Saturday, October 15, 2011


This morning I checked my blog and realized I either have not posted the enchilada recipe, or else have not linked it to the menus one the side bar. And a co-worker or two was coming for the recipe. So, here it is.


Ground beef
Ground pork (unseasoned)
Canned enchilada sauce
Condensed tomato soup
flour tortillas
shredded cheese (I like to combine co-jack and mozzarella)
onions, chopped (if desired)

In a skillet, brown the ground beef and pork together.
As it browns, in a separate bowl, mix together the canned enchilada sauce and condensed tomato soup. Do not water down the soup. Use a proportion of two of the smaller cans of enchilada sauce to one of the tomato soup... or one of the large cans of sauce to one can of soup. Stir these together.
Grease/ spray a casserole dish.
Drain the cooked meat.
Add enough sauce from the bowl to slightly moisten the meat.
Pour half of the remaining sauce into the greased casserole dish. (set aside remaining sauce).
Have your cheese in a bowl, handy to use.
Have the chopped onions in another bowl.
Using a plate to hold a tortilla, scoop about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the meat onto the tortilla.
Add a handful of cheese and some onion.
Roll the tortilla around the mixture and place it seam side down into the sauce in the casserole dish.
Repeat until you run out of meat and/or tortillas. (Any extra meat can be spread over the top of the rolled tortillas in the casserole dish.)
Pour remaining sauce from the bowl over the tops of the enchiladas in the casserole dish. Garnish with more cheese if desired.
Bake at 350* until hot and bubbly. (If you make ahead and store covered in refrigerator, the baking time takes longer than if you use the freshly cooked, warm meat. (DUH!)
Leftovers are really great the next day.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Yum the Garden- Green Beans!

Yesterday, Tom and the boys picked 30 ears of corn, and LOTS of green beans from our garden, in addition to the handful of jalapeno peppers.

The boys and I trimmed up green beans, saving some out for supper, but canning 5 quarts. We also had fresh corn on the cob with our supper, which was stuffed bell peppers on the grill.
Today, the guys picked both of the above containers full of green beans AGAIN. We pickled three quarts of green beans, and did three more quarts of beans with garlic and peppers, but no vinegar or dill.
Canning Green Beans

First of all, wash and trim/ cut your green beans. Loosely pack into sterilized canning jars (I use quarts, feel free to use pints!) to within 1" of the top of the jars.
 Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or canning salt in each jar. If desired, add a clove of peeled garlic and some pepper flakes.
Pour boiling water into the jars, to within 1/2" of the top.
With a rubber spatula, slide down the inside of the jars to release air bubbles.
Using a fresh new canning jar lid, close the jars and screw on the rings.
Place in pressure canner, and follow manufacturer's directions for pressure canning.
Cook 25 minutes after the canner rattles.
Allow to release pressure normally before removing lid.
Remove from canner (They will still be super-boiling hot) and place out of drafts, onto a cooling rack.
Once cooled, test for seal by gently pushing on the center of the lid. It should not move.
If it does move or pop, store in refrigerator and use within a few days.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fresh Summer Salsa

Fresh Summer Salsa (Picante Sauce)

10 ripe Roma tomatoes (Any fresh ripe tomato will do)
4-6 tomatillos
1 or 2 Vidalia or other sweet onions
2-6 Jalapeno Peppers
1+ tablespoon chopped garlic
apple cider vinegar
Tortilla chips for dipping

I use a food processor for this recipe. Vary the speed/ pulse to get desired chopped consistancy of vegetables.
It is difficult to gauge the heat of jalapeno peppers, so start with one pepper and add more to desired heat intensity.
Wash and trim ends off of peppers and tomatoes. husk and trim the tomatillos. Peel onions down to the good part.
Since I don't have (gasp!) a garlic press, I used pre-chopped fresh garlic from a jar.
I don't care much for cilantro, but my family insists that this recipe *has* to have some.
Chop/prepare the vegetables in the food processor. Together or separately doesn't matter. Put into a large bowl- not aluminum and preferably not plastic!-
Stir together.
Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon for this recipe is what we used) and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar.
Adjust seasoning as desired. Remember, it is simple to add more salt/cilantro/ jalapeno... but difficult to remove it!
Cover and allow to set in refrigerator at least an hour- the flavors need to mingle.
Serve with tortilla chips.

This is a great summer snack- and fairly low in calories!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lazy Lasagna

Lazy Lasagna
Frozen (or fresh if you prefer!) ravioli (I used both cheese and meat varieties)
left over spaghetti sauce (or canned)
cottage cheese 
eggs (beaten)
shredded mozzarella cheese

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour in a small amount of spaghetti sauce.
Lay out a layer of frozen ravioli in the sauce.
Mix together cottage cheese and eggs. (1 egg per cup of cottage cheese)
Pour a layer of this mixture over the ravioli.
Add a layer of spaghetti sauce.
Repeat layers.
Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake @ 300-325* for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until hot and bubbling.

This will cook more quickly if the ravioli is fresh or thawed.

I am claiming to have invented this recipe... I was looking to empty the freezer of on-hand items and had a few ravioli in two bags- one of meat and one of cheese filled ravioli. I had leftover spaghetti sauce, and a half a carton of cottage cheese that was nearing its expiration date. Lasagna came to mind, so I went with it!

The beauty of this recipe over regular lasagna is that I can make a small casserole dish of it and serve it for one meal. With my regular lasagna recipe.. I need company!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" strips (or 1 per person)
5 medium potatoes (or 1 1/4 per person)
olive oil
minced garlic
minced fresh rosemary (or dried)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Microwave the potatoes until done. Cut into cubes.

Saute the chicken breasts in olive oil until lightly browned.
Remove chicken from skillet, or push to one side.
Add potatoes and minced garlic to oil in skillet. Allow to brown, then turn. Add rosemary, and return chicken to skillet. Brown potatoes and turn again. When potatoes are nicely browned, it is ready to serve.

Daniel thought it would be good to add the chicken to our tossed salad, serving the potatoes (and side dish of corn) separately. It was very tasty!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Swiss Chicken Casserole"

Swiss Chicken Casserole
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. sour cream
6 oz. milk
4-6 slices swiss cheese
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 box chicken seasoned stuffing/ dressing crumbs
1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter, melted
* 1/2 cup french fried onion bits

Now, shall I present the recipe as I made it, or as we decided later it would of been better?
The original recipe:
Spray a casserole dish with cooking oil.
Place the thawed chicken beasts into the dish.
Lay a slice of swiss cheese over each.
Combine the milk, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup.
Pour over top of chicken.
Mix together the melted butter and the dry stuffing mix.
Layer over the soup mixture.
Bake @ 350* 50 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
The guys all voted I NOT make this recipe again, though I thought it was very tasty. I had fully intended to add the * french fried onions to the stuffing mix, but forgot.
I had toyed with the idea of cubing the chicken breasts, rather than leaving them whole. Dan suggested this as we ate, both of us agreeing it would of improved the overall flavor of the meal.
It is VERY simple, and was pretty tasty. My boys tend to dislike swiss cheese and also sour cream in anything. If you like them, give this recipe a try! If you do choose to cube the chicken, the cooking time should be reduced!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fried Okra with Parmesan

Fried Okra with Parmesan Cheese
1 bag of breaded Okra (we always use "Stillwell" brand, but whatever you prefer!)

(OR bread your own fresh sliced okra with some corn flour seasoned with salt. Simply toss the sliced fresh okra with the seasoned flour. You may use egg beaten with milk to dip the okra in before breading, if you like a heavy batter.)

Oil for deep frying

Grated Parmesan Cheese (I use it from the shaker can, feel free to use fresh!)

Soul seasoning (a blend of spicy seasoned salt... see my Essential Pantry List)

Heat the oil. When hot, deep fry the okra. When it is golden brown, remove from oil. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle immediatly with grated parmesan cheese and soul seasoning.

We had been eating some fried ravioli sprinkled with parmesan cheese, when I decided to fry up the okra while the oil was hot. The parmesan was on the paper towels, and some got on the okra. It was sooo tasty, we added more parmesan, and our new dish was born!

Brats with Sauteed Peppers and Onions

Not long ago, our old grill gave up the ghost... having lived a long and happy life of about four and a half years. Today we got a new one!
We broke it in with grilled brats.

Beer brats are our favorite. Cheese brats are also good.
Grill them until they are nice and browned!

Meanwhile, in a small amount of olive oil, sautee a slivered sweet onion and some bell pepper strips. I prefer red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, but at $2 each, that isn't happening! Green peppers are fine!
Serve on hot dog buns or regular bread. Garnish with mustard, dill relish, sauerkraut... any topping you like!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Salmon Patties

I haven't forgotten I have a food blog here. We just tend to eat so much of the same-old same old stuff, I seldom have anything new to post. I haven't made Salmon Patties in awhile... and after reviewing we had had chicken/ pizza /bby beef/ chicken /beef tips/ chicken/ pizza/ chicken .... I was looking for something else!

Mr C had been on a diet for awhile, and one of the staples was the small pouches of albacore tuna, or salmon. He went off the diet, and I had quite a few packets of salmon in the cupboard. These patties are so fast and easy to fix, I recommend getting your side dishes ready before you even START these.

Salmon Patties
4 (2.6 oz) packets of salmon
15 crushed Ritz Roasted Vegetable Crackers
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup minced onion
1/3 cup minced bell pepper (I had yellow, red, and green chopped- in the freezer)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (and some lemon zest if you use fresh lemon)
1 tablespoon  (to taste)Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce

Mix ingredients well, allow to sit 5 minutes. Form into patties. They will be very soft!
Cook on lightly oiled skillet over medium heat, until lightly browned. Turn. Flatten slightly. Cook until lightly brown and set.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 7 patties.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spinach Salad Soup

This is a recipe from my 3 year old son Tyrel.

First, while Mama is occupied washing something (Kimber's hands maybe? I don't remember).  Start fixing your own salad from the ingredients that Mama has on the table for lunch. In this case, spinach for spinach salad. Once you have the right amount in your bowl, get the salad dressing (Vidalia Onion, yummy!) and fill you bowl so that the salad now resembles soup.

Just two simple ingredients, and almost no time at all!

So yes, Becky again.

Tyrel did that the other day. When I turned around and saw what he had done, I just mixed all of our salads into the dressing...and still had way too much, but it was tasty. :) Tyrel asked me why I was mixing all of our bowls of salad together, I told him that it was because he had got too much and I was redistributing so it didn't go to waste. He replied with "Yeah, I spilled it because I'm a boy and that's what boys do, right Mama?"

Where does he come up with these things?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


My daughter-in-law taught one of my boys to make his version of her wonderful gumbo. Then, my son moved away. I have tried to do my best imitation of her real Cajun Gumbo.

5 chicken thighs
1 lb. smoked sausage
1/2 to 1 lb. small cleaned, peeled shrimp
1 to 2 cups breaded okra, fried (My own touch!)
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cleaned and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 tablespoons chicken "Better than Bullion" soup base
1+ teaspoon Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/4 + olive oil
sea salt to taste
Hot cooked rice

In a large pot, place the chicken thighs on to boil, fairly early in the day. (Or the day before serving.) Use about 2 quarts of water to start. Add the better than bullion chicken soup base, the tumeric, creole seasoning, and the sage. Cover.
Boil for an hour or more.
Saute the onion and celery in a small amount of oilve oil.
Add to the broth.
Turn off heat.
Remove chicken from broth.
Remove the skins from the thighs. Discard skin.
When the thighs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Discard bones.
Refrigerate meat.
Allow the broth to cool. I usually do this at room temperature for an hour or so, then in the refrigerator several more hours.
Skim as much fat from the broth as possible.
Once the fat is skimmed from the broth, return the chicken to the broth.
Reheat over low flame.
Add hot water as necessary to equal about 10 cups liquid.

Fry and drain your okra.
Add to the broth.

Prepare rice.

Slice the smoked sausage into fairly thin slices, 1/4" or so.
Saute until the sausage begins to brown.
Remove sausage from the frying pan with a slotted spoon .
Add the sausage to the broth.
Add the flour and 1/4 cup (more or less) olive oil to the frying pan.(You dont have to drain the sausage fat).
Add 1 teaspoon salt.
Make into a roux. Cook until very brown. (add more oil if necessary

Once the roux is dark brown and smooth, pour into the boiling broth.

Stir the roux into the broth.
Bring to a boil.

Allow to cook and thicken.

Five minutes before serving, add the cleaned, deveined shrimp to the boiling gumbo. Prepared crawfish may be added here, if desired.

Serve over rice.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Even better the next day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Banana Bread

Today, I had a couple of very ripe bananas that needed to be used. Most of the time, one of the kids falls victim to Mom noticing the bananas are beyond anyone willingly consuming them, and is forced into making Banana Bread. Everyone LOVES the banana bread, just no one wants to make it.
The boys were outside helping their Dad fend off the neighbor kids and tilling up a garden plot, so I made it myself.

Banana Bread
1 cup Vanilla Sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (2 to 4 bananas)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Heat oven to 350*
Grease (inside!) bottom of a loaf pan.
Cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Add eggs and water.
Blend thoroughly.
Combine dry ingredients, except nuts.
Add to mixture
Blend until just moistened.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into pan.
Bake 55 to 75 minutes, until wood pick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes.
Loosen loaf from sides of pan. Remove from pan.
To make perfect slices, allow to cool completely before slicing.
(HAHAHAHA! Forget about cooling. Nothing is better than fresh hot banana bread slathered in butter!)

Friday, February 4, 2011


1 cup butter (no substitute), softened
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not artificial vanilla flavoring)

Beat together until well creamed.

Add combined dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon (ground) (I used a premium cinnamon from Pampered Chef)

Blend into the creamed mixture a little at a time.
Spread into a greased 9"x9"x2" baking dish.
Bake at 325* for 30- 35 minutes, until done.
Cut into squares.

May be frosted if desired.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spaghetti and Bread Sticks/ Pizza Crust

How is this for a "Three fer" post?
Spaghetti Sauce
32- 48 oz. (total) canned tomato products. (I use crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes)
6 to 12oz canned tomato paste (If you are making a small amount, the small can is fine, if making a larger amount, use the bigger can, or two of the small)
Ground hamburger meat
onion, chopped
garlic, minced
Italian seasoning blend

Brown hamburger with the chopped onions and garlic. Drain off the fat. Add the tomato products, as well as the seasonings. I LOVE basil, so usually add at least a tablespoon of basil and a little less of the Italian seasoning blend. More garlic and some onion powder, and a teaspoon or less of sugar and of salt.
Simmer. Serve over cooked pasta.

Bread Sticks/ Pizza Crust

2 1/2 (+) cups flour
1 packet or 1 teaspoon of dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon italian seasoning blend
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon basil
1 cup very warm (nor boiling) water
2 tablespoons cooking oil (preferably olive oil)

Mix together the dry ingredients.
Add the warm water and oil. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if necessary.
Knead until smooth.
Allow to rest 10 minutes. (For bread sticks, allow to rest until doubled)
Punch down dough.
Add small amount of flour if necessary.
knead and shape.
Preheat oven to 375*

For breadsticks:  shape into rectangle on a heavily oiled baking sheet- preferably with sides.

Brush with garlic butter. (And Parmesan cheese, if desired!)
Cut into strips, without separating them.
Allow to rise until doubled.
Bake at 375* until done.

Pizza Crust

For pizza crust: After dough has rested 10 minutes, shape to fit your greased pan. Partially bake the crust for 7 minutes in preheated oven.
Top par-baked crust with seasoned tomato sauce ( I add basil, garlic, and italian seasoning blend directly to the can of tomato sauce and stir!) cheese, and toppings of your choice. Return to hot oven for 15 minutes, or until completely hot and crust is browned.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Cook Connor prepares BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

My grandson Connor made these at home yesterday. The Original Recipe is here.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (Connor used ground chicken, which he had to cook)
  • 6 hamburger buns, split and toasted


  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery and garlic in butter until tender.

  • Stir in the salsa, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and pepper.

  • Stir in chicken. Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve about 1/3 cup chicken mixture on each bun. Yield: 6 servings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup (Crockpot)

Chicken Noodle Soup (Crockpot)

Amish style noodles (Or wide egg noodles)
"Better Than Bullion Chicken Soup Base"
Onion, chopped
Garlic, minced
Celery, chopped (I used frozen celery tops and leaves saved from making celery sticks)
Peas and Carrots (I use frozen)
sage (Or poultry seasoning)
bay leaf

Fill the crockpot just over half full of hot water.
Make sure the crockpot is plugged in! (How many times have I forgotten to do this?!!!)
Turn to "High"
Add your chicken. Mine was frozen, and in whole pieces. I used three breast halves.
Add the chopped onions, garlic, celery, bay leaf, sage, turmeric.
Cover. Allow to cook several hours.
After about 2 1/2 hours, we removed the chicken from the broth and chopped it up. Remove the bones if you used bone-in chicken.
Return the chicken to the broth.
Add the frozen peas and carrots. (I used about a cup and a half of frozen mixed peas and carrots)
Turn crock pot down to low, if it is going to be awhile until you eat.
Cover, allow to continue to cook.
Depending on the noodles, you will want to turn the crock pot back up and add the noodles 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours before you plan to serve. (I added two good handfuls of noodles, about 1 1/4 cups of the wide Amish style noodles. These are thick and hearty, and take quite awhile to cook.)

Thanks to my mother in law Arlene, Tom was raised believing that you have mashed potatoes  when you have chicken noodle soup. My kids love it their noodle soup served over the top of mashed potatoes... which is why I don't add potatoes to the soup. As starch heavy as this manner of serving the soup is, it is completely delicious.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

This salad is a wonderful winter salad, when fresh salad vegetables are scarce. It is also VERY simple!  My friend Angie Brown taught me how to make this salad. It has been one of my favorites from my first bite!

Spinach and Mushroom Salad

Fresh Spinach, cleaned and torn into bite sized pieces
Sweet Onion, diced (purple/red onion also works well)
Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Toss together in a large bowl. (Hold the bacon until just before serving.)
Cover and refrigerate undressed leftover salad.

3/4 Cup REAL mayonnaise (NOT miracle whip)
1/4 Cup milk
1 tablespoon bacon drippings (fat from cooking bacon)
2 Tablespoons bacon crumbles
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Make ahead and refrigerate. Stir before serving, thin with additional milk if necessary. Dress salad just prior to serving. Will keep in refrigerator 3 or 4 days.

One really nice way to brighten this salad is with a can of drained mandarin orange sections. Add a teaspoon of the orange juice packing to the dressing!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Lewis and Clark" Hominy

A couple of years ago, we did a unit study of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the boys in our homeschool. We checked out a book from the library that had recipes of the types of foods eaten on this expedition to explore a great expanse of the uncharted western area that was to become part of the United States. This recipe is one we added to our family favorites!

Lewis and Clark Hominy
Hominy (I use canned, drained)
Bacon, chopped
Onion, chopped
Cayenne pepper (ground red pepper)

Fry bacon crisp in a heavy skillet. Remove from skillet.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.
Add chopped onion and saute until soft.
Add the drained hominy, and the cooked bacon. Cook until hominy is heated through.
Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

Fiesta Corn

Fiesta Corn

Frozen whole kernel corn

I dressed up our common vegetable side dish of corn by simply adding some chopped roasted peppers (The roasted peppers were one of the first recipes on this blog.)
Pour the amount of (frozen) corn you wish to use into a microwave safe bowl. add a bit of butter, and a few chopped roasted peppers.
Cover loosely (wax paper works well) and microwave until the corn is hot, stirring one or more times.

You can also use drained canned corn in this recipe. You could make it on the stove top as well, adding a small amount of water to the corn as you heat it over medium low heat. (Do not drain all the liquid from the corn if you are using canned corn on the stove top.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches (French Dip)

Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches (French Dip)
Roast beef, sliced as you like
Hard rolls (I like a whole wheat bolilio)
dry Onion Soup mix
Swiss cheese
Onion, halved then sliced into thin slices (I prefer sweet onions)
Portobello mushrooms, if desired, (Sliced)
Olive Oil

(I usually use the Crock Pot for the meat/ broth, but it is easily done in any pot.)
Place the  sliced roast beef into a pot. (a covered one is nice but not essential.)
Sprinkle with one envelope of dry onion soup mix.
Add hot water... half  to 3/4 the amount the onion soup directions call for.
Simmer over low heat.

In a heavy skillet, cook the onion slices in a small amount of olive oil, separating them as you go. I like to cook them until they are brown and caramelized.
(You may add the mushrooms a few moments before the onions are done. I like to drizzle them in olive oil and let them soak it up before cooking them!)
Slide the onions (and mushrooms!) to one side of the skillet, and grill the bread halves in the olive oil.
Place the bottom half of the grilled bread on the plate, top with steaming hot roast beef, onions,  (mushrooms if you made them!) and cheese. I like to pour a few spoonfuls of the onion soup broth over all of this.The grilled bread "top" comes next, of course.  I have a small bowl of the onion soup broth on the side for dipping the sandwich into.

Easy Baked Italian Chicken

Baked Italian Chicken
Chicken, cut up, or your favorite cuts (can be Boneless, skinless, or neither)
 Italian salad dressing (NOT creamy!) (Your favorite brand. I like Marzetti.)

Place the chicken in a casserole dish.
Pour bottled Italian dressing over the chicken. You want the chicken well coated, as well as some in the casserole dish. Be generous.

Cover (with foil if you do not have a lid)

Bake at 350* for 25 minutes.
Remove foil, turn chicken. Return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes (or longer). You want the chicken to be done, but not dry. The cooking uncovered allows chicken with skin on it to crisp up a bit. Allow to sit for just a few moments before serving.

I like to serve this with a green salad, or even cut up IN a green salad. Also great served over cooked rice.

Notes and Hints

This is a list that will be updated as I think of things to add!

I want to let everyone know that, as a rule, I don't add extra salt as I am cooking. Some dishes DO need salt added to them to taste "right". So feel free to salt any of the recipes that I have left salt out of.

Most of my recipes are very "open ended". I specify ingredients, but most of the time, no amounts or quantities. I grew up in a big family- six kids, and there were almost always neighbor kids eating with us. I raised seven kids myself. I am learning how to cook for two and four people these days. So, here are some of my rules for estimating how much to cook:

Potatoes- Count on one potato per person, plus "one for the pot" for every four people. (1.25 potatoes per person)

Carrots- one and a half carrots per person

Pasta- one regular "handful" (about 1/2 cup) per person, plus an extra handful for those you know will eat a lot... (i.e. teen boys, husbands) and of course, "one for the pot" for every 4 people. (4 people will use 2 1/2 cups dry pasta, most varieties)

Ratios... my "rules of  estimating" (above) are my own ratios, that I have worked from for the last 40 or so years. Other helpful ratios are:
Rice: 1 part rice to 2 parts water.
Oatmeal (rolled oats) 1 part Oats to 3 parts water

One of my favorite truisms: Baking is Science, Cooking is Art. This means you follow the recipe in baking, or you will more than likely end up with a failed outcome. With cooking, you can pretty much do anything you like. I have yet to come across a recipe that I didn't "tweak" in some manner while preparing it.

*To keep rice from being sticky, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the water it is cooked in.

*When cleaning up anything flour based, be sure to use COLD water. Using hot water turns the flour to paste, but cold water lets it rinse off.

*Use COLD liquid to dissolve cornstarch before adding it to sauces as a thickener. Using hot liquid causes lumps. Cornstarch needs to cook for at least one minute after adding in order to thicken.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Italian Chicken in the Slow Cooker / Crock Pot

Italian Chicken (Crock Pot)
Chicken Breasts (I used boneless/ skinless)
Canned tomatoes (I used stewed and petite diced)
tomato paste
Garlic (I used minced from a jar)
Onion, chopped
Italian seasoning blend
Basil (I used both dried, and fresh because I had it on hand)
Salt to taste

Cooked pasta or rice

I started with chopping an onion. Put it in the crock of the slow cooker.
Add a generous amount (I used about a tablespoon) of minced garlic. (Hey, we LIKE garlic!)
I then added boneless skinless chicken breasts. These were frozen when I put them in, since I never think to start meals soon enough.
Next I dumped a can (14.5 oz) each of  diced tomatoes and stewed tomatoes.
I added a can (6 oz) of tomato paste later, when I saw this was not going to be as thick as I like it.
(One can of each because I am only cooking for TWO today! If the kids were home, I would probably have either used larger cans of tomatoes, or more cans)
Sprinkle a light amount of Italian seasoning, and basil, over the top.
This should take about four hours on "High" in the slow cooker, six to eight hours on low... depending on several factors: Thawed or frozen chicken, how hot the slow cooker gets, how many pieces of chicken are in the pot... etc...

Serve over prepared pasta or rice, garnish with fresh basil if you have it!

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos

Eggs- beaten
Potatoes (Home fried potatoes, or cooked "tater tots")
Flour Tortillas, warmed)

Brown sausage in a skillet, crumbling it as you go.
Drain fat.
Leaving the sausage in the skillet, add the beaten eggs, and cook over medium heat, "scrambling" the eggs into the sausage as you go.
When the eggs are done, turn off the heat.

Assemble the burritos by placing a (warmed) flour tortilla on a plate.
 Add a fair sized scoop of the sausage and egg mixture, then a sprinkling of fried potatoes (or "tater tots"). Top with salsa and cheese.
You may have noticed that these pictures are NOT of breakfast Burritos, but the filling and rolling of them is the same as in these pictures.
Leftovers should be made into "extra" burritos. These may be wrapped in waxed paper and plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. They re-heat beautifully in a microwave for a take along breakfast when you are in a hurry!

"Skillet Stroganoff"

Skillet Stroganoff
Ground beef
Chopped onion
Pasta (I use "bow tie", or mini bow tie, or extra wide egg noodles)
dry onion soup mix
Garlic (I use the pre- minced from the jar)
 "Better Than Bullion" beef soup base
corn starch
Sour cream

In a deep heavy skillet, brown the ground beef. You may add the onions along with the beef and cook them at the same time.
When the beef is cooked, drain off the fat.
Add the garlic, a tablespoon (or more) of beef soup base, and at least one packet of onion soup mix. (Two packets or more if cooking for more than 4 people)
Add hot water, at a ratio of 2 1/2 cups hot water per cup of pasta (for most pastas).
Bring to a boil.
Stir in the uncooked pasta. Try to submerge all of the pasta in the boiling liquid.
Allow to cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is as tender as you like it. this takes longer than the cooking directions on the package indicate. If you cannot keep the pasta (or most of it) submerged, add more hot (BOILING) water. Add no more than a cup of hot water at a time.

Once the pasta is tender, you may want to thicken the sauce. I add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to 1/2 cup COLD water. Stir until dissolved, then stir into the simmering pasta mixture. Allow to cook another minute or two, for the sauce to thicken some.
Turn off heat.
Stir sour cream into the mixture.
Ready to serve!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



ground or coarsely chopped meat (beef, venison, what have you)

chopped onion

tomatoes (I usually use canned crushed tomatoes AND petite diced, but fresh will work)

Rotel tomatoes (this is a name brand of hot spiced canned tomatoes)

Cooked beans if desired (I use Ranch Style brand (pinto) beans, and black beans. I have used kidney beans, and I have also left beans out. Home cooked beans are fine.)

Chili powder


 Jalapeno peppers if desired


I start the meat cooking in a very large, heavy pot. (I make a huge amount at a time, so I use 2-3 lbs of meat.)  I add the chopped onions even before the meat is browned.  (Dear Husband tells me this is the wrong way to do it.)
Once the meat is cooked, I drain off the fat.
I add the canned tomatoes... Usually the equivalent of 84 combined oz. of crushed and diced tomato product... not counting the Rotel. I add one or two cans of Rotel.

Drain the beans, add them. (I rinse black beans before adding, just because I do not like their "sauce".)

Add the fresh jalapeno and garlic now. (If you use either fresh.)

Cook, covered,  for 1/2 hour on a very low temperature.

Add desired amount of  Chili powder. This will depend on the brand you use and the spiciness you want. I usually use 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Start with a couple of tablespoons, and taste test for yourself!

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar. Salt to taste.
The ginger adds a mild warmth while helping prevent indigestion. The sugar helps counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. (DH says it is wrong to add either sugar or ginger, but usually praises my finished chili when he doesn't know these have been added.)

Continue cooking 20 minutes to infinity longer. OK, so you cannot cook it to infinity. I like the chili to slow simmer for at least 2 hours from the first sign of simmer, before serving.

I serve with tortilla chips and cheese. Some people like it with crackers. Some even add sour cream.
Refrigerate leftovers. Freeze leftover leftovers within 3 days.

***Warning*** Do Not serve the day before long trips where you will be in a confined place, unless you can have the windows open.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saucy Little Meatloaves

Saucy Little Meatloaves
My version, rewarmed the next day!
I decided to make the delicious "Saucy Little Meatloaves" from page 19 of my "Food For Fellowship" cookbook that I compiled back in 1989 (or thereabouts) for the members of the church we attended, the now defunct Rose Of Sharon, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The meatloaf recipe was sent in by my Aunt Jean Callahan, but it was my cousin Jeanie's recipe. I looked it up yesterday, and then made small meatloaves without following the recipe at all. I will share both here- Jeanie's is excellent, and mine was pretty good as well.

Jeanie's Original recipe:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. uncooked oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
Mix together and form into 6 small loaves.

mix together:

 1/3 c. catsup
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. mustard (prepared yellow mustard)

Spread on loaves.
Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes, until done.

Tammy's Original Recipe:
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. crushed Ritz (type) crackers. (I used Keebler Town House Toppers)
1 egg, beaten
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbs. whatsthishere sauce (Worcestershire, for those of you unrelated)
1/4 c. chopped onion (I was out of onion, used 1 TBS dried minced onion)

Mix together and form into 4 loaves. Place in greased baking pan. (I used a cast iron skillet that I had cooked bacon in earlier, and drained off the grease. A two-fer use before washing!)

Top each raw loaf with bottled BBQ sauce- about a tablespoon each. (I used Sweet Baby Ray's because I had it on hand, and happened to find it before I found the mustard to make Jeanie's topping.)

Bake at 350* for 25-35 minutes, until done.

I did find mine a little dry, so next time I will try it with at least 1/4 cup of milk.) I didn't add salt and pepper to mine before cooking, preferring to allow "salt to taste" on each person's plate.