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Cook's Corner

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Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Jean Hogan of Fort Wayne shows off her Beef Stroganoff.

Grandma loves to share info, help community

– Jean Hogan began her job at Bath Fitter just before the start of summer and is a Tastefully Simple consultant. The mother of two grown sons enjoys cooking and sharing her knowledge with others, including her three granddaughters.

Hogan’s connection with Tastefully Simple began when she was working for IBM and living in North Carolina with her husband, Paul. She was also involved with the American Business Women’s Association and Salvation Army Women of Durham, inviting many of them to her home for baking and cooking lessons.

Even now, Hogan, who will turn 63 on Oct. 27, says cooking, spending time with her family and helping others is where she spends most of her time.

“I know it sounds strange, but it’s helping other people through Bath Fitter,” she says. “We’re working on community projects. … I’d like to see the look on their face when we say, ‘We’re not charging you for it.’ ”

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. Usually I go back to Betty Crocker a lot, and I use the Campbell cookbook. My husband likes “Better than Store-Bought.” Most of the recipes we use are from my mom and his mom. His mom was Italian. She went to the same shop to get real Italian sausage every Monday and if she didn’t show up, they were worried. Every Tuesday we all went to Grandma’s house after work for her spaghetti.

Q. What you say is your go-to meal?

A. Our chicken noodle soup.

Q. If you were stuck on a deserted island, what’s one food you would have to have?

Paul: Coconuts and bananas.

Jean: (Laughs) It would not be coconuts, but he’s right on bananas. I eat one a day. But I guess shredded wheat or raisin bran, even without milk.

Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?

A. Take your time and don’t give up. Don’t be so critical on yourself. Remember if you’re cooking for others, you’re cooking for what you like. I don’t like to cook with salt, and I tell people that if you want salt and pepper, it’s on the tables. I tell my kids to try to the first bite and then if you want, add the salt and pepper.

Beef Stroganoff

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 boneless beef sirloin steak or beef top round steak, 3/4 -inch thick (about 1 pound), cut into thin strips or if you prefer cut into bite-size cubes.

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 clove of garlic (optional)

1 (10- 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

4 cups whole-wheat or regular egg noodles, cooked and drained

Chopped fresh parsley, as garnish

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned, stirring often. Remove the beef from the skillet. Pour off any fat. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until it’s tender. Stir the soup, milk, paprika and black pepper in the skillet and heat to a boil. At this time heat to low, stir in the sour cream. Return the beef to the skillet and cook until the beef is cooked through. Serve the beef mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with the parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Quick Homemade Chicken Soup

1 pre-roasted chicken

3 celery stalks

1 medium onion

2 to 3 cloves of garlic

1/4 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

3 large carrots or 1 small bag baby carrots

32 ounces chicken broth

16 ounces water

Remove meat from the chicken; set aside. Chop up carrots, celery and garlic; put in large pan. Put parsley, basil, rosemary and marjoram in a bowl and mix. Pour chicken broth and water into large pan; cook on medium heat. Bring to a slow boil. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Add chicken and all dry seasonings cook 5 minutes or until hot. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Note: May add noodles, rice or star pasta.

Mayonnaise Cake with Peanut Butter Icing

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional)

1/3 cup cocoa

1 cup of warm water

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa. Add water, mayonnaise and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool. Makes 12 servings.

Peanut Butter Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy. Top on cooled cake.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email dparker@jg.net.

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