IN THE KITCHEN WITH KATHY MILLER
Photographs by Susan Scarborough
South Island Living has a great new idea… we are planning a new feature showcasing how our residents cook, entertain, the foods they like, the recipes they use over and over, any special diets being tried, their kitchens…
Many of you are accustomed to seeing recipes, homegating and tailgating from resident Kathy Miller…that’s me.
Our new feature, In The Kitchen, starts this month and I agreed to be the guinea pig. I’ll get it started and then we would love to feature many of our amazing resident cooks…How do you cook? how do you entertain? Do you prefer inside dining? Outside dining? Serving style…buffet, sit down, family? Are you one who likes large gatherings served buffet style or more intimate, sit down dinners with you serving the courses. Or passing the food around the table ala family style?
Every month we will feature a different resident cook. You don’t have to be a chef! Just share with us your special foods, recipes, kitchen, entertainment ideas, or just everyday cooking.
We are kickstarting this new feature with a peak into Kathy’s (that’s me!) new kitchen remodel with my go-to recipe for parties, my preference for entertaining style and a look at how the kitchen is the center of many family and friends gatherings.
When Dave and I bought his family’s home on Marsh Creek we knew that this special property needed a facelift. After living in the over-the-garage apartment for 4 months during major renovations, we now have a cozy home using every room in the house. The largest change involved redoing the kitchen. We created a feeling of space by tearing out the drop down ceiling, adding wood to the vaulted ceiling, (knowing the vault was already there) staining the wood to match the rest of the house, then whitewashing the wood for a lighter feel. We bumped out several walls by removing a foyer closet and wet bar and we ripped out a passthrough counter. We enclosed an unused small screen porch, adding a larger laundry room, butler’s pantry and wider hall.
The most important consideration during the remodel was to keep the view to the marsh open…from the kitchen, through the dining spot to the sunroom, to the marsh.
When we entertain, it seems people always end up in the kitchen so we made sure a large island could comfortably seat 4…to sip wine and chat while prep work is going on. We chose a stunning granite that reminds me of oyster shells or the feeling of waves in the sea. Our cabinets are a light beige color giving a warmer feel to coordinate with the French Oak wide plank wood floors and wood ceilings. The island cabinetry has a subtle blue glaze over the wood finish.
The island is the key to the kitchen. I like to use the island to serve buffet style. Our most recent party was the Sunday after the Boys & Girls Club Benefit and it was also Super Bowl Sunday. With many family and friends in town for the benefit, I prepared a simple supper to serve buffet style. Lots of appetizers and dips were served during the first half…in the living room…in front of the TV. The dinner buffet included 2 different lasagnas. My traditional Cheesy Lasagna and my go-to Chicken Florentine Lasagna…always a surprise and treat for newcomers. Recipe follows. This lasagna has so much flavor and the pecans on top make it fabulous.
- 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1 (10-12 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry between paper towels.
- Sometimes I add more spinach.
- 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken. ( I use a rotisserie chicken)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup ( I like to use low sodium).
- 1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
- 1 (8 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the Topping
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Drain thawed spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible, using paper towels.
- Combine spinach, chicken and next 11 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
- Arrange 2 noodles in a lightly greased large rectangular baking dish.
- Spread 1/3 of chicken mixture over noodles.
- Layer 2 noodles on top and spread with 1/3 chicken mixture.
- Repeat with last 2 noodles and chicken mixture.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and Butter- Pecan topping.
For the Topping
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add pecans and cook for 3 minutes.
- Cool completely.
- Sprinkle on casserole over parmesan cheese.
- Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until hot and bubbly
- Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.
NotesThis is delicious and a crowd pleaser. It is wonderful as a tailgating main course. To keep warm at a tailgate, cut and wrap in foil. Transport with a Pyrex microwaveable Hot Pack in a Pyrex Portable Container.
Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com
With a large salad, bread and olive oil for dipping, guests could choose to sit at the dining table or gather in the living room or screened porch using colorful trays. Too bad the game was so boring. We had a great time enjoying each other.
Thank you for joining us for our first In The Kitchen! Please let us know what you think and who we should feature. Do you know someone who loves to cook? Tell us. And just because we are talking In The Kitchen doesn’t mean you have to have a newly remodeled kitchen. You might like to tell us about your dining spots…or a family story about how you learned to cook. Or share a few favorite recipes…AND a shoutout to all our men cooks…we know you are out there. Let us hear from you. We’d love to know your specialty! contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A special shout out to Susan Scarborough! Her photography is fabulous…Think she makes me look pretty good and her food photography…the best!
Come Celebrate with me! I’ll save you a seat at the table.