Traditional Potato Salad


potato salad

When summertime is almost upon us I always think back to the dinners my mom would put on the table when I was a child.  We ate out of the garden almost every night .  Sliced tomatoes or green fried, stuffed peppers, zucchini, squash, green onions, corn-on-the cob, cucumber-onion salad and my mom’s wonderful potato salad. There were always boiled potatoes cooling on the counter and along side were a couple of hard boiled eggs.  My mom didn’t have a recipe for her potato salad. She would make a mixture of the yokes, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a touch of sugar. She would stir in her diced potatoes, chopped onion and celery. Whola!! Potato Salad.  I came up with this recipe in hopes it would be similar. I think it’s a close second!  
This salad is a favorite with my families-on-the-go. Fried chicken, potato salad, cucumber onion salad and brownies for dessert! 

Serve this at you next picnic, gathering or better yet, just a regular weekday dinner! It does have mayonnaise, so be sure to keep it cool. I think it always tastes better the next day. 
Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,
Vonnie

 

IINGREDIENTS:

 

2 pounds potatoes (I use redskin potatoes)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP. yellow mustard
1/2-1 tsp. salt (I like a little more salt so I use closer to 1 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet pickles, finely chopped plus about 1 TBSP. of the pickle juice ( Use Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickle Chips if you can find them) or 1/2 cup sweet or dill pickle relish
1-2 hard boiled eggs, yokes set aside and whites finely chopped ( I only use 1 hard boiled egg but my mom always used 2)

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium pan place the potatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 large eggs. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer and cover loosely with pan lid for 20- 25 minutes or until potaotes are fork tender. Remove eggs first and then drain potatoes. (You can run a little cool water on the potatoes and eggs if you want. Set eggs and potatoes on countertop and let cool.(Just like Nancy!) When everything is cool and you are ready to assemble the salad, use a large bowl and combine, egg yoke/s, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in celery, onion, pickle, pickle juice, and egg white/s. Add diced potatoes and toss gently. Cover and chill for at least a few hours before serving.

Chicken and Noodles


chicken and noodles

This is one of my favorite Winter recipes to make when I have a little bit of time.  It is worth the extra work.

Your family will love this one!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,

Vonnie (A cook in her kitchen)

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
  • 3 whole Carrots, Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper (more To Taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Thyme or a couple sprigs of fresh
  • 2 teaspoons Parsley Flakes
  • 16 ounces Frozen Egg Noodles( I use Reames Brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour

 

Directions:

Cover chicken in 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from pot and with 2 two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, shredding meat as you go along. Return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 1 hour.

Remove bones from broth, making sure to get all the small bones.

Add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs and spices to the pot. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.

Increase heat and add noodles and chicken. Cook for 10 minutes.

Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 4-5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte


I am sure it doesn’t come to a surprise I am posting a recipe for a coffee drink.  Most of you know and appreciate my love affair with this enveloping drink.  Ever since I was a little girl, I had a fascination with it.  I used to love helping my Grandma Taylor make her morning coffee. We would fill the percolator and listen and wait!  As soon as it was time, my Grandma would pour herself a cup in her Corning Ware Crazy Daisy cup and take a cup to my Grandpa.  She would then  make a wonderful concoction of  a little bit of coffee mixed with a lot of milk and sugar!  We would sit at her kitchen table sipping our cup o’ joe, talking and laughing!  I loved those days.

Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. Coffee  is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demi-tasse, it is the perfect democrat.  ~The New York Times, 1949

I love this quote.  I think of it often in the silence of my morning coffee.  I image sharing it with my Grandma.  And just like old times, together we would sit at the kitchen table sipping our coffee, talking and laughing.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,

Vonnie                                                   

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                         

Ingredients: 

             2 Cups Milk                                                                   
 2 Tablespoons Canned Pumpkin (not pie mix)                                                                                                            
             1-2 Tablespoons Sugar                                                                             
 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice                                                            
             1 Tablespoon Vanilla                                        
 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee                                 
 Garnishes:                              
             Whipped cream                                          
 Dash pumpkin pie spice                                           
 
Direction:                                 
 In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, pumpkin and sugar over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, the vanilla and coffee.
 Pour into 2 large mugs. Garnish each with whipped cream and a dash pumpkin pie spice.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


I grew up in a house where bread and cookies were homemade. Every week my mother would make homemade white bread and cookies for our lunches and dinners.  There were always cookies in the cookie jar. And believe it or not I would ask my mom if we could buy Oreos or Chips Ahoy almost every Saturday when we would go to the store.  But my mother would always say, ” Absolutely Not”.

One of my favorites  was my moms Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  They were so soft and chewy and I couldn’t get enough of them.  The only thing I have done to my mom’s recipe was add just a dash of fresh ground nutmeg.  I usually get 4 dozen cookies out of this recipe. I use my Pampered Chef medium scoop.

A plate of cookies and a glass of iced-cold milk. YUM!!

I have added one Variation and I know some of you will think it is crazy, but once you try it you will be hooked.  The add-in : BACON.  It makes it a breakfast-on -the- go cookie!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                               

Vonnie

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups oatmeal, old-fashioned, uncooked
  • 1   heaping cup raisins
Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, fresh ground nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.  In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.  Add vanilla.   Add flour mixture a little at a time until fully combined.   Fold in oats and raisins, mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Variation:

6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled in chunks.  Add with the oats and raisins.

Ambrosia


Are you looking for a side dish that is easy to make and your family or guests will love?  Look no further! Ambrosia is a great salad you can serve with just about any main dish.

When I was growing up in Northeast Ohio,  Sunday dinner was always Roast Beef with carrots, and potatoes, salad and dessert. My mother would make this salad occasionally and it was always a big hit! Tonight I am making my Slower Cooker Chicken Stew for dinner and thought I would make this as my salad. It seemed like the perfect side/salad to round out my dinner and since it is spring here in Michigan I thought it would be a better choice than the baked apples. You can find the Slower cooker Chicken stew recipe on my blog too!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                         

Vonnie

 

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

1 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix

1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 large bananas, sliced

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained

1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

 

 

Dump instant pudding into a large mixing bowl. Add pineapple, and mix well. Mix in non-dairy whipped topping. Stir in bananas, marshmallows, fruit cocktail, and mandarin oranges. Cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Photo: Taken by Kraft foods

Nancy’s Banana Cream Pie


This recipe is in honor of my mother Nancy Taylor. She is/was the best baker in Champion, Ohio.  Well, at least my family thought so!!  Everything was homemade in our house.  Breads, cakes, cookies and pies.  My mom’s pies were always a big hit.  The best thing was my mom made dessert EVERY night.  After dinner ,we had the very best sweets imagined.  Banana cream pie was always put a smile on my family’s face!

Enjoy my mom’s recipe and Happy Cooking,                                                          

Vonnie

Ingredients:

3/4 cups sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

4 bananas, sliced

whipped topping                                                                                                                              

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.

Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.

Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees  for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour.

Top with whipped topping.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup


SNOW we have SNOW!!  Winter has finally arrived in Michigan and what better way to ward off the blues on a cold day than with a great bowl of soup.  This is the perfect dinner that will warm you and your family through and through.  It is so satisfying, and best of all it takes no time to make.  This is one of my favorite soups, and the leftovers are fantastic!!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                               

Vonnie

Ingredients:

3 slices bacon

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 onion, diced

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – diced

3 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen peas

3 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 cups biscuit mix

1 cup milk

 

Directions:

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside; reserve bacon drippings in skillet.

Add potatoes, carrots, onion and chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in chicken broth; season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in corn, and simmer all together for 15 minutes Add frozen peas.

Pour in half-and-half and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit mix with milk and mix well (dough should be thick). Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, then another 10 minutes covered. (Note: Do not stir while simmering, or dumplings will break apart). Serve hot.

Chocolate Mint Overload Cake


I love this time of year when the Girl Scouts will soon be delivering my much-anticipated order.  Of course I have several boxes of the Thin Mints!  I love to take them and add them to cake mixes and make my family and friends smile as they enjoy a delicious dessert that took me no time to make.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                         

Vonnie

1-18.25 oz. chocolate cake mix

1-3.9 oz.package chocolate instant pudding mix

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup Girl Scout thin mint cookie crumbs

1-8 oz container sour cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

powdered sugar

Mix together the first eight ingredients in a large bowl until all are blended. Pour batter into a well-greased 12 cup Bundt pan.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on serving dish. Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

BBQ Ham Sandwiches


I know I have shared this with you before, but it’s worth repeating.  My mother-in-law, Mary Jeffers is a wonderful cook. When I married Mark she gave me a recipe card book with all of Mark’s favorite dishes.  I remember looking at this binder filled with 60 or more recipes in it and thinking,  Make Mark’s favorite recipes?  Wait… I really don’t even know how to cook.  I mean I can make a mean grilled cheese, or fry up some minute steaks and pour some canned gravy over them,  but make Chicken a L’ Orange, or Linguine with Clam Sauce, French chocolate Pie? Uh oh… I’m in trouble.

Growing up in Northeast Ohio in a very small Farming and Steelmill town,  I wasn’t exposed to a variety of  fancy meals. My mom wasn’t the greatest cook.  Don’t get me wrong,  she had her staples and that’s what we had for dinner every week. You know,  Sloppy Joes,  Beef Vegetable Soup,  Meatloaf,  Pan Fried Steaks or if it was summer, Fried Green Tomatoes, Corn on-the-Cob, and BLT’s.  We were a big beef eating family.  Chicken… WHAT?  My mom made chicken once a year. When it was time for Daddy’s company picnic, she would go to the Sparkle Market(the only grocery store in town) and buy a mini-charcoal grill, a package of chicken and a bottle of Open Pit.. Vola!  And Seafood?  Please… I didn’t even know what fish was except for canned tuna or salmon. Mom would make a concoction of tuna, noodles, and canned soup with crushed potato chips on top or Lord help us all when she would make Salmon Patties with this white congealed sauce on top YUCK!

So now I was faced with making dishes I have never heard of.  HELP!!  Mary worked so hard on the binder.  Every recipe hand written beautifully and organized. I gave her a big hug and with a deer in headlights smile said “Thank you, I can’t wait to start cooking for Mark”!  When I  got home later that night, I pulled the binder out and started reading recipe after recipe. I was thinking, What am I going to do? Is he really going to expect me to cook like his mother? I mean, I have sat at her beautiful dining room table and she has served Honey-Glazed Cornish Hens with Risotto,  Steamed Asparagus, and Coconut Cream Pie for dessert.

And then I came across this recipe.  I knew I could make it!  I have been making these sandwiches for 23 years now and it’s one of my favorites. Yes, I know what you are thinking… I can make everything in the binder and I would like to think I am as good a cook as my mother-in-law!
I hope it becomes one of your favorites too!
Enjoy and Happy cooking,
Vonnie                                     

2 pounds cold cut ham, chipped
1/2 bottle of ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp.  yellow mustard
1 Tbsp.  white vinegar

Mix together all ingredients except ham. In a large skillet cook sauce to boiling point, add ham. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until ham is heated thoroughly.
Serve on hamburger buns.