• Dash of Class: Turn Easter leftovers into hearty dishes

    Usually, Easter leftovers are hard-cooked eggs with names written on them or decorated by children.

    There also might be eggs from egg hunts. Check those out carefully. If there are any cracks where dirt and germs could get into the egg, discard them.

    But for those of you who had baked ham, you might have so much that you get tired of ham sandwiches.

    The recipes I have for you today use leftover ham.

  • Dash of Class: Topping off Easter dinner with dessert

    Here we are, five days from Easter Sunday. Most people use this as an occasion for a family dinner. Baked ham seems to be the favorite for most, but turkey, fried chicken, pulled pork or a chuck roast are close seconds.

  • Kitchen Adventures: A coconut cheesecake fit for an Easter dessert

    When you think of an Easter meal, a few constants come to mind such as ham, deviled eggs and an assortment of traditional side dishes.

    When I think of Easter dinner, some sort of coconut dessert is usually a must. A beautiful light and fluffy coconut cake with jelly beans on top is a favorite and coconut pie is absolutely delicious.

    Honestly, I only recently discovered a taste for coconut. As my tastes have changed with age, it’s become a  favorite flavor. And, I love the smell of coconut.

  • Kitchen Adventures: A different kind of popcorn

    Sometimes food can surprise you.

    A dish doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped. Sad surprise. Other times, you find that something you weren’t expecting to enjoy is wonderful. Glad surprise.

    The disappointment often happens when a dessert’s appearance is knock-your-socks-off special, only to find it did not really taste good at all. Or when I tried to make it, the result was a messy disaster.

    The surprising joy often happens when a simple vegetable turns into something fabulous.

  • Dash of Class: Sweet without sugar

    After numerous back-to-back columns with wonderful tempting dishes, a teaching colleague asked that I have a column with recipes that use a sweetener other than sugar.

    I can remember my Mom using saccharin to help with weight loss and I remember seeing it in the medicine cabinet. Saccharin since has confronted competitors. We now see on our grocery shelves stevia, Truvia, Splenda, Sweet n’ Low (saccharine); which seem to be the most popular sugar substitutes, but aspartame is used in many diet drinks, juices and even chewing gum.

  • Kitchen Adventures: For the love of fresh basil

    When you have a package of fresh basil, you make a lot of basily things.

    At least I do.

    Last week, I used basil in a pasta salad.

    For dinner one night, I put it on some homemade pizza bread. Simply put some pepperoni, bacon bits, tomato sauce, basil and cheese on some freshly sliced bread and place it under the broiler for a few minutes. It was a last-minute dinner choice using a variety of things on hand, but the basil made it delicious.

  • One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks: It's no surprise, Shirley Pearson dishes up family favorites

    This month’s “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks” is a lady I have known for a long time: Shirley Pearson. This month is special because her adult granddaughter nominated her and three of her grandchildren have made comments about their favorite dishes.

    Granddaughter Erin Roberts said, “Mamaw has inspired Travis, Jenna and I to learn to cook and make some of her recipes that we love.”

  • Kitchen Adventures: Addicted to pasta

    I officially may be addicted to pasta. If there’s a recipe involving pasta, I want to try it. 

    The things that go so well with pasta also are enticing. Sauces, cheese, basil, spices, meats and even bacon on occasion all mix in well with pasta. Not only can you smother pasta in cheese, you can stuff pasta with cheese. When you add cheese and pasta together, it’s a combination hard to resist.

    You make pasta boiled on a stove and tossed in a good sauce, baked or even cold in a salad.

    In a word, pasta is amazing.

  • A Dash of Class: Sweet treats for any weather

    Time just flies, doesn’t it? Here we are at the end of March and the beginning of spring is teasing us, but if the forecast is right, we might have snow today.

    I have for you some great recipes this month. The first recipe was brought to our Cecilia Homemakers meeting and the person sent me the recipe, but I fail to remember who it was. It sure was delicious.

  • Kitchen Adventures: A middle school journey into Middle Earth

    Books are exciting, wonderful and brilliant and can be the inspiration for cooking.

    Library Media Specialist Jessica Hundley decided to combine books and food as a reward to some of her avid readers at Bluegrass Middle School. They gathered in the media center last week during the school’s Read Across America emphasis. The event was rescheduled because of snow the week before.