Mansfield Living

Even classic recipes can get an updated twist

My mom wrote a weekly recipe column in East Texas and did a little catering. She’s been gone for about five years now. When I attended my high school reunion and other festivities in my hometown a few weeks ago, it surprised me how many people brought up the subject of her column and talked about their favorites.

But one of the most interesting conversations was with a friend who told me how much she loved mother’s cornbread dressing, but admitted she’d changed it a little. I tried it as soon as we got home and I completely agree with her that it makes a “fluffier” dressing.

Mother’s original recipe called for a specific cornbread loaded with eggs. The revised version uses your favorite cornbread and adds whipped eggs at the end. My friend also sautéed onions – which I am sure are fantastic – but I have to stick to the original that caters to certain men in my life (just like my mom did) who think they don’t like onions or celery and would die if they bit down into a piece!

Tina’s Cornbread Dressing II

2 pans of your favorite cornbread

4 slices toasted bread or 3-4 biscuits or 4-5 slices dry French bread

5 cups chicken stock (more, if needed)

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon celery salt

Dash poultry seasoning

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

Place breads (broken up) in a very large bowl or a large deep pot. (I like to grind my breads up in the food processor, but it’s not necessary.). Add other ingredients and mix well. Use a pastry blender to make mixing easier. (I love how easy this recipe is because at this point the mixture can be frozen in a Ziploc freezer bag until ready for baking. If frozen, thaw for a day in the refrigerator).

Just before baking, whip six eggs and fold into the mixture. Pour it into a large pan (the mixture will rise), cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook longer until the edges of the dressing start turning a little golden. You may also choose to adjust the time depending on how moist or dry you want your dressing. Overcooking will definitely dry it out.

Final note: You can also substitute two cans cream of celery and use only 1 can cream of chicken, if you prefer.

Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

4 medium sweet potatoes, baked until very soft, then peeled

1 1⁄2 cups sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 eggs

6 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9 x 12-inch baking dish. Use a mixer to blend all ingredients and pour into prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Top with Streusel and bake another 15 to 20 minutes.

Streusel

6 tablespoons butter, melted

3⁄4 cups panko crumbs

3⁄4 cup brown sugar

1⁄2 cup chopped pecans

Stir together with a fork until crumbly.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8-inch thick

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt, preferably sea salt

1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in center and lower positions. Divide sweet potatoes between two rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, toss and spread them in a single layer on sheets. Bake, flipping once, until centers are soft and edges are crisp, 22 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, and serve with lime wedges.

Sliced Fruit with Sugared Lime Zest

2 limes

1⁄4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoons salt

1 Granny Smith apple

1 mango

1 medium papaya

Grate zest from limes. Squeeze 2 teaspoons juice from one of the zested limes into a bowl. Process lime zest, sugar and salt in a food processor until zest is coarsely ground.

Core apple, then cut in half and slice thinly. Add to lime juice, and toss. Peel mango; cut flesh away from pit, and slice thinly. Halve papaya, remove seeds, and slice thinly.

Arrange apple, mango and papaya on a serving platter or plates. Sprinkle with some of the sugared lime zest, and serve remaining zest mixture on the side.

-- Suzi Hogan and her husband, Tim, are Mansfield residents.

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