Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

        One of my dear friends brought this over when I was laid up and I can’t tell you how wonderful it tasted! It has been one of our favorite recipes ever since. It is hearty, creamy, comfort food at its finest! I love it served in a homemade bread bowl.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


1 package Wild Rice Rice-A-Roni
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup butter
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream (I usually use milk; the cream makes it pretty heavy)

Mix Rice-A-Roni (rice and seasoning packet) with the water and bake in a pyrex baking dish covered with foil for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

After you pull the rice out, in a soup pan or dutch oven, saute carrots, celery, and onion in butter. In a separate pan, begin sauteing chicken cubes in a little bit of olive oil. When veggies are tender, add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add chicken broth, milk, and rice. Add chicken when it is cooked through. Simmer until it is a little bit thickened. It will thicken additionally as it cools.

Source: Julie Roberts

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
    Who doesn’t love a good old Mac n’ Cheese? I certainly haven’t met anyone who doesn’t! This is supposedly the original version of the recipe that Thomas Jefferson brought back from Europe along with the first Macaroni machine. Feel free to fact check me on this. 
Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 lb Macaroni
1 Tbsp butter
1 egg
3 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of Paprika
Cook macaroni, add butter, 1/2 to 3/4 of the cheese to hot macaroni. Mix. To make milk mixture warm milk (not too hot), add egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Put pasta in 13×9 inch baking dish. Pour milk mixture over pasta. Top with remaining cheese (or extra if desired). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 
Optional: top with buttered cracker crumbs or panko.
Source: Kim Anderson

Buttercup Yeast Bread

This is another recipe I wanted to slide in before squash season is over. I had a subscription to Taste of Home magazine for a few years and this is one of my favorite finds from the magazine. You can use any type of hard squash. I have used butternut, acorn, and sweet mama, all with good results. The squash just gives the bread a lovely golden color and  a hint of sweetness. Everyone loves this recipe!
Buttercup Yeast Bread

  • 3 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast (about 2 3/4 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups mashed cooked buttercup or butternut squash
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 13 cups all-purpose flour

  • In a very large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the squash, milk, brown sugar, butter, eggs and salt; mix well. Add 6 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
  • Punch dough down. Divide into three portions; shape into loaves. Place in four greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 loaves (16 slices each).


Summer Garden Vegetable Soup

    As summer winds itself to a bounteous close, I wanted to share this recipe while the veggies in it are still in season. It is a GREAT way to use up some of that zucchini and those tomatoes I never have quite enough uses for. My kids (who hate zucchini and said tomatoes) even like it. Win-win!

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup
     Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or more 🙂 to taste
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, basil, parsley and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes (I always do it longer, until it is pretty tender). Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir and cook for one minute to remove the raw flour taste. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking or stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice; mix well. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but still has some bite to it (it will continue cooking for a few more minutes). Add the tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and simmer until the corn and zucchini are tender. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

Coconut Drop Cookies

    I’m always a fan of a good no-bake cookie. And anything with coconut. So when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. I thought it was really good and a quick treat in a pinch.

Coconut Oatmeal

No Bake Cookies
2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 (3.4 oz) box instant coconut flavor pudding mix
2 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla pinch of salt

In a large sauce pan, mix together sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, add in the pudding mix, oats, coconut and vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes before dropping by teaspoons onto waxed paper. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!


Chicken Tortellini

    A friend made this for me years ago and we all instantly fell in love! Creamy, flavorful, hearty, it is comfort food at its finest. It freezes very well, so it is a great one to take to neighbors who need a meal or to make ahead for yourself. I prefer using frozen tortellini over dried, I think it is more tender. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortellini

5 T. margarine or butter
6 T. flour
3 C. chicken broth
1 C. light cream or milk
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Dash nutmeg
7 C. cooked tortellini
1 C. cooked chicken, diced (I use one breast)
1/2 C. parmesan cheese
1 C. mozarella cheese

Combine chicken and tortellini in a 9×13 pan, set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, blend in flour and cook for one minute. Stir broth into mixture; add cream or milk and cook until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Pour sauce over chicken and pasta; Sprinkle cheeses over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden. I like to broil it for a minute or two at the end to give the cheese a nice brown crust. You can obviously add more cheese to your taste.

Source: Katie Konold

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones

    I have never been that interested in scones until my friend made these for me. They are delectable! Soft, buttery, with just the right amount of sweetness. They are quick to put together and make a great treat to take to neighbors that is a little out of the ordinary. I consider them comfort food myself…

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones

1 3/4 cups flour
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup firm butter
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
4-6 Tbsp half and half or milk
Decorating sugar (coarse sugar sprinkles)

    Heat oven to 400. Sift together dry ingredients. cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork until it looks grainy. Stir in beaten egg. Add in craisins and white chocolate chips. When mixed together, add in just enough of the milk or half and half until the sides come away from the bowl. Place dough on lightly floured surface, gently roll in flour to coat.
    Knead lightly 10 times, then shape into a long, flat rectangle, about 2 1/2 inches wide, 3/4 inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut triangles all the way down the log. Brush milk over each scone and sprinkle with lots of the decorating sugar–these are crucial! Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake for 13-16 minutes. Pull them out when they just start to brown slightly and don’t overcook. Enjoy!

Source: Pamela Fisher

Scuderi Fast Fake-Baked Ziti

      If your family is anything like mine, you will always appreciate a good pasta recipe. It appeals to adults and kids alike. This one is a gem. I think my hubby saw it on Rachael Ray and wanted me to give it a try. Are we glad we did! It is so fresh and springy, which is unusual for a baked pasta dish.  There is something magical about the combination of fresh basil, tomatoes, and fresh mozarella. 
Scuderi Fast Fake-Baked Ziti
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
28 oz. can whole tomatoes
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
Coarse salt
Handful of fresh basil leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn
1 lb. box of ziti rigate or penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Generous grating of nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
1/2 C. Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 C. Parmesano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 C. sliced fresh mozarella
Note: I never spend the money for all of the cheeses, I buy the grated parmesan blend and the fresh mozarella, and it is wonderful.
Boil pasta water.
Chop whole tomatoes. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add garlic and saute for about 1 minute, watch it carefully, or it will burn. Add chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and salt to pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and simmer 10 minutes more.
Cook pasta according to directions, until Al Dente.
Bechamel Sauce:
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and stir to cook for one minute, adding salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk in milk. Cook until bubbly and reduce for about 5 minutes until thick.
Drain pasta. Put in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over pasta and turn to coat. Pour bechamel over already coated pasta. Top with Grated cheeses, then sliced mozarella. Place under hot broiler until cheese is browning and bubbly, 3-5 minutes. 
Adapted from: Rachael Ray

Sweet & Sour Chicken

       I love sweet n’ sour chicken. It is asian inspired cuisine that even my kids will eat (and enjoy!). I found this recipe and it was as good as promised. I also loved that the ingredients were on hand and inexpensive!
Sweet N’ Sour Chicken
3-4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup cornstarch
1/4-1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp garlic salt
    1)Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    2) Cut chicken into bite size pieces, season with salt and pepper
    3) Heat oil in medium sized skillet over medium heat
    4) Place cornstarch in gallon sized ziploc bag. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat.
    5) Whisk eggs in shallow pie pan, dip chicken pieces in egg and place in hot oil.
    6) Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden but not all the way cooked through.
    7) Place cooked pieces in single layer in baking dish. Continue with all pieces.
    8) Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour half of mixture over chicken pieces.
    9) Bake for one hour, turning chicken several times during cooking to coat with sauce.
    10) While chicken is cooking, heat remaining sauce over medium heat until combined and thickened.
 Serve over rice with extra sauce as desired.
Recipe source: Mel’s kitchen cafe


What is the purpose of prayer?
    We have struggled with infertility for years. It is a common challenge for many people, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you are faced with it yourself. Over the years, I have run the gamut of emotions ranging from disappointment, to anger, to resignation and defeat. Having children is a righteous desire, so why couldn’t we, who are trying to be good people and who would give children a loving home, have children easily? 
    I also had a difficult time knowing how to pray about it. On one hand, we are taught that if we are faithful, our prayers will be answered. On the other hand, we are taught that the purpose of prayer is to bring our will in line with God’s will. The two ideas seemed a little contradictory to me. I felt a little bit guilty praying for a child if it wasn’t God’s will for us. As I was sitting in Sunday School one day, the lesson was on prayer and the teacher referred us to the bible dictionary. What I read changed my perspective forever:
     “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”
    When I was able to view prayer as a form of work, I no longer felt guilty for praying for a child. It released a huge burden and I could pray without reserve while hoping that it was a blessing God was willing to grant. This lesson has helped me in every trial since and I hope it helps you as well. God wants to bless us, but we have to do our part.