Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Cost Plus World Market, and it includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Appetizers, mini pecan pies, and bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktails, to watch “The CMA Awards.”

There are so many things I love about living in the South.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

The food and the music rank as some of our most important touchstones, and I love when I can share a bit of my southern culture and heritage along with some family history.

In partnership with Cost Plus World Market, I created an easy menu to serve at viewing parties for “The 50th Annual CMA Awards,” Country Music’s Biggest Night™.

The menu includes tasty twists on southern classics: Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies, a bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail and assorted beers.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

For as long as I can remember, country music has been part of the soundtrack of my life. As a kid, I remember riding around in my dad’s old Ford LTD listening to 8-track tapes of Charlie Daniels, Charlie Rich and Kenny Rogers.

On the way to the hospital to deliver my son, my husband and I sang (badly) a duet of “Jackson” in anticipation of meeting our little Jackson. (The song wasn’t the only reason we named him that. But as someone who grew up being serenaded by Pure Prairie League’s “Amie,” I know how important it is to have a namesake song!)

My own musical tastes are pretty eclectic. You’ll find classic rock, showtunes, R&B, 80s pop, hip-hop, rap, folk, bluegrass and country sharing space in my iTunes library. But I’ve always loved classic country — Patsy Cline and George Jones and Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, to name just a few of my favorites.

Turns out, that love of country music runs deep in my family. An ancestor of mine, Connie Barriot Gay, was an influential disc jockey, concert promoter, talent scout and manager and music executive. He was the founding president of the Country Music Association and co-founder of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He even helped coin the term “country music.”

But more on the family legacy later. (Plus a chance for you to win a trip to “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” this year in Nashville on Nov. 2.)

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Let’s check out this party food spread.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

I love that I can find a selection of southern food and ingredients, plus table decor and entertaining essentials, at Cost Plus World Market.

When we watch “The CMA Awards,” I’ll be serving these mini pecan pies and Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, along with a bourbon cocktail featuring Cheerwine soda, which is made right here in North Carolina.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Chicken and waffles is a classic southern dish — please don’t turn your nose up at the combination if you’ve never tried it! It is delicious.

For this appetizer version, I topped sweet potato waffles with baked Nashville hot chicken and sweet and spicy pickles. If you want to turn up the heat, add some Slap Ya Mama hot sauce.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

This recipe takes a little time and patience because you have to brine the chicken before cooking, but it’s also one that you can make ahead and reheat on party day. If you do, I recommend toasting the waffles.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites
 
These baked Nashville hot chicken bites offer the perfect sweet-heat combination. Fiery hot chicken nuggets are served atop sweet potato waffles with a sweet and spicy pickle garnish.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Southern
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 package Urban Accents Nashville Hot & Spicy Chick'N Brine & Bake Kit from Cost Plus World Market
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 package Bruce's Sweet Potato Pancake Mix
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • hot sauce
  • sweet and spicy pickles for garnish
Instructions
  1. Mix Urban Accents brine blend with 2 quarts of water.
  2. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  3. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and add to brine, per seasoning mix instructions. Cover bowl, refrigerate and allow to brine for 4-24 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
  5. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  6. Sprinkle half the chile rub onto the chicken pieces and rub in.
  7. In a skillet, melt butter and add the crispy crust mixture from the seasoning blend. Toast until lightly browned. Remove from heat and add remaining spice rub.
  8. Transfer the crust mixture to a shallow dish.
  9. In a separate shallow dish, beat two eggs.
  10. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  11. Dip chicken pieces in eggs, then into crust mixture to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  12. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  13. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then cook chicken for 30 minutes. Lowever the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  14. Remove chicken from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  15. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  16. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sweet potato waffles.
  17. Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad
  18. Combine 1 cup of pancake mix, ⅔ cup water, 1 egg and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl. Stir until smooth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  19. Pour batter onto a lightly greased waffle iron. Cook until lightly brown and crisp on the outside.
  20. Once waffles have cooled slightly, cut into fourths.
  21. Assemble appetizers by topping each sweet potato waffle with a piece of chicken, hot sauce, and pickles as garnish.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Other than the perishable ingredients, I found everything I needed for this recipe at Cost Plus World Market. I used the Urban Accents Nashville Hot & Spicy Chick’N Brine & Bake Kit (avaialble in stores), Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce, McClure’s Pickle Sweet and Spicy Pickle Chips and Bruce’s Sweet Potato Pancake Mix.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Those Nashville hot chicken bites can be spicy, so I made a yummy bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail to wash them down. The cherry-flavored soda is bottled here in North Carolina, and you can find the nostalgic glass bottles at Cost Plus World Market. I also bought these adorable mini glass boot mugs and the maraschino cherries there.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bourbon Cheerwine Soda Cocktail
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Enjoy this cheery, cherry southern twist on the classic bourbon and cola cocktail by using Cheerwine soda.
Author:
Recipe type: cocktails, beverages
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 cocktail
Ingredients
  • 1 part bourbon
  • 3 parts Cheerwine soda
  • splash cherry juice
  • splash orange-flavored liquor
  • ice
  • maraschino cherries
Instructions
  1. Fill an old fashioned glass halfway with ice.
  2. Add bourbon, Cheerwine soda and a splash of maraschino cherry juice and orange-flavored liquor.
  3. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

In addition to the Cheerwine cocktail, I recommend serving an assortment of sodas and spirits at your viewing party for “The CMA Awards.”

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

I was excited to find the Southern Pale Ale from our local Natty’s Greene’s Pub and Brewing Co. in the beer aisle at Cost Plus World Market.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

A party in the south isn’t complete without dessert. These mini pecan pies are a great bite-sized treat.

I found these Young Plantation mini pies at my local Cost Plus World Market store, then topped them with vanilla ice cream and Sahale Valdosta Pecans. So yummy and so easy.

We are ready for “The 50th Annual CMA Awards.” We will definitely be watching this year, and not just to catch the star-studded performances and and special moments, but as a point of family pride.

Because I’m pretty proud to know that my ancestor hand in shaping country music and developing the careers of some of the industry’s most iconic talents who continue to influence today’s artists.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Source

Connie B. Gay isn’t a name you’ve probably heard in relation to country music. But he is a legend who earned a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980.

He began his country career as a radio DJ whose syndicated show featured performances by legendary country acts. At the time, this type of music was often referred to as “hillbilly music,” or country and western. The Washington Post said Gay was the first to describe the genre as country music.” (I was floored when I learned that!)

Gay is also credited with launching Roy Clark, Patsy Cline and Jimmy Dean, whose careers he later managed, along with those of many other artists. As a concert promoter in Washington, D.C., he booked a young Elvis Presley before he was famous.

Set out a tasty spread of classic southern dishes, including Nashville Hot Chicken and Sweet Potato Waffle Bites, mini pecan pies bourbon Cheerwine soda cocktail, to watch "The CMA Awards." #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

Source

Gay also had a syndicated TV country music show, he owed radio stations and was a country music concert promoter. He was the founding president of the Country Music Association and co-founder of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. There was even an award named for him!

The Washington Post once called him “the greatest country music visionary no one’s ever heard of.”

Born in Lizard Lick, N.C., in 1914, Connie Gay is my second great uncle on my father’s side. My great grandmother, Eureka Gay Joyner, was his older sister, as you can see from the simplified family tree below.

My family tree and connection to country music legend Connie B. Gay. #worldmarkettribe #ad #CMAAwards50

Eureka’s son, James Bryant Joyner, was my grandfather. He and Connie Gay were born just four years apart, not unusual in big families at the time. (Eureka and Connie had a lot of other siblings. You can see my full family tree here.)

Connie Gay died in 1989 when I was a teenager, just a few years after my grandpa, so I never met him. I didn’t even know about our family’s connection to this country music legend until a few years ago.

Most of the my immediate family members from Gay’s generation are dead, so I don’t have many first-hand recollections of him. But my grandparents did have a memorable visit in the 1950s during one of his “Hillbilly Midnight Cruises” on the Potomac in Washington, D.C. My Grandma Joyner also recalled visiting Gay at his home in Arlington, Va., at a time when Hank Williams was staying there and trying to sober up. Can you imagine?

I’m still trying to track down some family photos of Connie Gay, which are spread among aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles and their descendants. But Getty Images has an interesting gallery of Connie B. Gay images from the height of his influence.

Be sure to tune in to watch “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8/7c on ABC.

And don’t forget to enter “The CMA Awards” Sweepstakes presented by Cost Plus World Market. Click here to enter.

Enter to win "The CMA Awards" Sweepstakes presented by Cost Plus World Market. #CMAAwards50 #worldmarkettribe #ad

You could win the Grand Prize Package:

  • A trip for 2 to “The 50th Annual CMA Awards” this year in Nashville on November 2nd, 2016
  • Accommodations at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville
  • $1,000 World Market Gift Card

Or one of three First Prizes packages:

  • $500 World Market Gift Card

Hurry, the sweepstakes ends 10/21/2016.

Shop This Post

Burger Basket Liners
Cheerwine Soda
Urban Accents Nashville Hot & Spicy Chick’N Brine & Bake Kit
McClure’s Sweet and Spicy Pickle Chips
Soiree Cherries
Slap Ya Mama Cajun Pepper Sauce



Comments

  1. LOVE everything you made! And I kind of need those boot glasses. #amazing

  2. Chicken and waffles is still a bit of an odd concept for this native Californian, but I am more than willing to give it a try. Thanks for sharing on Creative K Kids #TastyTuesdays
    Audrey recently posted..10 Fabulous Seasoned Nut Recipes to Serve at Your Next Party (Tasty Tuesdays)My Profile

    • As a native of Louisville, KY, I find the concept odd. I get that chicken is great and waffles are lovely but not at the same time, especially hot and spicy Nashville chicken.

      • Atta Girl Amy
        Twitter:
        says:

        I know it sounds weird — I thought the same thing for years, until I tried it! It’s kinda like when you get a little syrup from your bacon at breakfast and realize maple and bacon is a great combo. But I totally get that three are regional food preferences…like the Kentucky hot brown. (I had the chance to try one this fall on a trip to Lexington; I didn’t like it nearly as much as I like Kentucky bourbon or Derby Pie.)

  3. Wow!! These are awesome!! Pinned for later use! I’m a little late getting here, but thanks for sharing on last weeks What’s for Dinner Link up!

  4. I posted Nashville chicken flatbreads a few months back. I love the addition of the waffles. Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday! Pinned and shared!

  5. Yummy appetizer! Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared
    Theresa recently posted..Easy, Cheesy, Chicken Pleas-y! Chicken Chili Mac RecipeMy Profile

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