By ANN CIPPERLY
With a love for cooking and entertaining, Angie Dyer enjoys opening her spacious home for parties, whether it is indoors, on the sunporch, covered porch or patio with an outdoor kitchen overlooking landscaped grounds. Recently, Angie planned to entertain her grandson, Benjamin Young, along with other members of the Sidewalk Prophets for brunch, but it ended up being an afternoon meal.
A musician who plays most instruments by ear, Benjamin has been with the Sidewalk Prophets for about a year and a half. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with studies in music production and business. After graduating, Benjamin was part of a band playing at weddings and created elaborate videos on Facebook. A member of the Sidewalk Prophets, a Christian rock group, saw the videos and asked him to audition for the group, as they had lost their keyboard player.
For his first performance with the Sidewalk Prophets, Benjamin played with the group in North Dakota in an outdoor concert for 25,000 people. Since then, the group has played across the country.
When the group was coming to the First Baptist Church in Opelika in early August, Benjamin asked his Nana Angie if she would serve the band brunch when they arrived that morning since he knew she enjoyed cooking.
Angie planned to have the brunch at 9:30 a.m. She planned the menu, which became rather large due to restricted diets. She planned a variety of main dishes. Angie prepared a coffee cake and breakfast casserole to freeze and made other dishes the day ahead.
Angie had their yard well-groomed and hung a banner on the porch that said, “Welcome Sidewalk Prophets.” She had a photo of everyone in the band.
On the back covered porch, she set a table with china, silver and sparkling crystal with red roses as the centerpiece. Her serving table was decorated and had space for all the brunch dishes.
When the phone rang at 9:30, Angie thought the group was lost, but the bus had broken down. They couldn’t be there until 11 a.m. Angie thought it would be fine. At 11:30, Angie received another call that their trailer had a flat tire, so they would not be there until 1 p.m.
At 1 p.m., Angie was ready but the group was held up in traffic, so it would be 2 or 3 p.m. before they arrived. At 2 p.m., Angie and her husband, David, packed up the food, left her nice table and took the food to the First Baptist Church. At 2:45, the band arrived, sat down and quickly ate the dishes she had prepared, then got ready to set up for the concert.
At 4 in the afternoon, Angie and David went home to rest and returned to the church just before the concert. “The performance started on time, and everything ran smoothly like nothing had happened,” said Angie. “The light and sound was great, and the show was beautiful. The lead singer sang Christian songs with words the world should hear. My grandson got to do a solo on this keyboard, and we thought that was great.”
Angie and David thought it was a good ending to the day. “It was a day I will always remember,” she said. “All bad things came to a good end.”
The Dyers have five children, who grew up in Auburn, and 14 grandchildren. Benjamin’s parents, Chris and Dr. Lisa Young, live in Auburn. Lisa is a pediatrician, while Chris is a social worker. Along with Benjamin, who is the oldest, they have two other children, Emily and Gabe.
The Dyers’ son Mark, a mechanical engineer, and his wife Laurel, a speech pathologist, live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They have two sons: Brent, a minister, and Philip, who is working on his master’s degree.
Angie and David’s other daughter, Dr. Sarah Berry and her husband, Dr. Jay Berry, live in Boston and are on the medical staff at Harvard. They have three sons: Griffin, Josh and Brian.
The Dyers have twin sons, Matthew and David. Matthew, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, builds and restores houses. He has three sons: Alden, Marshall and Miles.
David, who is in medical sales, and his wife McKenzie live in Birmingham and have three children: Carlisle, Eleanor and Fields.
All of the family visit at Thanksgivings. When the entire family is there, some of them stay at a building behind the house that David built with a sign saying, “Angie’s Inn By Reservations Only.” It has bedrooms, baths and a sitting area, as well as a covered porch overlooking the woodlands. A post has the name of each of their children and the miles to their homes.
Some members of the family have followed Angie in having a love for cooking. Sarah enjoys cooking, and Lisa’s two sons, Benjamin and Gabe, are good cooks.
Angie’s mother was a southern cook who prepared meals without measuring ingredients and didn’t use recipes. “When I got a little older,” Angie said, “I would ask Mother how much sugar and baking powder to add, but she would always say just a little bit. I can’t tell you how much. I became interested in cooking helping my mom, but I can’t cook like that. I would look up a recipe to help her cook.”
Angie enjoyed cooking for her five children and always tried to serve an attractive meal. “Although the food was not always fancy,” she said, “I would have linen napkins and a nice centerpiece with flowers, candles or fruit on the table. To this day, I always think presentation makes food look better.”
Angie enjoys entertaining and has hosted weddings on their lovely, landscaped grounds behind their home. Before COVID, they were in two bridge dinner groups. At times, Angie will prepare fancy dishes, while David enjoys grilling at the outdoor kitchen. Except for the winter months, they dine on the porches.
Angie and David met while they were students at the University of Tennessee. Angie majored in home economics with studies in foods and textiles. After graduating and getting married, they lived in Atlanta for two years while David worked on his doctorate and Angie taught school. When he graduated, David accepted a position as a professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn University.
Soon afterwards, he received a sabbatical for further studies, and they lived for a year in London, England. While there, they visited other countries, which was the beginning of their love of travel. A few years later, he received a grant to visit universities around the world, and Angie traveled with him. They began collecting antiques, oil paintings and other collectibles.
Over the years, Angie has been active in various organizations. She has served as president of the Campus Club and has been involved in the Woman’s Club of Auburn, Newcomers Club, a book club, Bible studies and bridge groups, among others. When the girls were growing up, she would take them to nursing homes to deliver flowers and sing. She still enjoys visiting nursing homes.
Angie is sharing the brunch recipes she prepared for the Sidewalk Prophets and a few others. Clip and save the recipes for a brunch, lunch or to serve for any meal this fall when you need tried-and-true delicious dishes.
8 oz. pkg. sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot’s)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained and blotted with paper towels
2 Tbsp. finely minced onions (can be grated) or more if desired
Grate cheese using the largest holes a box grater or food processor.
Set aside and refrigerate.
In a small size mixing bowl make the dressing for the pimento cheese. Combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, pepper, salt and garlic powder.
Whisk ingredients together to combine.
Add drained dice pimentos and onions, stirring to incorporate.
Add the cold grated cheese to this mixture.
Serve with crackers.
Breakfast Casserole with Sausage and Cheese
1 lb. sausage
1 pkg. crescent rolls
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Brown sausage, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. Unroll crescent roll and spread on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Evenly spread sauce over dough. Sprinkle cheese on top.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and seasonings, Pour on top of casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 to 20 minutes or until eggs are done and crust is golden.
Apple Pecan Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
2 tsp. butter
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. water
1 cup pecan halves
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
11 oz. pkg. spring mix
3 sweet, crunchy apples, cored and thinly sliced (I like Honeycrisp)
4 to 6 oz. blue or Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
2/3 cup dried cranberries
For Candied Pecans:
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small skillet over medium heat, add butter, brown sugar, salt and water. Stir until butter and sugar melt. Add pecans and cook, stirring very frequently, for about 3 minutes, being cautious not to allow the mixture to scorch.
Remove from heat and add cinnamon. Stir to combine. Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet and bake 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely before using on salad.
Whisk oil, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, lime juice and pineapple juice. Add honey, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Whisk to combine.
Add spring mix to a large bowl and top with apples, cheese, cranberries and candied pecans. Drizzle with desired amount dressing, toss and serve.
4 ½ cups water
1 cup stoneground grits
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. Tabasco, or to taste
Bring 4 ½ cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the grits and salt, reduce heat to low, and cook at a gently simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the grits are thick, stirring occasionally. Stir more often as the grits thicken.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheddar, Parmesan, butter, pepper and Tabasco, and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Breakfast Coffee Cake
This is my late sister Mary Ann’s recipe. Her husband was in a coffee club, and every time there was a birthday, my sister would send this cake to the meeting.
1 box yellow cake mix
¾ cup oil
½ cup sour cream
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Mix powdered sugar with a little milk and pour over the top of baked coffee cake.
To make the coffee cake, beat eggs and oil. Add cake mix and sour cream. Beat well on medium for about 2 minutes.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Coat Bundt pan with Pam nonstick cooking spray. Pour one-third of batter in pan and cover with half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Pour another third of the batter over brown sugar and cinnamon. Then cover the top with the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Pour last third of batter into pan and spread evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Check middle of cake with a toothpick for doneness.
Turn pan upside down for about five minutes. Remove cake from pan. Pour glaze over top.
Broiled Salmon Filets
Pat salmon filets dry and season with spices on all sides.
Heat butter and oil, then add garlic, water, soy sauce, sriracha, honey and lemon juice.
When hot, add salmon filets (skin side down if your filets have skin) and cook 3 minutes.
While salmon cooks, use a spoon to baste the filets.
Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, until salmon is sticky sweet, slightly charred, and cooked to desired doneness.
Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce
Bunch of asparagus
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut stems off asparagus. Drop in boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour Hollandaise Sauce over top.
1 cup unsalted butter
6 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. paprika, plus more for garnish
1 tsp. salt
Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low. Keep butter hot over lowest heat (do not let it brown). Process egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a blender on medium just to combine, about 5 seconds.
With blender running on medium speed, slowly pour hot, melted butter through center opening in blender lid. Process until mixture is smooth and thick, about 1 minute.
Cinnamon Baked Apples
Serve with a scoop ice cream for an easy dessert.
5 to 6 large apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Can add maraschino cherries for color.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Peel, core and thinly slice 5 to 6 apples, and transfer them to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, ¼ cup light brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. cornstarch and mix everything together.
Spread evenly and top with sliced 2 tbsp butter.
Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
When done, take it out of the oven and let sit on the counter for 10 minutes before serving.
Make sure you stir them at least a couple times while baking to mix all the sauce ingredients together. At first, when the butter is melted, it might look like the sauce is greasy and the fats are separating. After you bake it longer and stir a few times, everything will bind together, and the sauce will caramelize.
Squash Casserole with Cheddar
4 yellow squash, thinly sliced
½ onion, thinly sliced into rings
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup milk
¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. seasoned salt
½ tsp. pepper
Crushed Ritz crackers for topping, optional
Place squash and onion in boiling water. Boil for about three minutes or until fork test for tenderness. Pour through a colander to drain.
Melt butter and add cornstarch, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add squash.
Pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with Ritz cracker crumbs, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6.
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. strawberry Jell-O
1 lb. strawberries cleaned, steam removed, and left whole
9-inch deep-dish pie crust, baked
Blend sugar, cornstarch and water together in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
Cook stirring occasionally, until the glaze becomes thick.
You will know it is thick enough when it can coat the back of a spoon, and the glaze will slowly come off the spoon.
Add Strawberry Jell-O to the glaze and stir to combine.
Place drained whole fresh strawberries into a baked deep-dish 9-inch pie shell.
Pour cooked mixture over berries. Chill 2 hours at least.
Top with Cool Whip, if desired.
Southern Tomato Pie with Two Cheeses
Homemade piecrust or roll crust from refrigerator section at grocery store
2 1/4 lb. heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 1/4 tsp. ground pepper, divided
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as chives, basil and parsley)
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll piecrust to 1/8 thickness. Press dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough 1 inch larger than diameter of pie plate; fold overhanging dough under itself along rim of pie plate. Chill 30 minutes or until firm.
Line piecrust with aluminum foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans. (This will keep the crust from bubbling up.) Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake 5 minutes longer or until browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Prepare Filling: Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 10 minutes.
Sauté onion and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat a few minutes or until onion is tender.
Pat tomatoes dry with a paper towel. Layer tomatoes, onion and herbs in prepared crust, seasoning each layer with pepper (1 tsp. total). Stir together cheeses and mayonnaise; spread over pie.
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.