CookingNOW In the Kitchen With Judy Kirby Hodges


A certified dietary manager at Legend Heathcare, Judy Kirby Hodges is charged with cooking for the residents. “We host a monthly polka night. I don’t dare not make my banana pudding, or I’ll have an uprising on my hands,” Judy said. She began cooking at age 8 under her grandmother’s tutelage. “My grandmother was German. I bake a lot of traditional desserts to carry on her memory,” Judy explained. She has also taught her daughters to cook, as well as others who share her passion for cooking. During Judy’s childhood, her family moved frequently, so she experienced different cultures. “My family enjoys choosing different genres of food that I prepare,” she said. “Cooking is a way of nurturing, while showing family, friends, co-workers and residents my love for them.”

Jalapeño Rice

  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 cups Minute Rice
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. Velveeta Cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 pickled jalapeños
  1. In a stock pot, combine all ingredients; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to low heat; simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally without breaking open the jalapeños. Cajun Pasta 2 Tbsp. olive oil 2 lbs. chicken, deboned, skinned and chopped 4 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning 2 tsp. butter 1 red onion, sliced 1 red bell pepper, sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced 1 orange bell pepper, sliced 1 10-oz. bag fresh spinach 1 pkg. fresh mushrooms 4 garlic cloves, minced Salt and pepper, to taste 1 cup white wine 4 cups chicken stock 1 8-oz. tub heavy whipping cream Cornstarch, as needed 1 16-oz. box penne pasta, cooked according to pkg. instructions


  1. In a pan, pour olive oil. Coat chicken with Cajun seasoning. Pan fry chicken in oil; remove.
  2. Add butter to pan. Add all vegetables, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook mixture on high heat for 10 minutes; remove vegetables from pan.
  3. To deglaze the pan, add wine; reduce heat by half. 4. Add chicken stock; bring mixture to a boil. Whisk in heavy cream; reduce heat to simmer. 5. Thicken mixture to desired thickness with cornstarch. 6. Add reserved chicken and vegetables; combine with cooked penne pasta. Polka Night Sweet and Sour Meatballs 1 32-oz. pkg. fully cooked meatballs 1 18-oz. jar grape jelly 1 24-oz. jar medium hot picante sauce 1. Place all ingredients in a Crock-Pot; cook on high for 2 hours, stirring often. Buttermilk Pie 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 cup Bisquick 1 cup buttermilk 1/3 stick butter, melted 3 eggs


  1.  In a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth; pour mixture into a buttered pie plate.
  2.  Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pie does not jiggle. Polka Night Banana Pudding 2 5.1-oz. boxes banana pudding mix 4 cups cold milk 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese 1 14-oz. can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk 1 8-oz. tub Cool Whip 4 bananas 1 11-oz. box vanilla wafers 


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and cold milk until smooth.
  2. Using a mixer, combine the cream cheese and Eagle Brand milk; add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Mix together until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.
  3. In a dish, alternate layers of bananas, cookies and pudding.

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Originally Published in Ennis Now Magazine.


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