Home » Recipes

Category: Recipes

Texas Ranger Chili

A cowboy and a word slinger walk into a test kitchen in Giddings, Texas. Frank Malinak III and Lorie A. Woodward, respectively. They are equipped with a pound of Lee county’s finest ground beef and wild game meat from a medium size Nilgai (also known as a South Texas Antelope). They come locked and loaded with stories of Frank’s service with the Texas Rangers and a deep reverence for the land and people that sustain Texas communities.

This is a story celebrating 200 years of Texas Rangers history. Because of the time tested service of the men and women of the Texas Rangers, our small group of Texans had the freedom to share a meal in comfort. Actually, the ultimate comfort food – chili. 

At Gourmet Divas’ fabulous kitchen store and demonstration kitchen, I had the absolute pleasure of catching up with Frank Malinak III, Assistant Chief Texas Rangers, Retired in Giddings, Texas. Moving through the distinguished ranks of the Ranger organization, Frank ended his career as second in command – Assistant Chief.  He is now County Judge of Lee County. You see, Frank and I both have roots in Lee County, our Great-Grandfathers Will and Englebert Reuther were brothers. So I asked him, what would a Texas Ranger cook?

According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco,  everything we know about the earliest days of the Texas Rangers comes from memoirs of individuals who served. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum preserves history through pictures, stories, and memorabilia. According to the TRAF, “During the early years of the Frontier Battalion, the battalion’s quartermaster supplied each Ranger company with a set ration consisting of flour, bacon, beef, coffee, sugar, salt, soda, soap, vinegar, pepper, candles, potatoes, onions and rice. A ration was the amount of each of these items an individual Ranger would consume in one day, and the company orderly sergeant was required each month to write out a list of how much was on hand of each item. Many accounts mention the ease of finding wild game and fish.”

Now, back to our modern kitchen in Giddings. Wild game? Check. Beef? You bet. Get Frank’s “On the Trail” Chili recipe at the bottom of this article and watch our cooking episode on our Texicureans youtube channel

Sometimes the best recipe is knowing where your ingredients come from and cooking them up the way only you know how. Bonus if you’re in the kitchen with people who share your traditions. There is beauty in consistency. There is longevity in honoring the basics. 

Frank said it best, “Ranger history is framed by traditions going back 200 years, including our unmistakable western heritage. The pathway of our future is made all the brighter by those who walked before us. Nothing is so powerful as knowing past generations are counting on you to accept the baton and carry it forward. I hope future historians look back at our time and see an unbroken chain of dedicated men and women who wear a badge that stands for justice and freedom.” 

200 Years of Texas Rangers

Assembled in 1823 to protect the early settlers of Texas, Stephen F Austin was given command of this legendary law enforcement agency.  Drawing on their collective skills, Native Americans, Tejanos, Anglo-Europeans, and African Americans signed up to “range” and protect the colonies.  Hence it was said that a Texas Ranger could “ride like a Mexican, trail like an Indian, shoot like a Tennessean, and fight like the devil.”

Legendary Texas Rangers John Coffey Hays, “Bigfoot Wallace” and William McDonald helped form the enigma of the Texas spirit.  The Institute of Texas Cultures states that “Next to the Alamo, the Texas Ranger is the best-known part of the Texas Legend…”

This legacy continues with training that is considered second to none, for the 172 highly selected men and women who proudly wear the boots, white hats and pistol belts of their predecessors.  And of course, there is that iconic Cinco Peso badge.   

“The Texas Rangers are among the most revered law enforcement divisions in the country for a reason.  The elite and storied Rangers are men and women of integrity and moral fortitude, willing to risk their lives in selfless service to the state of Texas”.  Steve C McGraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety 

Organized into 6 companies: Company “A” Houston, Company “B” Dallas, Company “C” Lubbock, Company “D” McAllen, Company “E” El Paso, Company “F” Waco, and Headquarters in Austin.  The Rangers continue the traditional jobs conducting criminal and special investigations, apprehending wanted felons, suppressing major disturbances, protecting life and liberty, and rendering assistance to local law enforcement officials. 

A Special Operations Group has been formed in recent years to counter terrorist activity, criminal threats, and drug trafficking organizations. 

Explains Lacy Finley, executive director of the Texas Ranger Association Foundation, “We know these things about their service:  There is no time off, one Late-night call easily becomes many more, Rangers find themselves in difficult situations, they have a servant’s heart, and could easily have followed careers in the private sector.”

The enigma of the Texas Ranger has inspired novelists, actors, and film-makers.  The Lone Ranger, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Lonesome Dove have all dramatized the heroic mystic of the Texas Ranger.  In the 1936 movie The Texas Rangers, Fred Mac Murray who portrays a Texas Ranger is met by leading citizens who are alarmed that there is only one Ranger to clean up their town.  “Only one fight, ain’t there?” replies McMurtry in a paraphrase of the famous “One riot, one Ranger” line.

Texas Rangers are a seamless, selfless, ambassador for our way of life back to the earliest days. Can of beans and all. Thank you for your service, Frank, and reminding us what Texas cooking is really all about — the people you’re feeding.

For more Texas recipes, tips, and stories, sign up for our recipe club emails and follow Texicureans on all social platforms.

Ranger Frank Chili

Course Main Course
Servings 6


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound game meat
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 8 oz tomato sauce 2 cans
  • 1/2 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 can rotel tomatoes
  • chili powder several shakes to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Harley's seasoning from Giiddings, Texas or sub with fajita seasoning to taste
  • 1 cup water


  • Brown meats with chopped onion
  • add tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes, rotel tomatoes and stir
  • add chili powder, garlic powder, pepper, seasoning and stir
  • add 1 cup water and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes


Chicken in Wine

Wine, mushrooms, and thyme combine for a meal worthy of your family or company!

Another Tyler Junior League cookbook rendition, I’ve prepared this dish for my family for many years and it always pleases.  Here’s a hint, if you haven’t finished a bottle of wine in a couple of days, place the remainder in the fridge to use in this dish.

One frying pan does it all – from browning the chicken to making the sauce.  Place the chicken in the preheated oven for about one hour while you relax with a glass of wine.  What could be better?


Chicken in Wine - East Texas Style

Butter, wine, and mushrooms
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 3 pounds cut chicken pieces with bone and skin
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves diced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 oz sliced baby Bella mushrooms


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Salt and pepper chicken pieces
  • Melt butter in skillet and saute garlic
  • Add chicken and fry about 3-4 min on each side until brown.
  • Remove chicken to an oven proof dish
  • Add flour to butter in frying pan.  Stir until smooth.
  • Add stock, wine, thyme, and mushrooms and cook about 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over chicken and bake covered for 1 hour.


Cheese Straws

Spicy with cayenne, these crispy cheese crackers boast only five ingredients.  And they freeze well to pull out for quick wine accompaniment.

Another Tyler Junior League cookbook recipe, this traditional southern fare is worth revitalizing when you have left over cheese that needs to be used.  Or simply snag a 3 cup bag of shredded cheese.

I used a Mexican blend cheese, but you can get creative with cheese you have on hand.  The intensity of heat can be adjusted as well by adding or subtracting cayenne.  I have also thrown in red chili flakes in addition to the cayenne.

Don’t get caught up on the perfectness of each straw, you can buy that in a box at the store – celebrate your homemade spirit!

Click here for How-to video

Cheese Straws

Bake, freeze, and pull out with a glass of wine
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 3 cups grated cheese
  • 2 sticks butter (16 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups unbleached flour


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  •  Cream cheese and butter together
  • Add salt and cayenne and blend together
  • Mix in flour.
  • Place ball on parchment paper, place another parchment paper on top and roll out to about 1/4” thickness.
  • Cut into about approx 4” strips
  • Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes

Chocolate Cake Roses

They are pretty, They are chocolaty bites of goodness.

Silicone molds are a game changer for pretty individual cakes.  Spray the mold with an oil, fill, and pop in the oven for a quick, attractive presentation. Once they cool from the oven, you can push the cakes out from the bottom. This chocolate cake recipe requires no icing.

We are talking about the Texas Rose Festival this month and this recipe comes from an old Tyler Junior League cookbook.  Sometimes the tried and true recipes combined with a new twist (silicone molds) do the trick!

Click here for How-to Video

Chocolate Cake Roses

No icing needed!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 6 TBSP cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 8 oz butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cream sugar and butter
  • Add beaten eggs, flour, buttermilk, soda, cocoa, and EVOO
  • Add hot water, mix, and stir in vanilla
  • Pour into 6 rose molds and remainder into an 8 x 8 pan
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes


Cake doesn’t need to be iced and freezes well.  

Roasted Poblano Corn Pudding

I spent a lovely afternoon with Tyler native daughter, Anna Katheryn Schultz.  A 5th generation Texan, her great-grandfather in the 1920’s was one of the founding members of the Rose industry in Tyler.  The sandy, acidic soil on their land was perfect for roses and he began shipping roses world-wide in the 1930’s.

Inspired by both her parents and particularly her grandmother who was a quintessential southern cook, Anna Katheryn founded Tuesday Takeout. Cars line up for her delectable dishes designed to be a taste of home, without the work.  She conceived the idea that enjoying a quality meal at home should be open to the busiest of folks.

Anna says, “Everything I do is from scratch and it’s something I would serve at home if you were my guest.”

We prepared Roasted Poblano Corn Pudding – a staple on her Fall menu.  Perfect as a side dish anytime, and particularly enjoyable for Texas holiday, it is a comforting conglomeration of flavors.  And did I mention your kitchen will smell wonderful?

Thank you Anna Katheryn!

Poblano Corn Pudding

Course Side Dish
Servings 8


  • 1 poblano chile roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 3 cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/3 tbsp red chile powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 eggs separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups unbleached flour


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease 8 individual serving ramekins
  • Combine chile and corn. Set aside.
  • Cream together butter, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, chile powder, and salt.
  • separate the eggs, placing the yolks and white in separate bowls. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  • Whip egg yolks and add to creamed mixture. Add milk and flour alternately. With the mixer set on low speed, blend well. Place in large bowl and add chile and corn mixture.
  • Fold in beaten egg whites by hand.
  • Pour into prepared ramekins. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes. Until wooden skewer comes out clean. Let cool before cutting around the edges with a sharp knife to help turn out of pan. Or serve in the ramekin.




Stunning Salad

Colorful, easy, and with only three ingredients – this salad will stand the test of a shower, luncheon, or dinner party.  And its just an easy recipe for your home meals.

When my Mom was running the wedding shower/bridesmaid luncheon circuit with her friends, this salad was a mainstay.  It adds vibrant color to the serving table and your plates.  You wouldn’t think of grapes and cabbage going together, but the poppyseed dressing is the tie that binds.

So, next time you need to bring a salad to an event or gathering – you might choose this one.  Your friends will think you worked much harder than you actually did!

Here’s a hint – if you use a clear bowl, the colors will show through in technicolor!

Click here for the video:

Colorful 3 Ingredient Slaw

Sweet and Savory
Course Salad
Cuisine American


  • 1 medium head red or green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 package green or red grapes, halved
  • 1 jar poppyseed dressing


  • Toss all ingredients together thoroughly.
Keyword slaw, cabbage, grapes, poppyseed dressing

Roasted Corn Salad

It’s Hot!  But this is COOL!

Add Roasted Corn Salad as a side dish to anything – chicken, fish, or beef.  It’s also great for a quick lunch with a slice of luncheon meat.

You may hesitate starting up the grill, but here’s a hint – roast a dozen or so ears of corn, cut it off the Cobb and freeze extra for future use.  You can also throw your protein on the grill for a complete meal.

Roasted Summer Corn Salad

Light and refreshing
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, grated


  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar


  • Heat grill. Place corn Cobbs directly on grill, turning as light  charring appears.  Keep turning until evenly, slightly charred. 
  • Turning Cobb on end, slice kernels off using a sharp knife. Place kernels in bowl. 
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Stir together  olive oil & rice vinegar. Pour over salad & mix thoroughly.
Keyword roasted corn, tomatoes, cojita cheese, cilantro

Beer Batter Halibut

“North to Alaska”

I can hear the 1960’s movie theme song setting the background for this iconic western.  Sam McCord along with George and Billy Pratt hear the call to adventure and cross the Yukon river in 1892 in search of gold below a mountain southeast of Nome.

In true romantic western fashion, George falls in love with a girl named Jenny and declares he would trade all the gold for a ring to place on sweet little Jenny’s hand and build for her a honeymoon cabin below that same mountain.

What does this have to do with Texas?

A newly married 5th generation Texan along with her Texan husband, Sommer (Seidel) and Brent Adcox heard the call to Homer, Alaska 12  years ago.  Brent, an Orthopedic Surgeon was recruited after medical school to practice in this beautiful town located on the Kenai Peninsula.

Sommer says of her time in Alaska as a Texan, “As a fifth generation Texas who is living in Alaska, our Texas heritage remains important to our family.  In an effort to keep our heritage alive, we often use food as a connection to our roots.  Brent takes every opportunity to smoke a brisket while I put on a pot of beans to share with our local friends. He enjoys teaching many of our Alaskan friends how to properly smoke a good brisket (which he makes with seasoning we import from Cooper’s BBQ).  I often invite others over for enchiladas or a good German Schnitzel and hot potato salad. We still enjoy food that has been provided by the land and we spend time as a family in the process of making sausage, chorizo and memories.  While we may live 4,000 miles from home, our hearts remain in Texas”

Known as the Halibut fishing capital of the world, Homer carries the motto “Where the land ends and the sea begins”.

Making a conscious decision to fully enjoy all the experiences Alaska has to offer, the Adcox family bought a fishing boat and learned the secrets of halibut fishing in Kachemak Bay.

My husband and I had the absolute pleasure of joining “Captain Sommer” on her boat for a day of Halibut fishing on the Kachemak Bay. We cruised the bay searching for the perfect fishing spot. Majestic glaciers framed our view while we watched otters swim and play on their backs.

I’d have to say that although I’m not really a fisherman, reeling in one of these large flat fish is a highlight of my life.  Sommer skillfully pulled the halibut into the boat, talking to it the whole time like a mom soothing her child.

Back at the Adcox kitchen, Sommer and Brent donned Oktoberfest aprons representative of their home towns – New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. We prepared halibut with the simple, yummy recipe Sommer and Brent have found to be tested and true.  You can also apply this recipe to Texas gulf or river fish.  After all, a Texas fish fry has been at the center of many a family and friend gathering.

So, here’s the secret straight from a transplanted Texan:

Beer Batter Halibut

Crisp and delicious
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • Fresh halibut, diced into approximately 3 - 4 inch pieces
  • 1 package McCormick's Fish Beer Batter
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Peanut oil

Cocktail Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp grated horseradish (add more for zing)


  • Mix a packet of dry batter with enough water until slightly thinner than pancake batter.  
  • Dust Fish liberally with garlic salt before placing in the batter.  Add fish to batter and coat.
  • Place small batches in a pan of oil heated to 350 degrees and cook until light golden brown. Lean to the side of undercooking halibut as it will continue to cook after removing from oil.  Over-cooking will lead to dryness.  Keep an eye on the temp of oil while adding fish – if drops below 350 degrees, fish could end up soggy.   
  • Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels.  Serve immediately with Cocktail sauce.

Cocktail Sauce

  • Mix all ingredients together and serve in a bowl.


Keyword halibut, fried fish, beer batter

Easy Peach Cobbler

What tastes better in the summer than peach cobbler?  This recipe makes use of a couple hacks to simplify prep.

Hack #1: Buy H-E-B bag of frozen sliced peaches – a 5 pound bag is perfect for this recipe

Hack #2:  Use 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, roll out on a silpat or parchment paper, and place on top of peaches

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell) for a cooling end to a summer meal.  You “may” have some left over!







Click below for a quick demonstration:

Easy Peach Cobbler

Frozen peaches and puff pastry are secrets
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 10 cups fresh sliced peaches or 1- 5 lb bag frozen sliced peaches
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1 puffed pastry sheet, rolled out to pan size on parchment paper


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place puffed pastry on parchment paper and roll out to slightly larger than size of pan. (11’ x 15” for 10 servings)
  • Add all dry ingredients together, mix thoroughly and add to peaches
  • Add vinegar, lemon juice, vanilla and almond flavorings to peaches.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into pan, spreading evenly
  • Top with puffed pastry sheet.
  • Brush egg white evenly across pastry and sprinkle on 1 - 2 TBSP sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is brown.


To  prepare early:
3 -4 hours before baking, prepare peach mixture and place in fridge.  I keep my puffed pastry in the freezer, so remove and let defrost.  Roll out pastry right before ready to bake.  
You can easily half this recipe, but I like to have plenty remaining for leftovers:)
You can also use 2 pans if you don’t have a large enough glass pan. 
Keyword Peaches, cobbler, puff pastry, frozen peaches, easy desert,

Travelin’ Ranger Cookies

Whether you are headed on a day trip or for a few days – its nice to have a snack that’s healthy, satisfying, and just plain yummy.

I give you “Travelin’ Ranger Cookies”!  My mom always made these for our family trips, I made them for my family and now I pass this tradition on to you.

Chock full of oatmeal, crispy rice cereal and coconut, they will fill that hunger pain between meals.  You can make them ahead of your trip, freeze in an air-tight container, ready to pull out when you hit the road.

So, pick out one of our fabulous Texas State Parks, load up the fam, and pack these cookies – you’ll be glad you did!  Click below for video:

Travelin' Ranger Cookies

A healthy snack on the go
Course Snack
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup butter (or 1/2 cup butter + 1/2 cup shortening)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • n a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy - 5 - 7 minutes. 
  • Beat in eggs, vanilla, and almond flavoring
  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Stir in oats, rice cereal, and coconut.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper or ungreased baking sheets.  Bake until golden brown, 7-9 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack for cooling.  


These freeze great.  Put them in an air-tight container for a road trip snack.  
Keyword cookie, healthy cookie, oatmeal cookie, rice krispies