From Lovey’s Kitchen: Cooking Lessons: Practice makes perfect

From Lovey’s Kitchen: Cooking Lessons: Practice makes perfect

My name is Lee Ann Flemming. It is an honor to begin writing and sharing a weekly food column for The Star-Herald. I have been a food writer for 20 years and am a retired middle school teacher. My husband, Steve, and I have been married for 42 years and live in Cruger. We have a son, Steven, a daughter-in-law, Stephanie, and a 12-year-old granddaughter, Leila Rose. In addition to being a food writer, I was also a food stylist for the Dreamworks movie “The Help”. Yes, I made minny’s pie! When the DVD of the film was released, I was hired by Disney Studios to promote the DVD of the film, traveling to appear on morning television shows and giving interviews to magazines and newspapers.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love for food and recipes. I read cookbooks like most people read novels. For my 8th birthday, I received my first cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook for Hostesses of Tomorrow. I still have it on my cookbook shelves. Under the title reads the statement “Easy, no-fail recipes.” It was marked with a large black “X”. The first recipe I tried was Peanut Butter Cookies. I used ¼ cup of salt instead of ¼ teaspoon of salt as listed in the ingredients. My first culinary effort wasn’t the best, and apparently I thought it was the cookbook’s fault. I don’t know how the hell my parents choked on those cookies. Luckily I had made them some coffee to go along with their cookies. Unfortunately, I used cold water for the instant coffee!

Before I got married, I was a pretty good cook. Being a home economics major in college helped. However, there were a few rustic dishes that my husband loved that I really didn’t know how to make. My first attempt at cooking fried chicken was a disaster. I fried four chicken breasts for a little over 2 hours. All that was left was crust and bone. The meat just disappeared. They were beautiful and could have graced the cover of any food magazine. I had never made gravy before and it looked like Play-Doh. It wouldn’t come off the spoon. My very patient mother-in-law took me under her wing and taught me how to make chicken gravy as well as steak gravy. It took a lot of practice, but I eventually mastered both.

As a young bride at 22, my husband and I had just settled in the Mississippi Delta, where my husband began farming. I entered the local paper’s annual recipe contest. To my great surprise and delight, I not only won one of the categories, but also the grand prize of best overall recipe. The paper ran an interview with me and gave me a check for $250 as the grand prize winner. For newlyweds just starting out, it was like a million dollars.

I love shrimp! It’s probably my favorite food. My mom said when I was little I could eat them faster than she could clean them. When I dine out, the question is not what I will order, but how my shrimp will be prepared. Today I have three recipes with shrimp as the main ingredient. I hope you will try them. Thanks for reading.


2 cans shrimp, short

1 can of tuna, drained

3 cups cooked Minute rice, cooled

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped sweet pickle

1½ cups of finely chopped celery

¼ cup diced bell pepper

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients together and mix gently. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool well and serve on green salad and garnish with tomato slices.


3 kilograms of raw shrimp, peeled

1 spoon of salt

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 spoon of black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 sticks of butter, melted

12 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

8 ounces Velveeta cheese, diced

Place the shrimp in a large pan. Add items 2-10. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and add the prepared and drained spaghetti noodles. Add diced Velveeta cheese and mix well. Return to the oven to heat through. It can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before baking for about 30 minutes.


2 (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 bottle of cocktail sauce

2 cans shrimp, short

1 bunch green onion, cut into slices

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 chopped tomato

1 can sliced ​​black olives, drained

1 kilogram of grated Mozzarella cheese

Spread soft cream cheese on a serving platter. Pour over the cocktail sauce; layer the shrimp, onion, bell pepper, tomato and black olives. Cover with cheese and refrigerate. Serve with your favorite crackers.

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