Beginning in December 1991, Shelly Magie Moran gave Lonoke County cooks an open forum for "Sharing the Best." The column became popular and continued for nearly 10 years until she moved to northwest Arkansas at Siloam Springs. The invitation to local cooks to Share the Best remains open, especially for family favorites handed down between generations or with special stories behind them.

The mailing address included in the column is still good, and anyone without access to the Internet is invited to send in those 3x5 index cards. In fact, handwritten personal notes are preferred - but be sure to print legibly and include a contact phone number.

Of course, email contributions are most welcome, being easier to read and block copied. E-mail to, add "Sharing the Best" to the subject line - and include a telephone contact in case a question arises. Including three or four sentences about what makes a recipe special would be nice, too.

- Ed Galucki


June 16, 1993 saw recipes from the Lonoke County Youth Dairy Contest, as well as a few volunteered by friends.

Shelly wrote, "I am always gratified to see kids learning kitchen skills and how to cook. Recently, in recognition of June Dairy Month, contests were held locally for youth statewide to find the best recipes using dairy products in the main dish and party idea divisions. The winning recipes were submitted to the state level for consideration the 35th annual Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest.

"Lonoke County’s winners are Jodi Hicks of Sylvania Servers 4-H Club with Mexican Fiesta Pie, and Erin Behnke of Furlow 4-H Friends with Savory Cheese Tarts…"


Savory Cheese Tarts

Cream Cheese Pastry:

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening

1 3-ounce pkg. cream cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Measure flour and salt into mixing bowl; cut in shortening and cheese thoroughly. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until flour is moistened.

Pinch off small pieces of dough and press into the bottom and up the sides of miniature muffin pan cups.

Trim excess pastry with sharp knife. Prick shells all over with fork.

Bake shells in oven 5 minutes; remove from oven. Lower temperature to 325 degrees.

Cheese Tart filling:

1 small onion (1/4 cup) finely chopped

1 tbsp. butter

3/4 cup dairy sour cream

2 egg yolks

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Saute onion in butter in small skillet until tender. Cool. Combine sour cream, egg yolks, salt pepper, Parmesan cheese, Swiss and Cheddar cheese with onion. Spoon cheese mixture into partly baked shells, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes. Remove pans from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Arrange tarts on serving platter and garnish with pimento-stuffed olives and sprigs of parsley.

Makes about 24 tarts.

— Erin Behnke, Lonoke


Mexican Fiesta Pie

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed

4-oz. can chopped green chiles, drained

1/2 cup pitted ripe olives sliced

2 eggs, beaten

Brown the meat; drain. Add onions, cook until tender. Stir in chili powder, cumin and salt. Add cream cheese, chiles, olives and eggs; mix well. Set aside while preparing crust.

3/4 cup plain flour

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs beaten

1 Tbsp. cornmeal

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Combine flour, milk and eggs, beat until smooth. Pour into greased 10-inch pie plate or quiche dish; sprinkle with cornmeal. Spoon meat mixture over batter to within 1/2 inch of outer edge of the pan. Bake at 400 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Top with tomatoes and cheese, continue baking 5 minutes. (6 to 8 servings)

— Jodi Lyn Hicks, Austin


A friend, , has shared several of her family’s favorite recipes.

Barbecued Beef (or Pork) on Buns

2 small cans tomatoes

2 chopped onions

1 cup vinegar (less, if it’s strong)

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

3 lbs. cubed beef or pork (chuck roast works well)

1/4 sugar

Put tomatoes, onions, vinegar, cloves and meat in a slow cooker and cook until tender. When done, add the sugar and mash with potato masher or food processor. Serve on buns with cabbage slaw and mustard.

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


BBQ Sauce for Chicken

1 stick oleo

Juice of 2 lemons

Pepper to taste

3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

Simmer ingredients together for 15 minutes. Dip skinned chicken in sauce. Grill until done. (Note: I would imagine you can also baste chicken with sauce as it is cooking for added flavor.)

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


Here’s an easy and flavorful dish using Arkansas’ own crop - rice.

Rice Casserole

1 cup white rice

1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix

2 1/2 cups boiling water

1 tbsp. oleo

1 can mushrooms

Mix in oven-proof casserole and bake uncovered 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Add more water if necessary.

(Note: For a variation, Frances uses brown rice and more water)

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


Frances marked this recipe, "SUPER!"

Apple Pie In A Bag

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

8 Winesap apples, peeled and sliced into eighths

unbaked pie shell

Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon, and roll apple slices in mixture. Place coated slices in pie shell. Top with:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 lb. real butter (the secret)

Mix the sugar and flour and cut butter into it. Sprinkle over apples. Place pie in clothespin-sealed brown paper bag. Bake one hour at 425 degrees. Tear away sack and let pie cool.

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot

[2013 notes - while the brown paper grocery bags can still be found, wooden clothespins may be scarce; do not use plastic clothespins - Also, Ray Bradbury fans may notice that the baking temperature is only a few degrees below the ignition point of paper, so be cautious if attempting this recipe. Perhaps baking bags would be a suitable substitute]


Ona’s Coconut Cake

1 pkg. white cake mix

1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream

2 cups granulated sugar

2 pkgs. frozen, grated coconut

1 tsp. vanilla

Bake cake in two 8-inch round cake pans, as directed. Cool, then freeze the layers, then slice each layer horizontally making four thin layers. Mix the filling ingredients and spread between each layer and on top but not on the sides. Let set in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving (if you can manage to keep the family out of it that long.)

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


Make your own frozen fudge-pops and save money.

2 tbsp. flour

2/3 cup sugar

3 3/4 tbsp. cocoa

dash of salt

2 cups milk

1 large can evaporated milk

Mix the first five ingredients and cook, stirring constantly (this is really a pudding) until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the evaporated milk. Freeze in individual containers or plastic cups.

(Easy alternative: use one package of instant chocolate pudding, mixed as directed.)

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


You can’t beat homemade biscuits.

Frances’ Biscuits

2 cups flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients and cut in the shortening. Add milk, and stir gently. Turn onto floured board and work quickly until you can handle enough to roll. Cut. Turn once on oiled pan. Bake 400- 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

(For easy drop biscuits, increase milk to 1 cup and drop by spoonfuls on oiled pan.)

— Frances Buercklin, Cabot


Another good cook is Lois Rice of Lonoke. She likes to try new recipes and found these in some magazines.

Cheddar Parmesan Potatoes

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 cups sliced, cooked, peeled potatoes (about 5 medium)

1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs

In a saucepan, belt butter over low heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add salt, Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese; stir until cheeses melt. Add potatoes and stir gently to mix. Place in a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Yield 6 to 8 servings.

Mary Lois Rice, Lonoke


Shelly’s invitation from the column still stands: "I started this column as a means for recipe exchange.

In other words, I’m asking you to share your favorite recipes for publication here.

They need not be fancy or original - just good cooking which you and your family enjoy."

To submit your favorite recipe, write it clearly or type it. Then check carefully for correct measurements and clarity of instructions. Include your name, address and telephone number. Mail to Sharing the Best, P.O. Box 1058, Cabot, AR 72023.

Or e-mail to - enter "Sharing the Best" in the subject line.