Marinated Mozzarella

I first sampled this treat at a party long ago. Mozzarella cheese doesn't have a whole lot of flavor unless you gussy it up. This recipe does. Add it to your hors d'oeurves tray for your next get-together. Even if you don't use sun-dried tomatoes very often, they will keep in your fridge for quite a while. They are great in pasta or potato salads.

Hashbrown Sausage Bake

In years past, buying refrigerated shredded potatoes would have been an unacceptable luxury for this cash-strapped housewife. I don't even think they were available back in the day. Heck, refrigerators were still in the “gosh, what a luxury” category. Frozen french fries were unheard of and who would consider buying individual baking potatoes? My, how times have changed. You might already have a favorite hashbrown recipe, but if you don't, here is mine.

Molded Lemon - Beet Salad

I like beets just about any way you can fix them. Fresh ones, topped and cooking in boiling salted water taste the best. Then peel them, slice them and top with butter and some of the warmed water they were cooked in. Everyone I know likes them fancied up. This is a fancied up recipe. Good, too. Please forgive me for using canned beets. Fresh ones aren't always available.

Rainy Day Onion and Potato Soup

Hearty soups have meat in them. What if it's the day before payday and none can be found in the freezer? What to do? You can make potato soup, if the potato bin isn't empty. It doesn't need to be raining to make this soup, but it helps, especially if it is a cold winter rain and, maybe, spitting snow. That is what you call a soup day. I have several recipes for rainy day soups. It might not sound like something your family would go for, but ask yourself:
1. Does my family like potatoes?
2. Do they like dumplings?
3. Is there any milk leftover from breakfast?

Mulled Grape Juice

Hot cider is an autumn treat. Have you ever thought of using grape juice instead of apple juice. It makes a warm drink. Great on a cold winter evening while sitting before the roaring fire in the fireplace. A can of frozen grape juice concentrate from the freezer or a can of grape juice from the pantry will get you started. There are more uses for grapes than just for wine. Try it.

Hot Wassail Punch

Serve this at any holiday get-together and expect to be asked for the recipe. It's easy to make and doesn't require any special serving dishes. Just use your coffee mugs.

2 quarts apple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 whole cloves
4 three inch cinnamon sticks

In large kettle, bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cloves and cinnamon. Serve warm. Makes 3 1/2 quarts.

Chicken Cheese Ball

There is a surprise in this cheese ball. Chicken flavor is hiding out in there. Don't tell your guests what is in it until after they have tasted in spread on Ritz, club or soda crackers. They will never guess that it hides ramen noodles, too.

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 package (3 ounces) chicken ramen noodles
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
Assorted crackers

Jalapeno Cheese Ball

I think a cheese ball makes a party spread very festive. You make them ahead and only have to bring on the chips and crackers to get things going. I like this one. It has a bite to it with the jalapeno pepper.

8 ounce pkg cream cheese,softened
8 ounce pkg sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup minced red onions
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Dressing Patties

If yesterday you had leftover turkey, then it must be after Thanksgiving. What about the leftover dressing that is working its way to the back of your fridge? All this recipe takes is a cup and half or so of leftover dressing. If there is still any gravy, that would make a great sauce for the patties. Of course, cream of chicken soup, thinned with a little milk and a shake or two of poultry seasoning mixed in would be nice.

1 1/2 cups leftover dressing
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Do It Yourself!

Evelyn Monroe Johnson

There is really something to be said for the instruction, “Do it yourself.” It’s the best way to learn, and it’s the best way to excel at whatever you do. This is the title of the cook book Evelyn Monroe Johnson wrote for her family–her children and grandchildren. Evelyn was employed many years at the Registration Office of The University of Tennessee; but, like many of the rest of us, learned that if you will cook, “they” will come. Eventually, I’m sure she got so many requests for recipes and how to do this or that it was just easier to sit down and write them a book.