Long Grain and Wild Rice Chicken Casserole

This chicken casserole was a favorite at our Master Gardener Intern Class lunch.

1 medium chicken, cooked, deboned, and shredded
1 can French style green beans, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can diced water chesnuts, drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, chopped
1  8 oz. carton sour cream
1 box Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain & Wild Rice, cooked & drained
1 package Ritz crackers, crushed
1  12 oz. package Swiss cheese*, shredded
1 stick butter

Mix chicken, green beans, corn, water chestnuts, celery soup, mushroom soup, chopped onion, sour cream, and rice. Coat a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour half of mixture into dish and top with half of shredded cheese.  Add remaining mixture and top with rest of cheese. Melt butter and mix well with Ritz crackers, sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

**Mozzarella Cheese may be substituted for Swiss**

Original recipe provided by Audrey Giles

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Crazy Chocolate Cake is a quick and easy handed down recipe that Trisha William’s mother used to make for an after school snack.  When cool, frost with Crazy Chocolate Icing  or top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Serve from the pan! There are no eggs or milk in the cake. After school snacks have really changed over the years!

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Mix the cake right in an 8×8 pan (It may be easier to use a mixing bowl and then pour into the ungreased or lightly greased pan). Combine the dry ingredients:

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
4 T. cocoa

Make 4 dents in the dry ingredient mixture for the following:

4 T. salad oil
1 t. vanilla
1 T. vinegar
1 c. water

Mix until well blended and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Crazy Chocolate Icing

2 T. butter
1/4 c. cocoa
1c. confectioner’s sugar
1 T. milk (more if needed)
1/4 t. vanilla

Melt butter and stir in cocoa, place in mixing bowl. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat on medium for approximately 5 minutes or until smooth. Spread on cool cake.
Recipe provided by Trisha Williams.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Turnip Greens Soup

Chilton County Master Gardeners’ Christmas Lunch this year featured soups, salad, and a variety of breads. The Turnip Greens Soup was quite a surprise.
Turnip Greens Soup
1 lb. Kielbasa sausage, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 qts. chicken broth
2  16 oz bags frozen chopped turnip greens (some brands include roots)
2  14.5 oz cans great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 pkg Knorr Vegetable soup mix
1 t. hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
1 t. garlic powder
1 pinch Creole seasoning
salt and pepper to taste (did not add, plenty of salt in broth and beans and sausage)
Cook onion and sausage in oil over medium heat until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer for 2 hours. Paula Blevins-Russell provided this recipe adapted from  Turnip Green Soup.

Christmas Lunch Breads and Muffins

Broccoli Cornbread, Mexican Cornbread, and Corn Muffins was served at the Chilton County Master Gardener Christmas Lunch. Give these easy recipes a try for something a little different.

Broccoli Cornbread
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
2 eggs
1 stick margarine, melted
10 oz. frozen chopped broccoli (thawed and drained)

Mix all ingredients with melted margarine. Cook in greased 8 x 8  an at 350 degrees until golden brown. Serves 6-8.
Recipe adapted from retired power company employees cookbook “Powerful Good Cooking.”

Mexican Cornbread
2 c. self-rising cornmeal
2 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 cans cream style corn
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapeno, chopped
8  oz. cheese, grated
2 eggs
2 t. red pepper, optional

Mix ingredients together. Pour into greased pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. Serves 12.
Recipe adapted from retired power company employees cookbook “Powerful Good Cooking.”

Corn Muffins
1 c. self-rising cornmeal
1/2 c. cooking oil
2 eggs
1 small can cream style corn
8 oz. sour cream

Mix ingredients together. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
This recipe is a pass along recipe provided by Treasia Bennett.

Treasia’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
7-8 chicken breasts (ribs & skin)
1 T. salt
4 onions chopped and saute
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (such as  Rotel)
2 cans diced or stewed tomatoes
2 cans tomato soup
1 T. cumin
2 T. cilantro
1 T. black pepper
1 pkg flour tortillas
Cover chicken with water and salt. Boil until done and remove to cool. Saute onions. Put onions and remaining ingredients except tortillas in chicken broth. Continue to cook. Pull chicken into small pieces and put back in pot. Cut tortillas into 1″ squares. Add to soup. Simmer several hours. May need to add water. This is very thick. This recipe is a pass-along recipe provided by Treasia Bennett.

Peach Apple Salsa Recipe

canning jars filled with peach salsa

This unusual salsa was recently served at the Chilton Research and Extension Center’s annual Farm, Home and Wildlife Expo where it was well received. The recipe was adapted from the National Center for Food Preservation’s Peach Apple Salsa recipe.

  • 6 c. chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 c. diced yellow onions
  • 2 c. chopped green bell peppers
  • 10 c. chopped hard, unripe peaches
  • 2 c. chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 4 T. mixed pickling spice*
  • 1 T. canning salt*
  • 2 t. crushed red pepper flakes*
  • 3 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. cider vinegar(5%)

* May substitute 2 T. Mrs Wages Spicy Pickle Mix
and 3 T. Mrs Wages Salsa Mix for the * ingredients.


  1. Wash and rinse pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Place pickling spice on a clean, double-layered 6 inch square piece of cheesecloth. Bring corners together and tie with a clean string. (Or use a purchased muslin spice bag.)
  3. Wash and peel tomatoes (place washed tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute, immediately place in cold water, and slip off skins). Chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel, wash and dice onions into 1/4 inch pieces. Wash, core, and seed bell peppers; chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Combine chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers in an 8 or 10 quart Dutch oven or saucepan.
  4. Wash, peel and pit peaches; cut into halves and soak for 10 minutes in ascorbic acid solution. Wash, peel and core apples; cut into halves and soak 10 minutes in ascorbic acid solution. Quickly chop peaches and apples into 1/2 inch cubes to prevent browning. Add chopped peaches and apples to saucepan with the vegetables.
  5. Add the pickling spice bag to the sauce pan; stir in the salt, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to boiling, stirring gently to mix ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice bag from pan and discard.
  6. With a slotted spoon, dip salsa solids into hot, clean pint jars, leaving 1/1/4 inch headspace. Cover with cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  7. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; apply two piece metal canning lids.
  8. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations below. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.
  9. Process time for hot pack pint jars by altitude: 0-1000 ft.–  15 minutes; 1001-6000 ft.-20 minutes; above 6000 ft.–25 minutes.

Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia, Athens. Thanks to Christy Mendoza, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Regional Extension Agent for the spice substitutions. 

Peach Upside Down Bundt Cake

winner of Peach Cook off

Master Gardener Sarah Saunders used this recipe to win the recent Chilton County Peach Cookoff.

3 c. fresh Chilton County peaches, peeled and sliced in equal pieces
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
Maraschino cherries for top, if desired

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place melted butter in the bottom of the pan and swirl to cover bottom. Sprinkle in brown sugar over the butter. Place sliced peaches on top of the brown sugar using the design of the pan to space them. Maraschino cherries are placed between peaches.  This will be the design when turned out of the pan. Set aside and mix up your cake batter.  In a mixing bowl cream together softened butter and sugar until smooth.  Add eggs and sour cream.  Continue to beat until mixture is thoroughly mixed.  Add vanilla and baking soda and mix in completely.  Now add in flour and mix just until combined.  Pour or spoon this mixture evenly  over the peaches and even out the top.

Bake for 45-60 minutes.  Check after 40 minutes.  When a toothpick comes out clean, it is done.  Let sit 3 minutes, and then turn out on to a cake plate and ENJOY! 

Sarah Saunders’ award winning Peach Upside Down Bundt Cake was adapted from Peach Upside Down Bundt Cake

Strawberry Pie

When strawberries are in season and available locally  it is time for a Strawberry Pie. So head out to a U-Pick, Farmer’s Market or grocery store and get some yummy strawberries.
Strawberry Pie

  • 1 baked pie shell
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 T. cornstarch or flour
  • 4 T. dry strawberry gelatin
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries,(Chilton County Strawberries!)

Mix dry ingredients; add boiling water, bring to a boil. Chill until cool. Add whole or sliced strawberries. Pour into baked pie shell and chill several hours. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Recipe and picture posted with permission of Trisha Williams