Canadian Cheese Soup & Game Day Sandwiches for a Fall Supper

I have just returned from a jaunt to Indianapolis and points north if anyone wondered why I would have seemed to have dropped off!  Got back into the groove as the temperatures dropped and the wind blew!!

Anyone who has eaten the cheese soup at the old Lazarus restaurants (now Macy's) knows first hand how truly delicious this soup is.  Usually it was served on Fridays and the trick for those of us who worked there was to get our order in before it sold out!!!

The first time I made it did not turn out as I had hoped it would so I consulted Mike the manager at the time.   He told me the secret.  To achieve the silky consistency and mellow cheddar flavor it was necessary to use a specific cheese, not indicated in the Lazarus cookbook sold at the deli.  The secret ingredient is Kraft Sharpie Cheddar slices formerly known as Old English slices.  This cheese is found in the larger groceries and it is next to the Kraft American singles but not the individually wrapped variety.

The second recipe is really tasty too and they are great together.  They would be great to tailgate with.  Thermos jars of piping hot soup in big mugs to sip on a crisp afternoon!!  And since the sandwiches are heated individually in foil packets it is a breeze to pack them hot in a small inexpensive foam cooler.  If the cooler is a bit large just pack the space with towels or newspaper to insulate further.  I once packed baked potatoes like this and they were very hot for 2 days!!

Canadian Cheese Soup
1 1/2 C. diced carrots
1 1/2 C. diced celery
1 large onion diced
2 cans undiluted chicken broth ( or good homemade 2-2 1/2  C.)
2 sticks butter
1/4 C. flour
16 oz. (2, 8 oz. pkg.) Kraft Sharp Cheddar slices
6 C. milk
black pepper
cooked crumbled bacon or fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Using a medium saucepan cook the carrots and celery in the chicken stock for about 8-10 minutes until tender crisp.  Meanwhile in the bottom of a heavy bottomed larger kettle melt the butter and saute the
onions until they are just tender.  Whisk the flour into the butter and cook as a rue.  Add all at once the carrot/celery/broth mixture and keep stirring as you also add the milk.  Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until it thickens.  Lower the heat and dice the cheese into the soup stirring until it is fully melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with optional garnish.

This recipe was adapted from the Lazarus cookbook.

Game Day Sandwiches
1 pound shaved deli ham
1/4 C. melted butter
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. mustard
2 T. poppy seed
8 slices cheese 
8 hamburger rolls

Chop the ham.  I use a hand chopper as not to chop too much.  You want a rough chop, not a mealy mixture.  Using a small pan melt the butter over low heat then remove from the heat. Stir into the butter the Worcestershire, mustard, and poppy seed and mix well.  Add this to the roughly chopped ham and stir well before the butter hardens.  Spoon the meat mixture evenly onto the buns.  I use my hand to push the mixture together and pat it into the buns.  Top with your favorite cheese and the top bun.  Wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil to form an airtight packet.  At this point you can either store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them or bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes and serve hot. 

This recipe is adapted from, "Once Upon A Time" by the Junior League of Evansville, In.


Candy Applesauce

Those little boys, the 2 year old twins love Grandma's homemade candy applesauce.  Chris, their Daddy did have a supply I had frozen and made them last fall but it is long gone.  With the closing of our local orchard this season I traveled a few extra miles to find homegrown Golden Delicious apples, my favorite variety for applesauce!!

Joe's Orchard up near Elberfeld filled the bill and I brought home a half bushel Friday.  I make them like this:

20 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 C. sugar
1/2 bag red hot candies sometimes called Cinnamon Imperials
1-1 1/2 C apple cider
juice of one lemon
pinch of salt

Peel and core apples into lemon juice, add salt and stir.

Combine apples, sugar, and cider in a large heavy bottomed kettle over low heat.  Simmer stirring occasionally until they are falling apart and add the candies.  Stir them in and continue to simmer until the candy is dissolved and the lumps are gone.  If you get in a hurry you can use a food mill or stick blender to smooth the consistency.  Pack into freezer containers and freeze until needed.

HAMBURGERS, Last cookout of this summer, Dadburgers!!

Dadburger on grilled bun with fixings.
That is what we call Brian's cooked over charcoal or gas or sometimes even a woodfire, Dadburgers!!
They are always good and fitting end of summer fare.

Although we will grill many more times this year summer ends this week on my calendar!!  Soon frost will be on pumpkins and children will hurry down the hill we live on huddled in jackets to the bus stop. The leaves adorning the big tree in front of my house will turn first a bright red and will be covered with deep purple berries the birds cherish each fall.  Then each in it's own time, every species of bush and tree will fall into hibernation.  The holes the woodpeckers have crafted will be revealed as the leaves fall.  The squirrel nests will loom large in the swaying tree tops.

So as we bid summer heat good by we feasted on family fare of roasted on the grill potatoes, carrots, and burgers.  Dressed in fresh from the garden tomatoes and dill pickles canned earlier in the summer.
Brownies for desert ended a lovely family visit!!

Chomped down on burger!!
To make the burgers we defrosted 2 pounds of ground chuck, and added 1 egg yolk, salt, pepper,  and garlic powder.  These were combined by hand and pattied into 6 burgers and grilled to perfection.


Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Granola, "OH MY GOSH!"

OH MY GOSH! Is not normally the way I would think of granola.  That was the case at least until I delved into a granola I found on the blog at Orangette, for French Chocolate Granola, where she credits  David Labovitz as inspiration for his Honey Crunch Granola found in his Ice Cream Book.

I love the combo found in Mounds bars  and also in Almond Joy bars, ( from one who very seldom eats candy) I remember from eating these from my Dad's business.  He kept an array of candies and a soda pop machine in the sporting goods store he and my Uncle Bob owned and was the family business.

I digress.  Back to the subject at looked and sounded good.  My last batch of granola was nearly gone and I am inspired.  Off to the pantry I went and everything I would need was at hand. 
My adaptation goes like this:

French Chocolate Granola

3 C. organic rolled oats
1/2 C. organic chopped raw almonds
1/2 C. organic shredded coconut
2 T. Demura sugar
pinch of salt
6 T. Honey ( I used 3 T. Manuka and 3 T. regular raw honey)
2 T. organic Canola oil
4 Oz. finely chopped Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  I line a half sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil but you could just use a pan with a rim.  Combine in a large bowl oats almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt and blend well.  Using a small saucepan warm the honey and oil over low heat and stir until the honey is loose.

Pour the honey oil mixture over the oat mixture and stir until it is well combined.  Spread this evenly onto the prepared pan.
Bake for 28 minutes stirring after the first 10 and again after 20 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and set aside until completely cold then break apart.

Meanwhile chop the chocolate on a piece of parchment.  Mix the chocolate and oat mixture and store in an airtight container in a cool place.  Serve with ice cold milk or fruit and yogurt or just as a snack as is.


Home Made Noodles Evolve from Self Sufficency.

Ready to serve, beef and noodles.
Always, always for as long as I can remember I have had a fascination with everything to do with the kitchen and family mealtime.  Pure, natural fresh vegetables from our gardens, fresh fruits and berries, livestock,  milk,  and butter, poultry and eggs were all raised on my Grandparents farms.  There were fish in their ponds, nut trees, and game in their woods. Fresh fish were fried in the summer and all of the men and boys went hunting on Thanksgiving afternoon.

My Grandma Burress had a large kitchen with a huge fireplace right square in the center of the main wall and it was flanked on the right by my Grandfather's rocking chair.  To the left was the sink, a small work table, and the stove.

Such a delight to get up on a cold snowy winters morning, creep silently down the tall staircase and through the hall into that kitchen with a wood fire crackling in the fireplace and the smell of black coffee and bacon as my Grandmother cooked breakfast for us all.

My Grandma Neukam's kitchen was also large with a walk in pantry the likes of which I had never seen!  There was also a door that led down into the cellar where all of the home canned foods in sparkling glass jars stood lined up on narrow shelves.  Just through the backdoor and off the honeysuckle lined porch a "Summer Kitchen" with a beautiful cream and green finished enamel wood stove.  Behind the summer kitchen was the "Smoke House" where hams, sides of bacon, and all manner of sausages were hanging. Their voices in broken German as they worked.  The sounds and smells, the memories of butchering, preserving, milking cows, churning butter, chasing animals that got loose!!  The memories of so much more I could tell of these Blessed souls long gone.

Both of my Grandmothers and my Mother were and are wonderful cooks.  As a child I recall  even to this very day Grandma's handmade noodles.  These have always been and remain the mainstay of our Holiday meals.  They are the most requested dish and I share them with you now.

Handmade Noodles
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
flour to make very stiff but not crumbly dough
pinch of salt

Break the egg and add yolks into a small bowl.  Beat well and  add the flour continuing to mix until it becomes a ball.  When it is a firm well formed ball turn it onto a floured work surface.  Continue kneading in additional flour until you have a stiff dough that is not sticky but also not crumbly.  

Using a floured rolling pin roll the dough almost paper thin and let it dry.  Repeat this with the second half.

Check for dryness in about an hour and a half and periodically thereafter.  It will depend on the humidity and temperature as to how long it takes to dry.

By dry I do not mean crack and break,  more dry to the touch and you should be able to pick it up and turn it over and not have it be sticky.  It is dry when you are able to cut the round of dough in half and put the sides together and tightly roll it up.

Place it on a clean dry cutting board and slice the noodles to the desired width.  Our family prefers them very very thin.  After slicing them stir them around with your fingers to separate them.

They can be left to dry a little more now if needed.  Otherwise place them in a zip lock bag and freeze them until needed.  If you are using them the same day wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and refrigerate them until time to cook them.

Bring meat or vegetable broth to the boil and add noodles cook until al dente. (maybe 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness and width) You can add pieces of meat back into the noodles and serve or serve alone as a side dish as we do.  Many families serve the noodles and meat over mashed potatoes.  Be sure to taste and salt before serving.

Please don't be intimidated by dough.  Please just dive in and I hope you enjoy this wonderful dish our family loves.


Lemon Pie for One or Two or more!

The thing is.....I sort of get a "bug" about something an I carry it around until I act upon it or find a way to shake it.  Of late I have several "bugs" although I must add I am quite proud of myself for having gotten rid of several of the pests!!  Otherwise also known as projects or tasks waiting for action.

The one I speak of here is that when the whole family was home I often made pies and cakes and cookies and they were quickly devoured.  I found that if I had any pie pastry left after rolling my crusts it was very handy to roll it and cut it as saltine crackers and prick with a fork and bake the squares off in the oven for maybe 10-13 minutes at 375 degrees F.   Then I stored them in the freezer in zip loc bags and pulled them out with fresh strawberries and whipped topping to make individual strawberry pies as needed.

Nowadays, except on Sundays, it is usually just the two of us and it occurred to me that I needed to pull out this practice once again.  But this time use a biscuit cutter forming discs of pastry and using all sorts of filling thus having the ability to serve pie for one or two at the drop of a hat in lots of flavors.

My favorite pastry recipe makes enough for 5 single crusts and freezes well.  My bug was to make up a batch and make one crust into discs and dock and bake them off.  So today after I picked tomatoes and started the laundry I did just that!

To make the pastry:
Combine 4 C. all purpose flour (I use King Arthur),  1 1/2 C. butter and shortening (today I used 1/2 C. butter and 1 C. Crisco),  1 T. sugar, and 2 t. salt in processor pulsing until grainy with small and medium lumps.  Using a glass measure I put 1/4 C. crushed ice in the bottom of the cup to which I add enough water to make 1/2 C.  Then I add 1 T. vinegar and 1 egg  to the water and beat it all together.  By the time I am ready to add this to the flour mixture the ice is usually melted.  I pulse the processor and add the liquid until it starts forming a ball.  Stop and dump it onto waxed paper and form a ball.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Remove from the refrigerator and divide into 5 portions and form each into a disk.  Wrap what you are not using today in saran or waxed paper and store in a zip loc bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I rolled out a portion.  Cut it with my biscuit cutter and pricked them.  I laid them out on parchment paper and baked them at 375 degrees F for about 12 minutes.

Then I just prepared lemon curd and stacked the pastry discs then lemon then pastry then lemon and ending with whipped cream.  I stored the remaining pastry disks in the freezer and plan to use them making  peach pie for two later this week.


Macaroni and Tomato Salad

My sister Linda always makes the best macaroni salad and when I asked her about it she said the recipe was in a 1978 Church cookbook Mother had gotten all  of us as a gift one year.  The name of it is "Cooking With Big Love, A cookbook from Christ Lutheran Church, Noblesville, In. 1978."

I was inspired and my adaptation goes like this:

2 C. uncooked pasta cook per pkg. directions 
4 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/3 C. sweet pickles chopped
1/3 C. sweet onion chopped
2 large stalks celery chopped
1 t. yellow mustard
1 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. vinegar
1 1/2-2 C. cherry tomatoes* optional

Using a large bowl combine the cooked and chilled pasta, eggs and vegetables.  Combine the mustard, mayo, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl or large measuring cup and whisk together to make the dressing.  Pour the dressing onto the pasta and veggies and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve well chilled and plated on greens to your liking.

Note*  The cherry tomatoes are a great addition and were added because I have a ton of them!!   I am thinking dried tomatoes from my garden broken and added would be a great treat for this winter.


Emmie makes Creme de Menthe Bars

I was pleased to hear the front door Sunday and see Emily's smiling face as she said,  "Hi Grandma."
She came to help with Sunday diner to be enjoyed this evening.  I had these bars in mind for last weekend but had not gotten to them so I turned her loose and they were a great success.  I think they will be wonderful for the Holiday's but wanted to try them now to be sure.  You will need:

1/2 C. butter
1/2 C.  baking cocoa
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 beaten egg
1 t. vanilla
2 C. Oreo cookie crumbs
1/2 C. soft butter
1/4 C. creme de menthe
3 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. butter
1 1/2 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat 1/2 C. butter and the cocoa in a heavy bottomed saucepan stirring until the butter is melted  and  smooth.   Remove from the heat and add 1/2 C. powdered sugar, the egg and the vanilla.  Stir in the cookie crumbs.  Press the mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 9" x 13" pan and set aside.

Combine 1/2 C. butter and the creme de menthe in a mixing bowl.  Add a drop or two of green food color if desired.   Beat in 3 C. of powdered sugar.   Spread over cookie crust and chill, covered for at least an hour.

Melt  1/4 C. butter and the chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat or in the microwave in an appropriate bowl.  Quickly spread over the top of the bars.  Chill covered until set.  Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before cutting.  Yield 2 dozen bars.  This recipe is adapted from,  "Once Upon a Time,  Recipes and Recollections From a River City"  by the Junior League of Evansville, Indiana.

Note:  If you have a narrow offset spatula it will be much faster and easier to use when spreading the layers for this treat!!

Surf and Turf Salad "IT'S A MEAL!!"

Our son Michael gave me this recipe and asked me to make it a couple of years ago.  We have really enjoyed it especially during the summer grilling season.  We have adapted it some and I think he said he got it from a Rachel Ray TV demonstration.

Combine these ingredients in a shallow dish:

2 -3 finely chopped cloves of fresh garlic
1" piece of fresh ginger peeled and grated**
3 T. tamari (dark aged soy sauce)
1 t. ground coriander
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper
1 T. grill seasoning
zest of 1 lemon
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 T. sherry

Coat 2 pounds of London broil or flank steak and empty it all into a zip lock bag for at least 15 minutes and up to overnight.

Peel and devein 16 medium shrimp.  Cut the ends 1" from the top of one bunch of green onions.  Drizzle both the green onions and shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Grill both for 2 minutes and reserve.
Grill steak 4-5 minutes per side, cover with foil and set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile combine 2 romaine hearts chopped with 1/4 pound of washed baby spinach leaves, 1/2 chopped red onion, a pint of cherry tomatoes and 1/4 C. chopped parsley and arrange on a large platter.

Scatter grilled shrimp and grilled onions over the greens.  Mix the dressing in a small bowel by combining:  juice of 1 lemon, 2 T. tomato paste, 2 t. Worcestershire sauce, 3 T. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.Slice the steak across the grain very thinly arranging it atop the salad greens and drizzle all with the dressing.   Serve with grilled hot bread and enjoy.



Oatmeal, Raisin, Pecan Cookies

My husband will be happy tonight when he sees I have made his favorite cookies.  He is a great lover of good old fashioned good for you too, oatmeal cookies.  Mine are made with the old fashioned rolled oats and pecans, raisins and apple juice so it packs a bigger nutrition bang than do most cookies.

The recipe was first in my Betty Crocker Kitchens cookbook from 43 years ago.  I have changed it and it has evolved, my version goes like this:

1/2 C. butter softened
1/4 C. Crisco
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1 lg. egg
1/4 C. apple juice
1 t. vanilla
1 C. flour
1 1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. soda
3/4 t. cloves
1 C. raisins
1 C. chopped pecans
3 C. old fashioned rolled oats

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the shortening, sugars, egg, juice, and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy and reduce the mixer speed to low and add slowly the remaining ingredients.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto either parchment or greased cookie sheets.  Bake 12-15 minutes until almost no imprint is left when touched.  Remove from baking sheet and cool.  Store in a tightly covered container.  Yield about 5 dozen cookies.
What child wouldn't love these after school with a cold glass of milk while doing homework??

Chicken Chow Mein

This is a great go to recipe that can either be made out of all fresh ingredients or as today using previously cooked chicken.  Actually any meat you like as I have made this using pork, beef, and shrimp as well as chicken.  The difference is you would slice thinly fresh meat and stri fry it first thing then remove it from the pan and saute the veggies then add it all back together when you add the stock prior to the simmer.

You may also use chow mein noodles rather than rice so there are a lot of variations open to you.

My method goes like this:
1-1 1/2 pound chicken sliced into bite size portions
2 C. celery sliced medium width
1 large bunch green onions chopped medium including green tops
1 can mushrooms or 1 C. fresh mushrooms sliced (save the mushroom liquid if using canned)
1 can water chestnuts sliced and drained (optional)
1 can bamboo shoots drained (optional)
2 T. pimento (optional)
2 C. chicken stock (or 2 C. hot water plus 3 chicken stock cubes)
3 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
black pepper
2-3 T. olive oil
2 C. fresh bean sprouts, or drained if using canned
2-3 C. hot cooked rice or noodles cooked per pkg. directions

If using previously cooked meat set it aside and pour oil into large flat bottomed pan and saute celery for 5 minutes.  Add the green onion and continue another 2-3 minutes.  Add the meat  and broth and reduce the heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile add the soy sauce to the reserved mushroom liquid and add the cornstarch stirring well until lump free.   Add enough water to make about  2/3 C. of liquid.  Add the liquid to the pan and stir and cook to thicken.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well heating until it comes to a boil and is heated through.  Serve immediately over rice or noodles and pass with additional soy sauce.


Really fast and easy do ahead Lasagna evolution!!

When I stop and think about it the older I get the more inclined I am to find ways to make things ahead.  While I won't compromise on quality or taste and end result if I can make it easier on me by making it ahead or simplified that is always my course.  This was prepared Friday evening in anticipation of Saturday night supper with an unknown quantity of people which turned out to have been 9.

My husband had a thing for good old Ragu spaghetti sauce.  It is the only sauce he has ever liked in the 37 years we have been married.  So I have long ago given up my preference for my Mother's home made sauce and use the Ragu.  I have found also long ago that I get an excellent result by not cooking the lasagna noodles but rather assembling the dish using uncooked pasta the night before and letting it sit, covered in the refrigerator overnight.  The pasta absorbs the excess juices and flavors and bakes to the perfect doneness when the final cooking takes place.

So here is my method and recipe:

1 pound of bulk sweet Italian sausage, browned with
1 pound of ground round
1/2 box of flat lasagna noodles
1 large jar Ragu spaghetti meat flavored sauce
1 pound of sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
1 pound of ricotta cheese
1 1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

I use a 12" x 15" glass baking dish but I have made it in a 9x13.  It bakes faster and does not bubble over if you use the larger dish.  Grease the dish and set it aside.  Brown the meats and season with half of the salt and pepper.

This is the lasagna before I covered it to be refrigerated overnight.
Spread about 1/3 C. of the plain sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan then make a layer of the noodles.  Add the remaining sauce to the meat adding the Italian seasoning and blending together well.

Using a medium sized bowl stir together the ricotta, 1 C. of the Parmesan, the egg, nutmeg, and rest of the salt and pepper.

Top the noodles with 1/2 the ricotta mixture then 1/2 the meat sauce and then tear the mozzarella over it all evenly.  Start again with a layer of noodles. top with ricotta then meat sauce, again tear the mozzarella and finnish with a sprinkle of the reserved Parmesan cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and/or foil and refrigerate all day or overnight or freeze until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake approx. an hour.  If it is browning too quickly tent with foil.  Be sure it is nice and bubbly all the way around to ensure it has baked through.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing for ease of serving.

Note that I use only 2 layers of noodles and use more meat than most recipes.  That is our families lasagna evolution.


Asian Cabbage Slaw, Orzo with Sugar Snap Peas, Grilled Chicken, & Cake

We have two daughter-in-laws and they are both named Julie.  We call them Julie 1 and Julie 2, not based on age but based on the length of time in the family.  AND YES!!!! We are looking for a Julie for our third son...ha ha!!!

Julie 2 celebrated her birthday this weekend so today was another family dinner as  requested by the person celebrating the birthday.  She asked for grilled marinated skinless boneless chicken breasts, Asian slaw, and orzo with sugar snap peas.  She also requested a cake I have already written out for you on Emily's birthday that recipe is posted in mid June.  The chocolate, chocolate chip cake with ganache for frosting....mmmmmm.

Brian grilled the chicken to perfection and I had Randy the butcher run the chicken breasts through the meat machine they use on the cube steaks and then marinaded half of them in garlic butter and the other half in teriyaki sauce.  They were very moist, tender and full of flavor!!

The Asian Slaw I have made for many years and is quite close to a Norwegian Slaw I have also made with the only difference being how the cabbage was cut!!  The recipe is great to pack for a summer gathering as it uses no mayo and you don't have to worry over spoilage.  It keeps well and is good the next day should any be left.

3 pkg. of cabbage cut for slaw or 2 heads of cabbage you shred yourself (about 3 pounds)
1 bunch green onions sliced including tops
1 pkg. chicken Ramen noodles
1/2 C. slivered almonds
1/4 C. sesame seeds
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. vinegar
1/4 C. oil
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Open the ramen noodles and remove the flavor pack and set aside.  Place the noodles in a heavy plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin until well crumbled.  Set the noodles aside.

Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat and dry toast the sesame seeds, watching them very closely as not to burn.  Immediately pour them into a waiting cold plate when toasted.  Then toast the almonds in the same hot pan removing them quickly when golden brown as not to scorch them.
Set these both aside for now.

Combine in a small saucepan the sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and the seasoning packet ingredients from the ramen noodles.  Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve all of the ingredients.  Remove from the heat and cool in a jar.  I often do this a day ahead and just leave it sitting on the counter overnight.  I also often toast the nuts and seeds ahead and break up the noodles then about an hour before serving time I put it together by just combining everything in a very large bowl and stirring well.

If you don't need this much slaw you can certainly cut the recipe in half by only using half the crushed noodles and so forth.  If you like to cut the cabbage yourself you can also throw in some red cabbage and shredded carrots as I have many times for a colorful and flavorful dish.


1 lb. uncooked orzo
1 pkg. 8oz. fresh sugar snap peas
Zest of 1 fresh lemon
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
5 T. butter
3/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese (save back 1/4 C. to sprinkle on top of completed dish)
1 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and drain the sugar snap peas and cut off the ends.  Then slice them twice from end to end much like the way you French cut green beans.  Set these aside.  Brush the mushrooms with a soft brush to remove any grit and slice them.  Set them aside too.  Zest and juice the lemon and grate the cheese.

Now this goes really quickly and you will ready to serve.

Bring a medium kettle of water to boil and salt it well.  Cook the orzo according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and immediately put the butter back into the bottom of the hot pan and add the peas and then the hot drained orzo, the zest, lemon juice and 1/2 C. grated cheese.  If you are using mushrooms they go in now too. Stir all together well.  Add salt and pepper and turn onto a serving dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve.

Both Julies love this one.  I hope you will too.


Cookie Crisp

This has proven to be a very busy Labor Day weekend with our children and grandchildren visiting.  I decided to do everything the easiest way I could as to spend more time with everyone visiting and not so much time working away in the kitchen.

I really didn't plan ahead much and just "went with it" more than usual.   Saturday I baked an especially quick and easy desert.  It is a combination of store bought pie filling with additional fresh or frozen fruit added plus a little jazz up with a bit of extra butter, sugar, and cinnamon.  Basically I used a can of apple pie filling and added a couple of peeled and sliced cooking apples plus an additional tablespoon of butter, three tablespoons of sugar(to taste), and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

The next step is to use a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough and slice it about a scant quarter inch thick.  Top the fruit with the cookie slices and sprinkle the cookies with demura or raw sugar.  I used individual stoneware baking dishes and doubled the recipe using 2 cans of pie filling, 4 apples and one roll of cookie dough and yielded twelve deserts.

I baked them 22 minutes at 350 degrees F.  It is quite nice to top with whipped cream or ice cream.

I first thought this up when my husband headed up the local cowboy shooters at our local gun club and I often prepared lunches for 75 hungry cowboy shooters!!  So if you have a crowd to feed you can use big disposable aluminum pans and mix up big batches.  I just bake them until the  fruit is bubbling around the edges and the cookies are brown,  You can use any fruit you like and I always added frozen fruit for the cowboy shoots and topped it with a ready made whipped topping from the freezer section of the grocery.  I just thought I would share some of my tips for cooking for a crowd.