Name: Lisa Weems Boatwright
Background: I grew up in Marietta and graduated from Marietta High School. I used to visit my uncle and aunt, Robert and Billie Waters, in LaGrange and had seen LaGrange College. After visiting the school, I decided it was the perfect college for me to attend. I graduated from LaGrange College with a business administration degree with a concentration in accounting.
Family: I met my husband, Ken Boatwright, who was born and raised here, at LaGrange College. We have been married 32 years and have two daughters, Lindsay and Alyssa, and a son-in-law, Ross Penrod, who is a lieutenant the U.S. Navy. We also have two dogs, Lex and Charley.
Job: I own and operate All Self Storage, LLC, in LaGrange.
Hobbies, activities: I love to read and cook. I keep a file in my computer called “Recipes for Lindsay and Alyssa.” It has most of the recipes I made when they were growing up. I keep adding recipes that I try and think they may like.
How did you learn to cook? When Ken and I married, I had no idea how to cook. I pretty much had to teach myself, using Ken as the taste tester. My first cookbook was “Taste of Georgia,” so I tried many recipes from that.
What is your favorite memory of cooking or being in the kitchen? I make peanut brittle every year at Christmas for friends and family. My favorite memory is of my grandmother coming to visit me and teaching me to cook her peanut brittle in my kitchen. We made it over and over until I perfected her technique. I treasure my recipe card where she wrote specific notes on the do’s and don’ts in making it.
What ingredient is always in your pantry or refrigerator? Minced garlic is an ingredient we use quite a bit in dishes.
What is your favorite cooking tool? My food processor is my favorite cooking tool. I love using it for recipes that require a lot of chopping, like my cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving or chicken salad. I also use it to chop pecans.
Do you have a favorite cookbook? I love my “Southern Born and Bread” and “Grits and Grace” cookbooks. Every recipe I have made from them have been great. I recently received “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” as a gift and can’t wait to try recipes from it.
When you go out to eat, what is your favorite thing to order? I love grilled shrimp and crab cakes. Ken is a great cook and makes excellent crab cakes at home, but I still like to try other versions.
What recipe is your comfort food that reminds you of home? My mother’s spaghetti sauce. She made it when we were growing up and I still follow it with a few additions of my own.
What was your biggest disaster in the kitchen? The first Thanksgiving we were married, Ken and I went to Dalton to my grandparents’ houses. Most of my relatives from both sides were going to be there. Even though I was still learning to cook, I volunteered to take a pecan pie to each grandparent’s house. I learned too late that you cannot double a pecan pie recipe. All of the eggs went into one pie and all of the syrup went in the other one. I was so upset, but my grandmothers thought it was funny.
What is your “old faithful” recipe that you rely on time after time? I love to make different soups. I think my black bean soup is my favorite one to make. I have a basic recipe, but change it from time to time.
What is the weirdest thing you ever ate or cooked? Someone asked me to try fried alligator one time. It was OK, but I don’t think I will ever eat it again.
This is very good and easy.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cups oil
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can, plus half of another 15 1/2 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
Combine flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and sugar. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add eggs and oil, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in pineapple and pecans. Spoon batter into lightly greased 8-inch loaf pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Watch to be sure top doesn’t burn. Let stand overnight before slicing. This can be made in smaller loaf pans or muffin tins, but reduce baking time.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
2 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 stick butter
4 cups cornbread, crumbled (I use White Lily self-rising white corn meal and recipe on the back)
4 cups coarsely crumbled, lightly toasted white bread
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 stick butter, melted
Make the cornbread and toast the bread. To toast the bread, I usually turn on the oven to about 250 degrees and place bread on a cookie sheet. It does not need to turn brown. Check it after 4 minutes and it the top is dry feeling, then turn bread over and do the same on other side. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute celery and onion in a stick of butter until tender. Crumble cornbread in a large bowl. Add toast, salt, parsley flakes, sage, poultry seasoning, pepper and eggs. If cooking dressing inside turkey, add 2 1/2 cups broth. Stuff turkey immediately before baking. If baking in a 9- by 13-inch pan, add 3 cups broth. Mix well. I use my hands to mix. Spray pan with cooking spray. Put dressing in pan, cover with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover and baste with 1/4 cup broth and 1/4 stick melted butter that have been mixed together. Bake another 15-20 minutes until juice has been absorbed and it is lightly browned.
Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce
2 pounds ground beef
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2-3 bay leaves
Brown meat; drain off fat. Combine meat with remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally so it will not burn on bottom. Makes about 2 quarts.
Ken’s Brunswick Stew
This is very easy and good.
2 cans barbecue pork (I use Castleberry)
2 cans barbecue beef (I use Castleberry)
2 cans white chicken (I use Swanson’s)
1 can whole kernel corn
2 cans creamed corn
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
Tabasco to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Place in a crock pot and cook 1 hour on high, then 3 hours or more on low. Stir every hour. This can also be cooked on low on the stove, but be sure to stir occasionally.
Ken’s Shrimp and Grits
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone ground grits
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or use 4-5 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined and halved length
3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes of hot sauce (Tabasco)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
In a large saucepan bring chicken broth, water and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat to low. Cook grits uncovered for 20 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and butter, stirring until melted; set aside. Toward the end of the grits cooking, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shrimp; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in parsley, black pepper and hot sauce until combined. Transfer grits to serving dish or into individual bowls. Top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with bacon and green onions. Makes six servings.
5 rolls Rolo candies
Whole toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pretzels on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place one Rolo candy on top of each pretzel. Bake at 300 degrees for about 12 minutes or until starting to melt. Remove from oven and press a whole toasted pecan on top of each to spread candy out over pretzel. Cool.
Black Bean Soup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Dash red pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
2 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, chopped and undrained (or 2 cans chopped tomatoes, undrained)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
Chopped chicken, optional
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until tender. Add 1 cup black beans; mash with potato masher. Add remaining beans, chicken broth and remaining ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Serve hot. I usually double the recipe to have some to freeze. You may want to add some extra chicken broth if you don’t want it as thick.