First Tuesday Recipes for April

Monte Cristo sandwich

Spring is finally here! I intended to share recipes this month starring strawberries and asparagus and lemons, but then I got looking through my recipe files and these are the ones that caught my eye. I’ve got three main dishes for you this month–two with chicken, one with beef. I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think.

Chicken-Rice Salad with Cashews

My sister gave me this recipe years ago and everyone likes it.

3 c. chicken, cooked and diced

1/2 c. celery, diced

2 green onions, sliced thinly

2 c. cooked brown rice

1/2 c. mayo

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1 T. lemon juice

1 t. honey

1 t. salt


Combine chicken, celery, and rice in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, honey, and salt. Mix well.

Pour dressing over chicken and toss lightly to coat. Cover; chill for two hours before serving. Add the desired amount of cashews just before serving. Delicious on naan or over salad greens.


Monte Cristo Sandwiches

8 slices thick white bread

8 slices deli chicken

8 slices deli ham

4 slices Swiss cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 c. milk

dash salt and pepper

powdered sugar

cherry preserves

Preheat griddle to medium-high.

On each of four slices of bread, layer two slices of chicken, two slices of ham, and one slice of cheese. Top with second piece of bread.

In a shallow bowl mix the egg, milk, and salt and pepper. Holding the sandwiches carefully, dip each in the batter and place them on griddle. Lower heat to medium.

Cook sandwiches until golden brown and cheese is melted. Before serving, lightly sprinkle each sandwich with about a teaspoon of powdered sugar. Serve hot with cherry preserves.


Pepper Steak

1 – 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into narrow strips

2 T. oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/4 c. soy sauce

1 t. sugar

1 c. bean sprouts (optional)

10 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1 c. canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 green peppers, cut into strips

1 T. cornstarch

2 T. cold water

In a large skillet, brown steak in oil. Combine with garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sugar in crock pot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Switch crock pot to high, add sprouts/mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers. Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into pot. Cook 25 minutes longer. Note: you may want to add more time to cook the vegetables if you like them soft.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Enjoy! And remember, please send in your own recipes to share!

Until next time,



First Tuesday Recipes for March

Photo courtesy of pixabay/alexas_fotos

It’s the first Tuesday in March, so you know what that means…it’s time for a few new recipes to try. I’ve got some good ones for you.

The first one is good for nights when the weather is still cool during the early weeks in spring.

Chicken Vegetable Chili

If you’re a chili purist, call this a stew and enjoy! I adapted this recipe from one by Chef Ed Daggers.

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

olive oil

1 med. zucchini, diced

1 med. yellow squash, diced

1 onion, chopped

4-5 green onions, sliced

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped

1 can black beans

2 15-oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

4 T. chili powder (you can use a mixture of different types of chili powders)

1 1/2 T. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings (optional): sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeno slices, corn chips

In a Dutch oven, cook chicken in olive oil over medium heat until browned. Add zucchini, yellow squash, onion, green onion, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce; mix well. Add beans and seasonings (NOTE: if you don’t like your chili/stew spicy, adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes); simmer soup over low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve with cornbread or over rice. Garnish with optional toppings.


Porcupine Balls

I grew up eating these. The first time I made them for my own family, they were a huge hit!

1 lb. ground chuck

1/3 c. uncooked rice

1 t. each salt and pepper

1 t. dried basil

1/4 t. celery salt

1 T. canola oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

2 small cans tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8 x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together except for one can of tomato sauce. Form into loose meatballs. Place meatballs in baking dish and cover with remaining tomato sauce.

Cover and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Please note, these may fall apart when you serve them. They’re still delicious!


Pistachio Cake

Courtesy of my sister. This disappears in a jiffy anytime I take it somewhere.


1 pkg. white cake mix

1/2 c. canola oil

4 eggs

1 c. sour cream

1 pkg. pistachio pudding

Mix above ingredients and set aside.


1/2 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

Mix filling ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a Bundt pan very well.

Layer the batter and filling as follows:

Bottom: 1/3 batter

2nd layer: 1/2 filling

3rd layer: 1/3 batter

4th layer: 1/2 filling

5th layer: 1/3 batter.

Bake for one hour.


As always, please send me your recipes to share! And if you try any of these, please let me know what you think!

Until next time


First Tuesday Recipes for February

How did it get to be February already? This month a lot of things get squeezed into fewer days than normal, but cooking is always a good way to slow down and take a deep breath. I’ve tried a few recipes lately that I found on the internet, so I thought I would share those with you. Rather than posting full recipes this month, I’m going to post the links to the pages where I found these foods.

Chicken Casserole d’Iberville

This casserole is delicious. You might shrink from the length of the instructions, but it can be made in steps. Honestly, I thought it was far less work than I anticipated. I also cut the recipe in half (give or take) and it still made a ton of food.


Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce (pictured above)

Say that ten times fast. This was fabulous. My husband loved it and even my daughter liked it after picking out all the mushrooms. And speaking of mushrooms, the recipe calls for cremini. They’re expensive. I bought a few and used button mushrooms for the rest, but next time I might just use button mushrooms. It would be just as good.


And because…dessert.


Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake

I actually got this from Taste of Home, who reprinted the famous cake recipe. Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th, as you know, and this would be great for anyone who loves chocolate.


If you give any of these a try, let me know what you think. And please send in your own recipes if you’d like!

Until next time,


First Tuesday Recipes for January 2019!!

I know the First Tuesday Recipes are appearing on the Second Tuesday this month, but with last Tuesday being New Year’s Day, I figured you might want a break.

With that being said, Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to everything 2019 might bring and planning to share lots of good content with you.

For the first First Tuesday Recipes of the year, I’ve got a wonderful soup I made just a couple nights ago, a grab-and-go breakfast idea, and a dessert (at the request of Maggie King. Maggie, I hope I’m sharing the right recipe!)

Zuppa Toscana

This is one of my niece’s favorites, though my sister makes it a bit differently than I do.

1/2 lb. bulk sausage

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb. bacon

4 c. chicken broth

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 can white kidney beans, drained

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 c. heavy cream

4 c. baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage and onion in a skillet until sausage is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Set aside. Cook bacon and set aside (I prefer to cook the bacon in the oven). Crumble when cool.

Put chicken broth, potatoes, beans, garlic, and hot pepper flakes (if using) in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 12-14 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until about half of it is pureed. Leave about half of the potatoes and beans solid. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender–just be careful because the soup is hot.

Add sausage, onions, and crumbled bacon to soup; stir. Add heavy cream; stir. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for one minute.

Add spinach, swirl around for about a minute, and serve. My sister serves it with garlic bread and it’s delicious that way!

* * *

Breakfast Burritos

10 slices bacon

12 eggs, lightly beaten (I do not add water or milk to the eggs, but I suppose you can if you want)

salt and pepper to taste

10 flour tortillas (8 inches)

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I use less)

5 scallions, sliced

Cook bacon until crisp; set aside to cool. Reserve 2 tbsp. bacon fat. When cool, crumble bacon.

In a large skillet, cook eggs in bacon grease and season with salt and pepper.

Set out the tortillas on a table or large counter space. Place appr. one scrambled egg on each tortilla. It helps to fill all the tortillas at the same time because if some have too little egg and some have too much, it’s easy to adjust. Top each egg with a bit of crumbled bacon. Top the bacon with a bit of shredded cheese and top the cheese with sliced scallions.

Roll up each tortilla, tucking in the ends, and wrap each one lightly in a paper towel. Then wrap each one in a small sheet of tin foil. Place in freezer.

When you’re ready to eat a burrito, remove the foil. Remove the paper towel, then wrap the paper towel around it again (this is just so the paper towel doesn’t stick to the burrito while it cooks). Place burrito in the microwave and cook for about a minute and 15 seconds (you may have to adjust this time, depending on your microwave).

This is delicious with salsa, but it’s also perfect to just grab and go. It can be easily adjusted–if you like sausage or ham instead of bacon, use that. No meat? Fine! Veggies instead? Fine! Just make sure they’re cooked and patted dry before adding them to the burrito. Lots more cheese? Fine! Less cheese? Fine! No scallions? Whatever you want!

* * *

Hello, Dolly Bars (also known as Seven Layer Bars)

10 tbsp. butter

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1 c. chocolate chips (chef’s choice of kind–milk, semisweet)

1 c. butterscotch chips (This is the layer I skip, but feel free to use them)

1 c. flaked sweetened coconut

1 15-oz. can condensed milk

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Do not mix the layers in this dessert.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 13×9″ baking dish. Press graham cracker crumbs into melted butter.

Sprinkle graham crackers with chocolate chips. If using, sprinkle the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips. Sprinkle the layer (or two) of chips with the coconut.

Pour the condensed milk over the top of the coconut; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool; cut into squares (small ones–a little goes a long way!)

Enjoy! Please remember that I always welcome recipes from readers, so let me know if you’ve got one you’d like to share!

Until next week,


First Tuesday Recipes for December

The only reason I use the photo above is because it’s one of my favorites–not because it’s snowing here or even acting like winter is on its way. In fact, today I’m sitting at my desk in a short-sleeved shirt and capri pants, wondering when the temperatures are going to dip.

To me, the holidays don’t seem like the holidays without cold and maybe even some snow. But since it’s the first Tuesday in December and I have a job to do, I’m going to share a few recipes with you today that are great for this time of year for a few different reasons. The first one is quick and easy, great for those nights when you might have shopping, wrapping, play practice, crew practice, basketball practice, etc. to check off your list.

The second is good for rainy or snowy days when you just want to stay indoors. It’s time-consuming, yet relaxing and almost meditative. And it makes a wonderful gift!

The third is just plain delicious, and perfect for cookie exchanges or to just sneak for yourself.

And finally, there’s a dog treat recipe for anyone who may have missed it a couple weeks ago, courtesy of Heather Weidner!

Q’s Chicken

6 T. soy sauce

2 t. brown sugar

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 T. mustard

1 1/2 t. cornstarch


salt and pepper

Combine soy sauce and brown sugar. Marinate chicken in mixture for 15 minutes.

Cook chicken in a skillet with a little bit of canola or vegetable oil and all the soy sauce mixture. Cover and cook until juices run clear. In a saucepan, mix mustard, cornstarch, enough milk to make it liquidy, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through.

Pour mustard mixture on plate and place piece of chicken on top.

Serve with rice.


German Christmas Stöllen

For this one, I’m sending you to another page. Even if you don’t like Stöllen or don’t know what it is or don’t feel like making it, I suggest you take a look at the link because it tells a great story of the history of this special bread. If you do make the recipe, have fun with it. I even made my own candied citrus as the post suggests because I was having a bad day and candied citrus makes everything better.


Christmas Crack

If you’ve never heard of this, try it and you’ll agree that the name fits. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love it. The first time I made it the entire tray ended up in the dishwater–it was a Christmas tragedy.

2 sleeves Saltine crackers (I’ve also seen this made with Ritz crackers or graham crackers)

2 sticks butter, melted

1 c. light brown sugar, packed

2 c. (1 package) semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. chopped almonds (or nut of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the crackers in a single layer on the pan. You’ll probably use about 40 crackers and you may have a little bit of pan not covered by crackers–feel free to break the crackers in half to make them fit the entire pan.

Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes–no more, no less.

Being VERY CAREFUL, pour the sugar syrup/caramel over the crackers. Using an offset spatula, spread the caramel to cover the crackers.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until bubbling.

Remove pan from oven; sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel, trying to cover as much of the crackers as possible. Place pan in oven for 2-3 more minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Again using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over the layer of caramel.

Sprinkle top with chopped nuts and allow to cool. Once it’s completely cool, t’s easier to break the crack into pieces than to cut it, so do whatever works for you!


Jocelyn’s Peanut Butter Dog Treats

1/4 c. smooth peanut butter

2/3 c. pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 lg. eggs

3 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the peanut butter, pumpkin puree, and eggs with an electric mixer on medium/medium-high speed. Mix ingredients well.

Add flour and mix well.

Knead dough on a lightly-floured surface and pat it to approximately 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Bake until brown (checking often for burning).


Enjoy! Share your favorite holiday treats in the comments. You don’t have to provide the recipe–just tell me what you love to eat during the holiday season.

Until  next time,


First Tuesday Recipes for November

It’s November already! You know what that means…comfort food, whether it’s a casserole or a meal in frequent rotation, or a dish your family has always enjoyed for Thanksgiving.

This month I’ve got three great recipes for you–one is a casserole my family loves. It’s easy to throw together and has a great mix of flavors and textures. One is a breakfast treat that we make about once a year (and yes, we made it this past weekend). It makes a lot, so it’s great to have when you’re entertaining holiday guests. The third is a recipe for potatoes that are to die for. A friend gave me the recipe years ago.

One of these days I’ll do some light recipes, but like I said, these are comfort foods. Comfort food is usually a little heavier and more calorie-laden than light dishes.

Curry Chicken Casserole

2 cans green beans, drained

2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, chopped

3/4 c. mayonnaise

1/2 t. curry powder

4 chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 t. lemon juice

2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place beans on bottom of 13×9″ baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients, except cheese. Spread mixture over beans. Top with cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes.


Monkey Bread

Two 1-pound loaves frozen white bread dough

1 1/4 c. sugar, divided

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. milk (not skim)

1 T. butter

1 3/4 t. cinnamon, divided

cooking spray

Thaw bread dough in fridge for 12 hours or follow quick-thaw instructions on back of package.

Combine 1 c. sugar, brown sugar, milk, butter, and 1 1/4 t. cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute, allowing mixture to boil the entire time. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a shallow bowl, combine 1/4 c. sugar and 1/2 t. cinnamon; stir well.

Coat Bundt pan with cooking spray.

Cut each loaf of bread into 24 equal portions. Roll each piece between palms to form a ball and roll ball in sugar mixture. Layer the dough balls in the Bundt pan.

Pour warm sugar syrup over the dough. Cover pan and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 35 minutes or until doubled in bulk. I preheat the oven on to 200 degrees while I prepare the dough, then I turn the oven off and place the pan in the oven for the rising time. Works very well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately loosen edges of bread with a knife or thin spatula. Place a plate upside-down on top of the Bundt pan and invert the bread onto the plate. Drizzle remaining syrup over the bread.


Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

3 lbs. red potatoes, unpeeled

1 T. plus 2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. half-and-half

1 stick butter

1/2 c. sour cream

1/2 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 t. pepper

Place potatoes and 1 T. salt in a large saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 25-35 minutes, until potatoes are completely tender. Drain.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and half-and-half.

Put the potatoes in a large bowl and use a hand mixer on low speed for a few seconds to break them up.

Slowly add the butter-cream mixture to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed. The last quarter of the butter mixture should be folded in by hand.

Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, remaining salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.

To reheat, place smashed potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and potatoes are heated through.

Enjoy! And as always, if you’ve got a great recipe to share, please email me at and I’d love to include your contribution!

Until next time,


First Tuesday Recipes for October

October is my favorite month.

There. I’ve said it. Where I live, most people love summer, but I can’t wait for it to end.

I love fall and everything about it: the cooler weather (but not too cold), the dip in humidity (hear the angels singing?), and the food! It doesn’t get much better than in-season fall ingredients. I’ve got a great fall recipe in today’s selections, plus a couple other creations that are just plain delicious.

First up, the fall recipe. My father gave me this recipe and I keep it in the “Casseroles” section of one of my cookbooks. I use it as a dessert, but it would make a great side dish to turkey or pork.

* * *

Apple-Cranberry Casserole

3 c. peeled, chopped apples, any variety

2 c. fresh whole cranberries

1 1/4 c. sugar


1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 1/2 c. rolled oats

1/3 c. flour

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish, mix apples, cranberries, and sugar. Mix all topping ingredients, except nuts, until crumbly. Spread over apple mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add chopped nuts to the top and bake 15 minutes longer.

* * *

The next recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law before my wedding. My husband’s family is Swedish, and this is delicious.

Swedish Meatballs

1 c. breadcrumbs

3/4 c. milk

3 T. diced onion

2 T. butter

1/4 t. nutmeg

1 1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

1 lb. ground beef

1 egg, slightly beaten

10 1/2 oz. (1 can) beef consumme

1 1/2 T. cornstarch

1 1/2 T. cold water

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Soften the breadcrumbs in the milk. Saute onions in the butter until light brown. Add this to the breadcrumbs. Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper, ground beef, and egg. Mix lightly with your hands. Form mixture into balls about 1 inch in size.

Place meatballs on greased cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until browned. Do not turn them over.

Blend consumme, cornstarch, and water until smooth and thickened. Pour over the meatballs.

* * *

And the last recipe comes from a good friend, Sue Murphy. She tells me the original recipe is from Willow Bird Baking–you can find the recipe here. This is my eldest daughter’s favorite!!

Ice Box Cookie Trifle

3 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. almond liqueur (optional–I used 1/2 t. almond extract instead)

3 T. sugar

2 t. vanilla extract

2-3 packages chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos work well, as do Famous Chocolate Wafers. If you use Famous, use three packages)

Using a mixer, beat heavy cream, almond liqueur, sugar, and vanilla in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. In a trifle dish, arrange a single layer of cookies in a circle and put one or two cookies in the middle. Carefully spread about 1/2 c. whipped cream mixture over the cookies. Repeat layers of cookies and whipped cream, ending with a layer of whipped cream on the top. Crumble a few leftover cookies on the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

* * *


Until next time,