Pumpkin Bread

“Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way.”

Most kids want something really special when they return home for a visit … something like grilled steak, a crawfish boil, or the like. Our youngest, Taylor, is perfectly satisfied with fresh Pumpkin Bread because that has long been his favorite.

3 1/3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup of water
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of pumpkin (canned)
1 cup canola oil

In a medium bowl, mix the first six ingredients together. To this blend, add the last four ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into two lightly greased 3″ x 6″ loaf pans. Bake at 350-degrees for approximately 1 hour.

(NOTE- Photos will be posted asap.)

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

“The secret ingredient is always love.”

Our oldest, Bradford, is a Navy SeaBee. When he is deployed overseas Karen tries to send him these Oyster Crackers as often as possible because it is his favorite snack/appetizer.

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

30 oz. oyster crackers (Nabisco in bags)
2 cups canola oil
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix or dry Italian dressing mix
2 T lemon pepper
2 T dill weed
2 tsp. red pepper (I use less)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Place oyster crackers in a large container. Mix remaining ingredients in a large measuring cup. Pour over crackers and gently toss well. I use a large plastic container with a lid that I can turn the crackers in to help distribute the mixture. Turn crackers several times the first few hours. Let sit in sealed container for 24 hours before consuming. These will keep for months.

Peach Cobbler

“Life is short, eat dessert first.”

Here’s another recipe from the Koenig Family Cookbook (my wife’s family); this one was contributed by Mary Clifford Whitehurst.

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
6 to 8 Peaches
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Just waiting for some homemade vanilla ice cream!

Just waiting for some homemade vanilla ice cream!

Peel the Peaches and slice. Place in a casserole dish. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. It will be a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle, with your hands, over the Peaches evenly. Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Eggs Benedict Casserole

“They invented brunch so we could have wine with breakfast.”

This is, undoubtedly, the absolute best breakfast casserole I have ever eaten. The easy, make ahead, prep makes it even more desirable. I found it on food.com where it had been submitted in 2005 by a subscriber whose username was BecR. BecR wrote, “This casserole tastes exactly like Eggs Benedict without the last-minute struggle. Just assemble the English muffins, Canadian bacon (or ham) and eggs like a strata and refrigerate it overnight, then all you have to do in the morning [is prepare the hollandaise sauce]. Granted, the eggs are not poached, but the flavor is just as awesome. Serve Eggs Benedict Casserole with fresh strawberries, orange juice and coffee.” Recipe came from a newspaper article.
(Note- we are empty nesters so I cut this recipe in half and it is still enough to feed the two of us for several breakfast meals.)

Just out of the oven. This is the recipe cut in half.

Just out of the oven. This is the recipe cut in half for 5 servings.

6 English muffins
10 -12 ounces Canadian bacon ( 2 packages, or use diced ham)
8 large eggs
2 cups reduced-fat milk ( or whole milk)
1 teaspoon onion powder
cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 -3 cups hollandaise sauce (I prefer Knorr mix with some lemon juice)

1. Cut muffins into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. Cut Canadian bacon into 1/2-inch squares. Set aside. Whisk the eggs well in a 2-quart bowl. Whisk in milk and onion powder.

2. Spray a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking oil spray. Scatter half the Canadian bacon evenly in bottom of dish. Scatter muffin cubes on top of Canadian bacon. Top with the remaining Canadian bacon, scattering it evenly over the bread. Pour egg mixture over the casserole. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours, to let bread absorb egg mixture.

A single serving topped with Hollandaise Sauce

A single serving topped with Hollandaise Sauce

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove casserole from refrigerator and uncover it. Lightly sprinkle the paprika evenly over the top. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove dish from the oven, remove foil, return dish to the oven and continue to bake, uncovered, until the eggs are set and the bacon on top begins to crisp, about 20 minutes more. Remove the casserole from oven and let it stand 5 minutes before serving. While casserole bakes, make several cups of hollandaise; I prefer to use Knorr package mix and add the juice of a half large lemon. To serve, cut casserole into squares and place them on plates. Spoon about 2 tablespoons (or to taste) warm Hollandaise Sauce over each serving just before serving.

4. Makes 10 servings.

Apple Brown Betty

“Baking is only fun when you lick the spoon.”

This is considered to be a classic recipe because it has been around since early colonial times. There are literally hundreds of variations of the recipe on the Internet and I don’t believe anyone can actually claim it as “theirs”. I saw Ree Drummond prepare this on her Pioneer Woman cooking show in 2012 and I’ve chosen to use her version of the recipe.

I’m not sure if you call this an apple pie, and apple cobbler, and apple crisp, or what … regardless though, you will call it delicious when you take that first bite!

1 1/2 to 2 sticks of butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing
8 slices hearty wheat bread, diced
3 apples, preferably Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced
1 1/2 packed cups brown sugar, plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Ree didn’t use this ingredient)
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F. Generously butter a 9” x 13” baking dish.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together

Place half the diced bread in the baking dish, and then sprinkle on half the diced apples, half the brown sugar mix and half the butter. Repeat with another layer of bread, apples, sugar mix and butter. End by sprinkling 1/2 cup of water all over the surface, a spoonful at a time.

Bake, covered in foil, until the apples are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to brown.

Serve by itself or topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.

(NOTE- Photos will be posted asap.)

Roseville Tomato Pie

“Eating is a necessity but cooking is an art.”

Several years ago we attended a New Year’s Party where everyone brought a dish for the buffet. It was quite a buffet with everything from venison backstrap to smoked alligator sausage. Having loaded my plate, I sat down and began to indulge myself; about the second goody that I took a bite from turned out to be one of the best mouthfuls of anything I’ve had recently. It turned out to be an individual serving of Roseville Tomato Pie. When I mentioned the delicacy to my wife, she reminded me that the owner of the Roseville Bed & Breakfast (Click Here to visit their website) had given her a copy of the recipe several years ago and we’d just never gotten around to preparing it … Duh! Since the recipe has appeared in a local community cookbook and is freely distributed at the B&B, I am assuming it is okay to reprint it here. Since I was first introduced to Roseville Tomato Pie as an appetizer, I have listed it as such, however, after preparing it myself and then doing a little research about how it is served at the B&B, I am convinced that it is primarily a breakfast or a brunch dish because two (or maybe three) of these little pies will easily make up a meal.

Into the oven

Into the oven


1 can cheap biscuits
1 tomato
Italian seasoning
1/2 cup each of Monterey Jack and Colby cheese, shredded and mixed
Salad Supreme (this is a McCormick salad seasoning)
1 cup real mayonnaise
Parmesan cheese

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

For individual servings, in a large baking pan, flatten each biscuit and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, then top each biscuit with a 1/4 inch thick tomato slice. Sprinkle with Salad Supreme. Mix cheese and mayonnaise and spread 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture on each biscuit. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then lightly sprinkle with Salad Supreme. Bake at 375-degrees F until the crust is done; about 15-17 minutes.

(Cook’s Note- Use the exact ingredients above. Cheap biscuits are those generic ones that cost around 25-cents a can that you might be embarrassed to be seen with in the checkout line. However, that’s what you’ve got to use because you don’t want something that will rise too much, instead, you want each biscuit to be pretty flat!)

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Smoked Salmon Mousse

“Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.”

Back in about 2010 we vacationed in Napa Valley with our friends, Marianne & Dana Havron. We stayed at the Villagio Inn and Spa in Yountville and we were amazed at the unbelievable breakfast/brunch buffets they offered us daily. One dish in particular, the Smoked Salmon Mousse, kept me returning to the buffet bar. By the time we departed, I’d somehow convinced the Executive Chef to share the recipe with me….

1 pound of smoked salmon sliced
1 pound of cream cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 tablespoon of fresh dill chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1. Using a small mixer, mix the cream cheese until it gets creamy.
2. Chop all the smoked salmon, discarding any brownish pieces.
3. Process the smoked salmon in the food processor until it binds together. Add 1/2 of the cream cheese to the the salmon mixture while it is getting process in the food processor. So it can be smooth and creamy.
4. Transfer the salmon mixture back to the mixer and combine it with the rest of the cream cheese.
5. Add the Dijon mustard, sour cream and dill. Mix it just enough to get all ingredients bonded. Do not over mix.

I like to serve this after chilling it in a copper food mold (in the shape of a fish).

(NOTE- Photos will be posted asap.)

Shrimp and Scallop Lasagna

“Today I plan to be as useless as the ‘g’ in lasagna.”

This recipe was inspired by a similar dish that Paula Deen prepared on one of her television cooking shows … thank you Paula.

12 each lasagna noodles, cooked
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups half and half
1 cup romano cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound bay or sea scallops, halved or quartered if large
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and uncooked
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 10-inch aluminum foil pan or baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the lasagna noodles until they are just done, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet and cook the onion over low heat until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Over medium-low heat, stir in the flour with a whisk, then gradually add the half-and-half, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly before adding more. When the sauce has thickened to about the consistency of whipping cream, add the cheese and stir well. Add the salt and pepper and stir again. Add the scallops and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or just until the shrimp turn pink. Turn off the heat.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the sauce (no seafood) from the skillet into the prepared pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with 4 noodles, placing them side by side. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles, distributing half of the seafood evenly. Layer 4 more noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, and remaining seafood. Cover with the last 4 noodles and the remaining sauce. (For the top layer, do not spoon any seafood on top of the noodles; just use the sauce.) Top with the Parmesan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, until bubbly. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

(NOTE- Photos will be uploaded asap.)

Corn Souffle

“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”

My sister, Nancy, made this dish for a family holiday gathering back many, many years ago. I really liked it and she gave me the recipe; other than grilled hamburgers & hotdogs, it became the first real dish I ever made! Now, I can’t count the number of times I’ve made this dish for church potlucks and evening dinners.

1 15 1/2-ounce can Whole Kernel Corn (drained)
1 15 1/2-ounce can Creamed Corn
1 8-ounce container sour cream
1 large eggs
3/4 stick Butter (melted)
1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

In a large bowl mix the first five ingredients together … then, add
the cornbread mix and stir until well blended. Bake at 375-degrees
uncovered in greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish for 35 to 45 minutes or
until center is solid and edges are brown. Don’t open oven for first
20 minutes or souffle will fall! After about 30 minutes sprinkle the
cheese over the surface of the souffle.

(Note- Photos will be posted asap.)

Pork Chops and Rice

“Meals and memories are made here.”

This recipe has been around for a very long time. It is a regular at our table. Best of all, it is simple and quick to prepare. Chicken is easily substituted for the Pork Chops.

On the plate and ready to serve.

On the plate and ready to serve.

2 cups rice, regular or instant, white or brown
1 stick butter, melted
1 package onion mushroom soup mix
1/2 cup mushroom pieces (optional), sliced
4 large pork chops, thin sliced, bone-in (or boneless chicken breasts/tenderloins)
Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Wash regular rice and put into baking dish or if instant rice, add as is. Melt butter and pour over rice. Prepare soup mix with 2 1/4 cups of water and pour over rice and butter and stir gently. Lay pork chops or chicken pieces on top (then top with mushrooms) and place in a 385-degree oven. Cook for 45-50 minutes.