Pin It

Cold Spinach Dip

It's football season, and that means one thing - FOOTBALL SNACKS! Who doesn't love a complete spread of appetizers to enjoy while watching the game?! (It might just be the only part that I like...) IMG_7741 Cold Spinach Dip is a dip my mom has been making for years... it always makes an appearance at any big party or family get together. Cool, creamy sour cream and mayonnaise are combined with chopped spinach, vegetable soup mix, water chestnuts, and green onions to create a tangy dip with just the perfect amount of crunch. It's even green, which automatically makes it healthy, right? ;) To start, simply combine sour cream and mayonnaise with a packet of Knorr vegetable soup mix. IMG_7737 Then, stir in chopped spinach, green onions, and chopped water chestnuts (my favorite part). IMG_7738 Let it chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and then serve with your favorite chip! I love it with pita chips, and it's also really good with cubed Hawaiian bread. IMG_7744 Looking for other easy appetizer ideas? Check these out!  

Cold Spinach Dip

Yield: 4 cups

  • 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package Knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 16-oz. container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 8-oz. cans water chestnuts, chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped


Stir together soup mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise until well-blended. Stir in spinach, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cover; chill at least 2 hours. Stir before serving. Excellent served with pita chips or Hawaiian bread.

Source: family favorite

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – September 15th


Formal entertaining is almost a lost art because the younger generation has a more casual lifestyle than their parents and grandparents. Instead, their parties are likely to include salsas, dips with crackers or chips. I admit they’re a great catalyst for getting a party off to a good start because they encourage guests to congregate around while scooping and munching. 150 Best Dips and Salsas by Judith Finalyson and Jordan Wagman should satisfy many dietary preferences from strictest vegans to wide ranging omnivores. There’s a wonderful rainbow of textures and flavors, from salty and sweet to spicy and sour. Many of the recipes are simple and can be prepared ahead if time.

Judith Finalyson is a best selling author whose lifelong love of food and passion for cooking has translated into sales of over 1 million cookbooks. Judith resides in Toronto, ON. Jordan Wagman was nominated as a “Rising Star in North America” by the James Beard Foundation He is the author of Easy Gourmet Baby Food. Jordan also lives in Toronto. Spinach and Artichoke Dip has become a classic and Finalyson and Wagman’s version is made in a small (no more than 3.5-quart) slow cooker.


• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 8-oz. cream cheese, cubed
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 (14.5-oz) can artichokes, drained and finely chopped
• 1 pound fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and thoroughly washed in a colander

In slow cooker stoneware, combine mozzarella, cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, pepper, artichokes and spinach. Cover and cook on high 2 hours, until hot and bubbly. Stir well and serve with tortilla chips or sliced baguette. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.
Source: 150 Best Dips and Salsas (; September 2014, $19.95/softback)


According to Stephan Torres, clinical dietician with New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical College, sugary beverages are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet including regular sodas, sports drinks and sweetened coffees and teas. Torres recommends limiting processed foods in general. “If your diet consists of lean meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, low-fat dairy and grains, you will avoid added sugar,” Says Torres.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2014.


Being a firm promoter of family meals, I’m giving you a week’s notice to celebrate this event next Monday. Unfortunately too many meals are “eaten on the run” now (having had 4 children who participated in extra-curricular activities, I know how challenging this can be) so Family Meal Night is a way parents and children can discover how enjoyable a meal together can be! Forget about electronic devices that have replaced verbal communication skills in many homes. Yes, I know the answers for everything are just a Google away and I appreciate that but there are other ways to find answers. Verbal communication skills are necessary when it comes to getting a job. And where better than the family dinner table to start!


The Velvet Ice Cream Company in Utica, Ohio has been owned by the Dager family for 4 generations. For the occasion there are special 100th anniversary flavors including All Natural Bourbon Pecan. It’s like butter pecan with a kick. Ball Corporation in Muncie, Indiana is also celebrating its 100th year. For the event there are Vintage Green Wide Mouth Quarts, also green pint ones. I’m a sucker for dated merchandise and haven’t decided to store staples in them or hold on to them as a collectable.


• 1-1/2 cups elbow macaroni
• 12-oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
• 1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
• 1 soup can milk
• 1/4 pound Velveeta cheese, cut in small cubes
• 2 tablespoons softened butter
• 6 drops Tabasco sauce
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook macaroni 10 minutes in boiling, salted water. Drain well. Dilute soup with milk. Combine with remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into buttered 1.5-quart casserole. Bake in 325ºF oven for 1 hour or until macaroni is browned and bubbly. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Download PDF

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – September 8th


While USA-grown blueberries are still available, do make Blueberry Lemon Quick Bread from The Joy of Blueberries by Theresa Millang. Millang presents over 200 recipes from soups to ice cream so you’re sure to find one that’s right for the occasion! Also included in the book are tips for growing, choosing and storing blueberries.


• 2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, mixed with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low speed until well blended. Stir in flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with flour, just until blended. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. With a wooden pick, prick sides and top of warm loaf. Brush with lemon juice-sugar mixture. Cool on wire rack.
Source: The Joy of Blueberries by Theresa Millang (Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minnesota, 2003).


I learn a lot at my Bryan Chief demo table each week. During the growing season garden tomatoes are really appreciated and I can’t get enough to suit my craving. Recently a customer told me she preferred to grow tomatoes close to her house but because of a black walnut tree nearby, she had to plant them a fair distance away or they wouldn’t grow. Why, I asked myself, so looked on the internet for an explanation when I got home (you can find the answer for about anything on the internet). Sure enough, U niversity of Wisconsin E xtension plant pathologists Anna Joy and Bryan Hudelson report that black walnut trees produce a toxic substance called juglone that prevents many plants including tomatoes, asparagus, peppers, potatoes and rhubarb from growing as far away as 8 feet. Symptoms may occur within a few days causing yellow and brown spots on tomato leaves and will wilt on the vine. There is no cure for a plant affected by walnut toxicity. Hickory nut trees can also affect growth of plants but not to the extent that black walnut trees do.


When you think of cruciferous vegetables, you probably go straight to the usual suspects …. broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. However, the family is far bigger than many people realize and also includes kale, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, watercress, broccoli rabe, turnips, radishes, arugula, mustard greens and collard greens. For those who take a blood thinning medication such as warfarin (Coumadin), be aware that many of these vegetables are high in vitamin K and can interact negatively with blood thinning or clot-prevention medications. A consistent intake of these foods will enable your doctor to regulate your medication dose based on the amount of vitamin k you regularly consume.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2014.


You may complain about food prices but we spend less on food than any other society in history or anywhere else in the world, yet get more for it. We now spend less than 10 percent of our disposable income on food, down from 20 percent in the 1950s. For lower-income Americans, food still accounts for about one third of disposable income.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2014.


I haven’t met a mushroom I didn’t like and usually have them on hand for recipes. Baby bella mushrooms, also known as cremini, seem to be a better keeper than white button ones, at least for me. They cost a little more but have a slightly firmer texture than the white (perhaps the reason for their longer storage life). Bryan Chief shoppers were enthusiastic about the following recipe made with them. Serve as a topper for grilled steak or as a side dish.


• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 (8-ounce) packages baby bella mushrooms, sliced (I used an egg slicer)
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon red wine
• 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce (I use La Choy without gluten)
• Freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and stir until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 8 minutes more. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from recipe.

Download PDF

Pin It

Crispy Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn, and Bacon

Fall seems to be just around the corner, and I am so excited for all things fall. Not only do I get to enjoy all my favorite fall foods (pumpkin, apples, cinnamon, squash), but I get to meet my baby boy in November! The days could not go by quick enough. However, before jumping into fall foods, I thought I'd share one more recipe to use up the bounty of summer produce. Crispy Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn, and Bacon combines soft pillowy potato dumplings with fresh zucchini, corn, and crispy bacon. It's all pan-fried until crisp, and mixed with just a bit of half & half to bring it all together. Topped with Parmesan and basil, this meal is full of bright, fresh flavor. IMG_7699 Start by cooking about half a package of diced pepper bacon in a skillet. When it's crispy, remove it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave about 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the pan. (That's what makes the veggies so good!) Then, prep your veggies. Zucchini, corn, and sweet onion, all of summer's finest. I also threw in some diced cherry tomatoes because they were on their last legs in my fridge. IMG_7689 Saute the veggies up in the bacon fat until crisp tender; then remove to a plate. Next, add a package of prepared gnocchi to the same skillet. Let it brown on each side; then stir the veggies and bacon back in, along with a little bit of minced garlic. Let everything pan fry a few minutes, and season it with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in a splash or two of half & half, and you are ready to serve! PicMonkey Collage Serve the gnocchi topped with some Parmesan and fresh basil. Yum! My hubby and I were "mmmmm"-ing all the way through this meal. I also served it with a side of garlic cheese bread, which complimented it perfectly. IMG_7699

Crispy Gnocchi with Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Bacon

Yield: 4 servings

  • 16-oz package gnocchi
  • 6-8 slices pepper bacon, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • ½ sweet onion, sliced
  • ¾ cup frozen or fresh corn
  • salt & fresh ground pepper pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼-⅓ cup half & half
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil chiffonade


1. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions; drain and set aside.

2. In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain all fat except for 2 tablespoons in skillet.

3. Add zucchini, onion, and corn to skillet; cook until crisp tender. Remove from skillet.

4. Add prepared gnocchi to skillet. Let toast 1-2 minutes on each side, until they develop some brown color. Stir veggies back into skillet and add garlic along with salt & pepper to taste. Let cook 2-3 minutes.

5. Stir in half & half; let simmer 1-2 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil chiffonade.

Source: adapted from Iowa Girl Eats 

Pin It

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Labor Day marks the 'unofficial' end to summer and beginning of fall, but I always keep using the grill for several weeks into September and October. Grilling is such an easy, no-fuss way to put a quick meal on the table. (And without a lot of dishes!) IMG_7664 Grilled Steak Fajitas are one of my favorite things to cook on the grill. It is one of my mother-in-law's best-loved recipes, and there are never any leftovers whenever she makes them for the family. The steak is marinaded in a sweet & tangy sauce, then grilled until perfection. The fajitas are served with cheese, sour cream, sautéed peppers & onions, and a homemade fresh pico de gallo, which complements the flavors perfectly. The marinade is really easy - soy sauce, pineapple juice, cumin, garlic powder, and a little bit of lime juice. Marinade the steak for at least 2 hours, or up to 24. Once the steak has marinated, grill it over medium-high heat until your desired doneness. Once it's done, let it sit about 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips. IMG_7659 IMG_7662 While the steak is grilling, prepare the vegetables and pico de gallo. For the vegetables, sauté a sliced onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper in a little bit of olive oil until tender. I threw in some sliced mushrooms that were on their last legs in my refrigerator. IMG_7656 For the pico de gallo, combine fresh diced tomatoes, diced onion, minced jalapeno, and diced cilantro with a little bit of lime juice and salt. IMG_7658 To serve the fajitas, layer up the steak with the sautéed veggies, pico de gallo, and all your favorite toppings. Our favorites are cheese and sour cream. (Just a hint - spread your sour cream over the bottom of your tortilla before you put the meat on... this ensures evenly distributed sour cream and prevents it from flopping off in the middle of a bite.) IMG_7663

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2-lbs flat iron steak
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 12 small flour tortillas
  • For the marinade
    • 1 cup soy sauce
    • cups pineapple juice
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • teaspoons garlic powder
    • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • For the pico de gallo
    • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
    • ¼ cup onion, diced
    • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    • ½ jalapeno , minced
    • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice
    • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For serving
    • sour cream
    • shredded cheese


1. For marinade, combine soy sauce, pineapple juice, cumin, garlic powder, and lime juice in a large gallon-size freezer bag. Add steak to marinade. Let marinate at least 2 hours (or up to 24).

2. To prepare fajitas, grill steak over medium-high heat until desired doneness. Let sit 5 minutes; slice into thin strips.

3. While steak is grilling, sauté onion and bell pepper strips in oil until tender.

4. To prepare the pico de gallo, combine all ingredients in a small bowl; toss to combine.

5. To serve, layer steak, veggies, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo in tortilla.

Source: family favorite

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – September 1st


Years ago, who would have thought that we’d have specialized cookbooks like The Complete Coconut Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Formerly relegated to the role of a decadent treat, coconut is now embraced with an enthusiasm that borders on obsession. And it’s no wonder, given its smooth, creamy texture and the compelling health and nutrition benefits of pure coconut. Everyone from hardcore health-foodies to recreational cooks …. and everyone in between …. will enjoy these all-natural, high energy, easyto-make coconut dishes. The 200 innovative recipes cover a broad spectrum of fresh flavors and provide dependable results including user-friendly nutrition information and in-depth “how to” tips for each coconut product. Camilla V. Saulsbury is a writer, recipe developer, fitness trainer, endurance athlete and creator of the healthy food blog, Power Hungry. She’s been featured on the Food Network, Today, Good Morning America Health, QVC and in multiple publications like the New York Times, Southern Living, Food Network Magazine and others. She currently lives with her husband and son in Texas.


• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
• 1-1/2 cups coconut water
• 1-1/2 pounds baby (or regular) bok choy
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

In large skillet, combine garlic, hot pepper flakes and coconut water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Arrange bok choy evenly in skillet. Reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes or until tender. Using tongs, transfer boo choy to a serving dish, cover and keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high and boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Stir in black pepper and coconut oil. Pour over bok choy. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: The Complete Coconut Cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury (; September 2014, $24.95/softback).


When I served cold cantaloupe soup at the Bryan Chief recently a lot of adult customers were hesitant to try it but not one preschooler who tipped the cup without stopping and said “yummy” when he finished it. So enthusiastic was this young boy that an adult standing near him decided to taste it, also.

This past weekend I served Broccoli Grape Salad when USA grown red grapes were on sale for 99¢/lb. A mother told her son he wouldn’t like it. WRONG! He took a sample, finished it and gave me a thumbs up. Moral to the story: Mothers should not discourage their children from trying a sample of something new to them. More times than not, children like it. If not, I thank them for at least being willing to try it.


• 1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cubed
• 2 cups orange juice
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Scrub cantaloupe before cutting (you have no idea how many people sniff before buying). Place in blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of the orange juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining orange juice, lime juice and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Garnish with fresh mint spring if desired. Recipe makes 6 servings.


We started this memo with a recipe using coconut oil and were finishing with a zucchini bread with coconut. Some zucchini breads have too much oil in my opinion while this one has only 1/2 cup per loaf. A slice is a healthy after school snack.


• 3 large eggs
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 cup canola oil
• 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3 cups shredded zucchini
• 3/4 cup flaked coconut
• 3/4 cup chopped nuts, either walnuts or pecans

Beat eggs, sugar and oil together. Add dry ingredients, zucchini, coconut and nuts and mix until ingredients are moistened. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Bake in 325ºF oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick poked in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan onto cooling rack. Store each in a plastic freezer bag.

Download PDF

Pin It

Greek Burgers

A very important holiday is quickly approaching... National Burger Day! Yes, there is such a thing, and it is celebrated every year on August 27. So, get those grills fired up and ready to grill your favorite burger! Chief offers several burger options ready to go in the meat case - bacon cheddar, mushroom, even mini sliders. It's super easy just to pick up a few gourmet patties and throw them on the grill. However, if you're feeling adventurous, give these Greek Burgers a try!  greek1 These burgers are made up of a mixture of beef, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, parsley, garlic, and breadcrumbs... which actually makes them quite nutritious! They're topped with a feta aioli (almost like a Greek tzatziki sauce), which complements the burger perfectly. Garnished with grilled onion rings, and served on fresh pita or naan bread, these burgers are a delicious twist on the classic. To make the patties, combine some ground beef and classic Greek seasonings (parsley, garlic, and oregano) along with frozen chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, panko breadcrumbs, and an egg to hold it all together. Form the mixture into 4 patties, and throw them on the grill. Grill on medium high heat until they are done to your likeness. greek3 During the last few minutes of grilling, throw some thick sliced onions onto the grill as well... they make a great burger topping. To prepare the feta aioli sauce, simply combine the Greek yogurt with the feta cheese, garlic, and a some fresh ground black pepper. When the burgers are done, load everything up! I like to serve them on fresh pita bread, and top them with the feta aioli, along with the grilled onions and some more spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. And yes, it's all pretty lying on the pita bread like in the pictures above, but not real practical for eating. This is what happened before we dug in: greek2 Looking for more burger ideas? Check out the following recipes!

Greek Burgers

  • Feta Aioli
    • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
    • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 1 tsp. minced garlic
    • ¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • Burgers
    • 1 sweet onion, sliced into thick rings
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    •  cup panko crumbs
    •  cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers
    • 1 tsp. dried parsley
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • ¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
    • 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, & squeezed dry
    • 1 egg , lightly beaten
    • 2 tsp. minced garlic
    • 4 pitas or naan breads
    • additional sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers
    • spinach


Prepare grill to medium heat. While grill is heating up, prepare burgers. Combine beef, panko crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, spinach, egg and garlic in large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Divide into 4 equal portions; shape into patties. Place patties on grill, and cook for 6 minutes on each side until desired doneness. During last 4-5 minutes of grilling, add onion slices to grill. While burgers are grilling, prepare feta aioli. In a bowl, combine yogurt, feta, garlic, and pepper. To assemble burgers, place a patty on the pita bread. Top with feta aioli, spinach, grilled onions, and additional sun-dried tomatoes.
Source: family favorite
Pin It

Mary’s Memo – August 25th


I plead guilty to eating unorthodox foods for breakfast such as leftover casseroles, a bowl of soup or even a sandwich! So recipes in 150 Best Sandwich Maker Recipes by Jennifer Williams sound great to me. I don’t have a sandwich maker appliance but not to worry …. recipes can be prepared with an all-inone-griddle or an old fashioned skillet. You’ll just have to alter the directions accordingly and sandwich may take longer to prepare. But whether you’re looking for a way to kick-start your day or the perfect anytime meal, these recipes are crowd pleasers! Author Jennifer Williams has spent the last decade cultivating her passions related to foods and health. She writes about many topics and is a syndicated contributor with the eMJay-Media network. Her books are designed to help people find inspiration and answers to questions they have in everyday life. Jennifer resides in Wisconsin.


• 1 English muffin, split in half
• 1 slice Cheddar cheese
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 2 large eggs
• Pinch freshly ground pepper (optional)
• Pinch salt (optional)

Place one English muffin half, split-side up, on bottom ring of sandwich maker. Top with cheese and bacon. Lower the cooking plate and top ring. Lightly spray the plate with cooking spray, then crack the egg into the ring. Pierce top of egg yolk with a toothpick or plastic fork. Season with pepper and salt if using. Place other muffin half, split side down, on top of egg. Gently close the cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until egg is cooked to your liking. Rotate cooking plate away from sandwich maker and lift rings. Use a plastic or nylon spatula to remove sandwich. Serve immediately.
Source : 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes (; September 2014, softback/$19.95). Purchase cookbook at or your favorite bookstore.


Although my weakness for potato chips is a known fact, it doesn’t include any of the finalists Lay’s has us voting for at Cappuccino Flavored chips submitted by Chad Scott, Henderson NV, are seasoned with cappuccino seasoning and lightly dusted with sugar. I brought a bag home to try and I might eat them before starvation but never to snack on or have with a sandwich!


Awhile back I mentioned new options for Nutella from Jif and Hershey's that I brought home to try: Hershey's Spread Chocolate Flavored with Hazelnut and Jif Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread. I’d never buy either one mainly because of the “empty calories.” Two tablespoons of Hershey Spread has 200 calories including 110 from fat, two tablespoons Jif spread has 230 calories with 130 from fat.

A Bryan Chief customer asked me why her cornstarch-thickened pie wasn’t thick enough. It may have been that she didn’t use enough but as long as I can remember, Mother thickened pies with Minute Tapioca and I do the same, using 3 tablespoons to thicken an 8-inch pie and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) to thicken a 9-inch one.

In case you haven’t noticed, all cake mixes now weigh 15.5-ounces instead of 18.5 ounces. Pillsbury reported that their cake mixes have been reformulated to account for the difference and assured me that I can make their Tunnel-of-Fudge cake with the smaller package of mix. They won’t guarantee it will work with other cakes but I plan to put it to the test with two Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It recipes. Stay tuned for results.

Another Bryan shopper requested my white chicken chili recipe because her friends said it was the best they had tasted. I had to go back to the March 22, 2010 memo for the recipe, adapted from one in the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Slow Cooker publication since I replaced chicken breasts with thighs and fresh chopped peppers for frozen ones.


• 2 pounds boneless, skinless thighs cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 (16-ounce) jar green salsa (also known as salsa verde)
• 1/2 each of red, green and yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips
• 1/2 medium sweet onion cut into thin slices
• 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with onion and garlic, undrained
• Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (optional but I used)

In a large bowl toss the chicken pieces with cumin and salt. In large non-stick skillet cook chicken cubes, half at a time, in hot olive oil over medium heat until browned on both sides. Drain off fat. Place chicken in 5 to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in salsa, fresh bell pepper and onion mixture, beans and undrained tomatoes. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high heat setting for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Serve in bowls and top with shredded cheese. R ecipe makes 9 cups. Note : Starting mixture is thick but when cooked is hearty soup consistency.

Download PDF

Pin It

Cinnamon Raisin Turkey Bagel Stackers

It's about that time... time to head back to school! Several of the schools here in Lima are headed back to class this week. For a lot of parents, that means it's time to pack lunches again. There's always the good ole' standbys - deli meat sandwiches, PB&J's, tuna salad. I imagine the kiddos might get bored eating the same thing everyday! (I know I would.) IMG_7602 Cinnamon Raisin Turkey Bagel Stackers are a great option for a twist on the traditional turkey sandwich. Yes, simple turkey & cheese is quite tasty, but these sandwiches take it up a notch. With tangy cream cheese, fresh dill, and turkey breast all stacked on a cinnamon raisin bagel, your tastebuds will be thanking you for taking the extra step. The sandwich is easy to assemble. First, toast up a cinnamon raisin bagel. You  might be thinking, "Cinnamon raisin?! Really?" However, the sweetness in the bagel pairs really well with the cream cheese and savory turkey, trust me. PicMonkey Collage   On top of the bagel, layer it all up - cream cheese, fresh dill, turkey breast, Swiss cheese, red onion, and fresh baby spinach. My favorite peppered turkey breast comes from the deli at Chief. The peppered turkey really adds a nice kick to the sandwich. IMG_7605 Not only are these a great lunch for your kiddo to take to school, but consider making a couple at once and taking them to work for your lunch, too!

Cinnamon Raisin Turkey Bagel Stackers

Servings/Yield: 4 sandwiches

  • 4 cinnamon raisin bagels, toasted
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, diced
  • ½ lb. peppered turkey breast
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 12-16 thin slices red onion
  • 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves


To prepare sandwiches, spread each toasted bagel half with cream cheese. Top bottom half with dill, peppered turkey breast, Swiss cheese, sliced red onion, and baby spinach. Place top half of bagel on sandwich and serve.

Source: family favorite
Pin It

Mary’s Memo – August 18th


125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes by Julie Hasson features incredibly creative recipes for everything from cakes, pies, breads, puddings, bars and muffins to beverages and sauces. And it goes without saying that no cookbook on chocolate chips would be complete without cookie ideas. Most recipes are designed for maximum impression with minimum fuss and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes by the novice and experienced baker. Julie Hasson is the author of six cookbooks and has written for Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times and Family Fun Magazine, as well as numerous internet sites and newspapers. She has been a spokesperson for national corporate clients and a celebrity chef, and is currently the host of the highly acclaimed internet cooking show, “Everyday Dish.” She and her husband also run a hip little food cart called Native Bowl in Portland, Oregon.

This sauce goes together in a snap. From beginning to end, it takes only 5 minutes to prepare.


• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/3 cup light corn syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup whipping cream
• 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Increase heat to medium high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, it will look like bubbling lava. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Whisk in cream. Add chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. The sauce will look like it is separating but will smooth out after a minute or so of whisking. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve warm over ice cream or with fruit, small cookies and cake cubes. Refrigerate sauce in a covered container for up to 1 week. Recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups.
Source: 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes by Julie Hasson ( Order from


Have you looked at the weight of a box of flavored crackers lately? I have and the best buy for the buck is a pound box of saltine crackers. My everyday cracker of choice is whole wheat saltines. The only time I buy any other kind is when company comes (because it’s what most expect). Many also contain MSG.


Be worried if you haven’t been offered any this month because the harvest is in full swing. Daughter Mary Ann sent a soup recipe to try. One of the ingredients is Campbell’s Beef Consomme with MSG so I replaced it with the same amount of Swanson Beef Broth (10.75-ounces).


• 4 slices bacon, sliced
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 2 pounds zucchini cut 1/2-inch thick
• 1 can Swanson Beef Broth
• 1-1/2 cups water
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
• Parmesan cheese

Fry bacon until crisp. Set bacon aside on paper towels and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Saute onion and garlic in bacon fat until onion is transparent. Add zucchini through white pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer until all vegetables are cooked. Puree with an emersion blender or blend 3 cups at a time in a blender. Serve with reserved bacon and Parmesan cheese. Recipe makes 4 servings. Note: Mary Ann likes a little heat added to this soup and her current heat of choice is a generous squirt of Sriracha but cayenne or other hot pepper sauce can be added.
Source: Cynthia Tipton, Valparaiso, IN via Mary Ann Thaman.


Although there won’t be a second cookbook, I wish Cajun Cabbage had been in the one and only. I make this for myself and it reheats well in the microwave. One taster asked how to get rid of the cabbage smell. Burn a scented candle afterwards. It works for me.


• 3 strips lean thick sliced bacon
• 1/2 of a large head of cabbage, coarsely shredded
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can Spartan Diced Tomatoes Seasoned with Green Pepper, Celery and Onion
• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or electric skillet until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Stir in cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, Cajun seasoning and Tabasco sauce into hot drippings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer 45 minutes. Before serving chop bacon and sprinkle on top of cabbage mixture. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Download PDF