Life hasn’t always been easy for Teresa Holloway.
But through God’s infinite plan, each difficulty in life has brought Holloway closer and closer, with greater love, affection and support, to her growing number of wonderful friends and family.
A large reason for the love she is being given is the love she has shown them over the years.
And, one of the biggest ways in which Holloway shows her love to friends and families is through cooking.
“It tastes and smells just like grandma’s did,” Holloway. Both her grandma and her mom were great cooks. In fact, the family had its own restaurant in Pinnacle, once upon a time. “My family’s recipes, some still make me cry as I recall memories.”
Hailing from Southwest Virginia, Holloway continues to make her family’s Southern recipes all the time.
Starting work at the young age of 12, it is no surprise that she has worked most of her life in restaurants, such as Mount Airy’s The Copper Pot, right here in Mount Airy, where she works.
“It’s like a big family,” she revealed.
In fact, customers, she said, have followed her from one restaurant to another just to be able to savor her tasty cooking. All tolled, Holloway has 40 years of experience working in restaurants.
One of the most important and first rules Holloway learned about cooking was to: Keep It Simple.
Another “rule” Holloway has learned about cooking is that a good cook can probably put together a tasty dish with whatever is available in the kitchen pantry already.
“It’s a matter of how you fix it,” she said, “together with how it looks.”
Yet, Holloway started cooking by baking. Her daddy likes sweets, so the first dishes she started preparing were cakes for her daddy.
“Daddy likes anything sweet,” she admitted. Then, giggling, she remembered something else. “Even if the cakes were lopsided, daddy liked them anyway.”
But her potato soup dish reminds her of her momma the most. Her momma, Holloway remembered, liked garlic a lot.
“She put it in almost every dish she made,” Holloway said.
One “dish” Holloway said is tasty and impressive to serve, yet quite easy to make, are her crescent rolls. All it requires is traditional crescent rolls found in just about every grocery store. But the trick is to add a variety of flavors, spices and ingredients to make them extra special. Some of her suggestions include: sprinkle the rolls with chives and/or cheese — just about any favorite type of cheese, but Holloway likes Parmesan and cheddar the best. Also, spread butter over the dough before rolling them up. Adding a little garlic to the butter also adds a special taste sensation.
Holloway learned her now legendary meatloaf recipe from a lady who worked at a restaurant where Holloway also worked.
“I thought a great deal of her,” Holloway said. This coworkers name was Billie too, just like Holloway’s mama. “She taught me how to make this meatloaf.”
The “secret” to her meatloaf is to use more bread than oatmeal. The reason why this tastes better? The bread holds more moisture than the oatmeal and, therefore, the bread keeps the meatloaf juicier. Another suggestion, depending upon taste, is to reduce or eliminate the Worcestershire sauce and replace with more yellow mustard.
“I prefer the mustard,” Holloway said. “The worcestershire sauce is too salty for my taste.”
Her tip for cooking vegetables is not to overcook them. And, even if you didn’t like a certain vegetable as a child is no reason not to try it again now.
“You’re missing out on so much if you don’t,” she said.
And, as far as adding “umph” to just about any dish, try adding onions, garlic, and/or green pappers.
“They add so much flavor,” she said.
But one of the “foods” she still has a hankerin’ to try to make is Cajun cooking.
“I just like the flavors,” she admitted. “It’s spicy, but yet not too hot.”
So, one of the next things on her To-Do List is to take some Cajun cooking classes — maybe even in the home of Cajun cooking, New Orelans.
Her potato soup recipe, however, had always been Holloway’s son’s favorite dish. Her son died back in 2010 at the age of 32 from heart problems.
“I almost quit cooking then,” this grieving mom said. “If it weren’t for my friends and family, I would have died then too … And, cooking makes them happy, so cooking actually saved me as well … When you feed people, you make them happy.”
SWEET POTATO SONKER
1 large can of sweet potatoes or yams
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoons of margarine or butter
Cut the sweet potatoes or yams into smaller pieces and place in a casserole pan with the butter. Mix all the other ingredients, lightly swirling with the sweet potatoes or yams. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes until brown.
CARAMEL APPLE BREAD PUDDING
6-day old biscuits
1 1/2 cups of cooked apples
1 1/2 cups of milk
3 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Crumble the biscuits into large pieces. Set them aside. Mix all the other ingredients together well. Pour this mixture over the biscuits and let it sit for 30 minutes. Bake in a well-buttered baking dish until set.
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
Mix and bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly for 2 1/2 minutes after it starts to boil. Pour entire mixture over the bread pudding.
CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
4 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
2 small cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup of mozzarella, shredded
1 cup of Colby cheese, shredded
1 cup of chicken broth
1 packet of Lawry seasoning mix
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons of margarine
1 box of Stouffers stuffing mix
Fry the chicken in the margarine until brown. Season with the Lawry seasoning mix. Mix all the other ingredients together with the chicken. Do not drain the margarine. Top with the stuffing mix. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 35 or 40 minutes until bubbly and brown.
6 large potatoes
1/4 carrot, shredded
2 Tablespoons of margarine
3 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bacon or ham pieces
Garlic, optional (to taste)
Mince the onion and cook it with the carrots and margarine in a pot until tender. Add the potatoes after peeling and cubing them. Cook the potatoes with the chicken broth until almost done. Add the milk and some parsley to taste. After the potatoes are tender, lightly mash them, leaving some almost whole. Simmer the mixture on a low heat. Top with the cheese, and also with the bacon and/or ham. COOK’S NOTE: Sprinkle with garlic powder to taste, if desired.
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 large box of vanilla instant pudding mix
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 large container of Cool Whip
5 large Butterfinger bars, crushed
Prepare the cake mix according to directions on the package. Prepare the pudding according to directions on the package. Cut the cake into cubes after the pudding is set. Mix in the cream cheese. Fold in the Cool Whip, saving some for the top. Fold in some of the crushed butterfingers. Layer the cake cubes in a bowl. Put some of the candy mixture on top of this layer of cake cubes. Keep layering until all of the mixtures are used. Finish the top with a final layer of Cool Whip. COOK’S NOTE: A few of the crushed candy can be added as garnish or some chocolate syrup can be drizzled on top for added visual interest and taste, if desired.
5 pounds of hamburger
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 cups of ketchup
2 Tablespoons of mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoons of garlic powder
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 cup of oats
6 pieces of bread, crumpled
Mix all ingredients together well. Cook at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drain the grease. Top with more ketchup. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
4 chicken breasts, butterflied
1 large tomato
1 small can of tomatoes, diced and drained
1 small box of spaghetti noodles
Cook the butterflied chicken breast. When done in the center, stuff the chicken with shredded mozzarella. Put a slice of tomato on top, adding a little Italian seasoning and Italian dressing. Then, add more mozzarella. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. To the one small box of spaghetti noodles, cooked, add half a bottle of the Italian dressing and one can of the drained tomatoes. Add any of the Italian seasoning to this mixture to taste, if desired. Serve with the chicken.