Friday, December 16, 2011

Exploring cooking roots -- My mom's nobake cookie recipe and me

Hey yall!  So just how are you all doing?  This is the beginning of a new series of articles in my blog, exploring the cooking roots of people.  I mean, hey, exploring our roots has been with us since 1977, when the miniseries based on Alex Haley’s book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”, premiered on the ABC television network of stations.   

But your family tree roots and your cooking roots are two different things.  Your family tree roots involve who you are related to, starts with your parents, and works back from there.  However, your cooking roots involve who or what influenced your food tastes and cooking skills throughout your life.  One deals with people you are related to, while the other covers a wide range of people and places and things.

My family tree roots are something I grew up with, listening to different family members talk about.  For example, I had 3 ancestors who fought in the Civil War; and I had one ancestor that I know of who fought in the American Revolutionary War.  My roots on my father’s side trace back to England, and France I believe.  While on my mother’s side, because of her last name, I suspect that my roots may trace back to maybe German descent.  Now this is where my family roots and my cooking roots mix.  Because another thing that causes me to suspect that my family tree on my mother’s side has roots in Germany was her New Years Day tradition of making sauerkraut and sausage and black-eyed peas. 

Now that tells you something about my family tree roots.  But let’s get on to my cooking roots.  The bulk of my cooking roots begin with my mother’s kitchen, and enjoying the food she made; and also helping her prepare food for special occasions.  Another part of my cooking roots is the fact that as a kid, the only bean I would eat were green beans; and now I love all beans.  As a kid, I would pick the beans out of the chili my mom would make.  So a lot of the time she would make chili with rice instead of beans because I didn’t like beans.  Yet another part of my cooking roots involves the fact that I am from a small town in Kentucky.  So we could say that your cooking roots comprise of the cooks you were around, your personal food likes and dislikes, and the area you lived in.

Most of my cooking training came from my mom.  She was a really great cook who had a repertoire of dishes that she had no written recipe for.  These were what I call her ‘everyday food’.  They included dishes such as spaghetti, chili, soup, roast, vegetable dishes, and more.  I look forward, in future posts, to sharing my versions of these with all of you.  Another part of my cooking training came from the home economics classes I had in school.  Personally I think home economics classes are something that every guy and gal should take in high school.  I treasure mine, because they taught me more than I realized at the time. 

My time spent cooking with my mom mainly falls into two different cooking times:  getting ready for holidays and my time at home after high school.  You see, on pretty much all the holidays, either family was gathered at our house to eat or at a family member’s house to eat.  That was just how we celebrated the holidays, with getting together to eat and visit.  No matter whether it was at home or someone else’s house, my mom always cooked.  And when I got old enough, I started helping her with the holiday cooking. 

I always say that when I really learned how to cook was after high school.  When I graduated, I had plans to go to college, but couldn’t decide on what I wanted to take.  So after high school, I took a couple of years off, and spent them at home with mom and dad.  Now my dad worked second shift, and so the main meal of the day that my mom cooked was at noon.  With me there at home around the house, my mom put me to cooking the noon day meal.  This freed her up to do other things.  When I first started, she would have planned out what she wanted fixed and all the stuff for it.  She would tell me how to fix it, and she was always there around house to ask if I had any questions.  By the time I headed off to business college, I was planning the meals myself, and didn’t have to ask too many questions. 

Another thing that influenced my cooking roots was my karate classes that I took in my mid-twenties.  Now you are probably sitting there wondering how karate classes connect up with cooking.  As a result of the classes, I took an interest in oriental cooking; and explored it by way of checking out several books on oriental cooking from our local library.  One Christmas, mom and dad got me an electric wok, which I still have.  My dad just loved my stir-frys I made in it.  And my mom and I even tried our hand at making egg rolls one time.  They turned out pretty good as I remember. 

So all this brings us down to the recipes.  My mom enjoyed collecting recipes, as do I.  She kept her recipes in a kitchen drawer for a great many years, until I got a Macintosh Plus computer in the early 1980s.  Now her recipe collection consisted of bits and pieces of paper from newspapers and magazines, and some of the recipes were hand-written on pieces of paper by friends and family.  So after I got my computer, we came up with the idea to go thru the recipes, and I would type them all up and print them out.  So we sorted thru all of them together, and got rid of the ones which we couldn’t figure out why we had kept.  Then I sorted them all into categories and typed them all up, and printed out 2 copies of the recipes - one for me and one for my mom.  I still have mine, and I think one of my family now has my mom’s copy.  I look forward to sharing these recipes with you in upcoming articles; like my Aunt Lucy’s recipe for Candied Orange Peels, my Granny’s recipe for Butter Pie, and my mom’s recipe for Licking Good Salad.

But right now, I am going to share my favorite recipes that my mom made for me as a kid -- Oatmeal Nobake Cookies.  I think she originally got this recipe from a newspaper.  I still remember the scrap of paper the recipe was on.  Sometimes, if the mixture wasn’t cooked long enough, the cookies wouldn’t want to harden up; but I never cared.  I would rake them off the wax paper and eat them anyhow.  So here is my mom’s recipe for those cookies:

Oatmeal Nobake Cookies

2 c. white sugar
1/4 lb. margarine (1/2 cup or 1 stick of margarine)
1/2 cup milk

Mix in saucepan.  Boil one minute.  Remove from heat.  Add:

1 t. vanilla
2 T. cocoa
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. one-minute oats

Stir together, then drop by tablespoons on wax paper and let cool.   

It’s a really simple but very good recipe, and I hope you enjoy it.  And if you are hungry for no-bake oatmeal cookies, but don’t have the time to cook them, check in the deli of your local grocery store or Walmart.  Our local IGA carries the Lofthouse brand no-bake oatmeal cookies, which comes in peanut butter and peanut butter fudge. 

I have also found chocolate no-bake cookies under the Walmart brand in the deli area of our local Walmart.  Both are quite good.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my cooking roots, and love sharing one of my favorite recipes with you all.  

Would you like to share your cooking roots and a favorite recipe with everyone too?  

If so, just drop me an email at:  

-- and put roots as your subject.

Well that’s all for now.  Till next time,
Happy cooking and delightful eating!  
From my kitchen to yours.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Thanksgiving spread

Well, for Thanksgiving, I am cooking just for 2 - hubby and me.  Here is what we are having:

beef roast, cooked on the stove in my stockpot,
- cooked with potatoes and carrots added the last hour;
- cooking juices thickened and cooked down to make gravy.

Layered Lettuce Salad

1/2 head lettuce, coarsely shredded
1 can water chestnuts, drained & chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
1 - 17 oz. can Lesueur small peas - drained
1-1/2 c. mayonnaise
1-1/2 t. sugar
1 can bacon bits
1 c. shredded cheese

Layer in bowl as follows:  lettuce, water chestnuts, celery, green peppers, & peas.  Spread mayonnaise evenly over top.  Sprinkle with sugar, then cheese & bacon bits.  Cover tightly & chill for 8 hours or overnight.  This salad keeps well.
Note -- I substituted water chestnuts for 1 c. onions called for in the original recipe as we don't care for onions.  

jd’s bean and tomato casserole

2 cans of beans, your choice, drained and rinsed
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice
approx. 1 cup of barbecue sauce
approx. 1/2 cup of tomato ketchup
1 t. balsamic vinegar, or your favorite vinegar
2-3 T. A1 sauce
1/8-1/4 t. curry powder
1/8-1/4 t. turmeric
1/8-1/4 t. paprika
1/2-1 cup of shredded cheese.

Mix all together and put in greased casserole dish.  Bake covered at 350 degrees (F) for 30-40 minutes.
-- note - This is a new casserole dish I thought up to use some canned goods that I had.  Hubby loves it!

dessert - Marie Callendar coconut creme pie and pumpkin pie

Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving!  
-- jd --

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baked ham recipe and coupon link too

South Suburban Savings alerted me to a great coupon that I just printed out:

$2 dollars off Kentucky Legend Ham

These are great hams!  My mom bought and baked them for years and years.  They used to have a slightly different name, but for the life of me I can't remember it now. They are made right in my back yard of Owensboro, Kentucky.  I live in a small town just 30 minutes south of Owensboro.

But now that you have your coupon, what to do with the ham?  Well here is my mother's own recipe for baked ham.  This was one of her holiday staples that everyone loved, and ate up.  This post is dedicated to my mom, Freda Johnson; one of the most gifted cooks I ever knew, and I am lucky to have been taught by her.  She is gone now, but her food and her recipes live on.

So, without further adieu, here is my mom's recipe for baked ham as typed up by me.  This is one of those recipes that she had no written recipe for, but just made.  And she taught me how to make it, and I have written down her recipe.

Freda Johnson's Kentucky Baked Ham

1 fully-cooked ready-to-eat boneless ham
whole cloves
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. honey or molasses
1-2 T. orange juice
1 T. mustard

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and score ham, putting whole cloves on ham where scoring lines intersect (+).  Bake ham at 15 minutes per pound.  During last 30 minutes of baking time, add glaze.  Remove cloves before cutting and serving ham.  For a larger ham, you might want to double the glaze.  Also, adding a 2-3 T. water to bottom of roasting pan will help with clean-up, and make ham better.

Happy holidays from

Friday, October 7, 2011

Making a 'make it up as I go' dish

Well today I am doing one of my favorite things to do in cooking - making one of my 'make it up as I go' dishes.  I had some shredded cheese I wanted to use up, and I had some canned veggies to use too.  So, I came up with an idea.

Here is what it has in it:

2 c. shell pasta cooked
approx. 12 slices of Velveeta cheese
approx. 1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 t. flour to thicken it a bit
1 can diced potatoes
1 can sliced carrots
2 cans of green beans
1 can of corn
1 small can of peas
1 T. mustard
2 T. ketchup
dashes of oregano, curry powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, chicken bouillon, and turmeric
salt and pepper
crushed Ritz crackers

I cooked my pasta on the stovetop in 2 - 16.9 ounce bottles of water.  I use the bottled water we drink for my cooking now.  I find it gives the food a much better flavor.  I then added my bit of leftover shredded cheese, and then started adding cheese slices until I thought I had enough.  Then I dipped out approx. 3 or 4 tablespoons of the liquid into a small bowl and added the flour to it and stirred it until it was smooth, then I added it back to the pot.  Next I opened and drained all my cans of veggies, and added them to the pot.  Then I added my seasonings and stirred it well.  I preheated my oven to 375 degrees.  I had a couple of foil cake size (approx. 9 x13) pans, and I used one of them.  No washy the pan when it is empty.  And I greased the pan with a light coat of canola oil, then poured the mixture in and topped it with the crackers.  I baked it for 40 minutes.

And now it is out and cooling.  And the verdict is in -- it is good.

Here are some pics:

So there you are.  Hubby is going back for more, so I know it is good when he does that.  Now to give this new concoction a name:

J's Creamy Veggie Bake

So that is what happens when I tinker around in the kitchen with stuff I have.  The only things extra that I bought today to make this with were a can of corn and a extra pack of cheese slices.  Please note that this makes a big pan of casserole, so you will have plenty.  After it cools, you could spoon in into serving size freezer containers and freeze it up for later on.

Happy cooking and delightful eating!
-- jd --

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Woman's Day -- 11 least needed -- my thoughts on their list

When I turn on my computer, on one of my browsers, I have yahoo as my homepage. I usually browse thru the stories there as I am getting ready to start my online time.  Here is one of the stories I ran across today, from the Woman's Day website:

11 Kitchen Tools You Don’t Really Need

So being a food and cooking blogger, this was one story that I just had to check out.  So here is their list of 11 kitchen tools that their writer thinks you don't need:

1- electric griddle
2- electric steamer
3- funnel
4- juice reamer
5- mandoline
6- meat mallet
7- panini press
8- pastry bag
9- roasting rack
10- rolling pin
11- wok

So here are my thoughts on their 11 most not needed:

1- electric griddle - I don't have one of these.  Have never really found a need for one in my kitchen.  We usually buy microwaveable breakfast foods.  But if you cook breakfast a lot and have plenty of kitchen room for it, I can see how one of these would be handy.

2- electric steamer - Just this year I purchased a stove-top, non-electric pan set that included 2 different steamer inserts with the pan.  I got the set particularly for the steamer inserts.  I agree with this one.  You can get great stove-top pans with steamer inserts that then serve a dual function of steamer and cook pan.

3- funnel - Don't agree at all!  I don't have a large kitchen right now, but my plastic funnels are must haves in my kitchen.

4- juice reamer - I don't have one of these, never have.  My mother never did either.  She just took her hand and squeezed the fruit.  Good old hand, always there at the end of your arm, and comes free with the equipment of being a human.

5- mandoline - I have one of these, got it at my local Walmart.  Tried using it and didn't have much luck with it.  Now days they make food processors that do the same things a mandoline does.  My preference would be a food processor that does these things.

6- meat mallet - I don't have one of these.  My mom did.  Not particularly necessary.  Now days you can buy cuts of meat already tenderized.  Also, it is my opinion that if you cook the cut of meat right, it will be tender.

7- panini press - Don't have one of these, have seen them in stores.  Depends on the kind of cooking that you do as to how necessary they are in your kitchen.  Don't buy one unless you find you really have a need for one.

8- pastry bag - Used to have one of these, when I lived at home with mom and dad.  These pastry bag sets can be nice if you do a lot of cake decorating.  But unless you do a lot of cake decorating, there really isn't much of any other use for them.

9- roasting rack - Don't have one of these.  Would love to find a good stainless steel one to go with the great roasting pan my mom gave me.  Can be handy to have, but once again - having this all depends on the cooking you do, and how often you would use it.

10- rolling pin - Like I said about the panini press - Don't buy one unless you find you really have a need for one.  Essential if you do a lot of baking of items such as cookies or biscuits or pie crusts.  Otherwise it could just end up as a space taker in your kitchen,

11- wok - I have one of these.  Haven't used it in ages, but wouldn't take anything for it.  Got mine as a gift from my parents ages ago, when I was taking karate and got interested in oriental cooking.  Mine is an electric, non-stick one.  If you find a good one of these, either electric or non electric, for a great price - grab it.  Nice big roomy pans, can be handy in about any cook's kitchen.

Now . . .

you tell me - what is your most un-needed kitchen tool?
What kitchen tool did you buy that you regret?  What ones do you have that you use the least, and can live without?  Let me know, and I will make an upcoming blog post of them!

Happy cooking and delightful eating from
-- Jacqueline D. --
the cook behind it all

A new blog feature - J's preferred picks

Welcome to the info about a new blog feature you will be seeing.  I call it --

J's preferred picks

As I buy different food and cooking related products, when I find a product I really like, that I think is really good - I like to share with you about it and let you know about it. Well now, just today, I have come up with a new way to do that.  I will do it thru blog posts that I will call 'Js preferred picks'.  And being one of Js preferred picks will be a high honor for the product chosen.  I am picky about my food, and like good quality products for a good price that taste good.

So enough of that.  You get the idea!  Now on to our first J's preferred pick:

Oscar Mayer Angus Selects hot dogs

For the longest while, my IBS wouldn't let me eat hot dogs, which I dearly love.  But recently it has gotten better, and I am once again able to eat hot dogs again.  We discovered a great way to cook them in our toaster oven:

So then I started trying different hot dogs to find out which ones I liked the best.  I tried the Hebrew National brand, which are good hot dogs.  But then I got a coupon online for these Oscar Mayer hot dogs, so I tried them.  They are now our favorite hot dogs.

Now the Hebrew National are great hot dogs too, my second favorite.  But these get the first spot.  They taste great cooked the way I talk about in my blog post.  Good taste, really satisfying and filling, and juicy too.  Great flavor.  Highly recommend these!

So there you have it!  My first J's preferred pick.  Keep a lookout for more to come.

Happy cooking and delightful eating from
-- Jacqueline D. --
the cook behind it all

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cooking hot dogs and sausages

Friends, I have just discovered today the absolutely best way to cook your hot dogs and link type sausages in the oven.  For the longest while, a digestive problem I have wouldn't let me eat hot dogs and the like.  But lately I have been doing better, so I decided to try some hot dogs.  I got some of the Ball Park brand hot dogs that come individually wrapped, and threw the package up in the freezer.

Well today I decided to cook a couple for my husband and me.  So here is what I decided to do:

I unwrapped the two hot dogs.  Then I took a piece of aluminum foil and laid the two hot dogs on one half of it, then folded the other half over; and folded the edges over, and sort of made a packet out of it.  Then I put it in my preheated toaster oven and baked them for about 20 minutes.  This worked really well.

It worked so well, that just a few minutes later my husband baked some hot dog type sausages he had that way too.  He baked those for 30 minutes.  And they turned out really good too!

I used just a simple little toaster oven set to 350 degrees.  Below is a simple illustration to help you understand about making the foil packet.  The foil packet works great in that it keeps all the juices inside.  So you end up with really juicy, tasty hot dogs or sausages.

Packet folding illustration

Happy cooking and delightful eating!


Jacqueline Driggers
the cook behind it all

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Having a great pizza at home

We had a great pizza last night, and it didn't come from a pizza restaurant.  But before I get into what we did last night, I want to talk a bit about what we had been doing.

For a long while, we didn't order pizza home delivery from our local pizza restaurants because we didn't think they were too good.  We would get the occasional frozen pizza.  But lately we had discovered that they had improved, and that a new restaurant had opened up.  We would sometimes get a pan pizza from Pizza Hut topped with ham, bacon, and mushrooms.  Also sometimes we would get a pizza from Pizza Kings, also topped with ham and bacon and mushrooms.

But last night we did something different.  Now the heat doesn't agree with my husband or I, so we wait to do our Walmart runs late at night when it is much cooler.  And last night we decided we wanted pizza.  Now by the time we got home -- well, it was already too late to order one from a restaurant when we went out.  So we got the fixings to do what we had done in the past, but hadn't done in a while.  So here is the recipe for our prize winning pizza that we had last night:

Get 1 Digorno's 4 cheese pizza

Also get your favorite meat toppings.  Last night we used canadian bacon and smoked turkey.  You could use any meat toppings that you like.

You will also need some shredded cheese.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Put some Reynolds non-stick aluminum foil over your pizza pan or cookie sheet that you are going to bake your pizza on.

This will help keep your pizza from sticking to the pan, and I think it helped to make our crust crispier.

Put your frozen pizza on the pan.  Add the chopped meat you got.  In our case I chopped up some slices of canadian bacon, and just hand shredded some slices of really thin smoked turkey.  Then cover this with your shredded cheese.  I used Kraft shredded pizza cheese.  Bake for 28 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  When putting the pizza in and out of the oven, you will want to use care as the non-stick foil is really slick; and your pizza will slide around.  You want it to end up in your tummy and not on the floor.  

Our pizza turned out just great.  Crisp, brown crust; and plenty of toppings.  I would show you a picture of it, but hey -- it's just a great food memory now.  We will definitely be doing this again.  I think it is safe to say that Pizza Hut and Pizza Kings won't be getting too much of our business anymore.  The cost for this pizza was around $10-11 dollars, and you will probably end up with extra toppings for other uses.  We did.  A delivery pizza from either of the 2 places I mentioned:  ham, bacon, and mushrooms -- runs around $12-15 dollars.  A better deal and just as good a pizza.  

Happy cooking and delightful eating!

See you on my facebook page!

-- jd --

Friday, June 17, 2011

Making your own popsicles, and some family fun too!

It is summer, and the kids are out of school.  Maybe they are clamoring for something to do.  Maybe they are clamoring for a popsicle.  Maybe they are doing both.  Why not take care of both issues with one activity.  Gather your kids and make popsicles with them.  To help you out, here are some recipes for you to choose from:

-- These links are for single recipe pages. 

This one uses fresh fruit and yogurt, and is written by a facebook friend of mine.  I highly recommend this one. 

This one is a good sounding one too that uses sugar, water, and juice. 

This one is an orange-banana smoothie pop recipe.

Here is a strawberry popsicle recipe that uses fresh strawberries and milk.

And  here is one that uses jello in it.

This is a sugar-free popsicle recipe that uses sugar-free jello and kool-aid.

Here is another sugar-free popsicle recipe that uses sugar-free jello and crystal light in it. 

-- The following are all links to pages that have several recipe links for you to choose from:

-- This one gives you some popsicle making tips as well as recipes:

So now you need to pick out the recipe that suits you.  Then gather your ingredients.  Involve the kids in every step of the process.  Let them help you pick out the recipe, and help with gathering the ingredients.  If you have to go shopping for something, let them help with that too.  When you get in the store, perhaps assign one to carry the list and another to help search out the ingredients. 

So what do you freeze them in?  You can buy reusable plastic popsicle molds.  Or you can simply use an ice cube tray.  Put your popsicle mix in the tray, cover it with foil, and poke popsicle sticks thru the foil in the center of each ice cube compartment.  I have read that you can also use dixie cups as popsicle molds too.  As I write this, I am sitting here thinking that you could also use disposable plastic drinking cups for popsicle molds.  As with the ice cube trays, you would cover them in foil and poke the sticks thru.  If you have trouble getting the popsicles out of the mold, with plastic containers, you can simply run the end of it under a little warm water at the faucet.  That should do the trick.

So go forth and make some popsicles to keep yourself cool with this summer.  And you can also turn it into a great activity to do with your kids (or grandkids) too.  And think of how much more fun it will be for them to eat something that they helped make.

Happy cooking and delightful eating!

See you on my facebook page!

-- jd --

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting a good hamburger real quick, without the drive-thru

Want a great hamburger quick?  How about one that comes right from your freezer?  Sound good?  Then you should check out the Walmart great value brand hamburgers.  

They have the bacon cheeseburger, the cheeseburger, the hamburger, and the mini cheeseburgers.  All the hamburgers come 2 sandwiches to a box, and the mini-cheeseburgers come 4 sandwiches to a box.  At our local Walmart, the bacon cheeseburgers cost $3.76 for a box of 2 burgers.  We (hubby and me) consider that to be a pretty good value.  The bacon cheeseburger consists of the sesame seed bun, a slice of bacon, cheese slice, and burger patty.  Of course the cheeseburger has burger, bun, and cheese; and the hamburger has burger and bun.  The mini-cheeseburgers aren't on a sesame seed bun, but are on just a regular bun.

Since my husband and I discovered them, we keep them as a regular staple in our freezer.  We like them a lot.  They cost about the same as a burger that you would get from most any drive-thru, or even cheaper.  And we think they are just as good as any drive-thru burger you can get.  Add some of your favorite frozen french fries, and you have yourself a burger and fries right from the freezer.  If you are feeding a whole family, it might not be that economical versus homemade burgers; but if you are cooking for 1 or 2 or 3, it is a good deal.  As far as feeding a family at an eat-out place goes, these would more than likely beat the cost of feeding a whole family at a restaurant.  For $2-3 dollars, you can buy a bag of fries that will feed your whole family.  And you would only need 2 boxes of burgers to feed a family of 4.  Approximate cost for feeding a family of 4 burgers and fries this way:  $12-14 dollars.  Add your favorite movie on the tv, and you can have movie and burger and fries for a family of 4 for a cheap price.  

And these aren't wimpy, little burgers either!  These are nice, big, hearty burgers.  With really good meat and buns, and a nice-sized slice of bacon too.  The box directions tell you to microwave the whole thing in the inside plastic package.  (You open one end of it and microwave for a minute or so, read box directions.)  But I want to share with you how we fix them.  I think it makes for a much better burger.  If you fix them per box directions, then the juice from the thawing & cooking meat will slightly soggify your bun.  But I have developed a method of fixing them that avoids that.  It involves taking the burger apart and microwaving the parts separately.  So here is what I do:

Take the burger out of the package, and take it apart.  Separate the bun from the burger, cheese, and bacon (if it is a bacon cheeseburger).  Take just the bun, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it for 30-40 seconds on high.  Then take your bun and put it in your toaster, providing you have a wide slot toaster that accommodates buns.  If you do not,  you could put it under your oven broiler for a moment or two. The purpose of this is to finish thawing the bun and toast it a bit.  For if you microwave any bread too long, it will make the bread tough and chewy.  

Then, place your burger on a paper plate, with the cheese and bacon (if your sandwich has it) on top of the meat patty. Microwave this for 1 minute at high power.  Now add your favorite condiments and assemble your hamburger, and eat.

We like doing it this way because it seems to result in a better tasting burger.  As far as condiments, I would recommend your traditional ketchup, mustard, and pickles.  My favorite pickles for hamburgers and other sandwiches is Vlasic ovals:

These are nice, generous size pickles; and they have a good dill pickle taste too.  

So now you can keep the stuff to satisfy your burger and fries cravings right in your own freezer, with no drive-thru to deal with.  Why not plan a burger and fries and movie night for you family instead of going out.  Or perhaps burger and fries, and then a board game.  This is also great for folks who cook for just 1 or 2 or 3 as well.  You can have easy to fix burger and fries in your freezer any time you want.  And this is much quicker than buying the ground beef and cooking it. I'm not against cooking, by all means no!  But I do love all the good convenience foods available out there now, and like to share them with others too.

So here are some links for you:

Great Value hamburger

Great Value cheeseburger

Great Value mini-cheeseburgers

Great Value bacon cheeseburgers

Vlasic ovals hamburger slices

-- good food and good eating -- jd --

** July 13th, 2011 **
Have an additional note for you on this.  I have decided that the cheese slice that comes on the hamburger sort of tastes like cardboard cheese.  So I have started throwing it away.  Here is what I now do:

Fix the bun as directed above.  Throw away the cheese slice that comes on the burger.  Microwave the burger with the bacon laid on top of it for 30 seconds.  Then add your own cheese slice.  I used Kraft Velveeta slices.  Microwave it for an additional 30 seconds.  Place on toasted bun and top as desired.

-- jd --

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easy barbecued chicken meal

In these economic times, we can all use some cheap and easy to make meals.  Well here is an easy one for you, that should be rather inexpensive to make.  I got this recipe from a bottle of barbecue sauce.  It is so simple, and so good! And it can be used with any barbecue sauce of your choosing. Also, you can use any cuts of chicken in it - all breasts, all legs, all thighs, or a whole chicken cut into pieces.   When we fix it, I like to use chicken breasts.  Plus, you don't have to break out the grill, and have nice weather outside to fix this barbecued chicken.  You don't have to watch it either. Just grease your pan, add the chicken and pour the barbecue sauce over it; then pop it in the oven, and set your kitchen timer, then go off and do other things. In an hour to a hour and a half, you will have delicious, barbecued chicken. 

When I have fixed this chicken, I most usually use a large, rectangular, Anchor ovenware glass baking dish that I have.  After the recipe, I have also included some suggestions for building a meal around this recipe. So, on to the recipe itself:

-- Oven Barbecued Chicken --

1 whole chicken, cut up and skin removed; or equivalent amount of your favorite chicken pieces
1 bottle of barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish that is large enough to hold the chicken pieces, and place chicken in it. Pour barbecue sauce over chicken, covering chicken pieces well. Bake in oven for 1 to 1-1/2 hours till chicken is done.

-- serving suggestions --
To round this out and make a meal around this recipe:

-- add a couple of bowls of your favorite veggies, such as some green beans and corn or potatoes and carrots, or whatever veggies you like;
-- some biscuits or rolls;
-- and something for dessert - say your favorite candy bars or snack cakes would do. But if you want a bit more then buy some pound cake or creme cake or angel food cake or sponge cake from your local deli, and some frozen strawberries, and some whipped topping. You can have easy strawberry shortcake for dessert. All you have to do is slice the cake, spoon thawed strawberries over the cake, and add the whipped topping.

So there you have it.  A simple barbecued chicken meal.
-- jd --