Category Archives: Main Dish

Recipes: Minnesota May, Open Windows, Open Houses and Graduate Gifts…Wisdom and Chewy Chocolate Brownies.


Winter 2018 was a very long one.  First there were months of cold and then, just when a person would think spring was on the way…April blizzards.  One right after another.

This morning is beautiful! The grass is getting green, birds are singing, and there is a mama and papa wild duck couple waddling around just outside the fence of my backyard.  Color, joy and romance have returned to the great state of Minnesota. It is finally warm enough to throw off the winter blankets and throw open the windows.

Oh sure, there are still piles of snow here and there, and it will be sometime before any of the flowers that survived the April 2018 rabbit scourge bloom, but if one tries as hard to ignore the remaining snow drifts as one does those extra insulation pounds…it looks like spring, smells likes spring, feels like spring and sounds like spring.

The month of May in Minnesota sends gardeners to their knees, farmers to the fields, hikers to the woods, and friends and relatives to graduation open houses.

Most graduation party menus include more that just salads and sweets.  There is usually a meat entree, beans and a couple of fruit or vegetable appetizers.  To wash all the great food down or just stay hydrated on a hot afternoon–a tangy cold beverage or punch recipe is always greatly appreciated by party goers.

I hope that these kitchen-tested recipes for salads, meats, bars, cookies and beverages make hosting an open house for your loved one easy.

Salad Recipes

 Coleslaw with Lemon Dressing

– Stairway to Heaven and Luscious Lemon Jello Salad

– Four Roosters and Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

– Chicken Pasta Fruit Salad

Easy Sweet and Sour Cabbage Salad

An extra large bowl

1 green bell pepper finely chopped
3 packages of fresh coleslaw mix

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium-sized saucepan bring sugar, oil and vinegar to a boil.
Poor over the cabbage and chill over night.

This recipe comes from the home of my mother-in-law Lois Turgeon.

Italian Pasta Salad

A extra large bowl

1 box of tri-color Rotini pasta, cooked
3/4 cup of onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup of ripe olives, drained and sliced into thin circles
1/2 cup of pimento stuffed green olives, drained and sliced into thin circles
1-1/2 cups of red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 package of sliced pizza pepperoni, cut slices in half

Pour one 16 ounce bottle of Kraft Tucson House Italian Dressing over the salad ingredients. Gently toss together until evenly coated with dressing. Chill overnight.

Rhubarb Salad

This is rhubarb season in Minnesota and when I saw this recipe for a rhubarb salad in the Trinity Lutheran Church from my hometown of Grove City, MN,  I had to include it.  While this recipe gets rave reviews in the cookbook, I have never made it, so you are on your own.

2 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
One 3 ounce package wild strawberry jello
3/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
One 3 ounce package of softened cream cheese

Simmer rhubarb, sugar and water until rhubarb is tender and cooked.  This takes about 10 minutes. Stir in jello, cool.  Add celery, nuts and softened cream cheese. Pour into gelatin mold.

Chill until set, un-mold and serve.

Chinese Coleslaw

An extra large bowl

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 large head of cabbage shredded or chopped
8 green onions, finely chopped, include the green tops
6 Tablespoons RICE vinegar. (not use rice wine vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 packages of chicken-flavored Ramen noodle soup mix.

In a skillet, brown sesame seeds and sliver almonds in the two tablespoons of oil. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the chopped or shredded cabbage and 8 green onions. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, oil and pepper.  Stir in the flavor packets from the two Ramen noodle soup mix packages.

Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and gently toss together until the cabbage is evenly coated. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving break up the Ramen noodles and add to the salad with the toasted sesame seeds and almonds for

Bar and Cookie Recipes

– Grandmother Esther’s Fabulous Lemon Bars

– Apron Protocol and Pineapple Bars

– Stuck in the Mud Fudge Bars

– Grandma’s Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies.  (Roll the cookies in sprinkles that match your school colors)

Butter Cookies: A Century Old Recipe from a Century Old Farm ( Cut out the shape of your school mascot and frost cookies in your school colors.)

– Spring Calves and Buttery Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

–  New Tried and True Cookie Recipes: Chocolate and Caramel-Filled Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies, Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rollo Candy Double Chocolate Pretzel Bites

– Church Ladies Critique and Chewy Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies


Whether is is a pork,beef, lamb, chicken or turkey graduation meat entree’s are usually sauced, shredded and served on a bun.  The key to getting the meat tender enough to shred with a fork, is to cook it at a low temperature slowly over a long period of time. Barbecue grills, smokers, ovens and crock pots can all be used to slow cook meat.

Poultry needs to be cooked at a higher temperature than beef, pork or lamb.  I slow bake poultry at about 300 degrees until the juices run clear and the meat easily pulls away from the bone.

A three to four pound roast will make about eight large sandwiches or 16 mini-sandwiches or sliders. To prepare Beef, pork and lamb in your oven season the meat, cover it and at 250 degrees for about eight hours. The roast should be basted  frequently with your favorite sauce.

Barbecue sauce:

1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 thick slice of lemon
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke

In a large saucepan combine vinegar, water mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt, lemon, onion and butter.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Use as a baste or sauce for pork, beef, lamb, turkey or chicken.

Yield: 2 cups which is enough for 3-4 pounds of meat

Easiest and Best Barbecue Sauce Ever

2 jars of Heinz chili sauce
1 3/4 cups of concord grape jelly

In a medium-sized sauce pan combine the chili sauce and grape jelly.  Cook over medium heat until grape jelly is melted.

Sauce is great with meatballs, chicken wings, chicken, turkey, beef and pork.

Yield: about 4 cups and is enough for 6-7 pounds of meat.


Three-Bean Salad 

1 can, 16 ounce, green beans
1 can, 16 ounce, yellow wax beans
1 can, 19 ounce, kidney beans
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse beans. Combine beans in a large mixing bowl.  Add red bell pepper and onion.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together sugar, vinegar and oil.  Pour over beans.  Season with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients together until evenly coated. Chill overnight.

Yield:  8 servings

Three-Bean Bake

This recipe can be made in either the oven or a crock pot.

Preheat over to 300 degrees.  Grease 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking dish

1/2 pound of ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound of bacon, diced, fried and drained
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 cans (16 ounce, each) pork and beans
1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans
1 can (15 ounce) butter beans

In a large skillet, brown beef and onions. Drain off fat.  Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, salt, mustard, vinegar and fried bacon bits.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Next, add all of the beans.  Mix together well.

Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until bubbly.  If you are using a crock pot, cooking times will vary depending on if you use the low or high hear setting.

Yield:  8 servings

Crock Pot Vegan Baked Beans

2- 28 ounce cans of vegetarian baked beans
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Add all of the ingredients into a large crock pot. Mix together thoroughly.  Cook for at least an hour or until onion is tender   Keep warm in crock pot until ready to serve.


Dip for Fresh Strawberries

1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. With a electric hand-mixer beat until light and fluffy.

Serve with fresh strawberries for dipping

Yield: 1 1/4 cups.

Fruit Pizza
Make the glaze first as it has to be completely cool before you put it on the fruit. 

3/4 cup water
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened orange or pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a medium-sized saucepan, on medium heat,  while stirring constantly to prevent scorching, boil the glaze ingredients together until thick.  Cool and paint over fruit with a pastry brush.

2 sticks of butter or margarine
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium-sized bowl mix ingredients together with your clean hands.  Press dough evenly into to bottom of a pizza pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Crust should just start to brown. Cool completely.

One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix together with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust.

Artfully arrange sliced fruit and berries over cream cheese filling.  Fruit can include: strawberries, blue berries, raspberries, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, peaches etc…

Use a pastry brush to cover fruit with glaze. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into wedges or squares like you would a pizza.


One 12-ounce can of chickpeas
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, fresh
3 Tablespoons of water
Olive oil

In a food processor puree chickpeas. Add lemon juice, sesame oil, garlic and water. Pulse a couple of times to combine.

Transfer hummus to a small serving bowl.  Smooth out with knife, and add just enough olive oil to cover the surface. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Stir in oil just before serving.  Serve with pita bread triangles.

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetable Pizza

Two, 8-ounce packages of refrigerated crescent rolls. (16 count)
Two, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
6 cups of assorted fresh vegetables, finely chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

To make pizza crust, unroll crescent rolls, press seams together and pat into a 15-1/2 X 10-1/2 X 2 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees  for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Set aside.

The pizza filling is made by stirring together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and dry dressing mix in a small bowl. Spread filling evenly over the cooled crust.

On top of the filling sprinkle the finely chopped fresh vegetables. Vegetable options could include: broccoli, cauliflower, green, red, orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced green onion, black olives, green olives, celery or shredded carrots.  Try to pick vegetable of different colors to make pizza more colorful.

Top with the shredded cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve cut into squares.

Yield: 32 appetizers.


Rhubarb Punch

6 cups of rhubarb, chopped fine
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
one, 6-ounce can of frozen orange juice
one, 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade
2 quarts of lemon-lime soda

Put rhubarb and 3 cups of water together and boil until rhubarb is cooked.  Strain the mixture to get the juice.  Boil the juice again with the 2 cups of sugar. Cool.

To the cool rhubarb juice mixture, add orange juice and lemonade, 3 cups of cold water and lemon-lime soda.

Serve in punch bowl with ice.

Sherbet Punch

This recipe is easy, tastes great and you can change the color of the punch by just choosing different flavors of sherbet and sliced fruit or berries.

1/2 gallon of lemon or lime sherbet.
2 quarts of Sprite
Lemon and lime slices

Fill punch bowl 3/4 full of cold Sprite. With an ice cream scoop add 1/2 of sherbet.  It will float and become foamy on top. Stir gently 3-5  times.  Add fruit slices on top of the punch bowl. Serve

Yield: Serves 24. (enough for two bowls)

Methodist Champagne

Two, 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale
1 quart sparkling white grape juice
Two, 6-ounce cans of frozen lemonade concentrate

Chill  pineapple juice, ginger ale, and white sparkling grape juice.  Combine chilled juices and ginger ale with thawed but cold lemonade concentrate. Stir until combined and serve in punch bowl with ice rings.

Ice Ring:
Use a ring shaped jello mold and fill 2/3 full with water.  Add colorful fruit such as cherries, blue berries,raspberries, strawberries or citrus slices.  Freeze.  Unmold and add to punch when it is time to serve.

Easy Classic Red Punch

2 large cans of Hawaiian Fruit Punch
1 quart of ginger ale
1 quart of Sprite

Mix together and serve in a punch bowl with ice.

Classic Red Punch

4 packages of orange or cherry Kool-Aid
8 quarts of water, cold
Two, 46-ounce cans of Hawaiian Punch, chilled
Two. 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice, chilled
1 can, 6-ounce frozen lemonade

In a very large container mix together punch ingredients.  After well mixed  and right before you serve add 2 quarts of ginger ale.  Add ice and serve your large crowd.

Pineapple Raspberry Punch

5 cups of pineapple juice
1 quart of raspberry cranberry juice
1 pint of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Chill all of the ingredients.  Combine in a punch bowl with ice.

My gift to this year’s graduates is a little advice and this recipe for chewy, chocolaty, fudge brownies.  Successful adulting often requires less beer and more chocolate.

Chewy Cocoa Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease a 9 X 13 baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

1 cup butter, melted and cool
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the melted butter, oil and sugars.  Beat with electric hand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until the mixture is smooth and becomes a lighter shade of yellow. This takes just over a minute or so.

In a small bowl sift dry ingredients together: cocoa, flour and salt.  With a mixing spoon or rubber spatula foal dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture. Mix until JUST combined.  Over mixing will make your brownies more cake like and less chewy.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center of the brownies is set to the touch.  The middle will still be soft and if you check with a toothpick at this time it was come out covered in batter.  Remove brownies from the oven and cool.  Dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares and serve.

Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates! May your future be as bright and colorful as this morning’s sunrise! 

Blogger’s note:  Food poisoning is a very real hazard during any potluck or party, however the heat of summer greatly increased the likelihood that you or your guests could be come very ill.  To a cancer patient such as myself with a compromised immune system, food poisoning can be deadly.  Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  Take extra precautions when handling raw meat or poultry.  Always wash your hands, any surface you are working on or any utensils you use when working with raw meats.

Also, remember that some of your guests may have food allergies or are on medications that require them to avoid certain foods. Nuts, shellfish and for heart patients grapefruit juice come to mind.  Know what you are serving and accurately share all of the ingredients with guests who ask for that information.  A little bit can make a person very ill and in some extreme cases food allergies and drug interactions can be deadly.

Then, too, if you are serving alcohol at your event, do not and do not let your guests drink and drive.


Recipes: Emergency Easter Brunch Recipes: Overnight Mexican Egg Bake, Homemade Hash Browns, Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Hole Muffins and One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls


First of all Happy Easter!  Blessed Passover!

Here are some last minute recipes for those looking for Easter brunch recipes.

Overnight Mexican Egg Bake

12 eggs
½ cup half-and-half or whole milk
1 (11-ounce) can Green Giant Mexicorn (or 1 cup of a frozen corn/pepper mix, this mix includes whole kernel corn, red and green peppers)
10 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas, cut into quarters
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese (or a combination of both)
2 cups mild salsa
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 cup guacamole

Generously grease a 9 X 13-inch (3-quart) baking dish. In large bowl, combine eggs and half-and-half; beat slightly.  Stir in corn. Place tortillas in bottom  of greased dish.  Pour egg mixture over tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover casserole with foil.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until eggs are just set.  Let stand covered 5 minutes.  Uncover; spoon salsa over eggs.  Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Serves 12.

Homemade Crispy-Fluffy Hash Browns 

I have perfected how to make crisp fluffy hash browns from real potatoes.  The secret is rinsing all the starch off of the grated potatoes with very cold water.  This usually takes about four rinses. Drain after each rinse.  When the water in the bowl remains clear, drain again. Then dry them thoroughly with a cheese cloth towel or paper towels.  Fry in hot oil with two tablespoons of butter on medium high heat covered for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Uncover, turn and fry other side until browned.  Do not put the cover on again.  Having them covered at first, steams the potatoes so that they cook through while remaining fluffy in the middle. Putting it back on will soften your crust.  Nobody want that.

My greatest culinary discovery so far this winter is a baked cake donut.  My husband loves donuts.  I hate deep frying.  So, I have been trying to find a baked recipe for cake donuts that would meet my husband’s high standards. It has taken me awhile, but this recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donut Muffins meets and beats all expectations.

I will warn you that they are easy to make, delicious, addicting and definitely a waistline expansion threat.  However, they freeze perfectly and when reheated in the microwave taste like they are fresh out of the oven or from a bakery.

The recipe only yields about nine regularly-sized muffins.  So, if you have a large family, tall husband or are taking them to share at the office, I would recommend making more than one batch.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Hole Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Thoroughly, grease muffin tins with soft butter.  Do not use paper muffin cups. 

In a large bowl combine:

1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

With a mixing spoon, stir the dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir until just combined. Do not over beat.

Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full and bake for 20 minutes.  The muffins will be very slightly browned.  Do not over bake.  A toothpick inserted in middle of the muffin will come out clean when they are done.

Remove from oven.  Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

In a small bowl.  Melt five tablespoons of butter.  Lightly coat muffins with the butter.  I just roll them in the bowl.

Place butter coated muffins, three at a time, into a gallon-sized zip lock plastic bag that contains:  1/3 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Seal bag and shake until muffins are coated with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Remove and repeat with remaining muffins.  Serve immediately.

One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls

I confess that I did not try this recipe, but a neighbor of mine tested it and said it was outrageously good.

Cinnamon Rolls
3-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
6 Tablespoons yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
3 large eggs
10-1/2 to 11 cups of all-purpose flour

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
2/3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup butter

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-6 cups of powdered sugar
3-4 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease the sides and bottoms of two 9 X 13 cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl combine water, sugar, oil and yeast.
Stir it a few times, then let it sit for a full 15 minutes

Add the salt and eggs and first eight cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Combine with an electric mixer.  Gradually add the rest of the flour.

When all of the flour is added, continue to mix with an electric mixer for another 10 minutes.  Dough may climb up the mixer, push it down if you need to.

Then, let dough rest for 10 minutes.  Dough should double in size. It will take longer if your kitchen is cold.

Divide dough in half.

Pour a small amount of oil on a clean counter top, do not use flour. With your hands gently press half of the dough into a large rectangle.

Melt the 1 cup of butter in the microwave.  Pour half onto the rectangle-shaped dough.

In a separate small bowl mix together white and brown sugars and cinnamon.  Sprinkle half over the melted butter that you have evenly spread on top of the rectangle shaped dough.

Beginning with a long side.  Roll the dough into a log.  Cut into 12 evenly-sized slices to make 12 rolls.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

Place in the well-greased 9 X 13 and let rolls rise.  Let them rise as long or as short as you have time.  The longer they raise the bigger they will be.  Do not let them raise over double or they will collapse. The original recipe noted that many times these rolls were baked after raising only five minutes.  

Bake for 12-15 minutes until nicely browned.  Remove from oven and let rolls sit for several minutes before frosting.

While the rolls bake, in a small bowl make cream cheese frosting.

Makes 24 rolls.

Again, Happy Easter and Blessed Passover!




Recipe: Kwanzaa and African Peanut Soup

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter


It is important in a diverse society to celebrate our differences and learn about our friends and neighbor’s traditions. The holiday season is a great time of year to expand our cultural horizons.  Learning about each other humanizes us and draws us together.  Humanity’s goal should be to see each other as individuals whose lives are precious and who were created and endowed with civil rights by a just and loving God.

Happy Kwanzza!


Kwanzaa is a celebration of culture, family and community that began over forty years ago. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga to improve the lives of African Americans by reviving and instilling an appreciation for original African values.

This cultural tradition takes place over seven days, beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1. The seven symbols of the holiday are the mat (tradition), crops (harvest), candleholder (African ancestors), corn (children and the…

View original post 263 more words

Recipes: Lutfisk Versus Sauerkraut ….Burritos, Pudding and Hotdish

What the rest of country and world calls a casserole, Minnesotans call hotdish.  Each of us has our favorites.

goulash hotdish

There is goulash, which isn’t actually a real goulash, but a tomato, macaroni and hamburger mixture. Tator tot hotdish is always a favorite and a sneaky way to get green beans into a family’s diet.  Then there is a whole family of hotdish that can be made with chicken or ground beef, whose common denominator is rice. It was these rice entrees that for generations introduced Swedish farm kids to Asian cuisine. If a hot dish has soy sauce in it….it’s oriental.

You knew you were in for a real treat when the potato-based dishes appeared.  Scalloped potatoes are outstanding especially when the protein source is ham, which is a close second on the tasty meat list to bacon itself.

Not all hotdish required a recipe. After Thanksgiving and Easter leftovers would be stirred together until they formed a thick brownish-toned paste.  The paste was then dumped into a baking dish, sprinkled with some type of cheese and cooked until a hard brown crust formed on the top.  These were called “Holiday Specials.”

Christmas was a problematic holiday for hotdish. In a Swedish home, what does one do with leftover….lutfisk?


Here are a couple of solutions to this problem and I would like to suggest.

My first suggestion is to make a lutfisk burrito.

lutfisk burrito

To do this you need one full sheet of lefse, left over baked lutfisk, mashed potatoes and butter.  Put the lefse sheet on a large plate.  Spread warm mashed potatoes evenly over the lefse. Top with a layer of warmed-up leftover baked lutfisk. Drizzle lightly with melted butter.  Roll up like a burrito and serve.

I would not put one of these into a kids school lunch box without warning them first though.

If you are not into lutfisk burritos, there IS lutfisk hotdish. Well, its more of a pudding really.


Lutfisk Hotdish
3 pounds of lutfisk
3/4 cup cooked rice
1/4 pound butter, melted
5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups cream
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of salted almonds

First, separate the eggs.  In a small bowl beat the egg yolks until combined. In a medium-sized bowl, with an electric hand-mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Set aside.

Cook the lutfisk.  When it is done, separate into flakes and place in the bottom of a large bowl.  Add the cooked rice, melted butter, cream and beaten egg yolks.  Stir until just combined.  Next gently fold in the egg whites.  Spread mixture into the bottom of a buttered casserole. Garnish with the almonds and bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour and thirty minutes.  This does puff up so do not fill the casserole too full.

reuben hotdishjpeg

Now, I know that I cannot be the only person who is not a fan of lutfisk. So for those members of society who feel the need to seek medical attention just from the smell of lutfisk, I will share a great recipe for Reuben Sandwich Hotdish.

My husband loves this recipe and it is quick and easy to make.

Reuben Sandwich Hotdish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish

2-8 ounce tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 pound of sliced Swiss Cheese
1-1/2 pounds of sliced deli corned beef
1-14 ounce can of sauerkraut, rinsed and well-drained.
2/3 cup Thousand Island dressing
1 egg  white, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

In a small bowl combine sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.  Set aside.

Unroll one tube of the crescent dough.  Seal seams together to make one big rectangle.  Press into the bottom of the 9 X 13 baking dish and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven.  On top of the hot crust place one half of the Swiss cheese and all of the corned beef.  Spread the sauerkraut and dressing mixture over the corned beef.  Top with remaining cheese.

On a lightly floured counter top, roll or press the dough from the second tube of crescent rolls into a 9 X 13 rectangle.  Place over the cheese.  Brush the top crust with the egg whites, then evenly sprinkle on the caraway seeds.

Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Let stand for five minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Yields: six servings.





What is On My Mind Today? What to serve for the next big……NASCAR Race!


Here are some stand-up recipes for race day.

Best Lasagna  Recipe Ever

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Prepare a one pound box of lasagna pasta according to package directions.  Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water and set aside.

Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
2 pounds ground beef
½ cup tomato paste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine
4 cups diced canned tomatoes

Cheese Mixture:
15 ounces ricotta
½ cup basil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 egg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated

Into a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter.  Into the melted butter and oil add carrot, onion, celery and garlic.  Cook until golden brown.  Must be stirred occasionally.

Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the caramelized vegetables. Stir to combine. With a wooden spoon, break up meat into small pieces and continue to cook until meat has browned.

When the sauce is a deep brown and beginning to stick slightly to the bottom of the skillet, add the red wine.  With the wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen all of the brown bits.

Bring wine to a simmer, then add the diced canned tomatoes.  Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine ricotta, basil, Parmesan, Parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with the meat sauce.  Top with a layer of pasta.  On top of the pasta spread a layer of the cheese mixture.  Repeat.  Meat sauce, pasta, cheese mixture.  Cover with remaining meat sauce.  Garnish with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, to brown the cheese on top.

Cut into serving-size rectangles and enjoy!

Serves 12.


beer bread

What goes with lasagna and Nascar?  Warm beer bread.

Beer Batter Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan with butter and dust bottom of pan with corn meal.

In a large mixing bowl combine:
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

Once dry ingredients have been mixed together add:
1 (12 ounce) can beer.  Bland is best.

Stir just until all of the ingredients are combined.  Do not over beat.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and drizzle two tablespoons of melted butter over loaf.

This bread slices best when cool, but tastes wonderful warm.



Somethings in life really are black and white.  Oreo Cookies are a wonderful example of this phenomena.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350º and line a 9-x-13″ pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment with cooking spray.

1 box fudgy brownie mix, plus ingredients
15 whole Oreo cookies

Make brownies according to package directions.  Spread batter evenly in pan and top with the Oreo cookies.  Set aside.

Cheesecake filling: 
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
15 Oreo cookies, crushed

In a large bowl, beat together until fluffy sugar and cream cheese.  Add eggs, vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in crushed Oreo cookies. Pour cheesecake mixture over the brownie-Oreo cookie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  When done the edges should be set and the center of cheesecake will be slightly jiggly.

Let cheesecake cool completely in pan.

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Drizzle with melted chocolate and white chocolate and serve.


I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes.

Now, my husband and I are off to the races…..just saying.







Recipes: First Day of School, Rotten Apples, Cabbage Rolls and Refrigerator Pickles


The first day of school is always exciting, even if the only thing you are looking forward to is getting back with your friends and recess. Yesterday was the first day of the new school year for many of Minnesota’s youngsters.  I really enjoyed checking out all of the Facebook posts of happy, and some not so happy faces, setting off to tackle another year of education dressed in new duds, and toting backpacks that in some cases looked almost as big as the child.

I will never forget one of my preschool students, a very petite three-year-old girl who marched into each class session with a look of determination and a backpack that absolutely dwarfed her. I never knew what she kept in that backpack, but she always had room left inside to cram her papers in to bring home.  Honestly, when that child unzipped that enormous backpack and begin pushing her crunched up papers in, over half of little girl disappeared.  I felt obliged to stand ready to fish her out of that thing, should it gobble her up completely.

As far as I am concerned when school begins, summer ends.  Yes, autumn is here!  It is now time to clean out the house and garden, and begin cooking and baking at will. For the most part, the hot humid days of summer are over. Windows can again be flung wide open, unless you are allergic to rag weed then you have to wait until after the first frost for any window flinging. And, turning the oven on to bake is no longer torture. It takes the chill off of your home and produces wonderful aromas that dance throughout the house.

I was going to try a recipe for rum cake today, but as a teenager I promised my grandmother that I would not be a drinker of alcohol and a promise made, is a promise kept.  Therefore, the only distilled or fermented beverages in my home are used for cooking, and as luck would have it, I am out of rum.  I do have rum extract, but making a rum cake using that stuff, would be an insult to cakes everywhere.  Due to a lack of planning on my part, and my refusal to buy alcohol on a Sunday, there will have to be a rain check on the rum cake.  Disappointing I know, but we must soldier on all the same.

I do have two new recipes that will help use up some of those end of the growing season vegetables.

The first recipe is delicious and a boon for time management…Crockpot Cabbage Rolls. These cabbage rolls are prepared with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.


Crockpot Cabbage Rolls

12 leaves of cabbage
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced onion
1 pound of extra lean ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Put the cabbage leaves into the boiling water for about two minutes. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, egg, milk, onion, ground beef, salt and pepper. Place about 1/4 of a cup of the meat mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Tuck ends of leaf in and roll up, just like a burrito or egg roll.  Place rolls in the crockpot.

In a small bowl, mix together tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over cabbage rolls.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.


apple rotten

This second recipe is a bit of pure tasty nostalgia.

Fall on the farm meant cricket serenades, swimming in huge piles of harvested corn and beans, apple wars with siblings, cousins and neighbor kids and pickles.

Apple fights were as much of fall tradition as a good snowball fight is in the winter. Throwing rotten and/or wormy apples at a worthy or whiny opponent was not done out of spite or to advance yuckiness.  It was not to create additional suffering for your target or laundry for your mother.  Nor was it to increase your thrill or justify the level punishment that would be meted out should you be caught. It was not to enjoy the sound of a good splat.  Not at all.  Rotten apple throwing was a matter of religious observance.

We were all Lutherans and wasting food in any form was highly frowned upon by those in authority and who were observant. Therefore, good tree apples had been long ago banned for use as weapons or ammunition in broad daylight. While good apples delivered a much smarter sting, sadly, we had to be content to use their softer rotten treemates to teach the unsuspecting how to, “take it like a man.”

With all of the flinging, fight, fun and frolic of fall, it is important to remember that it is also the time of year for pickles. I have always loved eating pickles.  My Great Uncle Ed would often hand me a very tart dill pickle and dare me to try it while loudly declaring, “That will grow hair on your chest!”  Eventually, it became clear to me that I needed to cut back on of my dill pickle consumption and focus on sweet pickles, as I began to have nightmares about displaying a hairy bosom in a prom dress.

This recipe for sweet pickles tastes just like the bread and butter pickles canned and shared at every family get-together by my grandmother and great aunts.  However, these are much easier to make and keep well for about two months in the refrigerator.  I hope you make and enjoy…..Sweet Spicy Refrigerator Pickles.


Sweet Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

6 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups of sugar
1-1/2 cups of cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, scant

Place sliced cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium-sized sauce pan combine and whisk together:  sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and cloves. Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until sugar has dissolved.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions.  As the mixture cools, press cucumbers under the vinegar mixture.  Cool.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before you serve.

Another pickle recipe on this blog:  Watermelon Pickles the Happy Pickle




Salad, Bar and Cookie Recipes for Graduation Celebrations

This variety of salad recipes could come in handy during this season of graduate party celebrations.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

When I was the Recipe Editor for ECM Publisher’s Forest Lake Times, North Branch Post Review and St. Croix Valley Peach community papers, I always wrote a two-page graduation special edition …

Source: Salad, Bar and Cookie Recipes for Graduation Celebrations

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