Fiesta Crackers

1 box fat free saltines (must be fat free)
1 cup Canola oil
1 package, dry, Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dress.
red pepper flakes (I use 2 teaspoons)

Open all four packs of crackers and place in large plastic bag or bowl with lid. Mix coating products and pour over crackers. Continue coating process by turning bag or bowl every few hours. After 24 hours, remove and store in quart bags. Crackers can be kept in freezer. Crackers will stay very crisp either way.

A friend in Lindale, TX shared this recipe. She serves them in her lunch room. Good with mild soups, green salads, chicken or pasta salads. Enjoy.

Fruit Punch with a Twist

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 large can pineapple juice
2 teaspoon almond flavoring
2 teaspoon clear vanilla
1- 2 liter Sprite

This punch is inexpensive to make. Over the years, I’ve adapted the best from punch recipes to concoct this. Party-goers usually want to know about the unique flavor. It’s almond and clear vanilla flavoring that give this punch its zing.

Fresh Pear or Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups oil, may substitute shortening (I use oil)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups pear or apples sliced very thin.

1)     Blend, sugar, eggs and cooking oil

2)     Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon together

3)     Gradually add 1 cup of dry ingredients at a time to  sugar mixture

4)     Mix well and pour into a well greased and floured tube or bundt pan

5)     Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour

6)     A powdered sugar glaze may be added if desired.

This yummy, moist cake freezes well and may be served for brunch or dessert. It’s from my Aunt Margaret Turner Johnson, Hot Springs , Arkansas

Low-Fat Chicken and Dumplings

5-6 skinless chicken breasts
3 1/2 quarts water
1-2 teaspoons salt

Boil chicken in large pan. When tender, break or cut into bite size pieces.

Fluffy Dumplings

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Mix oil and milk, salt and baking powder. Gradually add flour. Drop by tablespoon into simmering broth and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes or less. Test a dumpling for doneness. Add salt and large flaked black pepper to broth to taste.

4-6 servings

This hearty low fat recipe warms the tummy on cold blustery evenings or is an easy one pot meal to take to shut-ins.

Texas Sauce

1 lb ground meat cooked and drained
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can chili
1 can ranch style beans
1 lb velveeta

From Carolyn Brown: She called them “Tacos to Die For.”

Serve over rice or Fritos


(This is my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, and I’ve tried a few in my years of baking and eating them warm off the pan.)

Triple sift:

1 ½ cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Cream: 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup shortening, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Add 3 cups rolled oats and 1 cup chopped nuts

Chill dough (sometimes I skip the chilling process) then shape into walnut size balls. Roll in powdered sugar to coat, grease cookie sheet. Bake 2 – 3 inches apart at 375 degrees @ 8 minutes.

Handed down from Mary to ??? to Irene to Joyce to Doris to Cathy to you.

Cornbread Dressing

Original recipe from Zona Chrone, Tyler , TX (in 2005, 90 years young)

Serves about 25

1 small can biscuits, baked
3 cornbread mixes, baked
5 onions, chopped
1 whole stalk celery, chopped
7 eggs
3 cans chicken broth (only use about a third of the third can)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 stick margarine

Chop onion and celery in food processor. Saute onion and celery in large mircrowave bowl in stick of butter. In very large container, mix all ingredients. Spray pans with Pam and bake in two 13×9 pans or one large
aluminum throw-away pan.

Cook fast at 450 first 20 minutes then at 400 for 25 minutes, or less if split between two pans.

This can be made several weeks ahead of Thanksgiving meal, or other occasions, and frozen. Thaw several hours and bake on day of “feast.” I prepare dressing ahead of time and freeze. If we’re not having a lot of people over, I bake one for Thanksgiving and save one for Christmas.

This recipe is from my longtime friend Doris Allen. Zona Crone, her mother, has passed the recipe on to her three daughters.

Kraft’s Creamy Cauliflower Lettuce Salad

3/4 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
1/2 cup Kraft Ranch Dressing
1/4 cup Kraft 100% grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup each: sugar, finely chopped red onion
1 pkg. (8oz) bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 head cauliflower cut into pieces
6 cups torn romaine lettuce

Mix dressings, cheese and sugar in large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients: mix lightly. Makes 8 servings

Note from Cathy: Since my husband and I don’t eat 8 servings. I mix everything except the salad greens and crisp bacon. I stir in enough greens and bacon right before we eat. Sometimes we make a meal of this and Fiesta Crackers. Cauliflower mixture will keep for several days. This is yummy and crunchy.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Pick-Ups

8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1 cup finely chopped, cooked ham
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
dash of hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
48 thin pretzel sticks

In small bowl, combine first five ingredients. Mix well. Shape cheese mixture into 48 3/4 inch balls. Roll into chopped nuts, cover and refrigerate several hours or until serving. Immediately before serving, insert 1 pretzel stick into each mini-cheese ball.

My daughter Sheryle won a cooking contest in elementary school with this recipe and placed in a county-wide one when an adult.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

10-12 new potatoes, unpeeled, washed and quartered
4-5 carrots, cut in 2-3″ pieces
2-3 onions, cut into wedges
1 each, green, red and yellow bell peppers cut into strips, save for last of roasting

Arrange vegetables in a large roasting pan, except peppers


1/2 cup olive oil
3 T lemon juice
6 cloves garlic ( I use shallots)
1 T parsley or chives
salt and pepper

Pour mixture over vegetables and stir. Roast uncovered @ 450, stirring occasionally.  Recipe says 30-45 minutes, but I’ve always had to roast them at least an hour to get potatoes fully cooked. Add strips of peppers, last 15 minutes.

Kathy Lucas from my church congregation shared this recipe from her mother. It’s a real crowd pleaser and will feed at least 12-14 people as a side vegetable.

Cream Cheese Chicken Sandwich Spread

1 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 large can chicken
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chives
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Mix all ingredients. Makes nice party sandwiches or serve on crackers.

This recipe came from Debbie Pogue, the wife of the man who laid our kitchen flooring. It’s wonderful for baby and wedding showers.