Thursday, July 31, 2014


Believe it or not, but I actually didn't have a dessert in the house yesterday morning. The last sweet I made was peanut butter bars for the volunteers at Hillcrest last Friday night.  (I know I haven't shared the recipe with you yet.  Soon.

Tuesday, my husband took out a loaf of strawberry bread he found in the freezer. (He has gotten used to having something sweet in the house.)  It is really good, but it is just a little mini loaf and so it doesn't last very long.

Yesterday, I was looking through a couple of cookbooks looking for a recipe using meatballs. (Remember those 114 mini meatballs I made earlier this week?) Anyway, not having a lot of luck, I naturally ventured into the dessert sections.  That's when I saw Judy's Black Skillet Carrot and Pineapple Cake. I was looking in the Cooking Made Plumb Easy cookbook from Jay R. Smith Manufacturing Co. in Montgomery, AL that I got at an estate sale. Judy was Judy Dixon who worked in Accounting.

I love my iron skillets - I have 6 or 7, all different sizes.  Judy didn't say which size iron skillet to use or how much powdered sugar to use for the glaze. I decided to use my 10 - inch skillet and just a cup of powdered sugar.  It worked out perfectly!

I also love carrot cake but hate all of the calories. This recipe looked interesting because it didn't use a cream cheese frosting (so many calories) and didn't have that much sugar. I still reduced the calories though by using the sugar/stevia blend. Judy's recipe called for 2/3 cup oil, but I only used 1/3 cup oil + 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce. I think it would taste really good with nuts, but the recipe didn't call for them. (and that would add more calories)  I am anxious to make this again though when I have a group over and I may include about 1/2 cup chopped nuts.


1-1/2    cups flour (I mixed all-purpose and white whole wheat flour)
1           cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup truvia baking blend)
1           teaspoon baking powder
1           teaspoon baking soda
1           teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2       teaspoon salt
1           cup grated carrots
1           cup crushed pineapple, drained and separated (two 1/2 cups)
1/3       cup canola oil
1/3       cup natural applesauce (no sugar added)
2          eggs
1           cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a ten-inch iron skillet.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt with a whisk.

Add the carrots, 1/2 cup pineapple, oil, applesauce, and eggs.

Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Pour batter into iron skillet.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Prepare a glaze by mixing the other half cup of crushed pineapple with the powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl.

Pour glaze over the top of the cake after removing it from the oven spreading it out evenly.

Allow the glaze to seep into the cake before cutting it.

Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I made this pork chop and apple casserole the other night because I could time it to be ready when I thought the workers residing our house would be quitting for the day.  As it was, it was ready and we had to start eating before they left.  They worked 12 hrs that day.

This was another great recipe from the Colonial Cooks! cookbook compiled by the cooks at Colonial Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, KS. This particular recipe was contributed by  Linda Turrel. Her recipe served four but I just cooked two pork chops.  I will show her recipe with my amounts in parenthesis.

The pork chops were so tender and moist and the "stewed" apples made a delicious side dish for our dinner. 


4       pork chops (2 pork chops)
3       apples, cored and sliced (2 apples, cored and sliced)
4       tablespoons brown sugar (3 tablespoons brown sugar)
Dash of nutmeg (dash of nutmeg)
Juice of 1 orange or 1/2 cup orange juice (1/2 cup orange juice)
salt, pepper, flour, and a little olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Salt, pepper, and flour pork chops on both sides.

Put a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan; brown chops on both sides. (I cooked mine 3 minutes on a side over medium heat in an iron skillet. If you want your chops browner, cook for 4 minutes on each side.)

Prepare apple slices. 
I cut each wedge into three pieces.
Combine the brown sugar and nutmeg and toss with apple slices.

Spread in a 9 x 11 - inch casserole dish. (I used a 9 x 9 - inch pan.)

Lay pork chops on top of apple slices.

Pour orange juice over chops and apples.

Cover tightly with foil.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. (45 minutes was perfect!)

Monday, July 28, 2014


Recently on Facebook, Cousin-In-Law Mary, posted that she had just finished making enough meatballs to last a while. I asked her to take some pictures and send me the recipe and I would publish it on my blog.Well, she sent me the recipe but no pictures. So that meant I had to make my own. (I do thank you for the recipe, Mary. And truth be known, I guess it is good that you didn't send any pictures. These meatballs are so tasty....I'm glad I had to make my own sooner rather than later.)

Mary sent me her mother's original recipe but said she tripled everything because of using three different meats (ground round, ground bison, and ground sausage). You could make the original recipe and make less meatballs if you wanted to, but it is so terrific that I now have two gallon size freezer bags full of meatballs that I can easily take out and use in recipes now that I would recommend tripling it also. In fact, I told my husband that we wouldn't have to have plain old spaghetti sauce anymore. That pleased him. (Oh, he ate three of them while they were cooling and I was still cooking some.)

Mary cooks hers in an iron skillet, but she said her mother bakes them for a bit in the oven first and then finishes frying (browning) them in a skillet.  Mary admitted that the baking was probably better for you and I agree.  So I baked mine.  

I saw on-line from Afton Brown, a trick of baking meatballs in a mini-muffin tin and decided to give this a try.  It did work out really well, but because I only had two tins, I decided to try a batch on my cookie sheet.  That worked out really well also.  There wasn't much fat in my meat so they held their shape perfectly.  So either way you want to do them would be fine.

(I know you know how to triple recipes, but I put the increased amount in parenthesis at the end.)


1        lb. ground meat (3 lbs - any variety; such as ground beef, ground turkey, ground sausage, ground bison, etc.)
1        cup Parmesan cheese (3 cups)
1        cup Italian Bread crumbs (3 cups)
2        eggs (6 eggs)
1/2     cup milk (1-1/2 cups)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic (9 cloves - I used 3 teaspoons minced garlic)
1        tablespoon dried parsley or fresh (3 tablespoons)
1        teaspoon salt (3 teaspoons - I just left mine at 1 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If using more than one variety of meat, mix meat together in a very big bowl until well blended.  I used 1 lb of ground beef, 1 lb ground turkey, and 1 lb (roll) of sausage. 

(I mixed it using my hands. Boy! was it cold!)

Combine the cheese, crumbs, garlic, parsley, and salt in a large bowl, set aside.

Lightly beat the eggs together in a bowl.

Add the milk.

Add the the egg/milk mixture to the meat. 

TIP!  Since my hands got so cold combining the meats, I decided to try using my potato masher to combine the eggs with the meat. It worked so well.  Next time I will use it to combine the meats.)

Add the cheese/crumbs mixture and mix well. (Potato masher still does the trick.)
I used my wooden spoon at the end to make sure I had it all from the bottom of the bowl mixed in.

Form into meatballs according to the size you want.  I used my cookie scoop because I wanted smaller ones - they also don't have to cook as long - and that couldn't have worked better.

At this point you can add a little olive oil in a frying pan and brown them on all sides and cook til done (as Mary does)

OR you can bake them in the oven for 18 - 20 minutes if using the mini muffin pan or 20 - 22 minutes if using the cookie sheet. (I sprayed the muffin pan and the cookie sheet with cooking spray. I also washed the muffin tin between batches.)

Remove and cool completely on wire rack.  Can freeze for later use. 

These are the ones I made in the muffin tins.

These are the ones I made on the cookie sheet right after I took them out of the oven. (They were actually more perfect than the ones I cooked in the muffin tins.)

(I used quart size storage bags (2-1/2 doz in each) and then put two of them in a gallon freezer bag)

Tripling the recipe, I made 114 mini meatballs.

TIP! I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and stored it in the refrigerator while some were baking.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


I just finished making 114 meatballs. Waiting for them to cool so I can freeze them for later use.  Thanks to Mary, the wife of my husband's cousin.  The recipe is her mother's.  I will be sharing it later this week. Until then I have the best lemon cake recipe ever. It isn't my usual reduced calorie recipe, but I told the volunteers at the thrift shop that everyone deserved to have the "real thing" at least once in a while.

Most of my recipes come from my gazillion cookbooks.  This one though for Lemon Dream Cake comes from Cynthia Brandon and the internet.  It sounded like something that the volunteers at Hillcrest would like.  I thought about changing the recipe and making a Cherry Dream Cake that would be lower in calories (and I am going to make it just not this first time).


1       French vanilla cake mix + the ingredients to make it according to the box
1       can lemon pie filling
1       container lemon flavored frosting
1       8 - oz container whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the box.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Drop spoonfuls of pie filling across the batter.

Run a knife through the filling to sorta even it out.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched with fingertips.

Cool completely.

Thoroughly mix the whipped topping and frosting (either with a mixer or spoon).

Spread evenly over the cake. You will have plenty so pile it on high.

Refrigerate until chilled.

Store in the refrigerator.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


For the main course at a New Dinner Club gathering, Friend Linda served these Best Ham Sandwiches Ever. The recipe makes 24 small sandwiches. Because she wanted them to be hot when we were ready to eat, I managed to get a picture of before and after. (You could always use a different meats and offer a variety of choices.) You may have heard these called Funeral Sandwiches. That's what my friend Janice calls them. She said they are often brought when food is served after a funeral.


2        packages of sweet Hawaiian rolls (the small dinner roll ones)
1-1/2  lbs of Virginia ham (NOT honey ham)
12      slices Swiss cheese
3/4     cup butter
1-1/2  teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2  teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2  teaspoons dried onions
poppy seeds

You will need two 9 x 13 - inch pans.  

Place the bottoms of 12 rolls in each pan.

Place ham (about 2 shaved slices or so) on each roll.

Cut the cheese slices into 4 parts and place 2 small pieces on each sandwich.

Put the dinner roll tops on.

In a sauce pan, mix butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dried onions.  Wait until all of the butter is melted and then pour the melted mixture over the hand sandwiches. (I know it sounds weird, but TRUST me).

Sprinkle the buns with poppy seeds and cover with foil.

Let refrigerate overnight (if not able to wait, it is okay.  They still taste great if made right away.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and uncover the sandwiches.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes and serve.  They are great hot and even at room temperature.


Other dishes served at the dinner: