Cooking with Lady Smokey: Happy Birthday Loretta Lynn


This month Loretta Lynn celebrated her 79th Birthday! Loretta is known as “The First Lady of Country Music” and for good reason. There is no one quite like her. At the age of 24, she taught herself how to play guitar and cut her first record one year later. She has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry since 1960. In 1967, her album, Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’, went to number one and became one of the first albums by a female country artist to reach sales of 500,000 copies. Loretta was one of the first women to sing about real women’s issues. She paved the way for many female vocalists and set a pretty high standard for country music.

Loretta Book

After we first moved to Nashville, Grant gave me Loretta’s cookbook for Christmas one year. It is a fun book which combines many Lynn family stories with good ole’ Southern recipes.

One of our favorite recipes we like to make from her cookbook is Meatloaf. This recipe reminds me of my Mom’s meatloaf recipe, too. We, of course, change it because we aren’t good at following recipes so I am including her version and then our adaptation.

Loretta’s Meatloaf
Makes 8 Servings

2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 sleeve saltine crackers, finely crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup ketchup
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the beef, onion, egg, crackers, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Shape the mixture into a loaf and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. In a small bowl combine ketchup and brown sugar. Pour over the meatloaf and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Big & Lady Smokey’s version…

2 lbs ground turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 slices of whole grain bread, finely crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup ketchup (you could make your own with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, little vinegar, and some molasses)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the turkey, onion, egg, garlic, bread crumbs, and seasonings. Shape the mixture and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. In a small bowl combine ketchup, hot sauce, and brown sugar. Pour over the meatloaf and bake for an additional 30 minutes.


I recently made some stuffed peppers to accompany this turkey meat loaf and it was a great combination. We’ve been trying to eat more quinoa because it is so good for us but honestly, neither of us are huge fans of it. I found this to be a great way to enjoy this ancient, nutrient-packed grain.


I cooked up the quinoa following the directions on the package. I used red quinoa, which is really pretty. I sauteed some onion and mixed it and the quinoa with the following- frozen corn, raw chopped spinach, a can of diced green chilis, chopped cherry tomatoes, sea salt and pepper, ground cumin, and some grated sharp cheddar cheese. I cut the peppers in half and then stuffed each half with the mixture. I then placed the peppers in a baking dish, covered with foil, and baked at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. I then removed the foil and topped each with a little more shredded cheese and baked for about 10-15 minutes more. These made for a colorful and quite tasty little side dish!

Grant and I found ourselves driving through Mississippi and Louisiana last week and I couldn’t help but have this song in my head…

And, coincidentally, our drive through the Bayou country occurred the week following Dolan and Ali Marie’s week at the Bayou Art Fest so images of Dolan’s new prints were dancing through our minds!

We had so many delicious Cajun meals and were delighted to find some new little favorite spots.

Bayou Food-1

My Dad and step Mom took us to Herby-K’s in Shreveport, LA. This place is amazing!

Bayou Food-2Bayou Food-3
Thanks to Garden & Gun, we found Poche’s Market & Restaurant in Breaux Bridge, LA.


Here’s my recent fish sandwich recipe. I used tilapia but it would also be great with catfish!

Fish Sandwiches

2-4 pieces tilapia
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup medium corn meal
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cane sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
dash Tabasco
grape seed oil for frying



Mix flour, corn meal, and spices (salt-sugar) in a bowl. (Note: All these spices can be adjusted to your taste.) In another bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, and hot sauce. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium high. Dip fish in buttermilk mixture and then in the flour mixture. Place in hot oil. Fry fish for about 3 minutes on each side- until coating is golden brown. Serve on a good quality bun with mustard, pickles, onion, lettuce, and tomato. Extra hot sauce is advised!


I’ll close this post with a pie recipe! This here is one of Loretta’s recipes. (I’m sure she’d uses Crisco in her pie crust…)


Buttermilk Pie
Makes 8 servings

1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup butter
3 eggs, slightly beaten
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
dash of salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 unbaked (9-inch) pie shell (and here’s my pie dough recipe for you)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl combine the sugar and butter and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Fold in the buttermilk, nutmeg, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake 45-50 minutes. Cool before cutting.


Don’t forget to honor Dolan’s beautiful pie-eating tradition- Cut off the tip of your pie piece and save it for your last bite upon which you can make a wish!

Happy Eating Y’all!

All images courtesy of Lady Smokey. 
Top image: Loretta Lynn performing at her ranch in Hurricane Mills,TN in 2009