Grilled Chicken a Family Favorite
Although I love to cook, I really don't like to be in the kitchen for very long in the summer. We use our gas grill a lot, with husband Bob usually flipping the burgers or sausage, and me getting the other things going for the meal.
The exception is Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Since this is one of my favorite foods, I often "man" the grill when it is on the menu. With it, I like to serve Picnic Bean Casserole, Deli-Style Pasta Salad and Blueberry Snack Cake.
A friend gave me the recipe for Kentucky Grilled Chicken several years ago, and it has been a standard at our house ever since. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, it is flavored with a tangy marinade and basting sauce that makes many folks declare it is the best chicken they have ever eaten.
We are Michigan natives and moved to this small town in Kentucky's Bluegrass region in 1992, after living in Florida for 8 years. Bob and I have been married 28 years and have five children.
Our two oldest sons are both married (I made the wedding cakes) and live nearby. A third son attends the University of Kentucky, while living in an apartment behind our house.
I home-school our daughter, a high school senior this fall, and our youngest son, who will begin his freshman year.
I usually put it in an electric bean pot because it looks so old-fashioned. And that way, I don't have to heat up my oven on a hot day. My mother gave me this hearty recipe.
When I was growing up, Mom's rule was, "Do whatever you want in the kitchen, just be sure to clean up when you are done." My older sister, Gail, and I loved to bake and cook—from brownies and breads to shish kabobs.
I also helped my dad make beef jerky, stringing it and suspending it along the laundry room ceiling to dry. Our sons still use his jerky recipe, but they dry theirs in an electric smoker.
My sister went on to be a commercial foods teacher, while I had five children and put my culinary skills to good use at home.
Popular Dish to Pass
The Deli-Style Pasta Salad is a combination of two recipes that I tried and liked. Besides being attractive, it's easy to make and is a favorite at "pitch-in" dinners.
My Aunt Lalah, an excellent cook, gave me the recipe for Blueberry Snack Cake, which I've made literally hundreds of times since I was a newlywed.
The crisp sugar topping is inviting, and the delicious cake keeps people coming back for "just another sliver".
When I was a child, we picked blueberries every summer and froze nearly 100 pounds annually.
I do a bit of canning, and last year my daughters-in-law and I canned applesauce together. It was the first time they had ever canned, and they learned how wonderful it is when you hear those lids "pop" when the jars seal.
My first job as a teen was working as a kitchen girl in a German restaurant. There, I learned how to make many foods from scratch and in large quantities. I used to tell people I cooked in "vats".
That early training came in handy when my three oldest boys were all teenagers. Actually, I still cook large amounts, freezing or giving away the extras.
Several years ago, I self-published a family cookbook, which is a compilation of all my recipes plus some from my relatives. I have treasured childhood memories of my Grandma Bachellor in her apron, stirring up gravy or making a delicious spice tea.
My cookbook has a special section on whole-grain breads. I have a small electric flour mill and grind my own grains to make wonderful good-for-you breads and rolls.
Besides cooking and baking, I am a consultant for Sonlight Curriculum, a literature-based home-school curriculum. Also, I love to garden and have learned to build traditional dry-rock flower beds with Kentucky limestone.
With the children and my in-laws all living nearby, we often get together for family meals.
We keep the extra table leaves close by, pull up stools and folding chairs and have a rather loud, fun time filled with laughter, stories and good-natured teasing. Good food is the foundation of those memorable gatherings.
As I plan meals and cook for family and friends, I am thankful for my childhood lessons in the kitchen, especially knowing that I can try anything—as long as I clean up!