Mary Virginia’s Chicken and Dressing Casserole and Shoe Peg Corn/Green Bean Casserole

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By Andy Bedwell

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and I must share these two recipes. I already have two pans of dressing in the freezer and I’m beginning to start baking pies. I have also made homemade cranberry sauce this year.

Do you remember when life moved just a little slower, when good food brought everyone together and neighbors lent each other cups of sugar? This brings back memories of my wonderful neighbor, Aurene Townsend. We never had a social in my home that we did not insist that this fantastic lady attend. She could absolutely “tear up” a piano and play anything that you could hum without any written music. My dad would always say what a better world this place would be if everyone was as wonderful as Aurene Townsend.

As the holidays approach, I love to remember my childhood years. Looking back, it almost seems like a magical time of life to me! Cherished recipes usually come out at the holidays.  Here are two of my favorites.

Mary Virginia’s Chicken and Dressing Casserole

3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

4 cups cornbread, crumbled

1 can cream

of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup (can use cream of onion)

1 stick of margarine

2 cups chicken broth

1 egg, beaten

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup milk

Chopped parsley

(very important)

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon

poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook chicken in a lot of water and save broth. Saute onion in margarine and then add all of the rest of the ingredients except chicken and parsley. After all is mixed, add chicken and about one-fourth cup dried parsley. Pour into a greased three-quart Pyrex dish and bake at 400 degrees until brown. The middle should move when shaken.  If you just want dressing, leave out chicken.  Sprinkle parsley on top before you bake.

Andy’s Note: I cannot say enough about this recipe. My daughter Mary Virginia put this recipe together, and I am so proud of her. So, I guess a little of me has rubbed off on her. I cannot tell you have many people have told me that this is the recipe they use for their dressing. You can double or triple it and it still turns out good. So many people have told me that they cannot make dressing. Well, now they can! This recipe tripled will make two huge pans of dressing. Of course, I never add the chicken when I am making this for Thanksgiving.

Shoe Peg Corn/Green Bean Casserole

2 tubes of Ritz crackers

1 1/2 sticks of

margarine, melted

3 cans French style

green beans, drained

1 can shoe

peg corn, drained

1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced

8 ounces sour cream

2 cups extra sharp cheese (grated by you,

Leslie Morrison!)

1 can cream

of chicken soup

1 medium onion, chopped

Crumble one tube of crackers into a lightly greased dish.  Melt one stick of margarine and combine with beans, corn, chestnuts, sour cream, soup, onions and cheese. Pour over crumbs.  Crumble remaining tube of crackers (and yes, sprinkle over the top). Dot with remaining one-half stick of margarine. Bake at 325 degrees until bubbly round the edges (about 45 minutes).

Be careful and do not let crackers get too brown (and yes, sprinkle with parsley before baking).

Andy’s Note: I have probably used this recipe more than any recipe that I have. When I was cooking holiday meals for people, I would put this casserole in foil pans and freeze.

This weekend, Mary and I will have a booth at the “Everything Christmas Show” in Trussville. Cookbooks, cookies and Andy Bedwell in an apron are set for the weekend. I hope some of you can drop by and visit with us.

Roll Tide and War Eagle!

Happy Thanksgiving cooking, Andy

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at The Messenger newspaper located at 1957 Rainbow Drive.

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