Mother/ Daughter killer harmonies, bright red hair, and classic country music songs that tell great stories. I'm talking about The Judds. But Naomi Judd isn't just a Grammy award-winning country music singer and songwriter. Naomi Judd is also a "fabulous country cook," according to her daughter, Wynonna Judd. When Naomi Judd is cooking, there's not an empty seat around the dinner table.
"Every Thursday is family night at my house. Wynonna lives over the hill on a farm, and Ashley lives next door on a farm. When I was growing up we had dinner at exactly 6 o'clock, so I carried that forward. I built a round table so everybody could see each other, because I couldn't find one to buy."
Ashley may be talking about movies and projects she's involved in. Wynonna may be talking about art or books. Every conversation happens around Naomi Judd's table except for one. She has a NO POLITICS rule. #SmartCookie
How The Judds Began
Naomi was born in Ashland, Kentucky, and had her daughter Wynonna at 18. After her daughter, Ashley, was born and Naomi divorced, she moved as a single mother to California. Naomi went to nursing school before becoming one half of The Judds with daughter Wynonna.
Signed by RCA in 1983, The Judds became country music's most honored and successful women. Winning six Grammys and selling more than 20 million albums, sadly The Judds had to say goodbye to their fans when Naomi contracted a life-threatening liver disease. Naomi turned to cooking and writing books to replace the strenuous touring schedule.
Naomi showed off many of her cooking skills on the Fox reality show My Kitchen Rules where she and her husband Larry Strickland competed against celeb contestants in the kitchen. Her popular cookbook "Naomi's Home Companion: A Treasury of Favorite Recipes, Food For Thought, Wit & Wisdom" and all of her inspirational books are available on Amazon
Naomi is all about the emotions of food. How it brings people together and creates memories and brings back old ones. But she's not the first generation of country cook in her family.
"It's a hand-me-down in our family, because my great-grandmother was a cook, Miss Cora Lee," she said. "She ran the Hamburger Inn, which was the place in town. Her whole family worked there."
Judd said her own mother turned to cooking to support her family.
"Mom turned out to be this fabulous country cook," Judd said. "There were always pies and cakes; she had a special place on the counter for them. When Daddy left her, we would stay up all night with a pot of coffee and try to figure it out, because she had been a homemaker. Finally, at 3 o'clock one morning, I looked at her and said, 'Mom, you're the best cook I know. All my friends want to spend the night. You're the one who wins the awards for the PTA."
Naomi's mother ended up getting a job as a cook on a Mississippi river boat. So through cooking, she was able to support her family as a single mom. And ready for this happy ending that sounds like a country song itself? She married the riverboat captain.
When Naomi Judd Is Home, She's Cooking
Naomi Judd's home cooking carries on the Southern style of cooking full of comfort foods like potato casseroles and fresh basic ingredients but she cooks healthy too. Except she doesn't understand the kale craze.
"And I encourage anybody, if you've got a demanding career, if you've never cooked anything except Jell-O, some weekend, when you have a couple of hours, get a hold of a recipe -- just one -- so you're able to have people over. And then make it fun; do something after the meal or during the meal."
Judd shared a few recipes from her 1997 cookbook, "Naomi's Home Companion: A Treasury of Favorite Recipes"
Heat a large skillet. Add the beef, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the beef is browned. Drain off fat and stir in flour and cook another minute while stirring. Stir in the chili seasoning, chili powder, tomato paste, water, Mexi-corn and olives. Bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer while covered for about 15 minutes. Give it a little stir twice while cooking.
While meat mixture simmers, separate the 10 biscuits, and then pull each biscuit apart in half. Place half of the biscuits in the bottom of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Spoon the chili mixture over the biscuits. Top with the remaining biscuits, torn side down. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until the biscuits are browned and the cheese is melted, 16 to 18 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve "while wearing a sombrero," Judd jokes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
Into the drippings in the skillet, whisk the soup, celery flakes, and thyme until well blended. Heat until bubbly. Stir in the rice. Spoon the mixture into a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Place the chicken breasts on top and push them down into the rice mixture until almost covered. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Watch: What 10 Country Stars Are Eating This Holiday Season