Recipes for Good Summer salads and sandwiches

Since I have been attending Weight Watcher meetings I have learned so much about healthier eating. Eating healthier doesn’t have to be boring. I want to share some of the things I have made for myself and my family for light summer meals.

Tomato Salad

Tomato salad is good all by itself, or you can serve it with garlic or cheese toast. I sometimes use fat free cheese and 40 calorie bread to make cheese toast in the broiler. Here is what you need to make tomato salad:

2 tomatoes diced

1 chopped onion

1 thinly sliced cucumber

Lettuce and shredded carrots as desired

6 tablespoons of plain yogurt

2 tablespoons of low fat Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of honey mustard sauce

Here is what you do:

In one bowl add all the tomatoes, onion, and cucumber. In another bowl add the yogurt, cheese, and honey mustard sauce. Whisk them up well and add to the veggies in the other bowl. Now put a bed of lettuce and shredded carrots on each dinner plate. Spoon on the salad mixture, and serve with low calorie cheese toast I mentioned above, if desired. You can also make croutons out of the low calorie toast if you desire instead. This is a very good and satisfying meal for summer.

Tomato Bean Salad

Here is what you do with your left over pinto beans. You can use kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, or any kind of bean you want. Don’t throw away left over beans. Use them in a salad, such as this.

Here is what you do:

Add 2 cups of beans, a diced onion, 2 diced tomatoes, and a tad of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a tablespoon of vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Now, mix and sere on a bed of lettuce. Cover with croutons.

Peanut Butter English Muffin Tomato and Cheese

You may turn your nose up at this, but please don’t until you try it. Peanut butter is full of fat, so most people who are watching their weight will shy away from it. Peanut butter is full of good heart healthy fat, so don’t be afraid of it. Just use peanut butter sparingly. I like to use it on hot toast, or toasted English muffins.

Here is what you do:

Toast your English muffin, and slather on just a small amount of peanut butter onto both slices. Then add a slice of ripe tomato and a slice of fat free cheese. Put the slices together and enjoy!

Toasted Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches

I always use 40 calorie bread, so that 2 slices has the calorie of one regular slice of bread. Now, while the bread is in the toaster slice up a cucumber and a tomato. When the toast is done, spread some Duke’s low fat mayonnaise on the bread. It’s only about 5 calories, and so yummy. Duke’s makes the best low fat mayo I have ever tasted.

When you have spread the mayo on the toast put a slice of fat free cheese on one slice, cover with sliced cucumbers. Add salt (I use Morton Light Salt) and pepper. Cover with a slice of tomato and put the second piece of toast on top. You have a great sandwich.


Recipe for Stir Fry Cabbage/veggies

I have a wonderful recipe to share. It was given to me by my sister in Christ, Edith Thompson. She was given the idea by way of the Holy Ghost! Hallalujah! Sister Edith also added some bacon grease, but I'm leaving that off for dieters like me.

Here is what you need:

1/2 Cabbage (or a whole if you want and/or any kind of veggie, if you don't want to use cabbage)
1 Onion
1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (more if you like)
1/2 cup of olive oil
Pinch of salt
As much pepper as you want
A handful of roasted salted sunflower seeds

Here is what you do:

Pour the olive oil into a skillet and let it get heated up. Add your cabbage and/or other veggies into the skillet. Add the onions also and the sunflower seeds. Add your seasonings. Take it off the heat when the veggies are done. Serve with a smile! Enjoy!

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Turkey Burger Soup

Now that I am making lifestyle changes, I have changed some of my ‘comfort food’ recipes to be more health conscious. I love hamburger soup, but I rarely eat beef anymore, so I have made my soup with ground turkey breast instead. It is packed with a lot of flavor.

Here is what you need to make turkey burger soup:

1 pound of lean ground turkey breast

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 large onion chopped

1 medium bag of baby carrots sliced in halves or thirds

1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper chopped

1 jar of V-8 juice

1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy

1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb

1 bag of frozen corn

2 small potatoes diced (optional)

2 medium zucchinis cut into bite sized pieces.

Here is what you do:

In a large soup skillet pour the olive oil and heat up the pot and add the turkey; sauté it with the onions. When the meat is browned, add all the other ingredients and let simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with crackers on the side if desired. If you are diabetic, you might like this soup. You can leave the potatoes out if you want to control the starches.



Recipe for Raisin Bran Muffins

Being on Weight Watchers, I have to have more whole grains in my diet. I bake and cook now for my family in a healthier way. I still do the comfort foods, but in a healthier way. Today's recipe is for Raisin Bran Muffins. 

Here is what you need to make Bran Muffins:

1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 and 1/3 cup of Raisin Bran cereal
2/3 cup of Brown Sugar or Brown Sugar Twin (sugar free for diabetics)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon of salt (optional)
1 cup of fat free milk
1 cup of apple sauce
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Here is what you do:

Put everything in a bowl and mix well. Let it stand for a few minutes to let all the liquids absorb into it. Then place the contents into muffin bakeware. You may use the paper liners in the muffin tins if you want. Fill the muffin tins to about 2/3 full. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The muffins should spring back when lightly touched when done. If you prefer the tooth pick method, a tooth pick should come out clean when done. 


Recipe for Turkey Meatloaf

Since I am now participating in Weight Watchers, I have been having to reinvent my comfort foods into healthy foods suitable for weight loss. I made a wonderful meatloaf made with ground turkey. My family loves it, and I think you will too. 

Here is what you need to make healthy turkey meatloaf:

1 pound of ground turkey
1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal (not the instant kind)
3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce
3 tablespoons of Worchester sauce
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped pepper
1 tablespoon of your favorite Mrs. Dash seasoning
1 egg

Here is what you do:

Place the ground turkey in a bowl. Add all your ingredients, and mix well. Spray a baking pan with PAM spray and pour your meatloaf into the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. If you want, you can cover the meatloaf with more BBQ sauce and top with low calorie cheese if you like. 


Recipe for Healthy Spaghetti Sauce

I recently joined Weight Watchers, and I have had to change the way I let myself and my family eat. We no longer eat beef more than once a week. The rest of the time we either eat turkey, chicken, fish, or just veggies. I have made a great spaghetti sauce that is easy and healthy. I serve it on whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

What you need to make healthy spaghetti sauce:

1 large jar of Prego Sauce
1 chopped onion
1 pound of ground turkey
2 tablespoons of Worstchester sauce
1 teaspoon of your favorite Mrs. Dash 

Here is what you do:

Place the ground turkey in a bowl. Add the onion, Worchester sauce, and Mrs. Dash. Mix the ingredients into the meat with your hands or with a spatula.  Spray a skillet with PAM and fry up the meat. Do not add any salt, because there will be sauce.

Pour the sauce into the meat. Let the sauce come to a boil and it is done. Serve over whole wheat noodles. 


Recipe for Baked Apples for Diabetics

My mom was diabetic. She liked sweet treats, but of course couldn't have them. One of her favorite desserts was baked apples with cinnamon, sugar and rasins. Well, she couldn't have the sugar. I tried something new for her and she loved them. 

All you need to do is core your apples, and stuff them with raisins. Place them in a baking dish big enough for them, but not too big. Now pour a can of Diet Doctor Pepper in there and bake for 30 minutes or until they are done. That's it. You don't need to cover them. Just open your oven long enough to baste them with the Dr. Pepper. These are so good!


Recipe for Curried Pork Chops and Gravy

This is by no means low in calories; I would call this comfort food. My dad was all about making comfort food. Back in my childhood, no one really thought about cutting out the fat in dishes, because the fat was where all the flavor was. Though I don't make this dish very often, I would like to say I do have it on the table for special occasions, like Easter or birthdays.

Here is what you need to make curried pork chops and gravy:

2 heaping tablespoons of butter
4 pork chops
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of Bisquick
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of milk
1 package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Here is what you do:

Heat up a skillet on medium low heat; add the butter and let it begin to sizzle. Dip the pork chops in the egg and dredge through the Bisquick (Save the Bisquick for the gravy). Place the pork chops into the sizzling butter and let it pan fry on one side until there is a nice crust on it and then flip it over to fry on the other side. Take the pork chops out and drain on a paper towel or napkins while you make the gravy.

In a blender add the milk, curry, mushroom soup and milk. Blend for just a couple of seconds and slowly add to the skillet, stirring all the time. Add the Lipton Onion Soup Mix and continue to stir the gravy until it is done.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad if you like.



Recipe for Red Snapper

I try to have a good fish dinner at least twice a week for my family. I like fish, but I don't like fish that has a strong fishy taste. If there is a hint of a strong oily fishy taste my family will not touch it and neither will I.

Here is what you need:

1 pound of red snapper fillets
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (real not bottled)
1 cup of buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 small diced onion
1 cup of sliced black olives
Aluminum foil

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a layer of aluminum foil down in your baking pan so there is little clean up after the fish is baked. Spread half of the oil onto the aluminum foil, and then spread the rest of the oil onto the fillets. Next pour about 1/4 cup of buttermilk onto the foil. Arrange your fish on the foil, cover with garlic, onions and black olives and then cover with the rest of the buttermilk. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes over the layer of buttermilk.

Bake the fish for 15 minutes. The fish should be light and flaky. When you take the red snapper out of the oven squeeze on the lemon juice over the fillets and serve with a side salad and baked potato if desired.


Dad's Recipe for Homemade Sausage

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we showed up at church just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. It was cold. My jacket wasn't enough to really keep me warm, but it had to do. I made myself comfortable by covering my hands with my jacket sleeves, while I enjoyed the service. After sunrise service was over, we went into the fellowship hall to have breakfast.

The men had been up since 3 a. m. cooking breakfast for the crowd. What a wonderful breakfast feast it was! There was bacon, ham, and home made sausage. The sausage was out of this world! When I asked about the sausage, I learned that it was made by one of the men of the church. The man is a farmer and he raises hogs, and he donates meat and sausage from several hogs every spring to raise money for the church and to help feed some of the less fortunate people.

On the table was two huge bowls full of scrambled eggs, and a big crock pot full of homemade grits. There was a platter of cheese and fruit, and platter after platter of homemade biscuits. After breakfast was over, I was helping to clean up, and the cooks told my pastor and me to get all that we wanted and take it home. I made two to-go plates loaded up with bacon, ham and sausage. I wrapped up more than a dozen biscuits to go also. Oh! That was the best breakfast I had ever had in my entire life!

This Easter breakfast reminded me of the homemade sausage that my dad used to make. We didn't have hogs, but my uncle did, and my dad helped my uncle make sausage for our families and to have for sale. I don't think the sausage tasted just the same as what my dad and uncle made, but the sausage I ate yesterday put me in mind of it.

I'm going to give a really cut down version of how my dad and uncle made breakfast sausage. You need to have a meat grinder to make good sausage. Dad made sausage rather hot, because that is the way we liked it, and so did the customers that bought it.

Here is what you need to make homemade sausage:

6 pounds pork shoulder
1 pound of fat back
5 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of red pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons of sage
2 teaspoons of thyme
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
1/2 cup of sherry vinegar

Here is what you do:

Cut up the pork and fat back into small pieces and feed it into a meat grinder. After you have ground the meat add all of the other ingredients and and mix it together until the meat and spices are totally infused into the meat. You will then split up the sausage into approximately 1 pound packages; but before you do you will want to make sure your sausage tastes the way you want it to. Sample some of your sausage by frying it up in a skillet. The sausage should have a good balance of heat, tang and spice.



Recipe for My Almost Homemade Country Breakfast

My dad was all about comfort foods; now days it is not so good to eat too much comfort food because it will make you gain weight if you don't move around enough to burn it off. Since I can only eat a child's portion I can eat almost anything, as long as I don't do any snacking at night.

I remember waking up in the mornings with bacon or sausage frying, and dad would make homemade biscuits, scrambled eggs and hash browns. My dad did everything the old fashioned way, which is always better than the mass produced foods, but since I am not the cook that my dad was, I like to do things my way. This meal takes about 25 minutes to prepare and serve. When the biscuits are done so is everything else if you cooked everything while your biscuits are in the oven.

On my griddle I lay out some premade hash browns. They come in a box and they are shaped sort of square. I also lay out some sausage patties made by Jimmy Dean. While they are cooking on the griddle I scramble up a bunch of eggs. If you want to cut down on the fat, omit half of the yolks. If you are scrambling 2 eggs, leave off one yolk if you wish.

Open up a can of Grand's Biscuits and lay them out on a pan and bake them according to the directions on the package.

Open up an envelope of instant gravy. It says to add water, but I add milk and water. Bring it to a boil stirring frequently.

Although this is a breakfast meal, you can have it for supper too. You can have it any time your heart desires.

When it all gets done serve it up on plates and enjoy!


Recipe for Vegetarian Taco Salad

Every once in a while I like to make something a little different. I got this from my dad. Bless his heart, he loved tacos, but just couldn't get the hang of eating them, because every time he tried to bite into the tortilla it would break apart and he would have a mess on his plate. I watched with amusement as my dad broke up his taco with his fork and ate it like a taco salad. From then on my dad would break up two tortillas and then load all the goodies on top. Since then when I serve tacos with hard tortillas I do the same thing.

Here is what you need:

1 head of lettuce shredded
1 can of drained chili beans
2 diced tomatoes
1 cup of chopped onions
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 pint of sour cream
2 packages of taco seasoning
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag of tortilla chips

Here is what you do:

Mash up the avocados in a small bowl. Add lemon juice. I like to put the avocado into the food processor with the lemon juice to make guacamole.

In another bowl add the sour cream, and add the taco seasoning to it and set aside.

In another bowl add the diced onions, chili beans, and tomatoes.

To build the salad you put a layer of tortilla chips on the bottom. (I like to break them up into smaller pieces.) Add a bed of lettuce on top of the chips. Then add the chili beans, onions and tomato mixture. Top with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream mixture.



Recipe for Almost Old Fashioned Turkey Stuffing

Stuffing is great any time of year; it's not only for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love making stuffing because it brings me closer to my dad. Dad did everything the old fashioned way. I loved tasting his stuffing before it went into the turkey. I called it 'raw stuffing,' but of course it wasn't raw.

Even as a little girl I helped my dad make stuffing. He'd tell me to go wash my hands really good, and to come back to the table. He gave me loaves of what he called 'day old bread,' which was bread that didn't get sold and would be sent back to the bread man.

I sat at the table and broke up the bread into neat squares with a butter knife. I was 7 or 8 years old at the time. While dad was dicing up the onions and giblets I would be doing my job of making a big bowl full of bread cubes. He'd start putting all the herbs and spices in the stuffing and then he would let me mix it up with a big wooden spoon. The aroma of sage would permeate my nostrils and it was heaven. Every time I smell sage I think of my dad. I learned so much from him. He was truly a connoisseur in my eyes.

I make stuffing, but I don't make it just the way he did with all the extra labor; I'm a bit of an almost homemade kind of cook. I'll sometimes take a recipe of my dad's and make it my own by putting my own little twist on it. To me, making stuffing takes me back to my childhood, and I remember the good times. Dad loved it when I wanted to help him in the kitchen.

Here's my version of my dad's old fashioned turkey recipe:

Here is what you need:

1 large casserole dish
1 - 1 pound bag of seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup of onion
1 cup of chopped celery
3/4 cup of butter
2 and 1/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of sage
Cooked chopped turkey giblets (optional)
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup of cranberries
PAM spray

Here is what you do:

Saute the onion and celery in the butter until the onions are clarified. Add the water. Take the sauce pan off the heat and add giblets, cranberries, and add half of the almonds. Now slowly add the stuffing mix until the moisture is all incorporated. Spay the casserole dish with PAM spray, and empty the stuffing mixture into the dish. Top with the remaining sliced almonds.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.



Recipe for Apricot Glazed Turkey Roast Dinner

Sometimes my family is in the mood for turkey, but I don't want to roast a whole bird. A turkey breast is good for any time, but I like to make this meal for when we are having company, just because it tastes so delectable. The last time I made this dish was when we had a pot luck dinner at our church. Everyone was to bring a covered dish. We weren't told what to bring, we were just supposed to bring something. I brought two turkey breasts and I expected to have some left to bring home, because there were other forms of meat and casseroles there; however, there wasn't even a slice left! It did make me happy that everyone seemed to like my apricot glazed turkey roast.

Here is what you need for the recipe:

1 - 4 to 5 pound turkey breast
1 jar of apricot preserves (you can also use jam if you like)
1 cup of canned or left over chicken stock
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (from a real lemon)
1 box of Stove Top Stuffing
1 cup of dried apricots diced
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 basting brush

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven at 425 degrees. Rinse off the turkey breast and then pat it dry. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the roast and bake for 15 minutes. While the turkey is roasting, empty the jar of apricot preserves into a small sauce pan and mix in the brown sugar and lemon juice. Heat the mixture on the stove until the preserves are softened into a more liquid state. You don't need to bring it to a boil. When the preserve mixture is softened where it can be spread onto the turkey roast take it off the heat.

When the turkey breast has roasted for 15 minutes take it out and baste the turkey breast with the apricot preserve mixture using the basting brush. Lower the heat of the oven to 325 and bake it for 1 and 1/2 hours, or as directed on package if the directions are different. Baste the turkey breast every 20 minutes while baking.

While the turkey breast is roasting up make your Stove Top Stuffing the way it says on the box, except use chicken stock instead of all water; then add the pecans to it and the apricots. Mix this mixture up well and place in a casserole dish sprayed with PAM. Transfer the stuffing into the casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees. When the turkey breast is done take it out of the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

You can make a gravy out of the turkey drippings if you want to by pouring the drippings into a sauce pan and adding 1 heaping tablespoon of Bisquick and heat on medium heat while stirring. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with mashed potatoes.



Recipe for Crock Pot Potato Soup

Potato soup is one of my family's favorite dishes. I make potato soup many different ways, but this one is one of my favorites. Potatoes are plentiful, and if you get caught short of money until payday you can make lots of meals with potatoes. This one recipe is just the way my dad made it when I was young. It is so simple, anyone can do it. I like to use a crock pot to make this recipe, because I can start it in the morning and then by supper it is ready.

Here is how I make my potato soup recipe:

Cut up 6 potatoes and put them through the food processor or chop them up into very small pieces by hand and place them in the crock pot. Add about 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and add 6 cups of water and 3 cups of milk. Add a stick of butter or margarine to this and let it cook. When the potatoes get tender add 1 and 1/2 cups of instant mashed potatoes to help thicken it up a little. Then add 1 and 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese.

Serve with crackers, and douse with a good healthy portion of Louisiana hot sauce if you like. This is amazing. My family loves it.



Recipe for Curried Chicken

Here is a recipe that my dad handed down to me. We had chicken a lot when I was growing up. It was one of the cheaper types of meats back in the day, unlike now when there is nothing cheap anymore. Dad tired to make his chicken dishes taste different so we wouldn't get sick of having chicken all the time. We probably ate chicken 3 to 4 times a week when times were lean. Looking back at those days, I feel I was very fortunate to have meat on the table every day of the year.

Get your taste buds ready, because this curried chicken recipe will knock your socks off. It is so good! Maybe I'm just partial because it came from my dad, but I do think it is a real winner.

Here is what you need to make curried chicken:
3 cups of chicken diced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup of chicken broth
2 cups of half and half
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
2 Granny Smith apples peeled and chopped
2 sticks of butter or margarine
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1/3 cup of shredded coconut
6 tablespoons of flour
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder

Here is what you do to make curried chicken

Note: Here is a good way to clean out your refrigerator. If you have left over chicken in the fridge, us it instead of cooking more.

Melt the butter or margarine in a skillet on medium low heat, add the onions, peppers, celery and apples. Saute them for about 5 to 6 minutes. The onions should be clarifying. Now add the flour and combine with the butter. Slowly add the chicken broth and stir until the flour is mixing well with the flour. Add the rest of the ingredients now. Stir the mixture frequently so that it doesn't burn on the bottom. When chicken mixture comes to a boil it is ready to take off the stove. From start to finish it shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes to make this delicious meal. Serve with rice and spinach if you like.


Recipie for Easy Banana Cream Pie

One of my family's favorite dessert is banana cream pie. I grew up with banana cream pie. I think the best pie was my best friend's mom. She made it all from scratch, but of course, I am more of the almost homemade kind of cooks. Because I don't have a whole lot of time to spend in the kitchen, I try to make the best of the time I have. I believe my banana cream pie recipe will be a hit with my readers, number one because it tastes good, and number two, because it is easy.

Here is what you need to make banana cream pie:

1 already made pie crust. (You can buy it already in the pie plate and you just have to bake it.)

1 Large box of (the kind you cook) banana or vanilla pudding (I like to use vanilla pudding for mine).

2 ripe bananas

1 carton of cool whip

Here is what you do:

The first thing you will do is bake your pie crust. Before baking be sure to poke little holes in the bottom of the crust so that the crust will lie flat in the pie plate. Bake your pie crust according to the directions on the package. Or you can make your own pie crust if you know how.

While the crust is in the oven prepare your pudding according the directions on the box. When the pudding is done place a piece of plastic wrap over the pudding so that it doesn't develop a skin on top as it cools. Let the pudding and the pie crust cool down in the refrigerator for one hour before preparing the pie.

When the pudding is cooled sufficiently, cut up one banana and fold into the pudding. Pour the pudding and bananas into the pie plate and top with cool whip. Cut up another banana and work them into the cool whip. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.


Recipe for Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Whenever I can, I like to make one dish meals. It's just so much easier that way. I like meals where there isn't a whole lot of clean up afterward. My cabbage salad recipe is more like coleslaw with a twist. Instead of using mayonnaise you use French, Catalina, or some other kind of salad dressing you like. You have your meat and your veggies all in one dish.

Here is what you need to make my recipe for chicken and cabbage salad:

1 bag of coleslaw mix
5 chicken strips cut up into smaller strips
1/2 cup of mixed nuts or peanuts
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 onion
3/4 cup of Catalina dressing or your favorite salad dressing

Here is what you do:

Empty a bag of coleslaw (or grate a half head of cabbage to make your own coleslaw) into a large bowl. Bake the chicken strips and cut them up into smaller pieces and set aside. Cut the peppers into bite-sized strips. Dice up your onions, or leave them in rings if you like. Add the peanuts, peppers, and onion to the coleslaw mix. When you are ready to eat add the dressing and toss. This is so good! If you have leftover meat from another meal in your refrigerator, you won't even have to cook any. Just cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and your salad is all set.



How to Avoid Baking a Soggy Cake

Everybody has a flop once in awhile

No, this isn’t a recipe for peanut butter coffee cake; this is a story about a beginner trying her hand at baking without a recipe. My dad had a knack for making up recipes in his head, and I do too, but my creations didn’t always turn out the way I had hoped. This is just a word about leaving a cake alone while it is baking, and if you aren’t sure if it is done yet, leave it alone to bake until you are fairly sure it won’t bottom out on you.

I do a lot of baking with Bisquick. It is my fail-safe staple that never goes wrong when I am baking. Well, that isn’t exactly true; I can never say never. One afternoon I was making a peanut butter coffee cake. I expected it to turn out beautiful. It would have, if I had not opened the oven door.

I was anxious to see if the cake was ready to come out of the oven; it looked so good. The coffee cake had risen to be beautiful. Was it done? I couldn’t really tell, so I pulled the cake to the edge of the oven rack and tapped it lightly on the top. My beautiful peanut butter coffee cake took a nose dive. The center of the cake was now concave.

Thinking I could still salvage my creation, I left it in the oven on the slight hope that I could coax it to once again rise to its former glory. I was bitterly disappointed. Upon taking the cake out of the oven, I saw a pitiful sight. Thinking positive, I thought all was not lost. I remember my brother said one time that there was nothing better than a nice soggy cake. Hoping for the best, I cut a slice and placed it on a dessert plate. It looked utterly awful, and as it sat on my tongue it was thick, heavy, and sticky.

I didn’t have a recipe to go by, so I was experimenting. I experiment a lot, and usually I have good results when I bake, but not this time. Upon retrospect I know what happened to my cake. The heat was too high. The cake was rising beautifully and it was getting done on the top and the middle was still wet and unbaked. When I pressed in lightly on the top of my creation it fell. If I had had my heat lower, say 350 to 375 degrees it would have baked fine, but I had my heat on 400 degrees and it was baking on top faster than it was baking in the middle, so when it looked like it was done, it really wasn’t.

If you like to bake, and you like to experiment with food, don’t be discouraged if you have a flop. This particular flop was so hideous that the dog wouldn’t even say it was good. He took a smell of it, and pushed the pieces around on the plate and he just snorted and walked away. I cried and promised myself that I would never bake again. Of course, I continued to bake and on occasion I continued to have some flops. Looking back on my flops, I can appreciate when my cakes come out of the oven perfectly.

If you like to bake, and you have an occasional flop, don’t be discouraged. Think about what you did wrong and try again. Don’t ever give up!


Recipe for Spaghetti Squash

I like vegetables, but sometimes I just want something different in the line of veggies. The other day I found a good sale on spaghetti squash, so I picked up 5 of them. You can make a meal off from spaghetti squash. If you are a vegetarian, you can make spaghetti squash and cover it with spaghetti sauce and eat it like regular spaghetti, but that is not what I do.

When you go to purchase a spaghetti squash you will need to note how the squash looks. The outer shell should be very hard; it should be a fairly uniform pretty yellow color. If you see bruising or discoloration on the shell of the spaghetti squash do not buy it. Only buy spaghetti squash that is not bruised or blemished, because they may be spoiled inside.

To prepare spaghetti squash, wash and dry it, and then you should cut it in half lengthwise. Spaghetti squash is very hard, so you will have to use a large sharp knife to pierce the skin of the squash and push the blade down into the squash. Once you get your knife inside the squash you will need to work the knife down to split one side; next start from the other direction and continue to split the squash. Once you have it split all the way, you then just pull the two ends apart until the squash breaks in two pieces. Now you will need to remove the seeds. Take a spoon and scrape out the seeds and throw them away. You can also save the seeds and dry them out for planting if you wish.

Once you have removed the seeds from the squash lay them flat side down on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Bake them in a 400 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. When the squash is done the inside of the squash can be scooped out of the shell and into a bowl. The meet of the squash looks just like spaghetti.

All I do is add a bit of Italian salad dressing and top with Parmesan cheese. It is that simple. If you like you can serve with diced tomatoes, or you can prepare your spaghetti squash just like you would with real spaghetti. Any way you fix this vegetable is delicious.


Recipe for Crock Pot Vegetable Soup

The thing about crock pot meals is that there is not fuss. You can get your meal started in the crock pot with very little prep time if any. If you work you can start your crock pot meal and have it piping hot for when you come home. I work in my home; I'm busy from the time I get up until I go to bed, so I try to make my life as easy as possible. One way of making my life easy is by making a vegetable soup made in the crock pot. It's quick to prepare and simple.

Here is what you need to make my recipe for crock pot vegetable soup:

1 and 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 chopped green pepper
2 stalks of sliced celery
1 medium sized bag of baby carrots
3 cups of water
3 teaspoons of chili powder
2 envelopes of onion soup mix
2 large cans of stewed tomatoes
1 bag of frozen corn
3 large diced potatoes

Here is what you do:

Brown the ground beef, and drain off the fat. Transfer the cooked meat into the crock pot. Add all the other ingredients and stir. Turn your crock pot on high for 1 hour, and then turn the heat setting to medium or low. If you work outside the home, just set your crock pot setting to to medium or low and the soup will be done for when you get home.

Serve with crackers or French bread. I love to get the French bread in the long hard loaf. It is so good to cut off a piece of bread and dunk the bread into the soup and eat it. My family likes to load the soup down with crackers to sop up all the broth from the soup.



Recipe for Banana Nut Bread

Don't throw away your overripe bananas! I have a simple recipe for you. As most of my readers know I am all about simple. I use Bisquick instead of flour in most of my baking because it always comes out perfectly. I wouldn't even know how to begin to tell you how to do it with plain flour, because I am a Bisquick kind of person.

My dad was a Bisquick kind of cook too. He made gravies from Bisquick, just as I do now. He was all about simple, and I got my simple ways from my dad. Why? Because they work!

Here is what you need to make this recipe for banana Nut bread:

2 eggs
2 cups of Bisquick
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of sugar - use Splenda if diabetic
1/4 cup of brown sugar - you can omit or use brown sugar substitute if diabetic
1/4 cup of buttermilk
4 overripe bananas mashed
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
Nonstick cooking spray

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your eggs in a mixing bowl and beat them with a whisk. Then add the spices, butter, buttermilk, and the mashed bananas. Next just add in your Bisquick. When your banana bread mix well incorporated fold in the walnuts. Now just spray your baking pan and pour the mixture into your baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. The bread should spring back when lightly pressed.

This recipe is diabetic friendly, by using Splenda instead of sugar.


Recipe for Caramel Sauce from Leftover Coke

Waste not want not. That is something my dad always drummed into me. He took leftover Coke that had lost its fizz and made things from it. He cooked meats in Coke, and Dr. Pepper, and he made sweet treats from left over soda also. One of my favorite things he did with leftover Coke was to make a caramel sauce for ice cream. You can use any kind of soda really. He has also used cream soda to make it, but I like it made with Coke the best. This recipe is so easy.

Here is what you need to make a batch of homemade caramel sauce:

2 sauce pans
3 cups of stale Coke
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter
2/3 cup of heavy cream

Here is what you do:

In one sauce pan you will pour your stale Coke or other kind of soda and reduce it to half of its volume. Then you will set it aside.

In another sauce pan put your water and granulated sugar. While heating it to boiling watch that you don't burn it. It should turn into a nice golden amber color. Once the sugar turns amber add the brown sugar, and butter. Remove from heat and stir with a wire whisk. Now add the cream and the reduced Coke and continue to cook until it becomes a syrupy consistency. Keep stirring with the whisk while it cooks down. Serve warm or cool over coffee cake, pound cake, ice cream, toast or whatever you like.



Recipe for Taco Macaroni Salad Dinner

Don't you just love a one dish meal? I do. My taco macaroni salad dinner is simple to make, and it tastes oh-so-good! This recipe belongs to my daughter. She is the taco maker in our family, and sometimes when we want something a little different she will make this meal instead of the regular taco and burrito meal.

Here is what you need to make the taco macaroni salad dinner recipe:

1 pound of ground beef
1 box of your favorite mac and cheese
1 taco kit (it has the taco flavoring and taco shells)
1 cup of picante sauce
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
1 bag of salad mix
1 diced tomato
1/2 cup of sliced black olives
1 carton of sour cream

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the onion and bell pepper and cook them with the ground beef in a skillet. When the meat is done, drain off the fat. Then add the taco seasoning, and picante sauce.

In a boiling pot boil the macaroni and prepare the mac and cheese according to the instructions on the package. Now mix the macaroni and cheese in with the ground beef mixture. Add half the cheese in with it.

Next you will transfer the mixture into a casserole dish, and top with the other half of the cheese. Break up the taco shells into small pieces and place on top of the casserole, and lightly press them into the casserole. Bake for 25 minutes. When you serve the casserole top with salad mix and top that with tomato and sour cream.



Recipe for Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

What could be more decadent? Sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile veggies ever. You can make pies, cookies, breads, and cakes from sweet potatoes. Tonight I am fixing twice baked sweet potatoes for dinner.

Here is what you need to make this recipe:

3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
4 ounces of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of milk

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line your baking pan with aluminum foil so you don't have a mess to clean up later. Lay your sweet potato halves face down on the aluminum foil. Bake the sweet potatoes for 35 minutes and let them cool so you can handle them. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough, scoop out a good portion of the meat of the sweet potato into a bowl. Leave a little bit around the edges of the potato so that the skin does not collapse or tear.

Next use a potato masher to mash up the sweet potato. Add the cinnamon, brown sugar, cream cheese and milk. Mix this up well and put the mixture back into the sweet potato shells. Top the sweet potatoes with the pecans. You will need to lightly press the pecans into the sweet potato so they don't fall off. Now put the sweet potatoes back into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes to heat them all the way through again.

You can make this recipe bigger or smaller as you wish. I have a family of 3 and these 6 halves don't go to waste. They are great to have on hand in your refrigerator to eat cold or warmed in the microwave for breakfast.


Recipe for Spinach Salad

One of my family's favorite salads is spinach salad. My daughter will make a meal off this salad alone. Sometimes I add apples, sometimes strawberries, peaches and oranges. This recipe is so versatile you can use any fruit in this salad. This is also good for diabetics.

Here is what you need to make this spinach salad recipe:

1 bag of spinach salad leaves
1 large apple, or any fruit you choose
1/2 cup of mixed nuts
1/2 bag of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of spicy Italian dressing or a wine based dressing if you prefer

Now just toss the salad and serve.



Recipe for Homemade Chocolate Syrup

You've scooped yourself a bowl of vanilla ice cream and you discover you have no chocolate syrup or hot fudge to pour on top of it. What do you do? Well, don't distress! I have a recipe for homemade chocolate syrup.

Here is what you need to make chocolate syrup:
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
5 tablespoons of sugar or Splenda if you want syrup to be sugar free
3 tablespoons of corn starch
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of milk
2 and 1/4 tablespoons of butter

Here is what you do:

Put all the ingredients into a sauce pan and cook on low heat. Make sure you stir all the time. Bring the mixture to a boil. The chocolate will thicken to a nice syrupy consistency. Pour hot over ice cream if you wish or wait until it cools. Store the remaining chocolate syrup in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator.


Recipe for Apple Brown Betty

This evening I wanted something sweet, but I didn't have anything. I started looking around to see what I had and whalaa! A light went off in my head and I decided to make Apple Brown Betty.

Here is what you need to make this apple brown Betty:

1 yellow cake mix
5 teaspoons of cinnamon
3 apples sliced thin
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons of honey
1 stick of butter or margarine melted
1/2 stick butter unmelted
1 tablespoon of water

Here is what you do to make apple brown Betty:

Add cake mix in a large mixing bowl, and melt butter and honey together. Combine the butter and honey with the cake mix as well as you can. Add the water. It will come out crumbly. In a baking pan put a layer of cake mix.

In a separate bowl add the sliced apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Mix it up well. Add a layer of the apple mixture on top of the cake layer, then put another cake layer on and then follow with another apple layer. Be sure you have a layer of cake mix crumbles on top. Dot the top of the cake mix with the unmelted butter.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The top should be brown and fairly crusty. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you wish.


Recipe for Western Omelet

Do you like western eggs? If you do you will love the western omelet. It's very easy to prepare, and so delicious.

Here is what you need to make my western omelet recipe:

1/2 green pepper
1/4 onion
3 eggs for one omelet
Splash of milk
Splash of olive oil
2 slices American cheese
Slice of sandwich ham

Here is what you do:

Pour a splash of olive oil into an omelet pan. While the oil is getting hot cut up half a pepper and dice it. Chop up the onion. Add the veggies to the oil and saute them slightly. Now transfer the partially cooked veggies into the eggs and add the milk. Whisk it up good and frothy and pour into the pan. Let the egg cook on one side. When you see it starting to solidify on top flip it and fry it on the other side. Add the ham and cheese and fold the egg over and serve.


My 10 Most Favorite Foods

I love to cook, and it is a good thing, because I am the only one in the family that is good at it. Any time my daughter is ready to eat she asks me to cook it for her. There are some foods I like more than others, and the ones I like are the ones that I cook the most. Some of my favorite foods are not homemade, but I sort of make them my own, in an almost homemade kind of way.

Here are a list of my most favorite foods:

1. French Fries - I like to oven fry my fries by spraying them with a little olive oil cooking spray. I bake them until they are good and crispy. I don't like a soggy French fry. Once the fries are done I like to top them with some canned chili and cheddar cheese. These are yummy.

2. Pancakes - I make my pancakes with Bisquick only. I don't bother using regular flour or self-rising flour, because Bisquick has them all beat. These pancakes are light and fluffy. I sometimes use them for bread when I am out. I've made sandwiches with the. Just a couple of days ago I used small pancakes for hamburger buns. They are so good!

3. Hot dogs - I like hot dogs any way you want to cook them. I like them in a bun, of course, piled up with relish, onions and mustard. I also like hot dogs fried and cut up on a plate. I dip them in mustard. I've also used hot dogs in scrambled eggs. I kind of make the eggs like a Western egg, but I add hot dog to it. This is really good if you love hot dogs.

4. Grilled cheese sandwich - I use my pancake griddle to make my grilled cheese sandwiches. I butter one side of two slices of bread. I stick one slice butter side down onto the hot grill. It will start sizzling right away. While that is sizzling I cut off 2 slices of white extra sharp Vermont cheese. I buy the Cabot brand of Vermont cheese, because that is the sharpest cheese I can find. I love really strong sharp cheese. One I put the slices of cheese on the sandwich I put the other slice of bread on top of the cheese butter side up. Then I just flip the sandwich and let it brown on the other side and serve. This is to die for!

5. Stuffed cheese burger - For this kind of burger I make a meatloaf kind of mixture by using bread crumbs, an egg, and steak sauce. Then I take a about 2 ounces of this hamburg mixture and flatten it out to make a thin hamburger. I place it down on my baking pan and put a chunk of blue cheese in the middle and then cover the top with another really thin hamburger and seal the top. I bake them until they are done and these are so very good!

6. Baked macaroni and cheese - I'm not talking about any of this boxed stuff with the fake powder cheese. No, I have to have the real thing. I boil the macaroni, and then shred a bunch of that sharp Vermont cheddar cheese I mentioned above and add that to the cooked macaroni. I add a little bit of salt and pepper and a bit of milk and put it in the oven to bake until it has a good firm crust on the top. You haven't had anything until you have had mac and cheese done this way.

7. Freshetta Pepperoni Pizza - This is a store bought pizza, and it is so good. I buy the kind that is made of whole wheat. I don't doctor this up at all, because it is perfect the way it is. This is really good dipped in ranch dressing.

8. Almost homemade chili - This is a chili that comes in a kit. I don't know the name of the kit, but it comes in a brown paper bag. In the bag is chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper, and a little corn meal thickening agent. I make my chili by browning my ground beef and draining it. Then I put the meat into a pot with 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce, 3 cans of chili beans, and a small jar of Prego sauce. I add a chopped onion and a chopped bell pepper to the mix and let it simmer for 35 to 40 minutes and then serve with crackers. This is yummy with a dollop of sour cream and yellow cheddar cheese.

9. Brussels Sprouts - I love these things. I have always called them 'baby cabbages'. They are awesome steamed, boiled or even sauteed in butter. They are also scrumptious with Velveeta cheese melted into them.

10. Green beans and red potatoes - These are good cooked together. I like the really little red potatoes, but if you can't find them really small the bigger ones cut up in chunks will do just fine. I cook these until they are done and then at the end I add milk to them and heat them a bit more but I don't let them boil. I serve this dish in a bowl and it's good all by itself or with corn bread.


Recipe for Pancake Sandwich

What do you do when you are out of bread, but you want a sandwich? Do you put your sandwich off until you can get to the store to get more bread? When I don't have bread I improvise. The quickest way for me to make bread is to whip up a couple of pancakes. Pancakes make the perfect sandwich material.

Last night I made hamburgers and we had no bread, and neither did we have any hamburger buns. I make up a batch of small pancakes just large enough to make a cheeseburger nice and cozy. This morning I made pancakes to make a sausage and egg sandwich. For supper I made pancakes to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Pancakes are very versatile.

For 2 pancakes I just use about a half cup of Bisquick and enough milk to make it into a nice pancake batter. I cook the pancakes on my electric pancake griddle.I don't even measure it myself. I know how much I will need for the amount of people I am making pancake sandwiches for.

Then you just put your favorite filler on one pancake and cover it with the other and make a sandwich out of it. If you are ever out of bread, don't fret, just make a small batch of pancakes small enough to make sandwiches.

Recipe for Almost Homemade Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

I am one of those almost homemade kind of cooks. I like to cook, but I don't want to be all day doing it, if I don't have to. There are some very good products on the market that make cooking a lot easier than it used to be, and still have a great tasting meal. I make spaghetti and meat sauce once a month, and my family loves it.

This is all you need to do to make my spaghetti and meat sauce. You will need a large boiling pot and fill it about 3/4 full of water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and a small splash of olive oil. Bring the water to a boil and place your pasta in the water. It's okay if the pasta is partially outside of the boiling water, because as the pasta softens it will submerge into the water. It is necessary to put the oil in the water so that the pasta does not stick to each other.

Here is what you need to make the meat sauce:

2 jars of Prego spaghetti sauce
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 jar of sliced button mushrooms drained
1 pound of hamburger
1 teaspoon of garlic

Cut up the onion, peppers, and mushrooms and set aside until you get ready to fry them. While you have the pasta cooking put some olive oil into a skillet and turn the heat on to medium low to heat up the oil. When the oil is hot put in the veggies to cook them until the onions are clarified. When the veggies are done take them out of the skillet and crumble up the hamburger. Add the garlic powder and fry up the meat. Drain the meat when it is done and place into a pot with the Prego sauce. Add the fried veggies to it and bring to a boil. Turn on low heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain your pasta when it is done. Serve up some pasta on your plate and cover it with as much meat sauce as you want. Sprinkle the dish with Parmesan cheese. This recipe is also good for diabetics.



Recipe for Toasted Tuna Sandwich

I am one that tries to have fish at least twice a week. I do love seafood, but I don't always have the funds to purchase my favorite kinds of fish, so I do the next best thing and buy several cans of tuna packed in water. I don't buy tuna in oil, because I don't like the taste, and I don't want the extra fat in my tuna sandwich. If you are diabetic, this recipe is a good one for you.

Here is what you need to make my toasted tuna sandwich recipe:

Your favorite kind of bread toasted: I use 100% whole wheat
1 can of tuna drained well
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1 hard boiled egg finely chopped
5 to 10 olives sliced or chopped
1 small dill pickle chopped
2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste

Here is what you do to prepare the recipe:

This is what I do when I make this recipe. I put the onion, boiled egg, onion, and pickle into the food processor and transfer mixture into a bowl. You can chop all the ingredients if you like. Then add the drained tuna. Add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper to your liking. Spread the tuna mixture on toast.



Recipe to make Poutine: The Meal to Die For

The following is an article was written by my dear writer friend, Carol Roach. I have never heard the name poutine, but I have had fries made this way. I've just called them cheese fries, but I am sure these are so much better. Please take a minute to read this well written article about how to make poutine.

Poutine: The Meal to Die For

Is it really possible, could it be true, is the last standing tradition in Quebec coming to an end? If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about I am talking about that wonderful gooey mess of food called poutine. Poutine is a traditional French Canadian dish originating in Quebec Though there are several stories about just where in Quebec this tasty dish comes from. Poutine has now become a national treat. Poutine pronounced by the rest of Canada as pooh teen, is actually pronounced, "puts in" here in Quebec.

If you ask Mr. Fernand Lachance of Warwick, Quebec, he will say that the dish originated in his restaurant, in 1957, when a customer came in to ask for a bag of deep fries and curd cheese. " Ça va faire une maudite poutine! 'That's going to make a terrible mess!" Lachance responded to his customer,

Mess or not, poutine became an instant success and customers began to ask for it on a regular basis. Lachance claims the popular dish we have today with the French fries cheese curds and brown gravy is again a family variation. He says he started serving the brown gravy because his wife made it and today we have the three-ingredient combination that we Queberers just love.

The story I heard was that poutine is a dish from Lac St. Jean, Quebec. Where ever it is from, I tell you that it is good.

How Do Make A Good Poutine

You start with fresh potatoes, cut your own, I don't use frozen potatoes
Fry them in vegetable oil, now some people say frying them in lard is better I don't know I never tried that.
Pour brown gravy on top of the French fries
Then add curds of cheese, the original recipe calls for Gouda, or white cheddar, but you can use mozzarella, which is what I use.

Heat in the oven until the cheese is melted or nuke it in the microwave if you wish.

It is a simple recipe that is eaten alone as a meal, or can be eaten with hamburgers or hotdogs, or anything really that you would normally have with French fries.

Cautionary note: don't over do it, poutine is very filling.

Link to Carol's content producer page


Recipe for Steak, Peppers and onions

My recipe for tender round steak is really easy. Round steak is a tough cut of meat, but it is one of the most economical cuts also when you count up the price per pound. In 45 minutes you can have a really tasty steak.

In a skillet pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut up some onions and peppers, and carrots and leave them on the side until you prepare your steak. To prepare your steak all you need to do is sprinkle Mrs Dash and garlic on both sides of the steak and drop it into the hot olive oil. Let the steak sear on both sides to seal in the juices. Next just toss in your onions and peppers and then add a good drizzle of Worcestershire sauce, about a half cup, and simmer for 45 minutes. The meat will be tender and juicy.


Recipe for Carrot Cake

If you like homemade carrot cake as well as my family does, you will like this recipe that I am going to share with you. You can buy a decent carrot cake mix, but it just isn't the same as making it from scratch. There is really no comparison once you have tried the real thing.

Here is what you need to make Carrot Cake:

1 cup of self-rising whole wheat flour
1 cup of plain self-rising flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of buttermilk
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of drained pineapple
1/2 cup of coconut

This is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an oblong pan with PAM spray or Baker's Joy so your cake won't stick to the sides of your pan. Put your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Then put your eggs and other wet ingredients in and mix well with a mixer or wire whisk. Pour the cake batter into the oblong baking pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed slightly with your fingertips.

Recipe for frosting:

3/4 cup of confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
12 ounces of cream cheese

How to make the frosting:

In a medium bowl, empty the cream cheese. Add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar. Mix well with a spatula. Spread over cake when it cools.



Recipes for Hodgepodge Meals

When it is nearing the end of the month, my pantry is usually pretty close to empty. I know there are many others who are in the same boat. You have more month than you have money, but you still have a family to feed. Many times I think I have nothing to make a meal with, and I go to searching. Some foods you might not even think would go well together to make a meal, but when you try it, you find out that the concoction you made is really very good. Maybe you can identify with some of my recipes for hodgepodge meals.

I made something the other night that was really more of a science experiment. I had 6 eggs, and 2 red tomatoes and 2 green tomatoes and some scallions. I had some left over rice in the refrigerator, so I just put that in the microwave to warm it up. In a frying pan I sauteed the scallions, and the tomatoes with a tad of salt.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs until they were nice and frothy. When the onions and tomatoes start cooking down, add the eggs and scramble them all together until they are soft and frothy. You will want the eggs to be moist and not really dry so don't over cook them. When the tomato egg mixture is done, you just put it over rice. It would be good with oven broiled garlic toast also.

Another thing that I have done with eggs is add cream of mushroom soup to it and scramble the eggs until they are soft but not hard. We have eaten this with garlic toast. There are so many ways you can make eggs where you don't only think of them as a breakfast food. When you have to make your food stretch, you add filler ingredients to make enough to feed everyone.

A few months ago it was really tight here until payday, and I had almost nothing in the house. I did have corn meal, and I had milk and bread. I could have made cornbread, but I didn't want to. I really wanted something else. I remembered what my dad made us kids when we were small, and money was short. He made a cooked cereal out of corn meal. We called it corn meal mush, but I don't know if that is the real name for it.

All you do is put some water and butter in a pot and bring it to a boil. Start adding corn meal slowly and stir it. It will swell up just like cream of wheat. Add enough corn meal until the texture is like cream of wheat. I use yellow corn meal, but you can make it with white corn meal also. When it is done, pour it into cereal bowls, add sugar or sweetener and add milk. You eat it just like you would oatmeal or cream of wheat. I like to eat it with strawberry jam and toast on the side. This country breakfast is really very good.

So if you think you have nothing in your pantry or your refrigerator, look again. You just might find something there in which to make another meal. I am always thankful for the way I was raised. My dad was able to always put together meals to feed our family, when it seemed we didn't have anything.


Recipe for Caesar Salad

When I make a salad, I like it to be a complete meal in itself. I never have room for a salad and a meal because I like to put so much stuff on my salads that they fill me up without having a main course. This recipe for Caesar salad is one of my dads. I grew up with a great cook in the family, and almost everything I know about cooking I learned from him.

Here is what you need to make Caesar salad:

3 heads of romaine lettuce
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
4 tablespoons of lemon juice (fresh not bottled)
1 tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce
1 and 1/2 tablespoons of wine vinegar
2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 and 1/2 cups of croutons

Here is what you do to make Caesar salad:

Several hours before making the salad you will need to prepare the garlic and the olive oil. Add the crushed garlic to the olive oil and let it sit out for several hours. After several hours you may then remove the garlic from the oil and throw it away. Tear up the lettuce and place it into a large salad bowl. Hard boil the egg, and when it is cool mash it up pour over the salad. Combine the Worchestershire sauce, the wine vinegar, the lemon juice and the garlic flavored oil. Pour it over the salad and toss. Pour on the cheese and add the croutons and toss again.



Recipe for Blueberry Cake

The sugar in this recipe can be substituted with Splenda sweetener so that diabetics can enjoy this cake. Blueberries are packed full of antioxidants, so I dare say that this cake is a good healthy treat.

Here is what you need to make my blueberry cake recipe:

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup of self rising flour
1 cup of sugar or Splenda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 stick of butter or margarine
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla flavoring
1 and 1/3 cups of water

Here is what you do:

Pour all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. You can use a mixer or a wire whisk if you prefer. Pour into a greased oblong cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Let cake cool and frost it.

Here is what you need to make the frosting:

8 ounces of Cool Whip
8 ounces of soft cream cheese
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla.
1 can of sugar free blueberry pie filling

Add the Cool Whip, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together in a mixing bowl. When the ingredients are all incorporated frost the cake with it. When you are done frosting the cake spread the layer of sugar free blueberry pie filling.



Recipe for Spicy Chicken nuggets

Do you like chicken nuggets? Would you love to make them yourself and have them just the way you like them? I do just that with my recipe for spicy chicken nuggets. My mom was a diabetic and she couldn't eat a lot of processed foods because of the hidden sugar or other chemicals that would make her terribly sick. I got this recipe from my dad. He always seemed to have her best interest at heart when he cooked.

Dad always bought chicken with the skin on it, because it was cheaper, but I usually buy chicken without the skin. It's just less work for me. I like to cut the chicken when it is about half frozen, because the knife glides through the flesh so much easier.

Here is what you need to make my recipe for spicy chicken nuggets:

White meat chicken pieces
Spice rub (I use McCormick's chicken rub)
1 egg with a dash of milk (whisked)
shake and bake Chicken flavor

Use as much chicken as you want for your meal. Rinse off the chicken to make sure it is clean before you start to cut it. Once the chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces place the pieces of chicken into a Ziploc bag and pour in 3 tablespoons of spicy chicken rub. Work the spice rub into the chicken and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

After the chicken has chilled for an hour in the spicy rub you will want to put a coating on the chicken nuggets. Beat 1 egg with a dash of milk in a large bowl. Now add the chicken nuggets to the egg wash. Then just shake up your chicken pieces in shake and bake and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.



Recipe for Boston Cream Pie with a Twist

The other day my daughter got a hankering for a Boston Cream Pie, and she didn't have the ingredients for it. We had on hand a yellow
cake mix and a cheese cake mix, and chocolate frosting, and other ingredients. Well you guessed it. She put it all together. Here are the directions for how she did it.

Make and bake the yellow cake mix in an oblong cake pan according to box directions. Let it cool to just warm. Frost the cake. (my daughter nuked the canned cake frosting in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it softer).

Next make the cheese cake mix according to the directions, but hold the graham cracker crumbs for later. When the cheese cake mixture is whipped up, add a half-cup of Cool Whip to it and then pour it over the cake.

Next add a can of cherry pie filling on top of the cheese cake mixture, and add the graham cracker crumbs on top. Serve with cool whip on top if desired.

This is so yummy!


Recipe for Philadelphia Steak Bagel Sandwich

I don't know about you, but I love making portable fun foods that taste great. You can buy these sandwich steaks at the grocery store. They are very thin and cook really fast. If you don't want to get the sandwich steaks, you can use left over roast beef. Or you can buy roast beef slices at the deli and they will work just lie the sandwich steaks.

Here is what you do to make my version of Philadelphia cheese steak bagel sandwich recipe:

Pour about an ounce of olive oil in a skillet. Cut up an onion and a green pepper and saute them in the olive oil. Let them start to get tender and then place the very thin steak or roast beef slices in there to cook. It will only take a few minutes, because the slices are paper thin.

Now open however many bagels you want, and place a slice of Swiss cheese on each half. Add the cooked steak, onions and peppers onto the all of the bagel slices and top again with Swiss cheese. Now pop the bagels into the broiler until the cheese is melted. Now put the two slices of bagel together and you have a nice thick Philly cheese steak bagel sandwich. My mom was diabetic. She ate these whenever dad would make them.


Recipe for Chicken Teriyaki

How I make my chicken teriyaki recipe:
I make my own version of Chicken Teriyaki. I start out with a family pack of boneless chicken. The family pack should be about 2 pounds or more. Here is what you need:

2 tablespoons or more of olive oil
2 green bell peppers
2 or more pounds of chicken fingers cut in pieces
1 can of drained pearl onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
8 ounces of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of ginger
5 tablespoons of sugar
1 and 1/2 cups of Minute Rice
Here is what to do:

Make the rice as the directions on the box says and set aside.

In a frying pan add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and when it is hot add the chicken, bell peppers,and the drained pearl onions. When that is cooking well add the sugar, garlic and ginger. Let it cook for about 10 minutes and add the soy sauce and cook for 10 more minutes. Now just add the rice to the ingredients and serve it up. This is really awesome! I love anything with soy sauce in it. You can change this up however you want to. If you want to add more veggies to it you can.


Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes

Green Fried Tomatoes are easy to make as a side dish. I serve them together in the same bowl. This is what I do:

I take 3 or more green tomatoes and slice them up fairly thin. While I am getting the tomatoes ready I have a frying pan getting hot with a good splash of extra virgin olive oil and a good dollop of butter to fry them up.

After slicing the tomatoes, you will need to make an egg wash. Just scramble up a couple of eggs with a splash of milk. I like to pour the egg wash into a Ziploc bag. Then I put the tomato slices in the bag and gently let the egg wash get all over the tomatoes.

Then I season a cup full of flour with garlic salt and pepper and put that into a Ziploc bag. Put in the tomato slices and let them get coated with flour. Once they are coated lay them out into your frying pan that is sizzling with the olive oil. Let them fry up until they have a firm brown coating on them. When they are brown, flip them over easily with a spatula. I hold them in place with a fork while flipping them. Let them finish frying. This recipe would also be good for diabetics.

When the fried green tomatoes are done they will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They taste so good. I love to eat mine with ketchup. Fried green tomatoes are good to serve with beef or chicken or any meal actually.



Recipe Tips for When you Have More Month than Money

When it is nearing the end of the month, my pantry is usually pretty close to empty. I know there are many others who are in the same boat. You have more month than you have money, but you still have a family to feed. Many times I think I have nothing to make a meal with, and I go to searching. Some foods you might not even think would go well together to make a meal, but when you try it, you find out that the concoction you made is really very good.

I made something the other night that was really more of a science experiment. I had 6 eggs, and 2 red tomatoes and 2 green tomatoes and some scallions. I had some left over rice in the refrigerator, so I just put that in the microwave to warm it up. In a frying pan I sautéed the scallions, and the tomatoes with a tad of salt.

This is what you do. In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs until they were nice and frothy. When the onions and tomatoes start cooking down, add the eggs and scramble them all together until they are soft and frothy. You will want the eggs to be moist and not really dry so don't over cook them. When the tomato egg mixture is done, you just put it over rice. It would be good with oven broiled garlic toast also.

Another thing that I have done with eggs is add cream of mushroom soup to it and scramble the eggs until they are soft but not hard. We have eaten this with garlic toast. There are so many ways you can make eggs where you don't only think of them as a breakfast food. When you have to make your food stretch, you add filler ingredients to make enough to feed everyone.

A few months ago it was really tight here until payday, and I had almost nothing in the house. I did have corn meal, and I had milk and bread. I could have made cornbread, but I didn't want to. I really wanted something else. I remembered what my dad made us kids when we were small, and money was short. He made a cooked cereal out of corn meal. We called it corn meal mush, but I don't know if that is the real name for it.
All you do is put some water and butter in a pot and bring it to a boil. Start adding corn meal slowly and stir it. It will swell up just like cream of wheat. Add enough corn meal until the texture is like cream of wheat. I use yellow corn meal, but you can make it with white corn meal also. When it
is done, pour it into cereal bowls, add sugar or sweetener and add milk. You eat it just like you would oatmeal or cream of wheat. I like to eat it with strawberry jam and toast on the side. This country breakfast is really very good.

So if you think you have nothing in your pantry or your refrigerator, look again. You just might find something there in which to make another meal. I am always thankful for the way I was raised. My dad was able to always put together meals to feed our family, when it seemed we didn't have anything.


Recipe for Country Fried Steak

Those of you that are following my blog know that I pinch pennies wherever I can to make tasty dishes from recipes I have created. Meat is one of the most expensive food purchases; I save money by buying the cheaper, or budget cuts of meat. As you might know the cheaper cuts of meat are very tough;some might say the budget cuts of meat could be used to put soles on the bottom of shoes, rather than to serve for dinner.

Here is what you do to make my country friend steak recipe:

Open up a package of round steak and put it in a large skillet filled with water salt and garlic powder. I let the meat parboil for about 45 minutes. It needs to be tender, but not so that it is falling apart. Once it is tender enough take the meat out of the water and set it on a plate to cool so you can handle it.

In the mean time pour about a cup and a half of buttermilk into a bowl and add an egg. Beat the egg into the buttermilk so that it is creamy and set aside. In a Ziploc bag put about one-half cup of flour and season it with salt and garlic powder. When the meat is cooled enough cut the meat into serving sizes and dip them into the buttermilk egg wash, and then shake each piece of steak in the flour mixture.

To make country friend steak, pour some extra virgin olive oil (about one-half inch) into a frying pan and let the pan get fairly hot on medium heat. Once the pan is hot place the pieces of floured steak into the hot oil. They will start cooking right away. They won't have to cook but a couple of minutes on each side because the steaks are already done. When the steaks are browned on each side, pour out most of the olive oil and place about a cup of seasoned flour (salt, pepper, and garlic) into the frying pan to make a rue for the gravy. Pour a cup of water into the rue and blend it as it is heating up on the stove. Slowly add buttermilk until you get the right consistency for the gravy. Serve the steak and gravy with some buttermilk biscuits and a side salad and macaroni and cheese and you have a great meal for the family with very little money spent.


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