Friday, September 8, 2017

Cozy Food Friday

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring 
by Judy Alter

Susan Hogan thinks she’s about to meet her maker when she confronts a rifle-carrying man, who looks like a pig, in a grocery store. Jake investigates the body of a young college student, shot in the back and found in an empty pasture. Aunt Jenny showers love on the new puppy a young man from the grocery gave her but she has to get rid of that heavy collar. What is going on in Oak Grove?

Susan is associate professor of English at Oak Grove (Texas) University; her partner, Jake, is chief of campus security. Trouble in Oak Grove begins with the open-carry protestors in the store and leads to a shooting, breaking and entering, threats and an attempted kidnapping, a clandestine trip to the woods late at night. Will Susan Hogan land in trouble…or the hospital…again? Will Susan and Jake survive this as a couple? Susan is still prickly but she learns some lessons about life, love, and herself in this second Oak Grove Mystery.

About Judy

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. With the Blue Plate Café Mysteries, she turned her attention from inner-city Fort Worth to a fictional small town in East Texas. And with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press, the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth.


On to the recipe!

Susan Hogan is no cook. She’s engaging and stimulating in the college classroom, a loyal and true friend, and a tireless seeker of truth and justice—the latter much to Jake’s dismay. But she’s no cook. Her partner, Jake, is great at the grill, does a mean chicken piccata, and can even make hollandaise sauce. But for comfort food, these two turn to Susan’s Aunt Jenny, a delightful, slightly ditsy lady who came to Oak Grove to protect Susan when she was accused of murder. It never occurred to Aunt Jenny that she was more worry than help. She found herself a suitor in Judge John Jackson and decided to stay in town.

When Jake is released from the hospital, after being shot, the first meal he requests is Aunt Jenny’s meat loaf, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes. The good lady puts the soup pot on whenever she hears of illness or tragedy in the community, and she feeds those close to her everything from roast chicken and pot roast to King Ranch chicken. Doris’ casserole is not yet in her cookbook, but it’s her kind of food. I must remember to give her the recipe in the next book. I got it from a late, great friend named Doris. Another friend who shares the recipe calls it American lasagna.

Doris' Casserole
Casserole photos courtesy of Judy Alter
First layer:
1 lb. ground beef
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed in garlic press
1 tsp each sugar and salt (Sugar is important in tomato-based sauces—my mom taught me years ago it sort of rounds it off.)
Pepper to taste
   Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain grease and return to skillet. 
   Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. 
   Simmer 20 minutes, until it thickens a little.
   Spread in a 9 x 13 pan.

For noodle layer:
5 oz. (approximately—they don’t come in this size pkg.) egg noodles
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese (here again, you have to fudge; cream cheese doesn’t come in 3 oz. pkg. anymore)
1 c. sour cream
6 green onions chopped, with some of the tops included
1-1/2 c. grated cheddar
   Cook egg noodles and drain. While the noodles are hot, stir in cream cheese, sour cream, and green onions. 
   Spread evenly over meat mixture. 
   Top with grated cheddar, bake 35 minutes at 350 or until bubbly and cheese is slightly browned.
   Leftovers, if any, freeze well. Feeds six, if they’re not hearty eaters.

Wouldn't this be a wonderful dish on a chilly Fall evening? I may have to make this one soon! 


Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are also from


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings

Susan Hogan thought she was going to meet her maker that March day. Her first thought was irreverent. “Really, God? In a grocery store in Oak Grove? Have you got this wrong somehow?”

My 56

Once they were outside and before she could explode in anger, the judge said, “Very clever. You had your phone number all ready to give her.” 

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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  1. Thanks, Lisa. The recipe sounds yummy! Happy Friday.

  2. Sounds like a good read. The recipe looks yummy. Happy Friday!

  3. Hmm... that title grabbed my attention. I'm thinking this book might surprise me. That casserole is making me hungry. LOL

    My Friday 56 from Between A Ghost And A Spooky Place

  4. What fun! I love cozies and delicious food, so how can I miss? Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

  5. That does sound like a great winter recipe. The book sounds good too. I'm reading All the Secret Places by Anna Carlyle this week. Happy reading!

  6. That beginning made me laugh.... sounds like a fun read. Happy weekend!

  7. This book sounds really interesting and that recipe sounds so delicious!

  8. Sounds like such an interesting concept for a book. I love your recipe and I hope that you enjoy the rest of the story. :)

  9. Thanks for reading and checking in, you all. I'm here to testify the recipe is really good. I make one batch for four people, and we usually have only a little left over. I have a friend who calls it American lasagna, and it sort of is. Another friend insisted it was upside-down and the meat layer should go on top--I finally helped her see the error of her ways.

  10. The book and series sound like a lot of fun! And that casserole sounds delicious! I want to make it the first cool autumn day.

    Thanks for joining in on BBOF!

  11. What an interesting premise! Sounds like something I might like. I will definitely be on the look out for this one. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Sounds so entertaining. And the recipe looks good too - I'll have to try it.