Dash of Class: Alice Bennett is 'One of Hardin County's Finest Cooks'

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

This month’s “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks” was nominated by the prior winner of this honor, Celia Thomas. Her name is Alice Bennett and I have known her since her son, Tim, was one of my students.

Alicecame from a family of 10 children and her mother taught all of them how to cook. Alice said she never did much cooking, only simple recipes until she married. After that, she became more adventurous, trying all kinds of recipes. She and her husband, Jerry, have three boys, Greg, Tim and Jason. In the tradition of her mother teaching her children to cook, Alice taught her sons to cook as well.

All three sons said Mexicali is their favorite dish their mom makes.

Alice loves to cook and the love comes through in her results, she said.

Alicetakes some of her baked goods to the Hardin County Community Fair and Horse Show each year and is a member of the Homemakers Club. Her German Apple Cake won a first-place ribbon this year.

She and her husband, Jerry, volunteer at Hardin Memorial Hospital on a regular basis. I have a feeling Thomas probably has sampled some of her good cooking as Thomas is a nurse in the cardiac rehab unit.

Thank you, Alice, for sharing some of your favorite recipes and keep up the good work. Congratulations for being “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks.”

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.


Tex-Mex Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground beef

1 ½ cups crushed tortilla chips, divided

16-ounce can chili beans, with liquid

10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 large eggs, beaten

½ cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove or 2 teaspoons canned minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together ground beef, 1 cup tortilla chips, chili beans; add diced tomatoes with green chilies, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well. Transfer to a 9-inch by 13-inch greased pan. Bake for 1 hour. Take out of oven, drain fat. Spread salsa over meat loaf and put remaining tortilla chips on top of salsa, put back in oven and bake 25-30 minutes. You may need to drain fat again. Let set awhile before removing from pan.

Skillet Mexicali Stew

1 pound stew meat

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup chopped onions

3 tablespoons oil

2 beef bouillon cubes

2 cups hot water

16-ounce can of corn

20-ounce can of Mexican style red beans

Coat stew meat with mixture of ½ cup flour, salt, chili powder and pepper. Reserve the excess flour mixture. Brown the stew meat and chopped onions in the oil and stir in the reserved flour. Dissolve the beef bouillon cubes in hot water. Blend into the meat mixture, cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1-1 ½ hours. Stir occasionally, add water if needed. Add in the red beans and corn and liquid. Reserve ½ cup corn.


1 cup self-rising flour

¼ teaspoon chili powder

1 beaten egg

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Corn (reserved from stew)

Sift together flour and chili powder. Combine the egg, milk, cooking oil and remaining corn. Add the flour mixture all at once. Stir only until ingredients are moist. Drop by spoonfuls on top of hot stew. Cover and allow to steam for 5-10 minutes.

German Apple Cake

1 box German Chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

21-ounce can apple pie filling

In large bowl, combine dry cake mix, apple pie filling and eggs. Blend together and beat as directed on cake mix box. Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until the top springs back. Cool completely. Put cake onto serving plate. Put dry powdered sugar on top using a small strainer or sifter or make a glaze of powdered sugar and milk.

Yum-Yum Cake

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups crushed pineapple

2 cups all purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in pineapple. Sift flour and baking powder and add to mixture. Mix well. Spread in to 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


1 cup sugar

1 stick butter

5½ -ounce can of evaporated milk

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon lemon extract

Bring sugar, butter, milk to a boil, boil about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Spread on hot cake.