September 3, 2011

Aggie Traditions..."There's A Spirit That Can Ne'er Be Told!"

Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born, it's an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and countrymusic. it's being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies and coca-cola... and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way!

A Maine House Mosaic

Traditions....college football weekends in the South! There are die hard fans to be found in every state no matter what school you are cheering for, be it the Ole Miss Rebels (I know, they are the Black Bears now, but I refuse to acknowledge this as it makes no sense at all!), the LSU tigers, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Auburn Tigers or the Florida Gators, we each have our own little traditions. Texas A&M is steeped in traditions, perhaps more than any other school we have been associated with and the Aggies guard their traditions with a protective and loving heart. Any Aggie will be able to sing The Aggie War Hymn, "Saw Varsity's Horns Off", tell you about Silver Taps, Aggie Muster or Midnight Yells! Once we visited A&M for a senior year scouting trip, both Melissa and Rob knew that was "their school!" Living in New England only makes our yearning for Southern football games even greater. So, we fly our school flags proudly and shout, Hotty Toddy, Go Tigers and Farmers Fight from our porch...it's our tradition, don't you know!


My boys have their favorites for college football weekends.
These are always on the menu at Estelle's for those big ole' stinkin boys!
 Gosh, I love these guys!

Beef Lombardi
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (6-ounce) package medium egg noodles
 6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
 Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in chopped tomatoes and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and bay leaf, and simmer 30 minutes. Cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain. Stir together cooked egg noodles, chopped green onions, and sour cream until blended. Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with beef mixture; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover casserole, and bake 5 more minutes. Garnish, if desired with fresh parsley sprigs! Tip..add the fresh parsley...it's beautiful!

Southern Black Eyed Pea Cornbread
1 pound spicy ground pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cream-style corn
 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeƱo peppers
 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles

Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir together eggs, buttermilk, and oil until combined. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. (Batter will not be smooth.) Add sausage mixture, peas, and remaining ingredients to batter, stirring well. Pour into a greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until golden and set.

The BEST Chicken Enchiladas
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
 1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper
 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, cubed
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon pepper
 4 (4.5-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
 2 teaspoons dried oregano
 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth
1/2 cup salsa
10 (7-inch) flour tortillas
 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often; add sliced onions, and cook 20 minutes or until caramelized. Reduce heat to low, and add chopped chicken and next 4 ingredients, stirring until combined. Set aside. Pulse chiles and next 5 ingredients in blender or food processor several times until combined. Bring chile mixture and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. (Mixture should be the consistency of a thin gravy.) Remove from heat, and stir in salsa. Spread one third chile mixture evenly on bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Spoon chicken mixture evenly down center of each tortilla; roll up, and place, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining chile mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

In the South, perhaps more than any other region,
 we go back to our home in dreams and memories,
hoping it remains what it was on a lazy,
still summer's day twenty years ago.

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