In her nomination letter, Alicia’s mom, Marilyn Burgess, writes, “I tried to think of the best cooks I know and the one that comes quickest to mind is my daughter, Alicia.”

This is a big compliment for a daughter who learned so much from her mom.

“When I was little, I helped my mom all the time,” Alicia says. “She made all kinds of pastries, and I would just be there to help out.” Alicia notes that her mother rarely bought things from the grocery store. “She had her own garden. She baked. She got what she needed from the store, but mostly made things from scratch.”

The lack of “pre-made” items in the house was how Alicia first learned to experiment with food.

“One day, when I was in the 10th grade, I made a pizza. However, we had no pizza sauce.” So, what’s a girl to do? After digging around the shelves, Alicia found something she thought would work. “I found a can of tomato soup and used that instead,” she admits with a laugh. “My mom said she loved it. As for me, well, I’m not a big tomato soup fan…”

Today, though, Alicia’s experimenting is a little more sophisticated. “I like spicy foods! I think it adds more flavor. Even if I make a beef stew, I’ll add some type of peppers or spice. It just makes it better.”

Alicia highly recommends the Cuisine at Home magazine series. “I get it every three months. The recipes are great.” Another piece of advice Alicia has is to work with someone who has confidence in the kitchen for a few times. She feels that helps in building up a newer cook’s confidence.

Alicia lives in Fayette with her husband, Daniel. They operate Jay’s Detailing Shop. Alicia has three children: Kristi, Erica and Jessica. She also has two dogs and two kittens. In her spare time, Alicia enjoys knitting, gardening, taking care of her animals and going to the stock car races.

Chili Con Carne
1 pound ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

¾ cup chopped green pepper

1 1-pound can (2 cups) tomatoes, broken up

1 1-pound can (2 cups) dark red kidney beans, drained

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
1 bay leaf
In a heavy skillet, cook meat, onion and green pepper until meat is lightly browned and vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for one hour. Remove bay leaf. Makes four servings.
Alicia’s notes:
I use jalapeno-flavored tomatoes in this recipe. I also generally double this recipe.
Deviled Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

¼ teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
Halve hard-cooked eggs lengthwise; remove yolks and beat with seasonings above. Refill egg whites.

Sprinkle crumbled crisp bacon, and/or chives or paprika on top.
Alicia’s note:
Everybody wants this recipe for deviled eggs, and you can’t stop at one.
Superb Seafood Chowder
1 large onion

2 to 3 medium potatoes, diced and cooked separately

1 15-ounce can creamed corn

1 15-ounce can whole corn

1½ to 2 quarts half and half

1½ sticks butter

1 pound scallops

1 pound shrimp

2 pounds haddock
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook onions in bacon grease or fresh bacon. Add cooked diced potatoes, both the creamed and whole corn, and the half and half. Heat to warm but do not boil. Add fish, scallops and shrimp. Turn off. The fish will cook as it cools. When it cools enough to eat, the fish will be cooked. Serves 10.
Alicia’s note:
It is best made 10 to 12 hours ahead and refrigerated so that the flavors blend. If you do, reheat slowly and carefully to serving temperature.

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