Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is this all about?

My friend Kristin showed me her 6-week meal plan that she had seen on Better Budgeting.

I decided I needed to fly with it and get my meals in order. I always go bonkers about 4 p.m. trying to decide what to make for dinner or getting it ready. Delaying the inevitable just doesn't work.

So here's my goal:

Step 1: 6-week meal plan with organized grocery list and orderly recipes on blog. See links on right for blank or completed meal plan sheets for download.

Step 2: Organize my morning so I'll make time for dinner prep before I get too tired.

Step 3: Empty dishwasher in the morn. I'm notorious for leaving it until 4 p.m. when I decide to start supper. I can't stand to cook in a messy kitchen so first I'll spend the time to do all the dishes and THEN start on dinner. No - bueno! So - dishes first and all-day so when it's dinnertime, I can focus on dinner.

I know my meal-plan and goals may need some tweeking. And I don't expect to be perfect... baby steps apply here!

Info on 6-week Meal Plan:

A few friends asked to see my meal plan. I hesitate sharing it only because I'm so not a gourmet. Now, my sisters and mom and cousins and aunts are gourmet... so I use their recipes and just try and pretend like I can cook.

Truth is that the cooking gene skipped me. But I'm not letting that stop me from trying. I'm still trying to master baking rolls and breads. I can do easy meals.

But I honestly don't have enough energy to conquer recipes that take all-day long or have a list of 20 ingredients. I don't enjoy my own cooking enough. I enjoy when other's make those recipes, but I'm too tired to enjoy when I'm standing for hours slaving in a hot kitchen.

Blah-Blah. Anyhoo... so, the point is that most of the recipes I chose for our meal-plan are simple. As I was going through the family cookbook (which I hope to reorganize and share digitally one of these days), I saw so many tasty recipes that I didn't include on my mealplan, so I'm adding an ALTERNATIVES section which will give me ideas when I just don't feel like something that week. That section, I'll keep adding to.

I entered the recipes for my own sake. They are listed by Week as well as labeled by category.

Regarding grocery list:  I decided not to include all the items I regularly have in my food storage like rice, noodles, frozen chicken tenderloins, ground beef (unless I need it fresh for the recipe), etc.  But the things I knew I would need to take stock on in my pantry, I included so I wouldn't be without an ingredient.

Regarding sidedishes:  I generally have canned/frozen veggies and fruits which we have each night for side dishes, so I didn't plan my sides/desserts/baked goods very well.  The main dish is what I need help on generally, and it's easy enough to snag the sides depending on what fresh fruit/veggies are in season.

Ummm yeah - and don't judge how healthy I am by my meals.  I realize there are many carbs.  But we try and compensate with lots of veggies, protein, and fruits. We're just lucky to eat around here these days!

Anyhoo... shout out any questions and I'll refer you to the proper chefs to answer them. :)

Also, if you want to share your meals or meal plan, feel free to email them to me at happyfam {at} gmail {dot} com.



3-5 lb. chuck roast
4 TBSP. flour
3 TBSP. shortening
Large flour tortillas
10 oz. picante sauce

Toppings: Shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, grated cheese, salsa, sour cream are good.

I cook the roast in the crock pot on high for 6 7 hours or on low for 12-14 hours. Cool and shred. Melt shortening. Add other ingredients; cook for 1 minute. Stir in reserved juices from meat. Cook until thick. Add more flour, if needed.

Place 1/3 cup meat mixture in upper third or tortilla. Fold top over, sides in, and roll. Place, seam side sown, in roasting pan, well buttered. Butter the top of each chimachunga. Bake at 500' for 8¬10 minutes.

You can also use shredded or canned chicken instead of beef. We use this meat for tacos, too.


CHILI (Carol Reed)

This is my favorite Chili recipe which I love to put in the crockpot.

2-3 cups beans (Kidney or chili beans)
1 lb hamburger
1 onion, chopped
Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper seeds
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
8 oz. can tomato sauce
Can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup water (or so)

Brown hamburger & add chopped onion, green pepper, cook till veggies are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer all afternoon. Add grated cheese right before eating.

Must Serve with Mary Jones Corn Bread!!!


Mary Jones Cornbread

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cube melted butter

2 cups Bisquick
2 heaping Tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar

Bake in 9x13 pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Won Ton Salad

Won Ton Salad (Pat Mackay)

1 small package fried and broken up won tons
2 heads lettuce
4 chicken breasts, cut in pieces
1/2 cup green onion
1 small package slivered almonds

Oil Dressing:
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup oil

Bring vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to boil. Cool and add oil.

Cheese Enchiladas

Cheese Enchiladas (Jan Moffitt)

1 pkg Enchilada seasoning mix
1 can Tomato soup
1 can water (use soup can)
9-12 corn tortillas
3 C. cheese (or more to your liking)
Ground Beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan combine Tomato soup, water, and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Sauce should thicken slightly. If too thick, add more water. Ladle some sauce in an 8X11 pan. With tongs dig a tortilla in the sauce and layer tortillas, more sauce and cheese. Finish with a layer of cheese on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. (Note: you can also add ground beef as a layer.) Serve with sour cream and lettuce. I like to serve it with Spanish rice, recipe below.


Munchies (Rasmina Beck)

1 pound ground beef
1 can cream of celery
Grated onion
¼ pound grated cheese
Salt and pepper
12 potato, or other kind, rolls

Brown meat and add spices and soup. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Add grated cheese, turn off heat, and cover. Cut off tops of rolls and remove centers. Fill with meat mixture and replace top of rolls. Serve immediately.

Chicken Pot Pie

I love Chicken Pot Pie. Pat's recipe is delicious but takes more time to do the pastry. I love it though. Amy's is quick and easy and heart-warming.

Easy Chicken Pie (Amy DeMordaunt)

1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables or make your own by chopping and cooking until partly done: potatoes, carrots, celery, peas…
3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 can cream of celery or chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup bisquick
¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 425. Spread chicken and vegetables in a greased, shallow 2 quart baking dish. Stir together soup, broth, and pepper. Pour over chicken mixture. Combine baking mix, milk, and butter in separate bowl; stir until smooth. Pour over ingredients in baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.

Delicious Chicken Pot Pie (Pat Mackay)
½ cup margarine
1/3 cup flour
½ cup onion
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ¾ cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 cups chicken
1 package frozen peas and carrots (can add potatoes). Cook before.

Melt margarine and blend in flour, onions, salt and pepper. Cook until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in chicken and vegetables. Prepare pastry.

2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp shortening
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
4-5 Tbsp water
2 tsp poppy seeds

Roll 2/3 of pastry into 13” square. Ease into square pan. Roll remaining dough. Place over filling. Flute edges and cut slits in top. Cook, uncovered, at 425 until crust is brown, 30-35 minutes.

Chicken Roll-ups

Chicken Roll-Ups (courtesy of Pat Mackay)

  • 1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese or sour cream
  • 1 cup cubed or canned chicken
  • 1 medium green onion diced (optional. can substitute onion powder)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (optional)
  • dash pepper (optional)
  • sage (optional)
  • Soften cream cheese and 1/4 cup margarine in microwave and blend together. 
  • Add pepper, onion, and chicken. 
  • Lay rolls out. 
  • Spread with ¼ cup mixture on center of roll. 
  • Roll by starting at large end; fold sides in and over. 
  • Melt ¼ cup margarine. 
  • Make crumb mixture by combining bread crumbs and sage. 
  • Roll chicken rolls in margarine, then dip in crumb mixture. 
  • Bake 350 for 20 minutes.
  • Makes 8 rolls.
  •  Optional: Serve with chicken gravy. 
(side note by Heather: I don't use Cream Cheese. I just use a little Sour Cream and put some mozzarella in)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Mock Chicken Cordon Bleu (Shari Price)

Skinned and boned chicken breast fillets (I use Tenderloins)
Sliced ham (Canadian bacon works too)
Slices of cheese (jack and/or cheddar)
Chicken breasts
Cream of chicken soup

(If I don’t have enough breasts, I start with the ham layer.) Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, grated onion and grated cheese on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Take off foil and bake 15 minutes longer.

Baked Crispy Chicken

Baked Crispy Chicken (Shari Price)

2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1-4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Blend marinade ingredients. Place chicken breasts in pan. Pour marinade over all, or put all in large Ziploc bag. Refrigerate overnight. Drain thoroughly. Roll chicken pieces in dry bread crumbs. Place in baking pan. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over pieces. Bake for 1 hour+, uncovered for a crispier chicken. For less crisp coated, cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil, add 1/4 cup water and bake another 15-20 minutes.

Taco Soup & Bread Bowls

Taco Soup (Mary Brunson)
1 pound ground beef
1 can corn
1 can Hunts taco tomato sauce
1-2 cans kidney beans, undrained
1/2 taco seasoning packet
1-2 small cans tomato sauce

Brown meat and then mix all remaining ingredients in crock pot. Cook all day on low. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Bread Bowls
1 loaf Rhodes bread dough, thawed but still cold
1 egg, beaten

Cut loaf into fourths. Form each fourth into a ball. Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Brush with egg. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap, and let rise until double. Remove wrap and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and slice off top. Hollow out bread and fill with favorite soup. (Use hollowed out bread to dip into soup.)

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash (Shari Price)

Brown stew mean in a small amount of oil. Season with salt and pepper and instant beef bouillon crystals and onion. Blend in 2-4 Tbsp flour to coat meat. Add two bay leaves. For the sauce you can add 1 large can tomato sauce, canned tomatoes if desired, tomato paste, etc. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 3 hours. Remove bay leaves and serve over hot rice or noodles.

French Dip Sandwiches

  • Super-super thin slices of Italian Roast Beef from the deli
  • Muenster Cheese slices
  • Buns (sub sandwich rolls, or Kaiser Deli Buns, or we like Walmart Steak Rolls)
  • Packet of Au Jus / French Dip Sauce
  • Broil buns for 5 minutes with butter on one-half and Muenster Cheese on the other half
  • Follow package instructions to make Au Jus / French Dip Sauce
  • Soak Roast Beef in warm Au Jus for a minute, then use fork to remove roast beef slices and put them on the bun.
  • Get a small cup of Au Jus to dip your sandwich

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder (Camille Keller)

2 cups water
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 cups sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 can corn (niblets babycorn)

White Sauce:
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Simmer vegetables for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make white sauce: Melt margarine. Stir in flour with wire whisk. Add 2 cups milk. Stir over medium heat until thick. Add pepper and grated parmesan cheese. Combine undrained veggies with white sauce. Do NOT boil. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Roast and Gravy

This is how I make Roast - though it's not really a recipe.

We use the Roast Seasoning Packet that comes with a roasting bag.

I add 1/2 cup or so of water with the seasonings with some Worcestershire sauce. I also sprinkle a little Onion Soup packet in.

I put the sealed bag (with a few little cuts up at the top) in a crockpot for 6-8 hours.

Using the bag makes it easier for clean-up and to use the drippings for gravy.

Basic Brown Gravy (taken from a Rachel Ray Shepherd's Pie Recipe)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth (or add drippings from Roast)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it

In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute.

(I've had serious problems making decent gravy. Here's my attempt at what I think has worked. I may tweek this next time I make it. Jimmy encourages me to write down what works and I always forget right when I'm making it. Anyhoo...)

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Elbow macaroni or pasta of choice
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter and blend in flour. Stir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils and thickens.

Stir in salt, mustard, cheese and parsley. Heat slowly until cheese melts. Mix with pasta. Turn into buttered casserole dish. Good with crushed ritz mixed with butter on top or extra grated cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until thoroughly heated.

Beef Ole Taco Salad

BEEF OLE (Shari Price)

1 onion chopped fine
1 green pepper chopped fine
3 stalks celery chopped fine

Add and brown:
1 lb. lean ground beef

Simmer 30 min. with:
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 t. Mexican seasoning

Serve over a handful of corn chips (& rice). Top with grated cheese, finely shredded lettuce, sour cream, sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, etc.

Golden Chicken Nuggets

Golden Chicken Nuggets (Carol Reed)

1 envelope Lipton Golden Onion recipe soup mix
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400. Combine soup mix with bread crumbs. Dip chicken in bread crumb mixture, coating well. In lightly greased shallow baking pan, arrange chicken, then drizzle with butter. Bake 10 minutes (turning once) or until chicken is done. Serve with sauce. Makes 2 dozen nuggets.

Minestrone Soup

MINESTRONE (Stephanie Bacon)

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chop
3 ribs celery, coarsely chop
2 cloves garlic
5 c. chicken broth
2 t. dried basil
2-16 oz. cans tomatoes
2 carrots, peel and chop
1/2 c. orzo pasta
2 med. zucchini, chop
1 can cannelliini beans
1/4 t. pepper
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over med. heat. Add onion and celery; saute for 2 minutes or until softened. Add garlic; saute for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, basil, tomatoes (broken up), carrot, orzo, and zucchini. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add cannellini beans (drained and rinsed) and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with cheese on the side.

Hawaiian Haystacks

Chinese Sundaes (Family Favorite)

Serve buffet in this order:
Chinese noodles
Cooked rice
Chicken (cooked and cut in bite-sized pieces)
Gravy (cream of chicken soup thinned with milk and heated through)
Grated cheese
Diced celery
Chopped green onion
Diced tomatoes
Crushed pineapple
Crushed pineapple
Slivered almonds
Maraschino cherries

You can also use bacon bits, chopped olives, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, taco sauce, ranch dressing, cottage cheese, etc.

Lasagna & the sauce

Spaghetti Sauce or Lasagna Sauce (Shari Price)


1 pound ground beef
Grated onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery (can also add green pepper)
Salt and pepper
Other spices as desired, garlic powder, oregano, fresh garlic, etc.

30 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounce can tomato diced tomatoes
8 ounces can tomato paste (can be optional)
bay leaf

Simmer all afternoon.

Lasagna (Shari Price)

Make the sauce as above and simmer all afternoon. Cook the lasagna noodles as direction on package.

1 pound grated mozzarella cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
chopped green onion or parsley flakes, if desired

Layer the sauce, noodles, cheese mixture over and over, ending with sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

6 Chicken Tenderloins
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Milk
Italian Style Bread Crumbs
Olive Oil

Put plenty of Olive Oil in Frying Pan and warm over Medium Heat.

Dip thawed chicken in mixture of beaten egg and milk. Then cover with Bread Crumbs.

Place dipped chicken in oil and cook both sides about 10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through. Serve with Mashed Tators and Gravy

Chicken Gravy

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
Desired spices - pepper, paprika, Spike

In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute.

Pasta Delight

PASTA DELIGHT (Stephanie Bacon)

12 ounces penne pasta
1 onion
2-3 tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
1-3 zucchinis, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried basil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook Pasta according to package directions. Chop shallot or onion. Cut tomatoes. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir zucchini in hot oil until slightly softened. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add tomato; cook 45 seconds. Add basil and cheese. Pour vegetable mixture over penne pasta. Enjoy!

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas 

1. Chicken. (Roughly one chicken breast feeds two or three people, depending on how much you eat).

2. Cut chicken into small strips or bite-sized pieces. Cook in a frying pan on medium heat with little bit of oil. Salt as desired.

3. While cooking, add Lawry’s fajita seasoning (or the homemade fajita sauce recipe below).

4. After the chick is mostly cooked, add sliced green and/or red peppers (roughly one pepper for the two or three people, depending on preference).

5. Also add fresh sliced onion.

6. Serve on flour tortilla with desired toppings such as: cheese, tomato, sour cream, etc.

Fajita Sauce (seasons 1.5 to 2 pounds of chicken):
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Tony Roma's Baked Potato Soup

Tony Roma’s Baked Potato Soup

2 medium potatoes
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup diced white onion
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp thyme
1 cup half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon
2 green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 and bake the potatoes one hour or till done. Remove from oven to cool.

As potatoes cool, prepare soup by melting butter in a large saucepan and sauté onion till light brown. Add the flour to the onions. Stir to make a roux.

Add stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes and spices to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Cut potatoes in 1/2 lengthwise. Scoop out contents with large spoon. Chop baked potato with large knife to make chunks about ½ inch in size.

Add chopped potato and half and half to the saucepan, bring soup back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer soup for another 15 minutes or till thick. Serve in bowl and top with cheese bacon and onion. Great in bread bowls.

(ok, ok... i probably ruin this soup because I don't do everything properly.   I boil the potatoes (it's faster). I also like to add carrots and celery occasionally just to add variety.  Oh, and since I rarely have half-n-half and I'm not a huge fan of cream, I use milk.  I know, I'm sorry if I ruined the best parts of this soup!  But we still love it!)

Pizza Benders / Easy Calzones

Easy Calzones (Jessica Mohlman)

8-9 Texas Rhodes rolls, thawed
2/3 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Other fillings:

Pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked ham, olives, peppers, mushrooms, anything you want

Egg wash:

1 egg beaten
1 Tblsp water

Set rolls out to thaw. Pre-heat oven to 350.

Mix together all ingredients (except egg and water for egg wash).

Flatten rolls and fill with mixture. Place onto a greased cookie sheet. (Make sure the cookie sheet has a raised edge.) Fold over and press fork around edges to close.

Mix egg and water in a separate bowl. Brush onto closed calzones. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until whole calzone is golden brown. (Pour excess oil out of pan immediately, or put on cooling rack, so the calzones don’t get soggy!)

Dip in Pizza or Marinara Sauce.

(You can fit a lot more filling that you're realize in the calzones... At recipe group they probably put 1/2 - 3/4 cup filling in).

Pizza Benders (Mary Brunson)

Rhodes Texas Rolls, thawed
Pizza sauce
Favorite pizza toppings (ham, pepperoni, olives, peppers, etc.)
Grated mozzarella cheese

Thaw rolls until warm and bubbly. (30 minutes in oven and then 30 out of oven.) Roll one roll into a 7” circle. Fill with two tablespoons of your favorite pizza toppings and one tablespoon of grated mozzarella cheese.

Fold over like a turnover and seal edges with fork. Bake on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray for 20 minutes at 350. Dip pizza benders in heated pizza sauce.

BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Put Pork Roast (or Pork Chops) in Crock Pot with a little bit of water.

Cook for 6-8 hours. Shred pork and add BBQ sauce of choice. Serve on buns.

Crash Hot Potatoes

Crash Hot Potatoes (Pioneer Woman)

New Potatoes
Olive Oil
Black Pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make, and cook them until they’re fork-tender.

Generously drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan. When the potatoes are tender, place them on the cookie sheet giving them plenty of room to spread out.

Grab your potato masher and gently press down on the potato until it slightly mashes Then rotate the masher 90 degrees and finish flattening it. Of course, you don’t want to absolutely smash it into the pan—you want it almost to resemble a cookie.

Brush the tops rather generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasoning.

Now throw them onto the top rack of a very hot (450-degree) oven, and cook them for 20-25 minutes or until they’re golden and crispy and sizzling.

Hamburger Macaroni Casserole

Tomato Macaroni Casserole (Shari Price)

Brown and season ground beef. Mix 1-2 cans tomato sauce with cooked macaroni and beef. Turn into buttered casserole dish and put cheddar cheese slices over top. Bake in 350 oven for 20-30 minutes.

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Cream Soup (Mary Brunson)

9 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/4 tsp garlic salt
4 cups chicken broth
pinch of basil, thyme, sage
1 medium onion, chopped
dash hot pepper sauce
8 Tbsp butter or margarine, divided
7 Tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion salt
2 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whipping cream

In large saucepan, bring broccoli and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. In a small skillet, sauté onion in 2 Tbsp of butter until tender; add to broccoli mixture. Stir in the bay leaf and remaining seasonings. Simmer uncovered, for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir into broccoli mixture; add buttermilk and cream. Heat through (do not boil). Discard the bay leaf.

Shepherd's Pie

30 Minute Shepherd's Pie Recipe
courtesy Rachael Ray

2 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 pounds ground beef
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
Other veggies such as beans, corn
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Favorite Chicken Salad (Carol Reed)

4 c cooked chicken, cut up
1 c sliced celery
1/3 c chopped onion
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 c diced almonds
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 c seedless green grapes, halved

Toss all ingredients. Cover and chill. Serve in pita bread or on croissant rolls. Can be served over lettuce leafs.

(Carol's suggestions: I always add the mayo last and add less than it calls for. I stir it all up and then see if it needs more. It is so easy to overdo it on the mayo. Sometimes I leave out the grapes because people think they are weird. And it is really good if you substitute cashew halves for the almonds. That is my favorite recipe yet! (Oh, and we love it on croissants the most!)

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf (Shari Price)

1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup sauce (ketchup, barbeque sauce, tomato or chili sauce)
3/4 cup dry bread cubes (some wheat and some white)
1/2 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp grated onion
just under 1/4 cup finely chopped celery

Beat egg, sauces and spices together. Add remaining ingredients. Form into 1 or 2 loaves.

Bake in 350 oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours with foil or sauce spread on top for last 10 minutes.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe Burgers (Shari Price)

1 pound ground beef
1 can undiluted chicken gumbo soup
Grated onion
1 Tbsp mustard
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup ketchup, barbeque sauce, etc.

Brown meat and add spices, soup, sauces. Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Serve on buns.

Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Buns (Shari Price)

2-3 Tbsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups scalded milk
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
7 cups flour

Scald milk; add sugar and salt and shortening. Cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Take 1/2 the flour and add to the milk mixture. Then add the eggs and yeast mixtures and make batter in bowl; let rise. Then mix in remaining flour to make a soft dough. Let rise 45 minutes – 1 hour. Mix down and let rise again. Make into rolls or buns. For buns roll out 1/4 inch or so thick and cut with a large or small mayonnaise jar lid dipped in flour. Let rise and bake at 375 about 15 minutes or till golden.

(Mary's note: I don't let it rise again the 2nd time because sometimes they get too fluffy)

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole


2 1/2 c. diced chicken
3-4 c. cooked rice or noodles
1 3/4 c. diced celery
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 t. salt
1 1/2 T. chopped green onions
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/4 c. sour cream, including part ranch salad dressing
1/4 c. diced gr. pepper (opt.)
Grated cheese
Canned milk as needed for sauce

Mix all ingredients and spoon into buttered baking dish. (You can sprinkle crushed potato chips or crushed corn flakes or extra cheese on top.) Bake at 350 for 30 min.

Beef Stew


2 1/2 lbs. beef cubes or stew meat
8 medium potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
8 large carrots, cut in bite-sized pieces
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (or V-8)

In crock pot make a layer of half of beef, then half of vegetables. Top with remaining beef and vegetables. Sprinkle onion soup mix over top. Add bay leaves. Then top with mixed soups and sauces. Cover and cook for 6 - 8 hours.

Serves 8 - 10 people.

Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls (Becki Richardson)

1/2 pound ground beef
4 cups chopped green cabbage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 large celery stalk, grated

2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Brown meat and drain. Add vegetables and cook until done. Stir in sauce until mixture is well-coated. Put large spoonful into each wrap and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve warm.

(Note from Mary: The first time I made these my oil wasn't near hot enough and the insides were saturated with oil. Not so tasty. This time I heated it over medium-high heat and those little rolls stayed sealed and were perfect.)

(ok - also adding this one in case i get adventurous to make these with the fried rice)

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 1/2 c. sugar
4 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 c. vinegar
1 c. cornstarch
2 tsp. Accent
2 to 3 eggs
2 c. chicken broth
7 Tbsp. catsup

Cut chicken in bite size pieces. Sprinkle with garlic and Accent. Set for 1 hour. Dip in cornstarch, then egg. Fry until just crisp, not brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Heat remaining ingredients until dis¬solved. Pour over chicken in 9 X 13 inch pan. Cook for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. This is great served with fried rice.

(I'm posting this in case I ever find enough energy to make it with the fried rice)

Benihana Fried Rice

Benihana Fried Rice

4 cups cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 Tbsp finely grated carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped ham or cooked chopped chicken (or both)

Cook rice according to package directions. Cool.

Scramble eggs in a small pan. Separate into small pea-size bites while cooking.

When rice has cooled to near room temperature, add peas, carrot, scrambled egg, diced onion and ham/chicken to the bowl. Toss ingredients.

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium-high heat. When butter has melted, dump bowl of rice and other ingredients into pan and add soy sauce plus a dash of salt and pepper.

Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often. Great served with sweet and sour chicken or won ton skins.

April 18, 2021
Jimmy made it using these proportions (with comments):
2 cups uncooked rice (good amount)
3 eggs (good amount)
1 zucchini (I wish I had done two)
1 cup grated carrots (good amount)
1/2 cup diced onion (good amount)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter (maybe needed a little more)
1/4 cup soy sauce (needed a little more)
1 cup chopped ham (good amount)
1 chicken breast, boiled and pulled (good amount)
salt and pepper

Chicken Parmesan

Tomato Chicken Parmesan (altered from All

1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
6 chicken Tenderloins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces pasta sauce
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

Pour beaten eggs into a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow dish or bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into beaten egg, then into bread crumb mixture to coat.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add coated chicken and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken, then place a slice of Monterey Jack cheese over each breast, and bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

(I usually don't bake it. I just put the chicken on top or next to the sauce and noodles)

Or here's Mary's recipe:


2 4 chicken breasts
1/3 c. Italian style bread crumbs
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 T. olive oil
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Flatten chicken to 1/4" between pieces of wax paper.

Mix breadcrumbs and parmesan.

Dip chicken into egg; coat with breadcrumb mixture.

Heat the oil in a skillet.

Cook chicken in oil 10 15 min. turning once, until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Add spaghetti sauce.

Reduce heat to low. Simmer for up to an hour or just till sauce is hot (the longer you simmer, the more tender the chicken will be).

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken.

Serve with hot cooked pasta.

Crock Pot Pork

4-6 Pork chops (depending on if you buy thin sliced or normal size)
2 cans Cream of Celery
Sour Cream
Seasoning (We use Montreal Steak)

Brown Pork chops in a little bit of oil with Seasoning.

Put Pork Chops in Crock Pot with Cream Soups on top.

Cook for 6-8 hours. Add Sour Cream in the last 15 minutes. Pork will be very tender and tasty. Serve over Rice or Noodles or potatoes.

Stuffed Pasta Shells


4 c. (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 pkg. jumbo pasta shells
1 jar (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce

Cook pasta shells. Thaw and drain spinach. Combine cheeses and spinach; stuff into shells. Arrange in a greased 13x9” dish. Pour spaghetti sauce over the shells. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Yield 12-14 servings.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Sensational Chicken Noodle Soup (Mary Brunson)

3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Generous dash of pepper
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
grated onion
other spices (basil, thyme, salt, pepper, Spike, paprika)
1/2 cup uncooked egg noodles
1 cup cubed cooked chicken

Mix broth, pepper, carrot, celery, onion, and spices in saucepan. Heat to a boil. Stir in noodles and chicken. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until noodles are done. Serves 4.

(If i want the soup a little thicker, I add cream of chicken or celery)

Chicken Noodle Soup (Carol Reed)

sweet onion
chicken bouillon cubes
egg noodles
chopped chicken
margarine (optional)
flour (optional)
canned milk (optional)

Add one sweet onion (skinned and left whole), two stalks celery (each stalk cut in a few pieces), 1-2 cups carrots (chopped), and 7-8 bouillon cubes to water (10-12 cups-ish) in large stock pot. Bring to a boil.

Turn to low and simmer 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove onion and celery. (I only boil the celery and the onion in the broth for the flavor and then remove them. If you wanted to add less onion and celery, chopped fine, and leave it in, that is another option.)

Add noodles (my favorite brand is Country Pasta Homemade Style Egg Pasta . . . see photo) to broth and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.

Turn to low and add chopped chicken (I like to buy a whole rotisserie chicken and remove the meat and chop it up). Add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a clear broth soup. If you prefer a slightly creamier chicken noodle soup, add roux (see below). Keep soup on low heat until ready to serve.

Melt 1 cube margarine. Whisk in 1/2 cup flour. Stir until smooth. Add 1 cup canned milk. Whisk again until smooth. Stir constantly on medium heat until mixture thickens. Add to soup after adding the chicken (while soup is on low). This adds a great flavor to the soup


Ranch Burgers (Mary Brunson)

1 pound ground beef
¼ to ½ packet ranch dressing mix (powder)
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients till blended well. Then grill or broil till done. Add slices of cheese (Muenster is good) the last minute or two till melted.

(I don't put the cheese in, but I do add a little Worcestershire sauce or A-1)

Best Ever Chicken

Best Ever Chicken (Pat Mackay)

4 chicken breasts
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
salt – garlic salt – paprika
Italian seasoning Packet
Chopped parsley

Take chicken and sprinkle with salt and garlic salt. Paprika thoroughly. Place chicken in greased dish. Dilute soup with sour cream and pour over chicken and sprinkle parsley and part of Italian Seasoning Packet on top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with yummy rice.

Yum-ee Rice

Yum-ee Rice (Pat Mackay)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 can french onion soup
1 can beef broth
2 Tbsp oil or butter

Mix oil and rice and cover with soups. Bake in covered casserole for 1 hour at 350.

(Because we use short-grain Calrose rice, we use 1 1/2 cups rice.)


CHILIPE (Stephanie Bacon)

3 to 4 lb, Roast
1 can dark red kidney OR Black beans
1 4oz. can green chilies
2 t. chili powder
1 tsp, cumin
1 Tblsp. salt
2 garlic cloves
(end chilipe ingredients)

flour tortillas or corn chips
sour cream
green onions

Put all the first ingredients into a crockpot and fill with water until just below the top of the roast, Cook on low for about 10 hours or until meat is very tender. Stir ingredients in the crockpot shredding meat. Serve the meat taco salad style or in a tortilla like a fajita. Serves 8-10.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Crop Pot Italian Chicken (Original Recipe From Beth's Mess - altered to my liking)


4 frozen chicken tenderloins or breasts
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 c. chicken broth
1 can Cream of Chicken


1. Place chicken in cooker.
2. Sprinkle dressing mix on top.
3. Pour broth/soup over chicken; cover.
4. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Dinner Crepes

Seasoned Taco Meat
Sour Cream
Chopped Tomatoes
Mustard (that's definitely optional for me)

But I'm sure there are a slew of variations that would be extra tasty. But please don't forget to have a yummy dessert crepe to follow up... like cinnamon sugar, or raspberry pie filling, vanilla pudding, and chocolate sauce drizzled on top.

Here is the Smith Family Basic Crepe Recipe (we usually half it for our small family)

4 eggs
4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tblsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 stick butter (melted)

Put all the ingredients except the butter into a bowl and mix well with an electric beater. When it is mixed together well, mix in the melted butter while stirring. Use a big spoon to scoop the batter into the middle of an electric frying pan. Pick the pan up and spread the batter around (making it look like a big, thin pancake). After a 30 seconds or so flip the crepe over and cook for a little less time on the back. (or use the crepe maker and it will be waaaaay easier). Take the crepe off and put the desired toppings in a line down the middle and roll it. Wa-la!