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

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

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

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

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – August 11th


Unfortunately, the harsh winter in this part of the country damaged the crop in Michigan and Ohio. An Archbold grower told me that his tree never blossomed. The good news is that Chief’s peaches from Georgia and Alabama have been wonderful and I’ve been buying them to make all my favorite peach desserts. It took some talking to convince shoppers to choose a peach that was still firm to the touch; instead buy ones that are beginning to yellow at the stem end. I’m also partial to freestone rather than clingstone varieties that are usually commercially canned.

Bryan Chief shoppers were served Fresh Peach Crisp in July. I had the option of using 1/2 or 1 cup brown sugar in the topping and 1/2 cup or 1 cup granulated sugar in the peach mixture and in both cases I used the minimum amount. Too much sugar masks the flavor of the fruit.


• 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup (half stick) butter
• 2-1/2 lbs. medium peaches (8 or 9), peeled and sliced
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and mix with pastry blender. Mix sliced peaches with sugar. Spoon into 2-quart oblong glass baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over fruit. Bake the crisp uncovered in a preheated 350ºF for 40 minutes or until fruit is tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Recipe can be made with other fruits.


It is wise to buy it at Chief because it is stored and sold in a chilled environment. At our farmers’ market I don’t see any ice around and when sweet corn gets warm the sugar converts to starch and is no longer ‘sweet’ corn. Lugibihl Farm in Elida furnishes all the sweet corn sold at Chief Supermarkets so buy it with confidence knowing it is the freshest and sweetest it can be!


Perhaps because we can’t live without it, water has attracted countless hucksters over the years, who claim their special waters can raise your energy levels, reverse aging, prevent cancer and so on. For an entertaining debunking of “water related pseudoscience, fantasy and quackery,” check out this website:, written by a retired professor of physical chemistry at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, August 2014.


Purslane may not be at the top of your list when you shop for greens but there is very good reason to put it there. For one, it is versatile since you can eat it raw or cooked. Second, it’s surprisingly nutritious. Third, it tastes pretty good. Perhaps better known in America’s earlier days, Martha Washington’s family cookbook contained a recipe for pickled purslane. This green vegetable with succulent little leaves has been regaining its popularity in recent years, thanks to its promotion by foodies, farmers markets and fancy restaurants. It’s also said to have been Gandhi’s favorite food and is a staple of the traditional Mediterranean diet, especially in Crete. Also called little hogweed, purslane is common throughout North America, India and other parts of the world. Among green plants, purslane is one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat. One cup cooked has only 20 calories and 90 milligrams of calcium. It also supplies some vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium along with phytochemicals (including flavonoids and terpenes) glutathione (a potent antioxidant) and pectin (a soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Purslane is similar to spinach but has a mildly sour and slightly lemony and peppery flavor. You can use the raw crisp leaves in salads or sandwiches or slightly steam or stir-fry them. Don’t overcook it though because like okra, it gets slimy, due to the pectin.
Source:, August 2014.


Some will argue that watermelons with seeds have a better flavor but I prefer seedless. This recipe called for Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette but since I never use any dressing with MSG, I replaced it with Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette available in the Chief produce department. Although an unusual combination, most Bryan Chief tasters liked it.


• 3 cups chopped watermelon in 3/4 inch chunks, well drained
• 1 cup chopped seedless cucumbers (1/4-inch chunks)
• 1 (4-oz) container Athenos Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
• 2 tablespoons Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette

Combine ingredients and chill before serving to blend flavors.

Download PDF

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – August 4th


Through August 29, 2014, Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast is available where magazines are sold, including Chief Supermarkets. It features 129 recipes for entrees, sides, salads as well as 5 ingredient 15 minute recipes like Sweet and Tangy Chicken Thighs for the grill.


• 1/2 cup prepared mustard
• 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 8 (3-oz) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
• Cooking spray

Prepare grill. Combine mustard, dark brown sugar, ground allspice and crushed red pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup sauce mixture; set aside. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Brush half of remaining 1/2 cup sauce over one side of chicken. Grill chicken 3 minutes. Turn chicken over and brush remaining with remaining half of sauce mixture. Cook 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Drizzle 1/4 cup reserved sauce over chicken. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs and 1 tablespoon sauce)
Source: Cooking Light Fresh Foods Fast


A recent study in the Journal of Gerontology, Series B, reports that more than 3,000 nonworking people over 50 took part in the ongoing Health and Retirement Survey (sponsored by the National Institute on Aging). After controlling for factors such as age, sex and debilitating health conditions, the researchers found that older people who spent time online were about one third less likely to be depressed than nonusers. The reduction in the rate of depression was greatest in people living alone, suggesting that internet use may help counter feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 2014.


Cell phones do expose you to electromagnetic energy, similar to that emitted from microwaves. Some studies have suggested that cell-phone use alters brain function and may increase the risk of some cancers, although the overall evidence hasn’t found a clear link. More study is needed to determine the health impact of cell-phone use. For now limit talk time, use a speaker phone or headset, hold the phone away from your ear and replace some calls with text messaging or e-mail.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, August 2014


My sister had a Keurig single cup brewer before I was given one for my birthday a few years ago. A small cup that held a single serving of coffee was included but it had to be taken apart to wash. When the one my sister recommended needed to be replaced I invested in a Brew Rite, available in the coffee and tea aisle at Chief. Not only does it make your cost per serving less, but you can fill it with your favorite coffee, it is reusable, made in the USA, dishwasher safe, 100% BPA free and reduces the waste compared to K-Cup portion packs. The cost was $13.65 plus tax.

I also make my own popsicles with Groovy PopMolds from They’re BPA free, FDA approved and dishwasher safe. Pops have drip-proof handles that fit tightly into molds and then all 6 fit snugly into a plastic base unit. The first thing I made was Peaches and Cream Frozen Pops in the August Cooking Light magazine. They’re yummy for children and adults!


To save calories, who doesn’t find crustless quiche appealing! Recipe says it makes 8 servings. I prefer it cut into 6 servings. I also replaced whipping cream with a 12-ounce can of Carnation milk. PS: Quiche reheats well in the microwave.


• 4 strips of thick-sliced lean bacon, diced
• 1/2 pound of fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 4 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced (I use my egg cutter)
• 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
• 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
• 4 large eggs
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Butter a 10-inch glass pie plate. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir bacon in hot skillet until crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from skillet. Cook and stir asparagus and mushrooms in reserved bacon grease until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and toss bacon into asparagus mixture. Spread into prepared pie plate. Sprinkle cheese over mixture. Whisk evaporated milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour egg mixture over asparagus mixture. Bake until quiche is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Source: Recipe adapted from

Download PDF

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – July 28th


Definitions of “servings” or “portions” vary, and the USDA’s MyPlate has switched from recommendations based on daily servings to cups or cup equivalents.

One portion includes:

2 or more small fruit (2 plums, 3 apricots, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries)
1 piece medium-sized fresh fruit, such as apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine
1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice melon or pineapple
About 1 tablespoon dried fruit, 2 figs, and 3 prunes
2 broccoli spears, 5 asparagus spears, 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach or green beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or corn, or 8 cauliflower florets
3 sticks of celery, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes
1 cereal bowl of fresh lettuce, spinach, etc.
3 heaped tablespoons of beans or peas; count a maximum 1 portion per day
5-ounce glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice; count a maximum 1 per day
Canned or frozen produce is counted roughly the same as fresh.
Potatoes, yams and plantains don’t count, but are considered as starchy foods.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, July 2014.


They contain no more “energy” than a cup of coffee or tea. Here are tips to help maintain and pace your energy throughout the day: Get a good night’s sleep. Exercise; you will feel more energetic. Sustain nutrition throughout the day. Combine the right carbohydrates with protein. (Try a simple peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread). Get enough magnesium for good muscle and nerve functioning, steady heart rhythm and blood pressure control. Keep hydrated …. even mild dehydration has negative effects on energy levels, mood and clarity; just be aware of your thirst level so you can stay ahead.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, July 2014.


Researchers who conducted a review of 21 studies discovered a strong association between “heme” iron (found only in meat) and coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found that heme iron consumption increased the risk for CHD by 57 percent, while no association was found between non-heme iron (found in plant and other non-meat sources) and CHD. The researchers speculate that heme iron, which is absorbed much more efficiently than non-heme iron, bypasses the body’s finely tuned iron-regulation system, and ultimately caused inflammation and other damage in the arteries. The study was published March 1, 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.


Regular readers are aware of my avoidance of mono sodium glutamate (MSG). My most recent problem was finding a spinach dip without it. I mention this because I have a Three Ingredient Pizza from Sargento that calls for spinach dip. Knowing that the fewer ingredients in a recipe the better you like it, the recipe is being reserved for my annual Christmas sheet. Many companies have removed MSG from their products including McCormick and Lays. I look forward to the day when all food products will be MSG-free!


Mary Ann made this dish for me when I spent 4th of July weekend with her. Source was My Recipes is working with Let’s Move, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

• 3 center-cut bacon slices
• 3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
• 8 cups fresh kale, stemmed and chopped
• 2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
• 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove from pan; crumble. Increase heat to medium. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add kale; cook for 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt, stirring occasionally. Add stock; cover and cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and syrup. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Recipe makes 4 two-thirds cup servings.
Source: Cooking Light, September 2013.

Download PDF

Pin It

Mary’s Memo – July 21st


If these thirsty, sweaty summer days have you worrying whether you’re getting eight glasses of water, as conventional wisdom says you should have, you need to take a closer look at the facts versus the fiction about hydration. “There is little scientific basis for stating a daily requirement for eight glasses of water,” says Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, University School and editor of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, “Actual fluid needs vary widely among individuals, and depend upon body size and energy expenditure through exercise, among other factors.” For most people, according to the Institute of Medicine, “fluid intake, driven by thirst, allows maintenance of hydration status and total body water at normal levels.”Moreover, despite what you may have heard, the water in caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea does “count” toward keeping you hydrated. So does fluid content of foods which adds up to 22 percent of the average American’s water intake. While you don’t have to worry about “eight glasses a day” rule, as you age you might need to pay extra attention to your body’s hydration needs. Older people often have a reduced sensation of thirst, so it’s easier to miss the warning signs that you’re dehydrating. Older individuals also tend to have lower reserves of fluid in the body and drink insufficient water following fluid deprivation. “Because of their low water reserves,” says Dr. Rosenberg says, “it may be prudent for the elderly to learn to drink regularly when not thirsty and to moderately increase their salt intake and eat foods high in potassium when they sweat.” Recommendations to drink eight glasses of water a day typically overlook the water content of foods, which can be almost as high a percentage as plain water (100%): 90 to 99% …. Fat free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, pickles and cooked squash 80 to 89% …. Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, cooked carrots, cooked broccoli, pears, pineapple 70 to 79% …. Bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, baked potatoes, cooked corn, shrimp 60 to 69% …. Pasta, legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast 50 to 59% …. Ground beef, hot dogs, feta cheese, cooked tenderloin steak (USDA National Nutrient Database)
Source: Tufts Diet & Nutrition Letter, July, 2014.


Some of you think I am “Mrs. Chief Supermarket” and bring your complaints to me about an array of subjects when Chief actually has a card called “Tell Chief” to fill out and return to the customer service office about what you like or dislike about a product or the store. It’s available on the ad stand (as well as online). I guarantee your complaints are read and appropriate action taken including contacting you personally if necessary. I know this because I had a complaint that was resolved.

It is no secret that my favorite “junk food” is potato chips and I bought Lay’s until daughter Mary Beth gave me an Easter basket this year filled with Dayton area products including Mikesell’s potato chips. With a “buy Ohio” mentality I’ve switched to Mikesell’s and eating their reduced fat ones with 30 percent less fat and lightly salted makes me feel less guilty about indulging.

Don’t stock up on cake mixes just because they’re on sale. They do have an expiration date so buy when you know you’ll be using it soon. This is true of a lot of products. Unless plastics are BPA free, don’t buy them! Also, check to see that they are USA or Canadian-made where plastic standards are higher. That said, never microwave anything in a plastic container. Instead, cook in glass or Corning Ware.


Ever since my niece Christine shared Buffalo Chicken Dip with us several years ago I’ve made a salad, soup and now an impossible pie. Feel free to replace regular Bisquick with Heart Smart version.


• 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 cup Frank’s wing sauce
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup Original Bisquick mix (or Heart Smart version)
• 1/2 cup cornmeal mix
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing

Heat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken and buffalo wing sauce together. Stir in cheeses and celery. Pour into ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl mix Bisquick mix, cornmeal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cut into wedges; drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker recipe.

Download PDF


Pin It

Mary’s Memo – July 14th


Intensely flavorful and loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, juices are a satisfying way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. A juicer is as easy to use as the resulting juices are nourishing to drink. And the best part? No fruit or vegetables are off limits! That said you’ll want to add Juice It by Robin Asbell to your cookbook library. Published by Chronicle Books this year, Juice It not only includes recipes for a juicer but some that can also be done in a blender.

Robin Asbell is a chef, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in natural foods. She is also the author of Sweet and Easy Began, Big Vegan, The New Whole Grains Cookbook and New Vegetarian, all published by Chronicle Books. Sleepy Salad is made with romaine, fresh dill and a large cucumber. I was not aware that lettuce has been known for its sleep-inducing properties since ancient Roman days.


• 1 head romaine lettuce
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
• 1 large cucumber

Juice the romaine, dill and cucumber in that order. Run the pulp through again to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2 cups). Serve immediately.
Source: Juice It by Robin Asbell (Chronicle Books, 2014, $18.95/softback).


Garcinia cambogia has been widely marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss, in part because of evidence from petri-dish studies showing a substance in the herb called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) may speed the burning of fats. But most studies of HCA in humans failed to show that it helps people lose significantly more weight than a placebo does. Worse, there have been numerous reports of liver damage, in one case, fatal, in people taking diet supplements containing HCA. So save your money and focus instead on a healthy diet, portion control and regular workouts.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2014.


We all know fruit is good for us, and according to research, berries pack an especially powerful nutritional punch. “One study found a link between eating more blueberries and strawberries and having a lower risk of a heart attack, says Georgia Gianopoulos, a registered dietitian at Weill Cornell Medical Center. The skins and seeds of berries help contribute to their fiber content. While all berries provide a variety of benefits at less than 100 calories per cup, some berries have more of certain nutrients than others. Raspberries and blackberries are highest in fiber. Strawberries are highest in vitamin C and blueberries are highest in antioxidants. Is fresh best? According to Giannopoulos, “Frozen berries are generally picked at their peak ripeness, so they can be as nutritious, if not more so than fresh berries, depending on how the berries are grown.” When buying frozen berries, always check the ingredients and choose those with no added sugars or other ingredients. Frozen berries are a great option, since they are convenient and often less expensive than fresh berries. Canned berries are generally a less healthy choice, as they often contain added sugars, but if you can find them packed in water or juice, rather than syrup, go ahead and give them a try.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.


I haven’t met a mushroom I didn’t like and choose to keep an 8-ounce container in the refrigerator even though I usually end up throwing the last of them away unless they’re for a specific recipe. Even when stored in a Williams Sonoma crock with holes in the lid, I still lose some. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more perishable so it’s wise to use them quickly. Although Chief produce departments have Portabella and Baby Bella mushrooms already stuffed, I do my own. When Baby Bellas were three 8-ounce containers for $5.00 one week in June, I took a recipe from, replacing button-type with Baby Bellas. Chief tasters loved them!


• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced (I used an egg slicer)
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon red wine
• 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
• Freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir mushrooms, garlic, wine, teriyaki sauce and pepper in hot oil and butter until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender. Serve on top of grilled steak and burgers or on a baked potato. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from recipe.

Download PDF