Friday, December 25, 2009

Crockpot Chili

1 – 1¼ pounds ground beef
2 15½-oz cans red beans, drained
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 16-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 c. chopped onion*
1 c. chopped green pepper*
1 c. chopped celery*
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder

*or one 12 oz. bag frozen Kroger Recipe Beginnings "Mirepoix Cajun Style Blend" for these three ingredients

In skillet cook ground beef until browned; drain off excess fat. (I often will cook ground beef in a covered dish in the microwave-this works well if meat is still frozen.) Transfer meat to crock pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 8 – 10 hours. Serves 10 – 12.

I started collecting cookbooks when I joined the "Better Homes and Gardens" Cookbook Club when I was in high school. The basis for this recipe came from the "Better Homes and Gardens Crockery Cooker Cook Book." Over the years I tweaked it a bit, so I guess you could call it my own recipe now. I figure it is pretty much a complete meal with so many vegetable in it, but good accompaniments are crackers, cole slaw, or what my mom served with chili: lemon carrot jello (lemon jello with grated carrot in it). Our son, Richard, has turned to the Hoosier way and likes spaghetti in it, so I'll cook him up some pasta, but don't mix it in my batch.

Since at one time I was on Weight Watchers, I figured up that 1 cup of this has 3 points.

This year, we actually celebrated Christmas with our kids on December 22, since Elizabeth and Toby were going to his sister's to be with his family on the 25th. So Gary, Richard, and I planned to go to a matinee movie today and I thought chili would make great meal for this evening. We ended up having two of our friends, Pam and Christine join us for the movie and I invited them over for chili. Pam brought some shrimp with her and we all feasted on chili and shrimp cocktail. It was so delicious, I have now declared that chili and shrimp cocktail is the official Law Christmas night meal! So Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Waffle Mix

1¼ c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
¾ c. nonfat dry milk*
¼ c. ground flaxseed
2 T. egg white powder
4 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. Splenda or sugar
½ tsp. salt

Measure all into bowl and whisk together blending well. Store in tightly sealed baggie or container.

To make waffles, beat together the following and blend into mix:

2¾ c. water
½ c. oil

Bake on hot waffle iron. I get 14 5-inch squares out of the batch.

I have always liked waffles better than pancakes, because they are crispier. This is my adaptation of a basic waffle recipe. I liked this recipe because it did not call for beating egg whites separately and folding them into the batter. It is just mix up and go! I was just experimenting with it when I came up with the idea of using part whole wheat flour and then ground flaxseed as part of the oil. I think it makes them a little healthier. Of course, my topping my baked waffle with peanut butter and syrup may contradict that. (Kind of like that Diet Coke with the burger and fries.) When I mentioned to Elizabeth that I decided my recipe could be made into a mix that could be made ahead and then just the liquid ingredients added, she immediately asked if Santa could bring her a batch in her stocking. It's waiting for you now, Elizabeth, Santa forgot to bring it to our early Christmas on Tuesday. The batch I made this morning turned out yummy, even if I do say so myself! Merry Christmas!

* Note: If you don't have nonfat dry milk, you can omit this and use 2¼ c. milk when mixing up batter with ½ c. oil and ¼ c. water.

05/01/10: Had the opportunity to use the mix I made up with nonfat dry milk on 04/01/10 (stored it in a baggie with directions to add oil and water). They turned out perfect!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hot Cocoa

½ c. sugar
¼ c. HERSHEY’S® Cocoa
Dash salt
1/3 c. hot water
4 c. milk
¾ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in saucepan; stir in hot water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk and heat. DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and add vanilla. (I usually forget to add vanilla, but this tastes yummy, anyway.)

Elizabeth always requests that I make "real" hot cocoa (as opposed to hot chocolate) for Christmas, so I made it this morning as we celebrated Christmas a little early since she and Toby will be at his sister's in Illinois on Christmas Day. I had forgotten how absolutely delicious this hot cocoa is! (It's the recipe on the HERSHEY'S can.) It has a much richer taste that hot chocolate and is worth the extra time. Just remember to stir before serving in your favorite mug or, even better, a fancy tea cup. Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator and reheated. (If using microwave to reheat-use about 70% power for 60 seconds or less, depending on your microwave's power.)

When I was a child, my favorite breakfast was Cocoa and Toast. Mom would make this cocoa, make toast, butter it, and cut it in quarters (triangles, no squares for me!). I remember sitting at the kitchen table in my p.j.'s and dipping my toast in the cocoa. Now it takes a certain knack to dip buttered toast in cocoa, without ending up with an "oil slick" floating on your cocoa. You must hold the toast almost parallel to the cocoa and only dip the bottom of the piece of toast in. Since this takes great concentration, it was not unusual for my mom to have to encourage me on school mornings to eat just a little faster so I would not be late. As I recall there was just something very comforting and warm about sharing the table with Mom, she with her cup of coffee and I with my toast and cocoa. I guess it was just one of the ways she showed her love for me.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cheese Balls

4 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, brought to room temperature (I use 2 regular and 2 fat
free – don’t use all fat free-makes mixture too soft)
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 small can chopped ripe olives
Large pinch of baking soda
1 c. finely chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients together well. Cover and chill a few hours or overnight. Form into 3 or 4 balls. Roll each ball in paprika. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Makes 3 - 1 pound balls or 4 - 12 oz. balls.

This recipe was given to me by Judy Beavers (now Hobby), a co-worker at the Peach County Department of Family and Children Services in Fort Valley, Georgia, where I worked as an eligibility caseworker from 06/75 to 07/79. Yep, we were "Welfare Workers." The thing I remember best and admire about Judy is that she certainly lived her Christian faith. She often invited me to come to church with her. When having dinner with Judy and her mom one night, I remember Mrs. Beavers saying "grace" before we ate. What astonished me was that is was not a memorized verse, but she truly just spoke to God and let me have a glimpse of what having a true relationship with Jesus could mean. It was an "a-ha" moment for me and important in my own Christian development.

You'll notice this cheese ball has black olives in it. What is funny is I really don't like black olives. Now, our daughter, Elizabeth, always tells me, "Don't remind me that your cheese ball has black olives in it, 'cause I don't like black olives!" However, she really likes this cheese ball. I often make a batch up at Thanksgiving, and have even kept one or two until Christmas (wrapped well and kept refrigerated). I made sure it was one of the things served at her "Last Day of 29" surprise party today. I'll give her one for the New Year's Eve party she and Toby will be attending. In February, I'll make another batch and shape them like footballs for Superbowl parties. They always seem to be a hit. I have to limit how often I make this recipe, because it seems to be addictive. I think the best crackers with this are Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Triscuit.

Another thing I will note about this cheese ball, is that I would not make it if I did not have my KitchenAid stand mixer; the mixture is so very stiff. Because I have the grater attachment for the mixer, I usually just put the pecans through that which does make for very fine pieces of nuts.

Hope you enjoy this treat!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

½ c. butter or margarine
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¾ c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 400º F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix together flour and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Dough will be very stiff. DO NOT CHILL.
Divide into 2 balls. On floured surface, roll each ball into circle 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 – 10 minutes on top rack of oven. Remove from cookie sheet immediately. Cool. Ice with Cream Cheese Icing and decorate as desired. Yield: approximately 3 dozen, but this will depend on size of cookie cutter used.

Cream Cheese Icing: Mix together one 8 oz. package cream cheese, ½ c. Crisco, 1 tsp. clear vanilla and ½ tsp. clear butter flavor. (Crisco and clear flavorings are used to keep icing very white, thus if you color it, the color will be true.) Slowly add 1 pound sifted confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth.

I discovered the recipe for theses cookies when I bought a set of Wilton Sesame Street Cookie Cutters in 1974 to make a cake for my best friend's 2 year old son, "Ronnie-Man." His dad's name was Ronnie, hence the nickname. I fell in love with this recipe because, unlike most sugar cookie recipes, you do not chill the dough. So once I start the mission to make cookies, I can work straight through. I think this cookie is just perfect for icing and decorating because it's not very sweet, so the icing tops them off perfectly.

The cream cheese icing recipe is one I adapted from another friend's Italian Cream Cake recipe. Elizabeth and Toby wanted Cream Cheese Icing on their wedding cake, so to keep it a lovely white, I used Crisco (the basis of most decorator icing), instead of butter or margaine, then added clear vanilla and butter flavorings.

Because almost anything tastes better with cream cheese icing, I decided to pair it with my sugar cookies, instead of a regular buttercream decorator icing and entered these in the Kentucky State Fair in 2006 and they won a blue ribbon in the Sugar Cookie Division! (By the way, they were cut in "Seashell" shapes.)

My favorite cookie shapes for Christmas with this recipe are Christmas trees, snowflakes, stars, holly leaves, and JOY. (Yes I have a cookie cutter that cuts out the word, JOY. It's one of my more recent acquisitions, and makes a striking cookie when I just use red, white, and green icing to trace the letters on the cookie.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spice Cookies aka "Spice Elephants"

2 c. packed brown sugar (I always use dark brown sugar-love the intense flavor)
1 ½ c. butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. baking soda

In large mixing bowl, beat together sugar and butter. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy. In separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add to beaten mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. (I often make up to this point and then put dough in Tupperware or other tightly sealed bowl and refrigerated until I’m ready to bake, up to several days, even.)

Preheat oven to 375º. On floured covered surface, roll dough to about 1/8 inch thick. (Best to do in small batches so dough stays fairly chilled-I generally roll out about a sixth to eighth of the dough at a time.) Cut with floured cookie cutter. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheet about ½ - ¾ inch apart. (I do this with a small spreader.) Reshape trimmings into a ball and place back in refrigerator while cutting a fresh batch of dough.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before removing from pan. Finish cooling on rack or tea towels.

How many this makes depends on size of cookie cutter used. I generally get about 10 dozen spice elephants from one recipe.

This recipe comes from a cookbook I purchased from a Cookbook Club many years ago. (Great Little Sweet Treats by Vanessa-Ann; published by Meredith Press, Des Moines, Iowa, 1992) The recipe, "Sun, Moon and Stars," called for you making cardboard patterns of those shapes and even sculpting faces for the sun and moon cookies. Since one of my mottos is "Have occasion, have cookie cutter," Elizabeth and I decided just to adapt recipe to use whatever cookie cutters caught our fancy. Since Toby and Elizabeth spurred me to active Republican Party service, these cookies usually take the shape of the Republican Elephant, thus "Spice Elephants." If I have the time, these usually find their way to Republican functions. I teased Glenn when I made them for the "goody bags" for the Young Republican National Convention Selection Committee several years ago, that those cookies were the reason Indianapolis was chosen to host that event last year. For Christmas, I like to use my Pine Cone, Reindeer, and "Gingerbread Man" cookie cutters - those are supposed to be brown and require little, if any, decoration. People often tell me they love my "Gingerbread" cookies, but I have to correct them, since as you can see there is no ginger in them! Blessings to you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet Potato Rounds with Cinnamon Pecans

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices (Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter works great)
½ c. butter, melted
½ c. orange juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Cinnamon pecans, optional (recipe below)

Arrange sweet potatoes slices in overlapping rows in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Combine the butter, orange juice, salt and cinnamon; drizzle over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with chopped cinnamon pecans, if desired. Cover and bake at 350º for 55 – 60 minutes or until tender. Serves 10.

Cinnamon Pecans

1 c. granulated sugar
1 T. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. water
2 c. pecans

Boil first four ingredients approximately 5 minutes until mixture spins a thread. Add the pecans. Pour onto buttered platter or baking sheet. Separate with forks. Cool.

I'm not exactly sure where I found the recipe for the Sweet Potatoes, I served it to about 100 people on an Emmaus Walk. The Cinnamon Pecans were my own addition to them when I made them last Thanksgiving. The recipe for the pecans (pee-CANS, not pe-CAHNS!)came from a friend of my dad's, Rosalie Story, who I met when we took a trip south after Dad retired, and later we moved to South Carolina. He and Rosalie were both from Indiana and met in Terre Haute their freshman year in college in the late 1930's. Dad left college after a year and moved to DC to work for the Veterans Administration and sometime later Rosalie moved south; don't know if that was before or after she married Bob Story. Listening to Rosalie, one would never believed she lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, such a southern accent! She taught both my sister, Stephie, and me, some southern vernacular (e.g. "You're a mess!" is actually a compliment). So if you try these and like them, how about "Givin' me some sugar!" the next time you see me.

Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Icing


2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350º F. Mix all ingredients except pecans, until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into well greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool 10-15 minutes, then take out of pan and cool completely.

Caramel Icing:

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk
3-3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil. Stir 1 minute or until slightly thick. Cool slightly. Add milk and beat smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar till spreading consistency. Frost cake (quickly)!

The basis for this recipe came from a Plum Cake recipe from a friend and co-worker at the Peach County Dept of Family and Children Services, Laura Kelly Gibbs. In that recipe, 2 small jars of strained baby food plums were used, not 1 c. pumpkin. However, the last time I went to make this cake I could not find any baby food plums! Thus I decided pumpkin should work just as well. On the Plum Cake, instead of Caramel Icing a lemon icing was used. (2 c. powdered sugar, 1 stick margarine, and juice of 1 lemon. Heat together and pour over warm cake after removing it from pan.) I did enter this in the Kentucky State Fair in 2009, but no ribbon for it. However, Elizabeth told me in August that she wanted this at Thanksgiving. So, what did those judges know anyway?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. granulated sugar
1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin (approximately 2 c.)
1 c. shortening
2 T. grated orange rind (if using fresh, you may want to use only 1 T.)
4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix sugar, pumpkin, shortening, and orange peel. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. Add chocolate chips. Drop by medium cookie scoop (2 T.)* onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake until light brown, about 18-20 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.
*For smaller cookies, use small cookie scoop (1 T.) and only bake about 10-12 minutes. With this scoop, the recipe makes about 10 dozen.

These cookies came to us from our marvelous, fabulous friends, the Skogmans. Linda made these for Mark to take in his lunch and kept them in the freezer. (They taste great frozen, too!) After introducing these cookies to us, Linda found she had to make double batches, as all the Laws would help themselves to a cookie or two every time we came over! However, Linda was just that kind of a friend, whatever she had was yours. For years, until they moved to Illinois, we spent many a Sunday afternoon together; Linda and I would cheer on our favorite NFL teams, college hoops' teams, and the Cubs, while our husbands, Mark and Gary found things to do around the house and yard. Our daughters, Mary Beth and Elizabeth are only 1 year apart and so had much in common. Then despite the age difference in our sons, Josh is 7 years older than Richard, they were great buddies. I took a batch of these with us when we were able to attend both Josh's and Mary Beth's weddings. Linda seemed to really enjoy them. (She even asked if she had to share them!) Every time I take a bite of these cookies, I thank God for such special friends, Linda, Mark, Josh and Mary Beth Skogman.

Apple Crumb Pie

Pastry for Single Crust Pie:

1¼ c. all-purpose flour (or ¾ c. all-purpose flour and ½ c. whole wheat pastry flour)
½ tsp. salt
1/3 c. plus 1 T. Crisco
¼ - 1/3 c. cold water

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut in Crisco till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough with hands. Roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry abound rolling pin and lift to and unroll in 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful to avoid stretching pastry. Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond edge of pie plate. Flute edge or finish as desired.


½ c. white sugar
2 T. all purpose flour
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 tsp. cinnamon
8 c. peeled and thinly sliced apples.

In a large bowl stir together the first four ingredients of filling. Add apple slices and toss with mixture to coat. Place apples in the prepared piecrust.


½. c. all purpose flour
½ c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. mace
¼ c. margarine, softened

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients of the topping. Cut in the margarine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apple slices.

To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 30 minutes more or until topping is golden. Serves 8.

This recipe did win Third Place in the Crisco "My Favorite Pie" competition at the Kentucky State Fair in 2005. One of the judges,a chef at Morton's Steak House in Louisville, told me he thought it was better than their apple pastry dessert! This is also a good recipe for Apple Crisp. Just place apple mixture in a buttered pie plate, top with crumb topping and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. (In other words, skip the pie crust.)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is such a special time of year. I can remember years when Mom and Dad would host Thanksgiving at our house. There would be the 6 of us, my Grandma King, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Betty and their 6 daughters, all in the family room - the ping pong table would be called into service for us all to sit around. Then there was the year I was in 10th grade and I asked and Mom allowed me to prepare the entire Thanksgiving dinner, that was an experience. Luckily she was right beside me to give me pointers on getting everything ready to serve at one time and help in general.

Later years after my brothers had both married and Mom told them both to celebrate Thanksgiving with their wives' families on Turkey day and come over on the weekend to celebrate with us. I can still hear her reply to my oldest brother's wife the first Thanksgiving after they were married, when she asked, "Mrs. Plue, what time do you like to serve Thanksgiving dinner? My mom likes to have it at 1:00 ." Mom replied, "Why don't you just plan to be at her house on Thursday, and you and Rob come to our house this weekend? That will just make it easier on you and anyway, I know you love me even if you're not here on Thursday." She just didn't see the point in rushing from one home to another and eating two huge meals in one day. I vowed to be like that when I had married kids!

After both my older brothers had married and their own households, Dad and Mom started a new trend. The week of Thanksgiving Mom would roast a small turkey, make a pan of dressing, gravy and the big 3 of pies for us: apple, pumpkin, and mincemeat (using Nonesuch Mincemeat in the box). Then we would go out to eat on Thanksgiving Day, usually at the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria. But because of Mom's preparation, we would have the "good" leftovers!

Now for several years, Elizabeth and Toby have hosted Thanksgiving, having a house that is more suitable for a big get-together. Today I'll share the recipes for what Elizabeth has asked me to bring to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. (Apple Crumb Pie, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Icing, and Sweet Potato Rounds) Hope all who are reading this recognize and praise God for all the blessings in their lives. This quote from Matthew Henry was in my morning devotions this week, "Thanksgiving is good, thanks-living is better." I could not agree more! Again, enjoy all. I have decided to make them separate postings, so they'll be easier to find in case you want a particular one.

Blessings to one and all! Can you count yours or have you discovered there are too many to count like I have?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup

6 c. Chicken Broth (49 1/2 oz. can)
1 onion, chopped
1 (10 oz - 16 oz) pkg frozen chopped broccoli
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
12 - 14 oz. Lite Velveeta cheese, cut in 1/2 cubes

Cook first 4 ingredients together until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes for 1 inch chunks). Coarsely mash in pan. Add Velveeta; heat until melted. DO NOT BOIL, stir constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1 tsp. of Kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.) Good with some crusty bread and fruit salad.

I like this recipe because it is quick (especially if you have someone else who will peel your potatoes for you like my Gary will). My friend, Ann Weaver, who was my Core Group leader at Community Bible Study several years ago, shared this when our group lunched at her house one Thursday after Bible study. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Quick Coffee Cake

2 c. sifted all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
6 T. shortening
(OR 2 c. biscuit mix, such as Bisquick can be substituted for the above)
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. mace
½ c. milk
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 c. raisins or currents (optional)

1½ T. butter, melted
¼ c. sugar
1 T. all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450º. Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening, if not using biscuit mix. Combine milk and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until mixture is blended. Spread evenly (dough is thick) into greased 9 inch round pan. Brush top with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over dough. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Cut into wedges while still in pan and serve.

I'm pretty sure my mom got this recipe in one of the many church cookbooks she had in her collection. We all considered this coffee cake a Sunday morning treat and loved it when we woke up to the wonderful cinnamon aroma! As kids, none of us wanted Mom to put in the raisins/currents but as an adult I have come to appreciate the flavor they add. I remember I would often turn my piece of cake over and eat most of the cake part, leaving just a little cake attached to the cinnamon/sugar crusty topping, savoring that last. I think I liked to do this also because the pan Mom used to bake this in left a slight swirly design in the bottom of the cake that I thought was too pretty to ignore. Guess I was really into food even back then! (maybe age 4 or 5?)

Friday, November 6, 2009



¾ c. cider vinegar
½ c. canola or vegetable oil
¼ c. water
3 T. sugar
1 T. salt
2 – 3 tsp. Tabasco Sauce
A few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch of dry mustard

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Brush on chicken as you place on grill with medium hot coals. Every 5 minutes, brush with sauce, turn and brush again. Do this until chicken is done.
Depending on size and type of pieces you are grilling, cooking time may have to be adjusted. If you leave the skin on, watch carefully as they will burn fairly easily. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts usually take about 20 – 25 minutes, and I usually start these still frozen.
Note: I cut this recipe in half for the amount of chicken I usually grill – 6-8 boneless breasts. You can make up the full recipe; pour half into a storage container to store half in the refrigerator for a week or so, until ready to grill chicken again. (Do not save the sauce that you have been dipping brush into while cooking chicken.)

This is what I grew up believing "Barbecued Chicken" is. The recipe came from a Kraft Foods little cooking pamphlet that Mom had picked up somewhere. My Dad was the Grill Meister at our house and I was his assistant, although I did not touch the grill, of course. One of my fondest memories is being out at the grill with Dad while he cooked. No matter what he was grilling, we always had "Nibbles," which were a hot dog or two that he would grill (when with chicken they would also be basted with the above sauce), break into pieces with his tongs and then after they cooled a bit, he would ask for my opinion on how they tasted. They always tasted delicious and I believe that was probably because they were grilled with love for his "assistant."

Another memory attached to this "Barbecued Chicken" is that when I went to work one day with Dad (he worked for the VA in DC), we went to Scholl's Cafeteria for lunch. This was a special treat, we did not eat out often in those days (mid 60's). I saw on the board one of the offerings was "Barbecued Chicken." "Yum!" I thought. (My mistake was looking at the listed offerings rather than at the steam trays with the actual food in them) Can you imagine my utmost disappointment when I was handed a plate with some chicken with a thick, gooey tomatoey sauce on it instead of the golden brown bird I was used to? Dad was so nice about it-did not make me eat it, even though that was certainly wasted money and it was what I ordered.

Hope this becomes a favorite of yours.

Gary reminded me of his first memory of this recipe. We grew up together in College Park; our parents were great friends. His dad wanted to try his hand at grilling chicken like my dad. Gary recalls the chicken his dad took off the grill should have been called "Charcoal Chicken." It was black and charred. (That's why I warned you to be careful if you leave the skin on!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

1/2 c. canola oil

1 pkg. (about 2 T.) dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 - 3/4 tsp. lemon pepper

1 tsp. dill weed

2 - 12 oz. pkg. Oyster Crackers

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Pour over oystser crackers and mix well, but gently, with spatula or wooden spoon. Cover tightly and let set at least one hour. Enjoy!

I often get requests to bring these to get-togethers. I try not to have these around the house because I find them rather addictive and would eat them until they are gone. Luckily, if there are some to bring home I can always take any leftovers to my dear friend, Becka. I can't remember who gave me the recipe to begin with, but I ask God to bless them for me.

You can make a quick little gift packet for people. Mix the dry ingredients together (Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix through dill weed in small zip lock bags. (You can get these at the Flea Market and Hobby Lobby, the 3x4 inch ones work well.) I attach a small tag to the bags with instructions: " Blend the contents of packet with 1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil. Pour over 2 - 12 oz. pkg. oyster crackers and mix well. Cover and let set at least one hour. Serve and enjoy!

Food Follows Me

This blog was the brainchild of my own Brain Child, my daughter Elizabeth, and I decided to give it a try. I love to cook and "play with food." Often I am involved in activities that involve food, hence my motto, "Food Follows Me." A few of those activities include Kitchen Team Leader for several Emmaus Walks, the leader of our church's Wednesday night dinners for 5 years, entering the Kentucky State Fair culinary contests (and winning a few ribbons), and one of my favorites - planning and organizing the preparation of the food for Elizabeth and Toby's wedding reception. I have been cooking since I could pull a chair up to the counter and help my mom or Grandma stir whatever kind of batter they happened to be mixing. (Perhaps we should not go into the time I decided to add more water to the pancake batter Mom had made. Luckily, she caught me before I had stirred it in and could just pour the water back off the thick batter! Pancakes were saved!) The recipes I share will not always be new ones, or even original ones, but will be ones I have made. I hope to also share some memories that the recipes call to mind. Tonight, I'll share a quick recipe, one of my quick go-to recipes when I need to take something to a party.