Martha Myers Enjoys Preparing Family Favorite Dishes in Retirement

Martha Myers worked as a social worker at numerous locations in Lee County, including Lee-SCAN Inc., Lee County Youth Development Center, Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch and others over the years. Since she retired, Martha is enjoying more time with her husband, Ron Myers, former district attorney for 26 years, and their family. Martha is sharing her family’s favorite recipes. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER

After helping many families and children in Lee County as a social worker, Martha Myers is enjoying more time in retirement with her husband Ron, former district attorney, and their family. With her busy working schedule over the years, Martha didn’t have much time for cooking and is now looking forward to trying new recipes along with her specialties in their new kitchen and on their deck for grilling.

Martha’s extensive career includes working at Lee-SCAN Inc., where she established “Children Cope with Divorce” (now known as “TransParenting”), Alabama’s first court-mandated program for divorcing parents. She introduced and established “Special Deliveries,” a hospital-based primary prevention program for parents who give birth at East Alabama Medical Center.

She served as director of community services for the Lee County Youth Development Center, was a social worker at the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch and a part-time grief specialist and social worker for Hospice Compassus.

Martha is a recipient of the Lee County “Friend of the County” award and was recognized as an “Advocate for Children” presented by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lee County. She has been active in many organizations, and the Myers family are members of Auburn United Methodist Church.

Martha was born in Montgomery and grew up in the area that is now Pike Road.

“I grew up in the middle of a cow pasture,” she said. “My grandmother lived across the pasture, and I was kin to everybody. My grandmother was a good influence on me and had a love of cooking, as well as my mother.”

The family had a big garden every year. They raised cattle and showed calves and horses.

“It was a great place to grow up,” she said.

Martha graduated from Jefferson Davis High School, attended the University of South Alabama and graduated from Auburn University. After she and Ron married, Martha received a master’s degree from Auburn.

Ron grew up in Vandalia, Illinois. He graduated from Bradley University and Drake Law School. After law school, Ron was offered a position at Auburn University teaching business and constitutional law. After a few years, he was appointed district attorney by the governor in 1973 and served for 26 years.

Martha and Ron have four children, who are grown and live in Auburn, except for Ron’s elder daughter, Debbie, who resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Their son, John David, works with Building and Earth Engineering, while their son Matthew, chief operation officer of Guthrie’s, and his wife Kelsey have three children. Their younger daughter, Caroline O’Neil, is a licensed clinical social worker. She and her husband Brian have four children.

“We enjoy lots of family time and feel very blessed to live in the same town with most of the kids and grands,” Martha said. “A big part of our lives includes Ron’s five cats and my two shelties.”

With family living in the area, they had their kitchen completely redone to have more space when they visit. It had been renovated about 10 years ago, but it didn’t meet the needs of their family. Martha met with a designer and decided to gut the kitchen, laundry room and pantry. The deck was also expanded with a door in the kitchen to provide easy access to the grill.

The new kitchen includes a large island with seating on one side, great lighting, white cabinets and a glass front navy hutch.

“I am so pleased with my new kitchen,” Martha said. “It is so much more functional. One reason we redid the kitchen is because we have seven grandchildren. We want to have plenty of room for them.”

Martha’s specialties are holiday meals, desserts and most anything on the grill, especially her grilled steaks.

“Our current renovation was inspired by my need for convenience and easy access to the grill,” she said. “A menu of family favorites includes a beef tenderloin filet over grilled asparagus, a green salad made with whatever is in the refrigerator, Wickles deviled eggs and a twice-baked potato if we’re not on a diet.”

 Martha’s family had cattle, and her father taught her how to cook steaks. Her father built a brick grill in their background. The entire family would sit around the grill and tell stories and look at the stars as her father cooked ribs and steaks on the grill.

While Ron had not grilled much, it was something that Martha enjoyed doing. She has enjoyed trying different kinds of steaks and seasonings, but she always goes back to something simple. She prefers to cook tender beef tenderloin filets. While other steaks have more marbling, they don’t care for the fat. She finds placing steaks on metal plates keeps them warmer longer.

For dessert, the family’s favorites are Alma’s fudge bars, one of Martha’s mother’s favorite recipes, and grandson Ethan’s favorite, Key lime pie. The fudge bars are so popular that Kelsey had the recipe engraved on a wooden plaque for Martha.

Since retiring, they have enjoyed traveling. They have visited Cuba, Ireland and Scotland. They are planning a European river cruise this spring.

 “I have always loved children,” Martha said, looking back on her career as a social worker. “I loved my jobs. I never had a job I didn’t love. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful children and their families.

“I was blessed to work with wonderful people. You work with many people when you work with children, especially in foster care situations. It was a blessing to be able to do the things I have done. I was glad to help where I was needed.”

Martha’s Specialty Grilled Filet

Serve steaks with a tossed green salad. I love to add sliced olives, avocado slices, tomatoes and chopped peppers to my salad and toss with freshly made mixtures of ranch or Italian dressing. My friend, Sheree Harper, put me onto the sliced olives, and we love this additional zesty flavor.

Grilled slices of squash and zucchini or asparagus are also great sides with steak. I just brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and a little pepper.

6 – 8 oz. beef tenderloin filets, approximately 1 ½ inches thick (You can also use a cheaper cut, such as a strip steak, but be sure to use tenderizer in your seasoning and refrigerate for at least an hour.)

McCormick’s Chicago Steak seasoning or salt and pepper

2-3 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil and 1 Tbsp. Dales Sauce combined in a small bowl

I use a charcoal grill and allow the coals to burn down to a hot glow.

Once I get the grill started, I pat each steak with the olive oil and Dales sauce mixture, then season with McCormick’s Chicago Steak seasoning. We love this seasoning, but there are many rubs and seasoning mixtures on the market now. Some folks just prefer salt and pepper.

Once the coals are just right, I sear each side, then cook on a raised rack for 6 minutes. I time this carefully. This should be adjusted as to how well done you and your family like their steaks cooked.

I remove the steaks to a warm plate and allow them to rest a few minutes before serving. I also use metal steak plates which keep the steaks warm longer.

Easy Creamy Ranch Pork Chops or Chicken Breasts

Martha Myers

Serve with steamed broccoli, greens beans or other vegetables of your choice.

1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil

4 boneless pork chops or 4 bone-in or chicken filets

Salt and pepper

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of milk

1 pkg. ranch salad dressing mix, divided

Sprinkle salt and pepper on choice of pork or chicken (I use Adolph’s seasoned meat tenderizer on pork chop, but not on chicken.)

Heat oil in skillet. Add pork or chicken and cook until done.

Mix soup, milk, and half pkg. ranch dressing mix in small bowl then pour over meat. Heat to a boil, reduce heat and cover, cook on low setting for approximately 10 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with ranch-style rice. Add remaining salad dressing mix to water with cooking rice.

Chicken Taco Soup

Caroline Myers O’Neil

I love this recipe. It’s a go-to anytime of the year.

Serve with Fritos,  tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese.

1 lb. chicken (boiled and sliced)

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can creamed corn

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can pinto beans

1 can kidney beans, drained

1 can black beans

2 cups water

1 pkg. dry ranch mix

1 pkg. taco Seasoning mix

I usually dump everything in the crock pot and let simmer on low during the work day. You could also dump everything in a pot on the stove top, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas

Kelsey Myers

1 lb. uncooked chicken breast strips

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut into strips

1 can (4.5 oz.) Old El Paso chopped green chilies

1 pkg. (12 count) Old El Paso flour tortillas for soft tacos and fajitas

2 cans (10 oz. each) Old El Paso green chili enchilada sauce

¾ cup (3 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cook in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until no longer pink to center.

Add cream cheese and chiles; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted.

Spoon chicken filling onto tortillas, roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake 15 or 20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.

Can serve with guacamole dip and chips.

Guacamole Dip:

3-4 ripe avocados

½ white onion

Fresh Roma tomatoes


Lime juice

Mash and mix the ingredients together. Serve fresh as a dip with nachos.

Mexican Coleslaw

Martha Myers

1 bag shredded cabbage and carrots (4 or 5 cups)

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Lime Dressing:

1/3 cup lime juice

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. honey

2 cloves garlic minced or ½ tsp. garlic powder

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Combine dressing ingredients, then toss in with cabbage and cilantro mixture until completely covered in dressing. Chill for at least an hour then serve.

Crystal Light Lime Pie

Caroline Myers O’Neil

This is a good dessert to serve with the Creamy Chicken and Chile Enchiladas.

1 ½ cups skim milk

2 pkgs. Jell-O sugar free, fat-free, vanilla instant pudding

Two 8 oz. cartons Cool Whip, sugar free, thawed, divided

1 tub crystal light lime or lemonade or any other flavor

2 reduced fat graham cracker pie crusts

Mix milk and puddings on high speed until thick for about 1 minute. Blend in 1 1/2 tubs of Cool Whip until well mixed. Save the other half of the tub for the topping.

Sprinkle crystal light over mixture and fold in until well blended. Pour into pie crusts and top with extra Cool Whip. Chill in the refrigerator prior to serving.

Chicken Divine

Caroline Myers O’Neil

I like to serve the chicken over rice with a salad or a green vegetable.

Small jar of dried beef

4-6 chicken breasts


8 oz. tub sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Coat 9 x 13- inch pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of dish with dried beef. Wrap each chicken breast with bacon and lay on top of dried beef.

In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and cream of mushroom soup together.

Pour mixture over chicken and spread evenly. Cover with foil and cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Alma’s Favorite Fudge Bars

Martha Myers

Until her health no longer allowed for it, my mother held a Christmas Tea each and every year since I can remember. It was one of those things that was just expected by our family and friends, young and old. It was held the Sunday before Christmas each year at our home in Pike Road. One year she even designed and compiled a little cookbook of recipes of the food she had served at the tea and gave them as favors to her guests. I still have mine and use it often when preparing treats for my family and friends. One of our favorite recipes was for Alma’s Favorite Fudge Bars as follows:

Cream together:

½ cup butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

Add, mix well:

2 eggs

4 (4 oz. box) softened squares unsweetened baking chocolate

Then add alternating/mixing:   2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups milk

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Pour into 9 x 13-inch greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Frost as indicated below or eat plain after cooling a bit.


Cream together:

1 ½ tsp. cocoa

1 Tbsp. milk

1 ½ tsp. butter

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

¼ tsp. vanilla

Frost while still very warm and allow to cool a bit. My favorite is to serve slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Also yummy cut into small squares and served as a party treat which mother did.

Crock Pot Candy

Family favorite.

The crock pot candy is what I make as Christmas treats for everyone.

2 jars peanuts, one salted, one unsalted

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 bar semi-sweet chocolate

2 pkgs. white chocolate (1 whole bag and 1/4 of the second)

Peanut butter, optional

Place peanuts in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with everything else. Cook on low until everything is melted, stirring often.

Spoon out onto wax paper and let it set to hard. Store in the refrigerator.


Above is the original recipe. I like to use a bar of almond bark, a bar of milk chocolate, two bags of semi-sweet morsels and most of a small jar of creamy peanut butter, in addition to two jars of salty peanuts.

Place the peanuts on the bottom of the crock pot in order to prevent the chocolate from burning and sticking.

Once everything has melted, I like to crush up pretzels and pour a thin layer on the top of the melted chocolate before I start to spoon out the mixture. This keeps the pretzels crunchy instead of becoming soggy.

I also like to place my wax paper on cookie sheets. Once I fill a cookie sheet, I place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to help harden the candy faster.


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