Camaraderie is the goal of a summer supper when the living is slower paced and everyone enjoys al fresco dining. I am a fan of the one-dish so you can break bread together over one pan on the table or at least spend less time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and more time with your family and friends.

One-dish meals have been our family go-to during the shelter-in-place and I associate them with connection and comfort. I reached out to two of my favorite coastal cooks, Janet Brown of Festive Bird here on St. Simons Island and Carrie Morey of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit based in Charleston, for recipes that would be perfect for this summer. One-dish meals are good for a weeknight meal yet special enough for entertaining.

Over 25 years ago, Janet Brown started a boutique catering company in the Golden Isles called Festive Occasions. Her fabulous team has catered dinner parties for six and weddings and events for 400. It is a crazy fast-paced life that she thrives in and loves. In order to downsize and slow down a bit, she started The Festive Bird. Festive Bird provides fresh, ready made casseroles, breads, salads, soups, desserts, and appetizers for pick up locally at Uncle Don’s Market. Another offering from Festive Bird is her local cottage delivery. The team can drop off breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktail party items for groups of family and friends staying for days at a time allowing them to enjoy their guests and not have food prep.

We pick up Festive Bird’s Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole regularly from Uncle Don’s which makes a meal or two and I recommend Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers, Chicken Tetrazzini and the Shrimp and Green Noodles and … her Tomato Pie and the Collard Green Dip are also divine. Let’s just say, it is all good and I can’t wait to make these Jalapeño Zucchini Boats stuffed with chicken, bacon, garlic and cream cheese.

Jalapeño Chicken Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

• 6 zucchini, halved lengthwise

• extra-virgin olive oil

• kosher salt and black pepper

• 12oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1-cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

• 1-cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

• 2-3 jalapeños, finely diced

• 1-cup crumbled bacon

• 3-cups cooked chicken breast, diced

Preheat oven to 350*. Score zucchini halves, hollow out and save diced pieces. Drizzle zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on sheet pan and baked 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine all 3 cheeses until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients, as well as reserved zucchini pieces. Spoon filling evenly into zucchini halves. Sprinkle with more cheddar, mozzarella and salt and pepper. Return to oven and bake 10 minutes. Broil an extra few minutes for a crunchy top!

My favorite one-dish meals for summer family gatherings usually contain shrimp, and this recipe in “Callie’s Biscuits & Southern Traditions” by Carrie Morey is absolutely delicious. Carrie is founder of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit based in one of our sister coastal towns, Charleston, S.C., since 2005.

   Fifteen years ago, Carrie’s goal was to make the tender, buttery, made-by-hand biscuits of her mother accessible across the country. They are now available in grocery stores and shops, as well as her grab-and-go eateries in Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Callie’s team served its cult following with e-commerce nationwide. Their vintage vanette food truck, named “Butter,” delivered pre-orders in Charleston neighborhoods.

   I recommend plenty of napkins for this Cast Iron Party Shrimp and warm Ms. Em’s Bread, or store bought baguettes, to sop up the pan sauce. It’s casual and messy which is how all summer family suppers should be!

Ms. Em’s Bread

Makes 1 loaf

• 1 (1/4 ounce) package of active           dry yeast

• ¼ cup warm water

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus           more for sprinkling on top

• 1 teaspoon sugar

• 1 ½ cups cold water

• 2 teaspoons olive oil

Optional Topping:

• ½ teaspoon cracked black           pepper,

• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Mix the flour, the 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Stir in the cold water little by little. The dough will be wet. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let sit for 45 minutes to rise. Coat the inside of an 8-inch loaf pan with ½ to 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Pour the dough into the pan without kneading or punching it down. It will be almost liquid consistency. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon salt and optional toppings if you wish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is gold brown and the sides pull away from the pan. Wait to cool before cutting. This bread freezes well!

Cast Iron Party Shrimp

Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

• Dry Seasoning Mix

• 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 teaspoon crushed red paper flakes

• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed

• ¾ teaspoon dried thyme

• ½ teaspoon dried oregano

• 4 dozen medium-large shell-on shrimp           (about 2 pounds)

• ½ pound (2 sticks), plus 2-4 tablespoons        butter

• 2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

• 1 cup shrimp stock or chicken stock

• ¾ cup beer, at room temperature

Make the dry seasoning mix: combine all ingredients. Rinse the shrimp and drain well. Melt ½ pound butter in a cast-iron or other large, heavy skillet. Add garlic, Worcestershire and the seasoning mix. Add the shrimp. Do not stir, but shake the pan back and forth for about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons butter (or to taste or preference) and stock and cook 2 minutes. Add the beer and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let rest for 3 minutes. Swish the shrimp in the pan sauce and serve with warmed Ms. Em’s Bread or baguettes.