Valerie Gray Smith Profile - (18404348)

cook's profile

Valerie Gray Smith

Valerie Gray Smith
Home Town: Tallassee, Alabama, USA
Living In: Aston, Pennsylvania, USA
Member Since: Jun. 2006
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Gardening, Walking, Reading Books, Music
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About this Cook
I'm a busy wife and mother of 3 wonderful daughters! The girls are all good eaters and enjoy helping me in the kitchen.
My favorite things to cook
I love making salads of all kinds, especially potato and pasta salads. I also enjoy making casseroles and things that taste great but don't require much time or preparation. I would love to try more adventureous recipes, but I have to be careful because of my picky husband... My girls are my best guinea pigs!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom and I and my daughters make cookies together for most holidays - Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. . . It gets messy but it's a lot of fun!
My cooking triumphs
I won 2nd place in a cooking contest in Simple & Delicious magazine. It was just something I threw together - Spicy Ham N' Broccoli Pasta - but it was nice to win a little extra cash for doing something I enjoy. I also won a small prize for my ten-minute Zesty Crouton Salad a couple of years later!
My cooking tragedies
I once made a big pot of pasta salad and left it in the pot on the back of the stove. When I went to cook something else, I turned on the wrong eye and left the room for a minute or two. By the time I came back into the kitchen, the pasta was boiling hot, the cheese was melted and the veggies were cooked through!! I'm just glad I didn't add cucumbers that day! We ate it, but it sure wasn't pasta salad!
Recipe Reviews 52 reviews
Copycat Panera(R) Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Three stars because it actually tasted good, but the whole cooking process was just strange. In all my years of cooking, I have never seen instructions like that. All you really gotta do is brown your butter, add the other veggies along with the broth, simmer til the vegetables are done. Then add your thickener - in this case, flour and melted butter. Then you add the milk and the cheese. It turned out great this way, and only took me and my daughter about a half hour to make it. Simmering the already thickened broth/milk for 20 minutes? Then adding the vegetables and cooking them for another 20 minutes? Seems to me that the recipe instructions are actually written in reverse!

41 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 25, 2014
Southern Peach Cobbler
Made this using Bisquick and it turned out great! I would have normally used peaches but I had some strawberries and blackberries that needed to be used, and it ended up being a great combination. Peach Cobbler still rules though and this recipe is my favorite way to make it - it's the same recipe my Southern grandmother has always used!

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jul. 2, 2014
Antipasto Pasta Salad
I did make several changes to this recipe, but they were really substitutions rather than changes. Anyway, I just used pepperoni (left out the salami) and cheddar rather than asiago, added some chopped red onion, and used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic. Also I didn't bother with adding the tablespoon of parmesan since frankly, I don't see how much of an impact it could make in this huge bowl of pasta salad. Loved using the Good Seasons salad dressing in this... It's so much better than bottled dressing. This went over very well at a Memorial Day barbecause yesterday - everyone seemed to love it!

0 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: May 27, 2014

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