- Cullman, Alabama

November 1, 2013

Author, artist Mellissa Meeks returns to Cullman for Humane Society benefit

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— Guest cookbook author/artist Mellissa Meeks, who coordinated the Oct. 5 Community Art Event at Southern Accents, has put her many talents to good use. Not only is she a wonderfully gifted artist, but she is also a photographer, and a great cook.

Meeks will  be at Werner's Trading Company this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a benefit for Werner's favorite charity, the Humane Society. She will turn a photo of your pet into a wonderful keepsake portrait (an acrylic painting). Sizes of portraits range from 5x7 to 24x36 and prices range from $35 to $350.

A tent will be set up in case of inclement weather.

Bring your pet, or a picture of your pet, to the event Saturday and let Mellissa turn it into a wonderful portrait keepsake. You are encouraged to bring your pet's favorite toys or a bandanna, anything that will show off your pet's unique personality.

For more information, or an appointment for your pet’s photo session, contact Werner's Trading Company at 256-734-5673.

Mellissa kindly agreed to share some of the recipes from her new, “Family Traditions Southern Cookbook” with us today. I’m sure that you will love these delicious recipes. Cookbooks can be purchased at Southern Accents. Ten percent of the sales of her cookbook will be going to Southern Accents’ Children’s Foundation.


Lime Twist Guacamole

3 to 4 ripe med. avocados, mashed

1 fresh lime, squeezed

1 sweet onion, minced              

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced                    

1 tomato, diced

Peel avocados and set seed aside, mash with a fork until the consistency you like, some prefer chunky guacamole. Squeeze fresh lime juice into avocados, mix well. Add onion, garlic and salt and pepper, and add diced tomato last, stir gently. Place seed back into the mixture – it will keep your guacamole from turning brown. Serve with your favorite crackers or chips. We prefer roasted garlic and black bean tortilla chips. Serves 2 to 4.

Blackened Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

(Alfredo sauce recipe follows directions)

9 oz. package fettuccini

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 c. olive oil

Pour olive oil in a black iron skillet and place over medium heat. Pound the chicken breast until quite thin (around ? thick) and cut into bite size. Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly and coat both sides of chicken. Place chicken in heated skillet and cook until thoroughly cooked, turning until golden brown. About 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Cook Fettuccini noodles according to package directions. Serves 4 to 6.

Alfredo sauce:

1 pint heavy cream

1 stick of butter

2 T. cream cheese

1/2 c. parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic, minced or 1 tsp. garlic powder

In a saucepan over med heat, combine butter, heavy cream and cream cheese. Simmer until this is all melted and mix well. Reduce to low heat. Add the parmesan cheese and garlic. Simmer this for 15 to 25 minutes on low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked fettuccini and top with blackened chicken. Serve with herb and butter bread.


Chicken and Steak Teriyaki Shish Kebabs

1/2 sweet onion, minced

1/2 c. orange juice

1/2 c. soy sauce

2 T. honey

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 T. dry mustard

6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. vegetable oil

Seasoned salt and ground pepper to taste

1 lb chicken breast, bite size           

1 lb steak, cubed                             

2 green peppers, cut into strips

Cap mushrooms, sweet onions (in bite-size chunks), cherry tomatoes, squash, or even red potatoes

Pre-soaked wooden shish-kebab sticks or use metal skewers

Mix together first 9 ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Pour over meat and place in refrigerator overnight or at least 2 to 4 hours ahead of cooking time. You can use charcoal grill or gas grill. For this recipe we used gas grill. Place chicken and steak kebabs with a wire grill grid, or Reynolds wrap to keep veggies from falling through on pre-heated gas grill (about ten minutes is sufficient) over medium heat and sprinkle additional pepper and seasoned salt. Cook over medium heat, rotating chicken constantly for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce to low heat, and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Keep water bottle handy for fire flare ups. Check chicken by piercing skin and clear juices should be visible. Remove from heat and serve shish kebab style. Serves 10.


Sweet Banana Pudding

3 1/2 T. all-purpose flour

1 1/3 c. sugar

Dash of salt

3 c. of milk

3 large eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

16 oz. of vanilla wafers

4 medium bananas

1/4 plus 2 T. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour, 1/3 cups sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Beat egg yolks; combine egg yolks and milk, mixing well until combined. Stir into dry ingredients; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and becomes thickened. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Layer one-third of wafers in a 3-quart baking dish or large baking bowl. Slice one banana and layer over wafers, pour one-third of custard over bananas. Repeat layers twice.

Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons at a time beating until stiff peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, and beat until well blended. Spread meringue over custard evenly to the edges of the baking dish or bowl. Bake at 425º for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 8 to 10.

Black Skillet Deep Dish Supreme Pizza

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. mild or hot sausage (your favorite)

2 jars Pizza Quick sauce (any flavor)

1/2 c. ham, diced

Pepperoni, sliced

One small green pepper, diced

One small sweet onion, diced

1/2 to 3/4 c. sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. black olives, sliced

4 c. Mozzarella shredded cheese

1 c. Cheddar Colby Jack cheese

4 c. of Bisquick

1/4 c. olive oil

3/4 to 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350º. Crumble hamburger in medium pan, salt and pepper to taste, brown meat, and drain and set aside. Crumble sausage in medium pan and brown meat, drain and set aside. Prepare your pizza dough for the crust according to the Bisquick directions which is mixing milk in and forming the dough. Brush iron black skillet with 1/4 cup of olive oil and shape dough into skillet. Pour pizza sauce from jars and spread across dough. Add your drained hamburger meat and sausage, ham and pepperoni. Top with your favorite veggies, olives and generously cover with the cheese. Place in preheated oven on middle rack and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and gently browned. Serve with more black olives and sour cream. Serves 6 to 8.


Meeks Southern Grilled BBQ Chicken

3 lbs. chicken legs, washed              

1/2 c. orange juice

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 c. honey

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 bottles Sticky Finger’s BBQ Sauce Carolina Sweet

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning or Memphis Original

1 tsp. of Lawry’s seasoned salt

Barbecue sauce

Mix 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1/4 cup of honey with the 2 bottles of Sticky Finger’s BBQ Sauce and mix well. Thoroughly cover chicken legs with seasonings, cover with a lid and placed in refrigerator at least 2 hours ahead of cooking time. You can use charcoal or gas grill. Place chicken on preheated gas grill (about ten minutes is sufficient) over medium heat and sprinkle additional pepper or Old Bay seasoning if desired. Grill, rotating chicken constantly for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce to low heat, and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Keep water bottle handy for fire flareups. Check chicken by piercing skin and clear juices should be visible. Coat chicken liberally with barbecue sauce mixture and rotate to ensure no overcooking/blackening. Coat chicken by dipping additional two to three times until all sauce is gone. Remove from heat and let set for ten minutes to lock in the flavor. Serves 10 to 12.

To order cookbooks contact: Mellissa Meeks at 256-797-1785; e-mail:; or mail to Mellissa Meeks, 154 Raleigh Way, Huntsville 35811.