Shirley McMurtrie

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.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

I love the mix of pumpkin pie spices. There is something about that combination that makes me think of autumn leaves and Thanksgiving. My mother made the best pumpkin pie. She only made it around Thanksgiving time. Why wait before leaves fall before filling the house with that comforting aroma. I make pumpkin pie whenever I want to do something nice for my daughter, Anne. It is her favorite pie. For myself, I prefer Pumpkin Pie Cake. There are several ways to make it. Here is one.

Sweet Potato Pie

Do you like pumpkin pie? Then you will like sweet potato pie. Sweet potatoes are a favorite of mine. Every October a farmer from the Carolinas brings a truck load of sweet potatoes to the parking lot in front of Janet's Hair Salon. I buy a big box of them, about 20 pounds. It takes me all year to eat them,. Thank goodness they store well at room temperature. Come August, there are a few green sprouts, but the sweet potatoes are still fine. This recipe is a good way to use up those from last year as you wait for the new crop.

Red and Green Casserole

I haven't met a vegetable I didn't like, from asparagus to zucchini and everyone in between. It is hard to choose a favorite. Of course, potatoes are a special category all by themselves.
For this recipe, let's look at the lowly green bean. It is easy to only consider 'em boiled with onions or combined with a cheese sauce. This recipe is a little different. Try it and see what you think.

The Lumber Yard

When my husband returned home from the Navy at the end of World War ll in 1945, jobs were easy to find. No experience was necessary for most of them. The first job this farm boy found was in a nearby factory machining automobile crankshafts for the Detroit car companies. He was still working there when I met him in 1947. With no experience as a machinist, he was soon looking for another job. Machinist training would have been an excellent use of his GI Bill, but that was not to be.

Caramel Apple Pie

This is as easy as a baked dessert can be. If you are looking for something different to take to a potluck, give it a try.

2 cans apple pie filling
18 1/2 ounce box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 cup butter, melted

Pour pie filling into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Drizzle with caramel topping. Sprinkle with dry cake mix. Pour melted butter over all. Don't stir. Bake at 350 F. for about 45 minutes.

Crock Pot Hotdogs

When you need more than one pound of hotdogs, this is a good way to fix them. Whether for a potluck or a picnic, they will be hot and ready when you need them. I prepared frankfurters, or hotdogs, this way when I was doing the Wednesday night suppers at church. They hold well if the meal is delayed or if you are driving to the lake. Leftovers can be reheated after cooling in the fridge. They should all be eaten by then.

Macaroni Salad

I had a call from a friend at church today asking if I had a good macaroni salad recipe. Yes, I do. Macaroni salad is something you see at every potluck.
In fact, I remember back in the '50s when macaroni salad first became popular, an incident that comes to mind whenever someone mentions this potluck staple. My husband and I went to our family reunion. Most every dish on the table was macaroni salad. Imagine that! I never took macaroni salad to a reunion again after that.
This is a good one, however. I have brought it up to date. It's not grandma's macaroni salad.

Elegant Cabbage and Ham

What do you do with leftover ham after a big dinner? I don't like to freeze the leftovers. They get sort of a freezer taste if not used within a week or two. Here is a recipe that looks elegant, that is, if leftover ham can look elegant. Anyway, it tastes good.

1 medium head cabbage, shredded
2 cups diced cooked leftover ham
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup buttered bread or saltine crumbs

White Grape and Pineapple Pie

Since the red grape pie was so good, I decided to try to make a “white” grape pie. Table grapes are available most of the year, so they are around to make a fruit pie when most fresh fruit isn't in season. I use our neighbors as guinea pigs for new recipes. They loved the red grape pie. The same with this pie. “Bring it on,” they said. They will try anything I make. They loved this pie, too.

Grandma Grammar

There are teachers and there are teachers. They come in all sizes and ages. I had one in Junior High School that I will never forget. To save her family embarrassment, I won't mention her name.

She was old, really old. Of course, that was the opinion of an eighth-grader. I don't remember ever seeing her smile. Her teaching style left a lot to be desired. I didn't help the situation either. School was always easy for me as anyone who knows me can attest. I am easily bored. That is a dangerous combination. I tried to stay under her radar.

Oven Fried Okra

Okra is easy to fix, that is if you choose the young tender pods. If you didn't know better, you might think the larger pods are the better choice. Boy oh boy, would you be wrong. Okra gets woody and tough as it matures. Only the young ones are tender. I learned this the hard way the first time I grew okra in my garden here in Tennessee. It only happened once. My mother never raised okra. I did, but at that time only used the dried stalks as part of a dried flower arrangement. I had no idea they were edible.


During the Great Depression, I remember growing up with the horrors of being quarantined. It seemed kids only caught the measles, whooping cough, mumps and such during the school year. Maybe the problem was the close contact we all had during the school day. If you or someone in your home had an infectious disease, the sign went on the door. There were no vaccines.