BARBARA MCCLELLAN

Barbara McClellan

As I pondered this week’s column, I had a terrific idea.

I rolled it around in my mind all week and the more I thought about it, the better it got until the brutal truth slammed me right in the face. The column was going to be sharing recipes with you that could be made with things the ordinary kitchen has on hand all the time. Then I thought about our fridge versus the immaculate, neatly arranged fridges and pantries of friends.

These are people who never buy four cans of green beans because they are on sale, cereals or other things that are BOGO — buy one/get one, various fresh foods (salads and/or meats and produce) which are marked down because they go out of date in the next 3-4 days. (Freeze the meats and poultry and eat a lot of salad, which you need to be doing anyway.)

So, my best-laid plans went awry (apologies to Scotland’s Bobby Burns.) Just because some recipes I acquired were made with things we consider necessary, you might not be able to scratch up fresh tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and celery without which we cannot prepare a meal.

As I keep at least 1 pound of Skinner’s wonderful freshly ground pan sausage in the freezer at all times and usually have grits on hand, this dish is one which is easy to put together.

Ranch Sausage GritsIngredients

1 cup quick cooking grits

1-pound pork sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup salsa (or 1 cup chopped tomatoes)

8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese, divided

Steps

Cook grits according to package directions and set aside.

Cook sausage and onion and drain.

Combine grits, sausage mixture, salsa or tomatoes, and half of cheese. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole, which has been greased or sprayed. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until heated through. Top with remaining cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Makes 4-5 servings. Serve hot.

You know when you read Martha Rutherford’s name, the recipe will be good. She and our mutual friend Lois Sharp came up with a most unusual salad. It came in handy when I started to make potato salad but realized we had no potatoes. (Oh, I don’t think I gave you this tip when I was hint-giving a few weeks ago. Do not store onions and potatoes close to each other. The onions emit a gas that makes the potatoes sprout. They should be stored separately in dark, cool places, but not the refrigerator.)

Since we keep salad-makings on hand, I was able to make a good substitute for potato salad.

Cracker SaladIngredients

1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crumbled, but not finely

1 or 2 boiled eggs, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium chopped bell pepper, chopped

1 small white onion, chopped (may be omitted)

1 cup mayonnaise

Steps

Mix all ingredients gently, add mayonnaise just before serving. Makes 4-5 servings. Serve immediately, or it gets mushy. May add more mayo if too dry.

Quick BiscuitsIngredients

2 cups self-rising flour (see note)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup milk

Steps

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix mayo and milk and pour over flour. Mix slightly, and spoon into prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Note: To make self-rising flour, mix 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.