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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

I haven't made gingerbread for years, but had some whipping cream to use in my fridge and for some reason I thought of was cold and snowy so maybe that was what did it..anyway, I mixed some up tonight for an after dinner treat.  It is fast to make, although takes an hour to bake, but the house smells so good when it's baking it's worth the wait to eat it.  One nice thing about gingerbread, I think it tastes better brings out the spices so nicely.  Then add a big blob of sweetened, vanilla laced whipped cream and it's perfect around Christmas.  Here's the recipe:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour a 9 x 9 cake pan.

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg and mix in the molasses.
2.  add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Blend into the creamed mixture and stir the hot water, stirring until it's a smooth creamy batter.  Pour into the prepared pan. 
3.  Bake 1 hour in preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool until slightly warm and serve with whipped cream. 

Leslie's Homemade Caramels

I need to get out today and do a little shopping, but since it's so dang cold and not sure about the roads yet since we had a pretty big snow last night, I decided to make a half batch of homemade caramels for Christmas. Granddaughter Alana really likes them and I didn't make them last year. It's a lot of time, but I really like these because they are buttery and have a good vanilla taste. The whole batch is huge and I didn't feel like wrapping them up for hours since Alana is gone this weekend to help me! Thank goodness there is always some left on the spoon and kettle to sample while they cool!

Here is the recipe (I got it from my friend, Leslie..she used to give me little gift bags of them that I'd hoard for myself before I finally asked for the recipe!)

Leslie's Homemade Caramels: Just half the ingredients if you want a smaller size)

In a LARGE heavy kettle combine:
4 cups white granulated sugar
4 cups light Karo syrup
Bring to a boil over medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 245 degrees, stirring frequently.

1 cup butter until melted.
Then slowly add 3 cans Carnation evaporated milk so it doesn't curdle.
Bring to a rapid boil at medium-high heat up to 240 degrees stirring constantly so bottom doesn't scorch.  This is a slow process, but be patient so they harden correctly.  It's nice to have a backup stirrer or a stool to sit on while doing this stage.

Then remove from heat and add:
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons good vanilla

Pour into a PARCHMENT papered jelly roll pan to completely cool before cutting and wrapping into caramels.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Raspberry (or any jam flavor) ribbons

My granddaughter, Sam, has a winter dance next Saturday and her 9th grade class has to bring treats/snacks..each class is assigned different items.  We decided, since she was here this weekend, to make some cookies for her to bring that were holidayish, since it's a Christian school and they celebrate Christmas and also can bring home baked goods still!  We settled on these ribbon cookies..I have always made them with raspberry, but saw a lady who had made cookies with a variety of jams and thought it would make a pretty display for the party.  I have made these for many many Christmas' in the past and always with the raspberry.  I actually kind of liked the apricot in them too though, change of pace. 

Here is the recipe:  It's pretty simple..I doubled it so there were plenty for the party.


1 cup butter, softened (no substitutions, you have to use butter in these!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Divide dough in 4 portions.  shape each into a 10 x 2-1/2 inch log.  Place 4 inches apart on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.

Make a 1/2 inch depression down the center of each log..I just use my fingers, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then fill the depressions with jam.  don't overfill.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until lightly browned.  Cool 2 minutes, meanwhile making the glaze.  drizzle the glaze over the logs.  Then I cut them at a diagonal and remove them onto a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sewing up some Korn Kernel bags for Kim's coworkers Christmas gifts

Daughter, Kim, started a new job this fall in a pediatric dental office.  She really likes it there and they do a lot of gathering together for birthday's and any other reason they can think of to get together and make the day go good.  They are doing a little gift exchange for Christmas and she asked me for ideas because there is a lower monetary limit and although the group is smaller it still added up.  I suggested these corn bags because a woman at my work makes them and sells them like hotcakes..people love them.  They use them for stiff shoulders, wrists, knees, backs and sometimes just to warm up because it's cold in the office in the winter.  You just heat them up in the microwave for a couple minutes and they stay warm a long time.  We decided to make them longer than hers though for a nicer neck drape and stability.  Hers are about 7 x 20 and we made ours 7 x 30.  I just cut some fabric 14" x 30, folded it in half lengthwise and used a tight zig-zag stitch so they'd be strong with the corn inside.  I left one short side open, Kim filled them about 1/3 full of dried whole corn (she got a 50 lb bag at Fleet Farm for like $8) and then I sewed the end shut with a straight stitch after folding in the end.  It went fast once we picked out fabric from my stash and figured out how much corn etc to put in them.  We made 11 of them in about 2 hours and she had enough corn to make probably 14 of them from that bag with our enlarged size.  I told her it would be fun to make different sizes for different body areas.  These can also be frozen for ice packs by the way.  Good way to use up fabric.  They can be made with either cotton or flannel fabric, both breath well. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sunny Vegetable Salad

This is another recipe I used to make and then for some reason it faded out of my life.  Something new must have come along and I quit making it, but it's worth renewing!  It's another dish I am making for tomorrow.  My mom used to be the one who made this to start with and the rest of us just caught on to the fire from her making it.  It makes a big batch, so if you are having just a few people over I'd recommend a half a batch.  It takes a while to put together..lots of cutting things into small pieces, but it's worth it in the end.  I made 1-1/2 batches to fill a big tub.

5 cups broccoli florets (tiny ones)
5 cups cauliflowerets
2 cups finely shredded cedar cheese (I used the sharp cheddar)
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 -1 cup craisins or raisins (I used craisins)

1 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cider or red wine vinegar (I used cidar)

6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
14/ cup sunflower seeds

MIX the vegetables with the dressing that has been whipped together.  Top with sunflower seeds and bacon after it's been refrigerated 1 hour.  Serve.

White Texas Sheet Cake

Unfortunately my ex-son-in-law died unexpectantly last week.  He was only 42 but had a massive seizure and left this world.  Even though my daughter and Ryan were divorced, I still had a soft spot in my heart for him.  He was a great guy when they first were married and because of their marriage I have my beautiful granddaughter, Alana, but over the years he suffered from anxiety and depression issues and turned to alcohol and things worsened in his life.  I still remember him as he was though and miss that guy a lot.  Tomorrow is the funeral service for him, so I made this sheet cake for the fellowship afterwards to bring. It's a recipe that I bring to a lot of events because it's both very good and it makes a big cake.  It can be made in either a jelly roll pan, that I make, or a 15 x 10 inch sheet cake pan.  It's got a nice almond flavor that a lot of people enjoy, including me!  Here's how I make it..the smaller cake measures are in red if you prefer that size.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees:  Pam spray a Jelly roll pan (13 x 17-1/2) or sheet cake pan (10 x 15)

In a large kettle combine:
1-1/2   (1)    cup butter
1-1/2   (1)    cups water
3         (2)    cups flour
3         (2)    cups sugar
3         (2)    eggs, beaten
3/4     (1/2)  cup sour cream
1-1/2   (1)    teaspoons almond extract
1-1/2   (1)    teaspoons salt
1-1/2   (1)    teaspoons baking soda

Bring butter and water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients; stir until smooth.  Pour into a greased jelly-roll pan or sheet cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on which size, or until cake is golden and tests done.  Cool for 20 minutes; spread with frosting over warm cake. 

FROSTING:  I make the same batch size for either cake.
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup sliced almonds or walnuts (I use almonds)

Combine butter and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; add pwd sugar and almond extract.  Mix well and spread on warm cake, sprinkling with almonds. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cheesy Broccoli, Cheese, Potato, Ham and Carrot Soup (Whew. that's a mouthful!)

My daughter, Kim, made this a few nights ago and passed the recipe on to me, telling me they loved it for their dinner that night.  I decided to make it tonight since I had all the ingredients in my fridge/pantry to do so.  It came together pretty quickly and it was really a nice meal.  The original recipe didn't call for ham like we used, instead it called for crumbled bacon and cheese on top, which would be delicious too. 

Here's how to put it together. 

In a large kettle/stock pot add:

(2) 14 oz can's of chicken stock or however you do your chicken broth..
4 medium potatoes diced in cubes (leftover baked potatoes diced would be really good too, but I'd add them later on so they don't smush up.
2 cleaned and diced/sliced carrots
1 tsp onion powder

bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Then add 1 medium bunch of broccoli-just the florets- in smaller bite sized chunks and about 1 cup of diced lean ham and cook another 10 minutes.

While this is simmering:
in another good sized kettle:
Melt 3 Tbsps butter and add 1/3 cup flour.  stir until well mixed.  Add 3-1/2 cups milk.  Cook about 5 minutes until thickened.  Add 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese and stir until totally melted.  Add 1/2 tsp pepper and a little granulated garlic. 

Pour this cheese sauce into the big kettle with the vegetables and ham and stir.  Add more milk if too thick for your taste and salt and pepper to your taste.  (The recipe calls for 1 tsp)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Roasted cauliflower chowder

I had made this chowder last week but never wrote about it on this blog.  It's so good I had to share the link with you and therefore keep it for myself. .I brought some to work for two ladies to try and they loved it too.  It doesn't have a lot of fattening ingredients and tastes great with a fattening ingredient-cheese stuffed bread sticks..perfect for dipping in the delicious broth.  Here is the link to the recipe.  I didn't change anything and wouldn't in the future!  The roasted cauliflower would be a great snack on it's own..I could barely stop myself from eating the whole pan when it was done! Here you go..  You might have to copy and paste the link into your browser as I see it didn't highlight. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fuge Brownie Bundt Cake

I have been on the bundt cake craze lately, but since I didn't have a workable kitchen for a few weeks I have been waiting to make this recipe for a chocolate one.  Dave has been having late night snack withdrawals, so today, although I still have a day's work left of putting things back into my kitchen, I managed to make the cake since it is so easy to put together.  I tasted it while still warm and it's good and I am sure that it will only get better the longer it sits..these cakes always moisten up more and more with sitting.  It's super quick to throw's what you do.

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used a chocolate fudge cake mix) 15.25 oz size
1 box fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
1 cup oil

Mix above ingredients together-(ignore ingredients for making the mixes on the package) with a mixer until blended together. 

Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan, or use something like Baker's Joy baking spray

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes..mine took 50 minutes.

Let the cake cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert it on a serving plate.  I tap the bottom and sides with a butter knife to insure it's loosened and then lift the top. 

Take 1/2 of a can of rich chocolate frosting (or make your own) and warm it in the microwave in a small bowl for 30 seconds until somewhat melted and drizzle it over the cake.  Like I stated above, this cake and all bundt cakes taste better the second day, so good one to make ahead for events also.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Updating the kitchen a little

Sorry I haven't been on here as much lately..I am trying to update the house a little before I retire in about a year and a half, so we can spend our "golden years" hopefully with as few updates as possible as the income will be significantly reduced I am sure!  Right now we are concentrating on the kitchen.  My cupboards are basically fine for me-they are oak and Dave touched them up a few years ago, but the countertop and backsplash (well, kind of a was built in 1976 and they used to run laminate up the walls that was the same as the countertop) was getting pretty shoddy looking and at one point had rotted out behind the sink, so Dave "patched" it up just to keep it from leaking.  It was hard to clean also, was white with a so called "leather look" that was in style back then (but guess what I saw something similar at Menards when we were looking at options!)  NEVER buy a textured counter top..believe me, they are not fun or sanitary.  Anyway, now the countertops and backsplash are in!  Dave (and his cabinet maker brother Denny) put in the countertop and Dave did the backsplash.  I like the way it turned out..somewhat neutral, but am hoping it's something that wont' make me tired of it until I can't live in the house any longer!  I am doing a gray, soft  yellow, white and cream theme.  I have white appliances and got a new white sink and hood light/fan to match them.  I think it looks like an inviting space and I haven't even "staged" it yet.  This is a preview picture..I have to wash down the cupboards, line them all and put all the drawers back, so ignore all the unfinished things..the dirty dishes will be gone also in the next picture.  this is the first day I could even get at them and I didn't have time for that part..

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monster Cookies

Everyone at work has been talking Monster Cookie talk this week.  Kim requested them for her birthday dinner (mostly because her boyfriend, Kevin, and Alana wanted them), but after not making them for decades, I decided to look up a recipe and throw them together for her dinner dessert.  I forgot how good they are, and for a cookie they actually seem like a healthy snack with all the tons of oatmeal in them.  (just trying to convince myself most likely).  Anyway, I was surprised how many recipes there are out there for monster cookies with a variety of ingredients in them!  Some had flour, some had no peanut butter (WHAT!) and some had coconut, raisins and rice krispies etc..I just picked a basic one, but would have enjoyed the coconut because I love that.  I decided not to though because not everyone is a fan of it.  Here's the recipe:

Monster Cookies:
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
one 12 ounce jar creamy peanut butter (I had a 20 oz jar at home, so used a little over 1/4 of the jar)
1 stick soft butter
1 cup M&M's (I used mini ones)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
4-1/2 cups QUICK COOKING oatmeal in the box.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray cookie sheets with Pam spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars.  Mix well.  Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter.  Mix well.  Stir in the M&M's, chocolate chips, baking soda and vanilla.  add oatmeal.  Drop by large Tablespoons full on cookie sheets (a dozen per tray, so spread out a little).  Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine took 10-11)..don't overbake.  Let them sit on the pan for about 3 minutes and then transfer onto rack to cool (I just use aluminum foil and lay them on that.  Makes 3 dozen or more if you don't make giant ones.  Sorry about the blurry picture-I was rushed because my kitchen was going to be ripped apart for a remodel the minute I got done)..

Chicken Stir Fry with Honey Garlic Sauce

I tried this a few nights ago since I had a whole chicken I had cut up and used the "non-breast" pieces to make fried chicken for Dave and me for supper and had the nice full breast left to make something with.  I love stir-fries anyway, so thought I'd try one that was different than my usual.  I liked it a lot and even the leftovers the next day for my lunch tasted great.  You could add whatever veggies you like to the chicken or other meat you have on hand..that's what's great about a quick stir fry.  I got a pot of rice cooking while I made it, but noodles would also be good with it.  Here's how I put it together.

For the marinade/sauce:
3 large garlic cloves minced..or use the minced garlic in the jar.
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Siracha sauce or less/more depending how spicy you like things

Mix together and pour half of it over your cubed up whole (or two half breasts) of chicken or equal amount of steak/pork.  Marinate up to 2 hours.  (I just marinated it about half an hour while I chopped up the vegetables and it was fine if you are doing it last minute like me.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the chicken to the skillet.  Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until just done.  I wiped out the pan and added a little more oil and then added:

cleaned and diagonally thin sliced carrot
a red and yellow mini bell pepper sliced
about 2 cups of fresh broccoli heads cut in small florets
1/4 cup of yellow onion sliced (green onions would be good too)
(snow pea pods would be great in this too and fresh bean sprouts etc)

and stir fried them until they were tender crisp..Then I dumped the chicken back in and added the remainder of the reserved marinade and tossed it until slightly thickened.

Eat as above or over steamed rice or noodles. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake that Turned into a Trifle

Tomorrow is Bosses Day at work.  I wasn't even aware of it until my daughter, Kim, said she had stopped at "Nothing  but Bundt Cakes" yesterday to pick up a bundt cake for her boss that everyone had chipped in on.  One of my bosses mentioned that she and her husband had been there last week too and loved it, so I looked on their website and decided to make a copycat recipe for their White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake that was posted on  I followed the recipe except my little local store didn't have the Solo brand raspberry pasty filling, so I substituted some raspberry seedless jelly.  I used less, like about 3/4 cup instead of the cup and just whipped it up and then used it as directed in her recipe.  Anyway...I should have crisco'ed and floured the bundt pan instead of using Pam cooking spray, but had good luck with that method for my pumpkin bundt cake, but it stuck and tore.  I could have cried since it was for work and had all these pictures in my mind of the pretty cake on my glass cake stand with the frosting and raspberries on the top, but then I went into survival mode and recreated it into a trifle.  I made the same frosting recipe, but half of it only, and then added a tub of cool whip to lighten it up for the trifle.  If I make it again I will also add some raspberries in the layers, but I didn't have enough at home and did not want to go to the store again for them.  I tasted tested the cake and filling together and it's yummy!  I am sure it will be fine..Whew!

Here is the link to the recipe for the bundt cake..There are other ones on the site too that look good, so check it out if you are into the bundt cake craze going on! copy and paste the link into your browser.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pumpkin Bundt/Coffee Cake

Two people I know made bundt cakes recently, a pumpkin one and a banana one and posted pictures on facebook, so I decided I needed to make one too, but wanted more than just a plain bundt cake.  I came up with a marriage of a bundt cake and a coffee cake crumble to add some spark to it.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and it's perfect for dessert, or just grab a slice for a quick morning breakfast with coffee.  Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray the inside of a bundt pan with cooking spray pretty liberally, or grease and flour it.  Set aside.

Cake batter:
In a large bowl combine:
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
3 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 ounce) sold pack pumpkin
confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting the top

combine each ingredient as you add it-then use an electric mixer and blend well.  pour the batter into the greased Bundt pan..Make the crumble below and sprinkle evenly over the top..Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and dust with the powdered sugar.  Cool completely before covering.

Crumble: Combine:
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons butter, melted.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cathy Kleven's Chow Mein Recipe

I got this recipe from my daughter, Shellie's mother-in-law, Cathy Kleven (who unfortunately isn't with us any more).  She had made it when my daughter was pregnant with my grandson and was having complications so we were trying to help her out as much as possible and I got to sample some and fell in love with it.  You can make it with either chicken, ground pork or both and is a good, quick and economical dish that makes enough for a whole family.  Thought I'd make some up for my son when he goes duck hunting to warm up with some eggrolls I made this week and apple pie..

It's a great recipe, try it some day, you'll enjoy it!

either 2 chicken breasts, cubed or 1 lb ground pork or a mix of both, browned in a large skillet or wok and seasoned with salt and pepper.

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups either chicken (if using chicken) or beef (if using pork) broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced celery

Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile mix together in a small bowl:
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce (in oriental section at grocers)
1/4 cup water

once the 10 minutes are up, add the mixture to the wok stirring until thickened.  Taste and add more soy sauce (I add probably 1/8 cup more for the pork version, salt and pepper until the flavor you desire).  serve over steamed rice and/or chow mein noodles. 

you can add optional ingredients such as a small can of sliced mushrooms (I do), chopped water chestnuts, fresh bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, whatever you like in your chow mein..

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thanksgiving in a Pan..Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

I got this recipe from a coworker, Colleen, and decided to make it tonight with my own variation.  We had been on vacation for 2-1/2 weeks out West with our camper and dog Annie, and I was going to make it on the trip, never got to it, so decided to make it now that we are home instead.  I changed it a little because I wanted it to be more of a Thanksgiving in a pan dish, so here's how I did it. 

Prepare a box of Stove Top chicken flavor, as directed and set aside.

Prepare a packet of instant potatoes and directed and put in the bottom of a 9 x 13 sprayed baking pan.

In a large skillet melt 1 Tablespoon butter and add 1-1/2 lbs of diced raw chicken breast that has been seasoned with a little salt and pepper until thoroughly cooked.  Spoon over the mashed potatoes.

In the same skillet, add 1 medium diced onion and 1 small can of mushrooms that have been diced up..cook until tender.  Add 1/4 cup flour and toss together.  Add 1-3/4 cups chicken broth and stir until smooth.  Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup cut canned green beans or prepared cooked fresh beans and pour this mixture of the chicken. 

Top with the prepared stuffing and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

I served mine with cranberries, but a salad would be good with it also. (If you want Colleen's recipe it's a Kraft food recipe called Make-Ahead Chicken and green bean Casserole.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I discovered a new yarn by Lion Brand called Scarfie and couldn't resist picking up some to make some new scarves for gifts.  It comes in lots of pretty colors and when I showed them to my granddaughter, Samantha, she picked this one that is in shades of black to light gray.  It's a nice yarn and has 22% wool, so will be warm when it's cold outside here in Minnesota.  One skein makes a long scarf and they work up fast because it's a bulky yarn and you use all half double crochet stitches to make it.  You just chain 23, turn and go into the 3 chain with a HDC, then all the way across for a total of 21 stitches, chain 2 and turn and go across the 21 stitches and repeat.  It's a great pattern for watching TV or on long trips in the car (as a passenger!) or any time you need to fill some time..I will be making more!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Version of Chicken and Dumplings

There are a million and one versions of Chicken and dumplings, but I always have made them the same way.  The family all likes them and they are easy to make and something comforting on a cool day when either you have a ton to do at home or a day when you can kick back and find a craft or a good movie to watch for once!  Today it was actually a lot cooler in Minnesota than it's been so I decided chicken and dumplings was in store.  I had a lot of housework to catch up on and it could simmer away while I got things I kind of like the smell of a chicken and broth cooking on to of the stove..I know I will have something tasty later on after I am worn out from working. Here's how I put it together..


In a large "spaghetti pot" or steamer aka:

Fill the bottom kettle about 1/3 full of water, insert top strainer section and add one washed and cleaned out whole chicken.  add 1 small onion coarsely chopped, and 1-2 washed and chopped stalks of celery and 1-2 washed and chopped carrots with salt and pepper all over the chicken and two bay leaves.  Turn on high and once it starts to simmer reduce heat and let slowly simmer for 1-1/2 hours, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and starting to fall apart.  remove from heat and let it cool down so you can handle the chicken and the broth continues to strengthen.  Pull strainer from the pan (set it in a bowl or something so it doesn't drip all over, discarding carrots/celery, bay left and onion.  Debone Chicken, tossing bone, skin and gross parts..cut chicken into bite sized pieces and toss back into the broth.  Add two heaping Tablespoons of liquid chicken base from a jar (I use Better than Bouillon) or if you prefer 3-4 bouillon cubes to the liquid, some finely chopped celery, carrots and a handful of small frozen peas cooking until the veggies are tender.  Thicken with a mixture of cornstarch and water and add until it's slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  (I have also just added those packets of chicken gravy mix to thicken it all, and they work fine too..2 probably?)

Then I just pull out the box of Bisquick or Jiffy Mix and follow the directions on the box for making dumplings..these always turn out light and fluffy and we love them.  I serve with a side salad usually.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Margaret's Best in the World Sugar Cookies

I thought I had posted this recipe previously, but can't find it, so maybe I didn't?  These are the best sugar cookies I have ever eaten.  They are loaded with butter and maybe that's why.  They are my grandkids favorite cookie, my kids favorite cookie and my favorite cookie.  Every time I take them somewhere they become their favorite cookie too!  It's a VERY old recipe, not even sure how old, but it was passed on by my mother-in-law Margaret to me and I am very glad it was.  You can just scoop up some dough with a cookie scoop, roll it in a ball and squish it with a sugared bottom of a glass and bake them that way, or  you can roll them out on a floured board and cut them out with cookie cutters..this is more tricky because the dough is pretty moist, but believe me it can be done.  refrigerating it helps, but generally I don't want to wait that long.  I like to bake them the same day as we are going to eat them because I think they are the absolute best the first day..I always have to make them in to mitten cookies for Christmas, have made them tons of times for the grandkids birthday parties and just because they are spending the night at grams.  I make a glaze with just powdered sugar and a little milk and food coloring that hardens on the cookie and that's the way they like them the best.  Yesterday I made a pile of them and just bought the frosting in the can and colored it with tons of sprinkles and candy for them to make their own version and it was a big hit..they were raving about the cookies, so posting the recipe finally.  Here goes..

(This makes a lot of cookies.  I made 65 of them out of this batch for work..a lot of times I make a half sized batch and it makes enough for most things)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups plus 4 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tarter

Cream together the sugar, butter and oil until light

Add all the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. 

Place on ungreased cookie sheet using one of the methods I described above.  Bake at 375 degrees about 10-12 minutes until very slightly golden on the edges.  I let them sit on the pan for a little bit before removing as they harden up a little bit so easier to remove..I just lay out a piece of aluminum foil to let them cool and frost on..

Refrigerator Dill Pickles (Bobby Flay Recipe)

Kim passed this recipe on to me when I was searching for a good refrigerator dill recipe.  It really is a good one!  Some of the ingredients are ones I didn't have at home, but worth purchasing even if just for this recipe.  Try it, you'll like it!


From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Ten years ago, if asked if I put by pickles, my answer was a resounding, "No." Twenty years ago, it was a terse and less polite, "Get real." My response thirty yeas ago is best kept to myself. My failure to get with the program wasn't based on laziness, I've just never cared for preserved pickles. I thought they were salty and limp, and found their color just plain unappetizing. I wasn't a complete snob about them. I did love the brined, unprocessed dills that could occasionally be found in be found in barrels in some markets and delicatessens. I just never took the time to find out how they were made. Shortly after we moved to this area, I began to experiment with refrigerated pickles for certain Thai and Vietnamese dishes, and in the process learned I could make our favorite pickles in much the say way. I first mastered a refrigerator version of bread and butter pickles because my family loved to have them on hamburgers. I worked on garlic dills for several years but couldn't get the flavors right. I was about to give up and admit defeat when I found a recipe by Bobby Flay and decided to try one last time. I'm so glad I did. These are great pickles and they require no special equipment to make. They can be eaten the day after they are made and keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator. My only caution is to make sure you have enough room to store them for that length of time. I hope those of you who are fond of pickles will try these. You won't be sorry. Here's the recipe.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bobby Flay

1-1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar-(I used 1/4 cup)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
2 cups hot water
2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill ( I didn't chop it, just cut a few heads off and threw them in the bottom of the jar)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped


1) Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and dill seeds in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. Cool to room temperature.
2) Place cucumbers, garlic and dill in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour brine over all and turn to coat cucumbers. Cover them with a plate to weigh them down and keep them covered in brine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stirring once or twice. Transfer to an airtight container and store for up to two weeks. Yield: 1 quart.

(I just put some dill and the garlic in the bottom of the jar and then filled the jar with the sliced/cleaned cucumbers, and poured the brine over the top.  I might try adding a sliced jalapeƱo pepper the next time for some kick.   The I took a fork and kind of pushed them down and mixed them a little a few times.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Experimental Refrigerator Pickles

I saw an old Facebook post they put on for me, on some refrigerator pickles I had made a few years ago..I kind of had forgotten about them and how good they taste with hot dishes or even on a sandwich, so decided to make a batch up today.  I couldn't find the recipe I used last time, so I kind of combined a few so hopefully they will be good.  You aren't supposed to eat them for 24 hours after they've been refrigerated so I am anxiously awaiting the clock to test them out.  We ate them for supper and they are already good and it's only been about 5 hours..tomorrow should be even better when they really cold..

Here is how I made them. 

Scrub and slice 6 cups of fresh cucumbers (leaving skins on) and about 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (some people like red too) into a container that will fit in your fridge and allow room for the brine.  I used a 1/2 gallon jar with a lid that I have on hand basically just for these pickles.

In a medium sized kettle add:
3 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
3 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric

Bring just to a boil so sugar dissolves and immediately remove from heat and pour over the cukes and onions.  Cover and set in fridge for at least 24 hours before eating.  Keep refrigerated.  Lasts for quite a long time if you have them that long!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Taco Pizza

I mentioned my daughter, Kim, makes a Mexican/taco pizza pretty often.  I had some pizza sauce set aside from yesterday's post on how to make pizza sauce, and had thawed out some hamburger yesterday too, so to kill two birds with one stone I decided to make her pizza.  I found a recipe online for bread machine pizza dough that's in the machine as we speak..there are lots of them online, so just pick one that has good reviews and go for it..I was surprised at how many called for flat beer.  Let me know if you try that and how it is!  Sounds interesting.  I just made a basic one but substituted about 1/4 cup of the flour for some corn meal..thought that might be good with a Mexican style pizza.

Here's how she told me to do it.

Bake a pizza crust until slightly browned.

Spread crust with a mixture of half pizza sauce and half salsa.

Add crushed taco chips (I am thinking frito chips crushed might be good too)

Add prepared taco hamburger using directions on taco seasoning packet

add whatever other toppings you like..such as olives, extra onion etc.

Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top and bake in a 375 degree oven until melted and slightly browned.

Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream and taco sauce, if desired. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Peach Jam

I decided to make a batch of peach jam since I had just gotten a crate of Colorado peaches and thought I'd make something I could get that great peach flavor from this winter too.  I kind of blended a few recipes together I had found and used the "new" (at least to me)Sure Jell for less or no sugar added jams and jellies.  It was super simple and gelled up really nicely.  Dave said it tasted like peach pie.. Here's the recipe I made:

In a large kettle:
Combine 4-1/2 cups finely diced ripe (peeled and pitted) peaches (about 9 larger peaches), 1 envelope of the Sure Jel described above that is combined with 1/4 cup sugar, and the juice of 1 fresh lemon..(no 

Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly, until it stays boiling even when stirred.  add 2-3/4 cups more sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon,  plus 1/2 tsp butter to prevent it from foaming, and when it comes back to a boil- boil it for one full minute more.  Remove from the heat and spoon into 6 clean hot jelly jars-mine held 1 cup of jam, so half pints..put on clean lids and rings and put in a canner with warm water on a rack.  Bring to a boil  and lightly boil for 10 minutes.  remove onto a doubled towel until all pop and seal.  I leave them until morning.  Mine actually popped almost immediately. 

I wash my jars in the dishwasher to sterilize them and use them right out of the hot dishwasher so the hot jam doesn't crack them..tip of the day.

The Best Pizza Sauce

I got this recipe for pizza sauce from my sister Diane many years ago.  It was published in their Wyndmere, North Dakota Centennial cookbook, so I haven't lost it like I usually have done with great recipes, but wanted to put it on here for the kids etc to have easy access to.  It makes a huge batch, but I don't mind at all because I have plenty of people who like to get some of it to freeze and have on hand for their homemade pizzas and other dishes they use pizza sauce with, or just for dipping with.  It has very little sugar also which is a plus, as a ton of the bought sauce is loaded with.  This is really fresh tasting and not tinny either like the canned stuff.  I usually try to use it up within 6 months though because I think the taste changes when it sits in the freezer too long.  My one daughter makes a recipe sometimes for a French bread pizza (my sister, Karen's recipe) where you just slice the bread in half the long way, hollow out most of the bread in the center (make homemade croutons with it!~) then add some sauce fairly lightly in the bottom, add whatever pizza toppings you like, such as cooked sausage and pepperoni, olives, onions-whatever, and then add your mozzarella/cheddar or any pizza cheese, and bake on a rack in the oven covered with tin foil, or a baking sheet, at 400 until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty, maybe 12-15 minutes.  cut in slices and eat.  She also makes Mexican pizza a lot with it.  Experiment and enjoy!

PIZZA SAUCE: (I put mine in the crockpot on high for 4 hours, but you can put it in a large kettle and let it simmer for 3 hours which is what the recipe suggests, I just don't like watching it, so do it this way)

In a large crockpot combine:
2-(29 oz) cans of tomato sauce plus 1/2 can of 8 oz tomato sauce (6-1/2 cups total)
3 cups of water
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon crushed oregano
1 Tablespoon crushed sweet basil (regular basil)
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese (I use the grated fresh)

Cook on high for 4 hours in the crock pot (or 3 hours in a kettle on the stove on simmer). 

ADD:  4 (12 ounce) cans of tomato paste and 3 cups more of water stirring until smooth. 

put in half pint jars and freeze until ready to use.  I just put 1 cup portions in freezer zip lock bags and squeeze the air out as much as possible so they lay flat and freeze them that way. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tomato Tuna Melts

I am a stuffed tomato fan-stuffed with ham salad, chicken salad or tuna salad, so when I saw this posting on I had to make some.  For her recipe just go to her site.  It's a little different than mine because I am a Miracle Whip person and I used American cheese slices because I didn't have Cheddar at home.  I really liked them and they were easy to make.  I had some fresh Colorado peaches with it and it filled me up on a week night besides. 

Here you go:

1 can (5 oz) tuna in water drained.
2 Tablespoons Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 center stalk celery finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion (I used yellow sweet)
2 ripe tomatoes, halved (I got fresh from the garden ones)
some salt and pepper
4 slices American cheese

Preheat the broiler to high, pull the top rack and line with aluminum foil. 

Season the cut tomatoes with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, season lightly with salt and pepper.

divide the tuna mixture in 4 and put one portion on top of each tomato.  add a slice of cheese on top of each.  Put on rack and then place the rack on the second rung down from the broiler.  watch carefully..the cheese melts fast and will burn.  Remove from the oven and serve.  you can use the same recipe but substitute cooked chicken or diced ham..

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Eggs in the Hole for Breakfast

I felt like eggs this morning, so I made a dish from long ago that I used to make on occasion.  I haven't made this for years, but don't know why because it's a one dish wonder and kind of fun to eat besides!  I happened to have some left over French bread so I used a thicker slice of that, cut out an oval shaped hole in the middle for the egg to sit in, melted some butter in a non-stick fry pan and browned the one side of the bread, meanwhile putting an egg in the hole to start setting it.  Then when the one side was browned I carefully flipped it over to cook the egg the rest of the way and also brown that side.  You have to use a medium to medium low heat so they don't burn before the egg is soft cooked.  You can eat it this way, or add your favorite French toast topping..I added some maple syrup on mine and it was yummy!  Fun for kids and for adults!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Strawberry (or any other flavor) Oatmeal Bars

I haven't baked for a while with the hot weather we have been having, but when I saw a posting for this on Facebook, I decided I should give it a try and use up some strawberry rhubarb jam I had opened in the fridge when my sister, Karen, came up to visit me from Florida.  I usually open a jar and then forget about it until I have to toss it, so glad I ran across this.  I had all the ingredients at home already in my cupboards or fridge, so that was another big plus about the recipe.  It is a super yummy bar!  I cut one as soon it came out of the oven for a photo and to taste of course, but I added a big blob of ice cream to cool it down and that made it extra extra good!  I will try other flavors of jam again with it, like apple butter, peach jam, blueberry, cherry etc.  so good and almost tastes like thumbprint cookies or a fruit crumble without all the work involved with those.  Here is the came from the Pioneer Woman's recipe collection..

Strawberry-Oatmeal Bars:

1-3/4 sticks of cold butter cut into small pieces
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups oats (quick or regular-I had quick so used those)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jar (10-12 ounces) strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan (I actually did use butter and not spray)

Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs (I used my hands/fingers).  Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight.  Spoon preserves evenly over the surface, then spread carefully so it's evenly over the crust.  sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly again. 

Bake until light golden brown on top, about 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. 

When cool, cut into squares and serve. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A New Summer Banner for My Cube at Work

About a month ago, or so, my granddaughter Sam came over to make her 4H project for this year for the fair, and while she was working away on her table topper I decided to sew a new welcome banner for my cube at work.  I really didn't have a summery one yet and the spring one with the tulips and umbrella just was not working anymore.  I did get the whole top finished, but never did get the final touches like quilting it and putting on the binding.  I decided yesterday to get myself in gear and finish it before it is time for my fall one because summer is already speeding by and I was tired of looking at it on my cutting table downstairs reminding me that I have way too many works in progress.  I am calling the quilting on it "whimsical" because it's freestyle and kind of messy on the flowers and letters, but it works to hold the applique down and kind of suits it for some reason!  I will be glad to have something bright and new at work..suppose that means I should clean the rest of my cube huh? 
oh, and here is Sam with her 4H project-she quilted it this year by herself too..I wanted her to have some experience on how to finish her's just some basic diagonal lines, but she didn't get any puckers on the front or back and sewed nice and straight, so great job Sam!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rosemarina or Orzo Chicken Salad

I made a double batch of this salad today for a party we are having tomorrow.  Instead of chicken in it I used a turkey I had in my freezer and roasted that for the meat.  I think it tastes just as cook or better with the turkey, so something you could definitely make with turkey leftovers from the holidays.  I hadn't made this for a while, but Dave used to like it a lot back when and my daughter, Kim, has made it a few times recently and brought it back to my mind.  I used to always use Rosemarina noodles in it, but they are kind of hard to find so now used Orzo noodles which are really similar.  There's not much to say that's negative about this salad, cashews, and some crunchy celery etc make it a great summer dish.


1 box of either or the above, prepared as per box directions and cooled (I rinse it under cold water)

4 cooked and diced chicken breasts (or equivalent turkey)

4-5 stalks of celery-I like the inner stalks) diced finely

1 small bunch of green onions (mostly white parts) diced finely

1 smaller can cashews

1 small jar diced pimentos

1/2 of a quart jar of HELLMAN'S mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

seasoning salt to taste, maybe 1/2-1 tsp..start smaller and add as needed..I used Lawry's)

Mix together, can eat right away..(can also add small red grapes if desired)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Shrimp and Scallop Kabobs (Vern's recipe)

My brother-in-law and my sister, Karen, from Florida made these for my son, Joe, and I when we went down there last year and stayed with them.  I really liked them so he gave me his recipe.  This weekend my granddaughter, Sam, stayed over and sewed her 4H project..a table topper made with limited addition Minnesota Statewide shop hop fabric from last year (we still have to quilt it another day soon-making her do that this year) but anyway, she mentioned she never had scallops before and wanted to try them.  I immediately thought of these kabobs so we went to the local store and bought the supplies we needed and came home and I had her make the marinade and sauce we like with them so she could make them at home too.  She likes to cook and has been doing quite a bit of it this last year.  She said she thought they were super good, and I guess everyone thought so because they were all gone quickly, should have doubled the amount!  They each had 2-3 skewers though with rice pilaf, corn on the cob, and cut up fruit and then lemon meringue and chocolate pie for dessert.  Sam wanted me to post the recipe for the kabobs so she could pull it up here, so here goes.  (The sauce is on a previous post..just type sauce in the search bar above and options should come up)

1 lb large or extra large shrimp, cleaned and deveined and tails pulled off (I use frozen)
1 lb bay scallops  (both of these shrink a lot so I try to get bigger shrimp)

Marinade: Mix together with a whisk until well blended in a small bowl
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves squished
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Put shrimp and scallops in a large heavyweight zip lock bag, pour marinade over them and make sure they are all covered in marinade.  Lay flat in the fridge for 4 hours-flipping the bag once to make sure both sides get plenty of marinade.  in the meantime soak wooden skewers in water.  heat up your grill or grill pan if you don't have a grill, and lace up your skewers with every other shrimp and a scallop leaving room at the bottom for you to be able to turn them.  Toss the marinade and the bag and grill until done about 10-12 minutes.  Makes 10 longer skewers with about 4 shrimp and 4 scallops on each one or if you are making appetizer size a few shrimp and 3 scallops on more..

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

My son, Joe, posted a like on this recipe on Facebook, since he ate up his rhubarb cream pie and wanted more rhubarb stuff I guess.  It's actually one of Andrew Zimmer's recipes, but since I messed up a little on it I am printing it like I made it because, although I haven't tasted it, it smells super delicious!  I need to go get some more ice cream because Dave has been on a root beer float kick and used it all up anyway.  Can't wait to try it though so need to get going to the store quickly!
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 pound rhubarb peeled and sliced in thin slices
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Mix all together and let sit for 1/2 hour stirring occasionally.
Put 1/4 cup sliced almonds in a food processor (I have a mini one that I used for this) and pulse until a fine consistency. set aside.
In a medium bowl combine well (I used a fork)
1 stick butter, soft
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
add the almond powder
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
and mix until combined. 
put the berry/rhubarb mix into a pie pan-I used a taller sided one, but if you use a more shallow one make sure you put it on a tin foil lined baking sheet because I am pretty sure it will bubble over..
add the crumble all over the top. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 on a rack.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Porcupine Meatballs per Kim's Recommendation!

I can't remember when I've last had porcupine meatballs..I know it's been a long, long time.  When my daughter, Kim, was in high school I remember she learned how to make them and used to cook them for us once in a while for supper, but now she is in her 40s and I don't think I've had them in between that time.  The other night she sent me a picture of the dinner she made, and guess what? was a new porcupine meatball recipe with a sauce.  She said it was really good, so I tried it tonight.  I really liked them too.  They were flavorful and easy and I had most of the ingredients except for the fresh parsley, on hand, so I just substituted dried parsley and they were fine.  It makes quite a few meatballs though, so I will be eating them for more meals or freeze them for my work lunches, so I made extra mashed potatoes.  I have a feeling I won't mind that at all though.
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 egg
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped (I used about 1 tsp of dried parsley)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10-3/4 oz) can tomato soup, divided (I used Campbells)
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
In a medium sized bowl combine meat, rice, egg, parsley, onion, garlic pwd, paprika, pepper, salt and 1/4 cup of the tomato soup.  Mix thoroughly and shape into about 20 balls and place in a skillet (don't brown).
Mix remaining soup, water and Worcestershire sauce.  pour over the meatballs.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer slowly for 35-40 minutes stirring often. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rhubarb Dream Bars

Can you tell it's rhubarb season?  About 15 years ago my daughter made these bars and I have thought about them every year about this time since.  They are a layered bar with the shortbread type crust and a yummy, custardy type second layer with the rhubarb in it and a dusting of powdered sugar to top it off.  I had cut too much rhubarb for the pie I made the other day and so decided to use it up on these bars to bring to work tomorrow for the rhubarb fans that don't have any growing near them.  I have a feeling they will like them!  Here is the recipe..

RHUBARB DREAM BARS: (from a 1981 church cookbook, so you know the recipe is much older than that!)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups finely diced rhubarb

For the crust: mix together the flour, powdered sugar and butter (I used a pastry blender until it was totally incorporated well).  Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake 15 min. in a 350 degree oven. 

Beat the eggs with a mixer, add sugar and beat well.  Add the flour and salt.  Mix well.  Stir in diced rhubarb.  Spread over the crust and return to the oven for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.  When cool sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar, cut into squares.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fajita? Burrito Feed

My nephew, Brandon, came up for a week from Florida to go opening fishing with Joe (they had a good time and caught lots of walleyes!) and so I decided to have them over last night for a farewell feed since he was flying out super early this morning.  They wanted steak fajita/burritos so I made that and Joe's favorite annual rhubarb cream pie (recipe already in the blog).  We all loved it, so I am posting the recipes for the buffet items below..I had warmed burrito tortillas, cilantro lime rice, grilled strip steak, grilled yellow, red and orange peppers and red onion, guacamole, corn and black bean salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce and cheese, and roasted green salsa, plus the pie and ice cream for dessert..Here are the recipes and a picture of the buffet..

For the cilantro lime rice I just made 3 cups of cooked rice, added the juice of one lime and a few Tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro once it was cooked..stirred it up well.

For the Guacamole:
3 ripe medium hass avocados, halved and mashed in a bowl, add the juice of one lime, about 1/3 cup finely minced red onion, 1 garlic clove mashed, 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, all mixed together.  this browns easily, so before putting in the fridge lay a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the guac to prevent air from getting into it.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa:
combine in a bowl:
1 can whole kernel corn, drained-or two cobs of corn roasted/grilled
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
1 larger tomato diced
1 can rotel diced tomatoes
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/8 cup lime juice-fresh squeezed
1 (4 oz) can diced chilies
salt to taste-about 1/4 tsp.

Deseeded yellow, red and orange bell peppers, sliced along with the rest of the red onion sliced.  tossed them in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and put them in a grill basket on the grill to slowly cook while the meat cooked, tossing occasionally.

Grilled Flank/Strip Steak:  (I used a strip steak)
1-1/2 lbs approximately steak

In a small bowl combine:
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
ground pepper
1-1/4 tsp salt
a little Accent seasoning

Mix the seasoning mix together well. Score the meat on both sides with cross hatch shallow cuts.   apply a little oil (I used peanut oil, but you can use whatever) to each side of the meat.  Sprinkle the seasoning mix on both sides.  Grill on a hot grill for about 5 minutes on each side until caramelized and medium rare to medium.  I placed mine on a cutting board and tented it with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes to help tenderize it and retain the juices.  Slice on the grain in thin slices for serving.

I really liked the meat..tasty and pretty tender!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I seem to make chili a little different every time I make it and every time it tastes a little different.  This week I made a batch of it so Dave and I could have some of it for supper that night (it's been chilly up here again this week) and there would be enough for the guys to take fishing with them besides.  For some reason it turned out really good, at least to us, this time, so I am writing it down.  I didn't measure things exactly, but hopefully it will be close.  You can always go up or down on ingredients to suit your taste, but remember the flavors intensify with simmering it for a while. 


1 lb or ground beef-I tend to like the leaner beef because I think it tastes more beefy and I don't like a ton of grease in my food.
2 cans of chili beans-I use the mild ones- (the ones with the chili sauce in them-this time I used the brand from Aldi) I don't like kidney beans-too big and they have a tough skin to me).
2 stalks of celery chopped in thin, kind of small slices.
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, chopped finely.
1 large can of whole tomatoes..I like these because I squeeze them with my hand to break them up into the pot andthen I can remove the hard core from them and toss those..cores are yucky in food.
1 medium sized can of tomato sauce
about 1/2 tsp cumin
about 1 tsp garlic powder
about 1 to 1-1/2 tsp granulated sugar-this helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes
a pinch or two of cayenne pepper according to your taste
salt and pepper to taste

there was enough chili powder in the beans so I didn't add any, but again use your judgement-chili powder can ruin the chili if it's overpowering. 

Brown the hamburger until it's thoroughly cooked and a little caramelized with the onions and celery, salt and pepper.  Dump in everything else, stir and let simmer..adding more salt and pepper and adjusting the seasonings..start out low on the seasonings as above, and add if you think it needs anything later on once it's cooked a little while.  I usually simmer on lower heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, but you can cook as long as you want, or add to a crockpot and cook all day on low if that's easier for you.  Here's what Joe did with his batch..I love chili dogs! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Aunt Clara's Dessert

This is a dessert from my childhood.  It was the absolute best dessert I remember as a kid.  My mom got the recipe from a neighbor lady, "Mrs Carlson" (we NEVER called anyone older than us by their first name back then, it was disrespectful to them and they let it be known that they were to be called "Mrs or Mr or Miss) if any kid thought it was okay to call them by their first name.  To this day, when I am on the phone at work talking with an older person I feel totally uncomfortable calling them by their first name and wonder if it bothers them, even though I am in that age group myself now.)  Anyway, we didn't have this real often because it is some work and expense to make, but on special occasions my mom would make it for us and we dreamt about it until the next time we had it.  A few years ago, 2 to be exact, my sister, Yvonne, was talking about how she loved that dessert, so I made it for her birthday.  I hadn't started the blog yet, so today I decided I should document it, for the family if nothing else..I am thinking I am the only one with a copy at this point and mine is pretty yellowed and messy! it goes..the jewel of desserts recipe!

AUNT CLARA'S DESSERT: (9 inch square pan size)  The picture is doubled for a 9 x 13 inch

1 (3 ounce) pkg of raspberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs- separated

1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
16 squares (1/2 of the big graham crackers, so 8 full crackers)  (don't know why it's written that way?!) crushed well (I put it in a ziplock and beat them with my rolling pin and roll them, but you can use a food processor too)

1 cup drained, crushed pineapple.

Dissolve gelatin in the boiling water.  Add the pineapple juice.  Chill until slightly thickened..I toss it in the freezer to move it along quicker-watch it so it doesn't get too set.

Cream 1/4 cup butter and the
powdered sugar.  Blend in well beaten egg yolks.  Beat whites until stiff, but not dry.  Fold them gently into the creamed mixture. set aside.

Combine melted butter and brown sugar with graham cracker crumbs.  Put half of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the 9 inch square pan, press.  Spread evenly with the egg mixture.  I drop spoonfuls over the crust so I can basically smooth it easier over the crust.  Spread drained pineapple over the filling.  Sprinkle on the remaining crumbs.  Pour gelatin over the top.  Chill until well set.  Cut in squares.  Top each serving with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry or a raspberry and serve.  Makes 9 servings in a normal household.  makes a lot less in this family..LOL.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lots of eggs to use.

I stopped at Aldi last week to stock up on fruits and veggies (I love their prices on produce!) and noticed they had dozens of large eggs for only 69 cents each, limit of 6.  Well, I couldn't pass up on that, so I bought 6 thinking my son or daughters maybe could use some eggs too.  Guess what, all of them had just bought eggs, and one of them had gotten them also at, I have 6 dozen to use up.  We will be eating lots of hard boiled eggs and egg salad, potato salad, baking and just eating them..LOL.  I started my official use of them today as I had some to use up from another carton at home besides!  I just read how eggs are so good for you and your hair and body so I guess it's a good thing.  I am going to post the things I make with them just for something to do!  It shouldn't be a big problem as when my kids were really young I used to buy a case of farm fresh eggs all the time from a local chicken farmer and that is 12 dozen, of course there were 5 of us eating them at that time.  Here is what I put together for breakfast this morning..high protein and tasted really good to me!  It's cubed ham fried in a little Pam spray with a little diced onion (green onion would be good too), about 4-5 cherry tomatoes, a handful of baby spinach chopped and some mushrooms until browned a little and cooked, then topped it with two eggs and added a little water and covered so the eggs could basically steam cooked on medium low. 

1 dozen hard boiled eggs (some already used for egg salad sandwiches and just plain old eating!
a quick "brunch" of a leftover baked potato, onions, diced ham and eggs on my Saturday to myself!

An egg salad sandwich for my lunch with BBQ chips..

Sunday, April 24, 2016

John's Toasted Coconut and Banana Cream Pie

Our friend, John Burrington, is an awesome baker.  He makes better than bakery quality cookies for sure, but he also makes some delicious pies.  He posted to me that he was making this pie, plus an Amish lemon custard type pie to bring to his Easter celebration and I begged him for the recipes which he generously shared with me.  I have yet to test out the lemon one, but will in the near future, I can promise!  He told me tonight that he created it out of two recipes.  I made it for the celebration dinner tonight hoping they would eat it all because otherwise I would!  Well, there is still half because the crowd wasn't too big, so I guess I will have to FORCE myself to eat it as the days go by here and before the bananas go bad..what a shame..He gave me permission to share the recipe..try it you will like it. 


One baked 9 inch pie crust..mine was larger and still worked out fine though.  I have my recipe in a previous post..I just used have the recipe.  There is a search bar on top of the page and you can just type "pie crust" and it should show you the choices for pie crust in my blog, or just use your favorite recipe or a store bought one you bake.  Please do a search if you haven't baked a single crust before on how to do it..they tend to shrink and buckle if you don't bake it correctly.


1 cup sweetened flaked coconut toasted (Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread coconut on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Watch carefully as once it starts to brown it burns quickly)

3 cups Half and Half (fat free actually works in this also.  I bought it accidentally in a rush and it was fine)
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla (added later when done cooking)

2-3 bananas sliced thin

In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  (the bottom scorches easily so this is very important)
As soon as it starts to boil and thicken remove from heat and stir in 3/4 of a cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla.


Spread enough of the cooked mixture in the baked pie shell to cover the bottom.  Spread a single layer of the sliced bananas on this layer.  Spread another layer of the cooked mixture and another layer of bananas.  Add the rest of the mixture and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.  I let the pie sit on the counter for about an hour to cool and then put it in a Tupperware and into the fridge.  Chill in fridge for several hours or overnight. 

Keep leftovers chilled.  (I also served it a dollop of cool whip..fresh whipped cream would have taken it over the top though..

Chicken Parmesan-A dinner for my daughter, Kim

My daughter, Kim, just finished all her boards and schooling to be a dental assistant this last week, with honors..a 4.0 avergage!, so I made her her favorite meal she picked, of chicken parmesan, Italian salad and garlic bread.  I also made a toasted coconut/banana cream pie for dessert..a new recipe I had gotten from a family friend, John Burrington.  Her family and Joe came over to eat.  Shellie, my other daughter was at school for the firearms classes she teaches so couldn't come.  I don't make this often so haven't posted the recipe yet, per Kim, so here goes..

CHICKEN PARMESAN:  (This recipe is for 4 servings, but you can easily up it by doubling the breading or by using small chicken breasts to serve more people.  I like the thinner breasts..I buy the Purdue brand from Costco in the big bag and they are nice and thin for this recipe.  If you have thick breasts I would advice cutting them lengthwise and making two servings.

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated (fresh) Parmesan cheese-divided
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano-divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg
1 Tablespoon water

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine for frying

one small jar Prego traditional sauce
one small jar

 marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Hot cooked fettuccine or pasta of your choice

In a round cake pan or other shallow pan, combine the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  In another pan, combine the egg and water and mix until blended well.  Dip chicken in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture.  Add butter to skillet and when melted and pan is hot enough (medium heat) place chicken in pan and brown well on both sides and cook until juices run clear.  (I actually brown each side well and then put chicken on a sheet pan and place in 325 degree oven to finish cooking while I prepare the rest of the food.  Meanwhile combine the sauce ingredients, plus the remaining oregano and warm thoroughly in a saucepan.  Once the pasta, chicken and sauce are ready, lay down a serving of the pasta on a plate, the breaded chicken, some hot sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and a little fresh parmesan .