Crouther enjoys creating healthy dishes
For Tesha Crouther, experimenting with cooking healthy foods and then seeing people enjoy her dishes are the best parts of cooking.
“I think everyone can come together around food,” Crouther said. “I enjoy the smiles from the people who are eating my food and I love seeing people enjoy it.”
Crouther was born and raised in Philadelphia and currently teaches 10th and 11th grade English and Survey of African American Writers at Philadelphia High School. Outside of the kitchen, she enjoys spending time with her five daughters, Kentionne, T’Kendahl, Michelle, Jazzmine, and Countess.
Crouther is a self-taught cook after observing her mother and grandmother in the kitchen growing up.
“My grandmother is the most excellent cook and baker, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t want anyone to mess with her kitchen,” Crouther said. “I self-taught myself how to cook by watching them cook. All of my experience came with trial and error as I got older and became an adult.”
She said the first thing she remembers cooking is fried chicken.
“I also cooked greens and other healthy dishes,” Crouther said. “Traditionally in the South we use a lot of fat and grease, but one of the things I learned to make early on was mixed greens (turnips and kale) and use things like olive oil to season them. It makes the greens flavorful without all the extra fat.
“One recipe my kids really love is Mushroom Chicken Scaloppini and I make a Mason Jar salad to go with it.”
Crouther also enjoys experimenting with some healthier dessert alternatives, such as an apple pie made with wheat bread for the crust instead of dough.
“It’s still the traditional apple pie recipe but you cut the edges off the wheat bread and layer it along the pan,” she said.
Crouther said while she doesn’t have a lot of time to work within the kitchen, she can craft meals hastily that are still tasty and makes sure to put a lot of love into her food, which she believes make them taste better.
“One thing I learned from who I call my second mom, you have to always think about your food when you’re making it and prepare it with love,” she said. “If I’m angry or upset when preparing a meal, it doesn’t turn out well, but when I’m in a good mood and really laboring in love, it does make a difference with how it tastes. I like to see people who are eating food enjoy it.”
CHICKEN SCALLOPINI WITH MUSHROOMS
4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsps lemon juice
1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/4 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
In a large nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat, melt 1 tbsp. butter. Add mushrooms, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to allow juices to accumulate.
Uncover and cook over high heat, stirring often, until juice evaporates and mushrooms brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and stir to release browned bits in the pan. Pour into a small bowl, scraping pan well.
Trim fat from thighs. Working with one thigh at a time, place on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece. Pound meat with a flat-surface mallet until about 1/4 in. thick. Pull off plastic and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining thighs. Add 1 tbsp. butter to pan and melt over high heat. Lay chicken pieces in a pan. Cook until edges begin to turn white and bottom is lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
Turn over and cook until no longer pink in the center, 6 to 8 minutes total (cut to test), lifting to a platter as cooked. Cut into serving portions and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour mushrooms into a pan and add 1/4 cup parsley. Stir in wine, scraping to release brown bits. Immediately add the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and stir rapidly until melted. Drain juice from cooked chicken into the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring. Pour over chicken and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
MASON JAR SALAD
1/2 cup Lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup cucumbers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup Blueberries
Take a Mason Jar and pour lemon juice followed by olive oil. Mix in cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, blueberries, sea salt, black pepper, feta cheese, and add lettuce on top.
Return the lid and shake.
WHEAT BREAD APPLE PIE
4-5 slices wheat bread
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 sticks margarine
In a separate bowl mix margarine, and vanilla flavoring. Microwave until the consistency is thick but pourable. Take wheat bread and cut the edges off. Cover the bottom of the pan with half of the wheat bread slices. Pour the apple filling in the bowl and cover the top with the other slices of wheat bread. Take the mixture of margarine, sugar, and flavoring and pour over the top of the bread slices.
Place in the oven for 35 minutes or until the desired golden brown.