Saturday, November 29, 2008


Tired of the same ole things for the turkey leftovers? Me too, so I found some really great recipes for a new twist on old dishes. I love tomatoes so when I came across this recipe with dried tomatoes in it, I knew it was a "must do" this year.

My grandmother made great croquettes, but I found a recipe that bakes them, which is much healthier than frying, and a sauce that really sets them apart.. Here they are and I think you and your family will acquire a new appreciation for leftovers with these tasty new ways to disguise them..


2 1/2 cups turkey gravy (leftover or commercially prepared, I used the broth from the cooked turkey)
3 cups cooked turkey chunks
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup dried tomato bits ( I run the halves through my Cuisinart food processor)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, divided
2 1/4 cups reduced-fat buttermilk baking mix
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper (1/4 to 1/2)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In3-quart saucepan combine gravy, turkey, peas, mushrooms, tomato bits,water, 1 tablespoon of the parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of the poultry seasoning. Stir occasionally over medium-low heat until mixture comes to a boil.

Meanwhile, in bowl combine the baking mix, the remaining parsley and poultry seasoning, the pepper and milk; mix just to blend thoroughly.

Pour turkey mixture into shallow 2-quart casserole or 9-inch square baking dish. Top with baking mix mixture,dropping with spoon in six equal mounds. Place on baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes until turkey mixture is bubbly and topping is golden brown

NOTES: I used 2 cups self-rising flour, 1 stick melted butter, and 1 cup of buttermilk and used this for my topping instead of the called for ingredients in the recipe and baked it at 425 degrees instead of the 450.


Thick Cream Sauce:

4 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. flour ( for medium cream sauce add only 1/8 cup flour)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 c. milk

Melt butter. Add flour and seasoning; blend. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring until mixture is very thick. cool(can be stored for several days in fridge.)

2 c. chopped cooked leftover turkey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced parsley
1 c. thick cream sauce
1 c. fine bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water
1/4 c. butter

Mix ingredients in order given except crumbs and egg. Shape into 6 to 8 croquettes. Chill. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Put shallow baking pan with butter into oven to heat. When butter is hot, dip croquette into crumbs, egg and again in crumbs.
Then place in pan, rolling to coat all sides with butter. Bake for about 30 minutes or until brown and crisp. Makes 6-8 servings.
Serve with celery pimento cream sauce.

Celery Pimento Cream Sauce:
To 2 cups medium cream sauce, add 1/4 cup chopped pimento and 1/2 cup cooked celery. Add 2 tsp. minced parsley.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Black Friday, what a day! Up before dawn and out the door to go shop till ya drop! By the time you get home you're worn to a frizz-azzle and very thankful for the leftovers that are crammed in the refrigerator, but, there is still tomorrow to think about. Fall has set in with cold, blustery days and what better time to have a hearty bowl of soup?
Lentils and egg noodles combine with some leftover turkey to make a tummy warming soup with a little different taste after the holiday.

2-3 cups cooked turkey, cubed
2-3 tablespoons margarine or vegetable oil
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 bay leaf
6-8 cups chicken or turkey broth
1/3 cup lintels
8 ounces egg noodles

Saute` onions, garlic and celery in a large pot until onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add broth, dill, bay leaf , celery seed and carrots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add turkey, lentils, and egg noodles and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and continue cooking until lentils and noodles are done.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Been shopping all day? Too tired to cook a big meal? This is a delicious casserole and takes only a few minutes to put together and a half an hour to cook. Add a salad and you can have a hearty meal on the table in an hour. All you need is some cooked chicken , left over from another meal, boiled, broiled or roasted, or even from the deli. This can be made to feed 3 or 4 people or more if need be. Just add more chicken and make in a larger casserole dish. Figure 3-4 ounces of chicken for each person. You might need to double those portions for a growing teen ;^)

Busy Day Chicken Dinner
3-4 cups cooked chicken ( I like to use boneless chicken breasts but you can use both light and dark meat)
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
2 cups chicken broth ( if you boiled the chicken you can use that broth, or I use 1 Knorr's chicken bouillon cube in 2 cups water).
1 can of mixed vegetables
1 stick Land O Lakes butter or margarine, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup Martha White self-rising flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken into 1" cubes and spread in the bottom of a large baking dish. Spread the mixed vegetables over the chicken. Mix together the soup and broth and heat until the soup is incorporated. Adjust seasonings. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken and vegetables.

Mix the flour, melted butter and buttermilk together and pour over the top of the ingredients.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until biscuit topping is browned and a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the topping..
Serve with a tossed salad and Voila! A hot tasty meal you didn't have to slave all day over.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SOUTH OF THE BORDER.......Spanish Rice

The only thing I can remember Bigmother ( my grandmother) using cumin in was the homemade tamales she used to make or in chili, but I love the taste of it sprinkled on Corn on the cob, It's actually a member of the parsley family and one of the main ingredients in Chili powder.

Superstition has it that cumin will keep chickens and lovers from wandering and was often carried by both bride and groom throughout the wedding ceremony to insure a happy life. It's great for the digestion and also a source for iron.

Native to the middle East, cumin is a familiar taste in Tex-Mex dishes and one of my favorites is Spanish rice. This is my version of that dish.


1-2 tablespoons. butter

1 small onion, very fine dice

1 green pepper, finely diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tablespoon Paprika ( I use the sweet Hungarian)

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Cumin

1 cup long grain rice, dry

1 cup chicken broth, boiling hot

1 cup crushed tomatoes ( I use fresh when ever I can)

salt and pepper to taste ( if you use salted butter and canned tomatoes, there is enough salt in them)

saute` onion, garlic, pepper, cumin and paprika in butter just until the onions turn translucent.

Add rice and saute`, lightly, just until rice is coated with butter, DO NOT BROWN.

Add boiling broth and return to a boil.

Add tomatoes and adjust seasonings

Put all in a deep baking dish and cover tightly. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 18-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is dry and fluffy. I like mine a little wetter than most people and will sometimes add a little tomato juice to it after it bakes if it's too dry.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It wasn't common in those days
to own a family car,
And television hadn't been invented.

'Sides, there wasn't time nor money
To go traveling very far--
We did our days work and came home, contented.

Long summer evenings we all sat
with games and conversation,
or Jim came home with ball and bat
just bubbling with elation;

The home team won the noble fight,
So everything was dandy.
And sometimes, on a rainy night,
We'd pop corn or make candy.

Life was more placid in those days;
We made our recreation
Far from the city's worldly ways,
The bright lights and temptation.

Sometimes I think the children now
Are cheated of their birthright--
They haven't time and don't know how
To enjoy a family twilight.
written by Grace Luella Peterson Perry

Friday, November 14, 2008

IT'S PARTY TIME! Bacon Cheeseburger Roll-ups

This is a new twist on a favorite sandwich of young and old alike. I have always loved bacon cheeseburgers and when I saw this recipe I knew every teenager in the world plus all my other guests would love it too. I like to use my own recipe for homemade pizza dough but you can use the bought pizza dough for a really nice dish to serve at any gathering. It is especially loved by the week-end football couch potatoes and kids.

1 lb. lean ground beef
8 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, chopped (or a tablespoon of dried minced onion)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ lb.(8 oz.) Velveeta Cheese, cit into ½” cubes

1 pkg. (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook bacon crisp and hold on the side.
Cook ground beef, garlic and onion until browned, and then drain.

Return beef to skillet and add Velveeta and crumbled bacon. Stir over low heat until cheese is completely melted.
Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.

Unroll pizza dough onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or parchment paper..Pat into a rectangle as thin as you can. 1/8" - 1/4" is great The thinner, the better. Spread the meat mixture evenly over the dough.

Roll up starting at one of the long sides.Rearrange and place on coking surface so that the seam is on the bottom.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden.Cut diagonally into slices to serve.
Meal size: Cut into 6 slices
Appetizer: Cut into 8-10 slices.
Serve with assorted condiments, if desired.
I especially like Miracle Whip with some sweet or dill pickle relish added.
Ketchup and mustard work equally well

Here are some other options when making this dish:
Use sharp shredded cheddar or any other kinds of cheese instead of Velveeta
Use a packet of Taco Seasoning added to the meat

And if you would like to make your own dough, here's a great recipe for it:
3 c. flour
1 pkg. dry yeast, 1/4 tsp. sugar dissolved in 1/2 c. warm water
3/4-1 c. cold milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Measure flour into bowl. Add yeast mixture and oil. Then add salt and cold milk, mix until forms a dough. Let rest 5 minutes.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured board. Knead 50 strokes or until smooth. Let rest 5 minutes. Knead 20 more strokes.

3. Let dough rise in a covered bowl for 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk. Turn out onto floured board and roll out as thin as desired. Thinner is better. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
4. As dough is rising, prepare filling

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Breathes there a wife with soul so dead; who to her husband has never said;
"This is my own real, homemade bread."

For any of you who feel you can't tackle a bread you have to knead, but still want that "homemade" flavor of yeast, here's a recipe for you!

This is a recipe from the Hardinville, IL Christian Church cookbook that will give you the homemade taste you crave and if you want it any simpler than this, ya need to make reservations at a good restaurant LOL
What I like about the rolls is that you prepare the batter the evening before and then can make the rolls right before your meal. They do have a nice yeasty flavor and I would give them a "thumbs up" for that as well as for ease of preparation.

1 pkg. dry yeast ( not rapid rise)
2 cups warm water (105' to 115')
1/2 cup Land O Lakes butter or margarine, melted
4 cups Maratha White self-rising flour
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup sugar
Dissolve the yeast in warm water; let stand for about 5 minutes.It will become bubbly, which is a sign your yeast is active. If it doesn't bubble, throw it away and get fresh yeast. ( I always check the date on yeast to make sure it's still good)

Combine yeast mixture, butter and flour in a large bowl.
Stir in egg and sugar. Use an electric mixer rather than stirring by hand because you may have lumps of flour if you don't.
The mixture will be a very soft batter. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filing about 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven at 350' for 25 minutes. Yield: 14 to 16 rolls.

When I lived in Chicago back in the "50;s" my friend's family took me with them to a place called Johney's Pizzaria", a place I had never been to before. And when I, (a country bumpkin right off the farm) never having heard of any other kind of "pie" except those you ate for dessert, was asked what kind of "pie" I wanted, I promptly replied, "chocolate". To which peals of laughter erupted from the whole family.

It was then that I tasted my first pizza, it was called 'pizza pie.' When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

Friday, November 7, 2008



We've made the gravy, dressing and potatoes ahead and have them ready to just warm up on Thanksgiving Day. Soooooo now to cook tha bird!

If you've ever had to choke down a mouth-full of dry turkey, you'll appreciate this method for making your holiday dinner a hit! It's called "brining". And it will make your turkey the most luscious, moist, tasty bird that has ever graced a dining room table.

When you buy your turkey, make sure it's not a self-basting or Kosher one. ( some of my friends have reported they have used a Butterball and it worked fine), I prefer a fresh turkey if I can get it, but that's only for farm people. City folks will have to settle for a frozen one from the store LOL

FIRST, consider the size of the turkey you're going to cook and decide if you are going to be able to fit it into the fridge. If you can't, then you're gonna need a large cooler because you need to let the bird marinate for about 6-8 hours for a turkey up to 12 pounds and 12-14 hours for larger birds up to 20 pounds.
Ziplock has just come out with bags that will easily accommodate the largest bird you can buy. WTG ZIPLOCK!! The extra, extra large ones measure 2' X 2' ( 20 gal ), so that problem has been solved for us.

NEXT, calculate the amount of 'brine' you will need. The best way to do this is to put "Tom" in the ziplock bag and add enough water to completely cover him. Then take him out and measure the amount of water it took and subtract 1 ( one)quart. That is how much you will need to add salt and the other brining ingredients to.

NOW, add the amount of salt you will need for the amount of water you are going to use. DO NOT USE TABLE .SALT! Use canning salt which can be purchased in any grocery store in the canning section. Ask your grocer if you're not sure. It has to be "iodine" free. And add 1/2 cup for every 2 quarts of water you will be using. Remembering, you will also be adding a quart of apple juice to this mix along with the other ingredients, so make sure you have anough room for everything. But, if you miscalculate and have more brining solution than you need, just toss it.

Here is the list of the other ingredients you will be adding to your Ziplock bag:

Turkey Brine Recipe

2 cups brown sugar
1 quart apple juice
3 oranges, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons whole cloves
1-2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1-2 tablespoons sage

Just remember, this ain't rocket science folks. If you get a little more or a little less of any of the ingredients (except the salt lol), your turkey will still be great!

Mix all ingredients, including the turkey, in a container large enough to submerge the turkey and completely cover with brine. You must keep the turkey at a safe temperature during the brining process.You have to keep the temperature in the cooler down to less than 40 degrees during the entire brining process.That's why you might need a cooler. If your bird is too large to fit back into your fridge, pack it (and the bag it's in) in ice and keep it submerged in ice water the whole time. If your turkey is frozen to start with, you won't have to worry about replenishing ice as often. Just make sure you keep it as cold as you need to

I freeze water in 1/2 gallon milk jugs and use these to keep the brine cold and to weigh the turkey down so it remains submerged. I change the jugs out every few hours, so you will need to freeze 2-3 sets of jugs.

The turkey should brine for 10-12 hours. ( NOTE,
BRINING TOO LONG CAN RUIN THE FLAVOR) I brined mine for about 10 hours.
Smaller turkeys require less time in the brine, ( for instance, I would brine an 8 pound turkey about 6 hours)
If you find you'd like to brine it longer the next time then you can, but keeping the time short until you see how it tastes will insure it will not be too salty.

When you are ready to cook your turkey, remove it from the brine and THOROUGHLY rinse interior and exterior with cold water until all the salt and sugar is removed. Pat dry using paper towels ( this makes the turkey have a prettier skin when baked). Discard brine and cook turkey as normal, which is

Cooler will have to be completely disinfected with bleach if you intend to use it again.

NOTES: When I cook my turkey, I loosen the skin from the meat by running my fingers under the skin all over the breast and down the legs. Then I smear a stick of soft butter under the skin all over . It is wonderful tasting!! Soooo moist and flavorful

I sometimes add a teaspoon of poultry seasoning to the stick of soft butter, but just plain ole butter will make it taste wonderful!

PS. If anyone ever has any questions you can put them in the "comments" section at the end of every post and I'll reply. ( I'm always glad to help.;-)

Monday, November 3, 2008


You can have fresh homemade rolls any time you want. Just mix up this dough, store it in your fridge, and use it, as needed, for up to 10 days. You can also cook them off and store them in the freezer until needed. Just let thaw, heat and serve. It's also another step to save time on Thanksgiving!

SCALD; 1 qt milk ( which means heat it up just to the point that it would boil.
(I like to use half evaporated milk and half whole milk if I'm making only cinnamon rolls for the "bakery" taste it gives them )
ADD: 1 cup Crisco shortening ( veg oil may be used in place of Crisco)
1 cup sugar
Cool to lukewarm (110-115 degrees)
ADD: 1 pkg. yeast ( not rapid rise)
and enough all-purpose flour to make a thin batter (6-8 cups sifted) (you're going to use more flour later)

Cover and let stand 2 hours.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix and let rest 10 minutes, then divide dough in half to make dinner rolls and refrigerate the rest.
You can keep this dough in your refrigerator for up to 10 days, using as much as you want each time you make rolls.
Just take out as much dough as you want to use, form rolls, let rise 1 hour and bake.

TO MAKE DINNER ROLLS: ( if you use half the recipe you will get about 1 1/2 dozen rolls)
Pinch off walnut size pieces of dough, dip them in melted butter, and put 3 into each cup of a cupcake. pan,
let rise 1 hour and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20 minutes or until browned..

TO MAKE SWEET ROLLS: ( from the other half of dough you'll get about 15 rolls)
Knead dough a few times and then roll out to a long rectangle appx. 10"X18". Spread with soft butter or margarine, and sprinkle with cinnamon (I like to use apple pie spice) and if you like raisins or nuts in your sweet rolls, sprinkle them on too. Roll up jelly roll style ( starting at long edge) and cut off 1 1/2" slices.
Lay each slice, side by side on a greased cookie sheet pan.

LET RISE 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees F. about 20 minutes or until brown. When done, immediately drizzle icing made of powdered sugar and butter mixed together & thinned with a little milk or water, over the top of rolls.When icing has dried, take out of pan and serve or store.
*NOTE: I only use McCormmick's Siagon cinnamon which can be found in the "Gourmet Collection" of their
spices. It is much sweeter and lends a better flavor to anything you put it in.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Another time consuming and last minute task just before you lay the buffet table with your Thanksgiving meal is making the mashed potatoes, which is almost a staple with giblet gravy. Or any kind of gravy for that matter!

My brother wouldn't even come to the table if there were no mashed potatoes on it LOL The only things he would eat were mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas. If those weren't on the menu, he'd go to the fridge, take out the milk and drink half a gallon. That would be his supper. Unless you had made banana pudding or a chocolate cake. I used to have to hide these two desserts from him or that's all he'd eat, along with his milk. Of course all that finicky behavior disappeared when he got married (grin) His wife would cook a meal and if he ate it that was OK, and if he didn't, that was OK too. Now, he eats anything you put in front of him. It's amazing how marriage changes people! ;-)


5 lbs potatoes, ( Russet or Yukon Gold) peeled, cooked and mashed
6 ounces plain cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons onion powder
ground Tellicherry black pepper and salt to taste ( I use Celtic sea salt exclusively)

Combine mashed potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, onion powder and salt & black pepper. Mix well and place in large casserole. You can make these several days ahead and store in refrigerator.
When ready to use, cover and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.
If baking cold, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes first.

And if you're making instant potatoes? Here's another great way to make them.

3 cups Idahoan instant potato flakes
3 cups chicken broth (boiling)

1- 8oz. container sour cream
1 stick butter (Land O Lakes)

Sea salt and pepper to taste
Onion powder (optional)

Combine chicken broth and butter and bring to a boil. Pour into potato flakes and mix well. Add sour cream, stirring to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. More broth may be needed if potatoes are too thick. NOTE: I usually add 1 teaspoon onion powder.

Next time I'll give you a great dinner roll recipe. And you can even make Cinnamon rolls for breakfast with it. It's another time saver for you on Thanksgiving Day!!