pointers" from the cookbook. Note that many of Southern Living's recipes can be found on their website.
Photo of a rice and tomato casserole

  • Do defrost it. Thaw the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight or for 40 minutes at room temperature.
  • Do keep it cool. If the pastry starts to soften and turn limp, pop it back in the refrigerator to resolidify the butter. Keep unused sheets frozen or chilled.
  • Don't skip the flour. Generously flour the work surface and rolling pin to prevent the puff pastry from sticking and tearing.
  • Don't toss the scraps. Roll extra bits of pastry in cinnamon sugar, and bake it for a cook's treat. or roll in Parmesan cheese and black pepper for a savory snack.
  • Don't unfold puff pastry sheets until they are fully thawed and pliable. If the pastry is still a bit frozen, it will crack or tear.
Note: The tips are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. The photos are my own.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Vicki 1/8/22, 6:18 AM  

All of the food looks very good!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 1/8/22, 8:54 AM  

I have always loved the Southern Living Books and agree that December recipes are usually really great. Thanks for sharing.

Jackie McGuinness 1/8/22, 9:12 AM  

I tried making gluten free puff pastry this week, what a pain!

Tina 1/8/22, 12:06 PM  

Southern Living books and magazines are huge around these parts. I only had one recipe from them that didn't work out, a baked shrimp dish. This looks like a great cookbook,

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/8/22, 1:38 PM  

I have yet to read this magazine, but you are right, everything looks delicious!

Marg 1/8/22, 10:14 PM  

Everything looks so delicious!

Laurie C 1/9/22, 1:37 PM  

I've never really looked into Southern Living cookbooks or the magazine too closely. Maybe this would make a good cookbook club selection this year at the library! Often people end up buying their own copy after trying it out at cookbook club.
Thanks for sharing the tips, and all the food looks delicious! (What is it with husbands and quinoa, I wonder?)

Harvee 1/9/22, 5:08 PM  

My husband likes to do most of the cooking since he retired, but I try to sneak in one of my dishes every now and then. Looks like a cookbook with a lot of ideas.

Les in Oregon 1/10/22, 2:19 PM  

It's been years since I've used a Southern Living cookbook, but many of my favorite recipes came from those books. This looks like one I need to check out! Thanks, Candace and Happy New Year!

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