Apple Cake

This cake is one of my favorites for Fall. The sweet chunks of apples tucked into the moist cake, topped with a crispy cinnamon crust... perfect. Serve with chilled, lightly sweetened whipped cream, if you wish, but it isn't a requirement.

2 eggs
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. oil
4 c. apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
*1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13" cake pan. Mix together eggs, sugar, applesauce, and oil. Add apples and nuts. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add to apple mixture and blend. Stir in vanilla. Pour into cake pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake for 40 minutes, when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chicken Fajita Burritos

Fajitas. Need I say more? We have a Mexico trip coming up. It's on my mind...

3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 sm. lime, juiced
1 T. oil
1 tsp. minced onion
1 tsp. cilantro, fresh, snipped
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
dash pepper
1 med. onion, sliced in thin wedges
1 green pepper, sliced in strips
*1 red pepper. sliced in strips
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, drained OR
1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
2 T. snipped cilantro
flour or corn tortillas

Slice chicken in thin strips across the grain. Mix lime juice, oil, minced onion, cilantro, sugar, chili powder, and pepper in a container for marinating. Add chicken, seal, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Prepare vegetables as directed. Pour meat and marinade into hot saute pan over HI heat. Stir fry until meat browns and starts to caramelize. Turn heat down to MED HI. Add onion and pepper to pan and fry, stirring, until crisp tender. Add black beans, diced tomatoes, and additional cilantro. Heat through. Serve in warm tortillas with sour cream and salsa. Serves 6-8.

Huevos Rancheros (Ranch Eggs)

I have loved these ever since I was a little girl. I'm not sure how old I was, but we went to a Mexican restaurant and I ordered these. I remember the Hispanic waiter looking proudly at me. I was always up for something new.

1 can refried beans
3 T. mild salsa
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch sugar
4 eggs
4 tostada shells, or tostada-size tortillas
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

If using soft, tostada-size tortillas, fry tortillas in a little oil until crisp. Set aside. In saute pan, gently mix beans, salsa, onion powder, salt, and sugar, over med-hi heat. Add a little water if thick. Make 4 "spaces" in the beans with a spoon, and break an egg in each hole. Sprinkle each egg with cheese. Cover and turn down heat to med-lo. Cook until eggs are done as desired (soft, medium, hard). With large spoon or spatula, lift section of beans and egg and slide onto tostada shell. Top with salsa and sour cream, if desired, and serve with fresh fruit.

Bean & Cheese Enchiladas With Red Sauce

The authentic red sauce makes these enchiladas extraordinary. We also use the red sauce on quick burritos, and chicken wings. Ay caramba!

1 (28-oz.) can dices tomatoes
3 T. flour
1 c. water
1-2 T. chili powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cocoa powder *use for a richer flavor, omit for fresher flavor
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
*1 tsp. fresh snipped cilantro

In blender or food processor, blend tomatoes and flour until smooth. Pour into medium saucepan. Add water, chili powder, sugar, salt, onion powder, cocoa powder, cumin, garlic powder, and cilantro. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly, until desired consistency. Remove from heat.

1 onion. finely diced
1 can refried beans
2 c. jack or Colby jack cheese, shredded
12 flour tortillas, OR
1 pkg. corn tortillas

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup red sauce into dish and coat bottom. In assembly-line fashion, place tortillas, beans, red sauce, onions, cheese, then pan in order on workspace. Place a tortilla on a plate, spread a spoonfull of beans down the center of tortilla (can work right from can), ladle some red sauce on beans, sprinkle with onions, then cheese, roll up tortilla, and place in baking dish. Continue until baking dish is full, or tortillas are gone. Take remaining red sauce and spread over top of enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Top with remaining cheese, and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve with sour cream, Mexican CABBAGE SALAD, and salsa.


Big Bite Salad

I've made this for family get-togethers for years. It's just a great salad!

1 head iceberg lettuce, torn
3 c. spinach, torn
1-2 c. mozzarella cheese, cubed
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 strips bacon, fried and torn into bite-size pieces
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
2 eggs, boiled and chopped or sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill.


1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. minced onion
1 T. ketchup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic
1/8 tsp. paprika

Combine dressing ingredients. Just before serving, pour over salad and toss. Serves 8-12.


I am indebted to my sister, Shelli Larson, for this recipe. It could be my favorite. That is saying a lot; ask anyone who knows me well. With a side of garlic mashed potatoes and buttered peas and carrots, and a bowl of home canned pears. I'm speechless.

2-3 slices bread
1/2 c. milk
2 lbs. hamburger
4 eggs
1/3 c. oatmeal
1 onion, chopped
1 T. mustard, brown or yellow
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic
1/4 tsp. sage

Heat oven to 350°. In large mixing bowl, soak bread in milk. Add burger, eggs, oatmeal, onion, and seasonings. Mix well. Divide in 2 portions and pat into 2 loaf pans. Drizzle ketchup on top and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Doughnuts

I make these for Halloween every year. We have pizza, hot cider, and these yummies.

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 T. butter
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 T. lemon juice
4 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1/8 c. cinnamon

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and butter. Add pumpkin and lemon juice. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with milk to pumpkin mixture until blended. Cover and chill 2 hours. Turn on lightly floured surface. Knead 5-6 times. Roll to 3/8" thick. Cut with 2 1/2" donut cutter. Heat oil in deep fryer, or wok, or 1" in heavy fry pan. Pinch off a bit of dough and gently drop into oil. If dough sizzles, it is hot enough.

Fry donuts until golden and lay on paper towels or draining rack lined with paper towels. In a large ziploc bag, mix sugar and cinnamon. Add donuts 2-3 at a time and gently shake to coat. Place on serving tray. May also frost when cooled. Makes about 2 dozen.

Savory Sweet Potato Pancakes with Bacon & Apples

I had these at Elmer's restaurant a few years back and had to duplicate them first chance I got. Trust me with the sour cream and applesauce. *Sigh*

2 c. mashed potatoes
2 c. cooked yams or sweet potatoes, mashed
4 eggs
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 T. chopped onion, green onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Drop pancake mixture onto very hot, oiled griddle or pan. Flip when golden brown on one side. Cook until golden brown and crisp on the edges. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and applesauce.


Cranberry Orange Scones

One of the best investments I ever made was buying a breakfast cookbook called Beyond Oatmeal for my daughter for Christmas last year. I beg her to make me these tender, melt-in-your-mouth, lick your fingertips scones. She does.

2 c. flour
3 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. orange zest
1 egg yolk. beaten
1 c. sour cream

In large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add cranberries and orange peel, tossing to coat. Gently make a depression in the center; set aside.

In small mixing bowl, combine egg yolk and sour cream. Do not overmix. Pour into depression in dry mixture. Using a slicing motion with a fork, stir all until combined (mixture may seem dry). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough 10 - 12 times until smooth. Pat and roll dough into a 7" circle, leaving center of circle thicker. Cut into 12 wedges. Arrange wedges, 1" apart. on cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

Orange Glaze

1 c. powdered sugar
1 T. orange juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla

In small mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Add more orange juice, 1 tsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm scones and serve.

Ham & Bean Soup

I love dump-and-leave dinners. This soup assembles fast, and you only have to come back to it a couple of times before you get to eat it. And that is the best part, of course.

6 c. water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 ham bone with meat
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. rosemary
1-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 c. carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped, skins on
2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar

Heat water and ham bone to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to MED LO. Simmer for one hour. Add garlic, herbs, Tabasco, onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, and corn. Cover. Simmer one hour. Remove ham bone to plate. Trim ham from bone, discard bone, and add meat back to pot in bite-size pieces. Add salt and sugar to taste. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.


I tweaked this from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook. She and I go way back. A one-dish meal so full of flavor it will become a favorite fast!

6 chicken thighs
2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 MSG free breakfast sausage links
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg. can diced tomatoes, undrained

Remove skin from chicken, if desired. Place chicken, water, salt, and pepper in large fry pan with lid or Dutch oven. Heat to boiling and cover. Reduce heat to MED and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in saute pan over HI heat, cook sausage links in 1/4" water, turning. As water boils down, sausages will begin to brown. Turn heat down and cook until browned on all sides. Add sausage to chicken. Add 1/2 cup water to sausage pan stir to loosen drippings. Pour over chicken. Add rice to spaces in between chicken pieces. Sprinkle thyme and paprika over chicken. Add onion, garlic, and can of tomatoes and juice. Gently tuck rice, onions, garlic, and tomatoes into broth. Heat to boiling and cover. Reduce heat to MED. Simmer until chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork and rice is tender, about 30 -40 minutes.

Pumpkin Cake

Moist and delicious. This cake tastes like Fall.

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Using the back of a 1 cup measuring cup, make three indentations in dry ingredients. In each hole place the following ingredients:

One hole:
1/4 c. unsulphered molasses
1/4 c. applesauce

2nd hole:
1/4 c. oil
2 T. vinegar

3rd hole:
1 15 oz. can pumpkin

Pour over all:
1 1/2 c. water

Heat oven to 350°. Mix thoroughly with whisk and pour into 9 x 13" pan. No need to grease pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with VANILLA CREAM FROSTING when completely cool, or serve warm with ice cream.


Oven Fried Chicken

The last time I made this, I didn't make enough and I only got one piece. I pouted for 2 hours.

8-10 pieces of chicken, rinsed and skins pulled off
2 c. flour
1 1/2 T. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic blend seasoning
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. butter
3 T. oil

Turn oven on to 400 degrees. Place flour and dry seasonings into large Ziplok bag. Seal and shake gently to mix. Place butter in 9 x 13" casserole dish and melt in microwave. Remove dish and add oil. Mix by tilting pan around. Set on the counter.
Place 3-4 pieces of chicken into bag, seal, and shake gently to coat. Remove pieces and lay in dish. Rotate pieces carefully to get oil on both sides. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and crackly.