…Submitted by Karna Small Bodman

     The title here actually has two meanings: in this article I’ll be referring to novel – unique – recipes as well as novels- books – that have recipes woven into their stories.  Now that we are heading into the Holiday Season, I wanted to highlight some books I discovered where the author did indeed have their hero or heroine prepare some interesting dish and then list the ingredients and directions.  
     When I was signing at a recent Book Fair in Naples, Florida, I ran into  Elizabeth Hoagland, author of the inspiring non-fiction book, Let’s Be Friends. It turns out she included a number of recipes in her beautiful story — let’s start with an Appetizer that appears at the end of Chapter 2. 

–Pre-heat oven to 375

–In large skillet, brown 2 lbs. sausage (e.g. “Bob Evans”), drain grease, remove sausage

–To same pan, add 2 packages cream cheese, stir till melted, add sausage back in

–In bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 glass baking dish, unroll 1 can Crescent rolls into 2 long triangles, press down.

–Spoon sausage and cream cheese mix onto the roll

–Sprinkle with 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

–Unroll a 2nd can of Crescent rolls – press on top

–Bake 20-25 min. untill top dough is nicely browned; cool for 10-15 min.

–Cut into squares and serve with this:


–Mix equal parts Dijon Mustard, Apricot Preserves and honey

…Guaranteed to please ALL your friends (she says that men especially love these) 

Moving on to main courses, one of our Rogues, Lisa Black, gave me a recipe she didn’t insert into

one of her terrific thrillers, but explained she made this while taking a break from writing her very first published book, Trace Evidence. This is her simple turkey stuffing:

–Mix together: 1 lb. cubed bread, 3/4 c chopped onion, 3/4 c chopped celery, 1/2 tbsp. ground sage, 1/2 tbsp. crushed thyme, 1/2 tbsp. crushed rosemary, 1 c turkey or chicken broth, 1/4c butter melted and voila — a perfect mixture to stuff a 15 lb. turkey. Bake about 5 hours.

Speaking of thriller writers, the international bestselling author (and member of the organization that Rogue Gayle Lynds created, International Thriller Writers) Jayson Matthews has a recipe at the end of each chapter of his award winning novels featuring Russian and American spies (the author having served as an agent in our own CIA for some three decades.) Those books are: Red Sparrow, Palace of Treason, and Kremlin’s Candidate.  You can find his recipes (with a Russian flavor) here.

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted story, especially with Christmas approaching, try one of the many Hallmark novels — several have been made into movies for their TV channels and some also feature recipes at the end of the book.  One example is Out of the Picture. The charming story about an art authenticator who takes time out of her adventure to make Holy Yum Maple Dijon Chicken.

–Pre-heat oven to 400. Spray baking dish with “Pam” spray
–Mix together: 1/4 c maples syrup, 1/4 c Dijon Mustard, 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, 1 minced clove garlic, pinch salt and pepper.
–Pour mixture over 8 chicken thighs in the baking pan
–Bake uncovered about 40 min. remove chicken to plates, add 1 tbsp.       cornstarch, 2 tbsp. water and a sprig of rosemary to the pan – stir till thickened (1 min.) – pour over chicken. It will look like this:

Now it’s time for dessert, so I thought I would offer a simple favorite in our household — traditional brownies that are actually low-fat, but taste delicious.  Here’s the trick: Buy two packages of any brownie mix (I prefer the ones with bits of chocolate). Every brand calls for the same ingredients: eggs, oil and water.  For the two boxes, yes, use 2 small eggs and 1/3 cup water, but instead of the 2/3 cup oil, use a 6 oz. carton of non-fat vanilla yogurt.  Mix and spoon into a 9 x 13 pan (that’s been sprayed with Pam) — bake at 350 degrees for about 40 min (check to be sure they are NOT overcooked).  Let cool, then cut them with a PLASTIC knife (the kind you get with take-out) — not a silver knife.  For some reason, brownies stick to silver, but not to plastic.  Add some festive sprinkles  Put brownies into zip lock bags and keep them in the freezer. Serve them frozen – they’re really great!

Maybe I’ll include that simple idea in my next novel.  Now, how about you? Have you read any good books that include recipes?  Or….do you have a favorite holiday recipe you’d like to share? Leave a comment -thanks for stopping by Rogue Women Writers and a very Merry Christmas to you all!

                                                                                                   . . . Karna Small Bodman

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  1. Valerie

    Thank you, Karna. These all look scrumptious. I love the substitution in the brownie recipe, and what a great tip about cutting them with a plastic knife! I didn't know that. My daughter-in-law gave me a supremely simple fudge recipe this year. Mix 1 package chocolate chips with 1 container of cake icing. You may choose dark, regular or white chips and any flavor icing to make your custom combination. Heat together until melted, add walnuts if desired, pour into 9" square pan and refrigerate. That's it. It was pretty yummy.

  2. Lisa Black

    I love that brownie recipe and also did not know that about plastic knives!!!! I substitute yogurt for mayo a lot, and also unsweetened applesauce for shortening.

  3. Robin Burcell

    Dang. I think I gained weight just reading this stuff! I'll have to try the yogurt sub in brownies! Thanks!

  4. Karna Bodman

    Oh Val – I love that fudge idea…I am going to make it this weekend. Thanks!

  5. Gayle Lynds

    Oh, my goodness, you've got my mouth watering just thinking about the fabulous food you describe, Karna. Also, it was a lot of fun to find out from which book each recipe came. It's going to be a delicious holiday season. HO ho ho!