Bailey enjoys tending her garden
Laura Bailey enjoys cooking spicy food with a passion and is an avid gardener tending to a variety of peppers in her garden at home.
Bailey said she has two and a half freezers filled with an array of peas, butterbeans, corn, squash, tomatoes, and peppers.
Although her go-to dishes are spicy chili and taco soup, Bailey says her cooking shines brightest when she whips up a roast every few weeks.
“I just love cooking in general, but I wish the clean-up would go elsewhere,” she said with a laugh.
Bailey grew up in Starkville and moved to Philadelphia in 1997 after her husband, Chip, took a job promotion as a dean at MSU-Meridian.
They have been married for 38 years and have two daughters, Elizabeth, married to Brant McNeece with grandson, Wade, who will be three in April and, Molley, who is engaged to be married to Landon Weeks in December.
“My family loves for me to cook anything,” she said. “We love peas, butter beans, cornbread, and stewed tomatoes, or if it’s summer, sliced tomatoes and onions. Our favorites are fresh vegetables.”
While she excels in the kitchen, Bailey is self-employed as an employment recruiter, specializing in placing engineers and high-level management in manufacturing jobs.
She also serves as Director of Miss Hospitality for Neshoba County.
When not working, she enjoys tailgating at Mississippi State home football games, showcasing her skills smoking chicken wings, sausages, and grilling steaks.
“I enjoy seeing what I can add to my cooking to enhance the flavor,” Bailey said. “I also love seeing people enjoy it with a smile on their face.”
Bailey swears by a good sharp knife and a variety of spices, with rough pepper being a favorite in her kitchen.
To prevent splattering from hot grease during bacon frying, Bailey advises fellow cooks to opt for baking on parchment paper in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes to achieve perfect crispiness.
“I save the grease in a mason jar, then I scoop it out and put it in my vegetables when I cook them,” she said.
HOT PIMENTO CHEESE
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Large spoonful of ground garlic
1 large white onion-chopped
½ cup hot Worcestershire sauce
16 oz Flamin’ Jack Cheese (Sam’s)
16 oz Mozzarella Cheese
¾ chopped, drained pimentos
¼ Rough Pepper
Mix everything thoroughly-Add more mayonnaise if needed. Serve as sandwich or on crackers.
Top each burger with thick sliced white onion
Cover with Nashville Hot Sauce for 3 hours
Smoke about one hour, remove onions, flip burgers, return onions and smoke 30 minutes. This is the best way to eat hamburgers.
BLACK OLIVE DIP
3-4 cans chopped black olives
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1-2 cans Hot Rotel-drained
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
Mix, chill, serve with chips or pita chips.
3-5 pound shoulder roast
1 package onion soup mix
One large scoop onion/beef broth paste
Salt, rough pepper
Rinse roast, salt bottom of crockpot, place roast, salt top, sprinkle soup mix on top of roast, add beef broth paste and cover roast with water-just enough to cover the top. Cook on high for 5-6 hours, remove roast when it falls apart with fork to make gravy. Add flour and water to make thick paste, add mixture to remaining crockpot juice, stir until mixed, return roast and gravy will thicken. I like to use the leftovers for soup.
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