Country Recipes for the Perfect Meal

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Homemade sausage combined with scrambled eggs yields a delicious breakfast burrito.
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The combinations are endless for a homemade deep-dish pizza.
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Corn bread baked on top of a hearty beef stew may become a winter family favorite.
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Sweet Butter Rolls are perfect for breakfast or an after-dinner dessert.
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Yummy Pizza Burgers warm the hearts and tummies of everyone at the table.
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Putting up Tomato Preserves is worth the effort.

A cook’s quest for the perfect meal to set before the family can involve a lot of country recipes and recipe cards. Would a breakfast item fit the bill? How about something along the lines of stew or pizza? Does the menu need a sweet starch to finish off dinner or to anchor breakfast? A sweet topping for a fresh loaf of bread?

Any and all of these items come to mind, and our readers have requested help locating recipes for every dish on the list.

An excellent addition to your next breakfast feast is homemade sausage. A reader remembers her grandmother’s efforts to create the perfect pork sausage, and we have a couple of recipes for you to try.

Beef stew and cornbread, two wonderful comfort foods, complement each other to the delight of families everywhere, and a can of beef stew makes the dish easy to prepare.

Deep-dish pizza or pizza burgers? No matter which you choose, your family will love it.

Sunday brunch might be the right place to serve Butter Rolls, a sweet variation on a favorite treat. And gardeners everywhere wonder what to do with all those extra tomatoes each summer; tomato preserves, anyone?

We hope you enjoy each and every recipe. Remember, if you’re looking for a recipe, just let us know. We collect the responses to each request, publish one or two, then send the entire file of recipes to the person making the request.

Thank you for making Recipe Box a success for many, many years! 

Breakfast Sausage

Lori Glawe, Roscoe, Illinois, requests a recipe for homemade pork breakfast sausage. “My grandmother used to make this sausage. All I remember is that she ground her own pork and added sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I think there were other spices and other ingredients. She would fry small pieces to taste to make sure the seasonings were right.”

Alan Easley, Columbia, Missouri, sends his grandfather’s recipe, saying, “My grandpap’s recipe dates back to the late 1800s.” His grandfather was Edward E. Easley Sr.

Pork Sausage Seasoning 

2/3 cup salt
1/2 cup black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sage
3 gallons ground meat 
Combine spices; mix well. Add to ground meat and mix thoroughly. 

Sherry Casto, Ripley, West Virginia, sends another recipe.

Homemade Bag Sausage 

2 pounds lean pork
1/4 pound fat salt pork
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
1 teaspoon powdered sage
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
Ask butcher to grind lean pork with salt pork. Add spices; mix thoroughly.
Make into patties. These may be precooked, cooled, packaged and frozen for later use, or rolled, wrapped well and used as desired.
Fry patties in skillet, 8 to 10 minutes on each side; sausage should never be undercooked. Pour off fat as it accumulates. 

One-Dish Stew and Cornbread

Julia Butler, Charleston, Missouri, recalls a one-dish recipe baked in the oven, with cans of beef stew and cornbread baked on top.

Ophelia Williams, Lyles, Tennessee, sends this version, saying she often uses a cornmeal muffin mix on top, with the cheese.

Cornbread Stew

1 can (1 1/2 pounds) beef stew
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onions or chopped green pepper 
Heat oven to 425°F. Pour stew into 2-quart baking dish; set aside.
In mixing bowl, beat egg. Add oil, milk and cornmeal; mix thoroughly. Stir in cheese and onion. Pour over stew; do not stir.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until bread topping is golden brown.
Note: For a thinner topping, use the 2 1/2-pound can of stew.
Variations: South of the Border – add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder to batter; Savory – stir 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper into stew before baking. 

Eleanor Ricci, Miami, sends a version with a biscuit topping, rather than cornbread.

Batter Up Beef Pie 

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup (4-ounce package) grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 can (1 1/2 pounds) beef stew 
Heat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in bottom of 8-inch-square baking dish in oven.
In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, milk, cheese, onion and sugar. Stir until blended.
Pour over melted butter. Pour beef stew over batter. Do not stir.
Bake 60 to 65 minutes.
*When using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt. 

Deep-Dish Pizza

Ray Mannor, Jefferson, Georgia, remembers a recipe for Deep-Dish Pizza from Grit back in the 1980s.

Sarah Vaughan, Waterville, Maine, sent a couple of versions including this one from the website,

Deep-Dish Pizza

1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce or 1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
Optional additions: 1 small green pepper, pepperoni, sausage, olives 
Heat oven to 425°F. Grease bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish; set aside.
Prepare pizza dough. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in oil and flour. Mix together until smooth and let rise about 5 minutes.
In skillet, cook ground beef and onion; drain.
In bowl, mix together tomato sauce, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Press dough into bottom and halfway up sides of prepared dish. Sprinkle ground beef over dough. Spoon tomato mixture over top of beef and sprinkle with cheese. Add desired toppings.
Bake 25 minutes. 

Pizza Burgers

Charlene Clark, West Lafayette, Indiana, remembers the pizza burgers prepared by the cooks at her elementary school in Clarks Hill, Indiana. It was prepared with spiced lunchmeat as one of the ingredients, and she hopes someone has a similar recipe to share.

Several readers sent recipes, all with a slight twist. From Donna Greene, Galena, Illinois, comes this version with pickle and pimento loaf. She says, “A family favorite, they’re delicious.”

Pizza Burgers

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1/2 bottle spaghetti sauce or 1 envelope Italian-style spaghetti sauce mix (which needs 2 tablespoons shortening or oil, 1 6-ounce can tomato paste and 1 3/4 cups cold water)
4 thin slices pickle and pimento loaf, cut up
2/3 teaspoons oregano
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 pound cubed American cheese 
In large skillet, brown hamburger; drain.
Prepare spaghetti sauce, if using.
Add lunchmeat and spices to hamburger, then add sauce and let simmer.
Halve hamburger buns, place on cookie sheet. Start broiler.
Add cheese to hamburger mixture; mix well. Don’t let cheese melt entirely.
Spoon mixture onto buns. Broil until brown. 

Marilyn Hense, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, sends this version.

Pizza Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
3/4 pound ground cheese (Velveeta and longhorn)
1 pound ground lunchmeat (bologna)
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/4 can (No. 10) spaghetti sauce
1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
In large skillet, brown ground beef. Stir in remaining ingredients; simmer until cheese melts.
Spread on open buns, sprinkle with grated cheese and toast in oven. Serve hot.
Yields 75 half-bun servings. 

Leona Krentz, Backus, Minnesota, sends a slightly different recipe.

Pizza Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can Spam, ground or shredded
3/4 pound American cheese
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese
2 cans (10 ounces each) pizza sauce (approximately 3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano 
In large skillet, brown beef and onion. Drain and let cool.
In large container, combine all ingredients. (Leona uses an ice-cream bucket.)
Place halves of buns on cookie sheet. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons beef mixture onto buns. Place in 350°F oven, and heat until cheese is melted.
Note: Beef mixture freezes well. 

Butter Rolls

Ron Gaskins, Arlington Heights, Illinois, remembers a butter roll a neighbor used to make back in the 1950s. He says the rolls were a dessert, with butter in the dough and sugar both in the dough and sprinkled on top. They were similar to a sweet scone but with a smooth yeast texture.

Lana Polk, Birmingham, Alabama, writes, “I also searched for such a recipe for many years, since it was a much-loved dessert that my grandmother and mother used to make. Their recipes have been lost, but this is one I found a few years ago that is very similar.”

Butter Rolls

2 cups flour
Pinch salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom of baking dish with butter; set aside.
In large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and water. Do not overwork dough.
Roll out on floured surface to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Dot dough with butter.
Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle dough with 6 tablespoons of sugar mixture. Carefully lift edge of dough and roll it into a 2-inch log. Cut roll into 3-inch lengths; place rolls in prepared baking dish.
In small saucepan, combine milk, vanilla and 4 tablespoons sugar mixture; on low heat, heat to almost boiling.
Sprinkle remaining dry sugar mixture on top of rolls. Using remaining butter, dot tops of rolls. Pour milk mixture over rolls. Bake 30-40 minutes. 

Lou Ann Everett, Canton, Texas, sends a recipe she received from her fourth-grade teacher, just after World War II.

Butter Rolls

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter-flavored shortening (Lou Ann uses Crisco)
Ice water (slightly more than when making pie crust)
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
4 capfuls vanilla (about 2 teaspoons, when using a small bottle), divided
Butter, divided
Nutmeg, divided
Boiling water
1 cup heated milk 
In large bowl, combine flour, salt, shortening and ice water. Mix as for pie crust; chill. Divide into 2 equal parts; roll each half as for pie crust.
On each half, place 2/3 cup sugar, 2 capfuls vanilla and generous pats of butter (about the size of a pecan and placed about 1 1/2 inches apart).
Roll up and place in baking dish; sprinkle nutmeg on top. Pour boiling water around rolls (use enough water to fill baking dish with rolls to half full).
Bake until brown. Pour hot milk around rolls and bake until mixed with other liquid. 

Tomato Preserves

Marlys Reddemann, Andrews, North Carolina, hopes someone has instructions to make tomato preserves.

Betty Quinn, Knoxville, Illinois, sends recipe she found in a 1948 Watkins Cookbook.

Tomato Preserves

1 pound yellow pear tomatoes
1 pound sugar
2 ounces preserved ginger, cut into small pieces
2 lemons, sliced thin 
Place tomatoes in large container; pour boiling water over tomatoes to help remove skins. Remove skins. Add sugar; let stand overnight.
In morning, pour syrup into large saucepan. Boil until quite thick; skim.
Add tomatoes, ginger and lemon slices. Boil until tomatoes are clear.
Serve immediately, or fill sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims, adjusted two-piece canning lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes for half-pint or pint jars (at 0 to 1,000 feet altitude). For altitudes of 1,000 to 6,000 feet, process 10 minutes; for altitudes above 6,000 feet, process 15 minutes. 

Sylvia Jones, Shoals, Indiana, sends a recipe for a larger amount. “I used to make this for my older brother all the time,” Sylvia says.

Tomato Preserves

6 pounds green tomatoes
2 pounds red tomatoes
5 pounds sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3 lemons, peeled and sliced 
Scald tomatoes, peel and cut into quarters. Add sugar, cloves and lemons.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and slowly cook until mixture is thick.
Fill sterilized pint jars and seal. 


  • Joyce Hill, Nashua, Montana, has a wonderful recipe for syrup, which calls for “tartaric acid (granular food-grade baker chemical).” Does anyone know of a source?
  • Wilda Harris, Paragould, Arkansas, is looking for a recipe for a coconut pie that makes its own crust.
  • Mary Arnold, Ruidoso, New Mexico, used to make rice pudding using a recipe from the back of an Uncle Ben’s Rice box. She says it was rich and creamy, and it was made with half-and-half or heavy cream. The recipe has been lost, and she’s hoping someone has one to share.
  • Sue Haas, Springfield, Missouri, hopes someone has a recipe for rice cakes made with cooked rice, shaped into patties, then browned in a skillet. They are served with butter and syrup.
  • Charlotte Carter, Spearfish, South Dakota, is looking for a Cream Can Soup recipe. She says the ingredients are layered in a cream can, and a potato is placed on top. When the potato is done, the entire mixture is ready to eat.
  • Stan Stelter, Bismarck, North Dakota, is searching for a recipe for Red Tuna Chili, which includes tuna, red kidney beans and spices. He thinks he pulled the recipe from Grit in the 1970s.
  • Raymond Branson, Belle, Missouri, is looking for the recipe to make cotton seed cake to use for fishing.
  • Sally Hollingshead, Smolan, Kansas, is looking for a recipe for funnel cakes that are sold at fairs. The fried cakes have powdered sugar sprinkled on them. 

If you’ve been looking for a long-lost recipe, or can provide one, please write to Recipe Box, c/o Grit, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609 or e-mail us at Please include your name, address and daytime phone. Recipes cannot be returned, as they are eventually sent to the person requesting the recipe. Recipe requests and responses will be printed at our discretion and as space allows. Addresses are not printed to allow Grit the opportunity to publish recipes before sending them on to the requesting party.