Published 12:00 am Monday, October 25, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / October 25, 1999

It was about 15 years ago when Cameron Heltz of Garyville started doing some occasional cooking for his work group at Shell. Then, he realized hereally liked it and cooking was enjoyable. Thus, he hasn’t stopped yet andcooks now for his family, too. His wife, the former Beth Bounds ofLaPlace, doesn’t mind a bit. In fact, she really benefits from it becauseCameron mostly cooks during the week and Beth doesn’t have to take over until the weekends.

Basic Louisiana dishes are easy for Cameron, and he does a lot of those, such as red beans and rice, jambalayas and stews. Experimenting withdifferent recipes is a favorite part of his cooking. If he reads what seemsto be a good article or menu in the paper, he will try it. He has perhapstwo specialties, though, that usually go over especially well, and those are spaghetti and meatballs as well as chicken and andouille gumbo.

Spaghetti is on Cameron’s menu at least once a week.

Each quarter, Shell treats its people to a meal someplace. However,Cameron’s group elects to take the money allowed and fix its own meal, usually with Cameron doing the cooking. We got a sneak preview of thenext meal he plans to fix, and it includes ribeye steak, baked potatoes with all the fillers, Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, pineapple upside down cake, ice cream and coffee.

In addition to his spouse, at home are daughters Melissa, a St. Charles StarStepper, and Laura LeBlanc, a St. Charles cheerleader, and when he is homefrom LSU, son Lance, also gets to eat Cameron’s Louisiana style and innovative cooking. His quick and easy tamale pie and Mexican pizza arefavorites of the girls.

Cameron is the main man when it comes to holiday cooking, too, and he likes to make a real feast out of the old fashion trappings such as baked ham with oyster dressing and, when the menu calls for turkey, it will be served with the typical side dishes.

Cooking relaxes him, Cameron admits. He says the same thing about his”other” occupation. Cameron is an excellent carpenter. With all this multi-gifted individual can and does do, he still finds time and contentment in the kitchen. Friends and family who get to eat these meals consider this areally good thing.

Following are some of Cameron’s original recipes:

Codfish Potato Cakes 5 lb. bag of red potatoes (peeled and cubed)1 small codfish (chopped) 1 cup onions 1/2 cup shallots 1/4 cup parsley Season all to taste Two eggs Flour; vegetable oil

Boil potatoes in pot until almost tender; drain water, let cool. In separateskillet, cook codfish, onions, shallots for about 15 minutes. Mix coolpotatoes, fish mixture, eggs and parsley in bowl. Season to taste. Makepatties with mixture, roll in seasoned flour and fry in oil in skillet until golden brown, flipping only once.

Mexican Pizza 1 pk. 8-inch flour tortillas (10)1 large jar picante sauce 2 lbs ground meat 2 pks. of four flavor Mexican cheese (shredded)

Brown ground meat in skillet. On greased or non-stick baking trays, lay out5 tortillas. Spread ground meat equally on the 5 tortillas. Put just a littlesauce and cheese on ground meat. Put second tortillas on top of eachmixture. Spread generous amounts of sauce evenly on top of that, then addgenerous amounts of cheese to each. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheeseis nicely melted.

Chicken Spaghetti

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed 1/2 cup shallots 1/2 tsp. garlic powder1/4 cup parsley 1 tsp. salt1 block of butter 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp. red pepper1 pk. spaghetti – boiled1/2 cup olive oil 1 small can of parmesan cheese 3 tsp. Italian seasoning

In a heavy pot, put chicken, garlic salt, peppers, olive oil, Italian seasoning and shallots. Cook for 1/2 hour on medium heat, keep potcovered. After cooking, add parsley, butter, boiled spaghetti and cheese.Mix well in pot. Serve.

Tamale Pie

2 pk. cornbread mix1 pk. mild chile mix1 lb. ground meat1 can tomato sauce

Cook ground meat, chile mix and tomato sauce in skillet until meat is brown. Mix cornbread as directed on the box. Put 1/2 mixture of cornbreadin baking pan (9×11). Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees and remove fromoven. Add meat sauce mixture in pan, level off, then add rest of cornbreadmixture on top of meat sauce. Level it off and bake for another 15 minutesor cornbread is done.

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