Summer Casseroles and Cookies:  Brock’s Cookin’ away

Mississippi heat is here to stay, so if we want to enjoy them and not become too hot and sticky, then we can reduce our anxiety and increase our comfort by eating and preparing good quality southern meals. The first recipe is my recipe for a Ro-Tel Classic, a casserole that incorporates cheese, Ro-Tel tomatoes, cream cheese and a buttery dough on the top to really top it all off.  Second, we have a cookie bars recipe, which includes only chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie dough , and a can of chocolate buttercream frosting.  Wow! So easy! So delicious!  And finally, a friend of our family’s, Ms. Phyllis Sullivan, gave us one of the very best sugar/butter cookies in the world.  We’ve used it for years, and it’s better every time.  I hope you enjoy my recipes this week.  Let me know how you like them!

Brock’s Ro-Tel “Classic” Casserole

Note:  The best casseroles are ones that incorporate something with a zingy kick to it.  The addition of Ro-Tel tomatoes to this casserole makes it truly scrumptious.

  • 1.5 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped finely
  • Half tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 lb. spiral pasta
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, with juice (mild or med)
  • 8 oz. Velveeta cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, soft
  • 1 pkg. Pillsbury crescent roll seamless dough sheet
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Cook meat with onion, bell pepper, lemon pepper, and drain.  Cook pasta and drain. Mix meat mixture with pasta.  Add Ro-Tel with juice, and Velveeta cheese and softened cream cheese.  Mix it all together until it all incorporates into the mixture. Pour mixture into a 13×9 casserole dish, lightly greased.  Then cover the mixture with a sheet of the crescent roll seamless dough, trying to cover all sides.  Then melt one stick of butter and pour it all over dough sheet. Bake the casserole, covered lightly with alum foil.  Bake for 40 min at 350.  More time may be needed depending on your oven temp. Serve this casserole hot in squares with a nice small green salad and some homemade buttered hot yeast rolls.

Easy Cookie Buttercream Bars

Note:  These cookie bars are excellent to carry to get-togethers, to baseball games, to parties, to football games, to soccer games — to anything!!! Everyone will love them, so you might have to make two or three batches of them!

  • 1 roll chocolate chip cookie dough*
  • 1 roll peanut butter cookie dough*
  • 1 can Betty Crocker chocolate buttercream frosting

On a lightly greased 13×9 cookie sheet with raised sides, press down the chocolate chip cookie dough.  Then on top of this, press the peanut butter cookie dough.  Make sure all the dough is pressed around to fit the sides and all the spaces.  Cook the dough for about 20-25 min at 350 or until the sides are lightly golden brown.  Do not overcook the cookie dough because the baked cookie dough will be too crunchy and overdone.  Let cool completely.  Then frost the top evenly with the can of frosting.  Place cookies in refrigerator to cool for 2 hours.  Cut into bars and enjoy!  *Nestle or Pillsbury cookie doughs are preferred.

Aunt Maggie’s Sugar Cookies

Note:  A good friend of my family’s, Ms. Phyllis Sullivan, provided this recipe to my mother years and years ago, and we have taken advantage of how deliciously buttery and soft and crunchy this recipe is.  This is one of the best sugar cookie recipes I have ever tried, no kidding!

  • 1 stick margarine, softened
  • Half cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Two and one half cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Mix all ingredients well with electric mixer.  Soften the margarine, but do not melt it.  Roll into small balls and flatten with a floured fork on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  You can choose to only flatten with the fork a small amount so that the cookies are not too thin.  The cookies however, are delicious thin also, so you could choose to press down more with the fork, but it’s your preference.  Bake 20-30 min at 300 degrees.  Check into baking time, and gage the time by how soft or crunchy you want them.  Take out of oven, and cool.  Brock enjoys sprinkling them with a small amount of granulated sugar.  You may want to bag these up into gallon Ziploc plastic seal bags.  They keep well in them.

Editor’s Note:  Brock Wetherly Rogers is an experienced southern food writer, high school and university instructor, educator, European traveler, and a connoisseur of the culinary and pastry arts.  Find him on Facebook at Brock’s Bites-Southern Recipes, or at