Cooks Exchange

Grocery stores make recipes easy

Supermarkets try to make cooking easier for customers by pairing recipes with ingredients, printing cooking magazines and putting recipes and cooking tips on their websites.

The stores’ specialty magazines are usually located at the checkout, but smaller brochures are found throughout the stores. Current ones are featuring fall recipes and, since Halloween is only a few days away, suggestions for both ghoulish and non-scary treats.

With these recipes, stores are encouraging shoppers to try new foods or are helping teach non-cooks how to prepare an easy recipe. All these recipes and helpful hints make time spent in the kitchen quicker and healthier.

In my stash of recipes, I have 3-by-5-inch recipe cards that belonged to my grandmother. She loved reading recipes and trying new ones. The leaf doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Chef Curtis Stone’s recipes are supposed to feed a family of four on $10. Stores offer specials on some of the ingredients in these recipes. For instance, boneless pork chops were on sale last week. In Winn-Dixie’s magazine and brochure, Stone suggests a smothered pork chops and grits recipe that I tried. I had all the ingredients except for the chops, so I did an impulse buy on them. Since only two of us eat pork, a small package of boneless chops was $4.28. It was a quick and easy fix with few ingredients.

I did substitute the heavy cream for fat-free half-and-half. I am certain the heavy cream would have made for a richer sauce, but I didn’t need the calories. Home cooks can use what works for their diets.

Save-A-Lot stores use their website and Pinterest to share their recipes. This week’s is everything pumpkin and the flavors of autumn.

“Mamie, can you cut out a pumpkin face?” said my 4-year-old Lilly. “You can? Oh, wow!”

Thank you, Save-A-Lot, for tips on how to pick the perfect pumpkin. I don’t want to waste the pumpkin meat, especially since that is a vegetable my daughter likes. I also plan to try the pumpkin brownies recipe.

After carving the pumpkin, check out how to stop the pumpkin from aging.

My Rouses Everyday Magazine goes Italian this month with recipes from some of New Orleans’ top chefs, such as Andrea Apuzzo. I found a recipe with grilled chicken thighs and fresh Creole tomatoes — another easy-does-it meal.

I do not like thighs, so I used grilled chicken breasts. Yes, I know that thighs are juicier, but I prefer white meat. Again, use whatever you like.

When grocery shopping and fresh out of meal ideas, pick up a store pamphlet or booklet. It just might help save time and money.


1. Pick a pumpkin that you can carry.

2. Your pumpkin should be firm

3. The stem should be dark green or black.

4. Round/oval pumpkins carve much better.



1. Make a bleach solution (1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water) Spray inside and carved areas to kill bacteria.

2. Let the pumpkin sit for 20 minutes.

3. Rub all carved and cut surfaces with petroleum jelly.

4. Keep pumpkin out of direct sunlight.


Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cook’s Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.


4 (8-ounce) pork chops

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 fresh thyme sprigs

4 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup instant grits

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add oil and pork to skillet and cook for 4 minutes per side or until deeply browned. Remove pork from skillet and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat.

Add onions and thyme to same skillet and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until onions are tender and charred in some spots. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to coat evenly. Add broth and cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until gravy has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Return pork and its juices to gravy and simmer for about 4 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Discard thyme stems.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add grits in a steady stream while whisking. Cook grits, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes or until grits are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon grits into 4 dinner bowls. Place pork on grits, spoon gravy over and serve. Serve 4.

Chef Curtis Stone in “Winn-Dixie Flavor”


2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon iodized salt

1/2 cup baking cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Combine 2 tablespoons of water and chocolate in medium bowl. Microwave on medium for 2 minutes, stir until smooth. Mix in pumpkin puree.

Using an electric mixer, beat sugars, eggs, vanilla and salt on high speed for 2 minutes. Once it is thick, blend in pumpkin mixture on low.

Stir in cocoa and flour until blended thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on rack 1 hour before serving.



6 boneless chicken thighs (I used chicken breasts)

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon basil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 package penne pasta, cooked

1-2 large Creole tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Season chicken thighs with Cajun seasoning, basil and garlic powder.

Grill thighs until cooked through. Place on a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

Place a portion of the cooked pasta into a serving plate or bowl.

Top with a portion of grilled chicken, then top the chicken with some chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle

tomatoes with a little chopped parsley and serve.