Monday , 18 June 2018

McKinney Firehouse Recipes: Part 2 Features Matt Ball of Fire Station #8

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

In our continuing series on McKinney Fire Station Cooks, let me introduce you to Matthew Ball – who ‘mans’ the stove at McKinney Fire Station #8.

Matt Ball hails from Chicago and used to ride Western Show Horses. But after he married Matt decided he needed a more ‘stable’ job [pun intended] – so he moved to McKinney in 2002 and became a fireman. He is one of the designated cooks at Fire Station #8.

He is married with two daughters 8 and 6 who are his enthusiastic ‘tasters’.

Matthew prefers to stick to a recipe – no ‘creating’ for him – and loves Italian food.  

Some VERY good advice from Matthew – the fireman:
Do NOT throw water on a stovetop fire – put a lid on top or throw on some flour.
Do NOT leave food cooking on or in the stove when leaving the house. 

In either case – the fire alarm bells may ring at Station 8!

If you mised our opening Firehouse Recipes feature, please click here.

Meanwhile, check out the video to see Mathew in action then try his delicious…

Chicken Pillows

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tbsp dried chives
1 1/2 tbsp fresh onion, minced
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 (8 ounce) cans crescent rolls
1/4 cup melted butter
Italian bread crumbs
1 (14.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 package chicken gravy mix

1.  Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream until well combined.  Stir in salt, pepper, onion, chives, and diced chicken.

2.  Using Pillsbury crescent rolls, take 2 triangular rolls and push together at perforated seam to make into a square. Make sure you seal the perforations well so your filling doesn’t come out. Put about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture in the center of each square. Fold the dough corners to the center over the chicken mixture forming a pillow.

3.  Dip each pillow in melted butter on both sides. Roll in bread crumbs on both sides. Shake excess crumbs off. Place chicken pillow on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

4.  Make gravy by mixing one package of chicken gravy mix, one can of cream of chicken soup and 3/4 can of water in a small pot. Mix together and heat until warm. Serve chicken pillows with gravy poured over top.

About The McKinney Fire Department
The McKinney Fire Department is made up of 164 total personnel.  While 20 employees work in various capacities on staff, the majority of MFD personnel are professional firefighters, assigned to emergency response duties.  Each of the 144 firefighters is trained as emergency medical responders as well, with most being certified paramedics.  The MFD consists of eight fire stations covering the 62.9 square miles in the city, as well as the designated extraterritorial jurisdiction.  McKinney firefighters responded to a total of 9,794 calls in 2011.

Firefighters in McKinney work a schedule of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty.  During the 24 hours on duty, the crews respond to emergency calls, attend mandatory training, and provide public education activities such as station tours and community training.  In addition to these duties, they operate their “household” by performing day-to-day routines, including grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.  She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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