Welcome, 2022 companions. I can imagine many of you having your morning coffee or tea at the keyboard, not in your newsprint-over-coffee habit of years now past. We are still the same people, as we regard each other between the lines on our screens, so shall we keep moving as always?

[READ MORE: Chattanooga Times Free Press turns to iPads as its digital future.]

First and always, requests. As we asked in 2021, so we ask again in '22 for a coffee cake made with sugar substitute, for the most healthful chocolate recipes, and for almond meal crackers that supersede the store-bought version.

As A.E. and I experimented with Fare Exchange recipes for French onion soup, she asked, sniffling, "How do you peel onions without weeping?" Read on for one of her dessert recipes.



You asked for a crock-pot version of the well-loved chicken dish made with dried beef, bacon and a creamy sauce. Nancy Williams stepped into the search, directing us to the dish with a familiar name, easily discovered on the internet.

"This recipe is called Company Chicken. I think that one would just lightly sauté the chicken breasts to seal and have some color to them. Layer with the other ingredients in a slow cooker." Then she qualified that suggestion. "But that might really overcook the chicken. It would probably be simpler to just follow the recipe without the crock pot."

In that spirit, there follow two versions that don't require a crock pot, but do require slow cooking: a local cookbook's version and one from the great unknown of the internet.

The first is called Party Chicken and came from "Food for Thought," the Girls Preparatory School cookbook. It is described as "an easy and tasty dish to make for company."

Party Chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 bacon strips

4 ounces dried chipped beef

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream

Wrap each chicken breast with a strip of bacon. Cover the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with chipped beef. Place chicken on top.

Mix together soup and sour cream, and pour over the chicken. Bake uncovered at 275 degrees for 3 hours. Makes 8 servings.



The next recipe came from an online source, Family Oven, and includes cream cheese as well.

Company Chicken With Dried Beef

1 (3 ounce) package dried beef

8 to 10 slices bacon

8 to 10 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup sour cream


In large casserole dish, place a layer of dried beef slices, slightly overlapping each other.

Wrap a slice of bacon around each chicken breast, and place on top of dried beef.

In a saucepan, heat together the cream cheese, undiluted mushroom soup and sour cream.

Heat through until cream cheese is partially melted. Pour sauce over chicken.

Sprinkle each breast with paprika.

Cover and bake for 2 hours at 350 degrees.

When serving, spoon soup mixture over each chicken breast and serve extra sauce in gravy boat or pitcher.



While tucking away her holiday recipes, A.E. remembered her favorite gift.

Swedish Skillet Coffee Cake

6 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sliced or slivered almonds for topping

Cinnamon sugar for topping

Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet, or heat it in any oven-safe vessel of your choosing.

In a bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, flour and extracts. Stir in melted butter; do not beat.

Sprinkle a little flour over the buttered skillet, and pour batter into it.

Scatter almonds on top, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. (Use either brown or white sugar.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.



Mary Ann McInturff pulled this one from her vast collection, because you asked for vegetable recipes without cream sauce. "One of my favorites lately is Zucchini Parmesan."

Zucchini Parmesan

3 or 4 medium-size zucchini

Salt and pepper

Dried minced onions

Several small pats of butter

Real Parmigiano Reggiano

Spray casserole dish with Pam (or grease with butter).

Cut half of the zucchini in rounds about 1/8-inch thick (I use a mandoline), and layer in bottom of casserole dish.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, dried minced onion and pats of butter or margarine.

Grate Parmigiano Reggiano over all.

Repeat these layers with remaining zucchini and same seasonings.

Cover with foil (nonstick works best) and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 15 minutes until zucchini is tender and top is slightly browned.

This dish pairs well with anything.



It's funny how a scene — a clip of a moment, say — can stick with you down many years. I remembered this next recipe, sent by an anonymous contributor in a sheaf of cookbook recipes, as a casserole brought to a baby shower by a woman who had been a mentor and Bible study leader to the mother-to-be. This was more than 30 years ago, and I recall only two things: the graciousness of this elder one ... and the green beans in her capacious casserole.

Chicken Spectacular

3 cups cooked chicken

1 package Uncle Ben's combination white and wild rice, cooked

1 can cream of celery soup

1 medium jar sliced pimientos

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups French-style green beans, drained

1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise

1 can water chestnuts, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients. Pour into a 2 1/2- or 3-quart casserole. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

To freeze, do not cook prior to freezing.

Makes 16 servings.

Like many holiday households, ours was COVID-noncompliant. A pair of newlyweds had to keep their distance from COVID exposure. The spectacular mashed potato casserole (from Fare Exchange, of course) stayed firmly in the freezer. The lima beans were exiled as well, and the whipping cream that would sauce them found other uses. Some tasty things were part of the visitors' experience, but the candlelight and the groaning board just didn't make their appearance, thus was lost the experience of sitting down together with three generations.

But as Walt Whitman said, "We were together. I forgot the rest." I plan to do just that. And please share your recipes, your memories, your "wish I hads" and "glad I dids."



— Coffee cake made with sugar substitute

— Healthful chocolate recipes

— Homemade almond meal crackers



Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750


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Jane Henegar