Melissa Sperka is one of the most popular online Southern home cooks, with her fan base stretching from her blog to her Pinterest page to Facebook. Now she presents a cookbook packed with over one hundred of the recipes that made her famous, including everything from hearty breakfasts to quick-and-easy family dinners. Melissa’s Southern Cookbook (The Countryman Press, 2016) is a labor of love, paying homage to those who raised her with a love of cooking, baking, and living Southern-style. These recipes hold dear the rapidly-vanishing tradition of gathering around the table for meal together. Every Southern favorite is here, and in these excerpts you’ll find the best: fried chicken with a crunch, BLT-inspired macaroni salad, cheesy spaghetti, and warm, fluffy cinnamon rolls. Try these comfort food from the comfort of your own home, and follow in the footsteps of Melissa and her family to start new traditions around your own dinner table.
BLT Macaroni Salad
This fun take on pasta salad combines the flavors of a classic BLT with creamy macaroni salad. It’s chock-full of crispy bacon, tomatoes, and crunchy green leaf lettuce, plus a tangy dressing. It’s a fusion macaroni salad that takes BLTs to a whole new level.
• 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni
• 1-1/2 cups real mayonnaise, plus more if needed
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1-1/2 teaspoons celery salt
• 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
• 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 5 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
• 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 2 cups loosely packed, thinly sliced, green leaf lettuce
• 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled, plus more for serving
1. Cook the elbow macaroni in salted water per the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, vinegar, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, dill, and pepper to taste.
3. Add the drained macaroni, green onions, and tomatoes. Mix until evenly distributed, then cover and chill.
4. Just before serving, add the lettuce and bacon. Mix well. Taste and adjust the creaminess of the dressing, adding more mayonnaise and adjusting the seasonings, if needed.
5. Garnish with additional bacon and green onion.
6. Store chilled.
More from Melissa's Southern Cookbook:
Reprinted with permission from Melissa’s Southern Cookbook: Tried-and-True Family Recipes by Melissa Sperka, published by The Countryman Press, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016.