I love the beauty of women. Their intellect. Their spirit. Their strength. Their courage. Their confidence. Their power. Their leadership. Girls Inc., a national non-profit organization is committed to helping girls between the ages of five and eighteen reach their full potential as girls, and ultimately as women.
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold through cultural, educational and personal development programs that are designed to change the trajectory of their lives and equip them with tools to break social, economical and gender barriers.
Cheryl Jones, President and CEO of Girls Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri is an outstanding leader, fierce advocate for girls and an incredible home cook. One of her favorite recipes is Lobster Mac and Cheese. Seems fitting for a classy lady who advocates on behalf of young girls.
Why do you work so hard for girls?
I believe that every girl should have the best of life, love and liberty! So, I work hard to eliminate as many barriers by exposing them to education, networks and experiences. I believe if we know better we will and can do better.
Cooking appeals to boys and girls. Why do you think girls in particular should learn how to cook?
Girls should learn to cook to help establish a healthier lifestyle. This also helps with them being self sufficient.
We all have memories of being in the kitchen learning how to cook. How old were you when you first started cooking and who taught you how to cook?
I loved sitting and watching my Mom and Grandmother at a very early age — 5 or 6 while they cooked, especially on Sunday. I pretended to cook with my Easy Bake Oven.
What do you enjoy most about cooking?
Having all my family over and celebrating family, especially during the holidays.
There are so many lessons to learn about cooking. What is the most important lesson you have learned?
Cooking is about love and connecting with family. The stories around the table will be those that will be relived and replied over and over.
Being in the kitchen learning how to cook can be intimidating, especially the first time you cook something. What concerned you most about cooking?
Will it taste like my Mom’s or Grandmother’s.
What was the first dish you prepared and how did it turn out?
In college I tried to fry chicken like my Mom. It was horrible. To this day, no one cooks chicken like my Mom :).
What is your favorite thing to cook and why?
Creole dishes. It is a mix of my parents. It is spicy, southern. It tells a story.
What advice would you offer a beginner cook?
Try new things. It’s all in the spices! Shop for spices and continue to add.
Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?
Yes. I would like to share my Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe.
Jones has a stellar reputation in her family for cooking the best lobster mac and cheese. You better believe her lobster mac and cheese takes center stage on her dinner table. Here it is paired with Louisiana style fried catfish. Maybe if we’re lucky, Jones will share her delicious catfish recipe next time.
If you want a new twist on traditional mac and cheese that is tasty and delicious, try Cheryl Jones’s lobster mac and cheese. See recipe below. Enjoy!
2 Cups Elbow Macaroni
1 pound Shredded Gruyère Cheese
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Whole Milk or low sodium pet milk
A pinch Seasoning
1 Stick of Butter
1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
1 Tablesppon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
1 Cup of Bread Crumbs
2 Cups Cooked Lobster Chunks
PREHEAT OVEN 350 DEGREES
COOK ELBOW MACARONI PER PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS
MELT BUTTER IN SAUCEPAN, ADD FLOUR AND WHISK
WARM MILK IN SAUCEPAN
ADD WARM MILK TO BUTTER AND FLOR MIXTURE, REMOVE FROM HEAT, CONTINUE TO WHISK UNTIL CREAMY AND SMOOTH
ADD GRUYERE AND CHEDDAR CHEESES
ADD MACARONI, SEASONING, SALT AND PEPPER, COOKED LOBSTER MIX WELL
MELT TWO TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER IN SAUCEPAN, ADD BREAD CRUMBS AND STIR
POUR BREADCRUMB MIXTURE ON TOP OF
MACARONI AND CHEESE MIXTURE
BAKE IN OVEN 45-60 MINUTES OR UNTIL BREAD CRUMBS ARE GOLDEN BROWN
Cheryl Jones, an Aspen Institute Fellow has received numerous awards and honors for her leadership in the community, including the American Express Global Leader Award, the St. Louis Business Journal Diverse Business Leader Award and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. Salute to Women in Leadership Award.
Dedicated to my Mom and Nanny