Fran’s Favorites: Recipes from friends

By Fran DeWine

I love to cook. Growing up in a family of six children, Mom always let me help her in the kitchen. I was an expert on peeling potatoes, making meat loaf and pot roast. And when any company came by the house, I made chocolate chip cookies. Cooking became my passion!

When Mike first ran for Greene County prosecutor, we knocked on a lot of doors. I was very shy and it wasn’t always easy for me — not everyone wanted to open their door! So when the race was over I told Mike that if he ever ran for office again, I wanted to make something that if I gave it to people it would make them smile, something they would keep longer than his literature! So I went home and started going through all those recipes that I had collected. I picked my favorite ones. The ones with the little spots on them because I had made them so often, and I set about making a cookbook. My first draft, typed, looked kind of boring. But my good friend Josie suggested that I just hand write them, put a border around them and let my children do the illustrations!

I have continued to make these books over the years, always including family and friends’ recipes. Janet Voinovich and I made a special one together when Mike ran as his lieutenant governor. And last year I made a special edition of my favorite recipes of my first 12 cookbooks. Now, I am assembling a new cookbook. This one will be special because Tina Husted and I are doing it together! Tina has shared with me lots of her favorite recipes — recipes from her mom and her mother-in-law. Recipes from her friends. And recipes that her family loves and enjoys. Even one from Jon! I am still picking out my recipes. In addition, we asked for recipes on Facebook, so we are going to include a couple of them as well. Tina’s girls and my grandkids are doing the illustrations so it should be fun!

Here is a preview. I love Tina’s recipe for Capital Chicken. I think you will too. And I’m fascinated by Tammy Mullins’ story and recipe for Meatball Stew. I can almost smell it — I can’t wait to try it!


Tina’s Capital Chicken

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon oil

4 chicken breasts

1 tablespoon flour

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup dry white whine

1 cup water

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon tarragon

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 can artichoke hearts

6 green onions, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley

1 package (18 oz.) mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine butter and oil in a large frying pan; heat until butter is melted. Add chicken and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and place in a 3-quart casserole dish. In same pan, sauté mushrooms until tender. Stir in flour, then soup, wine and water; simmer, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Stir in cream, salt, tarragon and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, add drained and quartered artichokes, onions and parsley; mix gently. Return to oven and bake for 30 more minutes.


“When Joe and I began dating in 1984, this was the first meal my mom prepared for him and he loved it! More than 30 years later, it remains a family favorite. After a long day at work, it’s such a joy to hear my family open the door, smell the aroma and holler ‘Oh boy! Meatball Stew!’” — Tammy Mullins, Cedarville

Meatball Stew

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1/2 cup oatmeal or bread crumbs

1/4 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

salt & pepper to taste

2 tablespoons oil

4 carrots, quartered

3 potatoes, quartered

3 sweet potatoes, quartered

1 large onion, quartered

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1 (15 oz.) can green beans with liquid

4 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

Combine ground meat, oatmeal or bread crumbs, diced onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper. Shape into 16 large meatballs. (You may use frozen meatballs of your choice & bake according to package directions.) If preparing fresh meatballs, heat oil and brown the meatballs in an electric skillet or large sauté pan, gently turning with a fork. Drain fat out of electric skillet or pan. Combine carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, cabbage, green beans with liquid, tomato sauce, water & sugar in sauté pan or electric skillet. Add meatballs and gently combine so as to not break apart the meatballs. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve with crust bread or baguette slices.

By Fran DeWine

Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her next cookbook, Fran DeWine and Tina Husted’s Family Favorites will come out this summer.

Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and guest columnist. Her next cookbook, Fran DeWine and Tina Husted’s Family Favorites will come out this summer.