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Ann’s Bleu

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I love my parents for so many different reasons. There’s all the obvious reasons we love our parents, but then there are the not so obvious ones. They’re often the small things they did for us when we were kids – a trip somewhere, a few simple words of guidance, maybe a little gift -  that then shape who we become.

Ann Hollowell's Chicken Cordon Bleu Made on The Cooking LadyWhen I was about 12-years-old my parents took me to the HemisFair in San Antonio, Texas. We got there and they said, “Here’s your money, go eat!” And what a world they opened up for me… I went into the French Country Kitchen and ate French Onion Soup, and crab meat, and caviar for the first time. That was the day I became aware of the wonderful world, and the food that fills its kitchens, and how different that food can be, and how delicious!

Ann Hollowell's Roasted New Potatoes from The Cooking LadyBoth my parents are good cooks – my Dad just likes you to name everything after him: Daddy’s Chicken, Daddy’s Mexican Cornbread, Daddy’s Coffee (it gets so bad, sometimes it’s Daddy’s Glass of Milk.) This Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe is one of Daddy’s favorites. I love that it has that French influence because it takes me right back to that HemisFair. And, it reminds me of my parents and how grateful I am for that day when they gave me the seed money to start my food adventure.

Ann Hollowell's Sauteed Spinach made on The Cooking LadyRecipes:

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Sauteed Spinach

Roasted New Potatoes

Berries and Sorbet


posted in: Blog Post

There comes a time in every home cook’s experience that you just BOMB!! Nothing works, the more you try the more ingredients you waste until you come to the moment when you say, HELP!!

That was my experience with Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler. I used frozen fruit, non-frozen fruit, all purpose flour, self rising flour, new-from-the-grocery-shelf flour, room temp this and cold that, and still—you can hear the echo of HELP!!

I’ve seen cobblers done before, for goodness sake, I have done them before, and nothing seems to help this particular recipe. The crust lingers on the bottom, it IS golden brown, just on the bottom, and nothing I can think to do will help this crust rise again. My comments on the show still hold true, nothing that a little vanilla ice cream couldn’t cure, but I wanted that perfect, bubbly, brown crusted cobbler to LOOK pretty. It’s sweet enough, the fruit is tender and juicy, the crust, when you can dig it up, is light and somewhat flaky, it’s just on the bottom.

So, my dear friends, HELP!! Help me with your comments, your ideas, your suggestions, and if you have a similar cobbler recipe, please be so kind as to hit “Contact” at the top of this page and sent them to me. I’ll post some of the best ones.

I still do think that small children will not know the difference with this cobbler, I just didn’t have any small children around to do taste-testing. We will progress on to other desserts, and I will continue trying to solve the mystery of Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler and hope for better success.

Again, it just goes to show that when you cook at home, it truly is the effort, the care and concern, the love for family and friends that comes through. All efforts in the kitchen are always appreciated, and when failures happen, it is without fail that friends step in and give you courage, hope, big hugs, and maybe a large glass of wine (or Mint Julep), and say to you, “This too, shall pass.”

The Lemon Chicken as this show’s entrée is divine, savory, and citrus-y, I know for a fact that I didn’t fail with that dish—I hope you enjoy it with your family. It was always a go-to dish for my mother, a home run every time, and with all that glorious juicy lucy so perfect for sopping up with some good bread, or ladling over the Green Rice Soufflé… who needs dessert???

Happy cooking!

Green Rice Souffle
Lemon Chicken
Lemon Maple Syrup Dressing
Mint Julep
Nanny’s Fruit Cobbler

Valentine’s Day is THIS week!!  Excitement! Oh, the thrill!  The anticipation!  Who can wait??!!  I can, really, I’ve given up on the prerequisite flowers, and surely don’t need the box of chocolates, and if Big Daddy sends me one of those really stupid, incredibly large teddy bears, he’s in a lot of trouble.  Not to say that I’m not a romantic, I really am, I’m just more of a realist. I want a great meal with just him, not a lot of folks around, maybe a great drink like an Old Fashioned or some champagne, and just the pleasure of his company.

I’m making a Valentine’s meal for Big Daddy, a meal I made when we first started dating.  It’s very rich, very filling, and something reserved for just such special occasions as Valentine’s Day, because you just can’t have it that often!  My grandmother had a very unique way of pan sautéing steaks in a heavy skillet with lots of seasoning and some butter and sugar that turned those steaks into mouth watering, tender, rare works of art.  You think you’re going to just burn up those precious cuts of beef, but with a little practice, you too can turn out a once a year masterpiece called Sugar Steaks!!  Patience, it takes a lot of patience, and a great cast iron skillet, and a wonderful pair of tongs.

My grandmother saved the “drippings” to make the most fabulous au jus, just a little water into the skillet after the steaks were taken out to rest. The seasonings just bubbled up and burst into aromatic gravy fit for a king, or queen, or a pair of sweethearts.  I always found some crusty bread to sop up the goodness, now I settle for some Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, boiled, and gently mashed with some parmesan cheese and freshly chopped curly leaf parsley.

I’m getting really hungry, ready to indulge in the sweet stoutness of an Old Fashioned, crisp, just the right touch of citrus, and the heady smell of the bitters.  Bitters make all the difference in an Old Fashioned, the slightly licorice taste of Peychaud’s Bitters from New Orleans, or the deep rich Angostura.  Use, what you will, indulge sparingly, and most of all, enjoy: enjoy Valentine’s Day, enjoy each other!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Cucumber Bites
Old Fashioned
Parmesan Parsley Mashed Potatoes
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Sugar Steaks

I could write and write about how much I love the Super Bowl. What a fun event… but I especially love it for the food. So I’m just going to list some of my favorite appetizers and hope that you give one (or three) a try this weekend!

Onion Dip
Onion Dip

crack dip from screen
Crack Dip

shrimp dip
Shrimp Dip

Tomato Cups
Tomato Cups

Ann Hollowell makes Simple Salsa on The Cooking Lady
Simple Salsa

Ann Hollowell Makes Pita Chips on The Cooking Lady
Pita Chips

Ann Hollowell Makes Hummus on The Cooking Lady

Ann Hollowell makes Ham Sandwich on The Cooking Lady
Ham Delights

Ann Hollowell Makes Sausage Balls On The Cooking Lady
Sausage Balls

Ville Platte Dip
Ville Platte Dip

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Can’t wait for you to see this weekend’s show, starring my whiskered friend, catfish!! Yes, the star of the show is, once again, our very own U.S. farm raised catfish, in the role of Catfish Cakes with Seafood Sauce, and of course, a fabulous green salad. And when I say green, it’s green from top to bottom in color, texture, vegetables, fruit, herbs and dressing!! Check out the lime juice!!

I’ve seen so many “cakes” done, from salmon to catfish to crab, and believe me, the simpler the better. Can you believe that some chefs put nearly 25 ingredients in fishcakes?? What is that all about?? Catfish is so clean, farm raised catfish that is, that it takes on the simple flavors of the ingredients you’re adding, and trust me, you don’t need that many. I want the catfish to be flaky, the light crust to be just browned and slightly crisp, and when you spoon over the sauce, ooh la la!! The coming together of flavors is just wonderful. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, don’t flatten these goodies out, some cakes look like they’ve been run through a wringer, or squashed with a brick—leave your cakes plump, nicely rounded, the fish is already cooked, you just want to heat through and brown on both sides nicely.

I love my Seafood Sauce, and when I say seafood sauce, I mean I use it for everything from crab and shrimp salad to fishcakes. My great aunt Katherine used to make this sauce for me with an incredible lump crab meat salad, so simple, so cold from the fridge after a long drive to visit with her, and I just remember how simple, how tangy, and how it just perfectly complimented the seafood. Mayo, a little ketchup, some lemon juice, and of course, you got to have Tabasco, not a lot, just enough to perk up the taste buds, and make everyone go, “I just love this!!” Not necessarily the heat, just enough do re mi to make a difference, a soupcon of something you can’t quite put your finger on. Mystery in cooking, don’t you just love it??

My family loves these catfish cakes, I’m so delighted that my precious son-in-law likes them, it really surprised me that he did the first time he tried them. He’s kinda the meat and potatoes, manly-man-type. So you can imagine how tickled I was that he actually enjoyed them, without having to suck up and tell me a big fib—he does request them from time to time, and that makes me really happy and proud to be his mama in law.

If you really want to do a little experimentation of your own, make these Catfish Cakes then place them on a great toasted whole wheat hoagie roll (you may want to pull out a little of the roll’s insides to make room for the goodies), lather up the insides with Seafood Sauce, and pile on some great lettuce, and maybe a squeeze of lemon and a tad more Tabasco, and you’ve got yourself a great poboy!

Thanks, Mr. Whiskers, you always save the day—and I just love how you’re sustainable, clean, fresh, and just willing to work with everyone. Catfish—the ultimate team player!!

Enjoy, and happy cooking.

Ann’s Seafood Sauce
Avocado and Apple Salad
Catfish Cakes
Lime and Olive Oil Dressing


posted in: Blog Post

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It seems everywhere you look these days people are starting to discover something I’ve long known… artichokes are great. || Read more »

Beef & Vegetable SoupOkay, it’s very cold outside, that winter storm Cleon or whatever is sweeping across the deep South and I don’t know if we’re getting ice or not. So, I hit the grocery today and loaded up with all ingredients to make a wonderful beef and vegetable soup.

It reminds me of my Granny. So far it looks and smells just like hers, and my twist on it is so very simple. Everyone is so aware of salt today, all the effects it has on blood pressure, and the like, so every – and I do mean EVERY – ingredient I picked up today has no salt, or is a low sodium product. That way you can control the salt yourself, or each person can add their own. This recipe can feed your neighborhood, Cox’s army, the church choir, vestry, and altar guild all at the same time, OR you can just freeze 75% of it for later on!

Get out your favorite crusty bread, pull the baby spring mix from the fridge, stir up a simple vinaigrette, pour a good glass of red wine while you ladle up a bowl of this soup, and have supper in front of the fireplace. Or maybe on a tray in your favorite chair while you watch some guilty pleasure television on an extremely wintry night—hope you enjoy!

Beef & Vegetable Soup

4 pounds beef stew meat
6 stalks celery
2 large onions
6 quarts no sodium beef stock
2 12-ounce bags EACH of the following frozen vegetables
Baby lima beans
Sliced carrots
Cut green beans
Sweet yellow corn
4 28-ounce cans no salt added dice tomatoes with juice
2 6-ounce cans low sodium tomato paste
3 pounds red new potatoes
2 to 4 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil

What To Do
Roughly chop the celery, onions and potatoes.

In a very large stock pot, brown the stew meat in enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add celery and onions, season to taste with the salt and pepper. When the celery and onions are soft, add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium for about six to eight hours, until meat and potatoes are both tender.

Since I made so much of this soup, it simmered a LOOONNNGGG TIME!!! Big Daddy loved it, and I’m sending several containers to the hunting camp.

Freezes well, and you’ll be glad to have this on hand—the cold weather has just begun!

Download a Printer-Friendly Version HERE.

(You can cut this recipe in half, you know!)

Hello, fellow cooks!

I hope everyone is enjoying my favorite holiday of the year—Thanksgiving! Truly, it IS my favorite because it just epitomizes family getting together for the pure pleasure of getting together, no obligatory gifts, just fabulous food, camaraderie, football, hunting, an adult beverage, great naps in front of a fireplace, (I’m having gas logs installed as I write!), that cousin coming into town for a long weekend, maybe seeing the grandchild or grandchildren, and so many more memory making opportunities.

Personally, I skip Black Friday, the mall is the LAST place you’ll find me, I do however, have a guilty face if I walk into the grocery, because I want all of them to be at home with their families. But I always seem to be missing one key ingredient of some new recipe I want to try while I have time and sometimes while I have time alone if Big Daddy is off with that cousin who wants to hunt. I could really care less about football unless it’s my wonderful Saints about to qualify for Stupid Bowl!!

So many comments from so many of you, and I thank you and am thankful FOR you, all of you who are so especially kind regarding The Cooking Lady show. As I ramble, I’ll try to answer some questions from you, and hopefully inspire you to cook, to try to cook, but mostly just to enjoy the process. Please enjoy your failures, if in fact, you have a failure or two, I’ve had many, and sometimes it’s just Big Daddy going “ that was ok, just a little funky, but still edible” . You, know the man’s palate is not that educated, I keep trying to throw in a little herbes de Provence, or cumin, and sometimes, it just ain’t happenin’! I reserve my real experimentations for my girlfriends who appreciate an odd spice or two, and give excellent critiques rather than “a little funky”!

Okay, I better answer some questions first:

le creusetMy green pots—from Le Crueset, enameled cast iron, and don’t think the color is available anymore.

My knives—one from Cutco, and one from Henckels, both are santuko chef’s knives

My china—my own, Botanic Garden from Portmeirion


My pottery—beautiful from my sweet friends at Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou, MS, Please look at their website!

My gravy of choice for Thanksgiving—giblet or au jus?? Sorry, to disappoint, but I’m an Au jus girl, habit from the time I can remember at my great grandmother’s table on Avery Island, Louisiana! Exquisite! Savory! Mushrooms for days! Happiness! I’m so sorry to disappoint anyone, but I just remember my first Thanksgiving with my Dear husband’s family and when the gravy was gone, my darling mother-in-law, said I can whip up some more, and I thought, HOW??? Where did those hard boiled eggs come from, and what are those pieces parts floating around?? I called my mother immediately after dinner, and asked how do you do that??? The gravy was WHITE! I’m just used to lovely dark, rich, savory, mushroom ladened au jus gravy, and you know, there just might be a few needles of rosemary floating around! And some Kitchen Bouquet! Enough on the gravy! (Louisiana is the only place I; know that sells Kitchen Bouquet by the quart==really!)

My filming location—my house! That’s why I can open up drawers and usually find what I need.

new sinkMy sink situation—replaced!! A new stainless steel sink and faucet just ready to take on all the cleaning necessary!

My feeling on pasteurized oysters—get them while you can, and don’t forget about lump crabmeat, it might be the same way. Just cut those oysters in half if your husband whines, “they’re just too big!” Gimme a break.

chili limeMy new favorite product, and I don’t endorse products—Chili and lime spice blend, I found this on the internet, and it helps to make the most fabulous catfish tacos you ever put in your mouth. Just coat the catfish filets lightly with the blend, sauté in olive oil on the stove top;, and you can dress those tacos any way you want—avocados, salsa, a little fresh lime, some chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, shredded lettuce, whatever, just heat the soft tortillas first, and ole, you’re in heaven. (

My don’t forget item for a quick dessert—microwave pralines, and they make a fantastic Christmas gift in a lovely tin or box. Have a great cup of coffee to accompany.

My stuffing or dressing of choice, Pepperidge Farms herbed bread dressing mix, sauté, some onions, green onions, mushrooms and celery, add cooked and drained pork sausage, mix with some good chicken stock or broth, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and bake lightly—oh, I’m homesick already. My Mom.—I just love “The Edith”, I miss her every day, and she just makes me laugh. Actually, we make each other laugh, she has a VERY risqué sense of humor and is quite an exceptional cook herself, she just doesn’t’ acknowledge it. She lives in Texas and doesn’t get to see the show unless on YouTube!! My mom on YouTube!!

My newest, dearest admirer—Mr. Jim Walton of Rosedale, MS, what a gentleman—got a hug and kiss on the cheek from this lovely man at my church’s fall bazaar luncheon—he loves the show and is so supportive and kind, and I think he just might deserve a little thank you gift, don’t you think??

My new status on many of your stations—we’ve been moved around a lot, not on some stations any longer, picked up by new stations, and we’re now looking for some new sponsors. We’d like to continue to be with you, and we’re hoping that we have some luck in this area. The Cooking Lady cookbook is done and hopefully we’ll be finding the right publisher.

My wish—to be with you for quite awhile, to share and cook together, I hope you are all safe and well and have wonderful dishes for this most fabulous of holidays—All my best to you and yours, with much gratitude and affection,

I remain,

Ann Hollowell
The Cooking Lady

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Posted on Monday, 14th April, 2014


Posted on Friday, 1st July, 2011

I’m a retired caterer and it takes a lot to get my attention and make me sit still for a solid thirty minutes watching someone else cook, but Ann has a wonderfully pleasant voice and demeanor.  So happy to have seen this program and hope to see more of her and her simple and what […]

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