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What's cooking in Bryan County: Some recipes to get you and the kids in the kitchen
Libby Hires
Libby Hires

Libby Hires, cooking columnist.

Thank you to all of you that took the time to welcome me back! It certainly feels great to be writing again. I did not realize how much I missed it until the adrenaline started flowing again.

Jimmy and I are empty nesters again. We went through this when Jay went off to college. You could tell something was missing and even the pets knew it.

Then my son would walk through the door, and it was like the sunshine broke through the clouds. That’s what kids do; they give you that bit of brightness you didn’t know you were lacking in your life.

If you know my son Jay, you know he has my warped sense of humor. I must admit that it is something that is deeply rooted in our genes as it appears even my great-grandfather on down to my mother have this same funny bone. It has occasionally gotten us into a little bit of trouble, but nothing that we could be ashamed of really. In fact, it’s pretty much just blamed on the Mathis blood that made us do it or maybe even a teacher with no funny bone of her own.

Our pranks and hijinks are mild, no one gets hurt except for maybe their ego for a moment. Jay also has another shared trait: he’s a great cook. I will have to say he gets that from both sides of the family as Jimmy’s mother could have opened a restaurant with her cooking ability! Jimmy can cook as well but will tell you he is not into learning to make elaborate dishes.

My grandmother and mom were awesome cooks, but my dad was a great cook, too. Guys, you need to learn how to cook. Mommas, bring those boys into the kitchen when they are young to start a love for cooking early. Even guys need to learn how to cook as one day they will be out on their own when they go to college or move out. I remember buying Jay cookbooks for kids at book fairs. He didn’t ask for them. I just bought them. They had his favorite characters like Scooby Doo and some from Nickelodeon programs. He was in elementary school making smoothies. Today, he makes some of the best crab stew and sweet tea I’ve ever tasted.

With the nights getting longer and more school holidays coming up, there will be more opportunities to share kitchen time with children. Here are some recipes to get you started with the kids! Enjoy!

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients 8 hot dog wieners (I love Nathan’s or Hebrew National) 1 cup shredded casserole or Mexican cheese 1 can crescent rolls Garlic powder (optional) Sea salt (optional) Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie/baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil). Cut a slit in wieners, leaving about ½ inch on each end and being careful to not go all the way through.

Separate crescent rolls and roll out into individual triangles. Place one wiener on the broad end of the dough. Sprinkle cheese into the created slit. Roll wiener up in crescent roll, broad end to small, sealing the small end to dough when finished. Repeat with remaining wieners and rolls. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.

Variation: About 5 minutes prior to being done, you can brush rolls lightly with melted butter and add additional sea salt, returning to oven until golden brown.

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients 1 package Oreos 1 package cream cheese, softened 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips 2 teaspoon Canola oil Directions: Place one row of Oreos in a gallon- size bag. Seal bag.

Crush cookies by hand or by using the base of a glass or coffee cup. (You can also use a food processor, but the bag lends to less cleanup.) Empty the cookies from the bag into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining rows. Mix in the cream cheese until blended well. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper (wax side up) or parchment paper.

Shape into small balls. Place balls on the cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.

Pour chocolate chips into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in canola oil. Microwave on high at 25-30 second intervals, until melted, stirring at end of each interval.

Add additional canola oil if needed. (Mix should look smooth like cake batter).

Remove Oreo balls from the refrigerator. Dip balls into chocolate mixture, one at a time, until well coated, and return to cookie sheet.

Return the cookie sheet to the refrigerator and chill again for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened. Serve. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Hires is a famous local cooking columnist. Her columns are known to make people hungry.

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