Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell


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

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

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, cooked

1 pint mayonnaise

6 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

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

1/4 cup oil

1 1/2 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 half of the cornmeal mixture into a greased iron skillet. (I use a foil pan, so there is 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.

Next week, I plan to share some wonderful dishes for Easter.

Happy Cooking,

Andy Bedwell

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Alabama Gift Company in downtown Gadsden and The Messenger on Rainbow Drive.

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