Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3-Step Cast Iron Supper

3-Step Cast Iron Supper
Dorcas Annette Walker

Since writing my Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin weekly newspaper column, I have been delighted to hear from several men, who love to cook. These dear guys are loyal fans, some who every week without fail tries out each of my recipes. One fellow told me awhile back that he is getting quite a stack of newspaper clippings. Guys, I am working on putting together a cookbook of my recipes- honest! In honor of my fellow chefs for Father’s Day I thought I’d give my 3-Step Cast Iron Supper recipe.

The first known Father’s Day celebration took place on July 5, 1908 at Fairmont, West Virginia in commemoration of 361 men killed in a deadly explosion nearby. A year later in the state of Washington, Sonora Dodd began working to have a yearly Father’s Day celebration observed after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and realizing the sacrifice her father (a Civil War veteran) made over the years as a single father raising their family, who became widowed after his wife died in childbirth. In 1924, President Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. President Johnson designated the third Sunday of June for Father’s Day in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1972 that President Nixon instituted Father’s Day as a national observance. Roses are the official flower for Father’s Day; red roses for living fathers and white roses in memory of fathers who have died. To all fathers I’d like to wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!

My 3-Step Cast Iron Supper makes a hearty meal by itself and is easy to make consisting of three main ingredients: macaroni and cheese, pork and beans, and hotdogs. You can also tweak this recipe by using up leftover macaroni and cheese, adding a can of pork and beans, mixing in chopped hotdogs, and heating it up in the microwave for a quick meal. For variety you can substitute chili beans instead of pork and beans. My husband spreads ketchup over his portion whenever I serve my 3-Step Cast Iron Supper. Preparation time for the 3-Step Cast Iron Supper is thirty minutes and this recipe serves six.

3-Step Cast Iron Supper

Step 1:
In a 10 inch cast iron skillet bring 6 c of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tb cooking oil to a boil. Pour 2 (7.25 oz) macaroni and cheese dinner macaroni in the boiling water and boil for ten minutes stirring occasionally with a large spoon. Lower the heat, add ½ c milk, and stir in the powered cheese until smooth.

Step 2:
Open up and pour in 1 (16 oz) can of baked beans.

Step 3:
Cut up into ½ inch pieces of 1 pkg of 8 hotdogs (your choice) and stir in. Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes. Serve piping hot right out of the cast iron skillet!

Weekly tip: A saving tip when cooking macaroni, noodles, or rice: bring to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. In twenty minutes or less your macaroni, noodles, or rice will be cooked!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dad's Crispy Treats

Dad’s Crispy Treats

Dorcas Annette Walker

My son’s friends at the body shop do more than work on cars. Besides keeping up with all the news, they love to taste-test any new recipes that I come up with, especially along the dessert or snack line. I always appreciate their feedback and honest opinions. In fact this week’s Dad’s Crispy Treats evolved from the suggestions and ideas that came out of the body shop. I thought it would make a perfect treat for dads this month.

There are all kinds of fathers. This August my son is getting married to a single mother and will not only become a husband, but he will also be a stepdad to a little boy. I know I’m prejudiced, but even though Dwight has never fathered a child biologically, he will be an excellent dad to this little boy. All Case has ever known is Dwight as a father. It has been a special time watching as my son changed from a single young adult status to becoming a responsible young father learning how to take care of a small child. In a perfect world there would be no split families or single parents struggling to raise children by themselves. I’m very proud of my son, who has chosen to take on the role of a stepdad.

I’d like to honor all the stepdads that have opened up their hearts to children needing a father figure in their life. Not only have these dads been willing to financially support and raise an extended family, but a good stepfather gives security and a steady role model to his stepchildren. I’d also like to include the dads, who are split from their children yet continue to financially support their children year after year and be a part of their lives as much as possible. I know of one young divorced father, who drives four hours across the state every other weekend just to spend time with his small daughter. These dads are pillars in the lives of their children and should be praised and emulated.

My Dad’s Crispy Treats are easy to make and will be an instant hit with both children and fathers. You can substitute or add chocolate chips, Skittles, Reece pieces, crumbled Butterfinger candy bars, peanuts, butterscotch chips, or any other kind of candy, nuts, or frosting that the dad of your household likes. These fudgy crunchy treats will appeal to every man’s sweet tooth. My finger-licking Dad’s Crispy Treats takes fifteen minutes to prepare (not counting sitting time for hardening) and this recipe makes eighteen large squares.

Dad’s Crispy Treats

Melt together in the microwave:
1 stick margarine
1(10 oz) pkg large marshmallows
1 c peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

Stir in:
6 c rice crispy cereal
1 c M & M’s
1 c mini marshmallows
Pour the mixture into a wax paper lined 9 x 13 baking dish and press flat with a spatula. Let the treats harden for a couple of hours.

Then spread on the top:
1 (16 oz) can of chocolate frosting
Cut into squares, and serve!

Weekly tip: For a harder frosting topping chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Papa's Pancakes

Papa’s Pancakes
Dorcas Annette Walker

My husband seldom cooks. He has no need as I’m always in the kitchen and he prefers to eat the food instead of bothering to prepare it. Also Dana wasn’t raised where fellows cooked. His mother didn’t bake or prepare special meals as he grew up. So Dana always appeared at our house around mealtime when we were dating. One Saturday morning after we were married and had kids, Dana asked for pancakes. For some reason I wasn’t in the mood for making pancakes. Anyone who works in the kitchen on a regular basis knows the feeling of every once in awhile not feeling like making a certain meal. Now before you start sending my husband sympathy cards let me state in my defense that normally whatever my dear husband asked for culinary wise he got. It was quite a shock to my poor husband when I tried to change his mind and tempt his taste buds with something else. The more I endeavored to change Dana’s mind the more determined he became to eat pancakes. He finally gave me the “look” that all you married folk know what I’m talking about and declared if I wouldn’t make him pancakes he’d make them himself. Instead of backing down like usual and scurrying to the kitchen to make what my dear husband desired, I got a brainstorm. I told Dana that I thought that it would be a wonderful idea for him to make pancakes even though he didn’t know the first thing about cooking.

Shock waves vibrated throughout our house as Dana banged among the pots and pans to find a skillet, hollering for help as he tried to locate the flour, and then a recipe for pancakes. Our youngsters woke up and came running to the kitchen all excited to see their Dad actually trying to cook. Dawn and Dwight asked numerous questions giggling as they perched on stools eyeing their dad’s every move. Our normal Saturday morning turned into a festive occasion as Dana mastered the knack of flipping and frying pancakes. The pancake experience turned into a resounding success and my husband was hooked. From then on every so often our kids would beg for Papa’s Pancakes. Dana would give a big grin, order me out of the kitchen, and announce that he was going to make up another batch of pancakes.

Papa’s Pancakes is an ideal recipe to use as a bonding experience for father and kids. Papa’s Pancakes can be served topped with a favorite fruit pie filling and whipped cream for a hearty meal or add fresh diced fruit right in the batter (my recipe for Apple Fritters is located on my Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog found on my website page). The next time Dana whips up some of his pancakes he plans on adding raisins to the batter. You can also make smiley faces and animal shapes by pouring the batter in different patterns on a hot skillet. Here is Dana’s Papa’s Pancake recipe that makes eight, 6-inch pancakes.

Papa's Pancakes

Melt 1 tb shortening in a skillet on medium heat.

Place in a medium bowl:
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c milk

Whip with a Wisk and then add:
2 c self-rising flour
3 shakes of cinnamon
Mix well and add melted shortening to the batter. Melt a couple more tb of shortening and pour a dipperful of batter in the hot skillet. Wait three minutes until the bubbles quit coming up and the top looks like a moon full of craters then flip over. Fry for two more minutes and then place on a plate and serve hot with butter, syrup, or fruit!

Weekly tip: Always use medium heat to fry pancakes as a higher heat will burn or cook the pancakes faster, but the pancakes won’t be done in the middle!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni

Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni

Dorcas Annette Walker

Need a main dish this summer for a family reunion that will be filling and an instant hit with both young and old alike? My Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni will fit the bill. I can’t remember where I first tasted pizza macaroni, whose recipe I’ve tweaked throughout the years, but whenever I make this casserole it always brings raves. Combining the taste of pizza with macaroni is an irresistible magnet to kids.

Macaroni is believed to have had its first origins in China. By the eighteen century, macaroni had become popular throughout Europe. Colonists brought recipes for macaroni to the New World and by the 1800’s macaroni and cheese recipes appeared in American cookbooks.

Thomas Jefferson served macaroni at the White House in 1802 after bringing back a macaroni mold from Paris. In 1937 Kraft introduced boxed macaroni and cheese that became an instant success with the start of World War II when rationing meat went into effect. As women joined the workforce boxed macaroni and cheese became a best seller with its ease of preparation and having the reputation for being a nutritious alternate to meat. Today Kraft sells more than one million boxes of macaroni and cheese a day. Even though there have been dozens of variations of boxed macaroni and cheese the basic combination is still the greatest seller. Macaroni and cheese can be served at lunch, as a light dinner, or added to the main meal. This comfort food had become an American staple.

My Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni is filled with spicy meat surrounded by tender macaroni swimming in a mouth-watering sauce and melting cheese making each bite a culinary delight that makes a main meal in itself. You can add and mix-match mushrooms, green peppers, or black olives to this basic recipe as you cater to your family’s individual taste buds. The Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni can also be prepared the day before and then heated up in a Crockpot or baked in the oven right before serving. My Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni takes twenty-five minutes to prepare and this recipe serves eight to ten.

Meat Lovers Pizza Macaroni

4 c cooked macaroni total
1 lb hamburger
1 lb sausage (your choice)
Cook macaroni in salted water while browning the hamburger and sausage.

Drain and mix together with:
1 (26 oz) jar of spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 c salsa (your choice)
Pour half of the macaroni meat mixture into a Crockpot or baking dish.

Layer with half of:
1 (4 oz) pkg pepperoni
1 (12 oz) pkg mozzarella shredded cheese
Add the remaining macaroni meat mixture and finish layering the rest of the pepperonis and shredded cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350ยบ until the cheese is browned and bubbly or put on low and let simmer in the Crockpot for 2-3 hrs. Serve hot with garlic bread or a tossed salad!

Weekly tip: Adding a tablespoon of cooking oil when cooking macaroni prevents the macaroni from boiling over and becoming massed together!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: