Google recently released their “Google’s Year in Search 2016.” One category included was a listing of the top-searched food recipes for the year. We took a look in our own collection to gather our recipes for these delicious, and sometimes, just fun, items to create our own list of favorites in 2016.

1. Green Bean Casserole
Green Bean CasseroleThis classic casserole might be the star of your holiday table, but it isn’t just for holidays and pitch-in dinners any more. In 2016 home cooks were bringing this side dish to their table throughout the year, and we commonly see at least a couple of versions of this dish on pitch-in dinner tables. We are always delighted to try other’s approach to this staple. Here is our recipe for a Green Bean Casserole, with Mushrooms, Bacon, Onions and two optional Cheeses.

2. Brussels Sprouts
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini OnionsThe Brussels sprout continues to be super popular this year; it’s the only green vegetable that got its own Google search spot in the top 10. Here is our recipe for Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts, and, you might also like our Browned Brussels Sprouts with Cipollini Onions.

3. Hashbrown Casserole
Hash Brown CasseroleCasseroles continue to dominate the top 10 list, and for good reason; they can be prepared ahead of time, chilled, warmed, and served later, making them very versatile and reliable. One of the most popular recipes searched is the ever-popular hashbrown casserole. This has been a Christmas Breakfast staple at our house for many years, and I prepared it a number of times for Men’s Breakfast at church. Get the recipe here.

4. Guacamole
GuacamoleAnother simple-to-make delicacy made it to the top of the charts this year. It’s guacamole made from wonderful Haas avocados. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. It makes a great dip with tortilla or corn chips, excels when planted by the spoonful on top of entrees, sides, salads, and even when served sliced in soups and tacos. The process is quick and easy, and produces a luscious, silky smooth dip with a hint of lime. You’ll find our recipe here.

5. Chicken Marsala
Chicken Tenderloin MarsalaThis is a delicious, classic chicken dish that used to be taught in junior high school cooking classes. Our Italian-American version calls for breaded chicken breasts that are braised with Marsala wine, mushrooms and onion. Paprika provides a smokiness to offset the sweetness of the wine. Quick and easy to assemble, this dish is ideal for a simple weeknight dinner, and is elegant enough to gain status as a longtime favorite for entertaining company. You can find our recipe here.

6. Chicken Tetrazzini
Chicken TetrazziniIf you’re not familiar with Chicken Tetrazzini, this essentially is a bowl of luscious pasta loaded with lots of chicken and mushrooms. This is one of Lea’s favorite dishes, to make, and to eat. If you have time to make your own delicious egg noodles, you can take this dish to a whole new level. Get the recipe right here.

7. Snow Cream
Homemade Ice CreamSnow cream can be one of two distinct desserts; a cream-based dessert with one or more flavoring agents added, or, a dessert in which snow is mixed with a sweetened dairy-based liquid to make an ice cream substitute. We rarely see snow here in Central Texas, so we tend to go with the cream-based version. Get the recipe here. Our recipe is located here.

8. Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream frosting on mini-muffinsIt’s great that there are enough cooks out there that want to learn to make their own buttercream frosting, rather than giving in to the ease of buying it at the store. It’s completely simple to make, and totally essential for baking when you want that extra measure of flavor that comes only from homemade buttercream. Our recipe includes a tip to avoid getting the frosting too runny. The recipe is located here.

9. Pork Chops
seared-pork-tenderloin-medallions2_smlThe ever-popular pork chop topped this year’s Google search charts again, which is not so surprising considering how easy or elegant this homey dinner staple is to prepare. We have lots of pork chop recipes on our Entrees page, and one of our favorites, Apple-Ginger Thick Cut Pork Chops, is located here.

10. Turkey Gravy
Pan Gravy with Chicken Fried ChickenSearches for turkey gravy rose to new heights in the last few weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and, according to Google, it was very popular this year! Once you learn to master gravy making, you can pretty much turn pan drippings and fond from any dish into a silky smooth and extra flavorful pan sauce or gravy to serve with your meal. Here’s our recipe and some tips to help.

These delicious recipes are essential for every recipe starter collection, and all have countless versions that have been developed by seasoned cooks over the years. Historically, the most adventurous cooks had extensive libraries of cookbooks to use for inspiration and exploration. Trading recipes with others who had an interest in expanding their meal offerings was a very common practice. Today, there are many other ways to find a recipe, including that quick search on the web, including our own collection. We hope you enjoy our tried and true recipes, and look forward to hearing about your favorite variations, too.

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Terminate that chill and warm up with comforting tomato soup!

Bowl of Tomato SoupServed steaming hot in an over-sized mug, with a toasty brown grilled-cheese sandwich, tomato soup takes us back to those childhood days when this cool weather treat seemed really special. Comforting and warming all the way to the tummy, most of us probably had the canned soup most often. But, I still fondly recall the aromas coming from my great-grandmother’s kitchen during canning season when she was “putting up” tomatoes while making tomato soup from scratch. And, there is no tastier way to terminate a chill than that bowl or mug of tomato soup! Today, making homemade tomato soup is simple. Open a couple cans or jars of tomatoes, sauté some aromatic vegetables, and blend it all together. That’s it!

Selecting Tomatoes

Chilies and TomatoesWhile ripe fall tomatoes can make a delicious end of season tomato soup, when it comes to the classic flavor we remember, canned tomatoes are best. They provide a consistent flavor because they are picked, processed, and canned at the peak of perfection. We have found that crushed tomatoes have the preferred balance of acidity and flavor for soup, and they don’t have to spend a lot of time in the blender or food processor to break down. They have a texture between firm diced tomatoes and smooth tomato sauce, and they provide a fresh, full, flavor that is great for pasta sauces and smoother soups.

Home Canned Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed Tomatoes

We also use a small amount of tomato paste in our soups. Tomato paste comes in small cans, usually six ounces each, and also in 4.5 ounce tubes, and they are the most cooked down of all the canned tomato products with eighty per cent (80%) of the water content removed. The paste has a very concentrated flavor and a much darker color.

While the amount of paste in most recipes is small, compared to the crushed tomatoes, you really can’t develop that deep, rich, flavor we all love in tomato soup without it. Keep both canned tomatoes and tomato paste on hand for tomato soup anytime, and you’ll also discover many other uses for them.

Blending and processing hot tomato soup can be messy and even dangerous. See our tips on how to be safe while completing this essential task.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato Bisque One of our favorite soups is a steaming mug of tomato “bisque,” by definition a creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. It is classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans or shellfish, but it can also be made from roasted and puréed fruits, vegetables, or fungi. Our bisque uses fire roasted tomatoes, heavy cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan to develop an earthiness and silkiness. Get the recipe here.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Soup with ParmesanHere is another of our tomato soup recipes that has you do the puree while the product is still cool. I have found this to be much easier to handle than trying to pulse the hot soup in a blender or food processor. This recipe incorporates orange juice, a natural pairing with tomato, maple syrup for a touch of sweetness in the background, and cilantro for a fresh citrus note. This one, like the bisque, we finish with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. The recipe is on our soup page, here.

Tomato Vegetable Soup
Tomato Vegetable SoupOur tomato vegetable soup is a recipe we developed in the church kitchen while cooking large batches for fellowship dinners. This is a comforting and filling soup with just a hint of citrus from orange juice. We use homemade Emeril’s Essence in this version to take it just slightly to the cajun side where it blends so well with the mixed vegetables. Find the recipe here.

Rich and flavorful tomato soups are winter warmer-upper favorites that are chock full of vitamin C, and a great way to get the antibiotic effect of the onions and garlic. If you’re fighting a winter cold or flu, you can also whip up a delicious dairy-free version to keep the mucus factor down. It will still be delicious and give you a welcome boost. Tomato soup; the winter chill terminator!

Now that Christmas dinner is past, and the leftovers have been relegated to stews and casseroles, it’s the right time to be thinking about a change of pace with dinners that differ from seasonal classics while still delivering on flavor. Pork may be the ideal alternative, and we’ve collected a few of our favorite pork chop dishes to help you with mealtime planning.

Apple-Raisin Thick Cut Pork Chops
Apple Raisin Pork ChopThis is a delicious main dish that has been a favorite for generations and passed down in cookbook after cookbook. The apples and raisins combine to create a fruity and savory flavor, while apples and pork are just a natural pairing. Combined with touches of ginger, mustard and cinnamon, this hardy mealtime offering is well liked by diners of all ages. Get the recipe here.

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin ChopHere’s a dish that hits all of the taste buds with a sweet-sour sauce, umami flavor from a quick browning sear in a very hot pan, and salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Thick center-cut pork chops finish in a balsamic vinegar and brown sugar sauce. These chops are as attractive as they are tasty, and really turn up the satisfaction ratings. Get the recipe here.

Coriander Boneless Pork Chop Cubes
Coriander Pork CubesLooking for a savory pork chop recipe with a dash of pizzaz? These thick cut pork chops get cubed into bite-size portions, marinaded, seasoned, and pan seared for that great earthy umami flavor that comes from a quick, hot, sear. Served over chicken flavored couscous or rice, and finished with fresh chopped coriander or parsley, this flavorful combination will become a family favorite. Get the recipe here.

Grilled or Roasted Stuffed Loin Chops
Stuffed Thick Cut Loin MedallionThis can be a really fun adventure. Have your butcher cut some extra thick loin medallions. You’re going to marinade them, stuff them, grill or roast them, as you like, and prepare a dish that is not only attractive and tasty, but will dominate the table when you dress it with a drizzle of hot balsamic reduction, and garnish with a cilantro or parsley twig. Get the recipe here.

Vino Pork Loin
Pork Loin Bites over CouscousThis is a savory plate of comfort food that is certain to please the heartiest of appetites. Taking a Cajun cue from Emeril’s Essence, we use a homemade version of the spice to bring pork to a whole new level. Use as much, or as little, as you like, to make this dish your own. We like it served with a side of Island Rice Pilaf. Get the recipe for this delicious pork dish here.

From roasted to pan fried, and smothered to breaded, our selection of savory and sweet pork chop recipes will give you many tasty options for your mealtime. Bone-in or boneless, thick-cut or thin, budget-friendly pork chops are a favorite option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pork chops is what is “in”!

American Apple Pie
Pie with baked and browned crustWe always chuckle when we hear, “As American as apple pie.” The first recipe for apple pie was written in 1381 England, and used figs, raisins, and pears as sweeteners. Early apple pie recipes rarely called for sugar, an expensive and hard-to-get item at the time. (Never fear . . . our recipe calls for sugar). This is an excellent, and easy to make apple pie. Get the recipe here.

Old Fashioned Cherry Pie
Old Fashioned Cherry PieThis is the classic cherry pie of old, made from fresh sour cherries (we list some alternatives in case you don’t have a cherry tree in your back yard). This recipe even includes directions for making your own delicious pie crust from a very old recipe Lea found in an old church cookbook many years ago. The recipe also is listed below. It is, by far, the best pie crust we have ever had. It is very easy to make, and it never fails to please. Find the pie recipe here.


Classic Peach Pie

Peach Pie with Butter Dots

Peach Pie with Butter Dots

The delicate flavor of the peach is very unique and produces a very delicate aroma and taste sensation that is highly valued throughout the world. The sweetness of the ripe peach is due primarily to the natural sugars giving the fruit a very sweet taste. Served with an outstanding flavorful crust, the peach pie becomes a work of art that is well received at the dining table. This peach pie is classically prepared, and quick and easy to assemble. Mix peaches, cinnamon, nutmeg and tapioca for a special treat that will bring them back for more. Get the recipe here.

Raisin Pie
Raisin PieBefore there was refrigeration, fresh fruits were not readily available, but most homes had dried raisins on hand. This pie became a favorite because the ingredients were always available and the pie kept well. Some recipes include milk, making it more like a custard pie, and others include water, but they all seem to agree on the necessity of a double-crusted pie, usually with a lattice top. Get the recipe here.

Nestle’s Toll House Pie
Nestle's Toll House PieLarry wasn’t kidding when he summed up what this pie is; a chocolate chip cookie on a pie shell! Why is the toll house cookie one of the best loved cookies, and why is this pie version of it so special? Let me count the ways; Butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, chopped nuts, and a whole lot of semi-sweet chocolate chips on a pie crust! Get the recipe here.

Lea’s Pumpkin Pie
:ea's Pumpkin PieLea received this recipe on a postcard from Dottie Vaughn in 1970 when we lived at 924 Sunset Ridge Drive, Danville, Illinois. This recipe has always been our favorite pumpkin pie! The original recipe name was “Prue’s Pumpkin Pie”, but Lea figures that she has made it enough, she’ll will make it her own! Creamy pumpkin mixed with brown and white sugar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger delivers the silkiness and flavors that have well passed the test of time. Get the recipe here.

Old Fashioned Homemade Pie Crust
Lea's Pie CrustNothing shouts “home-made!” like a buttery pie crust. Yes, you can easily make your own homemade pie crust, and the result is so much better than store-bought frozen pie crusts. The most classic pie or pastry crust is made with butter, but can take some practice to master (f you handle it too much it will end up tough). A more forgiving pie crust is one that is made with a mixture of butter and shortening. That way you get the flavor of the butter, with the easy flakiness that comes from using shortening. Our recipe goes one better: butter flavored shortening! Get the recipe here.

You can be this year’s pitch-in dinner rock star, with tried and true recipes for some of the best flavors that have withstood the tests of time! With easy-to-follow instructions on how to prepare each recipe, you’ll easily master old favorites with new successes.

Cranberry-Mustard Pork Tenderloin
Slow Cooker Cranberry and Mustard Pork TenderloinAn outstanding recipe that Lea adapted for the slow cooker to present big flavors. She hadn’t had a slow cooker for years, but bought one just before starting work on publishing our favorite recipes and trying out some new ones. This was her first slow cooker recipe, and she added an extra tablespoon of mustard to the original recipe to bring up the flavor. It was delicious! The recipe is located here.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Worcestershire Sauce
Seared pork tenderloin medallionsA good cut of pork tenderloin is both tender and flavorful, so it won’t need a lot of seasoning. We coat lightly with Worcestershire sauce, and add the salt and pepper as we turn the medallions, so the salt doesn’t draw out much moisture. Try a little garlic paste or a very light coating of a flavored olive oil, if desired. The recipe is located here.

Spinach and Sausage Pork Roulade
Spinach and Sausage Pork RouladeThis delightful dish tastes as good as it looks! It combines slivered almonds, onion soup mix, and Italian sausage to create a filling for a pork roast. Cooking is simply putting the roulade on a hot pan and carefully turning every few minutes to get it brown all the way around, and then baking it until ready to serve. It is a fun dish to prepare, and is always greeted enthusiastically. Lea usually serves this with Fennel-Potato Au Gratin. The roulade recipe is located here.

Holiday Spinach and Sausage Pork Roulade
Spinach and Sausage Pork RouladeLarry also made a “large group” version of the roulade above, specifically for a Christmas meal we were serving at our church. It has special holiday-time seasoning, including carrots, onions and celery in the bottom of the pan, which helps give it a very special flavor. This recipe is for 48 servings, but can be easily scaled to fit the size of your gathering. Here’s the recipe.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Roulade
pix-2008-baconloin_13Thick cut boneless pork loin chops get pounded out to 3/8″ thin and filled with cooked stuffing (left over is great), or flavored bread crumbs, and then wrapped in thick sliced bacon for a mouth watering, and pretty dish. Capture the bacon drippings and pan scrapings to make a wonderful sauce, served on the side for dipping, or as gravy. The recipe is located here.

All of these dishes create some pretty great drippings. If you like, while the pork is resting, make a quick pan sauce. Start by boiling a cup of red wine in the pan while you scrape up the pork fond from the bottom. Add enough pork or chicken broth to serve your group, and thicken with a flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot slurry. Have some fun in the kitchen this holiday season while preparing some great meals that can become family favorites.

There is always room on the dessert table for easy snacks on the go, and nothing fits the bill better than homemade cookies. Here are some of our favorite recipes that are always a hit at every pitch-in.

Snowballs
Snowball CookiesThese cookies are known by many names, but they are snowballs to us, and they have been a family favorite for decades. These are a joy to make, go together quickly, and bake for only a few minutes. Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and your choice of almonds or pecans, and roll them in powdered sugar, and you’ll have a new family favorite! Get the recipe here.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter CookiesPeanut butter cookies served warm have always been a favorite around our house! These cookies taste great without the additional sprinkle of sugar on top, but they do have some additional eye appeal with those sparkling crystals on the surface. These are good any time, but, for the youngsters, they take on a whole new dimension when served alongside a cup of hot chocolate for dipping! The recipe is located here.

Spritz Cookies
Spritz CookiesLea has been making these cookies since before we had children. They are one of her favorite Christmas cookies. She often colors the dough with a few drops of green food coloring and sprinkles them with red colored sugar. The green Christmas trees really look nice on a tray of Christmas goodies. The recipe is located here.

Snicker Doodle Cookies
Snicker Doodle CookiesThe Snicker Doodle is a classic cookie, and is a very widely available old-fashioned recipe. But, you just can’t argue with delicious! So, although this may be a recipe that exists in every cookbook, old and new, and on every baking site, here is the version we have used for years. If nothing else, this is simply a reminder of how delicious cinnamon, sugar and butter can be when creamed together! This was one of our children’s favorites, and now the grandsons clamour for them. The recipe is located here.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
Chewy Oatmeal CookieChewy and moist, these cookies are the basis for so many potential variations it challenges the imagination. You could add chocolate chips, if you like, or your favorite dried fruit, chopped nuts. Or, use canned pumpkin, mashed banana or applesauce to moisten. Instead of vanilla extract, you can substitute with 3 tablespoons of dark rum. This cookie is so versatile, you can use it as the basis for a whole cookie section with endless varieties of variations. Find the basic recipe here.

We all have friends and acquaintances who are known for one or two dishes that are their specialty and theirs is the oft requested contribution for every pitch-in. Perhaps one of these recipes will become “your” dish! Have some fun, and give them a whirl!

Christmas morning is a time that you shouldn’t have to spend any more time in the kitchen than you want too. Here is a small collection of some of the dishes we would have at our house when our children, and then the grandchildren, would come to spend Christmas eve with us.

Walton House B&B Christmas Table SettingAfter the children were tucked into bed, adults set the breakfast table and prepared some casserole dishes that could be slipped into the refrigerator over night, and then into the oven in the morning. Buttered toast and hot chocolate were served first thing Christmas morning while we admired with anticipation all the presents under the tree. After opening our presents, the aromas coming from the kitchen foretold a delicious brunch featuring some of our favorite dishes.

Homemade Hot Chocolate with Buttered Toast
Hot Chocolate with Buttered Toast Sliced for DippingHomemade hot chocolate mix makes it really easy to make a warm, comforting, drink for everyone with very little fuss. Hot chocolate with buttered toast sliced for dipping was always a family favorite for early Christmas morning. We also kept a quart jar of the mix in the guest coffee area at our bed and breakfast so guests could enjoy a cup by one of the fireplaces any time they wanted. Get the recipe here.

Egg and Breakfast Sausage Casserole
Egg and Breakfast Sausage CasseroleWe made this a number of times on Christmas eve for our Christmas morning brunch. It’s always fun to get everyone in the kitchen mixing and preparing casseroles late Christmas eve after the children were in bed. Come morning, it is so nice to be able to pop everything in the oven, and then take a break from opening gifts and sit down to a great meal. We always had this with the Good Potato Casserole. Get the recipe here.

Egg and Sausage Casserole with Biscuit Mix
Egg & Cheese CasseroleThis is Larry’s recipe, which he developed during their Bed & Breakfast days. Using biscuit mix, rather than bread crumbs, it is loftier, and presents great eye appeal. It was always a hit with their B&B guests, and has the old familiar warmth of the Italian fragrance and flavors that really stimulated our appetites on Christmas morning. Get the recipe here.

Good Potatoes (Hash Brown Casserole)
Hashbrown Casserole with Chicken Soup and Corn FlakesTalk about wonderfully flavorful comfort food for those cold winter mornings! Using frozen hash brown potatoes, chicken soup, sour cream and cheese, topped with corn flake cereal, this dish is too simple for the wonderful aromas it creates. It can be prepared the night before, covered and refrigerated until morning! This is one of our favorites, and the entire family has delighted at this dish for many Christmas mornings. Get the recipe here.

Walton House Orange French Toast
pix-2008-walton-house-orange-french-toastLarry delighted a great many B&B guests with this delightful breakfast! It was the favorite of a lot of returning guests. We were amazed at how many people would remember exactly what they had eaten on a prior visit, and asked him to fix it again! The French toast in poached over medium low heat, and served upside down on a garnish of raspberry sauce, sprinkled with powered cinnamon-sugar, and topped with whipped cream. Get the recipe here.

Carrots, Potatoes and Onions
Fried Carrots, Potatoes & OnionsThis is a very simple, but comforting, dish that can be assembled very quickly, and with very little fuss, left on the stove top to cook over medium heat. The dish only needs to be turned over once when the bottom layer is cooked through and begins filling your home with delicious aromas. Originally this was fried in bacon grease for extra flavor, and has long been a long time family favorite. Get the recipe here.

Christmas Morning Coffee Cake (Monkey Bread)
Christmas Morning Coffee CakeOur family has enjoyed this Monkey Bread recipe several different times at Christmas; so much so that our granddaughters dubbed it Christmas Morning Coffee Cake. But, it would be a nice breakfast surprise any time! Simple to assemble and bake, it will become a favorite in your family, too. We’ve seen a lot of variations of this, but find that we keep coming back to this version. Caution….do not try to put more than the number of rolls called for in this recipe, as they may spillover while rising. Here’s our recipe.

It seems like we keep really busy late in the year attending events and activities that involve food. Whether it’s a company party or a family get together, a welcome addition to any gathering is an appetizer. The term “appetizer” usually refers to a small plate or single bite of food served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. The same food item might be served as an hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties and receptions, where no dinner is served afterward. There are many recipes freely available, and here are a few of our own.

Texican Street Corn Scoops
Texican Street Corn ScoopsThis is a delicious treat that accents the freshness of corn on the cob with butter, cheese and homemade Emeril’s Essence! Texican Street Corn Scoops are a terrific way to deliver wonderful flavors in a bite size finger food. We cook the ears of corn in the microwave for our Texican Street Corn to retain all the flavor and sweetness which other methods often cook out, and we show you how to create this flavorful bite size version that will bring them back for more. Get the recipe here.

Twice Baked Potato Skins
Twice Baked Potato Skins Treat the family to an oven baked potato recipe dish that has the ideal texture and taste. Load these twice backed potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and top with crumbled bacon. They boast the ultimate level of silky creaminess, cheesiness, and buttery goodness . . . then top it with bacon! The perfect recipe for your memorable Christmas meal! Many folks also enjoy smaller versions as finger food, whether served hot or cold. Get the recipe here.

Shrimp Boats
Shrimp In A BoatThe original recipe for this appetizer was a shrimp salad that dates back to the early 1970s when our next door neighbor, Karen Flessner, introduced this. She served the salad in a large bowl with a dipping spoon and snack crackers on the side so we could fix our own. This deliciousness can also be elevated to bite-size morsels served in tortilla cups, as we show here, or on crackers, croutons, or any other vessel that is available. Get the recipe here.

Curried Carrot and Pear Bites
Curried Carrot and Pear Bites with RaisinsAdapted from our Carrot and Pear Salad, this tasty morsel on a stick is a party of flavors in an attractive burst of colors. Combining a zesty marinade with the pallet-pleasing tastes of fresh pears and raisins is counterbalanced by the earthy tones of the carrot ribbons. This eye catcher is a favorite, and they are easy to assemble, so be sure to make plenty. Get the recipe here.

Fingerling Hasselback Potato Bites
Roasted cheddar potato fanThe Hasselback potato is clearly the most eye-catching spud to ever call itself a side dish. Elevate the baked potato into an eye-catching side dish or appetizer with these potatoes roasted in a hot oven to produce a crispy skin and creamy interior. Adding seasoning and cheese, these appetizers will leap off the serving tray. These are called “Hasselback” potatoes, which refers to the luxurious Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, which originated this technique. Get the recipe here.

Rye Bread with Dill Dip
Dill Dip in Rye Bread LoafLarry’s mother got this dill dip recipe from a St. Louis grocery store that made it fresh daily. We have served it many times over the years, and it eventually found its way into a hollowed out loaf of rye bread. Break the center of the loaf into pieces and place around the loaf. When the broken pieces are gone you break bread from the loaf itself. Enjoy! Get the recipe here.

Roasted Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno PopperStems sliced down the middle give these jalapeno poppers additional eye appeal. Poppers are fun to experiment with and we like making these a variety of ways. This recipe uses flavored thick cut bacon, and a little bread or cracker crumbs to add a tiny bit of texture to the filling, to complement the crunchiness of the exterior. Get the recipe here.

Easy to assemble appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are fun to make, and even more fun when they become the hit of the party. Try putting together one or more of these for your next get together, and let us know how it went. Have a favorite you’d like to tell us about? We always enjoy hearing from you!

With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, this is a good time to discover delicious recipes to help serve up the age-old cure to winter sniffles. We’re talking about soup. And, now with abundant winter vegetables that deliver or contribute to tasty soups, there are no excuses for winter doldrums. Squash is not only abundant in the fall, it is also cheap. Here are a few of our favorite soup recipes for chasing away those winter blues.

Chicken Lime Cilantro Soup
Chicken Lime Cilantro SoupThis is Lea’s version of a favorite chicken-lime-cilantro soup that she particularly enjoys at a Mexican restaurant we frequent. Combining lime and cilantro flavors with the hominy and chicken stock. It’s quick and easy to put together, and is an excellent dish to wisk you away from the everyday doldrums. Find the recipe here.

Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup, served hot or coldHere is an historic and flavorful recipe Lea acquired when we went to a hearthside dinner at Connor Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. You can just imagine yourself being in a simpler time when you sit down to bowl of this soup that can warm you up in winter, or cool you down in summer. It just doesn’t get any handier! The recipe is located here.

Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean Soup
Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean SoupThis is a perfect soup for those chilly days of fall and winter, with Hot Italian Sausage, Fire Roasted tomatoes, and fresh kale. This is a quick and easy recipe, but if you want to cook it longer to blend the flavors, leave the kale out until just before you are going to serve. The kale is best when it has just a little crunchy bite to it. The recipe is here.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato SoupLarry often made this soup for our church’s ill and shut-in members during our afternoon of cooking for weekly fellowship dinners and adult bible study. This soup looks quite tasty even when packaged in re-purposed plastic containers to be delivered to shut-ins’ homes. Celery, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, combine to make this perfect tonic for those chilly, gray sky, days. The recipe is located here.

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop SoupThis is an excellent recipe we developed for our youngest grandson, who really likes a good bowl of egg drop soup. Our version is heartier than you get in most restaurants. The recipe is real easy to scale for the number of servings you need. To make a single serving cut the above amounts in half. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Here’s the recipe.

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery SoupCelery is an excellent source of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, and vitamins, and can be used to help with weight loss. And, it also makes a delicious soup! This recipe turns up the heat on a cream of celery soup that is SO much more flavorful than the canned variety! This soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days, and is an excellent base for other soups, stews and casseroles. Get the recipe here.

Spoon Dumplings for Soup
Spoon Dumplings in StewTake any soup or stew to a whole other level by adding simple spoon dumplings just like great-grandma used to make. This recipe was handed down by Lea’s grandmother to her mother, and then to her, and has long been a family favorite. These dumplings are moist and silky, adding another layer of flavor and texture to elevate your dish. Get the recipe here.

To browse our collection of recipes, simply click on the category links at the top of the page. “Entree” means “main item,” (often meat), while Side means something to accompany the “main item,” such as a vegetable. If you’re fairly new to cooking you might enjoy browsing our page on spices. Wonder about what spice goes with what? Just click here for some helpful detail.

Comfort food is what we like to call it, and we all love it. Food that warms the soul and creates a warm and comfortable feeling to combat the cold weather doldrums. Here are some of our dishes that fill the bill and are great additions to the wintertime dinner table.

Roasted Pumpkin with Maple Chipotle Glaze
Roasted Pumpkin with Maple Chipotle GlazeHere’s a spin on traditional pumpkin dishes for the fall and winter seasons. Using a small 2-pound pie pumpkin that is first boiled and then roasted, the wedges are colorful and full of flavor. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce combined with maple syrup create an exciting mix of flavors, and the roast delivers the beautiful fall color. Get the recipe here.

Barbecued Pork Spareribs
Smoked BBQ Pork RibsIf you haven’t tried to barbecue pork ribs, here is a detailed set of instructions to take you through the steps of creating a flavor much like an outdoor campfire style Kansas City sauce. The BBQ is wonderfully delightful with an additional pepper-caramel note after the flambe step. The sauce exchanges flavors with the dry rub during the tented process, and creates a flavor that is better than either one by itself. Get the recipe here.

Polish Sausage with Peppers and Onions
Polish Sausage with Pepper and OnionsThis is one of those surprise recipes that are tossed together with whatever ingredients you have on hand, and it instantly became a hit, being spread throughout cooking sites with their own little variations of it. There are many similar recipes available on line now, but this is the original that Lea put together for an impromptu lunch one chilly day. Get it here.

BBQ Pulled Pork SandwichBBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

You have a number of options with this recipe; If you want to serve the large, stadium size buns (5″), you will need to increase your pork accordingly because you will be going from a 1/3 lb serving to 1/2 pound per sandwich. You lose about 1/3 of the weight when you slow cook pork, so you can adjust your recipe as needed. The recipe is located here.

Baked Pasta Beef Tacos
Baked Pasta Beef TacosThis is a hardy comfort food that uses jumbo pasta shells stuffed with a rich, spicy blend of cooked ground beef, cream cheese, and chili powder with taco sauce topped with cheeses and sour cream. The combination creates a Mexican flavor delivered in a pasta shell! Garnish with diced tomatoes, lettuce, sliced avocados, ripe olives, or verde sauce, if desired. This is a very versatile dish that you can customize to make your own. The recipe is located here.

What recipes do you use to spice up your wintertime tables? Do you have favorites that will be passed on to your families? Drop us a note and share your thoughts. Happy cooking!

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