Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up

Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up

by Rachel Hollis


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Recipes for affordable meals presented so polished you'd never know their "lowbrow" origins, complete with tips and tricks that prove fabulous hosting doesn't have to break the bank.

Rachel Hollis, blogger and founder of "The Chic Site," which reaches over 600,000 users a month, delivers this swoon-worthy cookbook packed with delicious and easy comfort food that's sure to wow at both family suppers and the fanciest dinner parties.

Rachel puts a finger-licking gourmet twist on classic American favorites in sections that include recipes for:

*Casseroles: balsamic bacon-wrapped meatloaf, bacon and green chili mac n'cheese

*Potluck: loaded baked potato salad, seven layer salad

*Dips: grilled guacamole, corn dip, chili cheese dip, pizza dip

*Sips: strawberry rosemary moonshine, Grandma's sweet tea

*Somethin' Sweet: banana pudding parfaits, Mema's carrot cake

Packed with big flavor and simple enough for a beginner home cook to master, Upscale Downhome focuses on great-tasting food and beautiful presentation that is guaranteed to impress. This is the kind of food that we all like to eat, served up with a chic twist.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250078841
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 433,232
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

RACHEL HOLLIS is the founder of, where readers can find recipes, as well as party planning and lifestyle advice and the author of the New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. She also founded the event planning firm Chic Events, and six years later Inc. magazine named her one of the top thirty entrepreneurs under thirty years of age. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and PopSugar, and she has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, The Talk, Extra, and many more shows. She lives in Texas with her husband and four children.

Read an Excerpt

Upscale Downhome

family recipes, all gussied up

By Rachel Hollis

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Rachel Hollis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-9138-8



It was a little difficult figuring out how best to describe this section. At first glance, you may see these as appetizers for your next party, but then you find something like Broccoli Cheddar Garlic Pull-Apart Bread and you think, Well, shoot, what if I don't want to wait for a party to have that bread? What if I just want something to nosh while I watch Netflix tonight with my hubby? So, I went with Snacks because you should call on these recipes anytime you want to nibble on something tasty. It's a collection of bite-size food so good it'll make your toes curl and your arm hair stand at attention ... or maybe I'm the only one carbs affect that way. Some of the recipes are a reinvention of an old classic. Some are totally made up by my family over the years. All of them are great.


pigs in a blanket
linguica-stuffed mushrooms
broccoli cheddar garlic pull-apart bread
turkey and ham pinwheels
french onion soup bites
hot dog taquitos
fried okra with buttermilk ranch
sticky ham 'n' cheese
spam and pineapple skewers
blt bites

PIGS in ablanket

put dipping sauce into a small container and rest the pig on top for a cute

this is an appetizer that never disappoints, especially when you upgrade your hot dogs for some great sausage instead. Honestly, I can't think of a party where I've ever had any left over, regardless of how many I started with.

Makes about 30


2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
2 (12-ounce) packages of smoked beef or pork sausage, cut into
1-inch pieces
1 large egg, whisked with a splash of water
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Cut each puff pastry sheet into thirds and then into small strips — long enough to roll around a piece of sausage. Roll the pastry around the sausage and seal the edges. Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.

3. Brush each pastry liberally with egg wash and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve with honey-mustard dipping sauce. These can be made in advance and stored in the freezer. Just reheat in the oven before eating.

4. To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk the mustard and honey until smooth. The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge.

linguica-STUFFED mushrooms

this is such a special recipe for me because it's one of the dishes that made my mom famous. By "famous," I mean that she won a prize for it and was featured in our hometown newspaper back in the '80s. As a five-year-old I remember seeing her picture in print and thinking she was the coolest person I knew. Twenty-eight years later, my opinion hasn't changed.

Makes 24 mushrooms


24 fresh white button mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup diced linguica sausage
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms. Remove and finely chop the stems.

2. In a medium skillet, sauté stems, onion, and linguica over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

3. In a small bowl, mix the cooked stems, onion, and linguica with mayonnaise and cheese.

4. Stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture and arrange on a baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

broccolicheddar GARLICpull-apartBREAD

this pull-apart bread is the perfect appetizer for a newbie hostess since you don't need much kitchen prowess to pull it off. If you own a knife and have the ability to melt cheese, you're about twenty minutes away from flavor town!

Makes 6 to 8 servings


1½ cups broccoli pieces
1 round sourdough bread loaf
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 scallion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Steam the broccoli. You can do this in a steamer or place the broccoli in a bowl with a ¼ cup of water and cover with plastic wrap. Cut a few holes in the plastic wrap to vent. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes.

2. Slice a crisscross pattern into the top of the bread, creating ½-inch cubes, but don't slice all the way through. Stop about a ½ inch from the bottom of the bread. Transfer the bread to the foil-lined baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the bread, separating the bread with your fingers to allow the sauce to fall between the cubes. Make sure the entire bread is coated with the butter sauce. Distribute the minced garlic evenly, tucking it between the cubes. Stuff the broccoli pieces between the cubes of the bread. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese, making sure to tuck some of the cheese in between the cubes as well. Sprinkle with the scallion and return to the oven to bake for another 12 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the bread has browned. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

turkey AND ham pinwheels

pinwheels were always a staple at our family parties because they're tasty and age-appropriate. Meaning, no matter what age you are you're going to think they're appropriate. The bummer is I've always struggled with how to make them pretty enough to sit alongside all of the other pretty food on the buffet. By using some unique tortillas and flavorful ingredients, I turned this homely classic into a standout dish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


4 spinach flour tortillas
4 sun-dried tomato flour tortillas
½ cup ranch dressing
12 slices provolone cheese
12 slices mozzarella cheese
12 slices turkey lunch meat
12 slices ham lunch meat
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 cup sliced black olives, drained
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup dill pickle slices


1. In a dry skillet, warm the tortillas over medium heat to make them pliable.

2 & 3. Spread each tortilla with ranch dressing and then layer with the different filling options.

these also make a great lunch or after-school snack for the kiddos! xo

4. Roll into a tight log and continue filling and rolling the rest of the tortillas.

5. Slice into pinwheels and serve.

french onionSOUP bites

let's be honest, the best part of French onion soup is the cheesy crouton on top, right? Who really cares about the soup once you've eaten through the gratin? This appetizer gives you what you want — a tasty bite of bread soaked with French onion soup and then baked with cheese to devour all in one bite. It's, in a word, incredible.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


1 packet French onion soup mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 loaf Asiago cheese French bread
½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a stockpot, cook the French onion soup per package instructions.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the onion just begins to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the veggies from the skillet and set aside.

3. In the skillet, create a roux by adding the flour to your existing olive oil (this just means whisking the flour around in the oil until it creates a thick lumpy paste) over medium-high heat. Add the soup broth to the roux while whisking. Next add in the mushrooms and onions and cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened and cooked down somewhat.

4. Meanwhile, cut the loaf of bread into large cubes and arrange in a baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes to begin to toast. Remove from the oven and cover with the thickened soup mixture. Flip each bread cube so that both sides are evenly coated. Cover the top generously with shredded cheese and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbly. Arrange the bites on a plate or platter and skewer with a toothpick for guests.

hot DOGtaquitos

when she found out about the snack section of this cookbook my big sister, Christina, said, "You know what you should include? Hot Dog Taquitos!" I told her that even though it was one of our favorites — another crazy recipe dreamed up by my mama — it might actually be too downhome. But then I thought about it and I figured some of you might love this as much as I do. If you've got a refined palate, just skip to the next page. But if you like a little county fair-style snack that's fried with cheese, take this out for a spin.

Makes 8 hot dogs


8 medium flour tortillas
1 package (8) hot dogs
4 slices American cheese, cut in half
Vegetable oil


1. In a dry skillet, warm the tortillas over medium heat, just to make them pliable.

2. Place one hot dog on each tortilla, along with half of a slice of American cheese. Fold the sides in and then roll into a tight taquito.

3. In a large skillet, heat about an inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the hot dogs seam side down a few at a time, until golden brown and flaky. Cook in batches. Place the hot dogs on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess grease. Serve warm.

this is great with corn or flour tortillas. xo

FRIED[okra with buttermilk ranch

where i come from, fried okra is a big deal. My mom made it, my grandparents made it, and everyone loved it except for me. It wasn't until I was older and decided to make it with Italian bread crumbs that I really understood the appeal. Italian bread crumbs add great flavor and awesome crunch. The buttermilk ranch? Well, that just makes everything better, right?

Makes 4 to 6 servings


6 cups vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups buttermilk, divided
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
3 pounds fresh okra, sliced into ½-inch pieces
1 package buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream


1. Pour the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot and heat to about 350°F, over medium-high heat.

2. Pour the flour into a shallow dish and mix in the seasoned salt and garlic salt. Pour 1 cup buttermilk in another shallow dish and pour the bread crumbs into a third shallow dish. Coat the okra by first passing through the flour, then the buttermilk, and then the bread crumbs.

3. Fry the okra in batches in the hot oil until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the okra to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

4. In a small bowl, stir the ranch dressing mix along with the remaining 1 cup buttermilk and sour cream until smooth. Serve with the okra for dipping.

stickyHAM 'n' CHEESE

everybody's grandma, cousin, aunt, and mama is positive she invented this recipe. Depending on where you're from, you might know them as Sister Becky's Sandwiches or Auntie Heather's Ham 'n' Swiss. The name changes from place to place, but this classic is always delicious.

Makes 15 sandwiches


15 King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls
½ cup mayonnaise
30 slices deli ham
15 slices Swiss cheese, cut in half
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Cut the rolls in half and spread mayonnaise onto one side of the roll. Place two slices of ham and two half slices of Swiss cheese in the roll.

3. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch the finished sandwiches closely together in a baking dish.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, Dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce.

5. Pour the sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover the dish with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.

6. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for an additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.

SPAMand pi neappleskewers

add more color to your skewer with bell peppers and onions. xo

don't hate on the spam!

Spam is delicious, and when I was growing up it was a huge treat to get a fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mayo. For a party, I like to turn it into kebabs. The key to making this dish look fancy? Cutting the meat in perfect squares and searing in those great grill marks so it looks pretty on the skewer.

Makes 4 to 6 servings


Wooden skewers
2 cans Spam, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 scallions, sliced


1. Skewer the Spam and pineapple cubes, alternating between the two. Brush with oil and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, ginger, and scallions. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until it has reduced by half.

3. Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Brush the skewers with the sauce and grill for another minute or two. Serve warm.

BLT bites

these little bites are as darling as they are delicious. You just take all the classic ingredients for a BLT and shrink them down into this dainty little package. It's got bacon, thickly sliced bread, fresh lettuce, cherry tomato, and yummy pesto mayonnaise so good I could eat it by itself.

Makes 20 to 24 bites


1 loaf white bread, unsliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
8 to 10 iceberg lettuce leaves, chopped into chunks
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 pound bacon, cooked until crispy
Long appetizer toothpicks


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Cut the bread into thick slices, about ½ inch thick, and then cut each slice into small squares. Place the squares onto a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil on top and toss to fully coat. Spread in an even layer and bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and prepared pesto.

4. Spread some of the pesto mixture on top of each bread slice. Layer with lettuce, a cherry tomato, and crispy bacon on each. Skewer with a long toothpick to hold in place, but also to make it easier for your guests to grab. Serve at room temperature.

stock up on cute toothpicks whenever you see them on clearance. then you'll always have some on hand for appetizers. xo



Dips are one of the most popular dishes that we feature on the Chic Site. In fact, it was a dip that made me realize how much my readers loved a downhome recipe. You know that spinach dip that you make using a packet from the salad dressing aisle? It's the one with peas and carrots in it and you mix it with spinach and a gallon of mayo and serve it in a bread bowl and it's delicious? Yeah, well, I love that dip. Years ago when I ran out of ideas for what I could blog about for my events company, I decided to blog about that dip and readers freaked out because they loved it, too. It was that post that planted a seed for the kind of content I wanted to create on my site. Because of that, we take our dips very seriously around these parts. This section is a collection of my favorite dips (deciding on them was like asking me to decide which of my children I love the most), and every single one of them is delicious. If you're lactose intolerant you might want to skip ahead because my love affair with cheese is on display throughout this chapter.


jalapeño popper dip
loaded baked potato dip
baked blueberry brie
bean and cheese dip
chili cheese dip
pepperoni pizza dip
spinach artichoke dip
spicy corn dip
greek seven-layer dip
grilled guacamole

jalapeño popper DIP

i could eat a bowl of this as a meal. No, really! Don't dare me. The cheese makes it creamy and the panko crumbs add a great crunch. The jalapeño gives it a kick of spice and, since you grill them first, there's a great smoky flavor that permeates the whole thing. This dish is one of my go-to appetizers for any occasion.

Makes 8 to 12 servings


12 fresh jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Couple of dashes of hot sauce (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup panko bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Heat a stovetop or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the grill with cooking spray. Grill the cut jalapeños until charred, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Give them a rough chop.

3. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, hot sauce if using, chopped grilled jalapeños, salt, and black pepper until evenly combined.

4. Pour the dip into an 8- or 9-inch baking dish. Square or round will work. You can also use medium ramekins. Top the dip with the panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on top.

5. Serve with veggies, crackers, or chips. Enjoy!


Excerpted from Upscale Downhome by Rachel Hollis. Copyright © 2016 Rachel Hollis. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
slow cooker,
somethin' sweet,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews