Rose Wagner’s Chicken Bake

March 15th, 2014
by: Sue

My sister Rose gave me the recipe; I have always loved it and for some reason had not cooked it up for a long time until today when I discovered it was not on Blue Cooks. So here it is: I believe Rose found this recipe when she lived in Syracuse.

Heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Cut up:

1 whole fryer
Blot the chicken with paper towels then salt and pepper the chicken pieces.

Place a dutch oven on your stove top, heat to medium and add:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

When butter is melted, increase heat to medium high and add chicken one piece at a time using kitchen tongs.

Turn chicken when well browned on one side. Some pieces take longer to brown than others, so move chicken around in pan and monitor the browning.

While it’s browning chop: (while keeping an eye on the skillet)

one medium onion and
one medium bell pepper

Turn the chicken piece at a time to brown the other side. When each piece is well browned on each side, move to a plate. What’s left in the pot is a lovely chicken fond and the butter. Don’t let the butter smoke! Keep the heat where it will brown the chicken but not get so hot it smokes.

When all chicken pieces are out of the pot add the chopped veggies. Salt and pepper them as they cook, stirring frequently. The moisture in the veggies will dissolve the fond and add a lovely caramelly flavor to the dish. Add:

1 cup white rice

Stir, and cook the rice for a minute or two then add:

1 1/2 cups water ( I like to use chicken broth, too)
1 jar pimentos
1 can mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
4 chicken bouillion cubes, dissolved in a little water

Place the chicken on top of this mixture, place the lid on the dutch oven, and put in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

It will be hard to wait that long because the smell is so fragrant, but be patient!

Remove after the hour and a half slow baking is done, remove the lid and let cool for five minutes.

Serve with a lovely salad and the veggie of your choice.


Today I did not have a whole chicken so I substituted boneless skinless chicken breasts (two very large ones), cut them in half lengthwise and each of those halves in half so I had 8 pieces of chicken. I used some homemade chicken stock made from a whole chicken to try to make up for the loss of flavor from using just chicken breasts.

Organic Chicken Thighs with Brown and Wild Rice

August 10th, 2013
by: Sue

I created this recipe to fit within the guidelines of a Cleanse diet I am on. It turned out so good, I’m going to share it. Why it is allowed on the Cleanse Diet: Organic chicken, no dairy, no gluten, no eggs, no cheese, just good food. When the organic version of all ingredients is available that’s what to use to aid in the cleanse.

6 organic boneless chicken thighs

Bring chicken to room temperature, I put bricks on them to press them flat while they warmed so they’ll cook evenly. After thirty minutes under the bricks, I removed excess moisture with paper towels and seasoned them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Using my 12 inch stainless steel skillet, I heated it up and then I dropped in:

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

When the oil was melted and the pan good and hot, I placed the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking on the skin side first until nicely browned, then turning each thigh to brown the other side. When browned, I removed the chicken to a paper plate and added

1/2 onion, finely chopped, lightly salted

When translucent, deglaze the pan with

1 cup white wine

Bring the temp up and reduce the wine to about half, then add

1 cup organic chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Add back the thighs, cover the skillet and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, then remove the lid so the gravy will thicken. After five to ten more minutes, add

2 Tablespoons almond butter

This will thick your gravy nicely.


1 cup Bob’s Red Mill brown and wild rice
2 1/2 cups pure filtered water

Put rice and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer and cook approximately 40 minutes or according to the rice package directions.
When done, fluff with a fork, then add:

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup pinon nuts
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
salt to taste
1/2 lemon juice and zest
2 Tablespoons almond butter preferably organic and fresh ground

When serving, put a thin layer of the rice on the plate, add a chicken thigh on top of the rice, and ladle on some of the sauce from the chicken.

We had fresh turnips with this, diced and cooked in pure water, then seasoned with a little coconut oil and kosher salt and pepper. But greens of any kind would be wonderful !

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

January 7th, 2012
by: Blue

Shrimply delicious!

I decided to make this dish mostly because I had all the ingredients on hand and did not have to make a trip to the grocery store.  My limit on grocery shopping is about once a week.  More trips than that makes me grouchy because that means I’m going after work (UG!).  I hate going after work.  And besides, sometimes the fun of cooking is figuring out the perfect dish using what is in the pantry.

Key thoughts on this dish:

I love grits, but I’m picky about them.  I only buy Bob’s Red Mill coarsely ground grits (also labeled as polenta).  Yes, I’ve said that before.  This dish would be good with any grits, but Bob’s Red Mill grits take it to the next level.  GET IT! GOT IT? GOOD.

I used large shrimp, so big that I was concerned about the cook time – so I butterflied them.  The added benefit of this is they cooked up beautifully (which is typical of butterflied shrimp – they are just prettier and make a better presentation).  I also used about 2 pounds, which was on the verge of excessive, because I wanted it to be extra-shrimpy-licious. Und it vas (said in my very best Dr. Everett Scott voice – yes I’m a Rocky Horror Picture Show dweeb).

Whatever you tweak in the recipe – don’t mess with the corn!  I realize it may sound bizarre to you, but it’ s fantastic bit of crunchy sweetness that is perfect on the palate.  A recommended tweak would be to add chopped Hatch green chiles or chopped fresh jalapenos.  Or chipotle peppers.  Do we see a pattern here?

Tweaking recipes is fun.  This dish started out as a kind of standard recipe that I found (ironically it was a healthy, light version – but it certainly wasn’t after I was done with it).  My tweaks were based on one of my favorite recipes in the whole wide world, Sue’s Kickin’ Grits.  Make those and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven (we also call them the Virgin Mary grits because one bite will make you see the face of the Virgin Mary).  Giving due credit to my Dad, he is the one who blessed the grits with the Virgin Mary nickname.  Gotta love it.

And finally, do yourself a favor and buy a high quality smoked paprika, it’s much tastier than the standard paprika.  I use La Chinata.


2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup uncooked grits
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worschester sauce
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 – 2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 – 2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, butterflied
Cooking spray
3/4 cup panko
Smoked paprika


Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine milk and broth in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Worschester sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 2 tablespoons butter, and cream cheese.

Sauté onion, celery, and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter over med high heat for 5 minutes.  Stir onion, celery, garlic, frozen corn, parsley, and lemon juice into grits.  Let the grits cool for 15-20 minutes, then add egg and shrimp. Mix well.

Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with panko, remaining 1/4 cup parmesan, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until set. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

Texas Style Cornbread

November 3rd, 2011
by: Sue

This cornbread contains all three of the primary tastes that Texans love: savory (bacon grease), sweet (creamed corn), and spicy (chipotle peppers). If you don’t like spicy leave out the peppers, but you are missing a way to jump start your metabolism if you don’t use peppers. You are also missing the way the your brain starts firing “WOW” messages to the rest of you.

1 cup stone ground cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt)

1/2 cup canola oil (or bacon grease if you have it)
14 ounce can cream style corn
2 eggs, whisked until smooth
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp cheese (cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
two chipotle peppers, chopped small (optional)
crushed black pepper for top (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put iron skillet in oven and add 2-3 Tablespoons bacon grease or oil. Heat until hot but not smoking.
Place dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together to distribute evenly. Add oil, whisked eggs, creamed corn, sour cream, cheese, cayenne and chipotle peppers. Whisk together just until blended. Pour batter into heated iron skillet, top with cracked black pepper, then bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes, and remove from oven. Coat top lightly with salted butter, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

This recipe will also make wonderful corn muffins!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

August 13th, 2011
by: Sue

Buy the freshest most naturally raised chicken you can find. Organic, free range, are preferred. Buddy’s chicken in Texas is a large commercial source but if you can’t find Buddy’s try to find a local source for chicken. Wherever you get the chicken, rinse it carefully after you take it out of the packaging, and wash your hands before, during, and after handling the chicken.

Home fried chicken is so much better than anything you can buy.

Start with:

1 large frying chicken, removed from packing and washed with running water

Cut into frying pieces, reserving the bony pieces to make stock.
Place pieces you’ll fry into a large bowl, cover with water, and add 2-3 tablespoons salt. Soak the chicken in the briny water for around 30 minutes. The brining step will result in tender juicy chicken with a good flavor. Drain water off the chicken, rinse again, and dry with paper towels. Put pieces back in bowl, and pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk over the chicken. If you like spicy chicken, add cayenne pepper to the buttermilk before pouring over the chicken. Place in refrigerator and let soak in for one hour to overnight.

Place in a paper bag:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
two teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
nutmeg to taste

Shake paper bag, mixing together the dry ingredients. Remove chicken pieces with tongs three or four at a time from the buttermilk and place in the flour mixture. Shake the bag well until chicken is well coated. Place on a rack and let air cure for about twenty minutes. Repeat with all the pieces of chicken. The air curing will allow the flour to be absorbed into the buttermilk and prevent a lot of flour messing up the grease.

Get out your 12 inch iron skillet. Pour about two inches of cooking oil (peanut oil preferred because it has a high smoking point) into it, and heat the oil over medium high heat to 360 (I like to use my thermopen to measure the temperature). Gently place chicken pieces in the oil using tongs and lowering each piece in by one edge then slanting the piece down so it won’t splash grease on you. Check chicken browning often and turn when the bottom is golden brown. Continue cooking to 165 degrees (use the meat thermometer or thermopen). I like to cook the big pieces first then place them in a 250 degree oven in a foil covered glass pan while I cook the remaining pieces in order to insure the chicken is cooked through on all the pieces.

Chicken stock:

Place bony pieces and trimmings into a stock pot. Cover with water (you can use a couple of quarts of water) , add a peeled carrot, cut up, some celery, garlic powder, onion, and salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for several hours or overnight. Try not to boil, just simmer. When finished, pour into colander with a bowl underneath it to catch the broth. The broth can be frozen to use later, and you can make dumplings in the broth right away, taking the meat off the chicken bones.

This broth will make the canned version taste like salted water to you!

Lip Smackin’ Ribs

June 19th, 2011
by: Blue

There is just something about ribs – I love them. But they have to be moist and fall off the bone tender.  As of this date I haven’t been able to perfect the traditional slow smoked ribs (which are delicious but require much time spent monitoring temperatures, and smoke, and coals).  Probably I haven’t been able to perfect it because I’m a lazy cook.  I didn’t even recognize this completely until someone special in my life actually told me that.  I wasn’t even offended – I was just like – YES!  That’s what I am. Most of the food that I cook is low maintenance, like me.  I like delicious food, and I like it to be easy.  Most of the time.  There are occasions when I spend hours in the kitchen tending a dish, obsessing over one thing or another.  These ribs are not one of those occasions.

Over time I have found that the basic secrets to great ribs are pretty simple:  start with a slow braising of some sort, and finish them off on the grill.  That’s it.  So let’s get to it.

Slow braising

There are 50 ways to skin a cat, and there are many ways to slow braise ribs.  I don’t recommend slow braising a cat though.  Yuck. 

There are lots of cooks that choose to slow braise ribs by boiling them in water.  I tried this technique in the beginning (yes, like “IN THE BEGINNING” 20 or so years ago).  What I don’t like about this technique is I think you lose much of the concentrated flavor of spices and seasonings.  So if you use this technique (which I don’t talk about here) – I would recommend really kicking up all the seasonings to a level that seems like overkill.

My preferred technique depends on how much time I have to spend on the braising part.  If I have 3-4 hours I’ll slow braise the ribs in the oven.  If I have 7-8 hours and need to be out of the house or working on other stuff I’ll slow braise them in a slow cooker.  The technique only varies in the length of cooking.

Take your ribs and season them liberally on all sides with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and about 2 teaspoons of Stubbs liquid smoke per rack of ribs.  If you are braising them in a slow cooker cut the ribs in sections small enough to layer and fit in the cooker.  Wrap each seasoned section (or the whole rack, if you are doing them in the oven) in heavy duty aluminum foil and seal tightly.  The idea here is that the ribs will release moisture as they cook into the sealed packet, so they will have braising liquid, but they will also have exposure to a high concentration of seasonings.

For the oven:  cook the ribs at 300 degrees for 3 hours.  Check them at this point.  You want them to be veeery tender and close to falling apart, but not quite.  If they are not ready cook them a little longer.

For the slow cooker:  cook the ribs on low for 7-8 hours. Check them at this point.  Repeat:  You want them to be veeery tender and close to falling apart, but not quite.  If they are not ready cook them a little longer.

When the ribs are tender to your liking, you can remove them from the oven or slow cooker to cool.  You could even do the braising the day before you plan to grill them.  So many options here.

The grilling

Not much to talk about here.  You want a medium to medium high heat.  You want to get a nice grilled crust on both sides of the ribs without burning them.  I don’t put bbq sauce on them until they are already nicely marked up from the grill since bbq sauce burns easily.

When the ribs are nicely browned (and usually at the point that I am concerned that they will burn on the grill), I place a section of aluminum foil on the grill, place the ribs on top, and slather them with bbq sauce.  I may slather them two or three times on both sides.


You could do a packet of soaked wood chips on the grill.  Delicious.  Just make a packet of soaked wood chips with aluminum foil.  Poke some holes in the packet with a fork and place the packet directly on top of the coals or gas flame.  Wait to put the ribs on the grill until the grill is visibly smoking with the lid down.

You could skip the grilling part, depending on your day (or in my case, my laziness level).  No matter what, you need to brown the ribs at some point.  This could be before you slow braise them, or after.  To brown them before braising place the seasoned ribs on a cooking sheet in a 425 degree oven until browned.  To brown them after braising place the ribs on a cooking sheet under a broiler until browned.  One advantage of browning ribs before is that if you have some particularly fatty ribs (sometimes beef ribs can be fatty) the pre-browning cuts down on the fat since some of it will be released while it browns.

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you *could* brown the ribs in the oven, braise them, and grill them.  I may have try that next.  That just might be the rib trifecta.

BBQ Sauce

My favorite BBQ sauce is my Grandpa’s, the recipe is here.  But in a pinch I also love Stubbs BBQ sauce.

Marguerite’s Brownies

February 4th, 2011
by: Sue

6 eggs
1 stick butter (she used Parkay margarine and called Parkay butter)
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs, and beat well. Add dry ingredients. Bake in a 9×11 pan at 325 degrees.

Barron BBQ Sauce

December 6th, 2010
by: Sue

This sauce is really good with country pork ribs. It is thicker than my Dad’s Mitchell BBQ Sauce, and should be painted on the seasoned ribs with a brush after they have already slow cooked for a couple of hours. Cook at a low temperature for another 30 – 45 minutes, turning them and brushing more sauce on every 10 minutes.The sauce will bake on without burning. It is also very good as a side to your favorite rib, steak or chop.

Pour into a stainless steel saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until onions become transluscent:

3/4 cup whiskey
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Into a 2 cup glass measuring cup, add:

1/3 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons smoke sauce
2 Tablespoons lemon juice concentrate
1 teaspoon or more Sriracha hot sauce (to taste) I like it spicy!

When onions are done, add the contents of your glass measuring cup to the skillet, then pour into the same cup:

2 cups ketchup

Pour the ketchup into the pan, stir to blend the ingredients, and simmer the mixture for at least 20 minutes. The slower the simmer and the longer the time, the better it will be. When through simmering, put an immersion blender into the mixture and further break down the chunky pieces of onion and garlic. This makes the sauce taste better, but I kind of like some bits of onion to be visible. Place sauce in jars and store in the refrigerator overnight for the flavors to develop. It is better the next day and keeps on getting better! Yield: 3- 4 pints

This sauce should be used as a glaze, or a side. It gives a very pretty glossy redness to the meat when used as a glaze.

Hook Family Chocolate Roll

September 16th, 2010
by: Blue

This is THE famous chocolate roll recipe, graciously provided to me by the Hook family.  Cake!  Chocolate!  Whipped cream!  Sounds like perfection to me.  It’s like a giant Little Debbie, and that’s a wonderful thing.

6 tablespoons cake flour (sifted before measuring)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten until thick
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 squares unsweetened chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Melt chocolate and set aside.  Sift flour, measure, and sift again with baking powder and salt.  Beat egg whites until stiff, and gradually add sugar.  Fold in egg yolks.  Add vanilla and fold in flour gradually.  Fold in melted chocolate until mixed.

Grease and line a half sheet pan (18″ by 13″) or jelly roll pan (15″ x 10″) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Pour cake batter into pan, leaving 1/2 inch space from batter to edge of pan.  Bake 7 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking, dust a clean cloth with powdered sugar. (* NOTE: The more sugar you spread over the cloth the easier it will be to get the cake off it later).

Turn warm cake out onto prepared cloth; remove lining. Trim the cake edges with a scissors if you wish. Starting with the long side, tightly roll up cake with cloth. Transfer cake, seam side down, to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the whipped cream filling.

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks.

Final assembly FINALLY! :-)
Unroll cooled cake; remove cloth. Spread whipped topping over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges. Re-roll cake; place seam-side down on a plate. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting, either homemade or store bought.

Sue’s Spectacular Spaghetti Sauce

August 14th, 2010
by: Dude

When Dude and Dude’s sister visited Sue during summer 2010, they thought it would be a wonderful experience to make some incredible spaghetti sauce. Thanks to Sue for leading the way for a new generation of cooks!

1 medium/large onion (diced)
2 carrots (peeled and grated)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
4 cloves of minced garlic
2  cans of crushed tomatoes (26 oz/can)
1 can of tomato puree (6 oz)
1 lb Italian link sausage
4 slices bacon (diced and browned)
3 stems rosemary (diced)
1/2 box chicken broth (around 16 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
wine to taste

Brown the bacon and the sausage in a skillet. Sauté vegetables in the big stock pot, using olive oil. Salt and pepper the vegetables as you sauté them. Once they are wilted and translucent, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, and cooked meat. Simmer on medium low for 2-3 hours. Add wine to taste midway through simmer. Make sure to check the pot and stir it occasionally. Serve over al dente spaghetti. On top of that spaghetti, you can put grated cheese of choice to taste.

(Note: you can substitue browned hamburger for the Italian sausage, but if you do, make sure to add red pepper flakes to the hamburger)