Category Archives: Recipes

Corned Beef Hash: Breakfast of Champions (At Least My Champion)

Do you have an all-time favorite breakfast? If you’re married, do you know what your spouse’s favorite breakfast is? Your kids’? My husband goes out once a month with two of his closest friends, and he always orders the same thing: Corned beef hash with eggs and toast.  I always thought his favorite breakfast was eggs and bacon with hash browns, and that may be true, but now I’m not so sure! Maybe that’s just his favorite breakfast that I make! It struck me that I should learn how to make corned beef hash and add it to our menu. It’s so simple, I don’t know why I never thought of it before!

Corned Beef Hash for Champions
(per serving)

Fry together:
1 tablespoon butter
1 potato sliced and chopped into bit-sized pieces
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
Dash of garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

After the potato and onions are tender add:
2 oz. chopped corned beef (which you can buy from almost any deli). Mix and fry until heated through and starting to brown.

Serve immediately, offering ketchup, salsa, and hot sauce as condiments. (Got to keep up with the restaurant Jones, right?!)

PS—Do you have any favorite recipes for breakfast that you especially love or are family favorites at your house? I’d love for you to share them!

And there went out a champion out of the camp…” (1 Samuel 17:4). I wonder if Goliath had forgotten to eat his Wheaties for breakfast before challenging the Israelites?! “They” say breakfast is our most important meal of the day, so I hope you’re eating a breakfast for champions before taking off to conquer the challenges in your life each morning!


Cornbread Fit for Commoners and Kings

Cornbread—especially liberally doused with butter and honey—was always a special treat when I was a girl, although it wasn’t as much of a staple in our northern home as it often is in southern homes. My mom served cornbread sometimes with fried chicken or chili, and as a mother, I tended to do the same. Being a health-food freak at the time, I always made my cornbread from scratch using cornmeal. Trouble was, I didn’t make it often enough, so the cornmeal would spoil before I used it all up! Did that ever happen to you?And then, voilà! I discovered there’s cornbread, and cornbread —the kind made with real corn, such as they serve down at Disney’s Trails’ End Restaurant in Fort Wilderness, served with honey butter.

That was a game changer for me! I threw out my cornmeal, bought some creamed corn, and started experimenting. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool southerner or continue to be a health-food freak, you may not approve, but here’s what I’ve found as a super simple but very yummy way to make cornbread.

Kingly Cornbread
(serves 6-8)

Empty into your mixer:
1 Jiffy corn muffin mix (please don’t tell)
1 can cream-style corn
1 egg  (Note: Don’t use any milk, although the recipe on the box calls for it.)
(This is all you need, and I don’t usually add anything more, but if you want to make it addictively good, you can add 2 tablespoons each of sugar and melted butter. This tastes great, but I prefer to add my butter and honey on top.)
              Mix it thoroughly, but don’t beat it up any more than necessary!   Pour into an 8X8″ pan and bake for 30 minutes at 375°F (which is slightly lower than the directions on the jiffy mix, but the batter will be wetter and need a little longer to bake). It may take more like 35-40 minutes, but check it after 30. It’s done when the surface starts to turn a golden brown and tiny fissures start to appear.  Serve it piping hot if possible (although warm is still fine), and be sure to have lots of butter and honey available!Our family are commoners, but it’s my firm belief that every man should feel like a king in his own castle, so that makes our husbands kings, too. True?

In the Bible, speaking of Jesus, it says, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6). According to these verses, every person who is saved by the blood of Jesus has become a king in God’s eyes, so even if we’re commoners by station, we can all be kings by status!

Hearty Three-Bean Chili for Chilly Days

Autumn is the perfect time for a steaming bowl of chili with corn bread…and maybe a salad and apple juice to complement. There are lots of recipes out there for chili, but I’ve developed a brew that’s a hit around our home plates, so if you haven’t settled on a favorite recipe, consider trying this one:

Chilly Day Three-Bean Chili
(Serves about 6)

Add together in a large sauce pan:
1 pound hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pepper (orange, green, red, or yellow)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite)
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to tasteCook over high to medium heat until the meat is completely cooked and the vegetables are tender, stirring often to keep anything from buring. Then add:
3 cans of chili beans in chili sauce ( I like having variety in color and taste, so I use three different types of beans, even garbanzo at times, but whatever you like will work fine)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 can of diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water (I use a little water to rinse out the bottom of the cans to get the last bits of sauce, which amounts to about half a can altogether)Simmer everything for at least a half an hour, continuing to stir it every few minutes to make sure nothing sticks and burns on the bottom. The flavor continues to improve with time, so you can turn off the heat, keep it covered, and just rewarm it when you’re ready to eat. This also makes chili a great dish to take to take to a friend, serve at an open house or potluck, or prepare when you’re not sure when your family will come home for supper. (Um hum. My husband was stuck in a meeting for an extra hour when I made this, but it didn’t hurt a thing!)     🙂

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:9…and perhaps by hearty soup as well?!)

Crispy Crab Cakes

Do you love crab cakes? If you enjoy seafood, then you might like crab cakes. I don’t serve them often, because crab meat is very expensive, but every once in a while I catch a sale and splurge.

If you haven’t tried them, here’s a recipe that I’ve developed and like a lot. They turn out crispy on the outside but fork tender, and seem to be a hit with the home team.

Crispy Crab Cakes
(serves 4)

Add together in a mixing bowl and stir gently by hand until all the ingredients are blended but the crab meat is still chunky:16 oz. of crab meat or one 16-0z. can of crab
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce

1 teaspoon A-1 sauce1 teaspoon dijon mustard (with horseradish if you like it)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 finely minced small onion
Salt and pepper to taste
(but don’t taste it with the raw egg…so maybe just a light-medium sprinkling of both) Form into 8 soft patties and fry in two tablespoons of butter on medium heat, flipping after about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once you start frying them, dinner will be ready to serve in 6-8 minutes, so hopefully you’ve already planned and prepared the rest of your meal to be done at the same time! Crab cakes are quite filling, even though they’re not very big, so unless you have a super appetite, two per person with a few sides might be sufficient.

PS—Much as Alan has always enjoyed seafood, lately he’s developed an allergy to shellfish, so I think our crab cakes last week might be our last! I didn’t realize you can like something for 50 years and then suddenly develop a dangerous reaction to it, but if you ever feel any tingling or numbness in your soft palate after eating something, check with a doctor! You may have developed a food allergy that you didn’t know about!  😦

Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jeremiah 33:6; sometimes a “cure” is no longer eating something, even if it’s something we love!).

Why Would Anyone Want to Devil an Egg?

Why would anyone want to devil a perfectly good egg? If you don’t like eggs or mayonnaise, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy deviling eggs, but for most of us, a platter of deviled eggs is a truly cheery sight and welcome addition to any potluck or picnic. They’re yummy, inexpensive, bite-sized, and a good source of protein. So, perhaps I should ask, Why wouldn’t anyone want to devil an egg?!

Classic Deviled Eggs:
(makes 16 servings)

8 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and sliced lengthwise with the yolks scooped out and placed in a mixing bowl. To the egg yolks, add:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 minced onion (or 1/4 teaspoon onion powder)
1 minced clove of garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt (or your favorite)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the egg yolks and mix thoroughly with all the condiments and spices. Gently spoon the filling mixture back into the empty egg white cups, and then sprinkle liberally with paprika. Chill and serve, but don’t let anybody pick on them anymore. They’ve already been deviled enough.Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:10-11).

It occurs to me that eggs are probably the only thing it’s okay to devil.  🙂

Making Jams: Fun for Profit

Well, perhaps not for commercial profit, but certainly for personal profit, since you can make jam for a lot less than it costs to buy it (if you buy the fruit on sale at peak season), and you can be sure that homemade is fresher and more wholesome, particularly when contrasted with jams that contain preservatives or a lot of sugar.  For instance, in the last two weeks, I’ve caught a sale on raspberries for $.77 for 6 oz., another on 6 oz. packages of blackberries at 2 for $1.00, and quarts of strawberries at 3 for $5 (all nicely under $2 per pound). Without much work, I now have a winter’s supply of berry jams—some “canned,” some stored in the refrigerator, and some in the freezer—with enough to give away too. I don’t take a very conventional approach, and I used three different methods, but let me tell you what I did, and if you don’t already have a tried-and-true method, I hope it will inspire you to experiment!  I always keep one shelf in one cupboard for a stash of glass bottles with lids, which I use for food storage (on the theory that glass is better for my family than plastic, and—of course—the jars are free, since I just wash up empty glass jars left over from foods I’ve bought from the grocery store). Actually, canning jars with lids are my favorite (since they usually seal nicely without much effort), but you can use any jar with a lid that seals securely. I’m going to tell you what I did (and like), but I’m hoping this just inspires you to try making up your own recipes to get just the right tang, sweetness, and consistency for your own personal taste!

First, start by washing and drying 4-6 small jars and lids. Make sure you have the right tops and that they fit snugly, with no dents or flaws. Set them on top of a cutting board (or other surface that can take a lot of heat).

Mouth-watering Blackberry Jam

48 oz. fresh blackberries
1/3 cup water (just enough to keep anything from burning before the berries and sugar break down and melt)
1.5 cups sugar
1 package (1.75 oz or 49 g) fruit pectin (for making jam)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat in a heavy saucepan, stirring faithfully and pretty often until all the berries break down (which takes quite a while for blackberries), the sugar and jello totally dissolve, and the jam starts to thicken slightly. It took me half an hour on medium-low heat, but I’m quite sure it will depend on how hot your stove is, the type of pan you use, and how juicy your berries are, so go by the changing consistency rather than just time. It’s a pretty subtle but distinct difference, but it’s not “thick” at all, just no longer watery.  Once the jam is done, ladle it out immediately into the dry glass jars, almost to the top. When you actually can jams, you have to leave a little head room (like 1/2  inch), but I fill the jars almost to the top, which makes them more likely to self-seal. Make sure there are no traces of jam that will keep the jars from sealing properly, and then screw on the lids as tight as you can. Afterward, give the tiniest turn to the left just so air can escape if need be. When I do this with canning jars, almost all of them seal on their own within an hour, just left on the kitchen counter.  Any jars that don’t seal must be kept in the refrigerator to preserve them, or else you can open the tops and add a layer of sealing wax, but I’ve stopped doing either the official canning (which darkens the jams and I suspect causes loss of nutrients) or the wax. Suit yourself but please don’t sue me if you get sick. In my experience, you’ll see mold if anything is amiss, so you’ll know there’s a problem. Of course, if you’re willing to give up some refrigerator space and share with your friends, you won’t have any problem finishing it all off before it goes bad.   🙂

Rich, Ruby-red Raspberry Jam:

48 oz. fresh raspberries
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 large package (6 oz) raspberry jello

An alternate method for making jam is to use flavored jello (gelatin) instead of pectin, and I actually prefer it. I’ve found that one large package of jello replaces one package of fruit pectin, tastes a bit brighter (without needing to add lemon juice), and is less expensive (particularly if you catch it on sale!).  Follow the same instructions as for blackberry jam. However (of course), take particular care not to let it cook too long, or the jam will darken! If you do it just right, your jam will continue to be bright red, even after it’s finished and on your bread!

There are many recipes for making jam, but in the end, it depends on your taste. I started out with equal amounts of berries and sugar, reduced the sugar, switched from pectin to jello, stopped canning…etc! My theory is that cooking should be a growing, learning process whereby we develop our tastes and improve our nutrition as we go!

Unbelievably Yummy Strawberry Freezer Jam

If you haven’t already discovered this world-class jam, try making freezer jam:

Step One: Clean and mash 4 quarts strawberries. Place in large mixing bowl.  Step Two: Pour 1 cup boiling water in a separate bowl, to which you add:
1 large package of strawberry jello
1 large package of orange jello
Stir faithfully until all the jello has dissolved in the boiling water. Set it aside to cool a little. Step Three: Combine 1 package fruit pectin for freezer jam (1.59 oz) and
1.5 cups sugar. Mix the pectin and sugar together, add to the mashed berries, stir thoroughly, and allow to rest on the counter for 15 minutes

Step Four: Add the tepid (not hot or cold) jello solution to the freezer jam mash. Pour immediately into bottles or plastic containers for the freezer. (If you’re using glass jars, make sure you do give at least 1/2 inch head room so the bottles don’t break when the jam freezes. Actually, I don’t think there’s an issue with plastic for freezing; the problems come with heating plastics. Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any problem with freezing jam in plastic containers.)

Step Five: let the jam rest on the counter for half an hour before storing in the refrigerator or freezer. This jam is quite a bit softer than regular jam, and if you don’t like the consistency, try adding another 1.59 oz. of freezer jam pectin. Also, some people like more sugar, so you could try adding another package of jello. If you don’t like the results…try, try, and try again!!

(P.S.—The recipe for cooked jam also works well with blueberries or any other type of berry. Whatever you happen to have on hand and like to eat!)

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8)


Simple but Savory Zucchini Pizza Sticks

Now is the time that American gardens overflow with zucchinis and everybody is pulling out their favorite recipes for zucchini bread.  Always on the lookout for an idea that cuts starches, I tried making pizzas out of zucchini. First I  tried cutting them into rounds, but slicing them sideways works better and saves time. Next time you’re looking for a quick, healthy way to incorporate some zucchini into your menu plans, try this one:

Savory Zucchini Pizza Sticks
(makes enough for 2-4 for lunch, depending on how hungry your hippos are
and what else you’re serving)Wash, cut off the ends, and slice 4 young zucchinis lengthwise.  Place them skin-side down in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Add salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste.
Fry for two minutes on medium heat. Flip over and fry for two minutes more minutes, skin-side up.Flip again. They should be getting tender and starting to brown a little. Drizzle each stick with some of your favorite pizza (or spaghetti) sauce. Cover with slices of pepperoni
and top each with half a mozzarella cheese stick.Cover the pan and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until the cheese starts to melt.

Serve them immediately. They can also be cut into three chunks each and served as hors d’oeuvres, but if that’s what you want, then I think you’re better off to start with just one or two larger zucchinis and slice them into individual rounds, bake them on a buttered cookie sheet at 350°F. for about 6 minutes (with spices on top), and then add the sauce, pepperoni, and thin cut slices of mozzarella, baking them another 2-3 minutes. I tried this method first, but they end up drier and not as tender. I also found that it’s hard to keep the cheese from melting too much before the pepperoni is heated through.

And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them,
and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house
” (Acts 16:32).