Shirley McMurtrie

Glazed Salmon

When I see a reasonable price on fresh salmon fillets, I snap them up. Fresh salmon enjoys companionship with several fruits. Pineapple is a favorite of mine. You can find pineapple juice in small 6 ounce cans on the grocery shelf. Try this recipe. You might use it when you have a special guest. It is fancy and good.

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 salmon fillets, 6 ounces each

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.

ST. Patrick's Day Long Ago

My father kept postcards from his childhood. I found them after he passed away. I never knew they existed until then. He was born in 1899 in Sandstone
Township of Jackson County, Michigan It was a different time. Dad would have been horrified to see how this old world is turning nowadays. It was a gentler time. Boys on the farm didn't have the distractions that abound now.

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.

Chicken Pot Pie

Here is an easy version of chicken pot pie. The hard work of cooking the chicken, preparing the veggies and making the sauce and biscuits is all done for you. It does take a while to bake, but you can be doing other things while it does. Nothing beats finding an easy entree for supper.

Chicken Thighs and Gravy

My favorite part of the chicken or turkey is the dark meat. Most people prefer the breast. I find more flavor in the drumstick and thigh. There are more than a few ingredients in this recipe, but it's worth the effort. The leg sections seem to dry out during roasting. That won't happen here. The thighs cook in a nice gravy and are a delight to eat. I like gravy on my mashed potatoes, too.

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.

Cabbage Casserole, Etc.


Well, March is almost here. (Wishful thinking) I have been trying to recollect what we ate in the wintertime back in the day. No grapes from Peru or avocados from Mexico. All food was local. Fresh produce was expensive and limited in selection. No matter. We couldn't afford it anyway. We ate what we had on the farm. I don't know how the folks in town got on that didn't have a garden.

Fireside Chats

Born in 1928, my early years were through the Great Depression. Those were truly hard times. No food stamps, Medicaid or Medicare, and minimal welfare. My dad was too proud to accept welfare as were many men of that era. We got by, just barely. We thought everyone else was suffering like we were. That perception made it easier to take.

Choc-peanut butter bars

A sister in the Lord shared this recipe with me. I had given her my Red Grape Pie recipe. She showed up at church last Sunday with this recipe in hand. I am a believer in sharing recipes. There are those who say ”Oh, I couldn't give you the recipe for that. It's all in my head. I just throw it together.” Some just flat out refuse to share a recipe. However, no two cooks making the same recipe end up with quite the same tasting dish, don't cha know. If I have a special way of making something, I share it. I am too old to keep secrets.

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