By Andy Bedwell
No fancy restaurant could have possibly offered up food as delicious as what we had. This is what I often think of when I eat in most places. At our family Decoration Day in May every year, we would always meet at the cemetery for a brief sermon and sing wonderful old hymns that we all knew by heart. Then on we went to the church, where ladies would arrive carrying casseroles, cakes and plate after plate of deviled eggs. I tried not to be too obvious, but as our heads were bowed for grace, I would look to see where I wanted to head first. Then I could make a beeline to the two things that I wanted most that day. My aunts brought the most delicious dishes, and all of them were so beautifully decorated. One of my aunts, Dot Thomas, will be having a birthday soon, and we all will celebrate her special day on Saturday. She and her daughter, Jennifer Brunson, will be serving some of her favorite dishes. In fact, I will try to include some of them in my column the next week. Happy Birthday to my beautiful aunt and wonderful cook, Dot Thomas.
4 chicken breasts, cooked, with the skin and bone
5 medium potatoes,
peeled and diced
2 cups frozen or canned shoe peg corn
2 large onions, chopped
4 cups canned tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
Dip off excess fat from the broth. I use chicken breasts with the skin. Remove skin and bones. Shred the chicken into pieces. Place the potatoes in a separate pot and pour enough broth over them to cover. Cover and simmer until just tender. Do not drain. Mash the potatoes slightly, keeping them lumpy. To the pot that you cooked the chicken in, add the corn, onions, tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and the remainder of the broth. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and chicken and simmer with the lid off for about a hour. Just before serving, stir in the butter and let it melt.
Andy’s Note: This stew is delicious! I try to make it the day before serving or carrying it anywhere because it actually taste better the second day. Leftovers, if there are any, freeze very well. This is a very simple stew but, oooooh, so good!
Baked Potato Salad
8 medium potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled until nearly done
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 pound chopped
1 pound Velveeta
1/2 bunch green onions
1/4 cup jalapenos, chopped
After cooking potatoes, mix potatoes, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and half the onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into greased casserole dish and top with jalapenos, onions and bacon. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for one hour.
Andy’s Note: In the South, we have two hash brown casseroles. One is made with cheese and the other with sour cream. This casserole has both sour cream and cheese, and it is my favorite. Another good and easy casserole.
Luscious Lemon Layers
1 cup margarine
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix
3 1/2 cups milk
Mix margarine, flour and pecans for the crust. Press into a 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until light brown. Cool. For filling, mix cream cheese, condensed milk and lemon juice until light and creamy. Spread over cooled crust. Mix pudding mix with milk and spread over cream cheese mixture. Cover with thin layer of Cool Whip. Chill well. Cut into squares.
Andy’s Note: This is out-of-this-world! Of course, you need to love lemon, as I do. This is a great dish to keep in the freezer for maybe unexpected company.
I have discovered that the most delicious food in the world comes from our wonderful Southern kitchens. You won’t find fancy food and recipes with long ingredients, just easy, no fuss Southern favorites, such as chicken and dumplings, Jane’s Wonderful Homemade Banana Pudding, my mother’s pecan pie and Aunt Dot’s Seven-Up Pound Cake.
“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.