Shirley McMurtrie

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

Cheesy Turkey Cakes

We don't usually make fried turkey cakes. Why not? They are easy to do. You have the cooked turkey. This recipe called for instant potato flakes. If you have leftover mashed potatoes, use 2 cups of them instead. Just omit the water in the recipe.

Spritz Cookies

My daughter Anne's favorite cookie is chocolate chip. There is no doubt about that. But Spritz Cookies run a close second. She seems to crave them around Christmas time. Every year I make a variety of candies to give as gifts during the holidays, but I must bake a batch of Sprtiz just for Anne. It is not Christmas unless she has her special cookies.

Mock Egg Nog

I have a problem with egg yolks and avoid them as much as possible. This eggnog is a good substitute for regular eggnog that is loaded with eggs. The flavor is a bit different, too. It is a sweet refreshing drink. Try it, please.


This recipe has been around for a long time. I remember back in the day when everyone had a favorite recipe for Snickerdoodles. It is an old timey stand-by cookie. I give cookies at Christmas time. This year I included Snickerdoodles. This is my favorite version. You are supposed to chill the dough for 1 hour before baking. I prefer to chill it overnight. Keep the balls of dough small, 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. You might think that 2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon is too much. It's not. You will use it all.

Turkey-Noodle Casserole

You know, some of these turkey leftover recipes can be prepared and frozen for later this winter. It will be a treat then, not just a way to use up leftovers.

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken pieces
8 ounces egg noodles, cooked, drained
8 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 can french-fried onion rings

Turkey Fruit Salad

No, this is not a variation on chicken salad. This turkey treat is special. I bet you never thought of making a fruit salad with your leftovers? Here it is.

4 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans would do)
1 cup chopped red apples, peel and all
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Combine all fruit in large bowl. Carefully add turkey. Finally, moisten with mayonnaise. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Turkey and noodles

This recipe is so simple. We know you have turkey leftover from the big day. Make it when some time has passed and the leftovers are lounging in your freezer. Of course, you could make it with the leftover pieces of rotisserie chicken you picked up at Food City. It is good either way. I first made this recipe the Thanksgiving I discovered Brined Turkey Breast. It is a staple in my menu box.

My unhappy poinsetta

How can a poinsettia be unhappy, you say? Let me tell you this sorry tale. It began Easter 2018 when I donated two Easter lilies for the altar at church. They were returned to me after the holiday. That is the usual procedure.
I sat the lilies, still with blooms, on a bookcase below a southern exposure window in my office at the back of my house. I watered them from time to time during that summer. By fall, the leaves had fallen and the stalk was dead. I stopped watering them, but they remained at the window. I cut off their stalks.

Thanksgiving at Our House

Thanksgiving is here;
The big day has arrived.
We're all here together.
Dinner's at five.

Aunt Tilly is mad;
Uncle Matt's in the sauce.
Matilda is sad.
We're all feeling cross.

Let's sit down and eat;
Bow heads and pray.
We're all here together,
Friends for the day.


Shirley McMurtrie

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

My Sweater

I was eight years old in 1936 when this school picture was taken. We moved around so much in those days that I was only at two schools at picture taking time, the first grade and this one when I was in the fourth grade. I started school when I was four so I was always younger than the other kids in my class. Let's look at the picture.

Honey Brined Turkey Breast

Does everyone in your family prefer white meat? A turkey breast is a better buy than having all the bony parts of a whole bird that only winds up being leftovers that no one wants. I found this recipe about 10 years ago. If you haven't tried to make a brined turkey breast as of yet, this is a good one to test your turkey skills. There are so many recipes for "Turkey Day". Don't think this is just another one to ignore. It does take overnight space in the fridge that could be used for jello or such.