Cowboy Cooking

In Loving Memory of the ‘Yellow House Grandma’


This article is dedicated to ‘Yellow House Grandma’ and all of her children.


This is a collection of recipes. Not just any recipes, mind you-but the best damn recipes you’ve ever had! These are some of the cowboy-inspired things that Grandma cooked for us over the years. I have taken the liberty of adding a few other recipes as well. Some of them are things we made that Grandma liked and others are contributions from some of you.

The idea for Grandma’s cook book came to me during a visit with Vicki in 2005. She had made Slumgullion one evening for dinner and someone at the table made the comment along the lines of ‘What are we gonna do when you’re gone grandma? We’ll never have slumgullion again!’ This thought had never occurred to me before and I immediately set out to prevent the extinction of slumgullion and other recipes in like kind. I bought a composition book and from that day on-anytime we were together with Vicki, I would write down how to make whatever it was she was making that day.

I think it is fair to say that Grandma was loved for many reasons. But let’s be honest guys-we all know it was her cooking that we loved best. Part of that was probably encouraged by Vicki herself. She loved to cook almost as much as she loved to fish. She enjoyed serving and she liked the fact that she was recognized and praised as a ‘good cook’.

Please bear in mind in your preparation that Vicki did not often use measurements and a lot of her ingredients and seasoning were to taste.

My hope for this collection of recipes is that it will simply be used. Perhaps sitting down with our children and our children’s children many years from now, we’ll be eating something we learned to cook through Vicki’s good grace and we’ll think of her and smile.


Thanks first and foremost to Vicki Lynn Dyson Mallory, for her selfless acts of love and kindness, not only to family and friends but to perfect strangers that she always made sure never stayed strangers for long. I loved that about you. We miss you so much!

Secondly, to all of those who helped assemble this collection of our favorite Grandma foods.

Note to the Reader

A copy of this book has been given to all of Vicki’s children, grandchildren and various other family members and friends.

To all of those in possession of this book, use it, share it and remember what it was like to sit in the Coca-Cola kitchen in the little yellow house on Truman Street in Odessa while Vicki cut, chopped, sliced, peeled and cooked her signature dishes.

Also, remember this is Grandma’s cooking, so a lot of the measurements and ingredients are approximated and seasoning is to taste. Don’t be afraid to put your ‘drawers’ in it. Enjoy!




Canned foods-

  • Refried beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato juice
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Crm of chkn soup
  • Evaporated milk
  • Rotel or Pace

Dry Goods/Spices-

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Spaghetti
  • Macaroni
  • Baking powder
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Tortillas


  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter


  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Chicken
  • Ground beef
  • Round steak


  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Green peppers
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes


  • Liquid smoke
  • Cooking oil


Thanksgiving was always one of Vicki’s favorite holidays because it was a time of family. No matter what the strain on relationships throughout the year, we would always come together on Thanksgiving and just be a family. Anytime there was a gathering of that sort, whether for Turkey on Thanksgiving or Ham at Christmas, Vicki’s Cornbread Dressing was a must have. So was her Giblet Gravy, Fruit Salad and of course the infamous Green _ _ _ _!

Cornbread Dressing

Prepare cornbread the day before according to package directions.

*For a large thanksgiving size roasting pan use 4-6 pkgs.

Break up the corn bread and leave out overnight to dry out

Mix in the following:

  • Diced green onions
  • Chopped celery
  • Chicken broth
  • Poultry seasoning
  • 5 Raw eggs mixed in the broth

Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1 ½ hrs, stirring every 10-15 minutes, adding more broth if needed to keep moist. Do not stir the last 30 minutes or so to allow the dressing to set.

Giblet Gravy

Boil giblets in chicken broth, then cut the giblets up in small pieces and place back in broth.

Add a can of cream of chicken soup and several boiled eggs, peeled and diced.

Allow mixture to cool completely before adding the flour paste

Mix a little flour and water separately until it makes a paste. Slowly stir in paste to giblet mixture.

Cook on low until warm, adding more paste to perfect consistency to taste.

Green S#@&!

  • Large container of Cool whip
  • 2 cans of crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 bag of colored marshmallows
  • 2 large pkgs. of pistachio pudding
  • chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix all in large bowl, keep cool till time to serve

Fruit Salad

Use fruit fresh liberally to keep fruit from discoloring

  • 2 diced apples with skin, throw out the seeds
  • 2-3 bananas sliced and halved
  • 2 oranges, peeled and diced, throw out the seeds
  • 1 bottle of maraschino cherries
  • ½ bag of shredded coconut
  • ½ bag of small marshmallows

mix all together in a large bowl

sprinkle ½ cup of sugar over the top of the fruit mixture, stir together and let it stand, place in the fridge to keep it cool until it is time to eat.

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner always consisted of Turkey or Ham or both, dressing, gravy, fruit salad, green _ _ _ _, mashed potatos, corn and don’t forget the brown and serve rolls! Vicki loved pumpkin pie and/or cake to top it off. Our Thanksgivings will never be the same with out her.

Swiss Steak

  • 1-2 lbs round steak, sliced in strips
  • green pepper, sliced, throw out the seeds
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of garlic powder
  • ½ cup of water

place everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for about 5 hrs.

Vicki ALWAYS served Swiss steak with Pea Salad.

Pea Salad

  • 1 can of peas, drained
  • 2 boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • chopped lettuce
  • diced tomato
  • diced cheddar cheese (you can use shredded cheese if that’s all you have.)
  • 2tblsp. of mayonnaise

Mix together, refrigerate to keep cool


***Vicki was adamant that this NOT be cooked in a crock pot or slow cooker***

stew meat and the following:

  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • celery
  • onion
  • 1 bag of frozen okra
  • 1can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • water

Cook all in a large pot on the STOVE until boiling. Turn down heat and let the stew simmer for 2 ½-3 hrs.

Add a handful or two of macaroni the last 30 minutes of simmer


Exactly as the Stew recipe except you use ground beef rather than stew meat and throw in a handful or two of macaroni.


The story goes that one day when they were all still kids, Jan came home from football practice starving hungry. He took all the canned food in the cabinet at the time, some ground beef, macaroni and veggies and mixed it together and so the story goes…’Invention’ was born.

  • Can of chili with no beans
  • Can of refried beans
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Can of tomato sauce
  • About 1 lb of ground beef
  • A handful of macaroni
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced Tomato
  • Rotel or Pace
  • Diced Onion
  • Shredded cheese

Brown the meat, add all the canned ingredients and the macaroni. Let simmer until it gets thick. Fry the corn tortillas and blot with a paper towel to absorb most of the grease. Spoon the mixture over a tortilla and top with the veggies and cheese. Yummy!


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (1 ½ cans in the mix, ½ can on top)
  • Diced Onion and Bell pepper
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • 1 pkg of saltines and a handful of crunched fritos
  • 1 handful of cooked white rice
  • 1 raw egg

Mix everything together except the ½ can of tomato sauce. Form small individual loaves by the handful and place on large baking pan. Top with remaining tomoto sauce and cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes at 350. If you do one large loaf instead of the smaller ones you will need to bake it longer, probably about an hour.

Grandma’s Tacos

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 can corned beef
  • 1 pkg. corn tortillas (24 ct.)
  • cooking oil about a ¼ inch deep in a large frying pan
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • shredded cheese
  • picante sauce

Mix ground beef and corned beef together. Put one palm full of the meat mixture onto one half of as many corn tortillas as you can with the meat mixture available. Heat your oil until hot. Fry the tacos by gently creasing in the middle and touching that part to the grease until it begins to bubble, then gently lay the taco over with the meat side facing down in the hot grease. Be careful of hot grease splashing up on you. Fry each taco for about two minutes. Keep in mind that the meat mixture may still appear a little pink-that’s the corned beef mixed in, not because it’s not cooked through. Top with fixin’s and enjoy!

Beans (prepare the night before!!!)

  • 1 16oz. bag of pinto beans
  • Separate beans and sort out all the bad ones, rocks included!
  • Wash and place in crock pot, cover with water, turn on low
  • Add chili powder to taste
  • 1 12oz. can of tomato juice
  • A dash of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Diced onion, salt and pepper to taste

Cover and cook in crock pot on low overnight and all the following day, should be yummy by supper time.

**add hamburger meat, extra garlic and chili powder for Chili

***You can cook these on the stove instead of the crock pot-on low for about 5hrs, but Vicki always said they were better in the crock pot. I’d trust her if I were you, she knew what she was talkin’ about!

Macaroni and Tomatoes

  • 2-3 handfuls of macaroni shells or elbows
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Splash of fried meat grease (optional)
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce

Bring a pan of water to a boil, add macaroni.

After about 5 minutes, add everything else, cook until macaroni is tender and most of the fluid has evaporated. Do not drain.

This has always puzzled me, just how much is in a pinch? These recipes of dear Grandma’s surely are no cinch. A “snip” of this, a “dab” of that, a “lump” of something else, Then “beat it for a little while”, or, “stir until it melts.”I’d have to be a wizard to decipher what she meant, by all these strange proportions in her cookbook worn and bent. How much nutmeg in the doughnuts? Grandma wouldn’t flinch, as she said, with twinkling eyes, “Oh, just about a pinch.”There must have been, in her wise head a measuring device, That told her just how much to use of sugar, salt and spice. However she accomplished it, her food was always good and she graciously shared her recipes with her adoring brood.

Bean Pot Pie (Ricky Don’s favorite!)

Use left over beans….

  • Add about 1 lb. raw hamburger meat to beans and bring to a boil
  • Add a handful of macaroni
  • Add a small can of tomato sauce

Pour bean mixture into a large 13×9 pan

Prepare cornbread mix by package directions and pour over beans

Place in the oven, cook according to cornbread mix instructions, may take a little longer than package says. Test with the toothpick to be sure cornbread is done.

Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and enjoy!

Boiled Ham

Use a Country Ham or Shoulder Ham with the bone, place in large pot with water ¾ full.

Boil for about 2 hours, turn Ham over and continue boiling for 2-2 ½ hours, add a little water if needed.

Baked Ham

Smoke for 10 or 12 hours, then bake in the oven on 200 degrees, covered with tin foil overnight.

*you can do turkey the same as baked ham above

Mmmmm Mmmmm good!

Fajitas (pronounced with the ‘Jj’ not the ‘h’ sound)

  • 2 or 3 chicken breast, cut in strips or 1 ½ lbs round steak, cut into strips*
  • 1 medium bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • Scoop of butter
  • 1 ½ tsp liquid smoke (this is a vital ingredient-if you leave this out, they won’t taste right!)
  • Fajita seasoning to taste

Put all ingredients in a deep pan and let simmer for about 45 mins to one hour

Serve with tortillas, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc…


  • 3 avocados, peeled and cored
  • ½ pkg of cream cheese
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Picante sauce to taste

Smash it up real good

Stuffed Peppers

Ground beef mixture for meatloaf

3 large green bell peppers cut in half and de-seeded

Boil peppers for 10-15 minutes, drain and dry

Place dry pepper halves on cookie sheet

Stuff with meatloaf mixture

Bake at about 350 degrees until meat mixture is done

Cream Potatoes

Peel and dice about 5-6 potatoes

Cover with water and bring to a boil

Once potatoes are tender (rounded corners)and most of the water is evaporated:

Add 1 can of evaporated milk and a scoop of butter

Smash them up real good

*Do not drain the water

Potato Soup

Peel and dice 6-8 large potatoes

Cover with water and boil

Once potatoes are tender, add the following:

  • 2 scoops of butter
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • Diced, cubed or shredded ham

Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes

Serve over cornbread with salt and pepper to taste and plenty of shredded cheese

Cowboy Spaghetti

Brown 1 to 1 ½ lbs of ground beef

Let beef simmer with diced green pepper, diced tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 1 envelope of spagetti sauce mix, a dash of garlic powder and a dash of chili powder

Cook spagetti according to package, drain and add sauce mixture-wha la!

Broccoli Casserole

Frozen broccoli-cook as package directs

Mix in 1 can of cheese soup and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Add about 2 cups of cooked rice

Bake for 20 minutes (your guess at the temperature is as good as mine)

Potato Puffs

Mashed potatoes, whipped real good

Add a pinch or two of baking powder

Drop by spoonfuls into hot cooking oil

Fry until golden brown

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken cut up in chunks; boil until cooked through-do not drain

Add 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes

Mix Bisquick as package directs for biscuits

Add about ¼ cup of milk to chicken and drop Bisquick into boiling chicken by the spoonful. Let it simmer until it thickens like gravy

West Texas Taco Casserole

Brown about 1 ½ lbs. ground beef

Stir in 1 pkg. of taco seasoning

Add one pkg. of cooked Spanish rice and a handful of Fritos

Spread meat mixture into a 13×9 pan

Spread a can of refried beans over the top of the meat mixture

Layer a handful of Fritos on top and cover with shredded cheese

Bake until cheese is melted (about 10-15 minutes at 350)


Brown 1 lb of ground beef

Add 1 pkg of taco seasoning, 1 can of refried beans and 1 pkg of cooked Spanish rice and diced onion

Spoon into flour tortillas and top with shredded cheese

Fried Chicken

Cut up whole chicken

Cover with flour, salt and pepper

Fry in vegetable oil on low about 15 minutes on each side

Sprinkle with season salt

Dallas Flat Enchiladas

Brown 1 lb of ground beef

Add 1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Add 1 small can of diced green chiles

Mix and let simmer on low

Cover cookie sheets with tin foil

Fry corn tortillas in hot oil

Blot with a paper towel to remove most of the extra grease

Lay each tortilla flat on the cookie sheets

Spoon meat mixture onto each tortilla

Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Cover with a 2nd tortilla

Sprinkle more cheese on top

Bake until the cheese melts

Lone Star Pizza Casserole

  • 1 pkg of Italian sausage
  • 1 lb of ground beef

Combine both meats and brown

Add 1 can of Italian style tomato sauce

Add handful of cooked macaroni

Spread mixture into a 13×9 pan

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top

Bake until cheese melts at 350

Enchilada Casserole

Boil and shred about 1 ½ lbs of chicken

Add 1 can of cream of chicken soup

Fry corn tortillas in hot oil

Blot tortillas with a paper towel to remove the extra grease

Cut the cooked tortillas in quarters

Layer in a 13×9 pan as follows: Tortillas, Chicken mixture, Shredded cheese

Repeat layer

Cover with any remaining tortilla quarter pieces

Top with additional shredded cheese

Bake at 350 until cheese melts

Well uuh…

Vicki loved to fish! She loved kids and it didn’t matter whose they were-especially babies. She loved the color purple-the actual color and the movie with Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg. She wanted to marry Sam Elliott. She thought Steven Segal was hot! One of her favorite all time movies was ‘Braveheart’ with Mel Gibson. She never met a stranger. She believed in God and Angels. She was everybody’s friend. She loved to do crafts and cook. She had a huge heart and was very generous. She would never leave the house without her face on! She had a good sense of humor. She was a patriot and loved Texas and the Dallas Cowboys. She loved playing LOTTO and BINGO. She was loyal and valued family more than anything else. She was great! She was loved and she is missed.