TERESA HATCHELL WHAT’S COOKING?
Well, it is National Dairy Month and we live in an area where there are a good number of dairies. In fact, when I was growing up, my parents’ best friends ran the Carn dairy just off US Highway 178, and I later lived on the Jacques dairy in the Bowman area of Orangeburg County for two years.
Being raised on a crop farm where we also had livestock – chickens, pigs, horses, cows and a much-loved mule named Gray – the smell of animals doesn’t bother me. And seeing firsthand the extreme dedication and hard work that never ends on a dairy instilled in me a deep appreciation for dairy farmers and their families.
WHAT’S COOKING? Try these easy, ‘cool’ desserts
Cows have to be fed and milked twice a day (every 12 hours), 365 days a year regardless of any circumstances. Think of that when you enjoy a tall glass of milk, a fresh container of yogurt, a dollop of butter, a grilled cheese sandwich, or a nice refreshing bowl of ice cream (all of which are loaded with Vitamin D, calcium and other essential nutrients).
WHAT’S COOKING? Fresh, ripe tomatoes enhance meals
I truly enjoy all of the basic dairy products and use them in culinary creations quite often, so I am thankful they come in “lite,” “low-fat,” and “fat-free” versions. For the recipes offered below, please feel free to use dairy product brands and “strengths” you prefer.
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‘Dairy-rich’ Breakfast Casserole
(A few years ago, I melded all of my breakfast casserole and quiche recipes to create a delicious casserole that is chocked full of dairy products! This “rich” concoction is actually good for any meal!)
1-1 / 2 sticks butter, room temperature
2-1.2 cups self-rising flour
8 to 10 slices hickory smoked bacon (or 2 cups ground sausage)
2 (1-pint) heavy cream cartons
3 tablespoons dried, chopped onions
Salt, pepper, Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2-cup package mild or sharp shredded cheddar cheese
To make my favorite breakfast casserole in an oblong pan or casserole dish, I first grab a medium bowl to make the crust using one and a half sticks of butter at room temperature. Cream the butter with a fork and add 2-1 / 2 cups self-rising flour. Use the fork to combine this well and then use clean hands to roll it into a ball and press it into a lightly buttered 9×13-inch pan or casserole dish. Bake this crust at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, just until it is very lightly browned. Set it aside to cool.
Fry 8 or 10 large pieces of hickory smoked bacon just until crispy. Set it on a white paper towel to drain. When it is cool, use your kitchen scissors to cut the bacon into pieces. If you prefer sausage instead of bacon, brown and drain two cups of ground sausage. Better yet, use both bacon and sausage in this casserole … it will be a bit “rich,” but totally delicious!
Now preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, use a large fork to beat five large eggs until they are well beaten. Add the two 1-pint cartons of heavy cream and use a whisk to beat this well. Add the bacon pieces and / or ground sausage to the mixture. Add three tablespoons of dried, chopped onions (a good brand). Add salt, pepper and Cayenne pepper to taste. I add a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar. Stir in a two-cup package of shredded mild or sharp cheddar cheese. Stir all ingredients well. Pour this batter into the homemade crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. When the top browns lightly and starts to split, you know it is done. It will “set” a bit after you gently remove it from the oven. PLEASE NOTE: When the casserole is done, beware. If you wrap it tightly with Saran wrap or aluminum foil, the lovely browned surface will ruin, so use toothpicks to keep the wrapper off of the surface of the cooked casserole.
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(This is a snack / breakfast / dessert you may let your children / grandchildren help create. You may use small paper cups to save on washing dishes.)
24 ounces vanilla or plain yogurt
2 or 3 of your favorite fruits
(Seedless grapes and / or blueberries cut in half, peach slices, raisins, strawberries, pineapple tidbits, bananas, etc.)
Put two tablespoons of yogurt in each cup. Sprinkle one and a half teaspoons of granola over the yogurt. Put one heaping tablespoonful of fruit over the granola. Put one tablespoonful of yogurt over the fruit and top it with a sprinkling of granola. This is simply delicious and very nutritious.
Easy Chocolate ‘Eclair’
2 small boxes French vanilla pudding
1 tube fudge chocolate frosting.
In a large bowl, make the vanilla pudding according to the directions on the boxes. But use only 3 cups of milk so the mixture will be thick. Stir in the Cool Whip until the mixture is of even consistency. Use a 9×13 glass dish to make the eclair. Put a layer of graham crackers squares in the bottom of the dish and top it with a layer of pudding mixture. Place another layer of graham cracker squares and top it with a layer of pudding mixture. Put another layer of graham cracker squares on top of the pudding mixture.
Remove the foil cover from a tube of chocolate frosting and microwave the frosting for about 30 seconds on HIGH. Stir it well to be sure the frosting is pretty much melted. Pour the frosting on the top layer of graham crackers and smooth it out evenly. Refrigerate for several hours. If you decide to cover this dish, be sure the chocolate has hardened so the cover won’t mess up the top of this yummy dessert. This recipe makes plenty to serve a crowd.
Contact writer at tgmhatchell @ yahoo.com