Shirley McMurtrie

Spicy Ricey Oatmeal Cookies

I like cookies with walnuts or pecans. Peanuts, not so much. But most everybody likes Rice Krispies. I thought, “Why not substitute Rice Krispies for nuts in a recipe.” When making my Christmas cookies one year, I came up with this recipe. There is another surprise tucked in that cookie, too. Cayenne pepper. It gives a little zing to the cinnamon spice. You will wonder why the cinnamon tastes so good: cayenne pepper. When you try this recipe, I hope it will become a favorite. Don't tell anyone about the cayenne. Let's keep it our secret.

Cheesy Beef Dip

We all know and love the cheese dip made with Velveeta cheese. There are only three ingredients in that dip. This recipe is longer, but you are more apt to have all the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. Be sure to add the cinnamon. That spice goes especially well with chili powder, Three cups is a lot of dip, but it will go fast.

Turkey Biscuit Stew

Most of us have a can of biscuits lounging in our refrigerators. You have the turkey leftovers in there, too. This turkey stew will be a good use for them. I don't keep whole baby carrots on hand, but it's not much work to peel a carrot, dice and cook a few minutes in the microwave before adding to the casserole. It's an easy dish to make. I hope you try it.

Salmon Rice Loaf

I first made this salmon loaf about 14 years ago. This was an especially difficult time for me. My husband had passed several months before. I had run up a credit card bill helping my oldest son build a house. Money was tight. This recipe fit my budget. Try it. It's good, if you like salmon, that is.

Corn and Dressing Balls

You don't need to make this at holiday time. Of course, it would be good then. To me, a dish made with cream style corn is a treat anytime. If you have a cup or less of cooked chicken or turkey, this would be a good place to hide it. Just dice it up and sneak it in when you add the cream style corn.

Baked Onions

Yes, I like onions. I remember from my childhood during the Great Depression that Mother flavored our monotonous menu with onions whenever possible. She only had that old 1936 Detroit Times cookbook for guidance. I don't know what she did before that. Introduce this recipe to your family. They will learn that onions can be used for more than just flavor. Onions can play a starring roll. It is simple but delicious.

Corny Ham Chowder

This really is a Spam chowder. I didn't call it by it's true name because I figured you wouldn't look at it if I had the word "Spam" in the title. It is easy to fix and a bit different from your typical ham chowder - no potatoes.

1 tablespoon margarine
2 cups cubed ham or a can of Spam, cubed
1 cup sliced celery
16 ounce can cream style corn
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

Taco Dogs

Here is a hot dog recipe, South of the Border Style. Let's say you don't have any fresh buns on hand, but you do have some flour tortillas in the fridge. Make Taco Dogs. This is a great recipe for anytime. It is best to make these in the kitchen, not on a picnic. You need to prepare the fixings near your appliances. Since you will be preparing the Taco Dogs individually, you need to be near a heat source.

Grasshopper Pie

I remember when this pie first started appearing at potlucks. Those who made it tried to suggest that it was hard to do. Not just anyone could make it, they said. Not so. It takes a bit of fussing but nothing even a novice cook couldn't do. Try it. Cooks today will still think you are something special when you set this on the dessert table. Let them fuss over you.

Easy Batter Rolls

I am always looking for an easier yeast roll recipe. I found one. It only makes a dozen. Just enough, even if we are having company. We didn't have homemade rolls during the Great Depression. Mother yearned for a good homemade yeast bread. Her only cookbook was that old 1936 Detroit Times Cook Book put together by subscribers. Some of those recipes were downright awful. Either a mistake was made in transcribing them or they weren't any good in the first place. It's a shame what some people will call good. They say you can get used to almost anything.

If You've Got the Money . . ."

“You've got to get out more if looking through the phone book is fun.” That's what my daughter, Anne, said to me a while ago. You know, she might be right.

Well, maybe not. I was looking through the menus from restaurants in an old phone book. The selections were a bit different than what is offered now. I looked in vain for my favorite, “Liver and Onions.”

Scalloped Onions

When I have too many onions on hand, I will make this casserole. Do your eyes water when slicing onions? I chew on pieces of bread. That seems to work. Onions are another veggie I like just about any way you fix them. This is a good one.