Crosby enjoys cooking up memories

Crosby enjoys cooking up memories

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Former Choctaw Indian Princess Shemah Ladania Crosby said her favorite aspect of cooking is preparing meals with her family members while creating lasting, happy memories.

“We have a lot of fun preparing food and eating together, and we make fun memories,” Crosby said. “I remember making biscuits when I was little and recall dropping one on the floor, which everyone remembers.”

Crosby grew up in the Standing Pine community near Walnut Grove and graduated from Choctaw Central High School. She is now a junior a Mississippi State University.

Crosby said she first got into cooking when she was around nine years old. Her grandmother, Lena Denson, and mother, Lalania Denson, showed her how to cook things like biscuits, cakes, pies, and various side dishes.  

“They were the ones who showed me how to cook and taught me recipes,” Crosby said. “I can’t wait to pass those recipes down to my children.”

Crosby said her favorite dishes to make and eat when she was little were pound cake and sweet potato pie, and her favorite side dish was yams.

As she got older, she helped with the main dishes like chicken parmesan (a birthday favorite), chicken spaghetti, and chicken and rice.

“I kept cooking when I was the Choctaw Indian Princess for 2021, but I didn’t have as much time,” Crosby said. “Now that I’ve passed the torch, I have time to make food again.”

During her time as the Choctaw Indian Princess, Crosby said she will forever cherish meeting all the children and Elders in the Tribe. She plans on participating in the Miss Indian World Pageant in April 2023 to represent the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

CHICKEN PARMESAN

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 large eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs 

1 cup vegetable oil or pure olive oil

Sliced Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Fresh basil or parsley leaves for garnish

Tomato Sauce Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic 

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1 can whole tomatoes puréed in a blender

1 small can of tomato paste

1 bay leaf

Season with salt & pepper, oregano, and parsley. 

Tomato Sauce Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic & cook until soft. Add the puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil.  Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley. Reduce heat and cook until it’s thickened, about 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken on with sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each breast in the flour, tap off excess, then dip in the egg and let excess drop off. Dredge on both sides in breadcrumbs. 

Cook chicken in a sauté pan over high heat, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a baking sheet, top each breast with the tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Bake in the oven until chicken is cooked and cheese is melted for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves. 

POUND CAKE

1 cup shorting 

3 cups sugar 

3 cups plain flour 

½ teaspoon salt 

1 ½ tablespoon vanilla 

1 stick butter 

6 eggs 

½ teaspoon baking powder 

1 cup milk 

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar. Add one egg at a time, beating after each egg. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Add to the sugar mixture, alternating with milk, and add vanilla. Pour in a greased tube pan—Bake at 325 for 1 ½ hours.

CANDIED YAMS

Peel 8-10 sweet potatoes, and cut them into 2-inch round pieces, set aside.

4 cups sugar

4 cups water

4 sticks of butter

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

Boil water, sugar, butter, and nutmeg until it looks like syrup.  Add sweet potatoes.  Cool until tender.





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