Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quick And Easy Minestrone Soup

Last night was one of those 'extra busy nights'.  We all have them, where dinnertime rolls around and we forgot to cook until the clock says "time to eat".
I checked my pantry and saw a bag of Bear Creek Minestrone soup I had picked up at the store a few weeks ago.  We've eaten their broccoli and their potato soups but not the minestrone, so I grabbed the bag and went looking for things I could add to make my own variation.  In my pantry I had V8 juice, beef broth and kidney beans.  I checked the freezer and had a bag of green beans too.  Once again, it pays to have your pantry well stocked on 'what's for dinner' nights.

Here is the recipe variation I came up with:

1 bag Bear Creek Minestrone soup mix
6 cups water
1 small can V-8 vegetable juice
1 can Campbell's beef broth
1/2 bag frozen green beans
2 16oz cans dark red kidney beans, liquid included
large handful of whole grain rotini (uncooked)

Heat water to boiling; whisk in the minestrone soup mix.  Add the V8 juice, beef broth, frozen green beans, kidney beans and uncooked rotini noodles.  Simmer for 20 minutes, serve with your favorite rolls, biscuits or do what I did - I buttered some leftover sub buns and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, and ran them under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes.  Delicious!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mini Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

My daughter recently graduated from college, and came home with a fun little appetizer snack recipe for mini muffins that taste like a pizza! She served them to her book club at school and they were a hit. We've made them twice at my house and my boys declared they were just right for some 'man food' snacking as well. You can change up the ingredients to vary the taste.
Mini Pepperoni Pizza Muffins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 12-muffin mini muffin pans with Pam cooking spray.
Ingredients: 3/4 c. all purpose flour 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning dash of salt and pepper 3/4 c. whole milk 1 egg 1 c. pepperoni, diced 1 c. shredded mozarella cheese
In a bowl, combine the flour and baking power, then mix in milk, beaten egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in the pepperoni and cheese and let stand about 10 min.
Stir the mixture again, and spoon into the muffin pans, abt 2 tsp per muffin cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 24 mini appetizers or snacks.
You can serve your favorite pizza sauce for dipping, or eat as is. These are so delicious that they disappeared before they could cool down completely.
Some variations to try: Use swiss cheese and diced mushrooms in place of the pepperoni and mozarella. Use 1/2 c. diced ham, 1/2 c. well drained crushed pineapple and 1 c. shredded Italian cheese. Use asiago cheese and chopped fresh baby spinach in place of the pepperoni and mozarella.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Blueberry Syrup For Pancakes and Waffles

Do you love to eat breakfast out at a really good pancake house? One of the best parts can be their yummy fruit syrups. Not that maple syrup isn't good - I love it! But how about making some fresh Blueberry Syrup at home the next time you make homemade pancakes for your family?
Here is a simple recipe to use. Your family will love it!


2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, stir together all ingredients. Cook together over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring gently. Turn heat down to medium low and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Use potato masher to gently break up berries into the syrup mixture. It is fine to have some berries floating in the syrup, so don't over-mash it.
Serve over your favorite pancake or waffle recipe, or use it to liven up frozen store bought waffles. Store remainder in the fridge for a few days. Can be used warm or cold.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Corn Chowder For A Cold Winter's Day

For a number of years our family helped host a Christmas caroling party each December, where the featured entrees were two big pots of Chili and of Corn Chowder. So I thought I would offer my version of corn chowder here for anyone who wants a great way to warm up on a cold winter evening. I made a pot this week in fact and our family loves it.


4 medium potatoes peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
2 bay leafs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c. water (or enough just to cover the above veggies in a pot).
Put vegetables and seasoning in water in large soup pot; bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft.

1 bag frozen white shoepeg corn or 1 can whole kernel corn.
4 cans Cream Style corn
4 cans Carnation evaporated milk

Heat through but do not boil.

While heating, cook 1 1b bacon in skillet, drain and crumble. Add bacon to chowder after it is heated through.

Taste and season before serving with additional salt and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Serve with small oyster crackers or hot dinner rolls for dipping. Delicious!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7, 2010


We are fortunate enough to live in the heart of rural Pennsylvania, with its lush fields and orchards, and bountiful harvests of fresh vegetables and fruits. One of my favorite places to shop is a local farm market called Brown's Orchard. When we first moved to PA over 20 years ago, the market was much smaller. It has grown in stages in the years since, and now contains a bounty of home grown produce as well as wonderful baked goods, Amish meats and cheeses and gift baskets that are perfect to send to an ailing friend.

Among the offerings are two baked items that our family just loves: Cherry Pudding and Apple Custard Pie.

Cherry Pudding is a baked cake of sorts, very dense, and liberally embedded with sour cherries. It is delicious! In fact, one of my son's requested that I carry one to him on the airplane the last time I flew out for a visit.

I am looking for a recipe for Cherry Pudding that he can make, as per his wife's request!

Brown's Apple Custard Pie has a bottom crust, a custard filling, and a layer of thinly sliced apples on top that are sprinkled with cinnamon. It is delicious!

I would love to find a recipe for an apple custard pie as well.

So this time, readers, I hope you will be generous and share any sources you might have for these two family favorites.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

I have no idea of the origin of this recipe or who to credit for it. If any readers know, please leave a comment! It has been a favorite at our house for many years, ever since my husband and I were first served it by some fellow college students when they invited us over for dinner one evening. The ingredients are simple, but the combination tastes great.

Hawaiian Haystacks


2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken (boneless/skinless)
4 cups cooked white rice
1 can chow mein noodles (9 1/2 oz.)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red peppers

1/2 chopped green onions
1 can pineapple chunks, drained (20 oz.)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup silvered almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1 jar pimentos (2 oz.), drained and diced, (optional)


Boil chicken in salted water until done; shred into bite-size pieces. Combine soup and chicken broth in a medium saucepan to make gravy. Stir to blend. Add chicken to gravy mixture; simmer 10 minutes or until heated through.

To assemble:
On individual serving plates, layer all ingredients.
First stack rice, then chow mein noodles, then chicken/gravy. Top with tomatoes, celery, peppers, and green onions. Then add pineapple chunks, grated cheddar cheese, almonds, coconut, and pimento.

Serves 8.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Instant Chicken - A Delicious Dinner!

I was shopping last week and ran across a product I hadn't seen in my grocery store before. It might have been there and I just missed it, or maybe it's relatively new. Either way, it looked good:

Perfect for a quick dinner, was my thought. Just add some baked potatoes and a salad, and I'd be ready to go.

The chicken comes pre-seasoned and packed in a nifty oven bag. All you have to do is place the bagged chicken in an open roasting pan, and cut a 1" slit on the top. Done, ready to cook! Here is how the oven bag looks:

The chicken smelled wonderful while it was baking, and tasted absolutely delicious! My 3 at-home sons declared it a success and all of them commented on how moist and well seasoned the chicken was. We ate about half of it the first night and then boned what was left and had plenty to make chicken quesadillas for dinner the second night.

Here is the chicken hot out of the oven:

The chicken wasn't cheap; I think I paid $11.95 for it at my local store. But we fed five people dinner for two nights, so in the end, that's only $6 per dinner for the meat entree, and that is a good price indeed. And you can't beat the easy prep and clean up!