Homestyle comfort food can help you cope with staying indoors


We, at The Apopka Chief and The Planter newspapers, are praying for you and all of our community during this stressful time of COVID-19. Please follow the instructions with respect to the six-foot social distancing from people outside your family. Do the best you can to keep yourself safe, thus keeping those dear to you safe, too. Rethink that urge to go to the store to pick up that item you think you need this minute. Don’t take unnecessary chances.

“Our Best Southern Fried Chicken” appears in Southern Living’s All-Time Favorites Editor’s Choice. It looks great.

Connie Polanshek’s Beef and Gravy Special is a versatile meat and sauce recipe that can be paired with a base of noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes. We found this dish in The Book of Morris Family Recipes.

Louise Ustler shares her hot German rice dish with bacon, pepper and onion that sounds delicious. This recipe comes from the Apopka Citizen Police Alumni Association’s Sharing Our Finest Cookbook.

From Sally Benton who attended Apopka Memorial High School, graduated in 1968, married and moved to Melbourne, we have Vegetable Medley. This is delicious as I can attest. Sally says she just throws stuff in the pot and is guessing at the amounts, so use your best judgment.

The recipe for Sweet Potato Supreme from Mary Francis Mancuso in Preserving the Big Potato looks great. I’ll bet you could use sweet potatoes you have boiled in a pot or even roasted in the oven if you wanted to do that.

From Southern Living, we have Old Southern Biscuits. They are simple (four ingredients) and delicious. I am imagining pairing these biscuits with Sally’s Vegetable Medley. Gracious goodness!

Last but not least is chocolate spiders! Eat a spider…. yuck. No, our spiders are wonderful and delicious. This delightful recipe is a blast you can have with the kids, compliments of Robin Leigh McQueen through the Apopka Citizen Police Alumni Association’s Sharing Our Finest Cookbook.


Recipe from Southern Living

All-Time Favorites

3 quarts water

1 tablespoon salt

Combine 3 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 8 hours. You may substitute 2 cups buttermilk for the saltwater solution.

1 (2- to 2-1/2 pound) broiler-fryer chicken, cut up

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups vegetable oil

1/4 cup bacon drippings

Combine 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; sprinkle half of mixture over chicken. Combine remaining salt and pepper mixture and flour in a large, zip-top plastic freezer bag. Place 2 pieces of chicken in bag; seal. Shake to coat. Remove chicken; repeat procedure with remaining chicken, 2 pieces at a time.

Combine vegetable oil and bacon drippings in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or chicken fryer. Heat to 360 degrees. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, skin side down. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 9 minutes.

Turn chicken pieces; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 9 minutes, turning pieces during the last minutes for even browning, if necessary. Drain chicken on paper towels; keep chicken warm.

NOTE: The oil temperature will drop when you add or turn the chicken. For best results, keep the oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees. Makes 4 servings.




Recipe from Book of

Morris Family Recipes

4 pound pot roast

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 can mushroom soup

1 tablespoon Gravy Master

Place roast on foil in roasting pan. Cover with onion and mushroom soups. Add Gravy Master. Wrap tight in foil. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours. Can use with lamb, pork and chicken, too.


Recipe from Apopka Citizen Police Alumni Association’s

Sharing Our Finest Cookbook

1 cup uncooked rice (cook rice

according to package directions)

8 slices bacon

2 tablespoons green pepper

1 tablespoon onion

2 tablespoons pimento

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 boiled egg

Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. (I use Minute Rice.) Fry bacon. Set aside. In bacon drippings, cook green pepper, onion and pimento until soft. Combine cooked rice, sugar, vinegar, water, celery seed and salt. Cook until all liquid is gone, stirring constantly. Crumble bacon and toss with rice, saving some bacon for garnish. Garnish rice with sliced egg and bacon.

These ingredients can be adjusted according to taste. I use more pepper and onion and a small jar of pimento. All can be adjusted, more or less, according to your individual taste.



Recipe from Reader of

The Apopka Chief and The Planter newspapers

2 or 3 each zucchinis and yellow squash

2 fresh vine-ripe tomatoes, diced…

OR… 1 pint of grape tomatoes, whole…

OR… a can of diced tomatoes

3 slivered garlic cloves

Thinly sliced onion

Bell pepper



2 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon tarragon

1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)

Pam Spray (or other cooking spray)

Any other spices you prefer in addition to or as a replacement for the ones suggested here. For instance, some Mexican spices like cilantro, cumin, chili powder, etc., might be fantastic… OR… Italian spices… OR… Asian spices such as Oriental 5-spice, soy sauce, etc.

If you like, add whatever YOU enjoy: green beans, edamame, celery, baby raw spinach, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Get wild with it!

Sliver the garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Spray them lightly with Pam Spray. Spray a frying pan lightly. Heat pan. Sauté. While they are sautéing, cut squash into small chunks. Squash will cook faster than more solid veggies, so if you’re adding broccoli or raw cauliflower, thin-slice them as well and toss in at the end of sautéing.

Turn down heat. Add a tablespoon or two of water to deglaze the bottom of pan and to steam the veggies. Add the herbs and any spices you might want. Add a little salt and sugar to taste, if desired. Add lemon juice. Cover with lid. When the steaming veggies are to your desired tenderness, throw in tomatoes. They don’t have to cook.

Preparation time is 30 to 45 minutes.



Recipe from Apopka Historical

Society’s Preserving the Big Potato –

A Collection of Potato Recipes

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

2 (40 ounces) cans sweet potatoes, drained

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 cups cooking apples peeled, cored, and sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cinnamon, flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, pecans, and butter together until the mixture is crumbly. In a greased 2 quart casserole, layer half the sweet potatoes, half the cranberries, and half the apple slices. Sprinkle evenly with half the crumbs mixture. Repeat the layers. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.


Recipe from Southern Living

All-Time Favorites

1/4 cup shortening

2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup buttermilk

Melted butter (optional)

Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring the mixture just until moistened.

Pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 14 minutes or until golden. Brush hot biscuits with melted butter, if desired. Makes 1 dozen biscuits.



Recipe from Apopka Citizen Police Alumni Association’s

Sharing Our Finest Cookbook

1 package chocolate chips

1 can Chinese noodles

1 cup peanuts

Melt chocolate in large saucepan on low heat. Mix in enough noodles to thoroughly coat. Pour in peanuts. Stir until all pieces are covered. Spoon out bite size amounts. Cool on waxed paper.