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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Treasures Deep in the Recipe Box

I was trying to figure out what to make for supper earlier this week and coming up with nothing, so I started going through one of my recipe boxes to see if anything sounded good. I came across a recipe I wrote done in either the late 1970s or early 1980s. My memory is shot, but I *think* it originally came from Lora. 

St. Paul's Casserole

  • 1 lb. sausage, browned and drained
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw rice (NOT instant)
  • 2 packages chicken noodle soup mix
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 4oz. can mushrooms, drained
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the water, add rice and soup mixes, and boil another 7 minutes. Mix all ingredients together and put all in a greased casserole dish. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

This is super simple and super good. Chuck said, "I remember this; we haven't had it in decades. It's a keeper for sure!"

So, little ones, next time you're stuck for an idea for dinner, mine through your recipe might be pleasantly surprised by the gems you find in there!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Broccoli/Tortellini Salad

This recipe comes to me via my friend Paula, who says she's "not a salad person, but this is wonderful!" I made a few minor tweaks, but the majority of the recipe Paula shared is in tact.

Broccoli/Tortellini Salad
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled -OR- 6 Tbsp. of bacon bits (I prefer Hormel Real Bacon Bits - Peppered)
  • 1 9 oz. package of cheese tortellini 
  • 3 crowns (small heads) broccoli, trimmed and cut
  • 1 cup raisins or craisins (I prefer craisins)
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 small to medium onion, diced (you can use any type of onion, including green onions)
Cook tortellini as directed; drain, rinse with cool water and let cool. Mix all ingredients together in big bowl.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Kraft Olive Oil w/Cracked Pepper Mayo)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (the original recipe called for 2 tsp.)
Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Serve chilled.

I AM a salad person, and Paula's right, this IS wonderful; and the bonus, little ones, is that it's a great way to use the abundance of broccoli in the garden this time of year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baking in the Backwoods

I love to bake. I love to cook. (And I love to eat.) I'm not a very original cook...nearly everything I make starts from someone else's recipe. But nearly every recipe I use, I alter...a little more of this, leave out that, substitute those...and sometimes the final product is actually something good enough to merit the words "that's a keeper!"

I live in a small rural town in northwest Nebraska. Access to fresh ingredients is spotty at best (except in the summer when gardens are growing), and access to any "out of the ordinary" ingredients is, well, nonexistent - except for the occasional trip to Rapid City, SD, where I try to stock up on any "out of the ordinary" ingredients I might have occasion to need. My local grocery stores just don't like to think outside the box, so there's a lot I buy either in Rapid City, or online ( has been a good source for my pantry more than once...).

But even with the limitations I sometimes face re: ingredients, I manage to create some pretty decent dishes in my kitchen. I love my's truly the heart of my home. And this summer it was remodeled from the top to the bottom. Here are before and after collages:


I now have a kitchen truly made for cooking, and I fully intend to use it to the max! The "keeper" recipes are what I plan to share on this blog. Hope you enjoy them, little ones!