Jennifer Cross has worked in the Accounts Payable/Seed Department at Agri-AFC, LLC’s corporate office for almost two years. She is a native Texan who moved to Alabama eight years ago. She was very enthusiastic as she talked about the importance of Agri-AFC to Alabama agriculture and the joy of working with such caring people.
The love of cooking did not come into Jennifer’s life until she was an adult. Jennifer credits her children’s grandmother, Oma, with teaching her how to cook and opening a whole new world of foods to her.
Jennifer now collects every cookbook and individual recipe that comes her way.
"I really enjoy trying new recipes on Erni, my boyfriend, and my two daughters, Haleigh and Rebekah," she said.
Though Jennifer is a very busy mom, she constantly tries new recipes with help from Haleigh and Rebekah in the kitchen.
"Rebekah is definitely more willing to try new foods than Haleigh," Jennifer related.
She shared that one of her favorite pastimes is watching the Food Network as a way to hone her cooking skills and collect new recipes.
"I really like Paula Deen, Hungry Girl and Cupcake Wars," she added.
Jennifer’s father, Joe Elkins, who is now retired, has also developed an avid interest in cooking and trading recipes, which helps bridge the distance between Texas and Alabama.
Super Easy Cheese Manicotti
"Dad can now answer most cooking questions and helps make very spicy foods - you should try his chili!" Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s mother, Joy, who is also retired, tends to make more difficult dishes like Danish Puff Pastry and Mushroom Pork Chops. These dishes come out very tasty, but time is limited for Jennifer between church (Jennifer and her girls are active members of Community Baptist Church in Ardmore), work and the girl’s sporting events.
The recipes this month are from Jennifer’s cherished collection of cookbooks and favorites friends have passed on to her. Jennifer says the recipes are tasty and easy for a busy cook to prepare. The Brownie Bonbons are a favorite holiday recipe and the girls really enjoy helping crush the peppermint candy canes.
"I look forward to spending time in the kitchen with family and friends," Jennifer said.
Mary Delph is an associate editor with AFC Cooperative Farming News.
Robin’s Egg Casserole
1 box Stove Top Chicken Stuffing
1 stick of butter, melted
1-1½ cups cheese, shredded
Put the stuffing in a 9 X 13 pan. Pour butter over it. Cover with cheese. Mix eggs and pour over cheese. Bake 20 minutes at 325o.
Ann’s Fruit Dip
1 small tub of strawberry cream cheese
1 container of marshmallow cream
Mix well and serve with fruit.
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding
1 cup quartered strawberries
1 cup sliced ripe bananas
Drain pineapple and oranges, reserving liquid. Prepare pudding, using liquid from the fruit in place of milk. In a bowl, combine pineapple, oranges and strawberries; gently fold in pudding. Chill for at least 2 hours. Add bananas just before serving. 8 servings.
Cherry Cinnamon Rolls
1 can cinnamon rolls with icing packet
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 375o. Cut each roll into 4 pieces. Spray a round baking dish with Pam. Put cinnamon roll pieces into pan. Mix almond extract and pie filling. Spoon mixture over dough. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool, and turn onto a plate. Remove the icing packet, cover and microwave 5-7 seconds. Stir icing and drizzle over rolls. Cut and serve.
1 pound beef
1 can (10 ounces) tomato soup, undiluted
1 can (15 ounces) chili beans, undrained
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
½ cup water
Cook beef until done. Drain. Add soup, beans and chili powder. Cover pan. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 20 minutes. Add water if a thinner chili is desired.
King Ranch Chicken
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1-2 cans cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 can Ro*tel® Tomatoes
Onion, chopped (optional)
Green pepper, chopped (optional)
10-12 flour tortillas (torn into bite size pieces)
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Garlic salt (optional)
2 cups cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350o. Combine soups with seasonings and vegetables (if using). Layer soup, tortillas and chicken. Repeat layers. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes.
Apple Butter Barbecued Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound)
1/3 cup apple butter
2 Tablespoons salsa
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt, optional
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 drops liquid smoke (optional)
Place the chicken in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 375o for 25 minutes or until meat juices run clear. 4 servings.
Super Easy Chicken Manicotti
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1½ pounds chicken breast tenders
14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 ounces)
2 cups Mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 350o degrees. Spread about 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish. Sprinkle garlic salt on chicken. Insert chicken into uncooked manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of shell to fill if necessary. Place shells on spaghetti sauce in dish. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells, covering completely. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake about 1½ hours or until shells are tender. Sprinkle with basil. Serves 7.
Sicilian Pork Chops
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons Italian-style dry bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
4 pork chops (6-8 ounces each)
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Combine all the ingredients except the chops in a medium-sized bowl; mix well. Dip the chops in the mixture and rub until the chops are well coated. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until completely cooked through. If you want, serve topped with a cup of warmed spaghetti sauce.
Florentine Chicken Ring
1 can (10 ounce) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1 package (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon salt
2 packages (8 ounce) refrigerated crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 375o. Mix chicken, spinach, Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, garlic and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Unroll crescent roll dough. Separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13-inch baking stone or pizza dish with the wide ends of the triangles overlapping in the center and points facing out. Center diameter should be about 5 inches. Scoop chicken mixture evenly onto the widest end of each triangle. Bring the outer point of each triangle towards the center of the circle and tuck the point under the wide end of the dough. The filling will not be completely covered. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Slice and serve.
1 stick of butter
1 can (15-16 ounce) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (15-16 ounce) cream style corn, undrained
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 container (8 ounce) sour cream
Colby-Jack cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375o degrees. Place butter in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Place in oven until butter melts. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn, muffin mix, sour cream and eggs. Mix until well blended. Pour melted butter into mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 375o for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle top with cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. May be cut into squares for serving.
Ore-Ida Loaded Potato Soup
1 bag Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Potatoes
1 jar Classico Creamy Alfredo Sauce
2 cups milk
¼ pound bacon strips or ½ cup Real Bacon crumbles
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
Prepare potatoes in the microwave as directed on package. While the potatoes are cooking, cut bacon into small strips and fry over medium-high heat. Pour Alfredo sauce and milk into sauce pan. Heat on medium-low, stirring occasionally. Carefully pour mashed potatoes into sauce pan and stir gently to combine ingredients. Garnish with cheese and bacon.
1 package (19.8 ounce) brownie mix, ingredients according to package
½ cup peppermint candy canes (either red or green), finely crushed
Bake brownies according to package directions. Place crushed candy canes in a shallow dish. Remove brownies from oven and allow to sit 5 minutes. While brownies are still warm, use a small ice cream scoop or a spoon to scoop out and roll into 1-inch balls. Immediately roll in crushed candy canes, coating completely. Allow to cool before serving.
PEAR BUNDT CAKE
1 can pears (15¼ ounces) in syrup
1 white cake mix
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons confections’ sugar
Drain pears, reserving juice. Finely chop pears or put through a food processor. Place pears and syrup in a bowl; add dry cake mix, egg whites and egg. Mix 30 seconds on low, then 4 minutes on high. Coat a fluted Bundt pan with cooking spray. Add batter and bake at 350o for 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing cake from pan.