Sharing recipes for the family table

By ANDREW M. ARMSTRONG / Recipe Columnist

In the South, home cooking is not just a way of life, but a heritage. I’m honored to have been given the privilege of presenting recipes to the people of one of the most wonderful places in the world.

Shelby County, Alabama, has a soft spot in my heart. The residents are what make this county so great. I like to think my kitchen is filled with lots of love, so from my kitchen to yours, I will now share some of my most favorite recipes from the cities that surround me. My grandmother, Joyce Ann Johnson Armstrong, was born and raised in Chelsea, Alabama. She is a 1962 graduate of Vincent High School and has been one of my biggest cooking inspirations. She is a friend to all and a grandma to me.

Now, I am sharing my heritage of cooking with many different places, one of those being my grandmother’s hometown. I hope these recipes inspire all that read them, and I hope these recipes brighten your table, but most of all I hope these recipes will bring your family closer together.

If you have Facebook, follow me at Andrew M. Armstrong Recipe Columnist. If you have some favorite recipes to share, send them to P.O. Box 693 Leeds, Alabama 35094. They will be used in future columns.

Okra Casserole

20-25 pods of okra a bag of frozen okra

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine

1 Tablespoon of oil

1 Cup of grated cheese

2 Cups of fresh cut bread crumbs

Cook bell pepper, onion and okra in a skillet with oil and sauté lightly until soft. Add in the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mix in a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients folding well, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. If desired, once baked sprinkle with more cheese.

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Creamy Jambalaya

2 Tablespoons of butter or margarine

1 Pound of ground beef

½ a Cup of onions, chopped

1 small can of green chilies

1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped

2 teaspoons of salt

1/8 a teaspoon of black pepper

¼ teaspoon of thyme

1½ Cups of fresh tomatoes, chopped

2 Cups of Buttermilk

2/3 Cup of uncooked rice

Cook the butter, onions, seasonings and ground beef in a skillet until done. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Once at a boil, cut the stove down and allow it to simmer for 30-35 minutes. Note: The rice can be cooked separate and the meat mixture served over the top like a goulash.