Cast Iron Cook-Off Winners and Recipes

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This year the Lenoir County Fair and N.C. Cooperative Extension of Lenoir County hosted the first-ever Cast Iron Cook-Off and it was a great success! I promised to share the results and the recipes, so here you go and they were all super delicious!! Congratulations to all participants!

Autumn Brussels Sprouts

Best of Show, Blue Ribbon – Sides
Cheryl Crouse


  • 1 lb. Brussels Sprouts, washed, dried, and halved
  • ¼ lb. bacon fried crisp, drained, and chopped saved the grease
  • 1 tart apple, diced finely
  • 2 Tbsp. Maple syrup
  • ¼ cup pecan halves, toasted


  1. Fry Brussels sprouts in 2 Tbsp. Bacon grease for a few minutes.
  2. Add diced apple.
  3. Continue frying over medium heat until sprouts are tender-crisp, still bright green.
  4. Stir in maple syrup and diced bacon, sprinkle pecan halves over top and serve warm.

Peach Cobbler

Blue Ribbon – Sweets
Sarah Suggs


  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 – 2½ lb. can sliced peaches
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup milk


  1. Melt margarine in cast iron pan. Beat egg and milk and stir into flour sugar mixture.
  2. Spoon evenly into melted margarine.
  3. Stir cinnamon into drained peaches. Spoon peach slices over batter. Bake at 300° F for 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Blue Ribbon – Meats
Sarah Suggs


  • 8 ounces – 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup ranch dressing
  • ⅓ cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (rotisserie or canned)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup Feta cheese
  • ¼ cup Gouda cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cook the pasta noodles according to the package directions. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of Olive oil to keep them from sticking.
  3. Stir together the cream cheese, ranch, and hot sauce until creamy. Add the chicken, ½ cup of mozzarella cheese, Gouda and feta cheeses, and cooked pasta noodles to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Spoon into the cast iron dish.
  4. Combine the remaining cheeses and sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Spinach-Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Red Ribbon – Sides
Sarah Suggs


  • 2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6) peeled cut into chunks
  • 5 slices Bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg (9 oz.) baby spinach leaves
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ cup feta cheese


  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon form skillet, reserving 1 tbsp. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add garlic to drippings in skillet: cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach:  cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat. Crumble bacon; stir into spinach mixture.
  3. Drain potatoes; return to pan. Add cream cheese spread; mash potato mixture. Stir in spinach mixture.


Grandma’s Chocolate Bread Pudding

Red Ribbon – Sweets
Donna Stalnaker


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
  • 2 cans Pet evaporated milk
  • 5 buttermilk biscuits
  • 2 tbsp. Vanilla Flavoring


  1. Generously butter cast iron frying pan. Crumble biscuits into your pan.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl until well blended and pour over in the pan over the crumbled biscuits.
  3. Take a spoon and make sure all biscuits are covered with the chocolate mixture.
  4. Bake at 325° F for 30-45 minutes. Can be served hot with Ice cream or cold.

Sweet Italian Sausage Sliders

Red Ribbon – Meats
Donna Stalnaker


  • 1 Pack Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 1 pack Arteseno Rolls
  • 1 pack tri-color bell peppers – sliced thin
  • 2 sweet Vidalia onions – sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 jar Rustic Cut Sweet Pepper/portabella mushroom Pasta Sauce


  1. In a large cast-iron frying pan add 2 tbsp. olive oil and sausages, brown on medium-low heat until firm and golden brown. Remove sausages from pan and set aside to cool. Add 3 tbsp. butter to pan and sliced onions and peppers.
  2. Sauté until tender then add jar of pasta sauce and Italian seasoning and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Slice sausages into bite-size pieces and add back to pan. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve on Arteseno rolls.

Great Northern Beans – Southern Style

White Ribbon – Sides
Donna Stalnaker


  • 2 16 0z bags dried Great Northern Beans
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 8 oz. Hormel diced boneless ham


  1. Quick soak:  Rinse and sort beans in a large pot, add 6-8 cups of hot water.
  2. Bring to a boil and continue at a rapid boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain water and rinse again, then add 12 cups of water to beans, 1 package diced Ham, crushed red pepper and black pepper to pot.
  3. Cook on medium heat for 1½ -2 hours until desired tenderness is reached. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Cast Iron Caramel Dumplings

White Ribbon – Sweets
Cheryl Crouse



  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ t. salt


  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In cast iron pan, melt ½ cup butter and cook over medium stirring occasionally until butter is lightly browned. Then add brown sugar and stir until it is all melted over heat. Add cream slowly, stirring carefully until the mixture is dark drown and cream is all integrated. Add salt and stir in. Set aside until dumpling batter is prepared.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pulse in food processor until mixed. Add butter and mix until it is cut in the size of peas. Add milk and vanilla and barely mix to combine.

Reheat caramel if it has cooled until bubbly. With 2 spoons make cannels of dough and drop into caramel. Cover tightly and bake 350°F, 20-25 minutes. Best served warm with cream or whipped cream.

Dutch Oven Baked Beans

Fourth Place – Sides
Phillip Decker


  • 1 lb. package Hot Sausage
  • 1 tall can (53 oz.) pork and beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1lb. package dark brown sugar
  • 1 pack of bun length beef hot dogs
  • 1 12 inch Dutch Oven
  • 1 small gas burner if cooking outdoors
  • 1 small bowl large enough to hold 1 lb. cooked sausage


  1. Place Dutch oven on burner to preheat at medium heat. Fry sausage in Dutch Oven and crumble into small pieces. Remove cooked sausage to small bowl.
  2. Cut onion into small pieces (Dice), cut hotdogs into round pieces about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Place diced onions and hot dogs pieces into Dutch oven and brown lightly. Drain remaining grease from Dutch oven.
  4. Pour pork and beans into Dutch oven and return sausage to Dutch oven. Pour dark brown sugar into mixture and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Cook at 350° F for 45 minutes to 1-hour stirring occasionally
  6. If using charcoal to cook, place 9 briquettes under Dutch Oven and 15 on top of Dutch oven to provide 350 degrees of heat.
  7. Adjust charcoal briquettes as needed to maintain cooking temperature

Serves 10 to 12.

Russian Cherry Delight

Fourth Place – Sweets
Phillip Decker


  • 1 – 15 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 – 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
  • 1 – 21 oz. can strawberry pie filling
  • 2 – 21 oz. cans apple pie filling
  • 1 8-oz bag chopped pecans
  • 1 18 oz. box Duncan Hines yellow (butter recipe) cake mix
  • 1 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup small marshmallows
  • 1 2.37 oz. jar cinnamon
  • 1 12-inch Dutch oven


  1. Preheat a lightly greased 12-inch Dutch oven to 350° F.
  2. Pour in drained crushed pineapple, spread evenly, and cover lightly with cinnamon. Follow the same procedure with the cherry pie, strawberry pie, and apple pie fillings, except apply a heave coat of cinnamon on the apple pie filling.
  3. Pour in DRY cake mix and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecan pieces evenly over the dry cake mix.
  4. Cut butter sticks into thin squares and apply over entire top; sprinkle baby marshmallows over top.
  5. Bake one hour at 350° F, with nine charcoal briquettes under the oven and 15 on the lid. Check after 20 minutes; if necessary, adjust the number of briquettes. Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or whipped topping.

Serves 10 to 12.