Mom’s Breakfast CookiesWhen I was in high school, my family was living in Landstuhl, Germany. Mom would make these hearty and healthy breakfast cookies. We were an active family so this was a great and easy treat to have first thing before going to school. I don’t have her original recipe, but this one is from “” and it is very close to what I remember. This recipe makes 12 breakfast cookies.
Easy and Perfect PopoversOur favorite experience with popovers was during one of our trips to Maine. Near the town of Bar Harbor and in the Acadia National Park is a wonderful restaurant called Jordan’s Pond. Jordan’s Pond’s claim to fame are their popovers. This was also one of our favorite hiking spots in the national park. There are just five ingredients, so it is super easy. They are a fantastic replacement for dinner rolls. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated for 10 minutes in a hot oven. Keep in mind that the popover pan will produce large popovers while the muffin pan popovers will be smaller. But both are equally delicious!
Baked Stuffed ZucchiniI have been making this recipe for a few decades. It is one of my favorite side dishes. My old cookbook is titled “Northern Italian Cooking.” In northern Italy this is called “Zucchine Ripiene al Forno.” This is a lighter version than the southern Italian version called Baked Zucchini Boats. They have a heavier version with tomato sauce and at times use tender potatoes. I absolutely love this side dish.
Strammer MaxYears ago, someone told me about Strammer Max which are open-faced sandwiches. But for the life of me, I cannot remember who that was. These sandwiches were originally popular in Berlin and other areas of eastern and southeastern Germany. Now, I understand that they are available practically all over Germany. This recipe is a good example of pub food, but because of the ingredients, I feel that you can savor the Strammer Max morning, noon or night.
Twice-Baked PotatoesMy aunt Phyl made these for a family reunion at our grandparents’ home in Milwaukie, Oregon. They were a big hit. She made them in advance and then popped them in the oven right before dinner. This is a wonderful alternative to a plain baked potato. It can be served alone with a salad for lunch or with a meat roast and vegetables for dinner. I made these recently at the Kassman’s house in Corvallis, Oregon. We had leftovers that evening, so the next morning Robin served them with a fried egg on top. Twice-Baked Potatoes are a great to enjoy for any meal of the day!
Beef StroganoffThis is a classic winter recipe. Stroganoff is a combination of indulgent tender beef with a creamy mushroom sauce that is typically served over butter noodles. If you use beef, it is highly recommended that it is a cut of top sirloin, boneless ribeye steak or filet mignon. The key is a tender meat that can also be substituted for another protein as you will see in the ingredients. My Example: January 2024 Newsletter will give you the story of Count Alexander Stroganoff from Russia for whom this dish was invented.
Hawaiian Macaroni SaladAt a fun potluck, my neighbor Shelia brought this wonderful salad. This recipe is unique because the grated sweet onion and relish sets it apart from other macaroni salads. If you don’t have sweet onion, then substitute with 1/4 of a regular onion and then add a ¼ cup of sugar. Some variations to the recipe can also be by substituting peas, green onion, chopped ham or even tuna.
Asian Mandarin Orange SaladYou have been reading for a few months now about my mother’s “go to” dinner when company was invited to come over. The menu included Grilled Marinated Flank Steak, Baked Rice with Beef Consummé and this recipe for an Asian citrusy salad. The three recipes complement each other well. The sweet and savory steak along with the mushroom rice and this easy salad were always a hit. You can vary these recipes to your liking and your guests will also be impressed.
Grilled Marinated Flank SteakThis is one of three recipes my mother used for making a special dinner when we were having company. I have already published Baked Rice with Beef Consommé. The other will be published in the future and it is an Asian mandarin orange salad. The combination of these three is perfect together. This recipe serves two. But it can easily be scaled up for more people.
Secret Burger SauceAt many restaurants that serve hamburgers, they also have a secret sauce. The sauce seems to be like thousand island salad dressing. But I wondered what are the ingredients. I found a couple recipes and combined them, and this tastes just as good. It is not only great on hamburgers, but it is also wonderful with hot dogs or french fries.
Pigs in a BlanketWhen I was in middle school in Bonn Germany, my parents took my sister and I to visit some of their friends. It was a wonderful afternoon as we played Croquet in their backyard. Afterwards the lady of the house served pigs in a blanket with some cheese tucked inside. It was the first time we had tried these, and we loved them. Pigs in a blanket are typically sausages that are cooked, cooled and rolled up in a croissant or biscuit dough for baking. I am featuring this recipe using hot dogs and Pillsbury crescent rolls. But if the crescent rolls are not available in your grocery store, all you need to do is make or buy the dough. Then roll it out to about ¼ of an inch thick. I measured the Pillsbury triangles. So, I recommend you cut them into 4” wide by 9” squares and then slice along the diagonal for the perfect size triangle.
Rice a Roni Chicken SaladRecently Dave and I visited our friends Mike and Lori for a barbeque in Poulsbo, WA. I worked with them at the US Army Corps of Engineers when we lived in California. This salad was one of the sides they served. Mike said his mother used to make this for the family when he was growing up. It’s a great summer salad, delicious and easy!
Baked Rice with Beef ConsomméThis is a super easy recipe and a great side dish especially with grilled steak. Plain rice can tend to taste dry, but this baked rice is buttery and beefy. Traditionally it is made with one can of beef consommé and one can of cream of mushroom soup. But I like it better with two cans of beef consommé and fresh onions and mushrooms. It is also wonderful as leftovers that you can reheat covered in either the microwave or oven.
Carrot Cake CupcakesI found this recipe for moist and fluffy carrot cake cupcakes from You can use regular sized or jumbo-sized muffin tins. If making jumbo-sized, be sure to double this recipe. This serves 12. Be sure to check out the recipe for the Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Whipped Cream Cheese FrostingThis is the perfect frosting for carrot cake, and it is easy. It is super creamy, rich, soft, sweet and tangy. There are other recipes that use butter instead of whipping cream but I find that to be very heavy and too sweet because of the 4 cups of powdered sugar.
Nutty and Cheesy Stuffed MushroomsI love appetizers and these Nutty and Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms are no exception. I had some neighbors try these and they said that “The mushrooms were delicious. The sausage added a savory flavor to the filling, while the pecans and blue cheese provided a nutty and tangy contrast. The mushrooms were perfectly tender, and the filling had great texture.” I couldn’t agree more, and these would be delicious during the holidays or at any cocktail party you host. Serves 10 people as an appetizer.
Hungarian GoulashA Hungarian Goulash is a stew that is rich and meaty. It is the national dish of Hungary, but it is also famous in many other European countries. What sets this dish apart from other stews are the seasonings which includes a fair amount of paprika along with caraway, rosemary and thyme. I serve it with bread, but other versions include potatoes or eating this over noodles. The goulash saves very well for leftovers and gets even more tasty with time.
Hoppin’ JohnHoppin’ John can either be a vegetarian or traditional dish with veggies and sausage. This recipe is the traditional one. If you prefer to prepare it vegetarian, omit the sausage and double the cans of beans to two. My girlfriend Peggy sent me the recipe and she and her husband find it healthy and tasty. She said she got the recipe from “Well Plated by Erin.” The only difficult thing is that there are a lot of vegetables to chop, but I found that to be fun. The degree of heat from the spice will be up to what you prefer. I will have a minimum down and then you can add more for the chili powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Serves 4.

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