Growing up here in Barrow County, in a small town, allowed me to make friendships that have lasted a lifetime. Many of these friendships started in first grade and continue.

One of these friends that I cherish daily is Kay Young Fish. She’s more like a sister to me. Not many days go by that we don’t talk or text to check on each other. She recently took me in for my hand surgery and waited patiently through it all and then took me to lunch and later for meds before finally delivering me safely home. I’d do the same for her any day of the week.

You could say I have become part of the Young family, especially since I lost my husband.

The whole family is rather special but I’m very close to Kay and Christie.

We often share recipes and dishes with each other.

The one dish I share most often with Kay other than dessert would have to be my Eggplant Parmesan. I enjoy making it and sharing it with her. And since today’s column is all about friendships and shared recipes here’s Kay’s recipe of the week.

Oven Baked

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into ½-inch thick slices

1 jar marinated sauce (choice of your brand)

2 cups Mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)

2 Tbsps. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray.

Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl with a fork or whisk.

Place the bread crumbs onto a dish. Dip the eggplant into the eggs and then coat with the bread crumbs.

Place the eggplant onto the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes turning the eggplant over once halfway through the baking time.

Spray an 11x8x2-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the eggplant, 1 cup of the sauce, 1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese in the dish. Repeat the layers. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot through and cheese is melted. Serve hot with Italian bread sticks and maybe salad.

Another one of my wonderful friends that I stay in touch with is Lisa Maginnis Hulsey.

Lisa and I only go back to our high school days. We were both active members of a group back then that J.C. Cook got started, Teens for Christ.

Today if I’m feeling down I know just the friend to turn to, Lisa always has a kind uplifting word to lift my spirits.

Lisa is one of my friends that doesn’t really like to cook much but does like home cooking.

Lisa hasn’t changed much since high school, still has the petite figure and looks as young as ever.

I know from talking to her she loves grilled chicken so I’ll share my Greek Avocado & Grilled chicken salad in honor of Lisa.

Greek Avocado and Grilled Chicken Salad with Greek Dressing

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

2 medium, skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 garlic clove, crushed in garlic press

Salt & pepper to taste

For the Salad:

2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

1 avocado peeled, pitted and chopped

1 cup cucumber, chopped

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 red onion , sliced thinly

1 jar (6.5 ounces) marinated artichoke heart, drained

1/4 cup Feta cheese, crumbled or cubed

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsps. raw apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Pound chicken flat with a meat tenderizer or slice chicken breasts in half to make them thinner. In medium bowl or “Ziplock” bag, combine the chicken, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Heat a large heavy-duty pan to medium heat and grill chicken 5-6 minutes per side, until tender and cooked through.

Remove from pan, cool for 5 minutes then slice or chop.

Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar and shake to combine, alternately whisk in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine all the chopped ingredients for the salad. Top with chopped chicken and drizzle generously with dressing. Serve immediately.

Another of my wonderful friends from high school that I still stay in touch with is Nan Spangler Eberhart.

I share recipes with Nan also and asked her for her favorite dish and she informed me Pot Roast, so I’ll share with you in honor of Nan one of my favorite Pot Roast recipes.

Slow Cook Pot Roast

Ingredients:

2 lbs. beef roast (I like to use London Broil)

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups baby carrots

1 large onion, quartered and pulled apart

1 (1.5 ounce) envelope dry pot roast seasoning

1 1/2 cups beef broth

Directions:

Place roast into crockpot and surround with vegetables.

Combine beef broth and pot roast seasoning mix.

Then add to crockpot - pouring over beef and vegetables.

Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

My friend list would never be complete if I didn’t include Jannie House Jennings and her husband Don whom I call both great friends. Always love talking to Jannie, and “Big Don” had a birthday this past week. Hope it was a good one. In honor of this great couple I’m going to share an old recipe I’ve shared before that I’ve had lots of requests to share again.

My famous Peanut Butter Pound Cake. I bet I’ve made at least a 1,000 of them by now.

Peanut Butter

Pound Cake

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix

1 box vanilla pudding mix

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 cup water

4 eggs

1/4 cup oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed using an electric mixer for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes.

Remove from pan onto wire rack to completely cool.

Hope you will take time to renew old friendships and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Joyce Jacks is a cooking columnist for the Barrow News-Journal. Send comments to Georgiagirl2424@yahoo.com.

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