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Chef Ron Cook
Chef Ron Cook serves guests on Thanksgiving.
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Chef Ron Cook
Chef Ron Cook offers a plate of Thanksgiving food.
Chef Ron Cook serves up multiple Thanksgiving dinners.
The Morningside of Riverchase food director spends the holiday serving the residents of his community and, of course, spending time with his family.
For Cook, family is where his inspiration started. His first fascination with cooking came from his mother while growing up in the small town of Muscoda, Alabama.
“I looked in the fridge, and we only had bread and milk in there,” Cook said. “I thought, ‘How does she make a meal for seven kids with nothing in the fridge?’”
Cook began working in restaurants at age 14. He went to California for school but came back to Alabama when his mother became ill. In 1998, he began working as a chef in assisted living communities. Without passion for what he does, he said, he would not be a success.
“Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a chef with a clean coat,” Cook said. “That means that they’re not eating their own food and they’re not really cooking.”
In August, Cook began work at Morningside of Riverchase Assisted Living Community. In addition to his work with assisted living communities, he also has a cooking segment that airs every third Friday on Fox 6 News.
“I don’t want to be known as a chef,” Cook said. “I want to be known as a servant of God who impacts peoples’ lives by the gift He gave me, and that is cooking.”
Thanksgiving incorporates what Cook refers to as his three passions: cooking, eating and family. His stuffed chicken breast recipe offers a less time-consuming take on a Thanksgiving meal meat, while his carrot cake is an unexpected holiday dessert with flair.
Stuffed Chicken Breast Topped with White Green Chile Sauce
1 cup self rising meal
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
6 medium boneless chicken breasts
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
White Green Chile Sauce (below)
Mix together the first eight ingredients to create a cornbread batter and bake in a greased pan at 400 degrees until brown (approximately 25 minutes).
Remove cornbread from the oven. In a large bowl, mix cornbread, one can of cream of chicken soup and two cans of chicken broth, and set aside.
Take the raw chicken breast and slice 3/4 of the way through, stuff with cornbread mixture and roll up jellyroll style. Place stuffed breast in lightly greased shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic salt and black pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.
Remove breast from oven and cover with White Green Chile Sauce. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
White Green Chile Sauce
1 small can green chiles
8 oz. sour cream
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup milk
Mix all ingredients together and heat on top of stove until slightly warm.
Chef Ron’s Famous Carrot Cake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Wesson vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla flavor
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)
Mix oil and sugar and add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, dry ingredients, carrots and pecans and mix well. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Ice cake.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
Mix butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar and water.