Monday, May 31, 2010


Every time I serve these potatoes everyone says how wonderful and how different they are. I really, really wish I could take credit for the recipe but the original recipe comes from “Southern Settings Cookbook.” This recipe fits my simple and easy criteria for entertaining as it can be made ahead and heated just before serving. I have changed the method of preparation to make it simpler. I also gave the title a more descriptive name.


2 ½ lb. small red potatoes, coarsely chopped about 7 cups
1 large onion, chopped (or 2 smaller ones)
1 (8oz) carton sour cream
1 c (4oz) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, I use Mexican Supremo Chihuahua-brand Quesco Blanco Para Fundir White Natural Melting Cheese
1 c (4oz) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ c butter, melted
½ t salt
¼ to ½ t ground red pepper ( I use the ½ teaspoon)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained, I use petite diced, well drained
½ c sour cream for garnish, optional
Chopped fresh tomato, chopped avocado and sliced green onions for garnish, optional

In a large saucepan, put a penny in the bottom to signal that water is getting low. Then put in vegetable steamer. Put water in just to the bottom of the vegetable steamer.  Wash and coarsely chop the potatoes and onions. Put into steamer, water should not be touching the potatoes. Turn heat to high and steam for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain the tomatoes. In a large bowl put the sour cream, the cheeses, butter, salt and red pepper. Stir to combine. When potatoes and onion are tender, spoon into the sour cream mixture. Gently stir in well-drained tomatoes. Spoon into a 3-quart rectangular baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350° oven about 30 minutes or until heated through out. If desired, top with the ½-cup sour cream, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped or sliced avocado and chopped green onions. NOTE: Small red potatoes were not available at the Farmer’s Market yet so I used German Butter Ball potatoes that the farmer has had stored. The Butter Ball potatoes are in the same category as red potatoes as they are both waxy not starchy potatoes.

Put a penny in the bottom of a pot.  This gives you warning when you are steaming that water is going dry.  When the penny starts to make noise, the water is almost gone.

Put a vegetable steamer in the pot.

Wash the potatoes well.

Coarsely chop potatoes and onions.

Add water to the pot to just below the vegetable steamer.

Drain tomatoes.

Grate cheeses.

Mix sour cream, butter, cheeses, salt and red pepper together.

Spray with cooking spray a 3-quart baking dish.

Potatoes are tender when it is easy to pierce them with a fork.

Spoon cooked potatoes into sour cream mixture.

Gently mix potatoes and sour cream mixture together.

Gently stir in drained tomatoes.

Pour into baking dish.

Bake in 350°F until heated thorough out.

Chop fresh tomatoes, green onions and avocado.

Garnishes ready.

Baked potatoes.

Ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010


In Memory-will the circle be unbroken?, is a picture of my Mom’s side of the family taken in the early 1950’s. Picture has my maternal grandparents, my Mom, her three sisters and their families. Only six of us remain at the earthy table but we believe we will be reunited all together at the great table in the sky.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken? is a Christian hymn written by Ada R. Habershon with music by Charles H. Gabriel.

There are loved ones in the glory
Whose dear forms you often miss.
When you close your earthly story,
Will you join them in their bliss?

Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?

One by one the seats were empty,
One by one they went away,
Now my family, they are parted,
Will they meet again someday?

To me it is not a belief but a knowing that we will be together again. It is not a question, it is a fact. If I did not know that, life would just be too difficult. So much love can not be destroyed any more than energy can be destroyed. The laughter and the love as we sat around the old round oak dining table overloaded with food in the cottage I know will be repeated at a table “in the sky”. I know there is a chair waiting for me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Sweet, tart and custardy.

This kuchen is from a "FAMILY FAVORITES FROM COUNTRY KITCHENS by the Farm Journal 1973. My book with this recipe is tattered and splashed with food stains. This is definitely one of my family's favorites. It is a tart sweet treat good for breakfast or dessert.  NOTE: I tried reducing the ¾ cup of shortening by adding half applesauce. The resulting crust was not as tender but for the savings in calories I felt it was acceptable and will do it again.

1 3/4 c flour
½  t baking powder
3/4 c shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 T milk
4 c diced fresh rhubarb
1 ½   c sugar
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c milk
1 t vanilla


Combine 1 3/4 cup flour and baking powder; cut into shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk; stir into crumb mixture. Pat mixture into bottom and sides of ungreased (I always spray pans with cooking spray especially if I have used half applesauce.) 13x9-inch pan.  Fill crust with rhubarb. Combine sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon; sprinkle over top of rhubarb. Mix together 1 egg, ¾ cup milk and vanilla; pour over the sugar mixture. Bake at 425° F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F for 15 minutes more or until rhubarb is tender and the custard doesn’t jiggle in the middle when pan is lightly shaken.

Remove the leaf end from rhubarb.  Leaves are poisonous.

Chop rhubarb.

Mix flour and baking powder together.

Add shortening, I used butter and applesauce.  Cut into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Coarse crumbs.

Add 1 egg and 1 tablespoon milk to flour mixture and mix together.

Pat mixture into bottom and slightly up the sides of 9x13-inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Put rhubarb on top of crust.

Combine sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon.

Sprinkle sugar mixture over top of rhubarb.

Mix together 1 egg, 3/4cup milk and vanilla.

Pour milk mixture over sugar mixture.

Bake at 425 for 20minutes. Reduce heat to 375 for 15 minutes more or until rhubarb is tender and the custard doesn’t jiggle in the middle when pan is lightly shaken.

Friday, May 28, 2010


FROM USS Forrestal (CV-59)

Memorial Day is a three day weekend, it is parties, it is picnics, it is barbeques, it is travel and the start of summer. But least we forget it is the day which in 1868 was declared by Union General John A. Logan as a day to decorate the graves of Union Civil War soldiers. At that time it was called Decoration Day and was observed on May 30th. It was/is a day to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their/our country. About 20 years after the first declaration of Decoration Day, the day started to become Memorial Day. Many people feel it is a day to honor all dead, but its true purpose is to honor our fallen soldiers. After World War I, it became the day to honor all the war dead not just the Civil War soldiers. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Memorial Day a federal holiday and set the date as the last Monday in May. So please take a few minutes to pray and honor those who gave their life in service to their/our country. I also feel we should honor all those who have served their country as many have lost limbs, their spirit or given years of their lives in service. We definitely as we enjoy this weekend should pray for all those in harm’s way currently serving our country.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Expecting bad weather for the Memorial Day weekend or just do not like to barbeque? This chicken is great for holiday company or for a family dinner. The original recipe came from a wonderful old cookbook titled, The Spice Cookbook by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey-David White Co.1964. I have changed the amount of seasoning as we like it hot and spicy.  I also added a Michigan Cottage Cook trick with the left over seasoning.

Moist and flavorful.

This chicken was one of my favorites for dinner parties when I was a “First Lady” and entertaining constantly. It is one of my simple and easy recipes because it can be done ahead of time and it is delightful delicious. It wins raves every time it is served.

3 lbs. chicken, use a whole chicken cut up or pieces of your choice
2 T melted butter
1/2 c toasted sesame seeds
3 t salt ( I use less about 2 t)
1½ t ground black pepper
2 t garlic powder
1/2 c flour

I buy sesame seeds at a health food store or at Penzey Spices as they as fresher and much cheaper.  Keep seeds in the refrigerator or freeze to keep them from becoming rancid.

To toast sesame seeds, place seeds in an iron frying pan. Heat, stirring, until golden in color. Chicken should be in serving-size pieces. Brush with melted butter or dip in melted butter. Put toasted sesame seeds, seasonings and flour in a clean paper bag or heavy plastic storage bag. Add chicken pieces one at a time to bag; shake to coat the chicken well on all sides. Place chicken in a large baking pan. Bake at 400°F for 50 to 60 minutes or until browned, turning once to brown both sides. NOTE: I dislike wasting the seeds and seasoned flour left after the chicken is shaken in the bag, so I sprinkle it on the chicken places that weren’t well coated and then spray the coating with flavorless non-stick spray. The spray helps the flour cook and brown.

I feel a little silly admiting this but I have a sesame toaster.

But isn't it cute??

However a frying pan works well for toasting the seeds.

Mix seasoning in a bag.

Brush or dip chicken pieces in melted butter.

Shake buttered chicken in seasoned flour mixture.

Place in a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Sprinkle any remaining seasoned flour mixture on pieces of chicken and spray with cooking spray, this is an optional step.

Baked at 400°F for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown.  I did not do three pounds of chicken because there are just two of us. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The brownie is of American origins. Recipes for brownies first appeared in cookbooks in New England in 1906-1907. This brownie is served by the First United Methodist Church at their Dutch Festivals as it is made with Dutch cocoa.  I don't really care for brownies except for my Mom's (is that unAmerican?), but these are extremely delicious.  Make a big pan (they make a 9x13-inch pan) of these, purchase some ice cream and you are ready for expected or unexpected visitors during the Memorial Day weekend.  NOTE:  Droste's cocoa is more expensive but my Mom always said that if you didn't use Droste's you had to use more cocoa from another brand to get the same wonderful chocolate flavor.

1 c margarine
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ c flour
½ c Droste brand cocoa
¼ t salt
1 t vanilla
1 c (6oz) chocolate chips
¼ c margarine
¼ c evaporated milk
1 t vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Ingredients for Brownies.

Ingredients for frosting.

For the Brownies: Cream margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, cocoa and salt; add to egg mixture. Add vanilla and beat well. Pour into 9x13-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350° oven. For the Icing: Melt chocolate chips with margarine and let cool. Add milk, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat with electric mixer until thick. Frost brownies and garnish with whole pecans, if desired.  NOTE:  Cut into bars and individually wrapped, these freeze well and are great to have in the freezer for impromptu picnics.

Mix dry ingredients together.

In another bowl, cream butter.

Add eggs and beat well.

Add dry ingredients to butter/egg mixture and mix well.

Spread into a greased 9x13-inch pan.  Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Cool brownies before frosting.  OOPS!  We lost the frosting pictures.  We'll get better, I promise.  Blame it Tom, LOL.

Frost brownies and cut into bars.