Chicken and Noodles

Chicken and Noodles


Two or three chicken breasts, cubed

One package egg noodles or homemade noodles

One package mixed vegetables

One small onion, diced

Boil all together in water until done. Drain and set aside 1 cup of the broth. Put ingredients back in the pot with broth then add:

One can cream of chicken soup

A pinch of parsley, thyme, basil, dill weed, salt and pepper.

Heat through and serve with homemade bread

To make a soup from this dish simply keep more of the broth.

Oven Stew

Oven Stew

This is a wonderful dish to serve on a cold winter’s day, made even better if followed up with a chair nap.


Chuck roast, whole or cubed

Potatoes, quartered or diced

Carrots, sliced or chunked

Celery, sliced

Onion, diced

Tomatoes, sliced

Layer all of the above in the order listed around the roast in a dutch oven. Add a couple of cups of water then the following on top:


Salt and Pepper


Tapioca (4 tsp)

Bake at 250 degrees for four hours. Serve with warm buttered bread.


While doing some quick research before typing up our recipe for goulash I was somewhat surprised about how many variations there are of this dish and how it has changed over the hundreds of years it has been prepared and eaten. The following is very much an American version of the dish.


One pound meat (we use kielbasa or ground beef)

One onion, diced

Garlic clove, crushed

Green pepper, diced

Paprika, caraway seed, salt and pepper, chili powder to taste

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Squeeze of mustard

Add all of the above to a skillet and cook until done

Boil one package of elbow or shell noodles until done, drain, then add the above ingredients to the pot along with:

One can diced tomatoes

One can mushrooms

Pinch of parsley

One can of corn

And finally add tomato sauce, the amount of which will determine if you are making more of a casserole type dish or a soup.

Heat until warm and top with sour cream and shredded cheese.

An Old Recipe Box

An Old Recipe Box

A few years ago I created a project blog I titled An Old Recipe Box. To quote from the introduction: “While cleaning out a house in Villisca, Iowa I found an old, rusty green recipe box. I decided to scan each recipe, from the front of the box to the back, in the order that the box was found. I also decided I would not go through the box ahead of time but rather explore it with the reader, week by week, until finished.” Not too surprisingly the blog generated little traffic and today it receives about 500 pageviews a month. There are dozens of scanned recipes and other ephemera on the blog that give a glimpse at Midwestern life during the mid-twentieth century.

Homemade Cheesecake

Strawberry Cheesecake

We celebrated a birthday this weekend and my wife Shelly made a cheesecake as one of the desserts. Here she shares the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the crust use 1 ¾ c crushed graham crackers, 1/3 c melted butter, ¼ c sugar and ¼ tsp salt. Mix altogether and press into your springform pan. Bake for 10 min.

Cheesecake: 4 8oz pkg cream cheese room temp, 3 eggs room temp, 2 tsp vanilla, ½ c sour cream and 1 c sugar. Mix altogether but do not over mix. Pour on top of the graham cracker crust. Bake for 60-70 minutes until cheesecake is slightly browned and some cracks have formed. You can shut off the oven and let it cool.

My family’s favorite is to then add strawberry topping. I have used canned pie filling as well.

This time I used an 11 x 13 baking dish instead of the springform pan. This way I usually only bake for 55 min.


Spicy Summer Salsa

Some salsa recruits from our garden

Since we finished moving to the country last winter this is our first garden out here. We planted in a freshly tilled section of the yard and the results have been almost unbelievable. We have put up 12 quarts of tomatoes so far and we should easily be able to at least double that while also making stews, soups, spaghetti, chili and salsa. All that from seven plants. I am going to make my third batch of salsa this weekend and thought I would share the recipe. As usual, I don’t measure the ingredients, so flavor to your taste.


Celery, diced

Green onions, sliced

Tomatoes, diced

Garlic cloves (I use a hand held garlic press)

Green peppers, diced

Jalapeno peppers, diced

In a mixing bowl stir together all the above ingredients then add:

Basil, salt and pepper, cilantro, parsley, paprika, oregano, Tabasco, cayenne pepper and cumin. Stir well then chill or serve at room temperature with tortilla chips.

This version is chunky. If you prefer more juice, puree some tomatoes and a scoop or two of the salsa together, and add back to the bowl.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Homemade Vegetable Broth

I discovered this little culinary gem several years ago and will continue to use it until I can cook no more. Whenever you cut up vegetables get in the habit of putting the leavings in a baggie in the freezer. Onion ends, cucumber ends, carrot ends, end chunks from broccoli or cauliflower, tomato parts, peppers, you get the idea. Anything you would normally throw in the trash from your veggies take 10 seconds and put them in that designated baggie in the freezer. Once it is full, fill up a pan with water, add the contents of your freezer stash, and boil for at least 20 minutes, or until it smells so good you want to sample it. Add whatever spices you most enjoy then let the broth cool. I pour mine into various sized empty butter, cottage cheese and dip containers and freeze. Then comes the best part; add the thawed broth instead to a recipe that calls for plain water, to some fried foods (including ground beef, chicken or pork) instead of oil, to casseroles, soups, to boil noodles, or even use as a marinade. When using a slow cooker, use the broth. I have even added the broth when making chili and it seems to me to contribute another layer of flavor. I also boil chicken and beef bones for specific broths, but the veggie broth is more versatile.