Relax with a cook-out at home or at the lake for celebrating Memorial Day

Photo by Ann Cipperly Grilled or Stove Top Rosemary and Garlic Chicken is served on a wooden tray edged in aromatic rosemary sprigs, lemon slices and roasted garlic revealing the flavors of the entrée. The recipe is shared by Mary Counts, an owner of Pannie-George’s Kitchen Inc. Whether you are at home or at the lake with family this Memorial Day, take time to remember those who gave their lives serving our country.

While the city is not hosting an official Memorial Day ceremony this year, be sure to take time to remember and give thanks for the men and women who have given their lives serving our country. Whether you are staying in with family or social distancing at a cookout at the lake, plan on serving plenty of good food.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated during and after the Civil War to commemorate soldiers who died. The name was changed to “Memorial Day” in 1882. The day of remembering lost soldiers was observed more after World War II. While May 30 became an official holiday in 1967, it was moved to the last Monday in May in 1968 to become a three-day weekend.

A cook-out is always popular for Memorial Day. If you don’t have a grill, you can prepare barbecue pork or chicken in the oven or slow cooker The Rosemary and Garlic Chicken recipe from Mary Counts, an owner of Pannie-George’s Kitchen Inc., can be cooked on the grill or stove top. She recommends a grill pan on the stove, but you can cook it in a skillet.

While Mary enjoyed cooking, she was working as a nurse at EAMC and hadn’t thought about going into the restaurant business. She learned to cook at a young age as she helped her mother in the kitchen. They lived on a farm in Camp Hill where they grew their food and raised hogs and cows.

“We didn’t have gardens,” Counts said, “we had fields of fresh vegetables.” They would freeze and can vegetables as well as process meats.

The family would gather at Mary’s Grandmother Pannie’s house. “We would have a huge gathering and a feast,” Counts remembered. “We would cook and talk. Sometimes we just made up reasons to get together to cook.”

When the family decided to raise funds to attend a reunion in Ohio, they began selling lunch plates at local businesses.

After the reunion trip, people kept asking when they were going to cook again. In 2005, the Counts decided to open Pannie-George’s Kitchen Inc., naming it after her grandparents.

When I prepare Mary’s Rosemary and Garlic Chicken, I serve it on a bed of fresh rosemary and garnish it when lemon slices and roasted garlic. The roasted garlic is easy to make and is good spread on bread instead of butter. I simply cut the top off the garlic bulb, and place it on a piece of foil. Then drizzle olive oil over the top. Pull the foil up tightly.

Place in a 400 degree oven and cook until the garlic is soft, about 40 minutes.

Since we have had problems getting chicken on curbside pickup, I am including recipes for pork and beef.

If you can’t find the meat you want or don’t feel up to cooking barbecue this year, you can always order from Butcher Paper BBQ in Opelika. Owner Mark Coxwell, who grew up in Opelika, built smokers and created his signature rubs to bring a unique flavor to his brand of barbecue at his restaurant and food truck.

Whatever is on the menu, be sure to observe Memorial Day with a prayer of thanks for those who fought and gave it all for our country to have freedom.

Ann Cipperly can be reached at

Grilled or Stove Top Rosemary and Garlic Chicken

Mary Counts, an owner of Pannie-George’s Kitchen

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 sprig rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh coarse ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Juice of 2 lemons

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Flatten chicken breasts to approximately 1/8 inch in thickness. Combine remaining ingredients in a gallon size sealable bag; add chicken. Seal bag and gently massage until chicken is well coated. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Cook on outdoor grill or range top grill pan (or skillet) on medium high heat. Cook approximately 3-4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

Mama Owen’s White Barbecue Sauce For Grilling Chicken

Vondalyn Hall

6 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 Tbsp. vinegar

2 Tbsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients together until well blended.  Baste chicken before grilling and often as it cooks on the grill. This is a delicious recipe, similar to Big Bob Gibson’s white sauce.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Amanda Sanders Wunderlich

Spice Rub:

4 Tbsp. smoked paprika

3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. black pepper

2 tsp. salt

Boston butt roast

2 cups chicken broth

Combine spices in a bowl and rub liberally over Boston butt (bone in or boneless) in a slow cooker insert. Refrigerate overnight, if desired.

In the morning, pour 2 cups of chicken broth over the pork and cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Shred meat and remove fat.

Oven Barbecued Chicken

½ cup ketchup

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. pepper

3 lb. cut-up chicken (or chicken thighs or breasts)

¼ cup butter, softened

Combine everything except chicken and butter. Pat chicken dry. Rub chicken with butter and place in shallow roasting pan. Cover each chicken piece with sauce.

Bake slowly at 300 degrees for one and a half hours, basting occasionally. If desired, remove leftover chicken from bone and mix with the sauce for sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Ribs

4 lbs. ribs, cut to fit in slow cooker

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegar

Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder to taste

1 bottle Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce or barbecue of choice

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Place ribs in crock-pot. Mix all ingredients; pour over ribs, turning to coat. Set slow cooker on low and cook 6-8 hours until ribs are tender.

Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

1 ½ lb. flank steak

½ cup oil

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. ground ginger

Trim excess fat from steak. Score steak on both sides in 1 ½ inch squares. Place steak in shallow dish. Combine marinade ingredients; pour over steak, turning to coat. Cover.

Marinate in refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

Drain steak. Grill over medium coals 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until desired doneness, basting with marinade. Discard remaining marinade. To serve, slice steak across grain.

Serves 6.

Aunt Sadie’s Potato Salad

Cissy Yarbrough

10 potatoes, boiled in jackets, peeled and sliced

1 head green or red shredded cabbage

1 qt. mayonnaise

3 onions, sliced in rings

3 green peppers, sliced in rings

Hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Celery seed

Salt and pepper

Paprika for garnish

In a large bowl, begin with a layer of shredded cabbage on the bottom. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, celery seed, onion rings, pepper rings. Your own preference for onions and pepper will determine the amount.

Add a layer of sliced eggs and then spread with mayonnaise to cover all. Start with another layer and continue until all ingredients are used ending with a layer of eggs and mayonnaise.

Garnish with paprika. Refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Fried Okra on the Grill

Pepe Cope

We cook fried okra on the grill eye as an appetizer while cooking the meat.

Fresh okra

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup corn meal

1/2 tsp. salt

Slice okra into about 10 pieces. Soak okra in milk for 10 minutes. Combine dry ingredients; coat okra. Put okra one piece at a time in hot oil on grill eye. Fry until golden brown.

Remove to drain and salt to taste immediately.

Steak Teriyaki

1½ lb. flank or skirt steak

14 oz. can beef broth

¼ cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 to 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

Score the steak against the grain. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a shallow dish; add steak, turning to coat. Marinate covered in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat grill and cook steaks over hot coals until desired degree of doneness, turning once or twice. Serves 4.

Burgers with Mushrooms and Aioli

1 ¼ lb. lean ground chuck

1 ½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3 portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed

3 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. minced garlic

4 (4-inch) square or round ciabatta or focaccia squares, halved horizontally

2 cups fresh arugula

Combine ground chuck, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.

Lightly drizzle both sides of mushrooms with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl to blend. (The patties, mushrooms and garlic mayonnaise can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover them separately and refrigerate.)

Grill burgers until cooked to desired doneness. Grill mushrooms until just tender, about 5 minutes per side. Grill the focaccia squares cut side down, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Spread garlic mayonnaise over roll bottoms. Cut mushrooms into strips and arrange mushroom strips over the mayonnaise. Place burgers atop mushrooms. Spread garlic mayonnaise on cut side of tops and arrange arugula on each.

Grilled Marinated Pork Chops

6 pork chops

2 cups cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. orange juice

2 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. paprika

2 dashes hot pepper sauce

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a glass dish, combine all ingredients except pork chops; mix well. Add pork chops.

Marinate overnight or at least for 6 hours.

Remove chops from marinade. Place on grill 4 to 6 inches from coals. Cook about 20 minutes on each side or until done, turning and brushing with marinade.

Jalapeno Corn Casserole

Debbie Sanders

2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

½ cup milk

¼ tsp. garlic salt

4 (12 oz.) cans shoe peg corn, drained

Sliced nacho style jalapeno peppers, chopped

Ritz crackers, crushed

Additional butter

Put cream cheese, ½ lb. butter, milk and garlic salt in a saucepan. Add chopped jalapeno to suit your taste. Blend all together well over low heat until well mixed.

Add drained corn to this mixture and pour into a 9 x 13 buttered casserole dish.

Melt additional butter (to taste) and mix with crushed crackers. Usually 1 sleeve of crackers makes enough crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Note: This recipe can be halved for an 8×8 dish.

Brownie Fudge Pie

Sally Ann Doyle

Good served with ice cream or whipped cream.

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 stick butter, melted

¼ cup cocoa

1¼ cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Mix all ingredients and pour into greased 9 or 10-inch pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 eggs

½ tsp. vanilla

½ cup milk

2/3 cup strawberry jam

1 cup heavy whipping cream

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Small strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, egg and vanilla until smooth. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour and two additions of milk.

Beat until smooth.

Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Cool completely.

Beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Cut each cupcake in half horizontally. Spoon and spread some of jam onto one half. Spoon and spread some of the whipped cream. Top with remaining cupcake half.

Spoon and spread jam on top half then top with some more whipped cream. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Garnish each with a strawberry. Chill until ready to serve.


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