Tupelo – When Bob Bogen grew up in Hattiesburg, he was more interested in eating than cooking.
But after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, he started playing in the kitchen quite a bit.
“Things were easy at first, like hamburgers, goulash, and soup,” said Bogen, 77. “I got into other things later. I’ve been cooking for over 50 years.”
Baughn, who moved to Tupelo in 1978, retired in 2011 from Tower Automotive, and worked for JESCO for 20 years prior to that. He and his wife, Stephanie, share two children, two grandchildren, a great-grandson, and a small white bichon named Boogie.
“Now that I’m retired, I’m either on the golf course or in the kitchen,” he said. “Stephanie can cook, but she’d rather be clean, so we have a deal.”
“He has a knack for cooking, and I don’t,” said Stephanie, who has worked as a secretary at Harrisburg Baptist Church for nearly 25 years. “I cook all the holiday meals. I want to do marinade and sweet potatoes with all the trimmings. He kind of backs out and lets me in.”
Bogen says he cooks at least three or four times a week, with a typical summer meal being fried steak, purple peas, fried okra or squash, tomato slices and Mexican cornbread. The rest of the week, the couple has leftovers, or something easy, like burgers.
“My favorite meal is a good cheeseburger with fries,” he said. “It’s hard to beat a good cheeseburger.”
Many of the recipes in Baughn’s regular menu rotation came from a church ministry he participates in called the Mountain TOP, or Tennessee Outreach Project.
“They have a lot of good chefs out there,” he said. “I’ll go in and start a conversation, and they’ll give me the recipe. They have really good food.”
Baughn loves watching Trisha Yearwood and Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, on Food Network, but he’s not interested in competition shows like “Guy’s Grocery Games.”
“I love the ones that teach you something about cooking,” he said.
Baughn doesn’t try new recipes very often – maybe once every two months.
“What I like to do is go out to eat and try to go home and repeat what I had,” he said. “Half the fun is trying to figure out what’s inside.”
Do you know good cooking? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, PO Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or call (662) 678-1581 or email them to [email protected]
White chicken with chili
1 can chopped green pepper, drained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cans large northern or navy beans, undrained
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
Grated cheese, sour cream and sauce, for garnish
In a large skillet, cook onions in olive oil until translucent. Add hot pepper, flour and spices. Cook for a few minutes, then add the beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and leave it on a low heat until firm. Add chicken and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Pour into bowls and top with grated cheese, sour cream, and sauce, if desired.
Chicken King Ranch Casserole
1 box of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 (12 ounces) tortilla chips
3 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 chopped green pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
Combine chicken soup, mushroom soup, broth and tomatoes. Sit aside.
In a shallow 3-quart casserole with lightly oiled, layer with half tortilla, half chicken, half onion, half sweet pepper, and half cheese. Pour half of the soup mixture over the whole. Repeat the layers. Sprinkle with chili powder and garlic salt and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 to 4 halved chicken breasts
1 packet fajita or taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained
1 can hot pepper, drained
1 can whole corn (optional)
1 can chicken broth (optional)
Grated cheese and sour cream for garnish
Boil chicken until cooked. Remove from pot and set aside to cool. Chop the chicken and return it to the stock pot. Add salsa, fajita seasoning, chili powder, onion, beans and corn if using. If there isn’t enough chicken broth left from cooking the chicken, add a can of chicken broth. Cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
When you’re ready to serve, place some tortilla chips in the bottom of a soup pot. Ladle soup over chips. Garnish the soup with grated cheese and sour cream, if desired.
Mexican Corn Bread Pop
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can of sweet corn (14 ounces)
Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with a little oil. Put the pan in the oven at 350 degrees until the oil is very hot.
In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, eggs, oil, cheese, onion, jalapenos, corn, and salt. Use a blender to make sure the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture into the hot pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, then invert the cornbread onto a plate and cut into slices.
Poppy seed chicken
4 cups cooked shredded chicken marinated with lemon and pepper
Large can of cream of mushroom soup
Big box of cream of chicken soup
1 km of club crackers, crushed
In a large bowl, combine chopped chicken, sour cream, and soups. Pour mixture into greased 9×13-inch casserole.
Combine crushed biscuits with enough melted butter to make the crumbs just barely moist. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the chicken mixture. Sprinkle poppy seeds.
Cover the tagine with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tagine is bubbling.
1 (8 ounce) carton of button mushrooms
In a large skillet, mix together butter, soy sauce, garlic, wine, and onion. Fry for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and simmer for 1 hour or until mushrooms are tender.
In a cast iron skillet, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the ghee. Stir frequently until the mixture reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add the raw peanuts and continue to stir until the temperature reaches 305 degrees.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda. Mix well and pour onto a baking tray. When the brittle layer has cooled, gently stretch it by lifting and pulling the edges with two forks. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down.