Chicken Fried Steak

Here's a down-home recipe for all your hearty eaters. Comfort food deluxe!

2 pounds round steak
2 cups crushed saltine crackers
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup flour
3-4 cups milk

Pound steaks to tenderize. In shallow bowl, stir together crushed saltine crackers, flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. In another shallow bowl mix together eggs and buttermilk. Dredge each steak first in cracker mixture, then in egg batter, and again in cracker mixture. Pat cracker mixture onto the surface of each steak until completely coated.

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in large skillet. Fry steaks until golden brown, approximately 3-5 minutes on each side. When done, keep warm on paper towels. To make gravy, scrape the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to release crumbs for gravy. On medium heat, stir in flour to make paste. Add milk and continue to cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon gravy over steaks to serve. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Deborah Raney's No Knead French Bread

Deborah Raney's books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas the setting of many of Deborah s novels for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deborah on the web at

Deb's Most Recent Book Release: Home to Chickory Lane 

Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri.

Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs? Purchase the book HERE.

Deb's Recipe for Homemade French Bread (no-knead)

This is such an easy recipe! Time consuming to wait for it to rise, etc., but very easy to mix since it requires no kneading––only "punching down." If you have dough hooks on your mixer, you can probably use those to "punch it down" but a wooden spoon works just as well. My mom got the recipe from my friend Rhonda's mom, who got it from her mother, Minta. This has been in my family for as long as I can remember...well over 50 years and is one we often make for company. The leftovers (rare!) make wonderful French toast, too! 

In a small bowl, dissolve 2 packages of yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in ½ cup warm water.

Meanwhile, in an extra large bowl, measure ½ cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 rounded teaspoons salt, and 2 cups very hot water.

When mixture is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast mixture and stir well. Mix in 6 cups of all-purpose flour. (I usually beat the first 3 cups in with a hand mixer, and the rest by hand with a wooden spoon.)

Cover bowl with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise. Every 10 minutes, beat dough down with the wooden spoon. Do this five times.

Then divide dough in two or three lumps and turn each out on a floured counter top. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Shape dough into long French loaves (I usually make 3, but you can do 2 huge ones if you prefer) and place each loaf diagonally on a separate, large, greased cookie sheet. (When shaping the dough into loaves, I usually end up working more flour into each loaf to make it stiff enough to work with.)

Let rise for about 10 minutes, then slash diagonally about ¼ inch deep every 2-3 inches. Let rise another 20-30 minutes.

For an extra crusty top, brush on mixture of egg and milk (1 egg, 1 Tblsp milk) just before baking. (Or "paint" with a stick of butter when the loaves come out of the oven.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Immediately remove from pan. Wrap in foil when cool.

Michele's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's a recipe I received from Michele Cook, fashioned after the Neiman Marcus $250 Cookies, with just a couple of changes on my part. Very good. Enjoy!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz bag mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Add chocolate chips and pecans. Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes until golden brown. Makes 4 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Grandma's Coleslaw

This is great for summer picnics.

4-6 cups cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 cup salad dressing
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon celery seed

In food processor, shred cabbage and carrots then place in medium bowl. In glass measuring cup, stir together salad dressing, vinegar, sugar, oil, minced onion, and celery seed. Pour dressing over vegetables. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Serves 8-10
Click here for a printable view of this recipe.

Mary Hamilton's Incredible Whole Grain Waffles

Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Book 1, Hear No Evil, was a 2012 semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis contest, and won awards in the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and the Cat 5 contest. The series continues with the recent release of Book 2, Speak No Evil. While raising her own three children, Mary was active in youth ministry--hosting small group Bible studies, pancake suppers and breakfast with her special recipe waffles. When she’s not writing, Mary loves knitting, the outdoors and nature. She and her husband make their home in TX with a rescued Golden Retriever. Learn more about Mary and her writing at

Mary’s Latest Book Release: SPEAK NO EVIL

Book 2 Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series

Having his younger sister at camp was a pain, but Taylor Dixon never expected the pain would go so deep.

At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving racecars when he’s older. Only his younger sister, Marissa, believes in his dreams, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Dad predicts he’s heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother and refuses to let Taylor get his license unless he stays out of trouble.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he discovers a classic Mustang in the camp’s machine shed, and the owner’s invitation to help restore it fuels his dream of driving racecars. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the ensuing war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens to destroy both the car and his dreams for the future.

Will Taylor fulfill Dad’s prediction? Or will the message of the old Mustang’s engine set him free from the prison he built himself? View the Video Trailer HERE.

Mary Hamilton's Incredible Whole Grain Waffles

1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup corn meal
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice + enough milk to equal 2 cups
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat waffle iron.In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk and lemon juice mixture, vanilla and vegetable oil and whisk just until all ingredients are mixed. Drop by ladleful onto hot, greased waffle iron and cook until lightly browned.

Best when topped with peanut butter, applesauce, maple syrup and sprinkled with a few mini chocolate chips. Makes 24 waffles.

(Pancake variation: The same recipe can be used for pancakes but substituting 2 cups regular buttermilk for the milk/lemon juice mixture will make a nice thick batter that results in fluffy pancakes. Because the batter is so much thicker, the recipe will make fewer pancakes.)

Steamed Asparagus Veggie Medley

Here's a colorful side dish to serve with your favorite chicken, pork, or steak recipe.

1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1" slices
2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 green pepper, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup English walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place vegetables in a 9x9" microwavable dish. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Cook in microwave for 4-6 minutes until tender, gently stirring after each 2 minute intervals. Garnish with English walnuts. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Chicken Cordon Blue

Here is an easy, yet elegant recipe for a special dinner. Serve with Asparagus with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Onion Crescent Rolls. Delicious.

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 oz Mozzarella cheese ~ 6 thick slices
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons olive oil
Seasoned Salt

Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Place slice of Mozzarella cheese and ham on each to within 1/4 inch of edges. Fold in half; secure with a toothpick. Brush with oil and sprinkle with Seasoned Salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Serve with rice and green vegetable. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy! 

Sarah Thomas' Recipe for Crock Pot Beans and Cast Iron Cornbread

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading. Learn more about Sarah and her writing HERE. 

Sarah's Latest Book Release: MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON

It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith. Purchase the book HERE. 

Sarah's Recipe for Crock Pot Beans & Cast Iron Cornbread

Beans and cornbread is the first meal Perla makes for the town of Wise, WV, that somehow feeds them all . . . with a little left over. Growing up, beans and cornbread was a standby meal for feeding a family or a crowd, sure to fill us up and leave some for later in the week. 

My mom spent hours soaking and stewing beans with a big ole, meaty ham bone. But somehow mine have never been as good. Until I found a recipe for crockpot beans that I tweaked to suit me. I was highly skeptical about putting dry beans in the crock pot and coming out with a dish that wasn’t underdone or crunchy (the worst!). But I was wrong. These are the BEST beans! And beyond easy. Of course, the meal isn’t complete without a cake of crusty cornbread. No shortcuts here—drag out that cast iron skillet and do it right! Of course, if you’re going to make West Virginia cornbread, you’ll add sugar—something that makes most Southerners cringe!


1 lb package dried northern beans
Ham—could be a meaty bone, hocks, or diced ham, aim for 8-12 ounces of meat
1 or 2 bay leaves
6 cups water
salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the beans and sort through them for any stones or bad beans. Add to crock pot (that’s right—NO SOAKING). If you’re using a ham bone or hocks, add them now along with the bay leaves and water. Put the lid on and cook for 8 hours on low heat. If you’re using diced ham, add it in the last two hours of cooking. After 8 hours, remove any bones, shred the meat, and add salt and pepper to taste. 


1 ½ cups yellow, self-rising cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil – divided
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the cast iron skillet and preheat in a 400 degree oven. You want the oil to get HOT, but not smoke. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk together wet ingredients (remaining oil, eggs, and buttermilk) and pour into the well. Mix it up just until everything is combined. Pour batter into hot skillet—it should sizzle and form a crust around the edge almost instantly. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Peek and take it out as soon as it’s golden brown.

Brown Sugar and Rosemary Brined Chicken

Here's a delicious recipe to make a moist and juicy chicken for your summer grilling. Enjoy!

1 gallon warm water
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
8 chicken breasts, bone-in, skins removed

In a large container, combine water, brown sugar, salt, garlic, and rosemary. Mix well. Add chicken, making sure water covers the chicken. (May need to place a saucer over the meat to keep it from floating.) Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Pour off brine and pat chicken pieces with a paper towel to dry. Grill over hot coals until meat tests done (165 degrees), turning every 5-7 minutes. Serves 8-10.
Wine Suggestion: Sabastiani Zinfandel

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Italian Cream Cake

This is a recipe my youngest daughter tested one summer for a county fair project. It's wonderful.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 packages (1-8 oz and 1-3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat just until combined. Stir in coconut and pecans.

In small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in round baking pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

For frosting, In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Decorate with chopped pecans and coconut. Serves 12-15
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten

For more than twenty years, Barefoot Contessa, the acclaimed specialty food store, has been cooking and baking extraordinary dishes for enthusiastic customers in the Hamptons. For many of those years, people have tried to get the exuberant owner, Ina Garten, to share the secrets of her store. Finally, the energy and style that make Barefoot Contessa such a special place are shown here, with dozens of recipes and more than 160 breathtaking photographs, in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

Ina's most popular recipes use familiar ingredients, but they taste even better than you would expect. Her Pan-Fried Onion Dip is the real thing, with slowly car-amelized onions and fresh sour cream. Tomato soup is created from oven-roasted tomatoes and fresh basil to intensify the flavors. Meat loaf is as good as your grandmother's, but it's healthier because it's made with ground turkey and fresh herbs. The light and flaky Maple-Oatmeal Scones are baked with rolled oats, whole wheat, and real maple syrup. Now these and other famous Barefoot Contessa recipes can be prepared at home.

Ina says that before she owned a specialty food store she often spent a week making dinner for six friends. Her experience at Barefoot Contessa has given her hundreds of ideas for creating wonderful parties in a few hours. And they're all in this book. Crab Cakes with Rémoulade Sauce can be stored overnight in the refrigerator and sautéed just before the guests arrive. Cheddar Corn Chowder can be made days ahead, reheated, and served with a salad and bread for a delicious autumn lunch. The ingredients for Grilled Salmon Salad can all be prepared ahead and tossed together before serving. The batter for the Raspberry Corn Muffins can be mixed a day before and popped into the oven just before breakfast.

Ina Garten teaches us how to entertain with style, simplicity, and a relaxed sense of fun. There are notes throughout the book for giving cocktail parties, lunches, and dinner parties where everything is done before the guests arrive. And there are easy instructions for creating gorgeous party platters that don't even require you to cook!

With Ina Garten and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, you have the perfect recipe for hosting parties that are easy and fun for everyone--including the cook. Purchase book HERE.

Learn more about Ina Garten on her blog HERE.

Hasselback Potatoes

Here's a fun way to dress up a baked potato. Serve with your favorite steak. Enjoy!

4 large baking potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously oil oblong baking dish. Cut a narrow strip from the bottom of each potato to help them to lie flat. Slice each potato crosswise 1/4" slices, leaving 1/2" from bottom intact. Drop each in cold water to help prevent discoloring. Carefully flex fans to open. Dry with paper towels. Brush potatoes with olive oil.

In small bowl, mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over each potato. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with parsley.
Top with sour cream, bacon, and chives.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Orange Chicken with Rice

Here's a recipe I worked on for months trying to get it "just right." I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do.

2 pounds skinless chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce (see home version if unable to find in store)
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on taste)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper
Stir-Fry vegetables of your choice (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, water chestnuts, etc.)
Cooked rice

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Heat enough oil in large skillet to cover. In plastic bag, combine flour, seasoned salt and pepper. Add chicken to flour ingredients and shake until coated well. Drop chicken into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Cool the oil in skillet slightly. Saute garlic for one minute. In small bowl combine orange juice, Hoisin sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Pour sauce into skillet with garlic. Bring to boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens. Add chicken to sauce and toss with your choice of steamed stir-fry vegetables. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with slivered almonds. Yum!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.