Lettuce and Pea Salad, Cornbread Skillet Casserole and Quick and Easy Banana Pudding

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By Andy Bedwell

I grew up around women who recognized that there was no greater art form on earth than a lovingly prepared meal. As a matter of fact, there is nothing more rewarding to a Southern woman than to hear someone say, “My gosh, I ate too much!” or “Can I have that recipe?” Food is central to our gatherings, and it comforts when we are grieving. There is no greater way to bring people together than a good home-cooked meal. It wasn’t until I started putting my cookbook together that I really came to appreciate what Southern cooking really means. I realized that a recipe handed down was the sharing of the heart and soul of the one who took the time to write it down on paper. In my cookbook, I pulled together my own family’s recipes.

In sharing their recipes, I discovered the feelings and emotions that made the writing of my cookbook one of the most precious experiences that I have ever had.

Lettuce and Pea Salad

1 head of lettuce

½ cup diced celery

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped

green pepper

1 (10-ounce) package

frozen peas, cooked

1 pint mayonnaise

6 0z. grated

Parmesan cheese

6 slices bacon,

cooked and crumbles

Break up one head of lettuce into the bottom of an oblong dish. I liked to use Pyrex for this. Add the following in layers in order given: celery, onion, green pepper, peas, mayonnaise, cheese and bacon.

Andy’s Note: This salad needs to be served really, really cold. I sometimes use the canned English peas instead of the frozen.

Cornbread Skillet Casserole

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 (17 oz.) can

cream style corn

1 cup milk

¼ cup oil

1 ½ pounds ground chuck

8 (ounces) grated

extra-sharp cheese

(please grate it yourself)

1 large onion, chopped

2-4 Jalapeno peppers, finely chopped

Combine first seven ingredients together. Brown the ground Chuck. Pour one-half of cornmeal mixture into a greased iron skillet (I use a foil pan and then no clean-up). Sprinkle with beef. Top with cheese, onion and peppers. Pour remaining batter over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let it stand five minutes before serving.

Andy’s Note: I have had this recipe in the column several times. It was part of my weekend meal so I decided I just had to share it again. My son, Mac,  loves this casserole!

Quick and Easy Banana Pudding

7 bananas

1 can Eagle Brand milk

2 small boxes of

instant vanilla pudding

1 large Cool Whip

3 cups milk

Vanilla wafers

Slice bananas. Mix Eagle Brand milk, instant vanilla pudding, Cool Whip (leave enough for topping) and milk. In a large rectangular dish, layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and mixture. Continue until all ingredients are used. Cover top with Cool Whip and chill.

Andy’s Note: Of course, I love the homemade banana pudding the best but this is a good, quick and easy recipe.

Happy Cooking, Andy

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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