I bravely entered my first cooking contest last year (2008) for our local news paper's annual holiday cooking contest. I had two recipes to make it to the top ten, then my Chocolate Pumpkin cake placed third by judges who had the wonderful job of tasting everyone's cooking. Wouldn't you LUV that job?
I bravely entered again this year. Again, two made it to the top ten. Tonight, they both placed higher by the tasting judges. My Smoked Sausage Corn Chowder placed 4th and $$, and my Broccoli Onion Casserole placed 5th.
I was so happy, and so glad that my two favorite guys skipped going Bluegrassin' tonight to be with me. I thanked my wonderful God for letting my cooking win too. He knows that little things like this make me happy and my Heavenly Father loves to see me happy just like my family does. I love the little pleasures of life just as much as the big ones. Just like last year, a recipe booklet will be printed up and sold by the news paper with all the top ten in each category but I'll post both of the recipes at the end of this posting.
The beautiful old theatre below is where the contest is held every year. Too bad they didn't take the time to announce what was going on tonight on the marquee. That would have just made this picture even better.
The old downtown area is basically made up of empty old storefronts these days. There's a few little sandwich/coffee shops, a few antique stores, music stores, etc. Nothing like it used to be. I guess most towns have that problem. It's a shame though, because that's where my earliest childhood memories of shopping are.
I guess it doesn't look like I dressed up for such a special night. I did last year. I just wanted comfort, so I put on one of Wayne's shirts. Do you ever do that when you want and need to feel safe, secure, and comfortable? Put on your hubby's shirt? I was a little worried this afternoon as I was cooking, so I decided right then that I'd wear a shirt of his. I just put on this brown corduroy shirt of his, that way I would still feel good even if I didn't win. It may sound funny to you, but it just works for me. I do it all the time. I did it Halloween night too. I knew that there would be a big crowd at the festival where we were going, so I put on his shirt and was super comfy! Don't ask me to explain it!
It was a beautiful night for walking the main street of old downtown, so after dropping off the dishes to be judged, that's what we did. We walked up and down what used to be bustling blocks of stores and businesses. There were others doing the same thing. I guess none of us wanted to drive away for just about an hour. That's when the theatre auditorium would open and we could go inside and find a good seat and wait for the awards ceremony to start.
I couldn't get a good picture of the chowder, but I got a pretty good one of the casserole. I hope you'll give these recipes a try. If you do I think you and your family will enjoy them.
I'm so glad you stopped by to read my blog again. I couldn't hardly wait to get home and post about tonight's events. I hope you'll keep visiting Lillie Mae Acres because whatever happens in my day to day walk with God, I'm sure to write about it.
Corn and Smoked Sausage Chowder
4 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1 lb pkg. smoked sausage, cut in ½ inch sliced, then halved
1 qt milk
16 oz can cream-style corn
10 ¾ oz can Cream of Potato soup
1 T hot pepper sauce
1 T Cajun seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot, stir in flour and blend well. Add the sausage and cook over medium heat for 5 minute. Add remaining ingred.. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Stir several times throughout cooking.
Makes 6 servings
Broccoli Onion Casserole
2 10 oz pkgs. frozen cut broccoli
2 cups frozen whole onions (or) 3 med. fresh onions (cut into wedges)
2 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 cup milk
1 3 oz pkg. cream cheese (cut up)
½ c shredded cheddar cheese
2 T butter
1 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Steam the broccoli until tender, drain and set aside.
Boil onions in salted water until tender (approx. 10 minutes) drain and set aside.
In the same saucepan, add 2 T butter, stir in flour, salt, and pepper if desired.
Add milk, and cook until thickened and bubbly. Cook 2 minutes, then add cream cheese, stir in broccoli and onions. Then pour into a 1 ½ qrt casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Melt the remaining 2 T butter and toss over crumbs. Sprinkle this over casserole and bake. Approx. 35-40 minutes.