Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Just when I think I couldn't find another really good banana bread recipe, I surprise myself and do. 

Saturday I worked the first shift at Hillcrest Thrift Shop. I don't always take a treat for the volunteers when I go in on Saturday and this time I didn't either. Mark asked me what dessert I had brought and I had to tell him I was bad and hadn't made anything. He was sweet and told me that that was okay. 

About 15 minutes later Jerry walked by the front doors outside and waved. Then it hit me. He and his wife Sharon work on Saturdays. They used to work on Tuesdays and enjoyed my treats. (Sharon works upstairs but he would take her a serving.) Recently she commented on one of my postings on Facebook that she needed to learn my schedule because she always missed out. Nothing would do me but I came home and later that evening made this recipe and took them one of the mini loaves at church Sunday.

I had the bananas that I needed to use and all of the other ingredients so thought it would be perfect to try. It is so darn good.

The recipe was from Mrs. Charles T. Donley from the Flenniken Public Library in Carmichaels, PA.This cookbook called 1992 Hometown Collection America's Best Recipes has so many good recipes in it.


2/3         cup butter or margarine, softened (I did use butter)
1-1/3       cups sugar (I did reduce this to 1 cup)
2-3/4     cups all - purpose flour
1              teaspoon baking powder
1              teaspoon baking soda
1/2          teaspoon salt
2             eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2       cups mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/2          cup sour cream (I used fat-free)
1              cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3 - inch loaf pan. (I used 4 mini loaf pans.)

Cream butter; then gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer.

Combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl with a whisk.

Combine eggs, banana, and sour cream and stir well.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. (I do 3 additions of dry and 2 additions of liquid.) Mix until blended after each addition.

Stir in walnuts.

Pour batter into larger loaf pan or divide evenly between smaller pans. Bake larger loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes (Mrs. Donley's directions) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. I cooked my mini loaves about 40 maybe 45 minutes. I started checking it at 30 minutes but that was too early. She says to shield with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. The edges did start to get brown with my mini loaves.

Let cool in pan 10 minutes
and then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I didn't make anything using chicken last week because we were eating the Heartland Barbecued Beef all week that I had made in the slow cooker. (It made a lot!) Since we have so much chicken, I can't skip too many weeks though.

The recipe I found to use this past weekend is definitely a winner though. You might not realize from the title, Swiss Chicken Casserole, that it is made in a slow cooker. (We are still having above average temperatures for June and so I am trying to help out with the comfort level in our house without having to turn the A/C down from our normal setting.)

I thought I had a can of cream of mushroom soup but didn't. In its place I used a can of cream of celery soup. We thought it tasted good, but the cream of mushroom would give it a different look and flavor. It also calls for 6 boneless chicken breasts and I used only one as it was a big as a plate. So don't hesitate to use less chicken.


6       boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used one really big breast and cut it into four pieces.)
6       slices Swiss cheese (I used 4 slices.)
1        10-3/4 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of celery soup or even cream of chicken soup)
1/4     cup milk
2        cups herb stuffing mix (I used cubed but next time will crush them if I don't have the other.)
1/2     cup butter, melted

Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. (I used my larger slow cooker.) Arrange the chicken breasts in the cooker.
Top with the cheese, layering the cheese if necessary. (I just overlapped the slices to completely cover the chicken pieces.)

Combine the soup and milk and stir well.

Spoon the soup mixture over the cheese.(Guess I forgot to take a picture of this. Oops.)

Sprinkle with the stuffing mix.

Pour the melted butter over the top.

Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours. (I did the latter. Five hours would probably be perfect.)

Serve hot.

Monday, June 27, 2016


I used to make Baked Beans by a recipe that was called Stovetop Baked Beans. I don't remember where I saw the recipe....this was long time ago. I made them so often (every time we had pork 'n beans in fact) that I eventually forgot the recipe and just added the ingredients and didn't measure. I never just heated up a can of pork 'n beans though.

When I saw the recipe for Hearthland Barbecued Beef in my Gooseberry Patch 101 Homestyle Favorites cookbook, I also saw this recipe for Campers' Beans contributed by Janie Collins from Freeport, PA. I have to be honest and say I didn't really read the recipe that closely, I fell in love with the picture on the page. But when I started preparing them, I realized that it was my recipe (except for the vinegar) that I started out with ages ago.

Because it has been so hot lately, I decided to make mine in my slow cooker. They only have to simmer on the stove for 30 minutes, but I just didn't want to have to stand around and watch them. I also like that they will keep in the slow cooker until I am ready to eat.

I made them to go along with the beef and it sure was good. I don't know if baked beans are considered comfort food, but they are to me. 

You can decide if you want to prepare these in a slow cooker or on the stove. I will include my accommodations for the slow cooker. I also made a smaller version. I will include those amounts in parenthesis.


6 to 8      slices bacon (3 slices)
1               onion, chopped (I omitted)
1/4           cup brown sugar, packed (2 tablespoons)
1/4           cup catsup (2 tablespoons)
2              tablespoons mustard (1 tablespoon)
2              teaspoons vinegar (1 teaspoon)
2              32 - ounce cans baked beans (2 - 15 oz cans of pork 'n beans)

Empty cans of pork 'n beans in slow cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Add brown sugar, catsup, mustard, and vinegar and stir well.

Cook on High for 2 hours 

then add the cooked crumbled bacon on top 

Serve with slotted spoon. (You can always drain one can of the beans to have less liquid.)

If preparing on stove top, cook bacon in skillet. Can saute onions if using them in bacon grease.

Crumble bacon and drain on paper towels along with the onions. Combine the brown sugar, catsup, mustard, and vinegar in a large saucepan; simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in beans, bacon, and onion and simmer for at least 30 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. If desired, garnish with additional bacon.

I promise you if you try this once, you will never want to make baked beans any other way because it is so quick and easy and taste so good.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I found this recipe when I was looking for something to make for dinner when my son and his family were coming for a visit. I wanted something for a main course that I could make using my slow cooker so that I wouldn't have to heat up the kitchen. It would also be easy to eat if we ate outside. When my other son told me they were just going to order pizza, I was disappointed. It sounded like a good recipe to try.

Well, I thought, I will just make it for us and we can have leftovers for the whole week. (I will probably end up freezing some of it instead, but will just have to see.)


1         2-lb beef chuck roast, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1/2    cup onion, chopped
2       cloves garlic, minced
2       cups catsup
1/4    cup brown sugar, packed
1/4    cup Worcestershire sauce
1        teaspoon mustard
1/2    teaspoon salt
1/4    teaspoon pepper
6 - 8  hamburger buns

Spray the cooker with cooking spray. Preheat slow cooker on High will you prepare the ingredients.

Combine the ingredients (except the meat) in a bowl.

Place prepared meat in cooker.

Pour sauce over meat and stir until well mixed.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. (I cooked mine on High for 2 hours and then on Low for about 3 hours.)

I decided to eat mine in an open faced sandwich along with some Campers' Beans I made. The Worcestershire Sauce keeps the beef from tasting like BBQ beef.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Last week I tried this Spiced Fruity Spoon Cake from a new cookbook (for me) that I had found at an estate sale called Busy People's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Dawn Hall. All of the recipes have 7 or less ingredients. That really isn't why I am so excited about the cookbook though.

June has been unseasonably hot here in Kansas City. We had to get a new heater at the beginning of the year, and decided to go on and get a new A/C also (special deal if we got bought). It was a hard decision to make because our A/C worked fine. We were told the unit was too big for our house (which we knew it was a super big unit) and would be more economical if we had a unit designed for the size of our house. A little mind boggling, but we dived in and said okay. 

Well, I have to believe that the man knew what he was talking about. We are so happy with our new unit and it is so much more energy efficient. Still, I don't enjoy heating up the kitchen, but I have to cook. What would happen to my blog if I couldn't try different recipes to share with everyone.

That's why I am so excited about this cookbook. The other reason is the desserts generally cook in 2 hours. I can cook it while I am working my shift at the register when I go to Hillcrest Thrift Shop and it is ready for lunch when my shift is over. (I know I was talking about not heating up my kitchen, and I will eventually make one at home and not take to Hillcrest.) 

Yesterday was my usual day to go in to Hillcrest. Before I left home, I mixed up the cake mix with the cherry pie filling and almond extract and then dumped it in the slow cooker when I got to the shop. It smelled so good cooking. Customers would come in and want to know what was smelling so good.

It was a big hit with the volunteers also. I brought home a serving or 2 so my husband could see how good it was, too.


1       (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling (no sugar added would work)
1       (18.25-ounce) box chocolate cake mix (I used a sugar free chocolate cake mix that is 16-ounces)
1       teaspoon almond extract

Preheat slow cooker on High for 10 minutes. (I used a 3-quart cooker)

Spray cooker with nonfat cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the pie filling, cake mix, and almond extract stirring for 2 minutes. (I set my timer but you don't have will take 2 minutes to completely get the ingredients mixed up.) The batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the prepared cooker. Smooth it out on top with spoon.

Do not put the lid on tightly. Leave about a 1/4 inch crack so that the steam can escape.

Cook on High for 2 hours.

Serve warm using a big spoon.

While it was delicious just like it was out of the cooker, I couldn't help but think how good a scoop of ice cream would taste with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Remember a whole lot of chicken I shared with you yesterday? Well, here is the first meal(s) I made from just one of those humongous chicken breasts. That breast was so big, we have eaten twice from it and there is still one serving left. Five servings! That's almost hard to believe.

When we were visiting with our older son and his family in CO a couple of weeks ago, Dil Sara prepared Lemon Chicken in her slow cooker for dinner one evening. I intended to ask her for the recipe, but forgot. 

When I was thinking what I could make with some of the chicken, I wanted to do something that wouldn't heat up the kitchen. This recipe was originally from Life in the Lofthouse and is a popular one from a number of different online sites. The recipe calls for 3 large boneless chicken breasts. I only used 1. I also reduced the Italian Dressing Seasoning Mix to only half the package since I wasn't using 3 chicken breasts. I did go on and use the other amounts called for in the recipe.


1-3       large boneless chicken breasts
1/4       cup flour (this is used for coating the chicken and not an amount added to mixture)
salt and pepper
2          tablespoons unsalted butter (used for lightly browning the breasts)
1/2 - 1  packet Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix (see above paragraph)
1/2       cup lemon juice
1/2       cup low sodium chicken broth*

Coat the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Preheat on High while mixing up the ingredients

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour coating all sides. (I cut the breast into 3 strips because of its size.)

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium - high heat.
Cook chicken until lightly browned on all sides.

Place chicken in slow cooker.
Sprinkle the seasoning mix evenly over the chicken. 

Mix the broth and the lemon juice (*I make my own chicken broth using one cup of boiling water and one chicken bouillon cube and stirring til dissolved. I then used 1/2 cup of it.)

and pour over the top. (* I mainly poured the liquid down the sides so the seasoning mix wouldn't be "washed off".

Place the lid on the cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. (I cooked mine for 30 minutes on High and then about 5 hours on low.)

Leave chicken whole (I tried but it was really hard to do.)
or shred with two forks. Serve over rice with the lemon broth. Want the recipe for the garlic cheese biscuit in the picture, check it out here.         
I just shredded the rest in the cooker.