COOK OF THE WEEK: Lesley Tackitt recipes

Kevin’s Strawberry Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 small box strawberry instant gelatin
1 (16-ounce) package whole, frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs, room temp
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1⁄3 cup thawed and pureed strawberries
1⁄2 teaspoon strawberry extract
7 cups powdered sugar
Sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil and water and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes. Let cook 10 minutes in pans. Move to greased wire racks and cool completely.
For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in pureed strawberries and extract. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. If frosting is a little runny, refrigerate it for 15 minutes before spreading. Once cake is completely cooled, spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries.

Aunt Leeo’s Lemon Supreme Cake
3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup apricot nectar (shake can well)
1 box lemon cake mix
4 eggs
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
Beat oil, sugar and nectar well, then add cake mix gradually. When all mix has been absorbed, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and cook for 1 hour. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly on a greased wire rack. Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar with a whisk and carefully pour over top of cake while it is slightly warm.

Spicy Shrimp
and Grits
41⁄2 cups salted water
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces cubed prosciutto
Salt and pepper
1 cup canned petite diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 cup loosely packed arugula, stems removed
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Whisk in grits and butter and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add cheese to grits when 7 minutes are remaining in cook time.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, garlic and prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque, about 4 minutes. Add arugula and cook for 1 minute.
Place grits on plates and top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, if using.
Serves 4.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
10 ounces garlic and herb flavored cream cheese, such as Laughing Cow
8 thin strips prosciutto
Olive oil
1 lemon, cut in wedges
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice chicken breasts horizontally, almost all the way through. Open breasts out and spread cream cheese inside the breasts. Press the breasts closed and wrap each one with 2 slices of prosciutto. Place in a baking dish and drizzle each with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Nestle lemon wedges in the baking dish around the chicken and scatter basil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Rich Scalloped Potatoes
11⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small cubes, plus more for brushing skillet
1⁄2 clove garlic
1⁄3 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1⁄3 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1⁄3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1⁄8-inch thick
11⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups heavy cream
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 bay leaves
1⁄4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Generously brush a large skillet with butter and rub with garlic clove. Combine Mozzarella, Asiago and Gruyere cheeses in a bowl and set aside.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the potato slices, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the cheeses and add pepper to taste. Arrange remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour cream over the potatoes, then add nutmeg and bay leaves. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.
Generously brush a shallow baking dish with butter and slide the potatoes from the skillet to the baking dish. Sprinkle potatoes with the remaining cheese blend and the Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.
Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Remove bay leaves.

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