Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mary’s Memo #2242

     Baking picks up this time of year and there are several toll-free numbers to call for help. At the top of the list is Land O'Lakes® 1-888-782-9606, open 8 AM to 7 PM until Christmas Eve.
     Other toll-free numbers to call include Fleischmann’s® Yeast Baker’s Help Line at 1-800-777-4959; Reynolds® 14 hour Hotline at 1-800-745-4000; Hershey's® at 1-800-468-1714, from 9 AM to 4 PM; Libby's® at 1-800-854-0374; and Ocean Spray® at 1-888-682-3363. Most products list toll-free numbers on their cans or packages. I’m a big fan of toll-free numbers so don’t hesitate to use them when you have a question during the holiday season.

     I have never seen more holiday mixes at Chief and Rays than this year. They’re great for those who prefer to take the easy way out. Pillsbury® has Perfectly Pumpkin Cookie Mix and Ready-to-Spread Cream Cheese Frosting, also Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Mix and Ready-to-Spread Peppermint Frosting. Even a 24-ounce bottle of Mrs. Butterworth Syrup is dressed up in a Christmas outfit for a limited time.

     One thing I don’t want for Christmas is an appliance to make homemade soda pop! What I do recommend is a Keurig® coffeemaker, a birthday gift from Mary Ann this year. Keurig® makes all kinds of prepackaged coffee, tea and chocolate inserts but I prefer Folgers® made in a one-piece container compatible with the Keurig®. I’m saving money on coffee and it brews directly into my coffee cup in a minute! I have never been a fan of instant coffee but a lot of people who live alone use it because they don’t want to bother making a pot, another reason to have a Keurig®.
     For under $25.00 gifts, consider USA-made Anchor Hocking ® one and two cup glass containers with lids that are BPA free, perfect for baking, re-heating, serving and storing. I never seem to have enough containers this size and lids to fit them are even better. One and two cup containers with lids are also available at Pampered Chef® parties.

     Christmas is less than a month away but it isn’t too soon to bake Christmas cookies, providing they freeze well like Pumpkin Chews.

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)1 cup packed light brown sugar1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon nutmeg1 egg1 cup canned pumpkin1-1/2 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon soda(1) 6-ounce package chocolate chips or butterscotch, if you prefer1 cup raisinsCream together butter, sugar, spices, egg and pumpkin. Mix dry ingredients together. Add to pumpkin mixture. Fold in chips and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until firm to the touch. Do not over bake. Recipe makes 3-1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.
     If you’re going to a holiday potluck take along Pumpkin Spice Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.

4 eggs2 cups granulated sugar1 cup vegetable oil(1) 15-ounce can pumpkin2 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt2-3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice Cream Cheese Frosting(1) 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened2 to 3 teaspoons milk1 teaspoon vanilla4 cups powdered sugarPreheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until
a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. In medium bowl combine cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Cover and store in the refrigerator. To serve, cut in 7 rows by 7 rows. Recipe makes 49.
Source: Adapted from Pillsbury® recipe. Download PDF of Memo #2242

Mary’s Memo #2241

     Just in time for Christmas giving is Spoonful of Promises Warms the Soul by Susan Chang. The author takes readers on an eclectic voyage through her culinary memory via childhood recollections and recipes. The book, comprising 33 essays and recipes, begins with food scenes from Chang’s childhood, memories that forever tie her to the mother she lost to cancer early in her life and to the family that helped shape who she is today. This is followed by practical recipes for the weeknight parent and lessons Chang learned along her own parenting journey. There are special occasion recipes like pumpkin bread that fit in with November baking plans.

1-1/2 cups walnut pieces1/2 cup vegetable oil1/4 cup dark brown sugar2 eggs1/3 cup buttermilk9 ounces canned pumpkin puree1/2 teaspoon orange extract1-1/2 cups all purpose flour3/4 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon cinnamon1/2 teaspoon saltPreheat oven to 350ºF. Toast the walnuts for 12 to 15 minutes, chop and set aside. Measure out 1/2 cup oil. Dip a basting brush in the measuring cup and grease a standard loaf pan, 8x4x2 inches. In the bowl of a standard mixer, combine the brown sugar and oil on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and the orange extract. Let it continue to mix on low speed while you sift the dry ingredients. Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a sifter. Sift together onto a sheet of waxed paper. Carefully tilt the contents of the waxed paper into the mixer as it continues to run. Mix on low speed, scraping down the sides once, until just combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts gently and scrape the batter into the greased pan and bake for 65 to 70 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on rack 20 minutes before
Source: A Spoonful of Promises Warms the Soul by Susan Chang; Lyons Press, November 2011, $24.95/hardback.

     If there’s a “little princess” in your life Barbara Berry is back with the Pink Princess Party Cookbook, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. Recipes in the Pink Princess Party Cookbook are appropriate for children age 5 and older to make with the assistance of a grown-up.Recipes include Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Wands, Pink Princess Lemonade, Wildflower Quiche Cups and Pretty Pink Ladybug Cupcakes. Buy at for $15.95.
Berry is the founder of Kids Cook Austin, which is an exclusive kids’ kitchen supply store that offers cooking classes, camps and birthday parties for toddlers to teens. Her other books include Pink Princess Cookbook, Pink Princess Tea Parties, Fairies Cookbook and Pink Princess Cupcakes. Visit her at

     It’s certain the Pilgrims didn’t have green bean casserole at the first Thanksgiving dinner but there’s a possibility they had some kind of squash, maybe butternut? Although this is pure conjecture on my part I do think squash is a Thanksgiving kind of food and Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole an appropriate side dish. If there was a second Mary Thaman cookbook or supplement this recipe would be in it!

 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and sliced thin2 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin1/2 cup packed light brown sugar1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter1 tablespoon flour1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon cinnamon1/4 teaspoon nutmegArrange squash and apple slices alternately in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients with pastry blender and sprinkle over squash and apples. Cover dish with foil and bake in 350ºF oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Recipe makes 8 servings.


     If you have any questions at all about buying, thawing or preparing a turkey for roasting call the Butterball® hotline at 1-800-288-8372 weekdays from 10 AM to 7 PM CST, even on Thanksgiving Day! You will get a qualified person on the phone to answer your questions, not a recorded message! Having interviewed Butterball® spokespeople during my radio days, I can assure you that they’ve answered legitimate as well as bizarre questions so don’t be hesitant about asking yours. Butterball® also has helpful information on the internet.

Download PDF of Memo #2241

Mary’s Memo #2240

     Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom, a new cookbook from Chronicle Books, jars my memory of days gone by when roasts were the most practical choice for our family of six. I bought roasts large enough so I had leftovers for sandwiches or casserole dishes. Mother used to roast pork and beef together and it made the best gravy! I will admit that Rosbottom takes roasts to a higher level than we did with interesting rubs and marinades. A recipe for homemade barbecue sauce is in the cookbook but memo space is limited so I’m suggesting Ohio’s own Montgomery Inn® Barbecue Sauce for flavoring the sandwiches because it has a “homemade” taste. Just be sure to heat before using as directed on the label.


(1) 4.5lb. boneless pork shoulder (also called a Boston butt), tied2 Tbsp. chili powder1 Tbsp. ground cumin1 tsp. light brown sugar1/2 tsp. onion powderPinch of cayenne pepper (in my book that’s 1/8 tsp.)12 hamburger bunsMontgomery Inn® brand barbecue saucePat pork dry with paper towels and place on a work surface. Combine the chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, onion powder and cayenne. Rub the spice mixture over all surfaces of the roast. Wrap roast in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 8.
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Remove plastic wrap from roast and place on a rack in a pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Roast until you can pierce all surfaces of the pork easily with a sharp knife and a thermometer registers 190ºF, about 4 to 4.5 hours. Remove roast from the oven and let rest 20 minutes. Using two dinner forks “pull” the pork into shreds.
(Pork can be prepared 2 days ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate.) Spread on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with a little water, cover with foil and reheat in a 350 degrees F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.
Serve pork mounded on hamburger buns and drizzled generously with barbecue sauce.
Source: Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom; Chronicle Books, 2011, $24.95/softback.


      I think the Pillsbury® Doughboy™ is a cute character. I even collect Doughboy™ items, but let’s face it; he’s overoverweight from eating a lot of Pillsbury® recipes with way too many calories! That said we don’t need them in the Buckeye state where 66.6% of the population is overweight or obese while the national average is 63.1%, not something to brag about, either! When you’re surfing the net for recipes choose ones with fewer than 400 and better yet 300 calories or less per serving.

     Zesty Beef and Cole Slaw Soup was a winner when
I served it to Bryan Chief tasters a few weeks ago. I made changes in the recipe from Friday to Saturday because I thought the original recipe was too thick. Second day I used a 46-ounce bottle of V-8® Spicy Hot instead of 4 cups and added more green beans and less corn. It should be noted that Flavorite® makes a spicy juice in a 46-ounce bottle that’s cheaper than V-8®. Also, ground turkey can replace ground beef if you prefer.

1lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey1/2 cup chopped onion2 garlic cloves, minced2 cups cole slaw mix1-1/2 cups frozen corn2 cups frozen cut green beans46-oz. bottle V-8® Spicy Hot juice (or Flavorite® brand)14.5-oz. can Flavorite® Italian-style diced tomatoes1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce1/2 tsp. dried basilSalt to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)Cook meat, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Drain fat thoroughly. Add all ingredients to a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours. Recipe makes 10 servings. Soup freezes. Under no circumstance use canned corn or green beans because they’ll be way overcooked! I mention this because tasters asked.

     In addition to whole turkeys, Chief and Rays will also have turkey parts for sale before Thanksgiving. I prefer dark meat so I bought extra turkey thighs last year to freeze and cook later. A turkey thigh will provide enough meat for two or three servings, at least the size serving we are supposed to eat. McCormick® makes a turkey gravy mix so you can even have mashed potatoes and gravy with your roasted turkey
thigh. I’ve used McCormick’s® gravy mix and in my opinion it is superior to any canned variety. Download PDF of Memo #2240

Mary’s Memo #2239

     Don’t be fooled by the title, The Dead Celebrity Cookbook by Frank Decaro. It’s an honest-to-goodness cookbook featuring recipes from more than 145 deceased stars of stage and screen. Decaro is best known for his nearly 7-year stint as the movie critic on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and is now heard weekday mornings on his own call-in show on
Sirius XM Satellite Radio, which boast 20 million subscribers. A graduate of Northwestern University, he has written for a myriad of publications including The New York Times Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Newsweek, Vogue and TV Guide. The inspiration for the cookbook actually came from his college days when a group of friends decided to have a “Dead Celebrity” costume party dressed as their favorite celebrities. The only thing missing was the food. It took years to do it but Decaro, an accomplished home cook, finally put food with the faces in The Dead Celebrity Cookbook, published
in October by Health Communications, Inc. (HCI).
     I loved the mystery series, Columbo, and the reruns, too, starring Peter Falk as Frank Columbo. Although Falk died earlier this year his Pork Chop recipe is included in the cookbook.

6 pork chops1 medium onion, finely chopped1/4 cup olive oil1/4 cup white vinegarSalt and pepper to taste1 teaspoon thyme1 cup water1/2 cup liquid from jarred vinegar peppers1 cup (or more) vinegar peppers2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarchPreheat the oven to 350ºF. Brown pork chops in olive oil in a heavy frying pan and remove to a casserole. Cook onions until transparent in same oil and add to casserole. Deglaze pan by adding white vinegar and stirring up all brown bits. Except for vinegar peppers, add to casserole along with all remaining ingredients (2 tablespoons cornstarch included). Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Add vinegar peppers and cook 15 minutes more
Remove pork chops and peppers to a warm serving plate. Add 2 teaspoons cornstarch to pan drippings to make gravy. Pour over pork chops and peppers and serve.
Source: The Dead Celebrity Cookbook by Frank Decaro; HCI publisher; $19.95/softback.


     When it comes to potato salad it can be both. At least my potato salad can be a main dish or a side, depending onthe serving size. For each potato, add a hard cooked egg
and a rib of chopped celery. These are the main components. Other ingredients include finely minced onion, sugar, vinegar, chopped fresh dill weed or dry dill and salt and pepper, all to taste. Toss the mixture with Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise® but don’t use too much! It should be moist but not “soupy” with mayo.
Why would I be talking about potato salad this time of year? It’s a subject to talk about whenever large eggs are 99¢ a dozen at Chief and Rays! This is a fantastic buy! Eggs are every bit the good source of protein that meat can be and much cheaper! If you prefer to buy deli potato salad instead of making homemade, kick it up nutritionally with the addition of chopped hard cooked eggs. How many? Figure on one egg per serving.

     Stir-Fry Brown Rice with Vegetables is a flavorful side dish to serve with just about any meat you can name. It’s nutrientdense, the kind of food everyone is emphasizing today! It replaces both potatoes and another vegetable. The original recipe comes from a Pittsburgh cookbook of the 80s called Food Editors’ Favorites. The cookbook is buried somewhere in the
house among my collection but not this recipe!

1 cup regular brown rice, uncooked1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules (Better Than Bouillon® preferred)3 tablespoons canola oil, divided1 cup thinly sliced regular carrots3 scallions including some tops, sliced1/8 teaspoon garlic powder1 large green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips1 cup thinly sliced zucchini1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms1/2 cup slivered almonds1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauceThe day before serving, cook the brown rice according to package directions adding bouillon granules to water. Cook rice completely and refrigerate. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in wok or large skillet over high heat. Add carrots; stir I minute. Add onions, garlic powder and green pepper; stir 1 minute, adding more oil as needed to prevent sticking. Add zucchini, mushrooms and almonds; stir-fry about 2 minutes
or until vegetables are barely crisp tender. Add rice and stir to separate grains and heat through. Season with soy sauce. Serve at once. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. Download PDF of Memo #2239