Teresa Hatchell 2005

As I am writing this column on Thursday evening, the St. George Farmers Market is being held just behind my office in the historic Klauber Building. This building, originally a mercantile, serves as the visitor, tourism, and information center for Upper Dorchester County and as the headquarters of the Tri-County Regional Chamber of Commerce (our other office being in the historic Holly Hill Depot). The Farmers Market here is held each Thursday afternoon, and folks come from far and wide to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh baked goods as well. I love to watch the hustle and bustle of folks rushing back to see what nutritious produce is available. Not as many people plant vegetable gardens as they did when I grew up. Now, there are conveniently located certified roadside stands and farmers markets in almost every community. That means better food and better health for all of us.

That said, this week I am going to help you create a few simple dinner side-dish masterpieces by following the "scalloped" theme. I personally guarantee that all of these are fool-proof. If you are on a special diet, you may choose to substitute Egg Beaters and skim milk in these recipes, or to omit or add ingredients as you wish.

To learn more about South Carolina produce and products, I encourage you to visit www.agriculture.sc.gov and click on the Certified SC Grown logo. For those who don't have Internet access, call the SCDA Marketing Division at 803-734-2210 and ask for a packet of literature about the "Certified SC Grown" initiative.

Scalloped new potatoes

4 cups thinly sliced red-skinned or Russet potatoes

1 can cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Healthy dash of paprika

1 large yellow, white, or Vidalia onion thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, blend the cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup with milk, egg, salt and pepper. In a buttered casserole dish, arrange in alternate layers: potato slices, onion slices, and sauce. Dot the top with small, thin pats of butter and sprinkle the top lightly with paprika. Cover the dish and bake the potatoes at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Take the cover off and bake the potatoes for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. This recipe makes about six servings.

Scalloped corn

2 cups uncooked corn

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried onion

1/4 cup minced green bell pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In your favorite mixing bowl, combine the beaten eggs with the milk. Stir in the corn, salt, onion, bell pepper and cracker crumbs. Pour this mixture into a small buttered casserole dish. Dot the top with small, thin pats of butter. Bake this casserole at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. This recipe makes four servings.

Scalloped tomatoes

Butter-flavored cooking spray

2 tablespoons chopped white, yellow or Vidalia onion

16 ounces canned tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 medium egg, beaten

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1 full tablespoon milk

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

In a large, heavy bottom saucepan sprayed with cooking spray, sauté the onions just until they are transparent. Wisp in all other ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. Cover the pan and cook the scalloped tomatoes over low heat for about 30 minutes. (Hint: You may add fried, crumbled bacon to the mixture before you cover and simmer it.) Serve this delicious side dish hot.

Scalloped spinach

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup shredded American cheese

3 medium eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons chopped white, yellow or Vidalia onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

1 cup coarse soft bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Cook the spinach, following the directions on the packages. Drain it thoroughly. In a large bowl, mix the milk, 1/2 cup cheese, eggs, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper (to taste). Pour this mixture into a well-greased 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake this dish at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Combine the bread crumbs, remaining cheese and butter. Sprinkle this mixture across the top of the spinach. Bake at 350 degrees another 10 or 15 more minutes until a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Let this dish stand for about five minutes before cutting it or serving it.

You may contact the writer at: tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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