Amazing Crab Rice Cakes


1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Minute White Rice, uncooked
2 eggs
2 (6 oz. each) crabmeat, drained, flaked
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Bring broth to boil in small saucepan. Stir in rice; cover. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
Beat eggs lightly in medium bowl. Add rice, crabmeat and cheese; mix well. Divide and shape mixture into 8 patties. Let stand 5 minutes.
Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown on both sides or until golden brown on both sides and heated through. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, if desired.

Champagne Punch

2 small frozen Hawaiian Punch cans
1 large frozen lemonade can for punch
1 large frozen lemonade can for ice ring
2 small frozen pineapple-orange cans
1 package frozen strawberries
2 bottles sparkling water
2 bottles white soda
1 bottle champagne
(you could use Cold Duck)
Orange and lemon slices

Pour first 6 ingredients into a punch bowl.
When pouring the champagne (last), into the bowl, pour it against the side of the bowl, so it doesn’t disturb its effervescence.
Some of the orange and lemon slices can be frozen in the ice ring, which you make the day before.
Take another large frozen lemonade and dilute only half. Pour into ring shaped jell-o mold.
By putting some of the fruit in the ring, you can ladle the punch through the hole in the ring without scooping up the fruit.
Enjoy your punch at your party!

Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake

I recently made this cake for the first time, it was easy to make and everyone loved it.

40 vanilla wafers, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tbsp., plus 1 tsp. vanilla, divided
3 eggs
8 oz. whipped topping, thawed

Heat oven to 325°. Mix wafer crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan.

Beat 3 packages of cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar & 1 tbsp. vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Beat remaining cream cheese, sugar & vanilla with mixer in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in whipped topping; spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove rim of pan before serving cheesecake. Garnish with fresh berries, if desired. Blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries work well.

Impossible Tuna Cheese Pie


2 medium onions, chopped
1/4 cup margarine or butter
2 cans tuna, drained (6-1/2 oz.)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick (or other brand) baking mix
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt, if desired
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 eggs
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 400°.

Grease square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Cook onions and margarine/butter in 10-inch skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are light brown. Sprinkle tuna, 1 cup of the cheese and the onions in dish.

Beat Bisquick, milk, salt, pepper and eggs with wire whisk or hand beater until almost smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into dish.

Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes Top with tomato slices and remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

24-Hour Vegetable Salad

This would be a great addition to your buffet table for a shower, graduation party, etc.

6 cups chopped lettuce
Salt, pepper and sugar
6 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1-10 oz. package frozen peas, thawed (2 cups)
1 lb. bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled (1-1/2 cups)
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded natural Swiss cheese
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup sliced green onion with tops

Place 3 cups of the lettuce in bottom of large glass bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar. Layer eggs on top of lettuce in bowl; sprinkle with more salt.
Layer in order: peas, remaining lettuce, bacon and Swiss cheese. Spread mayonnaise over top; spreading to edge of bowl.
Cover and chill 24 hours. Garnish with green onion and paprika. Toss before serving.

Oatmeal-Dill Bread


1-1/2 tsp. instant minced onion
1/2 cup water
2 cups large curd creamed cottage cheese, warmed
3 tbsp. butter or margarine 1/4 cup sugar 2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups sifted flour
2 eggs
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup quick or old- fashioned oats, uncooked
2 tbsp. dill seed
Melted butter

Combine onion and water. In large bowl, combine cottage cheese, butter, sugar, salt, baking soda & onion-water mixture. Add 2 cups flour, eggs and yeast; beat 2 min. Stir in oats, dill seed & remaining flour. Cover & let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
Stir batter down. Place batter in 2 greased deep 1-1/2 quart casseroles, 2 bread pans or soufflé dishes, (bread pans would probably be the best choice). Brush tops with melted butter. Let rise uncovered in warm place until nearly double in size, about 45 min. Bake in preheated 350° oven about 35 min. Remove from pans. Brush tops with melted butter & sprinkle with salt.

Focaccia Bread


1 tbsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
2-1/2 cups flour
Garlic, diced (desired amount for topping)
Basil (desired amount for topping)
Oregano (desired amount for topping)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, olive oil and 2 cups of the flour; beat well. Knead in remaining 1/2 cup flour. Form a smooth ball and spread the top lightly with a little oil. Cover & let rise until doubled. Divide & form dough into 2 flat rounds. Place on a cookie sheet. Rub the top of each loaf with olive oil and press diced garlic in top of each. Sprinkle with basil and oregano.
Bake at 400° for 15-20 min. or until golden brown.

Fruit-Stamped Dish Towels


1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Put sugar in a medium heavy - bottomed saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup water.
Place over medium - high heat and cook without stirring for 15-16 minutes, until dark amber in color.
Remove from heat and stir in salt. Gradually stir in cream and vanilla.
Cool and spoon into jars. Tightly seal and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Add a ribbon or string with a special gift tag with the name of the sauce and you have a one-of-a-kind homemade gift!
Note: I’ve found that most foods like this, refrigerated, last longer than two weeks.

Flavored Butters

Strawberry Butter
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar

Honey Orange Butter
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
6 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. grated orange zest

Cranberry Butter
1 lb. cranberries, chopped
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 lb. butter, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh orange juice or 2-1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine ingredients and blend well. Chill.
Press softened butter into heart - shaped (or other shape) molds, or decorative jars. Put in a decorated basket with homemade muffins, croissants or small breads.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Put sugar in a medium heavy - bottomed saucepan and stir in 1/2 cup water.
Place over medium - high heat and cook without stirring for 15-16 minutes, until dark amber in color.
Remove from heat and stir in salt. Gradually stir in cream and vanilla.
Cool and spoon into jars. Tightly seal and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Add a ribbon or string with a special gift tag with the name of the sauce and you have a one-of-a-kind homemade gift!
Note: I’ve found that most foods like this, refrigerated, last longer than two weeks.

Healthy Holiday Spice Cookies

These cookies have only 2 grams of fat and 55 calories! You will have to shop somewhere other than your local grocery store (natural food store) for a couple of these ingredients – but the end result will be worth the trip.

2 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tbsp. unrefined palm sugar or jiggery
3 packets sweetener powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp. pureed, cooked, peeled sweet potato
2 tbsp. liquid egg white
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. flax seed meal
2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, softened

Heat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, palm sugar, 2 packets of the sweetener, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves. Mix until well combined. Add the sweet potato, egg white and 1 tsp. vanilla, mix until combined again. Beat in the flour and flax seed meal.
Shape the dough into a round, flat disk. Place the disk between two sheets of waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Place the dough on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is very firm.
Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top sheet of paper. Use 2-1/2 to 3 inch cookie cutters to cut out 12 cookies. If necessary, place the dough back in the freezer after making the cutouts. This will keep the dough firm, making it easier to transfer the cookies from the paper to the prepared baking sheet.
Place the dough cutouts on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the tops are just dry and edges are just starting to brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting, in a small bowl combine the cream cheese, the remaining packet of sweetener and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a small open tip. Decorate the cooled cookies with the icing.

Delicious Beauty Bark

This treat has skin - protecting flavonoids from the dark chocolate and soy as well as sleep - inducing dried tart cherries.
Line a 9-inch square pan with foil. Place 6 oz. dark chocolate in medium microwave - safe bowl. Microwave on high 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until almost melted. Stirring every 30 seconds.
Spread chocolate in pan. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup roasted edamame (soy) and 1/4 cup dried tart cherries. Chill 15 minutes.
After cooling, break into pieces. You can then pack them into holiday gift tins lined with waxed paper. The waxed paper will prevent them from sticking together. Keep in a cool place.

Chai Tea Mix

2-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea or decaffeinated instant tea
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla - flavored powdered non - dairy creamer

Combine spices and tea in a food processor or blender. Blend 1 - 2 minutes or until mixture becomes a fine powder. Pour into a large bowl. Add sugar to food processor or blender (without cleaning it), and process until superfine, about 30 seconds. Add sugar to bowl of spices. Stir in milk powder and creamers, blend well. Spoon mix into gift jars.
To serve, stir two heaping tbsp. Chai Tea Mix into a mug of hot milk or boiling water.
To make Chocolate Chai Mix: Add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa along with dry milk powder to the blend above. Follow serving directions above.
Note: A nice addition to this gift would be to tie a decorative or stainless steel measuring spoon to the jar lid.

Cheese and Squash Stuffed Tomatoes


2 large tomatoes
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella or mild cheddar cheese
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
1/2 cup herb croutons
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cut tomatoes in half crosswise; scoop out pulp, juice and seeds, leaving 1/2-inch shell. Chop pulp and drain; place in medium bowl. Sprinkle tomato shells lightly with salt; drain cut side down on paper towels while preparing stuffing. Stir mozzarella cheese, zucchini, croutons, basil and pepper into tomato pulp; mix well. Divide mixture among tomato shells. Arrange in shallow baking dish. Bake at 350° 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes are hot and cheese is melted.

Variation: Arrange stuffed tomatoes in disposable aluminum pan and place on outdoor grill. Grill over medium coals 10-12 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Creamy White-Cheddar Corn Chowder


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1 cup nonfat milk
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears of corn)
1-1/4 tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add celery, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, and cayenne. Raise heat to medium-high, and add wine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, stock, and milk, and bring to a boil (skim any foam from surface). Reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add corn, and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer 2 cups soup to a blender. Let cool slightly, then puree. Return puree to pan, and stir. Reheat if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and top with cheese.

Chowder can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Golden Chicken Pot Pie


NOTE: You could easily make and freeze these pot pies so that you only need to pop the frozen pies in the oven (remove from freezer just 30 minutes before baking).

To make only 1 pie–cut recipe in half.

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1-3/4 cups sliced carrots
1 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
2 packages (14.1 oz. each) refrigerated pie pastry

Preheat oven to 425°. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender; drain.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and potato mixture; remove from heat.

Unroll a pastry sheet into each of two-9 inch pie plates; trim even with edges. Add chicken mixture. Unroll remaining pastry; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in tops.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

FREEZE OPTION: Cover and freeze unbaked pies. To use, remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Preheat oven to 425°. Place pies on baking sheets; cover edges loosely with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 350°. Bake 70-80 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown.

Crazy for Crackers

Makes 2 DOZEN

Crackers are very easy to make, and homemade ones are so much better than store-bought ones.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. butter, margarine or other shortening
3/4 cup water, approx.
Sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°. Sift together flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. With two knives, cut the shortening into the flour until mixture is fine. Add just enough water to make a firm dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out thinly with a floured rolling pin. Using a round cookie cutter, stamp out crackers, prick them all over with a fork, and sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds, if desired.
Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until crisp. Cool on a rack and store in airtight container.

Pumpkin Pudding



1 cup pumpkin puree
1 package instant, sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup nonfat milk

Blend ingredients until smooth.
Chill for several hours before serving.

NOTE: You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

Dog Treats

Recipe for submission from Dianne Fett

1/2 c. dry powdered milk
1-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 tbsp. bacon fat
1 egg, mixed with 1/2 c. water

Mix dry ingredients. Blend in fat until mixture resembles cornmeal.
Add egg/water mixture, mixing until a ball is formed. Turn onto a floured board and knead well adding flour if sticky.
Roll and cut into squares. Place on foil lined pan.
Bake 325° 30 minutes or longer.
When cool, bones should be hard. If not bake an additional 15-20 minutes.

Pennsylvania-Dutch Potato Pancakes

Makes these tasty pancakes for breakfast or dinner


2 medium-size all-purpose potatoes, about 12 oz., peeled
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. vegetable oil, or as needed
1 tbsp. butter or margarine, or as needed

Using coarsest side of hand grater, grate potatoes into large bowl. Toss with lemon juice to coat thoroughly; let stand 5 minutes. Drain well. Add melted butter, flour, onion, scallions, egg, salt, pepper and baking powder to potatoes; stir to mix well.
In 8 inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp. each, oil and butter. Working in batches of 3-4 pancakes, add potato mixture in heaping tbsp. to skillet; using tines of fork, flatten each portion into very thin round about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
Cook pancakes 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to paper towels to drain; keep warm in 300° oven. Repeat procedure until remaining potato mixture is used up, adding more oil and butter to skillet as needed. Serve immediately, accompanied by country breakfast sausage and chunky applesauce.

Pretty Petit Fours

Pound cake from the freezer dept. of the grocery store
2 cups powdered sugar (or more if you make a lot of little cakes)
6 tbsp. water Food coloring
Tubes of decorating gel and/or edible flowers

Cut the pound cake into one-inch slices. Trim the crust from each slice and cut each slice into four squares.
To make the icing, add water, a tbsp. at a time to the powdered sugar, mixing thoroughly after each tbsp. of water. Then add a couple drops of food coloring (red or yellow) and stir the icing until it is very smooth. You don’t want any lumps.
Place the small cake squares on a wire rack and drizzle icing over each one. Be sure that each little piece of cake is thoroughly covered. (Make more icing if you need to). Let the icing dry.
Once the icing is dry, decorate petit fours with gel and flowers.

Melon-Cucumber Salad


2 tbsp. salad oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash freshly ground pepper
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup 3/4 inch pieces melon (honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon)
Crisp salad greens

Mix oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Toss cucumber slices, melon and oil mixture in bowl; chill. Remove with slotted spoon to salad greens.

Chili-Bean Skillet

1 cup cubed cooked ham
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
Dash instant minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. salad oil
1 can (8 oz.) pork and beans
1 can (8 oz.) lima beans
1/3 cup chili sauce

In 8 inch skillet, cook and stir ham, celery, onion, green pepper, garlic and salt in oil until onion is tender.
Drain off fat. Stir in pork and beans, lima beans (with liquid) and chili sauce; simmer uncovered until hot, about 10 minutes.

Yellow Squash Muffins

1 lb. yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices (or buy precut in cellophane bag in some produce departments)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


Place 1 inch of water in a saucepan; add squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash; stir in the butter and egg. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the squash mixture just until moistened.

Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375° for 20- 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Taco Dip

2– 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1-16 oz. carton sour cream
1 package of dry taco seasoning
Lettuce, shredded
Cheese, shredded
Tomatoes, chopped
Onion, chopped
Black olives, halved
Green pepper, chopped fine
Tortilla chips

Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and dry taco seasoning in a bowl. Spread this mixture into a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet. Cut up the following items, choosing which ones you are going to use to top your dip. Top with lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, black olives and green peppers. Serve with tortilla chips.
Note: You do not have to use just the items on the list, use whichever ones you like, or add your own favorites.

Living Light-Potato/Cheese/Broccoli Snacks

Potatoes are a super source of Vitamin C

7 small yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon gold
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
3 tbsp. reduced-fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp. finely chopped pickled jalapeno chilies
Salt and pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
Chili powder, for sprinkling
1 cup broccoli florets

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain. Finely chop the broccoli and place in a medium bowl.
Slice 6 potatoes in half. Scoop out half of the flesh from each piece and add to the broccoli. Peel and finely chop the remaining potato and add to the mixture. Add the cheese, 2 tbsp. yogurt and the jalapeno; mash coarsely and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the potato halves cut side down on a baking sheet and lightly coat them with cooking spray; invert and season with salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing among the potato halves. Lightly coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with chili powder. Bake until golden about 20 minutes. Garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp. yogurt and more chili powder.

Cherry Parfaits

1 can cherry pie filling
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. whipped topping
1 cup nuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients and serve in individual parfait glasses.

Cranberry, Banana, Pineapple Bread


2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped, mashed banana
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup coconut
2 tbsp. margarine or butter–optional

Combine dry ingredients. Beat sugar and eggs plus the juices. Combine with the dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in fruit. Place in a greased loaf pan, drizzle with butter, if desired, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cream of Everything Soup


1 medium head cauliflower cut in tiny flowerets
1 medium bunch broccoli cut in tiny flowerets
1 bunch asparagus cut in small pieces, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large onion chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half cream or whole milk
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 clove garlic, chopped or 1 tsp. prepared garlic in jar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh chives or parsley for garnish

In separate saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, cook cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus in small amounts of boiling salted water until crisp-tender. Drain, reserving liquid. Set aside.

In a three quart kettle over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms, onion and celery. Sauté, stirring, until soft.

Blend in flour. Add broth and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in liquid reserved from vegetables, cream or milk, Worcestershire, garlic and salt. Add reserved vegetables. Heat to boiling. Stir in cheese and cook until cheese melts.

Serve, sprinkled with chopped chives or parsley. Makes about 2 quarts soup.

Notes: Soup can be made with any one of the vegetables listed.
Skim or 2% milk can be substituted for cream or whole milk, but soup will have less flavor.

Salmon with Potatoes, Cucumber & Buttermilk Dressing


Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 skin-on salmon fillet about 1-1/4 lb. preferably wild
1 lb. baby potatoes such as Yukon gold
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh dill
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Lemon wedges for serving

Bring 1-1/4 inches of water to a boil in a large straight-sided skillet. Generously season with salt. Add salmon, skin-side down; return to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until salmon is just opaque throughout, 15-17 minutes. Use a slotted spatula to transfer salmon to a plate, skin-side up.

Meanwhile, bring two inches of water to a simmer in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket or a metal colander. Place potatoes in basket, cover and steam until easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 12-15 minutes.

Whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise in a bowl, stir in dill, and season with salt and pepper. Remove skin from salmon; flake fish into large pieces. Divide salmon, potatoes, and cucumber among plates; drizzle with dressing, and serve with lemon wedges.

Cake with Buttercream Decorating Frosting

SERVES 10-12

This sweet creamy frosting made with real butter is easy to blend together and holds its shape nicely when used to decorate a layer cake for a special occasion.
1 box cake mix, either white or yellow
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
3 lb. powdered sugar
(12 cups)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 to 1 cup milk
Blue, yellow and green gel, paste or liquid food coloring

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for two, 9 inch layers. Cool on wire racks.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening. Beat in sugar, vanilla, salt and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Place 1/4 cup frosting each in three small bowls; tint one blue, one yellow and one green. Set aside 2-1/4 cups of remaining frosting for basket weave decoration and shell border. Spread remaining frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.
To decorate, place reserved white frosting in pastry bag. Use medium basket weave tip to decorate sides of cake using basket weave pattern. Change to medium star tip to pipe shell border along bottom and top edges of cake.
For writing, use medium round tip and blue frosting to pipe desired greeting off center on top of cake. Use medium round tip to pipe green vines around writing. Switch to medium leaf tip to pipe green leaves along vines. Use small flower tip to pipe yellow and blue flowers along vines. Leftover frosting can be frozen for up to three months. 

Herbed Chicken A La Francais


4 whole large chicken breasts, skinned, halved lengthwise, and boned
4 green onions sliced
3/4 tsp. tarragon crushed
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 egg white
2/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Grated Parmesan cheese
Snipped parsley
Hot cooked carrots, optional

Arrange chicken in a 13x9x2 inch baking dish, or place each portion in an individual baking dish. Sprinkle green onions and tarragon on top. Dot chicken with butter or margarine. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350º oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Beat egg white to stiff peaks. Fold in mayonnaise. Spoon mixture on top of the chicken and sprinkle with Parmesan. Return to the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes more or until light brown. Before serving, sprinkle chicken with parsley. Serve with carrots.

Cherry Pie with Prize-Winning Filling

Tapioca is the solution for many people coping with special diets

4 cups drained water-packed canned cherries with 1-3/4 cups sugar OR
2 cans 20 oz. frozen cherries, drained and 1 cup sugar instead of 1-3/4 cups
3 tbsp. tapioca
1/4 tsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. melted butter
Pastry for 2-crust 9 inch pie or use 2 frozen crusts
Combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, coloring, lemon juice, extract, and butter. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of pastry rolled 1/8 inch thick. Turn cherry mixture into pie shell. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Roll remaining pastry 1/8 inch thick. Cut design in pastry to allow escape of steam. Place over cherry filling and trim edges. Seal and flute edges. Brush top with cream, for golden glaze. Bake in 400º oven for 55 minutes.

Pumpkin-Powered Muffins


Corn oil cooking spray
1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup canned solid-packed pumpkin or mashed (baked or canned) sweet potatoes
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup corn oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400º F. Spray 12 muffin pan with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
In large bowl, mix pumpkin, water, oil and eggs. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened (over beating can lead to tough, chewy muffins – yuck!) Stir in 3/4 cup pecans. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
In small bowl, combine granulated sugar and remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. nut mixture over each muffin.
Bake 20 min. or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool 5 min., then remove from pan and set on wire rack. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Chili



3 large sweet potatoes, about 2 lbs. peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, core and seeds removed, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 can 15 oz. pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can 15 oz. jalapeno-seasoned petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 packages 8.8 oz. each, fully cooked microwaveable brown
rice such as Uncle Ben’s

Coat slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer sweet potatoes, onion, green pepper, garlic and pinto beans in slow cooker. Combine tomatoes, chili powder, cocoa, cumin, salt, cayenne and 2 cups water in a medium-sized bowl. Pour over vegetables.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
Stir cilantro into chili and serve over brown rice.

Spiced Cranberry Orange Mold


1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 package (8 servings size) or 2 pkg. (4 servings size) Cranberry      flavor Jell-O
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup cold water
1 orange, sectioned, diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir boiling water into gelatin and cinnamon in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cranberry sauce until completely dissolved and melted. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate about 1-1/2 hours or until thickened (spoon drawn through Jell-O leaves definite impression). Stir in orange and walnuts. Spoon into 5-cup mold.
Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold. Garnish as desired. Store leftover gelatin mold in refrigerator.
Unmolding. Dip mold in warm water for about 15 seconds. Gently pull gelatin from around edges with moist fingers. Place moistened serving plate on top of mold. Invert mold and plate; holding mold and plate together, shake slightly to loosen. Gently remove mold. Center gelatin on plate.

Sugared Pecans


1 lb. pecan halves
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup water
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

Toast pecans in one layer on baking sheet for 10 min. at 300º F.
In a small saucepan, combine all but pecans and vanilla. Cook until syrup spins a small thread from the end of a spoon and turns light brown, about 5 min., using high heat.
Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecans. Stir quickly until syrup crystallizes.
Pour onto a greased platter. Separate nuts to cool. Store in decorative glass jars for gifts or your own enjoyment.

Holiday Cranberry-Orange Slices

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I usually add an additional 1/2 cup flour to my cookie recipes)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in cranberries, pecans and orange peel.
Divide in half. Shape each into 9-inch long roll. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper.
Chill 3 hours or until firm enough to slice.
With serrated knife, cut rolls into 1/4 inch slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350º F oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm and lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
To store, layer between waxed paper in airtight container, cover. Store at room temp. up to three days or freeze one month.

5 Pounds of Wonderful Fudge

1/2 cup butter
14-1/2 oz. can evaporated milk
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 lb. marshmallows
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips would be fine)
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 cups chopped walnuts

Combine butter, milk and sugar in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, turn off heat. Add marshmallows. Stir until melted. Add chocolate, one kind at a time. Add vanilla and nuts, stir. Pour into (2) 9x13 inch buttered pans.
Let stand until firm before cutting.

Roasted Squash and Mushroom Pasta


1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (1-1/2 oz.) divided, plus more for serving
Course salt
Ground pepper
1 small butternut squash (2 lbs.) peeled, halved, seeded & cut into 3/4 inch pieces
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
8 fresh sage leaves (optional)
10 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean & halved
3/4 lb. short pasta, such as gemelli or penne

Preheat oven to 425º F. Toss breadcrumbs with 2 tbsp. cheese and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Toss squash with 3 tbsp. oil and the sage, if using. Season with salt, and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toss mushrooms with remaining tbsp. oil; season. Push squash to one side of pan and add mushrooms. Roast 10 minutes. Flip vegetables and roast until tender and golden, 20 minutes. Remove half the squash, sprinkle remaining vegetables with breadcrumb mixture and return to oven. Roast until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1-1/2 cups pasta water, then drain. Add reserved squash and 1 cup pasta water to pot, and cook over medium-high heat, mashing as it comes to a boil. Add pasta and remaining 6 tbsp. cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add more pasta water if necessary to make a creamy sauce. Stir in remaining vegetables just before serving. Sprinkle with additional cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Cheese Tortellini with Squash

1 zucchini, peeled & cut in pieces
1 summer squash, peeled & cut in pieces
1 bag spinach
1 tsp. garlic
1 bag frozen cheese-filled tortellini

Sauté vegetables in olive oil, then add spinach last.
Boil tortellini according to package directions, drain, add to vegetables and mix together.
Add butter before serving.

Zucchini Apple Crisp


8 cups zucchini, sliced like apples (peeled & cored)
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar

Place zucchini and lemon juice in a kettle. Cover and cook over medium heat 15 minutes, or until tender. Add spices and sugar. Blend until sugar is dissolved.

3 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup softened butter or margarine

Combine and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350º F. Pour cooked mixture into crust. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon on top. Bake 30 minutes at 350º F.

Roll-In One Meat Loaf



1 can tomato soup
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 9 oz. package frozen cut green beans, cooked, well drained

Combine meat with all ingredients except 1/2 can of the soup. On waxed paper, pat into a 12x9 inch piece. Spread beans to within 1 inch of all edges; pat into meat. With aid of waxed paper, roll meat tightly, jellyroll fashion, starting at long edge. Seal ends; use waxed paper to transfer to glass baking dish.

Bake at 350º F for 40 minutes. Spoon off fat. Pour remaining soup over loaf.

Bake 10 minutes longer.

Sugar Free Mocha Cream Pie


1 9 inch pie crust, baked and cooled
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold black coffee
1 small box instant sugar free chocolate pudding powder
1 small box instant sugar free butterscotch pudding powder
3 cups milk

While pie crust is cooling on a wire rack, soften the gelatin powder in cold coffee until mushy. Place in heat proof cup and set in pan of hot water until transparent. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, beat together pudding and milk until smooth and thickened. Beat in the gelatin mixture. Turn into pie crust, filling only to the rim. Refrigerate both the filled pie and the remaining pudding mixture for 2 hours or until you can mound the remaining pudding over the filled pie in an artistic manner.
Keep refrigerated until firm enough to cut.

Cranberry Orange Dip


1/4 cup coarsely chopped, dried cranberries
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. dried orange peel
3 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. vanilla

Combine and chill at least 2 hours.
Serve with apple wedges and/or butter crackers.

Take-Along Snack Mix


1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. honey
1 cup toasted oat cereal, any flavor
1/2 cup coarsely broken pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup thin pretzel sticks, broken in half
1/2 cup raisins, optional
1 cup M&Ms chocolate mini baking bits

In large heavy skillet over low heat, melt butter. Add honey; stir until blended. Add cereal, nuts, pretzels and raisins; stir until all pieces are evenly coated. Continue cooking over low heat 10 minutes; stirring frequently. Remove from heat; immediately spread on waxed paper until cool. Add M&M’s baking bits.

Store in lightly covered container.

Watermelon Cake



1 box white cake mix
1 3 oz. package watermelon flavored Jell-O
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups prepared vanilla or cream cheese frosting, divided
red and green gel food coloring
Chocolate chips mini or regular size

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, Jell-O, eggs, water and oil. Beat on low speed just until moistened. Beat on high for two minutes or until well blended. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans.

Bake at 350º F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Set aside 2 tbsp. frosting for decorating. Place 1-1/4 cups frosting in a bowl; tint red. Tint remaining frosting green. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with ½ cup red frosting to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top with second cake. Frost top with remaining red frosting to within 3/4 inch of edges. Frost sides and top edge with green frosting.

Place reserved white frosting in a small heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a 1/4 inch hole in one corner. Pipe around top edge of cake where green and pink frosting meets. For seeds, insert chocolate chips upside down into cake top.

Farmer’s Casserole

3 cups frozen hash browns
1 cup cooked diced ham/bacon/sausage
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup shredded cheese, use a Mexican combo to add flavor
1/4 cup sliced onion or chives
12 oz. can evaporated milk

Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Arrange potatoes evenly on bottom. Sprinkle with cheese, ham and onion. (You can add or change ingredients to suit your family.)
In medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, pepper and salt. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in dish.
Bake uncovered at 350º F for 40-45 minutes. You can also make it ahead of time and refrigerate, if so, bake for 55-60 minutes.
Options: Use broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, etc.

Cream Cheese Cake


1 yellow dry cake mix
1 stick melted butter or margarine
2 eggs

Blend all ingredients together by hand and spread into a greased jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with 1” sides.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix together with electric mixer and spread on top of cake mixture.
Bake at 350º F until top is golden brown.

Big Taste Texas Burger



2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup finely snipped parsley
1/4 cup minced scallions, white part
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbs. bottled steak sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke seasoning
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 soft sandwich buns, split

Toppings: Baked beans, lettuce, red onion, sliced tomato, sliced crisp bacon, spicy corn relish, cheese, Ranch Hand Sauce (mix equal amounts of Ranch salad dressing and smoky BBQ sauce), onion rings.

Prepare medium-hot grill. Place ground beef in large bowl, set aside. In medium bowl, blend butter with all remaining ingredients except sandwich buns. Reserve about 4 tsp. seasoned butter for buns. Blend remaining butter mixture thoroughly into ground beef. Form into four 1-inch thick patties. Grill burgers over medium-hot fire until done, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Butter sandwich buns with reserved butter, grill for about one minute, buttered side down. Place one burger patty on bottom bun, add desired toppings. Top with second patty, complete with remaining toppings and bun.