Sunday, December 28, 2008

Smokie Bites

These Smokie Bites are a quick and easy appetizer. Try making them for your next football game!

Smokie Bites

1 pkg (16 oz) Little Smokies
1 lb pkg of bacon
1 cup brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Cut each slice of bacon in three pieces. You can cut the entire package at one time. Wrap each smokie in a piece of bacon. Place in 9x12 baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bacon is crisp.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Skillet Sausage Cassoulet

A real cassoulet involves chicken, white wine and baking. I like this skillet version made with smoked polish sausage. It's quick, easy and great on a cold winter night. You can use different types of beans or even add chicken. Top your dish with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and prepare to enjoy!

Skillet Sausage Cassoulet

1 pound smoked polish sausage, sliced thinly
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with basil & oregeno
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bacon bits & cheddar cheese for topping, if desired

In large skillet over medium heat, cook onions & sausage until onions are tender. Add remaining ingredients & continue cooking another 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. When serving, top with bacon bits and cheddar cheese if desired.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Celebrate New Year's Day with Hoppin' John

Tradition says this recipe is a must for New Year's Day because it will bring you luck, money and health in the coming year.

Hoppin' John

2 cans (16 oz) black-eyed peas
2 cups rice, cooked
2 cans (16 oz) chopped collard greens
6 slices hog jowl cut in small pieces
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or so. Serve with cornbread. If you can't find sliced hog jowl, you can use a small piece of salt pork or ham hock.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, no one was baking, not even me! Okay, so I'm not so good at poems, but I am taking a couple of days off from cooking! Our Christmas Tradition has always been to have a Christmas breakfast instead of a dinner. Country ham, biscuits, red-eye gravy, eggs, and Holiday Potato Casserole. So, there is not much cooking to be done tonight. Of course, Santa's cookies are ready and waiting!Whatever your tradition may be, I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap—
When out on the lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack;
His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little month was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump—a right jolly old elf;
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Author - Clement Moore

Saturday, December 20, 2008

German-Style Slaw

I love this slaw. It's easy to make, tastes great and only gets better the next day!

German-Style Slaw

2 packages of shredded cabbage (16 oz packages)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
3/4 cup canola oil

Place cabbage into a large plastic or glass bowl. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Add oil. Return to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Pour dressing over cabbage; toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Cookies - No-Bake Cashew Drops

If you like cashews, you'll fall in love with this easy candy.

No-Bake Cashew Drops


1 pkg chocolate almond bark (16 oz)
1/2 cup ground graham cracker crumbs
1 can (16 oz) cashew halves
1 cup coconut
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Melt chocolate according to package directions. Mix all ingredients into chocolate and stir well. Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper and let cool. Makes about 3-4 dozen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Breakfast Sausage Casserole

I like using little smokies in this breakfast casserole, but you could also use ground sausage or link sausage.

Breakfast Sausage Casserole
1 pkg of little smokies, sliced (16 oz package)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 cups skim milk
3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray small casserole dish with non-stick spray. Brown little smokies and onions over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. When onions are tender, remove and place mixture in bottom of casserole dish. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Bisquick until smooth. Pour over sausage mixture. Top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cool Kitchen Gadget - Grill Charms

Most of my friends know that I had a couple of food allergy episodes this Summer. Thankfully, my allergies are mild and easily managed. But, it really did start me thinking about what foods I eat and how they are prepared. These days, whether you are cooking for your family or for a crowd, it can get pretty complicated when dealing with different tastes, allergies or health issues. I'm sure you've been there too. Did I put salt on that steak? Is that chicken breast the one with no garlic powder? Well I found a new product to eliminate all that guess work. Grill Charms are made from stainless steel and you place them in your food before you start grilling. They have a serrated stem that will hold them in place when you are flipping your food while grilling. You can mark you food according to how it is to be cooked - well done, medium rare, etc. or how spicy you want it seasoned. More information on Grill Charms can be found at their website - Grill Charms. Simple Cookery followers get a special discount code for Grill Charms. For $5 off, put "grilling" in the coupon code when ordering. There is still time for Christmas Eve delivery if you order by December 20th.
Grill Charms is a registered trademark and used with permission. For product and trademark information, please visit their website at .

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Cookies - Snow Drops

Everyone will think you slaved for hours on this delicious drop candy.

Snow Drops

1 pkg white chocolate (or vanilla) almond bark (1 lb 8 oz)

1 cup coconut - toasted

1 jar (8 oz) macadamia nuts - chopped

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Mix all ingredients into white chocolate and stir well. Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper and let cool. Makes about 3-4 dozen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Potato Casserole

This easy breakfast casserole has become a Christmas Day tradition for me. I adapted this recipe from the traditional hash brown casserole. You can easily make it ahead of time. Just layer all the ingredients together, cover and keep in your freezer until ready to use. If you have never tried Jimmy Dean's Breakfast Skillets, they are wonderful. They contain ham, bacon or sausage with potatoes, red & green peppers and onions. They are located in freezer section of your grocery store and make a perfect recipe starter.

Holiday Potato Casserole

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Skillets-Sausage-1/2 pkg-about 2 cups
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Skillets-Ham-1/2 pkg - about 2 cups
1/2 cup Hormel bacon bits
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup French's French Fried Onions

Pre-heat oven to 375. Coat inside of 9-inch square casserole dish with non-stick spray. Whisk together milk, soup, sour cream and black pepper. Layer Sausage mixture in casserole dish. Cover with 1/2 soup mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 of bacon bits. Cover with 1/2 cheddar cheese. Layer Ham mixture on top of this. Cover with remaining soup mixture. Sprinkle with remaining bacon bits. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Top with French's onions and bake an additional 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown. Let set 10 minutes before serving.

If you decide to make this ahead of time or to freeze, don't add the onions to the top of your casserole. Also, put your frozen or cold casserole dish into a cold oven and increase your cooking time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Cookies - Chocolate Raisin Almond Drops

These look and taste like you spent hours making them. It actually only takes a few minutes. You can mix and match ingredients. I started making these by using the leftover ingredients from making candy. After a while, friends started asking for the leftovers. Mixing the chocolate chips with the almond bark gives the chocolate a richer taste. And, the candy is not as hard as it would be using almond bark alone.

Chocolate Raisin Almond Drops


1 pkg chocolate almond bark (1 lb 8 oz)

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

1 cup coconut

1 cup almond slivers

Melt almond bark according to package directions. Mix in chocolate chips and stir until melted. Stir in raisins, coconut, and almonds. Mix well and drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper. Let cool to harden. Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christimas Cookies - Holiday Truffles

These are so rich, but so good! Try using a different extract flavor or frosting flavor to make this recipe your own.

Holiday Truffles

1 (12 oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 can Chocolate Fudge for Chocolate Supreme frosting
1 cup coconut, nuts, candy sprinkles

Melt chocolate chips in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in orange extract and frosting; blend well. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until firm. Scoop mixture into one-inch balls and roll in coconut, nuts, or candy sprinkles. Mixture will be sticky so use butter or cooking spray on your hands when forming the balls. Store in air-tight containe in refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving. Makes about 2 dozen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Cookies - Pumpkin Cookies

I love this recipe. The batter gets really hard to stir as all the ingredients are added, but it is definitely worth it! If you don't like nuts, raisins, or cranberries, feel free to substitute the dried fruit of your choice. I like to make these into muffins. Simply put the dough into muffin tins and increase your cooking time to about 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 can (16 oz) Pure Pumpkin (not pie mix)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 container cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture a little at a time and mix well. Stir in nuts, chocolate chips, raisins and cranberries. Drop 1/4 cup dough onto greased baking sheet and spread into 3-inch circle.

bake for 14-16 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate with icing. Makes about 2 dozen.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cookies - No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

You absolutely must remember to lick the bowl when making these No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies! I like to use rolled oats, but you can also use quick-cooking oats. Nuts are optional! Fudge rules apply to this recipe, so don't make it on a rainy day.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


1 stick butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats (uncooked)

Mix sugar and cocoa together so that no lumps of cocoa remain. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat. Add evaporated milk. Stir in sugar mixture. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stir and pour over uncooked oats. Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoon full on wax paper.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Cookies - Rum Balls

Since Thanksgiving is over, I can now, officially, begin the Christmas season. Thanksgiving was a little late this year, so we don't have much time before December 25th! While I want to give you healthy recipes, a little indulgence (in moderation) can be a good thing. So, here is the first of many Christmas Cookie recipes that I want to share with you.

This is one of the first Christmas Cookie recipes that I learned to make as a child. No baking is involved with these Rum Balls, so it is very easy. If you don't like Rum, you can add Bourbon instead. If you want to make these without alcohol, simply omit it and increase the amount of corn syrup. Making these in advance will save you some valuable Holiday time!

Rum Balls


2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup rum
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix crushed cookies, nuts, sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Add syrup and rum. Mix well. Shape into 3/4-inch diameter balls and roll in powdered sugar. It works well if you coat your hands with butter before making the balls. Place balls in an air tight container with wax paper between layers. Let these sit for a few days in the refrigerator or a cool room since these balls improve with age.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

I love sharing recipes with my friend Susan, especially this time of year. So, I'm always pleased when she asks for a recipe from my collection. Susan was looking for a low sugar pumpkin pie recipe. This pie is delicious and it's a quick way to cut a few Holiday calories! Since temptation is around every corner during Christmas, this pie makes it a little easier.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie


4 oz fat free Cream Cheese - softened
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp Splenda
1 tub (8 ox) fat free Cool Whip
1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust - reduced fat
1 cup skim milk
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
2 pkgs (4 oz) sugar free Vanilla instant pudding
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix cream cheese, 1 Tbsp milk and Splenda in large bowl with wire whisk until blended. Gently fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread onto bottom of crust.

Pour 1 cup milk into large bowl. Add pumpkin, dry pudding mix and spices. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Spread over cream cheese layer.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until set. Top with remaining whipped topping just before serving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken Vegetable Casserole

I wasn't sure how this recipe would turn out, but I should have known that anything with cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions would be good! I simply had some leftover chicken to use up and wanted to add vegetables to it for a quick lunch.

Chicken Vegetable Casserole

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 pkg frozen broccoli, cauliflower, carrot mix- about 2 cups (cooked according to package directions)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup French's Fried Onions

Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray small casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Layer cooked vegetables in casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with cheddar cheese and top with chicken. Mix soup and milk together and pour over chicken and vegetables. Mixture will be thick. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Top with french fried onions and cook another 5-10 minutes or until onions are golden brown.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cheeseburger Muffins

This recipe for Cheeseburger Muffins is quick and easy. They are are conveniently sized for individual servings for lunch or dinner.

Cheeseburger Muffins

1 lb ground sirloin or ground chuck
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 & 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Brown beef, spices and onions; drain. Spoon approx. 2 tablespoons of beef mixture into each muffin tin. Sprinkle each muffin with cheese. Whisk milk, eggs, and Bisquick until smooth. Spoon approx. 1/4 cup of this mixture into each muffin. Bake 20-30 minutes until brown on top.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fireside Coffee

As the weather turns cooler, it's time for Fireside Coffee! Here's a quick recipe that will get your morning off to the right start.

Fireside Coffee Mix

2 cups non-dairy coffee creamer (powder)
1 & 1/2 cups hot cocoa mix (dry)
1 & 1/2 cups instant coffee crystals
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Store in an airtight container. For one cup add a generous tablespoon to 8 ounces of hot water. Stir well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Love Egg Rolls?

I love homemade egg rolls, but they take a lot of time. And, let's face it, deep-fried egg rolls are not so healthy. This simple dish takes all of the good things from the inside of an egg roll. You can add some fresh broccoli or your favorite fresh vegetable to make this recipe your own. It's also very good served over brown rice. I like to add some hot-mustard sauce or soy sauce on the side when serving.

Pork Stir-Fry


6 boneless breakfast pork chops (these are sliced thinner than regular chops)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
2 packages of shredded cabbage/slaw mix (16 oz bags that include carrots)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Slice pork chops into thin strips or bite size pieces. In a small bowl mix pork, oil, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt until the spices and oil coat all the pieces of pork. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat saute the pork until no longer pink. Add onion and continue cooking until tender and pork is browned. Add cabbage/slaw mixture & water chestnuts. Don't be alarmed that this looks like a lot of cabbage because it will cook down quickly. Add vinegar and soy sauce over cabbage. Continue stirring and cooking about 3-5 minutes over medium heat until cabbage is slightly tender. It will cook down to about half the amount you started with in the beginning.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What's for Supper?

Sometimes you know there are a few days of frantic errands or work headed your way. Some days it hits you like a ton of bricks and you can't even think of what to cook for supper. This is a simple starter dish that will stand by itself. Ample leftovers tonight will save you time tomorrow. When you have more energy, you can dress it up or use the leftovers for a brand new dish. I like to top this with mozzarella or cheddar cheese. You can take a dipper full and wrap it in a whole wheat flour tortilla, top it with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream for a quick burrito. It also makes an excellent base for chili or soup. Go ahead and play with the spices!

Spicy Beef & Beans

1 pound lean ground beef, ground sirloin, or chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can diced Italian tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

In large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, garlic, chili powder, pepper, salt and onion. If your ground beef is lean enough, you shouldn't have to drain this mixture after browning. Add kidney beans and tomatoes. Continue cooking until heated thru, about 3 minutes. Top with cheese and serve in flour tortillas.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Easy Chicken Casserole

This is a quick and easy chicken casserole that you can easily make from ingredients you have on hand. I used a package of Chicken Parmesan noodle sauce mix because they were expiring soon and I hate wasting food! You can use any kind of noodle mix you have on hand. Or, if you want to be super healthy, try using whole wheat noodles with some low-sodium seasonings.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole


1 package Chicken Parmesan noodle & sauce mix (approx. 4 oz pkg depending on brand)
1/2 cup milk - or the amount needed per noodle sauce directions
1 can white meat chicken, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 package of frozen brocolli and cauliflower mix (16 oz)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Prepare noodle & sauce mix according to package directions. While noodles are cooking, place chicken in a medium bowl and shred or break it apart so you don't have any large pieces. Mix in pepper and salt, if desired. Add mushroom soup. When noodles are done, add to chicken mixture. Stir in frozen brocolli and cauliflower mix. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Healthy French Toast

French Toast without Eggs???

Yes, it is possible. I didn't believe it until I tried this recipe. Honestly, I really didn't miss the eggs! This is simple, healthy and easy.

Healthy French Toast

1 tablespoon milled flax seed (or whole flax seed ground finely)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Silk Vanilla soy milk
2 slices whole grain bread (sliced diagonally)
Butter-flavored cooking spray

In a small bowl, mix milled flax seeds with cinnamon, add water and blend for one minute. Add soy milk and beat until mixed well. Dip the bread in this mixture and cook until browned in a nonstick skillet sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray. Serve with honey or maple syrup. I sprinkled mine with a little powdered sugar.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Susan's Chicken Stir-Fry

Susan tried my Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry and made a few adjustments of her own. Click on the picture above for a link to the entire recipe. Doesn't Susan's picture look yummy? Here are the changes she made to the recipe:

I mixed together:

6 TB of low sodium soy sauce

6 TB Apple Juice

2 tsp of minced garlic (in a jar)

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 TB sugar

2 TB rice vinegar

I sliced my chicken, then added it to the marinade above. I let it set for about 15 or so minutes. I cooked the chicken in the hot skillet and poured the marinade into a saucepan. I stirred in the cornstarch. I cooked the bag of frozen veggies and rice (per package directions) until tender. When the chicken was done, I added 1/2 cup to the fry pan and took a wooden spoon to scrape the pan for all the goodies. Then I added the chicken water mixture to the marinade cornstarch mixture and cooked it for about 3 min after it came to a boil. I combined everything together. Due to the fact the veggies were microwaved and not stir fried, it did not seem to be flavorful enough. So I added about 1/2 tsp of ground ginger. It added the perfect kick. I might only add 1/4 tsp next time. But there will definitely be a next time. Love it!

Thanks Susan!

Pumpkin Crisp

Don't wait for Thanksgiving!
This quick and easy
pumpkin dish makes
any day special!

Pumpkin Crisp


1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanila extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (18.25 oz) package yellow cake mix - butter flavored
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350. Lightly grease 13 X 9 inch baking dish. In medium bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Add in pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Stir well. Pour into baking dish. Break up any clumps in the cake mix and sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle evenly with walnuts & drizzle entire dish with butter. Bake at 350 for one hour. Check dish and bake another five minutes or so until golden brown.

This dish is great served warm and topped with whipped cream. It is also great served cold.

Guest Recipe - Squash Casserole

Another great one from Susan!

Squash Casserole

2.5 lb. yellow squash
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 medium onion
1.5 cups crushed saltine crackers
1.5 cup shredded sharp cheese.

Wash, slice and boil squash until tender. Drain. Saute chopped onion in butter until tender. Mix Squash, soup, onion and butter, 1 cup of cheese and 1 cup of saltines and put in a baking dish. Sprinkle casserole with remaining crackers and cheese.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until top is browned and casserole is bubbling.

Guest Recipe - Sweet Potatoes Casserole

A Recipe from Tonya


2 c sweet potatoes
½ c sugar (to taste)
2 beaten eggs
¾ stick melted butter
1 c milk
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon


¾ c crushed corn flakes (I left out the nuts and increased the corn flakes)
½ c brown sugar
½ c nuts
¾ stick melted butter

Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Combine topping ingredients. Add topping mixture and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Submitted by Tonya Palmer

Guest Recipe - Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole

A Recipe from Susan!

I made the first one with Cauliflower only and the right way and everyone liked it best with just Cauliflower.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole

(16-oz.) pkg. fresh broccoli and cauliflower florets (I used frozen Cauliflower)
1/2 cup Great Vaiue reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup Great Value shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 tbsp. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp. paprika

Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves 6

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange florets in steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well.
2. Lightly grease 2-quart baking dish. Arrange florets in baking dish.
3. Stir together mayonnaise, Cheddar, Parmesan, green onions, garlic, mustard and red pepper. Spoon over florets. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and paprika.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Thanks Susan! This sounds great!

Guest Recipes

Wanda submitted this recipe for some yummy goodies:

Special "K" Goodies

1/2 cup sugar
4 cups Special K Cereal
1/2 cup white Karo Syrup
6 oz pkg chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
6 oz pkg butterscotch chips

Heat sugar and Karo, but do not boil. Stir in peanut butter, pour over cereal; blend. Press into a buttered 13X9 inch pan. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together and blend. Pour over mixture and spread for frosting. Store in refrigerator.

Thanks Wanda!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Time for Dinner?

Healthy Pinto Beans & Franks is a perfect time saving meal that you can have ready in under 10 minutes. Feel free to change or add an ingredient. You can even change it to kidney beans, black beans or any combination you desire. Use your favorite cheese. I used Oscar Mayer Light Beef Franks because I like the taste and texture. If you want to be super healthy or are watching your sodium, rinse the beans before preparing.



1 can pinto beans - drained & rinsed (15.5 oz can)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons medium salsa
2 beef hot dogs, sliced
2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add chopped onion. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes and add hot dogs. Cook approximately 2 minutes until heated thru. Add beans and salsa. Continue cooking another 2 minutes or until mixture is hot. Add salt and peppar to taste if desired. Remove from heat, top with cheese and serve. This will make 2 good sized servings.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Acorn Squash

We've all had those moments in the grocery story. You're headed to potatoes and you spy the huge selection of squash in the corner. They're not the yellow crook-neck squash or summer squash you grew up with in abundance. No, these babies are all different colors and shapes. They look more like table decorations for Halloween or Thanksgiving. But, what are you going to do with one? I was afraid of the unassuming acorn squash. It mocked me in it 'squashness'. I wondered if it was supposed to be peeled, sliced, or diced. Was it even edible? Could I possibly replace a baked potato with it at dinner? Well, I took the plunge and bought something I didn't know how to cook. I did the research and thought that it could not be that simple. I learned a good lesson that day. It does not have to be complicated to be good. And sometimes a dish can taste wonderful and still be pretty! No matter how many years you've been cooking, don't be afraid to try something new. And, don't be afraid to admit you don't know how to cook something others might think of as easy or simple! The next time your reaching for that potato, try an acorn squash instead. You won't be disappointed!

Baked Acorn Squash

1 Acorn Squash

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Honey or Maple Syrup

Dash of Salt, Pepper, and Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

  • Wash the acorn squash and pat dry. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. You'll want to use a large knife and cutting board for this since it is tough. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up.

  • Drizzle the top and inside of each half with the olive oil. Put one tablespoon of honey or maple syrup in each half. Sprinkle top and inside of each half with dash of salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.

  • Bake in the oven for about an hour. Check the squash and continue to bake until soft and the tops are browned. Serve warm.

If you're in a hurry, you can cook this in the microwave and finish it in the oven. Just wash and dry the squash. Prick the outside of the squash several times with a fork. Microwave 5 to 7 minutes. Using potholders, take the squash out of the microwave and cut lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and add the above ingredients. Finish by cooking the squash in the oven under the broiler until the tops are browned.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

When you're craving something salty & sweet, these oven fries are a perfect healthy snack!

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Wash and peel a sweet potato. Slice into fries. Coat with canola oil - about a teaspoon since a little oil goes a long way. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Spread onto a cookie sheet in a single layer & bake on center rack in oven for 25 minutes or until crispy. You'll probably want to turn these half-way thru baking.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What do trees have in common with Simple Cookery?

I love trees. Trees have long been necessary to our history and survival. They've provided shelter, warmth from fire and heat to cook our food. And, of course, the paper for our written word. It might interest you to know that in many vintage cookbooks, recipes are called 'receipts'. The books themselves are often called 'cookery books' and involve more method than recipe. Of course, there are Mom, Mama, Mamie, and Grandma's recipes. In today's fast paced world of Internet search engines, you can find a recipe for almost anything at anytime. But, I still love the look and feel of a real cookbook even if a tree was sacrificed for it. I can always tell a tried a true recipe in one of Mom's cookbooks. The 'good recipe pages' are stained with bits of love and flour from the past. Quick notes written in the margins telling of an ingredient added or left out. It seems I inherited that trait, too, for I am constantly tweaking a recipe here and there. It amazes me how many people don't know how to do that these days. It's like they think the cooking sheriff will swoop down upon their kitchen if they dare to add some garlic or leave it out! Some of my favorite meals start with a chopped onion and 'whatever is in the fridge or pantry' thrown in the pan. How about you?

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

4 cups fresh blackberries (or frozen)

    1 cup flour (self-rising) - do not sift

    1 Cup Sugar & 1/4 Cup Sugar (reserved for topping)

    1 Cup Milk

    1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease 14 X 9 inch baking dish. You can use a 12 X 8 dish or smaller, but you will need to increase your baking time. You could also divide this into two smaller dishes.

If using fresh berries, wash them and drain. If using frozen, rinse them in cold water and drain. Stir together flour and 1 cup of sugar in large bowl. Melt butter. Add milk to flour/sugar and stir until blended. Stir in melted butter. Pour batter into baking dish. Add blackberries on top of batter distributing them evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over berries. Don't worry that the berries sink to the bottom! Bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour or until golden brown.