He’s driven to feed his family well

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MEXICO – Eddy Naples’ driving academy could be the “sweetest” one in the state. “I get up early in the morning and always have fresh, baked cookies for my drivers-ed class,” he said.

Naples, who has been cooking since he was a child, is the oldest of eight children. His father owned a meat-packing business. All his siblings are good cooks, he said, noting that as a youngster he and his sister, fellow Cook of the Week Ginger Patterson, appeared on “Cooking Can Be Fun,” a Maine television program with chef Edith Webber.

An instructor at his own Naples Driving Academy and a tractor-trailer driving educator at the School of Applied Technology, Naples finds cooking relaxing. One of his favorite dishes to prepare is spaghetti sauce. “My father liked it – thought it tasted just like his mother’s,” said Naples, who made spaghetti sauce, lasagna, chili and cookies for his father when he was ill.

Naples enjoys hosting Thanksgiving dinner for his family of about 35 to 40. “It’s a special occasion for us,” he said.

About three or four years ago, Naples built a new kitchen in his home. “It’s a big kitchen that reminds me of the one I had growing up,” he said.

Naples gets ideas for recipes on the Internet and revises them to his liking. “I don’t mind experimenting,” he said.

When he isn’t working or cooking, Naples enjoys woodworking. He is making cabinets for his wife, Marie’s, office. He also enjoys snowmobiling, four-wheeling, fishing, traveling, time spent on the computer and photography.

Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

1 ½ green peppers, chopped

4 29-ounce cans of diced Hunts tomatoes with basil and garlic

1 12-ounce and 1 6-ounce can of Hunts tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic

3 tablespoons Emeril’s Italian seasoning

2 pounds Naples lean hamburger, cooked separately and drained

1 pound Mailhots sweet Italian sausage, cooked separately, sliced into ¼ inches

Eddy’s note: Some of my family members do not like chunky sauce, so I put the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and Italian seasoning through a food processor.

Method:

Sauté onions and peppers in olive oil for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and Italian seasoning. Add the cooked hamburger and sausage to the processed sauce.

Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours.

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Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

7- to 8-pound oven roaster (2-3 pounds diced chicken for soup)

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

½ large turnip, diced

1 16-ounce bag of baby carrots, diced

2 medium onions, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 29-ounce can of Hunts Italian stewed tomatoes

2-3 chicken bullion cubes

1 tablespoon Emeril’s Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped

8 ounces bow tie pasta

1 frozen package (about 10 ounces) leaf spinach, or about ½ a 16-ounce bag of fresh spinach (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Naples usually starts this chicken soup with a 7- to 8-pound oven roaster. One night you can enjoy that as a meal, reserving 2 to 3 pounds of chicken for the soup. Later, boil the chicken bones 30 to 35 minutes in 4 to 6 quarts of water, and add poultry seasoning. Strain and place broth in refrigerator. The next day, skim the fat off the top of the broth.

Fill a 16-quart kettle with the broth, and add water to fill half the kettle. Add potatoes, turnip, carrots, onions and celery. Boil these items for 30 minutes. Add diced chicken, stewed tomatoes, bullion cubes, Italian seasoning, garlic, uncooked pasta and spinach.

Cook soup on medium for an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white, granulated sugar

2 sticks margarine, softened

3 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

2 cups mini chocolate chip

1 cup walnuts, chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine brown sugar, sugar and margarine. Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt and flour. Combine these ingredients, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon. Add chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cookies cool 5 to 10 minutes before removing from sheet. Makes about 44 cookies.

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