These recipes were featured on Problems & Solutions when Cathy interviewed Tammy Algood, author of many great cookbooks including Sunday Dinner in the South. Enjoy!!
Breaker Cornbread Muffins
Farmers will tell you that when a green tomato just starts to turn a bit pink, it’s called a breaker. This recipe makes good use of those tomatoes that straddle the fence between green and ripe. I always make a big batch of these muffins when I have to harvest those left on the vine before a frost.
Yield: 20 muffins
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups seeded, peeled, and chopped pink tomatoes*
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease 20 muffin cups.
Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When melted, add the tomatoes and sauté for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl combine the cornmeal and sugar. In another medium bowl whisk together the eggs and sour cream until well blended. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave on low power for 30 seconds and add to the egg mixture, blending well.
Add the tomatoes and egg mixture to the cornmeal and stir until moistened. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
Note: Any leftover muffins freeze well. Package, label, and freeze, then use within 1 month for the best quality.
* A firm green tomato that is just starting to blush pink.
Grilled Stuffed Hot Peppers
Have these peppers stuffed ahead of time and then add to the grill with the meat you are serving. No matter how many I serve, I never seem to have made enough.
Yield: 10 servings
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
14 large jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, bacon, green onions, lime juice, and garlic salt. Mix on low speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Spoon the mixture into the jalapeño halves and place on a lightly greased grill rack. Place the rack on the grill and cover. Grill 8 minutes or until the bottoms of the peppers are charred. Top with the cilantro and serve warm.
Note: If you aren’t a heat lover, use the same mixture to stuff poblano peppers and increase the grill time to 11 minutes.
Peanut Fried Cauliflower
Sometimes seeing the word fried in a recipe title can make you skip right over it because the perception is it takes too much time to prepare. This one is quickly done in a cast-iron skillet, and it’s simply sprinkled with a drizzle of vinegar to serve. You will obsess over the nutty overtones it gets from the oil and crushed peanuts.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 cauliflower head, broken into bite-size florets
2 cups peanut or sunflower oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground peanuts
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons malt or cider vinegar
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the cauliflower florets and boil for 2 minutes. Put the oil in a deep skillet and place over medium-high heat. Place the flour, peanuts, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large zip-top bag.
Drain the cauliflower and immediately drop it into the zip-top bag. Shake to evenly coat and transfer to the hot oil. Working in batches if necessary, fry the cauliflower for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with a drizzle of the vinegar.
Note: This is equally delicious when served with your favorite cheese dip.
Milk Baked Corn
Sweet corn is kicked up a bit with spices as it cooks in a yummy milk bath. I like this served with poultry or any lemony grilled fish fillets.
Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoons butter
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 cup milk or half-and-half
2 cups fresh whole kernel corn
2/3 cup dry plain bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red peppers and shallots and cook 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl combine the flour, garlic salt, paprika, dry mustard, cayenne, and pepper. In another small bowl lightly beat the egg yolk.
When the red peppers and shallots are softened, stir in the flour mixture and cook 1 minute longer. Gradually add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Slowly stir 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk to temper it. Add the egg mixture and the corn into the skillet, stirring to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top evenly with the bread crumbs.
Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving warm.
Note: Leftovers freeze very well. Package, label, freeze, and use within 2 months for the best quality.
Mother’s Chicken Spaghetti
This is the chicken spaghetti of my youth. Mother made this on a regular basis for us to enjoy after church. It was devoured within minutes of pulling it out of the oven. I love the memory of this dish every time I serve it, and that’s always on Sunday after assembling it on Saturday. Way to go, Mother!
Yield: 8 servings
1 whole chicken, cut up
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
1 (10-ounce) package thin spaghetti, broken into 4-inch pieces
2 (10-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place the chicken in a large Dutch oven and add enough water to cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 50 minutes.
Stir together the green peppers, onions, and pimientos in a large bowl. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
With tongs, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly. With a glass 2-cup measure, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock and set aside. Increase the heat to high, and when the remaining liquid comes to a boil, add the spaghetti. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander placed over a bowl and add the pasta to the vegetable bowl. Cool the remaining stock and refrigerate or freeze for later use.
When cool enough to handle, pull the chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Add to the spaghetti mixture and stir in the soups and 2 cups of the Cheddar. Stir in the garlic salt, black pepper, and cayenne as well as the 1 1/2 cups reserved stock. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 1 cup Cheddar.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake or preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake 40 to 45 minutes if cooking immediately or 50 to 55 minutes if refrigerated*. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving warm.
Note: This casserole freezes very well. Package, label, and freeze, then use within 2 months for the best quality.
* Make sure you remove the casserole from the refrigerator as soon as you begin preheating the oven, so it has time to warm up a little before you put it in the oven.
Sausage and Beef Meatloaf
I have never met a meatloaf that didn’t taste better the following day. That means you can serve one loaf and send the other home with your dinner guests or make it ahead of time and reheat it for some serious meatloaf munching madness!
Yield: 2 loaves (12 to 14 servings)
1 pound hot ground pork sausage
1 pound ground chuck or ground sirloin
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans with aluminum foil, allowing at least 2 inches to extend over the sides. Fold the foil down along the sides of the pan and lightly grease the inside.
In a large bowl gently combine the sausage, ground chuck, tomato sauce, green peppers, shallots, crackers, and eggs. Divide the mixture evenly into the 2 prepared loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before removing from the pans, using the foil sides as a handle. Slice and serve warm.
Note: If using only one loaf, let the remaining loaf cool completely in the pan. Wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer paper, label, and freeze up to one month.
Warm Strawberry Cobbler
Strawberries always seem to get shortchanged in the cobbler area in favor of shortbread. No more! I love the rustic way this dish is prepared and served in a cast-iron skillet. You will too.
Yield: 8 servings
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup half-and-half
Fresh whipped cream
In a medium bowl combine the strawberries, 1/4 cup of the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Let stand 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the butter is incorporated. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and half-and-half. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Place the strawberry mixture into the prepared skillet. Drop batter by spoonsful on top of the strawberries. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving with dollops of whipped cream.