Chocolate Butter Cake Bars

An Easy Southern Lunch Menu for Casual Company

Phyllis Lifestyle 5 Comments

I saw a reader request for easy recipes, and I am all about a quick yet delicious meal. I loved the idea of a simple menu for when you have friends or family stopping by briefly, and you want to serve them a delightful lunch!

Luckily, my friend Paula Deen was delighted to share some of her favorite recipes from her book cookbook, At the Southern Table. As I flipped through the pages, I had big smile on my face. I just couldn’t help it! This book is so accurate to the heart of a truly Southern meal. Family and flavor is the name of the game in this collection of recipes!

For those of you who are not from the South, there is so much to be said about our cuisine. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and there’s a whole lot of love (and often decadence) behind it.

The recipes I’m sharing today are quick and simple; choosing them, however, was not! Among the 150 wonderful casseroles, nostalgic desserts, creative breakfast ideas, and more, choosing only a few nearly killed me! Every single recipe is absolutely crowd-worthy but could also be enjoyed around the dinner table on any week night.

So whether these dishes bring back childhood memories, or you are trying them for the first time, I hope you feel the comfort of a quintessentially Southern meal.  Here’s what’s on the menu:

Paula Deen

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paula's Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Serves: 5 cups
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Sandwich bread
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sliced tomato
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt. Stir in chicken, celery, and almonds until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Serve on bread with lettuce and tomato.

Marinated vegetable salad

5.0 from 1 reviews
Marinated Vegetable Salad
Serves: 2 quarts
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 3 large cucumbers, scored and sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 1½ large Vidalia or other sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 dried red chiles
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegars, sugar, salt, and mustard seeds until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  2. Stir in cucumber, onion, and chiles until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Just before serving, stir in tomatoes and pepper. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Rosemary Cheese Straws

5.0 from 1 reviews
Rosemary Cheese Straws
Serves: About 48
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) package extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add cheese, beating until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Using a cookie press or a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe cheese straws to desired length on prepared pans.
  4. Bake until bottom of straws are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Chocolate Butter Cake Bars

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake Bars
Serves: 24 bars
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup butter, melted and divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (16-ounce) package confectioners’ sugar
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, 1 egg, and ½ cup melted butter with a mixer at medium speed just until combined. Pat mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla and remaining 2 eggs. Reduce speed to low; beat in confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Slowly add remaining ½ cup melted butter, beating until well combined. Pour onto crust in prepared pan.
  4. Bake until center is just set and jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool completely on a wire rack. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan before cutting into bars. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

For a limited time, At the Southern Table is only $19.95. Get yourself or a friend a copy by clicking the cover below!

Comments 5

  1. Thank you (because I was one of the ones who asked for simple recipe)s! I love that fresh salad. It reminds me of the cucumber/onion one my mom used to make and she (and grandma) would put them in those glass refrigerator containers, to allow the flavors to meld. I bought some of those retro-styled glass covered jars from Restoration Hardware, made by Anchor Hocking. I just love “retro” things!

  2. Phyllis,
    I love everything Paula Dean. She’s the BEST!
    Also, Bobby and Jimmy have all their books and subscribe to Paula’s
    magazine. I use many of her recipes each issue I receive. She really
    has appealing dinner ideas and menu’s. I’ve always been
    a BIG Paula Dean Fan.
    I will certainly use these ideas too! Thanks for sharing…..Say “Hi” to Paula!
    and Happy Easter to all……

  3. I have to try this entire meal. It sounds fabulous!! My grandparents were from the South, and I feel more at home in the southern states than I do in the northern town I was born in!

  4. Thank you Phyllis for putting together this delightful southern style menu and thank you Paula for your fabulous recipes! You gals are the absolute best!!!

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