We all know food is good for the soul. And there is no better way to start off the new year with being a healthier you! I caught up with Alyese Justis , the bestselling author of cookbook Life Is But a Dream, as she give tips and quick recipes for the New Year!
Bestselling Author of Life Is But A Dream & Family, Faith, and Food
You just recently wrote a book called Family, Faith, and Food. What can new readers expect to learn from this book?
Alyese: “Family, Faith and Food is a collection of not only my recipes but family recipes. I desire to feed people two different ways through my recipes and also through motivation whether it’s a quote or a scripture. Family, Faith, and Food gives you the background on how my family and faith are most important to me. My goal for this book was for the readers to see that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to.”
It’s a new year meaning more resolutions and less time! In your opinion, what are 2 quick and good recipes for someone who is always busy?
Alyese: “I live for a good casserole my favorite being chicken tetrazzini! Its quick, easy and yummy! It usually makes enough for dinner the next night or lunch the next day! I have listed my favorite recipes from Family, Faith, and Food as well as my best friends favorite. They are both easy and very simple. Here are the recipes listed below:
1 lb. Chicken breast (cooked and sliced)
1 12oz. Bag Broccoli Florets
12 oz. Thin spaghetti
2 10 oz. Cans Rotel
10.5 oz. Cream of chicken soup
10.5 oz. Cream of mushroom soup
4 C. Sharp cheddar cheese
Non-stick cooking spray
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
In a large skillet over high heat place butter and melt then add in seasoned chicken breast. Cook until tender and no pink is shown. Slice and set aside. While chicken is cooking in another large pot with boiling water add in spaghetti and cook until tender. Drain and in the same pot add soup, 2 cups of cheese, Rotel and broccoli florets and chicken. Let boil and simmer for about 20minutes. Place in a 9X13 casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.*Serves 6-8
Shrimp &White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
2 11.9 oz. Boxes Kraft White Cheddar Garlic and Herb Macaroni &Cheese
12 oz. Medium Frozen Shrimp (thawed)
Non-stick cooking spray
½ C. Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
32 oz. Finely Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbs. Herbs De Province
1 tsp. Fresh Parsley
Prepare macaroni per box directions. While the macaroni is boiling, in a medium sized skillet coated evenly with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat, sauté shrimp seasoning them with herbs de province and garlic powder. Sauté shrimp until they are pink and set aside. Once the macaroni is tender and you’ve added the sauce package add in half of the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Mixing well, place in a casserole dish distributing the mixture evenly topping with left over cheese and baking until cheese is melted. Once it comes out of the oven garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
What chefs are your influences? What type of food is your favorite and why?
Alyese: “Comfort/Soul food is my favorite! It gives you just what the name says: a sense of comfort and warmth. Fancy meals are great, but it’s nothing like some good old home cooking like your grandmother would make. Ayesha Curry, Robbie Montgomery (Welcome to Sweetie Pies), Rachel Ray, Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) are definitely my influences. I love each of their styles.”
What do you want people to know about you in 2017? Any projects or new books coming out?
Alyese: “2017 is the year of change! In 2017 I have Bon Appetite with a Alyese, which is a cooking demonstration service that will be offered. I will have my own line of small kitchen supplies (aprons, measuring cups/spoons, oven mitts), as well as my blog launching “Just a Queen with a Dream” that will detail day to day issues and a “recipe” on how to deal with them. As well as Alyese’s Ambitious Dishes Calendar for the year 2018. That will be available late 2017. Last but not least I will be releasing 20 Meals under $ 20, a Millennial’s Guide to Eat Well While Balling on a Budget.”
What is the quote you live by?
Alyese: “I have so many quotes but right now my favorite two are one a scripture:
“Delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”
“Be a Pineapple Stand tall wear a crown and be sweet on the inside.”
BIO: Alyese Justis, 26, born and raised in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (Oak Hall). I am a 2013 graduate of The University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a Bachelor’s of Science in Hotel Restaurant Management. I am currently seeking my MBA at Johnson and Wales University with a Hospitality Management concentration. I am employed full time with Marriott International. My ultimate goal is to own a catering business and to have my own Marriott International franchise.
My first cookbook Life is but a Dream was released June 2, 2016 as a dedication to my late aunt, who is my inspiration for cooking. I was named after my Aunt Lisa, who at the time of my birth had just received a kidney transplant — neither one of us was expected to live. My aunt suffered from renal failure and many other health issues so my aunt knew her food choices would dramatically impact her health. I was her food buddy, and we cooked together to find food she could eat, things that I would later grow to love. My aunt passed away when I was 13. At thirteen you have really no clue on how to grieve so I found that cooking made me feel closer to her. I found an outlet to deal with one of the hardest things I had ever been through. My second cookbook Family, Faith and Food was released December 11, 2016 which is a collection of not only my recipes but family recipes. Family and Faith are the two most important things to me and the food just ties it all together.
Facebook: Alyese Michelle Justis
To order Alyese’s books, click here https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alyese+justis