Gulledge began learning to cook in high school. “Most of my basic cooking skills came from Mrs. Durham in Home Economics”, shares Gulledge. “She taught me how to read recipes and measure versus the ‘pinch of this and dash of that’ method.” Durham remained close to Gulledge throughout high school and after college. Although Durham moved to Kentucky, she didn’t forget about Lauren. Gulledge has a personalized recipe book that Durham sent to her as a wedding gift that remains a frequently used resource in her kitchen.
Gulledge also admits to getting a lot of insight from her mother, Jan Lindsey. “My mom was superwoman”, shares Gulledge. “She was a teacher, a coach, and a mother of two daughters involved in extracurricular activities and somehow she always seemed to find time to cook.” Gulledge remembers spending every Christmas in the kitchen with her mother and sister, spending all day baking various candies, cookies, and other desserts together as a family. Gulledge says that her mother continues to be an asset to her cooking abilities growing up and she continuously contacts her mother for cooking tips.
Gulledge says that although her mother is wonderful with homemade foods, Lisa Holloman is her inspiration when it comes to creativity. Gulledge has been friend’s with Holloman’s daughter, Heather, for many years and considers the Holloman house her second home. “Lisa was never afraid to let us in the kitchen,” shares Gulledge. “It’s not that she would teach us, we would just watch her in awe.”
When Gulledge and her friend began living on their own in Cartersville, they would often call Holloman for recipes. “Lisa was the one taught us how to cook Japanese when we couldn’t afford to eat out.” Gulledge also admits that she often found herself throwing a bunch of random stuff in a pan and hoping for the best as she was juggling two jobs and attending college full time.
After marrying the love of her life, Caylin, Gulledge obtained another cooking resource, her mother-in-law, TaRahma Gulledge. TaRahma taught Gulledge some of her own kitchen creations that were childhood favorites of her children. This enabled Gulledge to continue to cook her husband’s much-loved foods over the years.
Now that Gulledge is 26 and happily married, she’s now juggling a part time job at Thrive and a 15-month-old daughter, Maddie Beth. Gulledge confesses that her years of cooking with the wonderful women in her life made her into the cook she is today. “If I ever ask Caylin, if he wants to go out to eat, he just replies ‘Why? You already know how to make everything that I would want’,” laughs Gulledge.
Gulledge admits that although her specialty is Chicken Alfredo and the family no longer has the need to go to Olive Garden, her favorite dish to make is Chicken Parmesan. “It’s a crowd pleaser,” boasts Gulledge. “A lot of people always respond with ‘Oh my gosh! How long did this take you to make?’ when in reality, it was done in 30 minutes.”
In her spare time, Gulledge finds herself playing with her daughter and completing various arts and crafts projects. She admits that she is mainly a homemaker and loves to sew, read, and cuddle up with her husband and watch movies at home.
Today, Gulledge is sharing her recipes of “Orange Maple Chicken”, a recipe she created in college when she was on a tight budget, and her personal variation of meatloaf, the “Italian Loaf."
To nominate somone for cook of the week, contact Tasha at Tbunch@calhountimes.com.
“Orange Maple Chicken”
4 chicken breasts
½ cup of chicken broth
1 cup of orange juice
½ cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tsp oregano
½ tsp salt and pepper
Bring orange juice and broth to boil and reduce heat. Add maple syrup and stir for approximately 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
Season both sides of chicken breasts with oregano and salt and pepper. Melt butter and oil over med/high heat and add chicken. Cover. Let cook for five minutes on each side. Pour orange juice/syrup mixture over chicken. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
1 lb ground beef (80/20 works best)
½ cup spaghetti sauce (divided in half portions)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg (beaten)
¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ tablespoon minced onion
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce and cheeses. Mix remaining ingredients together in bowl. Place in un-greased, 8x8 casserole dish or meatloaf pan. Put ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce on top, nice and even. Cook 25-30 minutes. Pull out and top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place back in oven until cheese melts. Served best with pasta and vegetables.