“I don’t remember a time when I was not in the kitchen with my mom (Missy Bryant), sister (Amy Walsh), aunts (Sue Gore and Garnett Beaudoin) and my grandparents,” said Natalie Bryant, formerly of Calhoun County.
“At our house I would set the table, fill glasses with ice and butter the brown-and-serve rolls. When with my paternal grandmother, Margie (Bryant), I would shred Velveeta cheese (for who knows what reason, other than to let a little kid feel important) for her homemade macaroni and cheese.”
Margie and Curtis Bryant, also well-known for his stew, had a barbecue place, Bryant’s BBQ, in Derma the whole time she was growing up and she spent a lot of time there.
“Now that I have my own children, I want them to be able to enjoy food, cooking and the unique experience they have in being from Mississippi. Andrew and I currently have two 7 year olds with very different personalities.
“The kitchen is where everyone gets to have fun, share space, have responsibility, and learn a lot. It really has become something I enjoy as much, if not more, than them,” she said.
Several of the recipes she included are ones she says they make regularly and their entire family enjoys. Natalie said she thought it would be fun to include a couple of recipes that are specifically for children to make.
“The pie and corn dip recipe only require a good hand washing and being able to follow very basic instruction. The dip is a favorite of theirs during the summer, always disappears fast and is relatively guilt free for those watching calories,” she said.
“The result is amazing,” she said of the chocolate chip cookie pie, once made by Levi and taken to his day care class, which Vickie Allred taught.
“I love to read recipe books as much as I love to read fiction and have an ongoing list of ‘to try’ recipes. Thankfully, my husband and kiddos are willing to try almost anything and humor me when I try something new,” she said. Her favorites to cook for family are “a few Southern classics everyone enjoys–macaroni, mashed potatoes, hamburger steak, biscuits, beans/peas, deviled eggs, etc.” But she says if someone cooks for her she is an easy sell on a good pizza, burger or salsa.
All of her recipes are ones she has found and adjusted along the way. “We enjoy grilling so I included two of our favorite recipes for summer with the mushrooms and sweet tea brine. Besides, who doesn’t love tea, lemon, and rosemary?
“And the mushrooms never make it into our house, because I eat them straight off the grill,” she said.
The pasta broccoli bake is her all time favorite, which she says looks more complicated than it is and is very versatile. She often makes a vegetarian version by substituting the chicken for mushrooms. “This casserole is filling and easily feeds a crowd as a main dish or side item for pot luck.”
“Ilean Anglin, my maternal grandmother, always had everyone’s favorites. She made us all feel special because she knew what we liked and took a lot of time/effort to prepare so much in order to have us all together. Everyone cooked, everyone had ‘their dish’ and everyone enjoyed that part the most,” said Natalie.
Sweet Tea Brined Chicken
Brew 2 Family Size tea bags (let steep at least 10 minutes)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 rosemary sprigs
1 Tbsp. pepper
1.5 lbs. cut up chicken (whatever pieces you prefer)
Once tea has steeped, stir in all ingredients until mixed well. Place chicken in a gallon ziplock bag, cover with tea mixture and allow to marinate over night. (Best if grilled.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 lb. favorite mushrooms
Combine ingredients and marinate at least one hour. Additional marinade can be used to baste while grilling. (Best if grilled.)
Levi’s Favorite Corn Dip
2-11 oz. cans Mexi-Corn
1 jar of Salsa
1 2-cup package Mexican blend shredded cheese
Cumin to taste
Combine Mexi-corn, salsa and cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle cumin over the top and refrigerate. Serve with corn chips or tortillas.
One Skillet Taco Tuesday
1 lb. ground chuck
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 bell pepper (chopped)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup salsa
Cook beef, drain and remove from pan. Saute onion and pepper in oil. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and beef. Cook about 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, 3/4 cup water and salsa. Mash beans with fork until the desired consistency. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 10 minutes. Serve with tortillas and garnish as desired.
Kid Perfect Pie
2 favorite pre-made pie crusts (chocolate, graham cracker, etc.)
1 package Chips Ahoy Chocolate chip cookies
1-8 oz container Cool Whip
Pour milk into a medium sized bowl. Have kids soak one cookie at a time in milk, then layer inside pie crusts. There is no need for neatness, they can break them apart to fill in “gaps” just make sure each cookie has been thoroughly soaked in milk. Once cookies are layered within pie crusts, top each with half the container of Cool Whip and refrigerate (best if refrigerated over night). Makes 2.
Pasta Broccoli Bake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-20 oz package tortellini
4 cups broccoli
4 cups chicken
1/2 cup grated parmesan
15 round buttery crackers (crushed)
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté until tender. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Whisk in broth, half and half, and white wine. Reduce heat and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add parmesan, salt and pepper, stirring until cheese is thoroughly melted. Stir in tortellini, broccoli and chicken. Spoon mixture into greased 13×9 dish. Stir grated parmesan and crackers together. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake 40-45 minutes or until bubbly.
Oven Fried Pork Chops
1 lb. favorite cut pork chops
1 large egg (beaten)
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine liquids. Combine dry ingredients separately. Dredge chops in egg mixture then roll in the dry mixture. Place chops on a backing pan with rack. Drizzle with butter and back 25 minutes or until cooked through.
Mini Meatloaves (makes 2 loaves or 24 “muffins”)
(I typically half this recipe)
2 lbs. ground chuck
3/4 cup uncooked quick cooking oats
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Hot sauce to taste
Sliced block cheese (optional)
Preheat oven 350°. Combine all ingredients. Place mixture in muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. One can also fill half the muffin cup with meat mixture, lay sliced block cheese over it, and cover with additional meat mixture for cheese “stuffed” meatloaves. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.