By Karin Glendenning
Community News Writer
Nancy Ellis and her husband, Lon, have lived in their comfortable Hixson home for 35 years. Though their children are now grown, she said she still enjoys cooking and often prepares dishes for her church’s various activities.
“I always liked to cook. I grew up on a farm in White County and won 4H contests for my biscuits and cherry pie,” she said, adding that her mother and grandmother were good cooks and inspirations to her.
“I love to cook the things I shouldn’t cook,” she said, saying that she tries to limit desserts for everyday meals, but does enjoy preparing them for company. The Ellises have three children and eight grandchildren, but only one son and his wife and three children live in Chattanooga.
“I love to entertain, but don’t do it as much as we’d like,” she said. She and some friends had a group of widows from her church, Dallas Bay Baptist, over for a luncheon last year and are planning to have them again this week. Her menu for the affair will be chicken salad on tomatoes, pasta salad, vegetable salad, fresh fruit, pound cake and fruit tea.
For the monthly covered dish dinner at her church she said her Mexican Chicken Casserole is always requested as well as her recipe for Grape Salad. She also bakes several loaves of sourdough bread each week and gives most of them away. “I’ve been baking bread for at least 20 years, and have used the same starter all this time,” she said.
The Ellises have a big vegetable garden where they grow beans, squash, cucumbers, okra, corn and tomatoes. She plans to freeze the corn and can the beans and will fry the okra and then freeze it, she said.
When her children are visiting, Mrs. Ellis said one of their favorite meals consists of grilled ham steaks, garlic grits and pineapple casserole. “When I have that meal, I have no leftovers,” she said.
Mrs. Ellis likes to collect recipes and cookbooks and said her favorites are recipes from Southern Living and church cookbooks.
The recipes she shares with readers today are ones she thinks are especially good.
(Mrs. Ellis suggests topping this dessert with whipped cream, Cool Whip or ice cream.)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts
4 cups chopped apples
3/4 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
Heat oven to 350. Grease and lightly dust with flour a 9-inch square by 2-inch deep baking dish.
Mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts. Coat apples with this mixture and place in baking dish. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and melted butter and pat on apple mixture. Bake 30 minutes.
1 box brownie mix
1 large container Cool Whip
1 large box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 package Heath-Almond chips
Pecans, toasted, if desired
Bake brownies as directed on package. Tear brownies into pieces. Make instant pudding as directed on package. Mix a portion of the chocolate pudding with the Cool Whip. Layer brownies, pudding, Cool Whip and Health-Almond chips in this order. Makes approximately three layers. Top with Cool Whip and pecans. Refrigerate until serving.
2 pounds red grapes
2 pounds green grapes
8 ounces whipped cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
Whip together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Fold in grapes. Top with brown sugar and pecans.
1 can Eagle Brand milk (low fat)
1 cup water
3 ounces instant vanilla pudding
8 ounces Cool Whip
4 cups fresh peaches
Angel food cake
Mix together Eagle Brand milk, water and vanilla pudding. Fold in Cool Whip. Break angel food cake into pieces. Put half the cake in bottom of a 9- by 13-inch pan. Pour half of peaches over cake pieces and half of pudding mixture over peaches. Repeat layers.
1 bag Doritos
1 chicken, cooked, boned and cut up (or 5 chicken breasts)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 chopped onion
1 to 2 cans Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
1 cup shredded cheese
Crumble Doritos in 11- by 13-inch baking dish. Scatter chicken over Doritos. Mix soups, onion, Rotel and cheese together and pour over chicken. Bake 30 to 40 minutes in preheated 350 oven.
CHICKEN POT PIE
(Mrs. Ellis said she sometimes uses 2 cans of Vegall instead of the peas and carrots.)
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup light cream
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups green peas
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Heat oven to 425. Melt butter and remove from heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Boil 1 minute. Divide chicken among 6 small casserole dishes or one large shallow casserole dish.
For crust, mix flour and shortening. Add water to make dough and add celery seed and paprika. Roll out 1/4-inch thick. Cut in circles. Top chicken pies with paprika and pastry circles. Bake until pastry is brown, about 30 minutes.
HONEY-PECAN CHICKEN BREASTS
(Mrs. Ellis said this recipe came from Weight Watchers.)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup crushed cornflakes cereal (about 1 1/2 cups cereal)
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
4 6-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Combine soy sauce and honey in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Combine cornflakes and pecans in another shallow bowl and set aside. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper. Dip chicken breasts in soy sauce mixture and dredge in cornflakes mixture, pressing mixture onto chicken if necessary. Place chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until chicken is golden and done.
4 cups skinless chicken, cooked and chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Mix al ingredients and refrigerate before serving.
2 cups cooked squash
3/4 stick margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped onion, cooked with squash
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups cracker crumbs (1 sleeve of soda crackers)
Mash squash and onions and add other ingredients. Mix well and pour into greased casserole. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
E-mail Karin Glendenning at email@example.com