Food For Thought

Updated: 3 days ago

Join the Tres Amigos on "Food For Thought" each Wednesday from 1P-130P!

Patty Nilsson, Carroll Wilson, and Laura Ewing---the "Tres Amigos"---share recipes, cooking tips, and most importantly, the FUNNY, MEMORABLE and DELECTABLE stories we all have about our favorite foods!

"Food For Thought" is a delicious recipe for fun, so tune in right here on or set your car radio to 94.3 every Wednesday!

Hasta la vista!

Show Time: Wednesday 1P-130P

"!Gracias y Buen Provecho!"

-Tres Amigos


Ethiopian Migas - Carrie Campbell

For 1-2 persons:

Prepared injera

Clarified butter (or ghee)

Berbere spice


Place 1 tablespoon of clarified butter in a pan with 1/2 teaspoon of Berbere spice in a pan and allow to cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Tear injera into small pieces (as much as you like) and add to the pan. Stir until crispy. Whisk 2-3 eggs and add to the pan. Season with salt and serve warm.

Berbere is a traditional Ethiopian spice blend composed of chiles, garlic, fenugreek and a handful of warm spices, such as allspice and cinnamon. It can be purchased online from multiple sources, including Amazon.

Injera is made with teff, a tiny, round grain that flourishes in the highlands of Ethiopia. While teff is very nutritious, it contains practically no gluten. This makes teff ill-suited for making raised bread. Instead, teff is fermented, then prepared much like a crepe or pancake to make injera. It takes several days to make because of the fermentation process. I recommend buying it already prepared from an Ethiopian Market. It freezes well.

Cake Mix Cookies - Nancy Williams

An easy cookie recipe – just three basic ingredients!

Boxed cake mix – any flavor you desire*. Cake mixes used to be 18 oz but many are now 15 oz. Some recipes suggest adding 1/4c all purpose flour to the 15 oz size, however I have not done so.

Two large eggs

½ cup oil

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a silpat.

In a large bowl mix together cake mix, eggs and oil until smooth. I use a wooden spoon and mix by hand, however, you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mixing ingredients on low until combined.

Optional: Mix in desired add-ins** until evenly incorporated.

Drop cookies (1-2 T per) onto the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until lightly golden at the edges.

Allow cookies to cool on the sheet slightly before transferring to a wire rack.

We’ve added icing and toppings on occasion, once the cookies cooled, but they are delicious while still warm.

Store in airtight container.

*Cake mix flavors: My family’s favorite has been lemon, however we’ve had fun with a variety of flavors through the years

**Optional add-ins could include things like: chocolate chips; M&M’s; chopped candy bars, peanut butter chips; sprinkles; candied lemon zest; white chips.

Oven Chicken - Laura Ewing

Serves 4 to 6 persons

Grandmom Ewing (GMom as the grandchildren called her), loved to prepare special meals and delicious deserts! Her oven chicken is a simple recipe that one can place in the oven on a moderate heat and run errands…returning a couple of hours later and serving.

GMom’s Recipe:

Cut up fryer as for frying.

Salt and pepper.

Put into roaster.

Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and also lemon juice.

Do not add any water.

Cover and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours or at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Will make own juice.

21st Century cooking strategy:

Buy ready-cut chicken.

Place in oven safe cooking pan.

Salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and also lemon juice.

Do not add any water.

Cover and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours or at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Turn the chicken several times.

Will make own juice.

Hot and Smoky West Texas Barbecue Meat Loaf - Carroll Wilson

Serves 8


2 c. finely chopped yellow onion

1 c. reduced sodium canned chicken broth

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. dried thyme crumbled

½ c. plus 1/3 c. thick, hot, smoky, tomato-based barbecue sauce

½ c. evaporated milk

2 large eggs

4 tsp. soy sauce (tamari preferred)

4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 canned chipotles en adobo, chopped

¾ c. old-fashioned rolled oats

2 lb. Lean freshly ground sirloin, brought to room temperature

In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine the onion, chicken stock, garlic, olive oil, cumin, oregano and thyme. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes. Uncover; raise the heat slightly and continue to cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. (All the liquid must be gone.) Remove from the heat. Add ½ c. of the barbecue sauce and the evaporated milk and shir, scraping any browned deposits from the bottom of the skillet. Cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and chipotles. In a large bowl, combine the oats, the cooled mixture from the skillet, the beef, and the beaten egg mixture. Stir together lightly, but thoroughly. Spoon into a 9x5x3 loaf pan, mounding the mixture slightly. Spread the remaining 1/3 c. barbecue sauce (or more!) evenly over the top of the loaf. Bake the meat loaf until the top is lightly browned, the juices are bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 130 degrees, about one hour. Let the loaf rest in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes (it will reassorb rendered juices and become firm enough to cut.) Slice the meat loaf and serve immediately.

Wita's "Muy Delicioso" Arroz Con Leche - Patty Nilsson

A delicious creamy and aromatic Mexican rice pudding made with milk, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar and mucho cariño.

You'll need:

4 cups water

2 cups whole milk

2 cups long-grain white rice

2 Cinnamon sticks

1 cups light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 can evaporated milk

2 tbsp Vanilla to taste

2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon

Boil the water and rice until tender (approx 35 min)

When the liquid is almost dry, add the whole milk and stir.

Keep stirring until the milk boils down somewhat and the rice begins to thicken

Add the evaporated milk and stir (approx 15 min)

Keep stirring until it boils down somewhat and pudding thickens

Add the Vanilla & Cinnamon

Keep stirring for approx 15-20 more minutes

Add the brown sugar and stir for 15 min


Your pudding should be thick and creamy and your house should smell so amazing your neighbors will come calling! (Use a ladle and serve up while its hot!)

!Buen Provecho!

Grandmothers Gravy - Cade Wright


5 strips of thick-cut bacon

About a half-cup of flour, but maybe more


Ground pepper

About two cups of whole milk


In an electric skillet, fry the bacon on medium heat until it’s crisp and all fat is rendered out of it. Remove bacon and eat it later, leaving all the bacon grease in the skillet. Raise temperature to 350 in skillet, and when grease is hot, use a regular tablespoon (not a regulation tablespoon) and sprinkle a couple of spoons of flour over all of the grease in a waving motion. Meanwhile, using the back of a large spoon or a whisk, stir the flour into the grease and eliminate any lumps that may develop. Keep adding flour a little at a time until the grease seems saturated, and keep stirring until the roux is the color of toffee. Keep sirrring and add one cup of milk. Sprinkle a couple more spoons of flour evenly across the skillet and keep stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. The more pepper the better and don’t scrimp on the salt. Keep stirring and lower heat to about 200. Add another cup of milk and a little more flour and keep stirring and flattening lumps until the gravy is to the thickness you desire and has no hint of floury taste. Easily serves two people, maybe three if they’re kids.

Easy Potato Soup for One - Aileen Edgington

1 medium russet potato

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup milk (can use skim, whole, or half and half)

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potato carefully – no skin or eyes. Chop each section in half lengthwise and then each section in 1/8 inch slices. Place in saucepan and cover with water.

Bring to boil then simmer on low until potatoes are tender. Drain water from potatoes. Add butter to hot potatoes. Add milk and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat to bring soup to temperature being careful not to boil.

Recipe can be adjusted for more servings, but it is most effective when prepared with love for yourself or a loved one who needs some comfort.

This simple soup was prepared by my Mom for those in my family recovering from an illness or just in need of comfort. It always made me feel special. When I am in need of comfort, I prepare for myself and feel surrounded by my Mom’s love.

Cajun Gumbo - Dennis Lee


- 3 main ingredients: The Holy Trinity, a protein (or several), and a Roux. Seasonings and optional ingredients are added. And of course, water, or appropriate stock.

- Real Cajun cooks make their own roux. I've done it for years. 3 simple ingredients: Flour, oil (lard, shortening, vegetable oil), and ATTENTION. Making a roux is an art form. Luckily, today, you can buy roux in a jar. I do it. So sue me.

- The Holy Trinity is a mix of white/yellow onion, red/green bell peppers, and celery. All chopped. This is similar to, and performs the same function as the French Mirapoix. For a family-sized gumbo, you'll need 2 medium onions, 3 stalks of celery, and 1 bell pepper. The proportions should be approximately 2:1:1.

- The protein can be many things, but falls into several categories:

Sausage - specifically Andouille sausage. Hard to find good Andouille around here; I make my own, or bring some back when I visit LA. Richard's, Holmes', and Savoie's are available here, but are to Andouille what Hormel is to good BBQ sausage. In a pinch you can use a kielbasa or other fine-ground pork-based sausage. Or Eckrich. Ewwww.

Poultry - chicken, turkey, duck. One typical gumbo is made after Thanksgiving with the turkey leftovers. Duck was common game in the area, so it would go into the pot. You can get chicken anywhere. I prefer to use boneless breasts or thighs cut to bite-sized pieces, but the Cajuns would just grab a hen from the yard, kill it, clean it, and chop it into chunks. Into the pot it went.

Game - Squirrel, rabbit. I suppose Raccoon or Nutria might work, but I've never had any. Squirrels and rabbits are plentiful in the swamps, so they were commonly harvested for food. They share the problem of being messy to eat in a soup-like dish, with plenty of little bones (and occasionally shotgun pellets) to avoid swallowing.

Seafood - shrimp, crabs, oysters. I've had gumbos with fish or clams in them, but not that often. Usually, a seafood gumbo will have several types of seafood in it. Many seafood gumbos have large chunks of crab, complete with shells, in them. Messy to eat, but tasty.

Almost all gumbos have some andouille in them. Then, pick one category for the other protein, and a specific type.

Additions: All gumbos will have a significant amount of water added. Stock is better, but poor Cajuns hardly had that available. Water is fine. Salt, Pepper - Black, White, and Red - are used. Garlic. Green onions. Basil, thyme, and file - ground sassafras leaves. I like to add mushrooms (oyster if I have them) and okra.

Process 1:

Cook the roux. Brown the Trinity in the roux until nearly mush. Brown any game or poultry in the roux. Add water and seasonings. Add the andouille, okra, mushrooms. Simmer. Add seafood late in the process if that is the main protein. Adjust seasonings, add file, add oysters just before serving over white rice. With a dinner salad, potato salad, and/or saltine crackers, extra file, Tabasco.

Process 2:

Saute the Trinity until nearly mush. Brown any game or poultry with the Trinity. Add a couple heaping tablespoons of Roux-from-a-Jar, andouille, mushrooms, okra, water, seasonings. Stir well to mix. Simmer. Add seafood later if that is the main protein. Adjust seasonings, add file, add oysters just before serving over white rice. With a dinner salad, potato salad, and/or saltine crackers, extra file, Tabasco.

This of course, is over simplified. If one is making a seafood gumbo, one might add salad shrimp and canned crab meat early in the process, letting the flavors blend with the other ingredients, then adding fresh seafood later so that it is not overcooked. If one is making a turkey gumbo from leftovers, there is no point in browning the meat - it is already cooked. Just throw it in the pot.

The mix of peppers is important. Black pepper has a harsher initial bite and not much of a lingering effect. White pepper is smoother and the burn lasts longer. Red pepper (cayenne) has a minimal bite, but a stronger after effect. Spice adverse folks should go easy on the cayenne. You can always add it later, perhaps via Tabasco.

A typical gumbo I might make would have 2 lbs of andouille, 1 lb of chicken, 1/2 lb of mushrooms, 1 large bag of frozen okra, 2 medium onions, 3 sticks of celery, 1 green bell pepper, a couple gallons of water or chicken stock, maybe 2 tbsp of combined peppers, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 heaping tbsp of chopped garlic, 1 cup of chopped green onions, maybe 1 tbsp of file, less than a tsp of basil and thyme, maybe a tbsp of parsley. 1 small can of oysters (not smoked).

Also, simmering longer is better. You can throw a gumbo together and eat it in an hour. Or you can assemble it, and let it simmer for several, and it will be much better. Or, better yet, you can cook it on Day 1, allowing it to simmer for several hours, then refrigerate, and heat and eat it on Day 2. Like most pot foods - chili, soups, stews - gumbo is better on the second day because the flavors have had more time to meld.

You might also note that I am not precise here about measurements. It really doesn't matter. As long as you don't overdo on the salt or peppers, you can't really go wrong. Too much water, or too little ingredients - it'll taste like flavored water. Add more. That might include more roux. Too little water - it'll be thick, like a stew. Optimal consistency is like chicken noodle soup - thicker than broth, but not as thick as clam chowder. If you underspice during the process, you have plenty of time later to taste and adjust. Or like they say, you add ingredients until your ancestors whisper to you: "That's enough, cher..."

Oh, some oil will rise to the surface during the simmering phase. You used oil to sautee the Trinity, there's fat in the andouille, and there may be fat in the protein. I leave it in until right before serving, as it tends to keep the flavors from evaporating off. Then I scoop it of the top, leaving only a sheen.

Poppy Seed Dressing - Connie Brakebill

1/3 c. vinegar ½ button garlic, chopped fine

½ c. sugar 1 c. salad oil

1 tsp. mustard 1 tsp. poppy seed

1 tsp. salt

Mix vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and garlic, then add oil slowly, beating constantly.

Add poppy seed. If you will take a little time and add oil very slowly, beating constantly with mixer or blender, you will get a thick dressing that will not separate easily.

My Mother put this on grapefruit, orange, avocado salad. Delicious on any fruit! I use only fresh garlic to give it a nice tang. Either jar mustard or dry is good. This will be requested at church potluck dinners.

The Recipe came from old Gonzales United Methodist Church. My grandfather, Henry Ratliff, was the preacher there at the end of his life. We stopped in Gonzales to visit him when we drove to Wimberley from Houston. He was my Mother’s Father. (my maternal Grandfather)

(Pictured: Helen Ratliff Cleaves and Connie Cleaves Brakebill in wildflower flat on the way to Cypress Creek. I was about 8 years old (1956) in the lower one. I was about 36 years old in the picture at the top. My Mother gave us all a great love for the fields of bluebonnets and purple verbenas as well as all the other beauties. Like Ladybird Johnson.)

MamMaw’s Jam Cake - DuAnn Redus


2 cups sugar

2 sticks oleo or butter creamed good

6 eggs beaten separately

1 cup jam (black raspberry/no seeds)

Set aside: 1 cup buttermilk OR 1 tps. soda dissolved in milk

Mix in separate bowl:

3 cups flour added alternately with milk

1 cup pecans (chop pecans and raisins)

1 cup raisins

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla

Pour 12 layers in 8” cake pans (1/2 inch of batter).

Bake 375 in… Watch closely because it is easy to overcook thin layers.



3 cups sugar mixed with 1 rounded TBL. flour sifted well.

1 ½ cups half and half

Cook until it begins to thicken then add:

1 stick butter

1 cup pecans

1 cup raisins (ground)

Cook to a soft ball, beat and add vanilla

Put it on pretty warm

Serve with MamMaw’s Boiled Custard

Note: Use very heavy pan and warm slowly

6 eggs separated…beat yolk real fluffy

Add 1 2/3 cups sugar sifted with 1/3 cup flour

Mix above ingredients in bowl so can be added slowly to heated liquid.

Add ½ gallon milk (8 cups) alternately with above ingredients into heavy pan.

Continue cooking, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. (Do not overheat; takes a very long time till slow boil.

Add part of hot mixture into egg whites in its container and mix till smooth.

Fold in remainder of egg whites into hot liquid. Let cool before refrigerate.

Top with whipped cream and/or spike with rum or whiskey.

Grandma's Gnocchi - Phil Giglio

Recipe to come!

Swedish Meatballs - Annievive Palm

You need:

2 lbs ground pork

2 lbs ground beef

Mush together In blender:

1 cup bread crumbs

1 chopped onion

2 eggs

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup milk

Result should be pasty (if too thin add more breadcrumbs)

Mix meats and mush all together by hand

Roll into 1 inch balls

In a frying pan, add:

1 tablespoon butter and fry the meatballs until done (rolling them around so browned on all sides)

Whole Meal:


Brown Gravy

Boiled new potatoes

Sautéed onions

Lingonberry jam

Grandmother Golda's Date Roll Cookie Recipe - Robin Lowe (On Left)


1/2 lb chopped dates

1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Cook until dates are melted. Cool. Add the chopped nuts. Prepare while dough chills.


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

4 cups flour

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking soda

Mix together the first four ingredients. Then add the flour, one cup at a time. Next add the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly.

Once chilled, divide the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a rectangular shape. Be sure to use a floured cloth or surface. Spread 1/2 of the date mixture on top of the dough and leave about 1/4 inch edge all around. Roll up lengthwise, wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight. Slice and bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes.

Grandmother Golda’s German Chocolate Pound Cake - Jerri LaMirand (On Right)

2 c. sugar 1 c. butter 4 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla 2 tsp. butter flavoring 1 c. buttermilk 3 c. flour 1⁄2 tsp. soda 1 tsp. salt 1 pkg/4oz German Chocolate

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs (one at a time). Alternate milk and flour. Blend well. Add melted chocolate. Mix. Bake in a greased tube or bundt pan for approximately 1 1⁄2 hours @ 300 degrees. Note: This cake must be steamed to make it really moist. If you don’t have a cake pan with a whetting stone in it, take the cake out of the pan while still warm. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil. This cake is best made the day ahead and then finished the day you are planning to eat. Optional Toppings: Melt dark chocolate for a glaze on top and then sprinkle with toasted coconut & chopped roasted pecans.

This recipe has special memories for me. My Grandmother Golda was the typical image of a grandmother: sweet, loving and caring. I loved visiting my grandmother’s home in Comanche, TX. She always welcomed us with her sweet treats. My favorite was her German Chocolate pound cake. It was the best, moist chocolate bundt cake! (Note: I am also a chocoholic and love anything with chocolate). As a young adult, she taught me how to make the cake to carry on the tradition. It has become one of my favorite cakes to bake. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Collard Greens and Bacon Eggroll with Lemon-Cholula Aioli - Ashley Odom

1 pound collard greens

1.5 Cups Bacon

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 Shallot, Finely Chopped

2 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 package (16 ounces) egg roll wrappers

2 tablespoons butter, melted


Makes 12 Eggrolls

Pour 1 Tbsp Olive Oil into skillet and cook bacon for 5 minutes. Add Shallot and Saute until almost translucent.

Trim collard greens, discarding thick ribs and stems. Coarsely chop leaves. Add greens to bacon and shallot mixture; cook, covered, until they begin to wilt, 8-10 minutes. Drain, squeezing out as much water as possible.

Preheat oven to 425°. Combine greens, bacon, cream cheese, onion mixture and seasonings until well blended. With one corner of an egg roll wrapper facing you, place 1/4 cup pork filling just below center of wrapper. (Cover remaining wrappers with a damp paper towel until ready to use.) Fold bottom corner over filling; moisten remaining wrapper edges with water. Fold side corners toward center over filling. Roll egg roll up tightly, pressing at tip to seal. Repeat until all filling is used.

Place egg rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet; brush with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked egg rolls on waxed paper-lined baking sheets until firm. Transfer to freezer containers; return to freezer. To use, bake egg rolls as directed.

Change them up: These can be fried, too. Heat 1-in. of oil in an electric skillet or a deep-fat fryer to 375°. Fry rolls, a few at a time, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Lemon Cholula Aioli

1⁄2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic