The "Top of the Hill Lady" 

my grandmother, Rilla.....





These recipes are not all originals of my grandmother's.  Just as we do now, she gathered recipes from cook books, family, and friends. These are  the ones that she had either marked or writen down, the ones that were served the most often as I was growing up.

The recipes of my grandmother that I am asked for most often are her pie recipes,  her Fresh Coconut Cake,  Tomato Jelly and the this Chicken and Dressing recipe.


Top of the Hill Chicken and Dressing


For the bread, it uses mainly cornbread but there is a little regular old siced bread in it also. No flour, or anything like that, just the two breads make up the dressing.

The first part of the recipe is cooked on top of the stove and then it goes into the oven for one hour.

This big pan in the picture above covers two eyes on my stove and I have them both turned on. It stays on the stove top while you cook your onion and celery, and remains there while you add all the other ingredients, one by one. You cook that mixture a little bit, stirring constantly until everything looks mixed thoroughly combined and has become nice and thick. Then you place it the oven for at least 1 hour. I usually bake mine for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The recipe calls for a 'large pone' of cornbread. I bake my cornbread in a big old iron skillet and bake until it has a fairly dark crust. The dark crusty part of the corn bread is a must for this recipe. It adds a new level of flavor and the dressing wouldn't be the same unless you let your cornbread get really done.

Don't be shy with the eggs. It really does take the entire dozen.

Chicken and Dressing

1 lg. batch southern cornbread
1/2 loaf white bread, cut or torn into small pieces( these days I use whole wheat bread)
1 Tbsp. sage (just to taste, a little sage goes a long way and I don't use it, but many people like sage in their dressing)
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. salt (Add salt little by little and then taste, your chicken broth may have salt in it if you use canned broth and therefore not as much salt will be needed. Taste before adding more salt)
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 c. celery, chopped (1 c. for the broth and 3 c. for the dressing
4 c. onion, chopped (1 c. for the broth and 3 c. for the dressing
12 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. milk
8-10 cups chicken broth (liquid from cooking your chicken breast)
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 large onions (1 for the dressing and and 1 for your broth

Making Your Broth:

These ingredients are all listed above in the main ingredinet list.

8 chicken breast (each breast cut into thirds)
1 c. onion (in large dices)
1 c. celery
Enough water to cover chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil, add your salt, pepper, and chicken breast. Cook until chicken is completely done.


Make a simple batch of southern cornbread without sugar and containing at least two cups of cornmeal. Make sure you let the cornbread cook long enough to develope a dark brown crust. Let cornbread cool enough to handle, then crumble it into large pieces. Toss crumbled cornbread with you bread cubes.

Lightly beat your eggs, add milk and mix. Set this aside as you cook your onions and celery.

After cooking your chicken, making your broth, and cooking your cornbread, having onions and celery diced, eggs and milk mixed together, you can now begin the dressing.

Place a large deep roasting pan on top of stove, it will cover two eyes. Turn both eyes on medium high heat. Place in the pan 2 sticks butter, 1 c. onions and 1 cup celery. Cook until onions are clear. About 5 min.

Add your cornbread and bread cubes.

Temper your egg/milk mixture with a little of your hot chicken broth, add this to your pan. Add to your large pan, stir to combine thoroughly and cook on top of stove until mixture begins to thicken, add chicken breast mix well.

Add more chicken broth if needed making sure the mixture is moist, but not soupy, you want it fairly thick . Taste for seasonings. Add additional salt and pepper to your taste.

Place roasting pan into a 350 F. oven and bake for at least bake 1 hour. I usually cook mine 1 hr and 15 min.


Even though in some of the pictures it looks a bit over done, it isn't. See the picture below. I took a close up of it so you can see on top how moist the top is and it is that way all the way through, just not runny.



We like a firm but moist dressing and that is exactly what you get with this recipe. It is also so very flavorful. YUM!!!!!!


Top of the Hill Cornbread

This is the cornbread recipe used in the above Chicken and Dressing Recipe.

4 Tbsp bacon drippings
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

This cornbread is best baked in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet but if you don't have one, a Pyrex dish will do just fine. If you halve this recipe, use an 8-inch square dish; if not, use a 9x13-inch dish or pan.
Preheat oven to 400F.

Put the bacon drippings in your baking dish or skillet and let them melt while the oven is preheating and you're mixing up the batter.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the corn meal, salt and baking soda, and stir to thoroughly combine. Add the buttermilk and stir well. Remove the hot pan from the oven. Swirl the pan to make sure it is coated with melted bacon drippings, and pour the bacon drippings into the batter. Stir well to combine.

Follow the cornmeal browning instruction before you add your batter.

Pour the batter into the pan, and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cornbread will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

If you want a finer cornbread, use this recipe, it has flour in it. I switch around and use both. The first recipe makes the best dressing to me, but I have made it using both cornbread recipes.



Buttermilk Cornbread (with Flour)

2 c corn meal (white or yellow)
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c buttermilk
2 Tbso melted shortening or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450F. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine beaten egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Combine cornmeal mixture with buttermilk mixture, stirring just enough to moisten. Pour into hot, well-greased 9- or 10-inch skillet or pan, muffin tins or corn stick molds. Bake about 15 minutes for muffins or corn sticks, and 20-25 minutes for pan or skillet. Cornbread will begin to pull away from sides.




Grandmother's Fresh Coconut Cake


This is one of most requested recipes, so I may have it included more than once at the site.

This cake is all the way coconut!  YUMMMY!!!!  It is the way coconut cakes used to be made what you would see every Christmas and other special days. I am giving you the exact way the recipe is written. She would slice the layer to make the multi layer cake for Christmas and holidays. But during the rest of the year she would make the cake using three layers and not slicing them. When she was going to slice the cake layers she baked it in 4 pans and cut each cake into three layers each. A mile high cake so to speak....guess to impress the company. LOL!

She would often substitute the coconut milk (juice from coconut) in place of some of the milk called for in the cake recipe. It depended on how much liquid the coconuts were yielding on that particular day.

She usually had 4  fresh coconuts for this cake. The glaze recipe is double is you decide to slice the layers.

Top of the Hill Fresh Coconut Cake

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating after each just until egg-color disappears. Sift flour once; add salt and baking powder and sift twice. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla and pour into 3 layer cake pans and bake at 350 F until light brown about 25 min. Cool in pans for about 10 min. and turn out on rack to finish cooling.

Coconut Glaze

1 1/ 2 c. fresh grated coconut ( or one 12 oz bag frozen)
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. sugar

In small sauce pan, cook about 1/2 c. coconut with water and sugar just long enough to dissolve sugar. Spoon over each of the 3 layers of cake, allowing to soak into each layer. Do this as you stack the layers.

Fresh Coconut Filling

1 1/2 c. fresh grated coconut (or one 12 oz bag frozen)
2 1/2 c. water
2 tsp coconut extract, divided
2 c. sugar
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. water

Bring coconut, water, coconut extract and sugar to a rapid boil. Boil for 5 to 8 min.  Add vanilla, remaining coconut extract, lemon juice and salt. Mix cornstarch in 1/4 c. water; pour into filling, stirring constantly. Let boil for 2 min. Cool in fridge until completely cold and stiff. Spread between layers.

Coconut Frosting

5 egg whites
1 1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. fresh grated coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Put egg whites, corn syrup and sugar in a large double boiler, and beat until mixed; place over boiling water and cook and beat until beaters make deep tracks in icing and icing peaks and turns glossy. This takes about 8 to 10 min. Be sure to cook long enough. Add vanilla and mix. Spread icing thick on the cake layers and on sides of cake and the top. This recipe makes lots of frosting so be generous.

This icing does not form a crust, but stays where you put it.

Once all this is done, take 2 cups freshly grated coconut and press around the outside of the cake and pile it on the top.


Kostbare Rollen

These are about as heavenly as a roll can possibly be.

( Kostbare rollen means "precious rolls" in German)

In small sauce pan scald 1 c. of milk

Combine milk with the following and let cool

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry yeast
3 beaten eggs ( place eggs in bowl of warm water to bring to room temp. gently and safely before beating)

In large bowl: Combine all the above with 4 1/2 c. flour, mix until smooth dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 min. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with damp towel and let rise until doubled in size.

Divide dough into three equal parts, working with 1/3 of the dough at a time( cover the other two, keeping them from forming a skin). Shape into rolls, place on greased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise until almost double in size. Do not let them over-rise.

Bake at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove rolls from pan and brush with butter and cool on racks.

This dough can be kept in the fridge for 2 -3 days and baked in small batches



I serve this every year along side of my cranberry relish. It is always a welcomed addition for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal where turkey, chicken or ham is being served with the accompanying dressing/stuffing. Everyone loves having the choice and most of them will end up eating some of both.


Hot Curried Fruit

1 29-oz can pears, drained
1 16-oz can apricots, drained
1 29-oz can peaches, drained
1 8 1/2-oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 16-oz can seedless Bing cherries, drained
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c. sherry, optional ( but terrific is you include it!)

Cut fruit into pieces and place in greased 3-quart baking dish.

In a saucepan melt butter, adding sugar, curry powder and ginger. Stir until blended and pour over fruit. Add sherry if desired.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 1 hour.



Totally Guilt Laden Brownies

One 8-ounce package cream cheese (regular or low-fat, but not fat-free), softened
1 1/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional for the pan, at room temperature
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus additional for the pan 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well combined. Set aside.

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan; set it aside.
Place the butter and both kinds of chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. If you don't have a double boiler, place the butter and both kinds of chocolate in a heat-safe bowl that fits snugly over a small pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until half the butter and chocolate is melted. Remove the top of the double boiler or the bowl from the pot; then continue stirring, away from the heat, until the butter and chocolate are completely melted. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Beat the remaining 1 cup sugar into the melted chocolate with a whisk or with an electric mixer at medium speed; continue beating until the mixture is smooth and silky, about 5 minutes by hand or 2 minutes with a mixer. Beat in the remaining 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon vanilla until incorporated.

With a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not beat. Spread three-quarters of this chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Cover with the cream cheese mixture, spreading it as evenly as possible with a spatula.

Do not press down. Dot the cream cheese mixture with the remaining chocolate batter, using heaping tablespoons of batter.
To create a swirl effect in the brownies, run a sharp kitchen knife through the batter without touching the bottom of the pan or lifting the knife up during its course. Slice through the chocolate dollops and drag some of the mixture into the cream cheese. Continue swirling until a spin-out, almost psychedelic pattern has formed.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the brownies into 16 squares while they're still in the pan. Carefully remove them with an offset spatula. Serve immediately, or let cool completely before covering with plastic wrap for storage at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 4 days. The brownies can be tightly wrapped in wax paper, sealed in a fireezer-safe bag, and frozen for up to 3 months; allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving.
To vary this recipe

Substitute one of the following flavorings for the 1 tablespoon vanilla used in the chocolate batter: 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 2 1/2 teaspoons maple extract 2 teaspoons banana extract 2 teaspoons coconut extract 2 teaspoons mint extract 2 teaspoons rum extract


Stir in 3/4 cup of any of the following mix-ins, or 3/4 cup any combination of the following mix-ins, with the flour mixture in the chocolate batter: chopped candied chestnuts chopped candied orange peel chopped Heath bars chopped Oh Henry! bars chopped pecans chopped walnuts cocoa nibs dried cherries shredded sweetened coconut white chocolate chips.


Cream Fudge the Irish Way

Large bowl
2 pkg ( each package should be 12 ounces each) of milk chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate chips
2 jars of marshmallow cream, 7 ounces EACH
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2/3 c of Irish Cream
2 c of chopped nuts - optional
4 1/2 c of granulated sugar
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1/2 pound of butter

In a very large bowl, combine the 2 packages of milk chocolate chips, the one package of semisweet chocolate chips, both jars of marshmallow cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, the Irish Cream, and nuts if you are adding them. Set this mixture aside.

Line a 10-x-15-inch pan with foil and spread lightly with butter or margarine.

In a medium sized saucepan, combine 4 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 can of evaporated milk, and 1/2 pound of butter. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook slowly, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes.

Pour the milk mixture into the very large bowl holding the chocolate chip mixture. Stir slowly by hand to combine. It is very important to do this by hand and NOT use any kind of mixer.
Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and chill until set.