Courtship Journal and Keepsake

Click here to edit subtitle

Favorite Family Recipes:

Blueberry Cream Pie
(again, a family favorite from  my husband's side!)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (you can use light, this is 1/2 of the standard package)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Cool Whip  (buy the large container because you'll use more for the topping)

1 deep dish pie crust, baked (standard size, you can buy them frozen)
1 can blueberry pie filling (21 ounces, we use the Lucky Leaf brand)

~ Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Cool Whip with your hand mixer and pour into the baked pie crust. Place in the fridge to chill and set for a bit. Top this with the can of pie filling and place it back in the fridge to set and chill for a bit. Top with more Cool Whip - make it look as fancy as you like! Place back in the fridge so it stays cold until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
~ You can also use other fruits... cherry, blackberry, raspberry - a medley....whatever your taste buds prefer.

Pinto Beans and Refried Beans
(a family favorite from my husband's side - it's a great crock pot recipe!)

1 pound pinto beans
3/4 - 1 pound salt pork (I like to buy the chunk - if it's sliced, then it just breaks apart and gets everywhere)

~ You've got to pick the beans first, pulling out any discolored or broken beans, and don't forget to look for small rocks and stones - no one wants to bite down on one of those. (and, any of these can negatively impact the flavor)
~ Once you've picked the beans, rinse them in a colander in the sink. Then let them soak in water for 30 - 60 minutes in a bowl (they will get larger as they soak, so make sure the bowl is large enough to allow for that).
~ Spray your crock pot with cooking oil or pour a tablespoon or two of Olive Oil in the bottom. Place the salt pork in next and cover it with the pre-soaked beans. Add water to cover over an inch or two over the top of the beans and place the setting on high. Let these cook for 10 - 12 hours (overnight works great) I like to stir them every so often, especially when they are getting started. If after 8 hours or so you find that they are cooking quickly, just turn the crock pot off or change the setting to low. (You can always warm them up again before it's time to eat.) Add more water during cooking if needed, so that the beans are covered.
~ Salt them to taste prior to serving.

This makes a really nice dinner (not just a side dish) by adding shredded cheddar cheese, and diced onion (if you like); perhaps make some cornbread or cornbread muffins to go along with it - it's yummy!

~ Store any leftovers in the fridge in the juices from cooking.
Now, if you are like us, (and there are four of us) you'll have some leftovers...these beans make GREAT refried beans. You're going to need to play with the quantities a bit, depending on how much you are using, but this can get you started.
~ saute about 1/4 cup minced onion in olive oil
~ add the leftover pinto beans and mash them up with a potato masher or similar tool
~ add 1 teaspoon garlic powder
~ red pepper flakes to taste (we like them on the spicy side a bit, but perhaps begin with 1/4 teaspoon)
~ add a few shakes of cumin from the spice jar (again, this will be to taste, so begin with 1/8 teaspoon
~ add water or liquid from cooking the beans if you need to thin them out; or add some cornstarch if you need to thicken them up a bit.

We enjoy making bean and cheese (and bacon, sometimes) breakfast tacos with these - or enjoy them on your Mexican dinner night with tacos or enchiladas, etc...

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
(from my sweet friend, Cindy Larsen - thank you!)

1/2 C frozen spinach (thawed, drained, & may need to squeeze the spinach in paper towels to get all the water out)
6 – 8 oz. artichoke hearts (drained, & chopped)
1 T olive oil (if artichokes are in water instead of olive oil)
8 oz. Alfredo sauce
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
1 tsp / clove chopped garlic
¼ tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large bowl, combine spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, ½ C Parmesan, garlic, and salt.
3. Pour in small casserole dish. Top with remaining ½ C Parmesan.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Serve with Wheat Thins, your favorite cracker, or toasted French bread slices. Enjoy!

It's REALLY yummy!!

Baked Broccoli

2 pkgs frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
8 oz Velveeta cheese (I use the 2%)
one sleeve Ritz crackers

Cook broccoli and drain well.
Add 1/4 cup butter and cheese while broccoli is still hot, stirring well to melt cheese.
Place into buttered casserole dish.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter, crush the crackers, and mix together.
Sprinkle / smooth this over the broccoli mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes at 375° F

Chicken Parmigiana

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 to 2 eggs, beaten
1 to 1 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 jar (15 1/2 oz) spaghetti sauce of your choice
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dip chicken in beaten egg and then into bread crumbs. (Coat thoroughly.)
In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
Cook chicken in oil until golden brown on each side (about 10 minutes per side)
Pour spaghetti sauce in 11 x 7 inch baking dish.
Place chicken on sauce and top with Parmesan cheese, then  top with Mozzarella cheese.
Cover and bake at 400° F for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

I actually don't always place the chicken in the oven... most often, I just serve it with pasta, garlic toast / bread (and a salad or other vegetables of your choice) once it's finished cooking. You could use these to make some really tasty Chicken Parmigiana sandwiches, too... don't forget to try it with Alfredo sauce or a creamy marinara (mix the marinara and Alfredo together - really yummy!)

Salmon Patties

1 (15 oz.) can of salmon
1 egg
1/3 cup minced onion (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup shortening (I use Criso)

Drain salmon and reserve 2 teaspoons of salmon juice in a small bowl. Add baking powder to this and let set for a few minutes.
Begin to heat the shortening so that it is hot when you place the patties in. 
Combine all ingredients (I use a fork to pick out the bones and mix everything) 
Make your patties (this will make either 5 smaller or 4 large patties) and place in the heated shortening. They crisp up and get a great color as they cook (plan on 10 to 12 minutes or so per side)

Screwball (Chocolate) Cake with Glaze Frosting

Screwball Cake:
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together using your hand mixer and bake in an ungreased pan (9x13 cake pan works fine) at 350° for 45 minutes. This is a moist, and large cake! Check on it at about 30 minutes to see how it's doing... you don't want to over bake and have it turn out dry. You can also make this cake in a Bundt pan. Baking time is about the same, and it looks fun when you pour the glaze on top. (I make the glaze a little thicker in consistency so that it just doesn't run quickly down the sides.)

If you want to make cup cakes, use cup cake liners and fill each about 2/3 full, and bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes.

** If you're wondering, this recipe does not use eggs  - thus the name, Screwball Cake. It is the best chocolate cake ever, and I know you will enjoy it.**

Glaze Frosting:
1 to 2 Tblspns. butter or margarine
1 cup (or so) Confectioner (Powdered) Sugar
hot water for mixing (using a whisk should be just fine)

Combine all ingredients. You don't want it to be too runny or too thick. If you add too much hot water, just add a bit more powdered sugar. This is really the best icing for the cake... the way that the chocolate combines with the glaze as you're eating it is heavenly.... enjoy!!

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (most often, I use shredded Parmesan - either will work)
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing  mix
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (but you can do up to 6 if needed)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix cheese, garlic powder, and salad dressing mix in a small bowl
Moisten the chicken with water and coat with the cheese mixture
Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish and bake at 400° for 25 - 30 minutes (or until cooked through)
It's always moist and yummy, and I like to serve it with vegetables.

Sausage Dip (from my dear friend, Mary Voigt)

1 cup Diced Mt. Olive Jalepenos (just fill up the measuring cup and drain the liquid)
3 lbs breakfast sausage (I use one regular and 2 hot)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups sour cream (I use light)
2 - 4 oz can chopped green chili peppers
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 - 8oz blocks of cream cheese (I use light, and it goes a little more quickly if you let it soften while you're cooking the sausage and vegetables)

Brown the sausage and drain well.
Add onion, jalepenos, green chilies, bell pepper, and saute 5 minutes or so. (I have forgotten to saute the vegetables before, and it still turned out well and tasted just fine.)
Add sour cream and cream cheese. Simmer in crock pot or large sauce pan for at least an hour (but more time won't hurt)

Serve with your favorite chips. It's great for game day or other get-togethers as it serves 24.

Spicy Corn

Instead of cooking your frozen corn (we much prefer the frozen over canned) in water, use half and half, and some Mt. Olive Diced Jalepenos.... the amount will vary depending up the amount of corn, but when cooking for 4 of us, I'll add about one tablespoon of the diced jalepenos with liquid. Cook it on the stove top as you normally would, and enjoy a spicy vegetable with your meal.

Apple Dip

8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened (I use light)
5 - 6 Tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well. Cut apples into bite-size slices and dip into mixture. (At Christmastime, serve with red and green apples to add to the festive atmosphere.)


Ranch Style Bean and Cheese Dip

1 can (15 oz) Ranch Style Beans

1 can (16 oz) Refried Beans

1 can (10 oz) Rotel (you can choose which spice level)

1 pkg (8 oz) Velveeta

1/2 cup chopped green onions (for a garnish)

and a bag of your favorite tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients except chips and green onion in a large saucepan; heat over low heat until hot; serve with tortilla chips (My girls and I like to eat this for lunch in the winter, as a 'soup' - we just don't eat it with chips, but use a bowl and spoon - it's yummy!)


Zucchini Corn Saute

4 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (about 1/4-inch slices)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 Tablespoon olive (or canola) oil
1 1/2 cups fresh corn (or frozen corn, thawed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a nonstick skillet, saute zucchini and onion in oil for 4 - 5 minutes. Stir in corn; saute 2 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. (I like to use a lid on the skillet) Sprinkle with salt, cumin, and pepper. Will serve four. This is one of our favorite side dishes!


Mississippi Roast

By Cynthia Acosta Luksich

June 14, 2013  


This is so good.... you won't want to miss out on it! You can click at the very top for the original web site posting.


3 to 4 pound chuck roast
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix (see helpful hints)
1 packet dry McCormick Au Jus mix
1 stick of butter (may use ½ stick)
5 pepperoncini peppers
Do Not Add Water ... However, my sweet friend, Amber, who shared this recipe with me says to add a cup or two so it doesn’t dry out. You can always thicken it with flour or cornstarch in a pot on the stove - it makes a delectable gravy!)



Trim the chuck roast of any excess fat and place it in a slow cooker. Sprinkle the chuck roast with the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix and Au Jus mix, place the whole stick of butter on top of the roast and add the pepperoncini. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.

This recipe makes its own gravy and is great served over rice, noodles, potatoes or your favorite starch. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad. Leftovers make great sandwiches.


Pretzel Cookies

Preheat oven to  350° F
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place desired number of pretzels on the sheet (these pretzels must have some sort of cross-crossing in the middle - it can't be just a circle or oval shape with nothing in the center) On top of the pretzels, place one Rolo, or at Christmas time, a Peppermint (red and white striped) Hershey's Kiss. Place the sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes - just enough time to soften and begin to melt the candy. Once the baking sheet is out of the oven, press an M&M of your choice into the softened candy. Let cool and serve......... how easy and yummy is that?

Hershey Pie

1 ready made graham cracker pie crust
7 - 9 ounces Hershey Chocolate (no nuts...You can make it more 'chocolate-y' or less 'chocolate-y' depending on your taste buds)
16 ounce tub of Cool Whip

Place chocolate in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave about 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between until chocolate is melted and smooth. (this usually only takes 40 seconds in my microwave) Add 8 ounces of the Cool Whip to the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed.
Pour into the graham cracker pie crust and place in refrigerator until set. (30 minutes to 1 hour) Cover the top of the pie with remaining Cool Whip (You don't have to use all of it, but you can if you like lots of Cool Whip!) Refrigerate at least 2 more hours so that it is well chilled. Serve, and enjoy!

Roast Chicken

5 - 6 lb whole chicken
Olive Oil
Chicken Bouillon
Spray Butter (or butter of your choice)
1 Medium Onion (cut into wedges)
McCormick's Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb seasoning (or an herb chicken seasoning of your choice)
Garlic Powder
Lemon Pepper

Rinse the chicken in sink and remove the neck and other parts; drizzle olive oil in bottom of roasting pan; sprinkle bouillon over the olive oil; place chicken breast side down in roasting pan; stuff the chicken with the onion wedges (this step is key - I made the chicken once without onion and it wasn't nearly as tasty); spray with butter (you could also rub the butter on with your fingers, but I prefer to use the spray butter); sprinkle with the McCormick seasoning, garlic powder, and lemon pepper; add water (with the pan I use, I end up adding 2 1/2 to 3 cups) to about half-way up the bird - this makes a great broth to use for recipes which call for chicken broth! Place in oven at 325° F for about 3 hours (it's usually cooked in 2 1/2 hours, but I like to leave it in for 3 hours - sometimes 3 1/2 hours - it just seems to be more tender and smells fantastic!) It's great with mashed potatoes and vegetables, but sometimes I like to serve it with all vegetable sides - so yummy!  Enjoy!!



   (this is a recipe that my husband invented...our older daughter enjoyed making it with him and wrote down the recipe, thus the name)


2 ½ cups shredded roast chicken (we use the leftovers from the roast chicken recipe above)

1 cup of Half&Half

2 tablespoons diced Jalapenos (Mt. Olive)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoons sifted flour

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup of milk

1 cup rice (to cook separately for serving)



Mix sifted flour, butter, and Half&Half well, over low heat for five minutes – whisking constantly (to make a roux) Stir in garlic and onion powder. Then add diced jalapenos, chicken, and milk. (feel free to add more jalepenos if you prefer more spice...we like to do that, too!)

Stir for 3 minutes, and serve over cooked rice.


Roasted Potatoes


4 medium potatoes

Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of Basil

1 tablespoon of Oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon lemon pepper




Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces, putting them in a bowl. Drizzle the oil all over them, making sure the potatoes are well covered. Then, add the spices. Mix well.

Place on a pan and bake in the oven at 425° F for 30 minutes. (or under tender)

Feel free to play a bit with the spices to add more or less for your taste preferences.