Thursday, September 30, 2010


Is it a dip, a salsa, or a salad? This wonderful combination of beans, fresh crunchy vegetables decked out in Zesty Italian dressing can serve many purposes. We put it in a plastic container to take tailgating. Using Tostitos Scoops chips, kids and adults gobble up their vegetables in this tasty dip.

So crunchy, so colorful, so flavorful, so good.  Enjoy!!!

As a salsa, it would add lively flavor and crunch to a steak taco. With a cheese quesadilla, bean salsa makes a snack into a nutritious meal. Spooned over enchiladas or burritos, the color and crunch would be a delightful addition.

As a salad I have visions of it stuffed into hollowed out peppers or nestled on an iceberg lettuce leaf. It would make a stunning fall centerpiece to a buffet table stuffed into a hollowed out purple cabbage. The colors would be beautiful. The colors in the dip, salsa or salad would also be great for Christmas parties.  If you don’t want to go to that much trouble to hollow out vegetables, just put the mixture in a pretty clear glass bowl.

Cindy says the Zesty Italian is a must; be sure to drain and rinse beans well.

1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15oz. each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (11oz. each) white corn, drained and rinsed
5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2-3 bunches green onions, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
Kraft Zesty Italian dressing, a must
Cilantro, a bunch or to taste

Ingredients:  Pinto beans, black beans, white shoepeg corn, Roma tomatoes, green pepper, green onions, black olives, Zesty Italian dressing, and cilantro.

Mix all the ingredients together and put into a large bowl.  Add Zesty Italian dressing to taste, some people like more than others.  Chill to blend flavors.

Drain Pinto beans and rinse well.

Drain black beans and rinse extremely well.

Drain and rinse cold.

Chop Roma tomatoes.  I substituted Juliete tomatoes because I wanted to use them before they spoiled.

Chop green onions.

Chop green pepper.  Ignore the chopped white onions as they were for something different. :)

Drain black olives.

Chop cilantro.  Add as much cilantro as you liike.  We are not real fond of it so we don't add much.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Add Zesty Italian dressing to taste.

Cindy's Fabulous Bean Dip on Tostitos scoops.  I dare you to eat just one.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We are spending the week driving back and forth from Grand Haven to the hopital in Grand Rapids.  The drive is made entertaining by all the Art Prize works of art that is viewable all over the city of Grand Rapids.  Art Prize is the world's largest art prize and has over 1,700 artists involved this year.  If you are anywhere near Grand Rapids, Michigan, it is worth the drive to see all the wonders.  It runs through the 10th of October.  If you can't make Grand Rapids, go to artprize.org to check it out.  Tom loves the Steam Pig.  I haven't picked a favorite yet.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Recipes like family have a genealogical history too.  This recipe is actually Lorri's son's mother-in-law's recipe.  Nine years ago this coming November, I lost a dear friend and my assistant Lorri to brain cancer. She died much, much too young. She and I loved to cook and collect recipes. This recipe for Taco Salad is the last recipe she gave me.  That makes it, to me, extra special.  I still miss her.

Grab a fork and enjoy!!!

It is also special because it is so good and so easy. I made it for a tailgating party to watch the band at a football game and everyone loved it. One young girl, who’s mother says she is a picky eater, announced, "The salad was amazing!!!!"

You don't need anything fancy to have fun at a tailgate.  This serving area is the back of our van.  We started our tailgate Friday night with our family favorite TOO LAZY TO MAKE HAM ROLL-UPS http://michigancottagecook.blogspot.com/2010/04/to-lazy-to-make-ham-roll-ups-dip-for.html

The wind was desperately trying to blow us away that night so we tried to use the van as a wind breaker.

Someone is wearing the wrong hat to be part of a Michigan State University family.

One band member said the Taco Salad was amazing!

The 8th Grade Band did an amazing job.  It was an amazing night as the school colors are maize and blue.

For the crushed taco chips called for in the recipe, I used our daughter-in-law’s hint and used Dorito Chips for extra zip. I think a can of your favorite beans, well-drained and rinsed, would be a great addition to the salad. I added pasta water to the drained pasta in a bowl. As a result, I only needed about 1/3 of the bottle of dressing. A big savings in calories.

So pretty and so easy to transport to a party or tailgate.


1 pkg. (16oz) spiral pasta
1 lb. ground beef
¾ c water
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cans (2 1/4oz) sliced ripe olives, well drained
1 bottle (16oz) Catalina or Western dressing, I like Western dressing
Crushed taco chips

Ingredients:  Ground beef, rotini, taco seasoning. taco chips, green pepper, sweet white onion, tomatoe, black olives, cheese and Western dressing.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Save a cup of pasta water before draining pasta. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water; continue to drain. In a skillet, brown ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain well. To drained meat, add water and taco seasoning, simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir meat mixture frequently. Put drained pasta in a large bowl. Add up to ½-cup of pasta water and allow pasta to soak it up. Then add beef mixture, cheese, green pepper, onion, tomato and olives. Mix well. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Add crushed taco chips on top just before serving.

Brown the ground beef and cook until all the pink color is gone.  Drain well. 

Add taco seasoning and water. 

Stir and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes

Chop onion.

Chop green pepper.

I used three tomatoes as mine were small.  Chop tomatoes.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Chop vegetables ready for salad.  Looks like the Mexican flag colors.

Meat cooked and ready.

Remove a cup of pasta water before draining cooked pasta.

Drain pasta well.

Rinse with cold water to chill.

Put pasta in a large bowl and add up to a 1/2-cup reserved pasta water.

Drain olives.

Add meat and cheese to pasta.

Add vegetables to pasta.

Add olives to pasta.

Add salad dressing to pasta.  Start with 1/3-of a 16oz. bottle.  Add to your desired consistency.

Just before serving, add crushed chips.

A wonderful blend of flavors and textures ready to eat.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The calendar says that it is officially autumn, the maple trees and sumac are starting to change color, and the markets are flooded with beautiful apples. We all love apple pie, but one pie doesn’t feed very many people let alone a tailgate party or a fall family gathering. APPLE PIE GALORE solves that problem. Made in a 15 ½ -10 ½ - 1 ½ -inch jelly roll style pan, this pie feeds a crowd. It is a truly wonderful recipe for a mouth-watering pie.

Amy runs the market now, but her Mother says that Amy has years to go before she can call the apples, Amy's Blend of Apples Baking and Sauce.

True tailgating on the tailgate of the truck.

PeeWee football is exciting as colleg football when the one you love is punching holes in the line of the oppossing team.

Good food tastes even better outside!

My recipe dates way back in time as evidenced by it use of lard; however, butter and Crisco make a good substitute. Don’t be afraid of this crust as it is very easy to work with and very forgiving. If there are places that need dough and others too big, just cut and patch. The patches won’t show once the pie is baked and glazed. This is really an easy crust to make and roll out. The corn flakes even add some nutrition along with the apples to this great dessert.  I think the corn flakes qualify the pie as a breakfast food!

The pie holds its shape so just serve it in a napkin for informal enjoyment.

A mixture of apples always makes the best pie or sauce. We have farmer’s that sell mixtures, but it is also possible to just get different apples when you shop in a supermarket. APPLE PIE GALORE holds it shape so it can be served in a napkin at a tailgate party, on a plate at home or dressed up with caramel ice cream topping dribbled over a plate before the pie is served.

All dressed up with caramel sauce, the pie is elegant enough for any occasion.  Please do enjoy!!!!


2 ½ c flour
1 t salt
1 c lard or ½ c butter and ½ c Crisco
1 egg yolk
Enough milk to make 2/3 c with egg yolk

2 c corn flakes, crushed
½ t apple pie spice, optional but I like it
10 (8 c) large apples
¾ to 1 c sugar (I had very sweet apples so I used ¾ c sugar)
2 T flour
1 ½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t ginger
2 T butter
1 egg white
2 T sugar
½ t cinnamon

1 to 2 T water
1 c powered sugar
Pinch salt
1 t vanilla
1 to 2 drops almond extract

Ingredients for crust: Flour, salt, milk, egg yolk, butter and Crisco.

Ingredients for filling:  Corn flakes, flour, sugar, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, apple pie spice, egg white, and butter.

Ingredients for glaze:  Water, powdered sugar, vanilla, almond flavoring, and salt.

For the crust: In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Add butter and Crisco. Using a pastry blender, cut butter and Crisco into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put the egg yolk in a glass measuring cup. Add milk to the egg yolk to make 2/3-cup liquid. Add to the flour mixture and stir to mix. Form the dough into two balls. Roll 1-ball out to fill a 15 ½ -10 ½ - 1 ½ -inch pan. For the filling: Measure out the corn flakes and place in a plastic bag. Add apple pie spice, if desired. Crush the corn flakes and mix in the apple pie spice into them. Sprinkle bottom crust with crushed spiced corn flakes. Wash, core, peel and slice apples. Mix with ¾ - 1 cup sugar, 2-T flour, 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Put apple mixture over the corn flakes. Dot with butter. Roll out other half of dough and place on top and pinch edges to flute. Beat egg white with a fork until foamy, brush over crust. Mix 2 tablespoon sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon together and sprinkle over egg white, or mix them together and brush on crust. Bake at 400° for 1 hour. For the glaze: Mix glaze ingredients together and frost while pie is hot.

For the crust: Combine flour and salt.

Add butter and Crisco.  Cut into flour mixture with pastry blender.

When butter and Crisco is cut into flour, the mixture will look like coarse crumbs.

Put egg yolk into a measuring cup and add milk to make 2/3-cup liquid.

Add to flour mixture.

Mix ingredients together and then form into two balls.

I use a pastry cloth to roll out dough.  You don't wash it after use.  Just fold and keep in the refrigerator.  Then every time you use the cloth more flour gets worked into the cloth making it better and better for rolling out dough.

Put one ball of dough on floured surface or cloth.

Roll out dough to fit pan.  To pick up dough, roll it onto the rolling pin.

Roll dough off the pin onto the plate.  On my rolling pin is the cover for a pin that comes with the pastry cloth.  I know a pastry cloth is old-fashioned but I like mine.

Dough in bottom of the pan.  Cut and patch if nescessary.

Measure out corn flakes.

Put into plastic bag.

Add apple pie spice to corn flakes.

Crush corn flakes and mix in the spice.

Spread corn flakes on bottom crust.

For the filling:  Wash, core, peel and slice apples.

8-cups of apples.

Add sugar, flour and spices.  Mix.

Mixed apples.

Put filling over the corn flakes in the bottom crust and dot with butter.

Roll out top crust just like the bottom crust and put over apples.

Beat egg white until foamy.

I had a Senior Moment and added sugar and spice to egg white.  Usually I don't.  I brush the egg white on the crust and top with sugar/cinnamon mix.

My egg white and spice mix.

Brush egg white on crust.

Ready to bake at 400° for 1 hour.

To make glaze:  Add vanilla and almond flavoring to powdered sugar.

Add water to make a glaze.

Baked Apple Pie Galor.  This pan has been to church.  It has a name on it.

To baked pie with glaze while pie is hot.

Apple Pie Galore ready to enjoy!!!