Across the Table from Miranda Lambert

The Grammy-winning vocalist and songwriter sings for her supper—and spills the culinary specialties that set country star Blake Shelton's heart aflutter.

1. It’s almost your first anniversary. What did you and Blake serve at the wedding?
We shot and fried venison we raised on our Oklahoma ranch. We’re big hunters, and we were able to share a small taste of something important to us.

2. What food most reminds you of your childhood?
My dad’s chicken-fried venison and my mom’s meatloaf—the special requests by all of us for our birthday dinners.

3. What food aroma would you bottle?
My mom’s barbecue sauce. The surprise ingredient is 1/4 cup of beer. It was handed down from my grandpa’s days in the military.

4. Your biggest food-related pet peeve?
Slurping. I’ve always hated it.

5. What’s always in your fridge?
Cheese. Blake likes cheese on everything, or even by itself.

6. And your pantry?
If company drops by, I make something called Magic, as my mom did. Take 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg (from our own chickens) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Combine, roll into golf balls, crisscross with a fork and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

7. What’s the last thing you cooked?
Chicken-fried steak last night for Blake’s homecoming. It was his first day home in over a month.

8. You’re sure to bring what to a potluck party?
Corn and macaroni casserole. It’s one of Blake’s favorite things, it’s easy to make and there are rarely any leftovers.

9. What’s the best cooking advice you’ve received?
My mom always said, “Those that eat, work.” So we all chipped in. She also taught me my grandmother’s trick to make canned veggies seem fresh: drain, add a little olive oil and sprinkle with sugar while heating. It brings the flavor out.

10. Your final food for thought?
When in doubt, fry it or add cheese.

Miranda’s year has been crammed with platinum: wedding bands with Shelton, a Grammy and four American Country Music awards. Her new Four the Record is shooting up the charts after three platinum albums since 2005. She also formed an all-girl group, Pistol Annies, with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley. Her mother is a devoted Taste of Home reader. You can find Miranda on Twitter @Miranda_Lambert.

Miranda’s Meatloaf Recipe

2 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage (mild or regular)
1/2 sleeve of finely crushed saltines or Ritz crackers
2 eggs
1 dash of Worcestershire
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 finely chopped onion

Mix all the above ingredients together (best option: dig in with both hands!). Put into a baking dish (casserole or loaf style).

Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Prepare topping while baking.

Blend together 1 c. ketchup and 1/4 c. brown sugar.

After baking, pour grease off of loaf. Spread topping over meat generously. (If using a large pan you may need extra; use ratio above.) Place pan back in the oven for 15 minutes to bake. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. ENJOY!

Variation: For “low carb” diets, substitute pork rinds for crackers and Splenda for brown sugar.