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WHAT'S COOKING? Chicken, pork for holiday dinner, too
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WHAT'S COOKING? Chicken, pork for holiday dinner, too

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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

I have from time to time written columns about giving God thanks for our “daily bread” or “saying grace” as some call a prayer before a meal. Since last November, so much has happened in our world and in our families – some blessed events, some tragedies. The Pandemic, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, as well as so many other diseases and catastrophes that have taken lives. No less horrible to each of us are other personal devastations, such as deaths of loved ones, break ups of families, and periods of unemployment. As I stressed last week, though, amid all of our sorrows there are blessings, if we will but stop and focus on them.

I am not ashamed to say that God is the mainstay of my life, so I do not hesitate to thank him each morning, each night and at meal time no matter where I am. And, I’m asking you all to make – on this Thanksgiving -- a lifelong resolution to take time to thank God for His provisions for your needs. That suggestion made, I am offering an alternative to the massive turkey meal I offered last week. It was a “no peek turkey” and the entrée this week again calls on the “no peek” rule for cooking perfect chicken or pork. The other recipes given this week are being shared in answer to email inquiries I received since last week. All of that said, I close with a wish that you will have a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving!

No peek chicken or pork

(Double this recipe in a 9x13 casserole dish if you need to feed a crowd.)

1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of celery)

1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of onion)

1 cup uncooked rice

1/3 cup water

4 or 5 pieces of raw chicken thighs or breasts or 4 boneless pork chops

1 package Lipton dry onion soup mix

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a shallow medium-size glass or metal baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the soups, rice and water. Place this mixture in the dish. Place the pieces of chicken (or pork chops) on top of the rice mixture and sprinkle Lipton dry onion soup mix on top of the meat. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake this entree at 350 degrees for 2-1/2 hours. “Don’t peek” for the entire baking time! This basic chicken/pork recipe makes four servings.

Chopped broccoli salad

1 large bunch broccoli

1 small purple onion or white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

1/4 cup raisins, regular or white

3/4 cup lite mayonnaise

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (or black pepper)

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Be sure to wash your broccoli well. Allow it to dry in a colander. Chop the broccoli into small pieces. Add the chopped onion, shredded cheese and raisins and toss them well. To make a "dressing," use a separate bowl to whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, pepper and vinegar. When you are ready to serve the salad. Add the crisp bacon crumbles and the dressing. Toss the salad to coat everything evenly. (If you put the bacon in the salad too soon, it will lose its tastebud-tingling crispiness,

Southern-style green beans with potatoes

1 medium ham hock (or four slices of lightly cooked bacon)

2 large cans of your favorite brand of green beans with potatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

3 teaspoons Morton Lite salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

In a large, heavy pot, boil the ham hock (or lightly cooked bacon) in two and a half cups of water, one teaspoon of sugar, 3 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper for about 30 minutes on medium to low heat (keep at a low boil for about 30 minutes). Add the green beans with potatoes. Stir the ingredients well. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir again and then “low simmer” the beans until you are ready to serve them (at least 20 minutes). YOU MAY use this same recipe and method of cooking, but substitute the green beans with white lima beans, tiny green butter beans or another vegetable you enjoy.

Southern sausage, bacon 'n red rice

12-ounce package bacon

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/4 cup chopped celery (optional)

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)

1 pound Hillshire Farms mild sausage, sliced

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes (do not drain)

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 cups uncooked rice

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, fry the bacon. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on white paper towels. Crumble the bacon and set it aside. In the bacon drippings in the skillet, sauté the onions, celery, bell pepper and sliced sausage until the onions are transparent. While sautéing, place the tomato sauce, tomatoes and 1/2 cup water into a blender and flash blend them. This will make about 4 cups.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions, celery, bell pepper and sausage from the frying pan. Pour the uncooked rice into the frying pan with the remaining drippings. Cook this on low, stirring continually, until the rice turns light brown. Pour the blended tomato sauce mixture into a Dutch oven. Add the cooked onions, celery, bell peppers, sausage and crumbled bacon. Bring this mixture to a boil. After it begins to boil, add the browned rice. Add the sugar, and the salt and pepper to suit your taste. Give the ingredients a thorough stir. Reduce the heat to low (simmer), put a heavy lid on it and simmer it for 20 to 25 minutes. Taste test a few grains of rice to be sure they are tender. If the rice is tender, but the entrée is a bit "gummy," remove the lid and simmer a bit longer so that some moisture will evaporate. This recipe makes six or eight delicious servings.


(Some people call this easy dessert/snack “blondies” due to the color of the finished product.)

1 stick of Land O’Lakes Salted Butter, melted

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 box Dixie Crystal light brown sugar (no other brand)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (“extract,” not flavoring)

1 cup chopped pecans

2-1/4 cup White Lily self-rising flour

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. While the oven is preheating, place the stick of butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and turn it on about 40 seconds – enough to melt the butter. Allow the butter three or four minutes to cool. Beat in the three large eggs. Then, stir in the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and pecans. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring to make a smooth, thick batter. Spoon the batter into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 325 for about 40 to 45 minutes. Allow the chewies to cool before you cut them. Store them in an airtight container or on a plate, tightly covered with plastic wrap.

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