Monthly Archives: October 2012

Mary’s Memo #2290


There’s a lot to know about apples and I can’t tell you how many times customers ask me what apple is best for what purpose, especially in the fall when freshly harvested ones are available. For them and you, I recommend The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011, $29.95/hardback). Open the book and there’s a guide to 59 popular varieties of apples, each with entries for origin, best use, availability, season, appearance, taste and texture accompanied by a colored picture. One-Hundred easy-to-make recipes follow, offering a full range of appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts. On the savory side, and just in time for Thanksgiving, there’s an apple cider brined turkey. Salads that caught my eye include Chicken Waldorf made with a rotisserie chicken and autumn coleslaw with dates, toasted pecans and salad-friendly apples. On the sweet side there are crisps, cobblers, cakes and six apple pie recipes. As a bonus, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook contains step-by-step color photographs that enhance the book’s overall appearance.

Amy Traverso is the senior food editor and home editor of Yankee Magazine. She was previously the food editor of Sunset and Boston magazines. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Salon, Travel + Leisure an Conde Nast Traveler.

What I like best about Apple Tea Cake with Lemon

Glaze is the layers of apples inside.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature,

plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup granulated sugar

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan

1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 small firm-sweet apple, unpeeled, cored, cut in half

lengthwise, and very thinly sliced (Ginger Gold, Pink

Lady or Jazz suggested)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
style="font-family: Times; font-size: medium; ">Glaze:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugarPreheat the oven to 350ºF and set a rack to the middle position. Butter and flour 8-1/2-inch by 4-1/2-inch bread loaf pan. Set aside. Combine the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer in a large bowl. Cream on high speed until paleand very fluffy. This will take 6 to 8 minutes. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. With mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture until just incorporated. Add half the buttermilk. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk, then the last of the flour mixture. Mix just until smooth. Do not over-mix. Pour a third of the batter into prepared bread pan and smooth with offset spatula. Top the batter with half the apples, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon. Repeat with an additional third of the batter and the remaining apples and cinnamon. Top with the remaining batter and smooth with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: In medium bowl, stir the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Remove cake from oven and let set for 5 minutes in the pan.While cake is still warm, poke the top all over with a toothpick inserted all the way. Pour half the glaze on the cake

and spread evenly with a spatula. Let set for an additional 10 minutes to soak up the glaze, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack for 30 more minutes. When cake is completely cool, drizzle generously with the remaining glaze, letting it run down the sides. Let the glaze dry for about 30 minutes and serve.

SOURCE: The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton Company, 2011, $29.95/hardback).


You can freeze it for at least one year or bake with it, using chopped up candy bar pieces instead of chocolate chips. Buy marked down Halloween candy at Chief and Rays and freeze for next year. Trust me, it tastes fine!

Or make BETTY CROCKER’S CANDY PIZZA recipe: Mix 1 pouch of peanut butter cookie mix with 1/3 cup vegetable oil and an egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings such as candy corn, candy bar pieces and nuts. Bake 10 minutes in preheated 350ºF oven. Sprinkle 1 cup miniature marshmallows on top. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned and cookie is set at edge. Cool completely in pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup of melted chocolate chips over top. Recipe serves 20.

If none of these ideas appeal to you, eat the leftovers!
Download PDF of Memo #2290

Chili & Cornbread

Holiday traditions. Most everybody has a family tradition or two that coincides with a special holiday. Now that we're nearing the end of October, it's about time for a whirlwind of holidays and special celebrations! (One of the best times of year, in my opinion.) One of our family traditions happens on Halloween. Every year on October 31, my mom would make a BIG pot of chili in the crock pot. We'd fill our bellies with a big bowl of chili (always topped with cheese!) plus a big ole' slab of cornbread. Growing up in the Midwest, chili was usually a welcome meal to warm us up in between trick-or-treat stops in the cold, blistery weather.  

  Now that I'm 400 miles from home, I still make a big pot of chili on trick-or-treat night. Even though I'm not out and about gallivanting around the neighborhood. Even though there's only two of us, and it takes us almost a week to eat the whole pot. Even though it was almost 80*F this year. (We were sweating a bit as we ate, but we enjoyed it!) It's the tradition - chili + trick-or-treat is a must! This Chili recipe actually comes from my mother-in-law. It's super simple and absolutely delicious. You can prepare it in the morning, and let it simmer in the crock pot all day. Or, if you're like me, and can't seem to get it together in the morning, an hour or two on the stove does the trick just fine, too. Start with a pound to a pound and a half of ground beef. Brown it with a diced onion, then spoon off as much fat as you can.   Add two cans of chili beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and a large can of tomato sauce.     Then the secret ingredients! 2 tablespoons of chili powder and 1/3 cup brown sugar. That's it! Let it boil and bubble for at least an hour to let all the flavors blend together.  

  Now, for the cornbread. Yes, Jiffy will work in a pinch, but I wanted to get a bit adventurous, so I consulted one of my favorite cooking magazines - the Food Network magazine.     I had my eye on a recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, and it didn't disappoint! Savory cornbread, filled with gooey pockets of cheddar cheese and spicy jalapeno bits. The gooey cheese was the best part.     Start by melting a bit of butter in your baking pan. This ensures that all the edges will be crispy & delicious.     Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.     Add the wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Then it's time for the fun stuff! Grated cheddar cheese, creamed corn, green onions, and diced jalapenos. Leave the seeds in if you dare. (Bwa ha ha...)     Bake at 400*F about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with chili!     The perfect meal to warm you up on a chilly day. Don't forget the cheese! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kim Anderson


Servings/Yield: 8 servings
  • 1-1.5 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 16-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 16-oz. cans chili beans
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • cup brown sugar
Method Brown beef and onion; drain off fat. Combine all ingredients and cook in crock pot 4-6 hours on low. Alternately, after browning the beef, you can simmer all ingredients in a big pot for an hour or two. Source: family favorite ---

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Servings/Yield: 8-inch square pan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup canned creamed corn
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
Method Preheat oven to 400*F. Melt butter in oven in 8x8-inch pan. Remove pan from oven once butter is melted; tilt to coat bottom and sides. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In small bowl, beat together buttermilk, eggs, and egg white. Add to dry mixture; stir until combined. Fold in cheese, corn, green onions, and jalapenos. Spread into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center coms out clean and the top is golden brown. Serve warm. Source: Food Network magazine

Mary’s Memo #2289


As the holidays approach, Lauren Chattman’s book,

Cookie Swap will be useful. I’ve always wanted to go to a

cookie swap but have never been invited. Cookie swaps are

fun, old school but also hip. Cookbook includes baking tips,

time lines and inspiration for invitations, decorations and

more. Cookie Swap is everything you need to know to host

one plus recipes for irresistible cookies and delectable swap


Lauren Chattman is a cookbook author and former professional

pastry chef. Of all the occasions for which she has

baked cookies over the years, including class parties, cocktail

parties and family reunions, cookie swaps are her far-andaway


Many of you will love the Easy Peasy chapter featuring

shortcut cookie recipes that require little or no baking like

Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Fingers. No one will guess that

you didn’t start from scratch!

Source: Cookie Swap by Lauren Chattman (Workman Publishing,

2010, $19.95/softback). 


1/2 cup toasted and cooled pecans, coarsely chopped 
3/4 cup Heath® Bits’O Brickle Toffee bits 
(1) 12-ounce bag bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
4 (8.8-ounce) packages Walkers® Pure Butter Shortbread

Fingers (48 cookies total) 
Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine

the nuts and toffee bits in a shallow bowl. Combine

the chocolate and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl heat

the chocolate in the microwave on high until melted, 30 seconds

to a minute depending on strength of your microwave.

Stir until smooth. Hold a cookie by one end and dip it into

chocolate, turning to coat three quarters of the cookie; let

excess drip back into bowl. Hold the cookie over the bowl

of nuts and toffee bits and sprinkle some of the mixture

onto the chocolate coated top and sides of cookie. Place on

prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let

cookies rest until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. In

an airtight container arrange Chocolate Toffee Shortbread

Fingers between layers of parchment paper. Store at room

temperature for one week. 

Source: Cookie Swap by Lauren Chattman (Workman Publishing,

2010, $14.95/softback. 


Many adults and children are seriously injured each year

while carving pumpkins for Halloween, according to doctors

and hand surgeons. To keep safe, have children design jacko-

lanterns but leave the carving to adults. Use a small serrated

knife, which is often included in pumpkin-carving kits

(available at Chief and Rays). Those knives are less likely to

get stuck than non-serrated knives. Hold the pumpkin steady

at the top and cut in a downward motion. 
Source: ConsumerReports on Health, October 2012. 


I haven’t met a southerner who didn’t like collard greens,

a variety of cabbage that doesn’t form a head. It tastes like a

cross between cabbage and kale. The southern way of cooking

collard greens is to boil them with a chunk of bacon or a

ham hock. They’re an excellent source of vitamins A and C,

calcium and iron.

Chief and Rays carry ready-to-cook Glory brand collard

greens. I was surprised that many customers had never

tasted them when I served Collard Green Soup at the Bryan

Chief recently. The recipe I found on the internet at Food.

com called for a 14-ounce package of smoked turkey sausage.

Concerned about the sodium in turkey sausage, I cut

the amount of meat in half but the soup was still too salty.

In fact, Honeysuckle® Smoked Turkey Sausage has the most

salt of all brands sold at Chief and Rays. Chief Smokehouse

Smoked Sausage is a better choice and it contains no MSG. I

also added a second can of black-eyed peas to the recipe. 


7-ounces Chief Smokehouse Smoked Sausage,

cut in 1/4-inch slices 
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 tablespoon canola oil 
(2) 32-ounce cans Swanson® chicken broth 
8-ounces Glory® collard greens (half the package) 
(2) 15-ounce cans Essential Everyday® black-eyed peas 
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper or to taste 
1 dash of Tabasco or to taste
 Sauté sausage, onion and green pepper in hot oil in a

Dutch oven over medium high heat, about 5 minutes or until

lightly browned. Add chicken broth, collard greens, blackeyed

peas, black pepper and hot sauce; bring to a boil. Cover,

reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. 

Source: Adapted from recipe.

Download PDF of Memo #2289

Apple Toffee Blondies

As a long distance runner, I am not one to shy away from carbs. Ever. And I don't discriminate - pasta, bread, pizza, rice. They're all my favorites. But my favorite type of carbs? DESSERT!     Yesterday morning, I ran my seventh half marathon - the Columbus Half Marathon. After a long season of training, it felt great to get out there and challenge myself over the 13.1 mile course. After sufficiently exhausting myself during the race, I knew the perfect reward would be to bake something sweet. And then eat entirely way too much of it, of course. Apples are abundantly in season right now, so I knew these Apple Toffee Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting would be wonderful. A chewy, buttery bar cookie loaded with fresh apples and toffee bits. The rich brown sugar frosting complements the gooey bars just right. I picked up some apples at Rays from Bauman Orchards (in Ohio!) and got to work.     Start with the blondies. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl, and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. I used my stand mixer, but a hand mixer will certainly work. (Or some good ole' arm power!) Add the eggs, vanilla, and flour mixture.     Fold in the chopped apples and toffee bits. (Note: Make sure you get plain toffee bits. The chocolate ones might be a lil' strange. Unless chocolate-toffee-apple sounds good to you, then by all means, go for it!)     Bake at 350*F for about 25-35 minutes.     While the blondies are cooling, make the frosting. Melt a stick of butter, then add a cup of packed brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vanilla. Bring to a boil, then set aside to cool. Once the mixture has reached room temperature, whisk in the powdered sugar.     Top the blondies with the brown sugar frosting, and you've got one heck-of-a dessert! These bars are the epitome of fall - gooey, rich, and full of cinnamon-spice. Make them while apples are in season!     ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Apple Toffee Blondies

Servings/Yield: 9x13-inch pan
  • For the blondies
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • cup butter, softened
    • 2 cups packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup peeled, cored, & chopped aple, (1 large or 2 small)
    • ½ cup toffee bits
  • For the brown sugar frosting
    • ½ cup butter
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • ¼ cup milk
    • pinch salt
    • dash vanilla extract
    • cups powdered sugar
Method Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan and/or line with foil or parchment paper. For the blondies, in a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter together with brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Fold in chopped apple and toffee bits. Spread into prepared pan and bake in 350*F oven 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool before frosting. For the frosting, melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil; then set aside to cool. Once mixture has reached room temperature, whisk in powdered sugar. Spread frosting over cooled blondies. Source: Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen    

Mary’s Memo #2288


Judith Fertig has to be one of the most versatile cookbook

authors in the country. Fertig is a food and lifestyle

writer. She has written for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine,

Saveur, Vegetarian Times and New York Times. Her previous

books include Prairie Home Cooking, Prairie Home

Breads, Heartland and six barbecue titles she wrote with

Karen Adler. 
Her latest cookbook is I Love Cinnamon Rolls (Andrews

McMeel Publishing, $19.99, September 2012). This decadent

cookbook is filled with 50 variations on the classic

sticky bun, even whole wheat, vegan and gluten-free ones,

so no one misses out on these delicious treats!

I’m accustomed to working with larger yeast dough

recipes but this one is great for a beginner because it makes

only one dozen large size rolls. 


1 cup whole milk 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs 
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

and dusting
2-1/2 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast 

In a 4-cup measuring cup, combine the milk, butter,

sugar and salt. Microwave on High for 1 minute or until

warm. Whisk in the eggs.

Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer

fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the liquid ingredients.

Mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides

of the bowl from time to time, until the dough forms a soft

mass and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 5

to 6 minutes. 
Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the

dough hook. Sprinkle the dough with a tablespoon of flour,

if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the sides of the

bowl. When the dough is smooth, not sticky, and springs

back when you press it with your finger, you’ve kneaded

it enough (4 to 6 minutes). Place the bowl in a large, oiled

mixing bowl, cover with a tea cloth and let rise in a warm,

place (about 85ºF) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it has almost

Proceed with a cinnamon roll recipe. Dough makes 6

jumbo, 12 large, 16 to 20 medium or 48 mini rolls.

Source: I Love Cinnamon Buns by Judith Fertig (Andrews

McMeel Publishing, $19.99, September 2012).


Like Chief and Rays shoppers, I’m always looking for

bargains and stock up on foods I like when it’s on sale and

then plan my meals around the specials. Whether you cook

for one or two or for a family this is the way to beat the

rising cost of what we eat. Chief and Rays call attention

to what you save by circling the amount on your receipt

when you check out. Weekend, 4-hour and one-day-only

sales increase your opportunities to save in addition to

the weekly ad. Use your coupons valued at 50 cents or less

when they’re worth three times as much instead of double.

Regarding coupons, I throw out more than I use because if

it isn’t a healthy food or one that I normally buy, it doesn’t

make sense to use it! One exception is a coupon to save on

a new product. I recently succumbed to the TV commercial

for Nabisco Chocolate Covered Oreos that had a family exclaiming

“wow,” “shut the door” and “Franklin Delano!”

Add “holy Toledo” for the mint flavored ones I bought! 
Look for specials in the meat department. When various

cuts are reaching their best-used-by time, they’re often

offered at bargain prices. Buy and use immediately or store

in the freezer right away until needed. 
Also, concentrate your shopping around the perimeter

of the store where food is more nutritionally dense.


 I don’t care for scary Halloween decorations inside or

out. You’re not going to find cut-out witches or black cat

cookies at my house …. nor a cake decorated like a grave

yard, either. Instead, I’ll be making the same pumpkinshaped

cut-outs that I made for my children when they

were small and when I was a room mother at school. Although

ghosts belong in the spooky category, I do make

Nutter Butter Ghost Cookies because they’re so darned

good to eat! 


1 package Nabisco Nutter Butter Cookies 
1 package almond bark (candy coating) 
Mini chocolate chips 

Melt candy coating per instructions on the package. Dip

3/4th of cookie into melted coating and then lay on waxed

paper. Add two mini chips to resemble eyes. Let harden before

storing. Recipe makes 18 servings. Make extra because

they’ll go fast!

Download PDF of Memo #2288

Cashew Chicken

Do you ever feel like life is just super busy? The weeks just zoom by, moving from activity to activity without a break. (And I don't even have kids. Props to all you moms & dads out there!) When life gets crazy busy, it's really easy to fall out of the dinner routine. I don't mind eating frozen pizza or peanut butter sandwiches for dinner once in awhile... but it's really nice to have a few quick & easy simple meals ready to go for nights when you have zero time to think about dinner.     Cashew Chicken is one of them. From start to finish, it takes less than 30 minutes. (Seriously, I timed it. And not the Rachael Ray way where she has all the ingredients sitting out in bowls pre-measured. :-P) Juicy chicken is stir fried with crunchy red peppers, onions, and water chestnuts. It's all tossed together in a sweet & tangy Asian sauce and topped with cashews. Served over rice, it's an all-in-one meal. Protein, check. Veggies, check. Grains, check.  

  Cashew Chicken reminds me of some of our favorite Chinese take-out meals, except much healthier. You still have that tangy sauce, but not all the grease. Plus, it's loaded with veggies! You can easily add or omit different vegetables based on what your family likes. (I'm thinking I will try some broccoli and snow peas next time.) Let's get cooking! To start, saute diced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.  

  While the onion is cooking, get the chicken ready. Dice a few chicken breast into small pieces and toss with a bit of cornstarch. This gives it a slightly crunchy exterior.  

  When the onion is browned, remove it from the pan, add a bit more oil, and add the chicken. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  

  When the chicken is cooked, add a bit of minced garlic, sliced red pepper, the cooked onions, a can of sliced water chestnuts, and a big handful of cashews; stir everything around, and cook for about 1-2 minutes.  

  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and get the sauce ready. Just a quarter cup each of molasses and soy sauce! Pour it into the skillet and simmer a few minutes until everything is coated and the sauce reduces down.     Serve over some rice, and dinner's done!  


Cashew Chicken

Servings/Yield: 4 servings
  • 2-3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup molasses (or honey)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • brown or white rice, for serving
Method Heat skillet on medium heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add onion and saute 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from skillet. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Coat with cornstarch. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil to skillet and add chicken. Brown on both sides until cooked, about 5 minutes per side. Add minced garlic, red pepper, water chestnuts, cooked onions, and cashews; cook about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium low. In a small bowl, combine molasses and soy sauce. Pour into skillet, coating chicken and vegetables. Let simmer about 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice. Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Mary’s Memo #2287

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There seems to be a cookbook focused on just about every

known food and to prove my point along comes “150 Best

Donut Recipes, Fried and Baked” by George Geary (Robert

Rose Inc.; October 2012; $24.95).

Topped with an irresistible chocolate glaze or simply rolled

in cinnamon, fresh homemade donuts are impossible to resist. You know you’re

using quality ingredients when you make your own and the freshness can’t be

beat!  George Geary, a former

pastry chef for Walt Disney Company, brings humor, energy and experience to

everything he does, whether it be a cooking class, a demonstration or a media appearance.

In many cases, this certified culinary professional also brings dessert!

Because the recipe is timely, I’m sharing Mini Pumpkin Donuts,

knowing that the majority of readers do not have mini-donut pans. My suggestion

is to bake the batter in miniature muffin pans.



1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


¾ cups packed brown sugar


2 teaspoons baking powder


1 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


¼ teaspoon ground allspice


1/8 teaspoon ground ginger


2 large eggs, beaten


¾ cup whole milk


½ cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)


1 tablespoon butter, melted


1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spray two 12-well mini donut pans with non-stick spray.

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk together

flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and

ginger.  In medium bowl, whisk

together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, butter and vanilla. Add to

flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula just until incorporated.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling two-thirds full.  Bake in pre-heated oven until donut

springs back when lightly touched, 10 to 14 minutes.

Let donuts cool in pans and toss with Autumn Spiced Sugar:

In a food processor fitted

with a metal blade, combine 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon ground

cinnamon, 1 teaspoon

freshly ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cloves and salt and process until

fine, about 90 seconds. Toss warm donuts into sugar mixture to coat completely.  Source: Used with permission of

Robert Rose Inc.


Believe it or not, I’m in the process of training a new miniature

dachshund puppy, Abby, a birthday gift from my daughters. One has to love

animals to do this at my age! I have always known that dogs shouldn’t have

chocolate or grapes but add raisins, avocados, onions, garlic, leeks, chives, tomatoes

and raw potatoes to the list of “no-no” foods. My dogs have never eaten table

scraps but I’ll admit they may have gotten some of these foods when

accidentally dropped on the floor.



The notion that the diuretic effects of caffeinated

beverages such as coffee and tea cancel out their water content was disproved

as far back as 1928, according to the Institute of Medicine. More

recently, in 2000, researchers at the University of Nebraska’s Center for Human

Nutrition compared the hydration effects of various

beverages on 18 healthy adult males and found no significant differences

whether the drinks were carbonated, diet or contained caffeine. They concluded:

“Advising people to disregard caffeinated beverages as part of the

daily fluid intake is not substantiated by the results of this study.

Furthermore, there is no daily requirement for eight glasses of water.

That widely held belief probably originated with a 1945 finding that people

need 64 ounces of fluids. But an important part of that recommendation also

said fluids in food as well as coffee, tea and soda count.


It certainly cuts time if you have a food processor to

slice onions and potatoes. Since real bacon bits once opened and refrigerated are

to be used within 14 days, I recommend using the entire package instead of

1/3 cup. If you do, in my opinion it becomes a main dish rather than a

side dish.



1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced


1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, very thinly



1-1/3 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar

cheese (I

used Sargento brand)


½ cup chopped bell pepper (any color)


½ teaspoon garlic salt

Spray 9x9x2-inch foil pan (available at Chief and Rays) with

non-stick spray. Place half the onions, cheese, bacon bits, bell pepper and

garlic salt in pan; repeat layers. Spray another sheet of foil with Pam and

cover baking pan tightly. Grill over medium heat 1 hour, rotating pan

frequently to avoid hot spots. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Source: US Potato Board

Download PDF of Memo #2287

Pumpkin Chicken Lasagna

Typically, when you see pumpkin as an ingredient in a recipe, you think sweet. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin special recipe cookies. But today… I bring you over to the savory side with Pumpkin Chicken Lasagna! This recipe is one of my absolute favorites to make in the fall.  

  There’s quite a back story to how this recipe came to be. In the fall semester of my senior year of college (about 3 years ago… has it really been that long?!), the student life program held a campus-wide Iron Chef competition. Can you say right up my alley? I had to enter. The contest was structured so that we were competing in teams of four – so three of my cross country team mates and I quickly joined together to form a team. And by ‘form a team’, I mean we all wrote our names down on the paper, and I took charge. Pretty typical. Anyways, the contest was a bit different than the Iron Chef TV show. We were only given two secret ingredients, and 24 hours to come up with our dish. I was all sorts of nervous and excited about what the ingredients were going to be. Drumroll please………. chicken and cheese. CHICKEN and CHEESE?! Not exotic. Not difficult to work with. Not even all that interesting in the least. The options were basically limitless. Pasta? Stir fry? Casserole? Stuffed? Grilled? Baked? Roasted? Soup? Salad? Sandwich? Seriously. I knew it would take something different to wow the judging panel.  So, after a bit of research, I came across a pumpkin pasta bake recipe on Taste of Home. I adapted it to include chicken, and of course, cheese. And I knew it would be the perfect dish to serve during the crisp cool days of fall. It was different enough to stand out from the rest, but familiar enough to appeal to all taste buds.     And so… we came, we competed, and we CONQUERED! Yes, our Pumpkin Chicken Lasagna took 1st place out of 15 teams. The best part? The grand prize of a $75 gift card to the Cheesecake Factory. (That was pretty much pure gold to us poor college students.) Now, if prize-winning doesn’t say much (because winning the Iron Chef competition at a teeny tiny college in southern IL says a lot…), I will tell you myself that this recipe is fabulous. Instead of a tomato-based meat sauce, the lasagna is layered with a pumpkin-sage cream sauce, tender chicken, sautéed mushrooms & onions, and three types of cheese – ricotta, mozzarella, & parmesan. Warm, hearty, and comforting, you will definitely enjoy this lasagna. To make the lasagna, start by sauteing a diced onion in a bit of melted butter.     Once the onions have softened a bit, add in some sliced mushrooms.     Saute a few minutes until tender.     Remove onions & mushrooms to a bowl, and add some diced chicken breast. Cook the chicken pieces until they are cooked through, and then add them to the onions & mushrooms mixture.     Now it's time to mix up the sauce. Just three ingredients - pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix!), half & half, and ground sage.       Now, for the assembly.     Start with a layer of the sauce in the bottom of your pan.  

  Next, a layer of noodles. Definitely use the oven-ready lasagna noodles, it saves so much time!  

  Then, a bit more sauce.  

  On top of the sauce, add about half of the chicken-onion-mushroom mixture.  

  Then, the cheese! Dollops of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, and parmesan. (The cheese is my favorite part.)  

  Repeat all the layers once more. Then, top with a final layer of noodles, a bit more sauce, and the last of the cheese. Pop it into the oven for about an hour, and you will have lasagna perfection!  

  A helpful hint - let it cool for about 10 minutes, and it will cut much easier! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pumpkin ChickenLasagna

Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings
  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup half-and-half
  • 1½ tsp. dried sage
  • dash pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 9-12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
Method In a small skillet, melt the butter. Saute the mushrooms, onion, and  tsp. salt in butter until tender; remove from pan. Place chicken in same pan; saute until brown on all sides and cooked through. Combine chicken with mushrooms and onion mixture. To make pumpkin sauce, combine pumpkin with half-and-half. Stir in sage, pepper, and remaining salt. In a greased 9x13-inch pan, spread a thin layer of pumpkin sauce. Top with a layer of noodles. (You might have to break them to make them fit.) Top noodles with another layer of pumpkin sauce. Top with half the mushroom/onion/chicken mixture, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375*F for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer until cheese has melted and browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Source: original recipe  

Mary’s Memo #2286


Who would have thought
when the Thaman family had plain grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
before heading to the Friday night basketball game years ago that in 2012 there
would be 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis (Robert Rose, $24.95).
But the classic grilled cheese sandwich, like macaroni and cheese, is now one
of the biggest trends in cooking and is enjoying an incredible resurgence in
popularity. Top bloggers, NPR and television networks report that grilled
cheese sandwiches are one of the top food trends to watch out for. Many have even
said the “grilled cheese is the new burger.” Specialty restaurants are popping
up all over the country, and many established chefs are tweaking their menus to
include their take on this beloved comfort food.

These fabulous recipes all
begin with the theme of a grilled cheese with a few creative twists to show how
incredibly versatile this sandwich can be. Sandwiches are not limited to lunch
and dinner but for snacks, appetizers and even desserts. Best of all, grilled
cheese sandwiches are easy to make, so they’re ideal for college students,
beginner cooks and even kids who want to help out in the kitchen.  Whether you like to enjoy your sandwich
with soup this fall or with seasonal produce, these classic and new recipes fit
the bill!

Author Allison Stewart,
nationally known recipe developer, TV and social media spokesperson, likes to
serve this grilled cheese with a creamy tomato soup.


8 slices white
or whole grain bread (1/2-inch thick)

2 tablespoons
butter or margarine, softened

Muenster cheese, thinly sliced

4 ounces Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced Brush one side of each bread slice with butter. Place
on a work surface, buttered side down. Top 4 bread slices equally
with Muenster and Cheddar cheeses. Cover with remaining bread slices buttered side up and press gently.  Place sandwiches on preheated panini
grill or in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once if using skillet,
for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve
immediately. Recipe serves 4.


weekends at the Bryan Chief gives shoppers an opportunity to ask questions. Recently a lady without a
computer asked if I had a recipe for Hungarian Cabbage with Noodles. I promised to look one up for her (the
internet is a wonderful thing). Reviews were so impressive for this Taste of
Home recipe, contributed by Marjorie Werner, East Greenville, PA, that it
deserves printing.


5 slices bacon
2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chopped
cabbage (1-inch squares)
3 cups cooked
noodles (4-ounces uncooked)
1 cup (8-ounces)
sour cream

Sauté bacon until crisp in
large frying pan. Remove bacon; set aside. Stir sugar and salt into bacon
drippings. Add cabbage, stirring until cabbage is coated with bacon drippings.  Cover and cook 7 to 10
minutes. Add cooked noodles and bacon,
stirring to blend. Adjust seasonings to taste. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish;
cover tightly and bake in preheated 325ºF oven for 45 minutes. Spread sour
cream over top of the casserole; sprinkle with paprika and return to oven for 5
minutes more. Yield: 10 servings. Note: One reviewer said it was good without
the sour cream topping.  Source:
Taste of Home, 2012.


The type of oil you use in
your salad dressing might make a difference in how well your body utilizes the
nutrients in those leafy greens and other salad fixings. Monounsaturated fats
like those found in high amounts in olive and canola oil, are most effective at
liberating the fat-soluble nutrients in salad veggies, according to new Purdue
University research published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. The
study compared dressings made with higher percentages of saturated fat
(butter), polyunsaturated fat (corn oil) and monounsaturated fat (canola) at
three different levels of fats. The findings also raise a caution about low-fat
salad dressings, scientists noted, suggesting that you may lose out on
nutrients as well as cutting fat.  Source:
Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2012.


V-8® juice fan that I am and a fondness for fresh limes, I
an A+ to new V-8®
Juice with a Hint of Lime, available in
the juice aisle.

Jif®, my peanut-butter-of-choice, now has two kinds of
flavored hazelnut spreads. Look for them with the jams and jellies.

Download PDF of Memo #2286

Argentinian Beef Empanadas

As a person who enjoys cooking, I love to entertain. Whether it's inviting another couple over for a quiet meal, the neighbors for some yummy dessert, or a full-fledged party, I love cooking for and sharing our home with others. One of my favorite ways to entertain is an appetizers-only party. There's just something so fun about eating snacky foods with a bunch of friends. Now, there are the basic appetizers that typically appear at almost every gathering... buffalo chicken dip, bbq smokey links, crescent roll veggie pizza, chips & queso, spinach dip. Not that these appetizers aren't delicious... (because they are! who hasn't ever eaten their weight in queso?!) But, sometimes I want something a bit more out of the ordinary, more exotic.     On my quest for new appetizers, I stumbled across a recipe for Beef Empanadas. Empanadas are stuffed pastries that are baked or fried, and are popular throughout Western Europe and Latin America. If I could compare empanadas to an American food, they would be pretty similar to Hot Pockets. (Except a million times tastier.) The recipe I'm sharing with you today originates in Argentina. The filling is made up of a mixture of ground beef, onion, green pepper, green olives, and raisins, seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper. The pastry itself is almost a cross between traditional pie crust and a biscuit. I'll admit, it sounds like a weird combination (raisins + green olives?!), but it worked wonderfully. The tang of the olives paired with the sweet raisins created the perfect balance to the beef filling. Along with the warm, crisp pastry crust, this recipe is definitely a winner. To start, make the filling. Begin by sauteing the green pepper & onion in a bit of olive oil until softened.     Add the ground beef, and cook until browned.     Drain off the excess fat, and add the green olives, raisins, and seasonings. Cook about 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Set aside to cool while making and assembling the pastry.     I recommend making the pastry outlined in the recipe below, because it is much fluffier and sturdier than traditional pie pastry. However, if you're in a pinch, a refrigerated pie crust would work just fine!     Once you have the pastry rolled out, use an upside down bowl to cut out circles of dough. The size of your bowl will dictate how large the empanadas are.     Scoop a small bit of filling onto one half of the dough circle, and fold over the edge, pressing to seal. Prick the top with a fork, and pop them in the oven!  

  After about 20-25 minutes, they will be golden brown and ready to devour! Be sure to squirt a bit of lime juice over each empanada before eating; the lime juice really makes the flavors pop.   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Argentinian Beef Empanadas

Servings/Yield: 16-24 empanadas
  • For the filling
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 large green pepper, finely chopped
    • lbs. ground beef
    • teaspoons cumin
    • 1 cup sliced green olives
    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • teaspoons salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1-2 dashes hot sauce, to taste
    • 3 large eggs, separated
  • For the pastry*
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
    • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
    • cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  • lime wedges
  Method For the filling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & bell pepper and cook 3-4 minutes until softened. Add beef; cook, stirring constantly, until browned. Use a spoon to scoop out the extra liquid. Stir in cumin, olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cook about 5 more minutes. Set aside to cool. Add 3 egg whites when the mixture is cool. (Save the yolks for later.) For the pastry*, combine flour and salt using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cut butter and cream cheese into cubes; add to flour mixture, and mix on low until the mixture is crumbly and the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in heavy whipping cream and mix on low until the mixture just comes together. Divide into two discs. Preheat oven to 375*F. Roll pastry out on a well-floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. (It should be thin, but not transparent.) Use an overturned bowl to cut out circles. Re-roll any scraps. Depending on the size of bowl you use, you will get 16-24 circles. Place circles on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon some filling into one side of the dough circle. Fold the dough over to form a semi-circle; pinch the edges shut to seal the dough. Repeat for all circles. Prick the top of each empanada a few times with a fork. Beat 2 egg yolks (from earlier) with 2 tablespoons water and brush egg wash over empanadas. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve individual portions with lime wedges. (To squeeze over the empanadas.)   *You may use refrigerated pie crust in place of the pastry. Source: from Recipe Girl