Tater Soup with Egg Dumplings Chicken and Mushroom Stew Green Chile Corn Muffins Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Happy New Year folks! Ah yes, another great year to look forward to! Seems like every year the music season starts a little bit earlier than the year before. This year we can all look forward to lots of good Festivals jam packed with great music, jammin' and lots of good vittles! They go together jes' like Lester 'n Earl, don' they? Our 5th Annual Gospel Show starts things rolling on the 24th of this month at the First Baptist Church in Fair Oaks, California. Then in February it's off to the President's Day Festival in Sebastopol, California featuring Rhonda Vincent & the Rage! Wow! That'll be on Valentine's Day, February 14th. Then in March we can all head down to Parker, Arizona to the Bluegrass on the River Festival, March 5-7th. Then its over to Paso Robles, California in April for the Mid-State Bluegrass Festival at the Mid-State Fairgrounds (April 30, May 1 and 2). (Oh yes, I almost forgot the Blythe, California Festival on January 16 to 18.) And then come June its our 29th Annual Father's Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley! Whew! Gets me out of breath jes' writing about it! But, as I once heard Bill Monroe say, "You jes' can't have too much Bluegrass!" Amen to that, Bill! Well, it's a beautiful, sunny morning her on the mountain today. It snowed a little last week, then it rained for three days, so all of the cold white stuff is gone. (You don't have to shovel rain!) However, it's been colder 'n a Coot's belly every night and the ice is at least a half-inch thick every morning. But, as my ol pickin' partner Vern Williams says, "There ain't a fly in sight!" I've got a big fire goin' in the fireplace, so come on in here, pour yourself a cup of Cowboy Coffee out of my big speckled coffee pot there on the stove, pull up a chair and we'll "made medicine" over some vittle fixin's. Wintertime is the time of year that I enjoy fixing big pots of soup or stew. They last for several meals, a definite plus, and you can change the character of them by adding different ingredients during the week. Any left over veggies or meats can be cut up and added to the pot. Simply add more water or broth to make up the liquid! Its kind of like the proverbial "soup pot" of the French Kitchen, where the soup pot is refurbished every day with leftovers from each meal. The best soup I ever made was about 25 years ago. I started off with a big pot of Onion soup I made one weekend. By the next weekend it was totally different and the best tasting soup I've ever made. For the life of me, I can't remember what the heck I put in it! With the slow cookers (crock pots) we have available today, it's a snap to fix some good homemade soup. There's nothing like coming in on a cold winter's night to a big bowl of hot soup or stew along with some hot biscuits or cornbread for supper! Here's some of my favorite recipes that make good winter's supper feel like you're eating at "The Ritz"! Here's one I got from somewhere in the last 40 years: Tater Soup with Egg Dumplings Tater Soup with Egg Dumplings Broth: 4 cups sliced, raw taters (potatoes) 1 medium onion, diced 4 TBSP butter 1 quart water 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. Pepper Put everything in a heavy pot; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are about tender. Egg Dumplings: 1 large egg 1 cup flour 1/4 tsp. salt 1 can evaporated milk Beat egg in large bowl; add flour and salt and mix well. Bring the soup to a boil. Add small bits of dumpling batter with a fork, about the size of a dime, until all the batter is used. Cover, turn down and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add the can of evaporated milk, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and serve. Folks, it don't get no better than this! After a big bait of this soup, you'll sleep like an old hound dog a lying in front of the fireplace! Here's a recipe that I've been fixing for the last two or three winters. It's easy to fix and you cook it in your crock-pot while you're off to work. When you come home all you have to do is boil up some rice to go with it and faster 'n a gray squirrel can climb a pine tree, you've got supper ready! Chicken and Mushroom Stew 4 boneless, skinned Chicken breasts Salt and pepper to taste 1 10-oz. can of Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Soup 1 8-oz. pkg. Medium White Mushrooms 1 cup baby-cut Carrot 2 Celery ribs, chopped Stir together the soup and half a can of water. Cut chicken into 2-inch chunks, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken in crock-pot and add soup mix. Add the carrots, mushrooms and celery and stir gently. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with hot rice if desired. This dish is wonderful over egg noodles too, or served with a salad and hot garlic bread. Add a bottle of good wine and you're got the world on a string! Every country boy worth anything knows that you've just got to have some kind of hot, home cooked bread of some kind whenever you have soup or stew for supper! My momma used to fry up what she called "corn fritters." They were basically cornbread hotcakes, made with a thin cornbread batter that she fried like hot cakes, and then you buttered 'em, rolled 'em up and wolfed 'em down with your soup or stew. Fit for a king! Next month I'll feature her recipe for "Corn Fritters," but this month here's one that will you'd slap yer granny for! They're as easy to fix as fallin' off a peeled foot log over ol' Piney Creek and you know they're good, 'cause they're made with Martha White cornbread mix! Green Chile Corn Muffins 1 egg, beaten 1-cup milk 2 6-oz. pkgs. Martha White Cotton Pickin' Cornbread or Buttermilk Cornbread Mix 1 4.5-oz. can of chopped Green Chiles, undrained 1 cup (4-oz) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese Heat oven to 450ยบ F. Grease muffin pan. Mix everything together in a large bowl. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot. Butter these up and serve with hot soup and you've got a winner every time. These muffins are great for breakfast too! My good friend Ray Edlund gave me a five-pound bag of Martha White Cornbread Mix and I'm sure glad he did. Thanks, Ray. I've enjoyed every tasty morsel and I thank you from the bottom of my tummy! Well folks, that's all for this month's edition of the ol' Bluegrass Kitchen. Meet me here next month by the ol' cook stove and we'll share some more yarns and vittle fixins. Please keep all of our wonderful servicemen and women in your prayers. God bless America and may He grant us all peace and health. Yer friend, J.D. Rhynes

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