Friday, September 30, 2011

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

Barbeque Chicken Pizza
Dorcas Annette Walker

My son, Dwight, has advanced his cooking knowledge from grilling outdoors to learning how to make a homemade pizza crust. He has become fascinated working with rising dough, which while at this point is limited to crafting pizzas or bread sticks- since like the rest of his generation pizza is considered the main item all other foods revolve around, little does my son realize what other avenues of cookery this entails . While Dwight hasn’t yet mastered the art of cleaning up- at least to my specifications- my son is becoming quite the chef. The other night we were both working together in the kitchen. Having a male perspective while cooking is very interesting as a guy’s viewpoint is totally different than a women’s, especially in the kitchen. Together we created a Barbeque Chicken Pizza that I thought I’d feature in this week’s column.

Our Barbeque Chicken Pizza is quick and easy to prepare particularly if you use leftover meat. You can substitute the chicken for pork, turkey, or beef- whatever you have on hand- with your favorite barbeque sauce and add crumbled bacon, mushrooms, black olives or peppers if you wish. For a deluxe pizza add a top crust with mixed cheese. The possibilities are endless. No matter how you fix it your family, especially your kids, will love your homemade Barbeque Chicken Pizza. Preparation time for the Barbeque Chicken Pizza is around fifteen minutes (not counting the baking time) and this recipe makes one 12-inch pizza.

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

pizza dough for 12-inch pizza pan
1½ c hickory flavored barbeque sauce
2 c chicken cut up into pieces
1 small onion diced
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread ½ c of the barbeque sauce on the pizza crust mixing the chicken pieces in the rest of the sauce until coated. Layer the onion and chicken on top of the sauce. Sprinkle on the cheese and bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Serve hot!

Homemade pizza dough:

1 pkg dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 c warm water
2½ c all purpose flour
2 tb vegetable oil
1 tsp salt

Stir in yeast and sugar in warm water until dissolved. In a large bowl place flour adding the salt and oil. Mix in the yeast and knead until smooth. Let sit and rise until almost doubled. Roll out the dough thin on a floured surface and place on a pizza pan covered with cooking spray. Makes enough dough for two regular-sized pizzas!

*Can substitute wheat bread flour for the plain flour or mix half and half.

*Use any leftover dough for breadsticks by rolling out thin, sprinkling with garlic salt, topping with shredded cheese, and then baking.

Weekly tip: You can also use frozen bread dough that is thawed and rolled out for a homemade pizza crust!

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, September 21, 2011

Double Squashy Casserole

Double Squashy Casserole
Dorcas Annette Walker

Yesterday I was cleaning my veggie garden spot to make it look a bit tidier where stalks of corn and vines have dried up. Time always flies when I work outside on a sunny day soaking up the warmth before autumn’s chilly blustery weather arrives. Harvesting seeds always gives me the same kind of thrill as canning produce for my pantry, but then I’ve been a pushover for saving seeds since the first year of marriage. I was fascinated to discover when the brilliant marigold flowers grown from a thin packet of seeds dried out that the pods were full of seeds. Little did I realize back then as I zealously broke off and saved each dead flower pod that not only was I keeping my window box looking tidy, but my efforts were a direct result in making the marigolds bloom like wild creating an eye-catching spot on the college campus.

Gathering seeds always brings back memories of all my other landscaping endeavors throughout the years where my husband pastored churches that I had to leave. Now that I’m living on my own piece of land I am a bit garden crazy. This year I grew gorgeous tall sunflowers that towered over everything else. After letting the birds eat a good portion of the seeds, I gathered seed pods to save while letting some fall to the ground to come back up- a rule I follow for every seed I harvest. If only humans patterned their lives after seeds what a better world we would live in. Once planted a tiny seed will produce lovely blooms, and then depending on the type of plant yield food to sustain human life and before dying give back seeds to reproduce their existence many times over in the cycle of plant life that the creator ordained.

So a kind deed given to someone else has a way of multiplying like seeds creating a circle of goodwill that eventually will find its way back to you in a bountiful measure. I love watching how a smile or considerate word changes an unfriendly atmosphere into pleasant conservation. We humans have the choice of leaving our fellow man feeling better for seeing us or letting our chance encounter in life become like a pesky weed.

For some reason growing squash reminds me of good deeds spreading everywhere. You never know where one will grow next. The yellow squash is like a ray of sunshine. This week I tried a new recipe I named Double Squashy Casserole to use up some yellow squash and zucchini. The Double Squashy Casserole tastes like a fresh summer garden with its colorful slices of squash with chopped onion in a creamy sauce topped by bread crumbs. Preparation time for my Double Squashy Casserole is around forty-five minutes and this recipe serves twelve.

Double Squashy Casserole

2 medium yellow squash
2 medium zucchini
1 small onion diced
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10.5 oz) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 c milk
1 (6 oz) box of chicken stove top dressing

In a 9 x 13 oven dish thinly slice the yellow squash and zucchini alternating layers of each while sprinkling onion and cheese on each layer of squash. Mix together the soup and milk and pour over the top. Sprinkle the stove top dressing over the casserole. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350º for thirty-five minutes. Serve hot!

Weekly tip: There are almost 100-150 varieties of squash classified in two categories of winter (hard skin) and summer (soft skin). Both have a good source of vitamin B1, C, folic acid, fiber, and potassium!

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, September 15, 2011

Old FAshion Lime Pickles

Old Fashion Lime Pickles
Dorcas Annette Walker

I first tasted Old Fashion Lime Pickles years ago in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and of course the first chance I got I made some for myself. Since then I’ve always kept a shelf full with several quarts of these old timey pickles in my pantry to have on hand. Their brilliant green color always brightens up my room of canned produce. This time of year cucumbers have multiplied in gardens and usually there is an abundance to be found so this past week after taking inventory, I decided to restock my pickles and make up a batch of the Old Fashion Lime Pickles as several of those jars on my pickle shelf were empty.

As soon as my son came home one evening while I was simmering vinegar and spices on the stove to make the pickling syrup he told his dad, “I can smell Mom doing up her a batch of pickles as soon as I entered the house.” To me there is nothing like having spicy smells permeate the house when one is canning. From the first batch of spring strawberry jam, to summer green beans, tomatoes, peaches, and pickles, then to apples and pumpkins in the fall each one has its own particular aroma when preserving. Even though canning can be a long and tiring process hearing the “ping” of the lids as canned jars seal is a pleasure I never tire of- not to mention the satisfaction of seeing the shelves in my pantry fill up to overflowing with produce for the coming year. No matter which way the economy goes, I know that my family will have healthy food to eat.

My Old Fashion Lime Pickles are a chunky sweet pickle that has a unique spicy taste of their own. Their greenish tint adds color to any meal. I always dice up some of the Old Fashion Lime Pickles when making my potato and macaroni salad, which help to add a distinctive flavor. Even though it takes a couple of days to make these Old Fashion Lime Pickles they are well worth the time and effort. One batch of my Old Fashion Lime Pickles makes six to seven quarts.

Old Fashion Lime Pickles

10 large cucumbers
1 c pickling lime
2 qts white vinegar
8 c sugar (about 5 pounds)
2 tb pickling spice
1 tb green food coloring
1½ tb salt
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp celery seed
½ whole cinnamon bark crushed

Slice cucumbers in ¼ inch chunks in a clean bucket (not aluminum). Cover with water and stir in pickling lime until dissolved. Soak for 24 hrs stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse the cucumbers three times in cold water. Then soak the cucumbers for 3 hrs in ice water and drain. In a large saucepan bring to a rolling boil the vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, food coloring, salt, cloves, celery seed, and cinnamon bark. Pour syrup over the drained cucumbers and let sit overnight. Pack into clean quart jars, seal, and can for fifteen minutes. Let jars cool and then chill before serving!

Weekly tip: For a guaranteed sealing of jars when canning, always make sure that there is no cracks or food particles on the top of the glass jar by wetting your finger and running it around the rim before putting on the lid and ring. Then make sure that all the filled jars are completely covered in water by a good inch!

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, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Beans

Labor Day Beans
Dorcas Annette Walker

Outside my window the birch trees lining the driveway already have yellow leaves floating down on every wind laying a carpet of gold across the lawn. I’ve noticed the poplar trees have turned as well due to the dryness, although if we soon don’t get a good rain the autumn colors this year will be muted instead of flaming across the mountain peaks. Even with hot days the nights have grown cooler and in every breeze stirring up the dust I feel fall in the air just around the corner. I love to hang out the wash this time of the year watching lines full of clothes puff out in every gust quickly drying almost as soon as it is hung up while feeling the wind ruffle through my hair. Soon gentle breezes will turn into blustery autumn weather and the temperature will plunge downward, but for now the sun still warms the earth with its fervent heat. Meanwhile I decided to do up a batch of my Labor Day Beans for this holiday weekend.

This summer has been a study in weather contrast gardening wise. We had frosts and freezing temperatures into May causing me to scurry around and cover up my bean and tomato plants. Then up until this month every time we turned around we had stormy weather with heavy rain showers between soaring temperatures near 100 degrees- what I call jungle weather. After nearing being froze my poor crops were then alternately drowned and scorched. Needless to say I’ve had better harvest from my gardens in past years. Despite unpredictable weather patterns, I was excited to reap wax (yellow beans) and black beans for the first time. I still have lima beans climbing around my tall sunflowers. With increasing prices, I may venture next year into growing kidney and butter beans. Either way I’m “beans” about gardening and trying out new vegetation.

My Labor Day Beans is a colorful hearty autumn dish that can be served year round hot or cold. Filled with protein the Labor Day Beans are a nutritious addition to any meal and can also be fixed in a Crockpot or baked in the oven. Chunks of hamburger with multicolored beans simmered in a lip-smacking sauce tastes great when paired with corn muffins or used on a cookout. Other beans such as black, pinto, or white can be added or substituted as well for variety. Preparation time for my Labor Day Beans is around forty-five minutes and this recipe serves ten.

Labor Day Beans

1 lb hamburger
1 tb dried onion or small onion chopped
garlic, regular salt, & pepper
1(27.5 oz) can pork’n beans
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can lima beans
1 (15 oz) can butter beans
1 c ketchup
½ c bacon bits
¼ c br sugar
¼ c dark syrup
1 tsp mustard

Brown hamburger and onion adding salts and pepper to taste in a large skillet. Dump the contents of all the beans into the pan. Mix in the ketchup, bacon bits, brown sugar, syrup, and mustard. Bring to a boil and let simmer for thirty minutes. Serve hot!

Weekly tip: Saving the starchy liquid bean juice and adding it in when cooking makes the sauce thicker, more favorable, and gives extra body to your finished dish!

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: