Hot Cranberry Apple Salad


Our church Thanksgiving dinner is tonight. Turkeys and pans of dressing are volunteered for and prepared ahead of time, but those attending (it is one of our congregations favorite functions all year) bring salads, vegetables, and desserts.  I am bringing 2 salads.  One is Caprese in a bowl using the last of the season’s basil leaves along with c herry tomatoes and tiny mozarella balls. The other salad is a hot salad, one of our favorite dishes this time of year.  I first found a similar recipe in a church cookbook given to us by friends from that church many years ago.  It can be found with many variations online, but this is my old, tried and true way to make it.

Hot Cranberry Apple Salad

21/2 c.whole washed cranberries
3 c. chopped apples, no need to peel
1 c. sugar
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 stick butter
In an 8X10 inch baking pan,.mix together apples, cranberries, and sugar mixture of oats, brown sugar, and nuts over top. Cut pats of butter to dot over all. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees. Serve warm.


Roasted Salmon with Mustard Crust

IMG_3678This is one of the easiest ways to prepare fresh salmon.  Simply coat the top of fillets with whole grain mustard and olive oil and bake until a nice brown crust covers the top.  Sprinkle with chopped chives before serving.  Looks great and tastes even better! When I chose to make this last week, I did not have whole grain mustard in the pantry but I added a Tablespoon of whole brown mustard seeds to Dijon mustard for a substitute.  The result was so tasty I may just do it that way every time!  The mustard seeds toast and pop with flavor.

Roasted Salmon with Mustard Crust

4 wild caught salmon fillets

salt and pepper

1/4 cup whole grain mustard (or substitute with Dijon mustard and add whole mustard seeds)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400° and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, olive oil and chives.

Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper and place them skin side down on the baking sheet. Spread the mustard mixture over the tops of the fillets, place in oven to roast for 6 minutes. Reset oven to Broil.   Broil the salmon 6 inches from the heat for 4-5minutes, until the mustard crust is browned and the salmon is almost cooked through. Using a spatula, carefully slide the salmon fillets off their skins to place on seving platter. Top with chopped chives.

Stuffed Baked Potato

IMG_3513While I don’t ordinarily think baked potatoes require a recipe, I include it because it is a simple supper that has long been a family favorite.  Advantages of baked potatoes for supper include ability to choose size of potatoes,  ease of preparation and the fact that family members can tailor the stuffing to their own preferences.  If I am making a pan of these for a bunch of people, I simply bake the potatoes and set them out along with bowls of a variety of toppings.  The photo here features a small baked potato with salt and pepper, butter, a sprinkle of grated cheddar, and crumbled bacon. Joe and I first enjoyed stuffed baked potatoes at a restaurant called Valian’s* on South Main in Houston 50 years ago!  We often have this for a meal along with a salad, but a baked potato is also a great side for grilled meats.

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4 medium to large baking potatoes


Grated cheddar

4 strips bacon, cooked to crisp and crumbled

salt and black pe pper

chopped green onions or chives  (optional)

Note:  Many other ingredients can be used for potato toppings!  Try spooning chili or chopped broccoli into potatoes. Chopped barbeque brisket or pulled pork can also be delicious.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes and poke 2 or 3 vent holes in each with a fork. Oil or butter the skins, sprinkle with coarse salt and place on baking sheet. Bake potatoes in oven until done, about 1 hour. (Poke with a fork and if fork goes in easily they are done). Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut a slit lengthwise and squeeze slightly to loosen pulp before adding butter, salt and pepper, cheese, and bacon.  Sprinkle chopped green onions or chives on top if desired.

*Valian’s Restaurant opened in Houston in 1955 but closed in 1980 and was also known for introducing “Pizza Pie” to Houston!


Smoked Gouda Bites


Savory often trumps sweet for little bites of something for any gathering. These goodies remind me of cheese and crackers, almost as simple but with a touch of fancy!  My almost 13 year old granddaughter loves smoked Gouda cheese, so I will make these for her at our next family gathering.

Smoked Gouda Bites

1 9 inch purchased refrigerated pie crust

4 slices smoked Gouda cheese

garlic salt, or your favorite seasoned salt

1 24 count miniature muffin pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Set refrigerated pie crust out for at least 15 minutes prior to preparation. Cut each cheese slice into 6 pieces, making 24. On a lightly floured cloth or pastry sheet, unroll crust then roll out very thin from center, leaving a rectangular shape rather than circle. Using a paring knife, cut  into 24 squares. They don’t have to be perfect squares.  Put squares into ungreased muffin pan, gently pushing down but leaving edges sticking up..  Place in  oven for 3 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and put one small cheese piece into each crust.  Return to oven for 8 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Remove Gouda bites from pan and serve. These are delicious when they are hot, but serve well at room temperature.

Curried Pineapple

IMG_3483Fresh pineapple is a treat well worth the trouble of slicing and peeling the prickly shell, but canned pineapple slices or chunks can be used for this dish if you are in a hurry or don’t have access to the fresh fruit.  I am not sure why I had never tried spicing it up with curry before, but it is probably because it is so delicious all by itself that fresh pineapple rarely shows up any other way on our table.  I was browsing through my Helen Corbitt cookbook recently and read her commentary on a baked fish recipe in which she recommended serving with fresh pineapple, sprinkled with curry and baked.  That interested me since we love curry on almost anything.  We will definitely add this to our list of sides.  .

Curried Pineapple

Amounts are completely adjustable.  Use as much pineapple as you need to serve!

2 cups pineapple chunks, slices, or spears

1-2 teaspoons curry powder  – I use a mix of Penzeny’s Hot Curry and Sweet Curry

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put pineapple into a buttered baking dish.  Sprinkle with curry.  Over the top scatter dots of butter and dust with brown sugar.  The brown sugar is optional since the pineapple is already sweet, but caramelizes and makes a beautiful dish. Serve hot alongside grilled fish or meats. This is also a surprise treat served in a compote for a breakfast buffet!.

Parker House Baked Turkey Reubens

IMG_3491I love Reuben sandwiches!  Years ago I found a suggestion for making several at a time in the oven with 2 identical baking trays (without sides) and that is the way I make ours now. Although we enjoy corned beef and pastrami for classical Reubens, I now often use sliced peppered turkey.  The sauer kraut that is used is a key ingredient.  I prefer to use raw fermented kraut that is found refrigerated in the grocery store.  HEB now carries delicious raw sauer kraut that has spicy ingredients added that we like.  Think Sriracha and Jalapeno and Onion!  If you don’t like that heat, use a product without it.

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 baking sheets without rims

4 slices Jewish Rye bread

6 thin slices peppered turkey breast

4 slices good Swiss cheese

2 cups sauer kraut, or less depending on your preference for thickness

Be sure to drain and press with paper towel so there is not much liquid.

dijon or brown mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Use 2 identical baking trays without rims.  Heavy ones work best.  Spray with cooking spray or butter the top of  one baking sheet and the BOTTOM of the other baking sheet.  Set the second one aside while assembling sandwiches.  Lightly butter and place 4 slices of rye bread butter side down on baking sheet.  Spread with mustard of your choice.  Place one slice Swiss cheese on each

For each sandwich, place turkey slices on top of cheese,  Put a heaping scoop of sauer kraut on top of turkey and smooth out evenly.  Put the second slice of cheese and bread top on sandwiches.  Now put the second baking sheet on top and press down.  Put into preheated oven.  It helps to press the sandwich if you put a heavy iron skillet on top of the top pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until browned slightly and cheese is melted.   Serve hot with a slice of dill pickle if you want more crunch!  An apple sald is a nice touch, too.


IMG_2827In our family, lemonade and limeade rank along with iced tea for cooling drinks.  When our boys were growing up, we lived in the Dallas, Texas area where there were Braum’s  restaurants noted for their great burgers and limeade.  This is one of those copycat recipes for Braum’s limeade. Now, my granddaughters enjoy making tall glasses of the tangy stuff.

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 lime

club soda


cherry/cherry juice (optional)

Almost too easy to call a recipe – make a simple syrup by bringing 1 cup of water and a1 cup of sugar to a boil to dissolve sugar. Let cool.

Cut lime in half and press juice into glass. Add 1/4 cup simple syrup, club soda, and ice. Add cherries or cherry juice if you want a cherry limeade!  Put lime rinds back into glass along with ice.

Purple Hull Peas


I grew up in Cherokee County, in East Texas. In the summertime, along with all the other fresh melons and vegetables, fresh peas from the garden were often on the table. My mother was fond of Lady Cream Peas, Black Eyed Peas were favored by many (there is even a Black Eyed Pea festival in an East Texas town), Field peas, and the delicious peas in the photo, Purple Hulls.  You can buy them by the bushel at farm stands along the road and shell them yourself, but most often now I visit our Farmer’s Market in Sugar Land and buy a bag already shelled. I keep them refrigerated until I cook or pop them right in the freezer.

The plainest way to cook them after shelling is with some ham or salt bacon and seasonings in a big soup pot. Often I add bacon, chopped onions and peppers from the garden.  When they are ready, add some green onions, a slice of cantaloupe, and a pan of hot cornbread and you have a feast!  I never really think about having a recipe for cooking peas, but here is the list of what went into this pot. After the growing season is over, I always put a few bags of peas in our freezer so we can prolong the goodness.

Purple Hull Peas

2-3 cups of fresh purple hull peas, shelled and rinsed (my grandmother would have called this a “mess” of peas!

4 strips thick bacon, chopped

1 onion, coarsley chopped

1 sweet red pepper

1 green pepper

1-2 jalapeno peppers

water to cover (you may use chicken stock for extra flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)

Add all ingredients to large pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Cook, adding liquid as necessary for an hour and a half, or until tender. We like to serve hot in bowls so we can add some cornbread to the soupy part.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing


We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices


Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Tino’s Chicken Flautas


In 1976, Joe and I and our sons Benjamin, Jeremy, and Sean  (age almost 3, 5 1/2, and 8) moved from North Dallas to the growing suburb of Plano, Texas. From the time we were getting ready to move to our house on Deep Valley until the time we moved from there, our favorite Mexican food restaurant was Tino’s, owned by Tino Trujillo. Even after we moved away from Plano, we tried to make it to Tino’s when we were back in the area. From the location we first visited in 1976, Tino moved to a spot in Plano’s Collin Creek Mall. Later, there was a third location called Tino’s Too. One of our favorite dishes was Chicken Flautas.

I can still remember Tino’s smile, his warm welcome, and his personal greetings to our sons as they grew. I was delighted to get the recipe for chicken flautas when it appeared in the Plano Star Courier, our local newspaper. There was a feature in the paper titled Cooking Corner.  This recipe was titled Pollos Flautas and was contributed by Georgie Farmer, whose picture appeared along with a plate of flautas.

Interesting to me when I pick up the now yellowed and tattered newsprint:  It does not say Tino’s Flautas, but I have always called it that. It has been many years since we had a meal with Tino, and he is no longer with us, so I can’t ask him. But these flautas are exactly like the ones I remember enjoying so long ago. We remember you fondly, Tino!

Tino’s Chicken Flautas

3 Tablespoons margarine (use butter now!)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon parsley

1 teaspoon grated onion

dash each of paprika, ground nutmeg, and black pepper

2 cups finely diced cooked chicken

24 corn tortillas

guacamole and sour cream (optional)

In sauce pan melt butter. Blend in flour, salt, and chicken broth. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Add lemon juice, parsley, onion, paprika, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir in chicken and cool slightly. Place about 1 1/2 Tablespoons chicken mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tightly.  Fry in deep hot oil at 350 degrees, holding together with tongs for about 10 seconds or until tortilla is crisp. Spoon on guacamole and/or sour cream. We also serve with salsa.