March 29, 2017


In the 80's, back in my hometown, I belonged to Delta Omicron Sorority, which was a Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.  
There were three chapters in Beta Sigma Phi, and each year, our chapter would be asked to prepare a meal and serve it at Holiday House, which was held Thanksgiving Day through the first week of December.

This is the Magnolia Manor which is located in Cairo, Illinois.  During the holidays, it is decorated for Christmas, and is truly magnificent.

Each room is decorated in a particular theme, and the decorations are (or at least they used to be) for sale, as a means for keeping the Magnolia Manor up and running.

Beta Sigma Phi would prepare the meal for one of the luncheons, and members would also serve and work in the kitchen.

The menu we fixed was Parmesan Crusted Baked Chicken, Hash Brown Casserole, Green Beans, and a Dinner Roll.  A dessert was also served.

So . . . this hash brown casserole recipe has been around for a long time and can be found in many, many cookbooks. 

It is easy and delicious.  Instead of cornflakes on top, I used French Fried Onions, and for the first time ever, Cudjoe actually said he liked it!  I love potatoes, and this has always been a favorite of mine.


Hash Brown Casserole

1 32-ounce package of frozen hash browns, thawed; 1 can, cream of chicken soup; 1 8-ounce carton of sour cream; 1 8-ounce package of cheddar cheese; 1 teaspoon of pepper; 1/2 stick of butter, melted; French's Crispy Fried Onions (2.8 oz container).

Stir hash browns, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pepper, and melted butter together in a large bowl.  Spread into a 13 x 9 casserole dish.   Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour.  Sprinkle Crispy Fried Onions on top of casserole and bake another 10 minutes.  



March 19, 2017


I made a large potful of Tortellini Soup last week.  The weather had turned off freezing cold after an unusually warm February.  We will be eating leftovers, but that's okay with me.  I love soup.  Soup is my favorite.



Tortellini Soup:  1 small onion, 1 stick of celery, 1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of Kidney Beans (rinsed), 1 can of Great Northern Beans (rinsed), 1 package of frozen cheese-filled tortellini, water, two tablespoons of chicken bouillon, 1 heaping tablespoon of Italian Seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a large soup pot, sautée onion and celery until tender.  Add minced garlic and sautée for a minute or two more.  Add tomatoes, Kidney beans, Great Northern Beans, water (to cover well) chicken bouillon, and Italian Seasoning.  I simmered on low for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.  Add tortellini and let simmer for five to ten minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with Italian Cheese Blend.



March 10, 2017


I made Lemon Meringue Pie earlier this week.  I have loved cream pies my whole life.   The very first thing I learned to bake was a Chocolate Meringue Pie.  My grandmother taught me how to bake cream pies from the time I was tall enough to reach the stove.

Oh, how I loved to lick the pan and still do.

Chocolate is my favorite, followed by Lemon Meringue, and then Banana Cream.

We are having an early spring in the Midwest.  The tulip trees are blooming, the Bradford Pears are blooming, and the jonquils are blooming.

However, there's a cold front coming through tonight, and it is suppose to snow, yes snow, on Saturday.  I haven't seen any snow this year, and was truly hoping not to.

What does weather have to do with this blog post you might be asking yourself . . .  with this sweet spring feeling in and all around, I thought a lemon meringue pie was just what we needed.

It is truly wonderful.  Try it.  You won't be disappointed.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of 2% milk
2 eggs yolks
1 tablespoon of butter
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla

 For Making Meringue

4 eggs whites (room temperature)
1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
The juice of two lemons

Set pie crust out until it is room temperature, and then place it in a glass pie plate and bake according to directions on box.

1.  In a small saucepan, measure in sugar and flour and whisk together.

2.  Stir in 2 cups of milk and two egg yolks.  Add in one tablespoon of butter, salt and vanilla.

3.  Stir on medium heat until thickened.

4.  Add lemon juice.

5.  Spoon pie filling into baked pie crust.

For the Meringue:

1.  Pour egg whites into mixer bowl of a stand mixer.

2.  Beat egg whites on high for a few minutes.  Add cream of tartar and beat for a few more minutes.  

3.  Add sugar, salt and vanilla, and beat on high speed for approximately five minutes.

4.  Spread meringue on top of pie and bake in a 400 to 425 degree F oven until meringue is toasty brown.

Serve to family and friends!!