By JOHN LEE
Former Choctaw Indian Princess Shemaha Ladania Crosby said her favorite aspect of cooking is preparing food with her family members while creating lasting, happy memories.
“We have a lot of fun cooking and eating together and making fun memories,” Crosby said. “I remember making biscuits when I was little, and I remember 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 at Mississippi State University.
Crosby said she first got into cooking when she was about nine years old. Her grandmother, Lena Denson, and her mother, Lalania Denson, showed her how to cook things like cookies, cakes, pies, and various toppings.
“They were the ones who showed me how to cook and taught me recipes,” Crosby said. “I can’t wait to pass these recipes on to my kids.”
Crosby said her favorite foods to make and eat when she was little were cake and sweet potato pie, and her favorite side dish was yams.
As she got older, she helped out with staples like Chicken Parmesan (a birthday favorite), Chicken Spaghetti, and Chicken Rice.
“I continued to cook when I was the 2021 Choctaw Indian Princess, but I didn’t have as much time,” Crosby said. “Now that I’ve passed the torch, I have time to cook again.”
During her time as a Choctaw Indian princess, Crosby said she will forever look forward to meeting all the children and elders in the tribe. She plans to compete in the Miss Native American World Pageant in April 2023 to represent the Choctaw Band of Mississippi Indians.
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, finely chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
Beat 4 large eggs with 2 tablespoons of water
2 cups 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
Ingredients for tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of whole tomatoes pureed in a blender
1 small can of tomato puree
1 bay leaf
Season with salt and pepper, oregano and parsley.
Tomato Sauce Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Dip each breast in the flour, tap off the excess, then dip in the egg and let the excess fall off. Dip both sides in breadcrumbs.
Cook the chicken in a pan over high heat and cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray, spread 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 the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves.
1 cup short
3 cups of sugar
3 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ tablespoons of vanilla
1 stick of butter
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of milk
Cream butter, fat and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each egg. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk, and add the vanilla. Pour into greased pan – Bake at 325 for 1 ½ hours.
Peel 8-10 sweet potatoes and cut them into 2-inch round pieces, set aside.
4 cups of sugar
4 cups of water
4 sticks of butter
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Boil water, sugar, butter and nutmeg until syrupy. Add sweet potatoes. Cool until soft.