McClellan: Recipes for pleasant days, colder nights

March 6, 2024

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” right? The problem appears to be that to some of us, everything is a treasure, and getting rid of anything is painful, maybe even impossible.

While visiting with a new, good friend recently, we were talking about how this keeping or clearing out syndrome must be impossible to tolerate if your partner, spouse or roommate is the exact opposite.

Perhaps a test should be given to each partner to learn before it’s too late which trait you have.

We were talking about a mutual friend who saves everything and the beautiful creations that come from his treasures. My friend said every scrap of those “treasures” would not be allowed in her house. On the other hand, I said to her that if he were my partner, we would just have to add a room for our collective special things.

Having been involved in music and theater for almost all my life, doing various programs or shows with children, teenagers and adults, I have learned that almost any and everything can be put to use for props, costumes or sets. And the one thing that is thrown away today is the vital piece that will mean the success of the performance and will be impossible to find anywhere for any price.

The same goes for cooks and the kitchen, I believe.

I know a cook can get by with very few essentials. (I have had to do it upon occasion when we moved and my treasured whisk or special something could not be found immediately.)

Since my kitchen knives are essential to anything I prepare or cook, I always knew where they were packed (sometimes in my purse). In which category do you find yourself? I guess there is a happy medium, but I have not found it yet — “saver” or “tosser”.

We really are going to cook today. I consider the cooking/eating marathon almost over — all the fall, winter, food fests when Valentine’s Day is over.

Of course, then we begin again with spring events. Also, since we are in a weather flux — 70 degrees mid-day, 38 degrees at night — we need to be prepared for almost everything.

I am sharing a recipe with you given to me years ago by Luwilda McKaig Rogers — possibly one of the finest cooks I have ever known.

Cabbage Jambalaya

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 can Rotel tomatoes with mild chilies, undrained

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

1/2 large head of cabbage, chopped (if in a hurry, use a package of slaw mix)

3/4 cup uncooked rice

1 cup water

Saute meat, onion, celery and bell pepper. Add seasonings tomatoes, cabbage, Worcestershire, rice and water. Mix well, and cook in heavy pot with lid either on top of stove or in a 325-degree oven until rice is done, about 45 minutes. Makes about four to five servings.

Now for a cool, delicious salad you might want to keep on hand for a spring or Easter luncheon:

Buttermilk Jell-O Salad

1 large box gelatin, any flavor (I used apricot)

1 can (16 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice

Mix gelatin and pineapple (no water)

Bring to boil, stir and let cool.


2 cups buttermilk

1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix well and pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch dish. Let chill several hours before cutting in square to serve, about eight to 10 servings.

Of course, you can omit coconut and nuts.

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