Shirley McMurtrie

Pickled Eggs

This was one my dad's favorites. He liked it with a glass of beer. The bar he frequented always had a gallon jar on the counter behind the bar. I never made them for Dad. I didn't have the recipe. These are different than eggs brined in beet juice.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Button mushroom caps make excellent appetizers. Pull out the stem, giving you a nice cavity to fill with whatever you desire. The secret to working with fresh whole mushrooms when you plan to stuff them is to saute a few minutes to reduce the water content and tenderize them. There are a number of possible fillings. This is an easy one. It doesn't need to be baked. Can be served warmed or chilled.

Easters of Yesteryear

I watch a lot of television these days. With my knees bothering me so much, it is most comfortable to lie back in my recliner and watch mysteries on TV. I have noticed only two Easter-related commercials. One is the ever popular Cadbury Bunny tryouts and other is the Swiss chocolate commercial. Where are the Easter baskets? Where are the colored hard-boiled eggs?

The Masked Marvel

The Easter Bunny came this year.
I wondered if he would.
Gloved and masked,
Going about his task,
His traditional job, with fear.

With handshakes no more;
I waved and I cheered,
”You Sweet Springtime Honey
Mr. Cotton Tailed Bunny.
I'll see you again next year.”

Ham, Rice and Cabbage Casserole

Here we go again with another leftover ham casserole. Only this time I am pairing it with rice. Rice combines well with a lot of things, either savory or sweet. I think of Spanish Rice and Rice Pudding. This recipe is a bit different than most rice recipes. The uncooked rice is sauteed in butter until golden, rather than cooked before it is combined with the other ingredients. Don't worry, the rice won't get gummy. If you have never cooked rice this way before, you will be surprised how nicely it turns out.

The Avon Lady

My husband found a job on the other side of the county. The long drive was too expensive and time consuming to continue. We found a piece of land near where he worked. With money in short supply, we built our new home on the buy-and-build-as-you-go plan. We first lived in a borrowed house trailer, then in the bare studded house, as we worked on various projects. With no credit history, we didn't even try to secure a mortgage.

Strawberry Pudding

Everybody knows about banana pudding. It is a favorite go to when you want to make a good impression. Have you ever thought about using strawberries instead? You don't need fresh strawberries. Frozen ones are in this recipe. Keep some vanilla wafers on hand. Everything else you probably have in your pantry.

Monkey Bread

This recipe is so easy it seems a shame to even write it down. Refrigerator biscuits are what make it easy. Turned out in front of your family on a large plate will make you the star baker at your house. Have plenty of hot coffee ready to pour and this sugary breakfast treat will be a hit.

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.