Woo hoo! Oyster Dressing Time is Near!

This recipe appears here every Thanksgiving, 
it's delicious!

If you love oysters, this is the way to go:  oysters, oyster liquor, Club Crackers, BUTTER, half and half, and salt and pepper.  Needs no more, no less. 

This is always a hit at Thanksgiving and disappears as quick as a flash!

As I’ve said before, when Mom made this every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we called it oyster dressing.  Technically, it’s probably scalloped oysters…

Anyway, sadly, it doesn’t make a pretty picture, but it’s the perfect side on the Thanksgiving table, “oyster dressing!”

Mom's Oyster Dressing

Thanksgiving dinner is not complete until this dish is on the table! Use butter, use half and half!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 60 mins


  • 2 pints, shucked oysters, reserving liquor
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 sleeves Club Crackers*
  • 3/4 to 1 cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish liberally.
  2. Crumble cracks into chunks.
  3. Spread half of the crackers in the baking dish.
  4. Top with one pint of oysters.
  5. Slice butter and dot with 1/2 stick.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Pour reserved oyster liquor over top.
  9. Pour half and half over all,  just to top of layers, do not cover completely.
  10. Bake in 375° oven till bubbly and top is brown, about 30-45 minutes.
  11. *Use less crackers for a crisper dish.


Baked Salmon with Robust Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce

Salmon fishing in Oregon

Kind of funny, Bubba (the seafood lover) reminds me now and then of how, when he and Matt were growing up, I used to never like fish or any seafood except for tuna and salmon, the 2 he didn't like at all back then and still doesn't.  And of course those were the only ones I served back then, pleasing Matt.

These days, I like fish and some seafood, serving it most weeks here, with Bill tolerating salmon.
That's when I pep up salmon for Bill and I at dinner time, turning to this piquant sauce uniting blue cheese, cucumber and dill for the salmon.  It's a perfect combo!

There's nothing bland about this little sauce which you can whip up in no time.  In my book, piquant blue cheese always puts pizzazz in a dish!

As salmon is readily available, versatile and simply delicious, the quick prep time of this recipe and its short list of ingredients, makes it an even better dish ~ perfect for a weeknight meal or company too!

Cook this for your dinner tonight:  salmon, with a zesty sauce; a little green salad, and broccoli, maybe a glass of bubbly, and Voila!  You have yourself a great tasty dinner!

By the way, the sauce makes a great salad dressing for a wedge of iceberg lettuce.  

It will make you wonder why you ever ate kale salad, for sure!

Yield: 2-3 servings

Baked Salmon with Creamy Blue Cheese, Cucumber and Dill Sauce

This piquant sauce will jazz up your salmon deliciously!


For the salmon:
  • 1-1/2 pounds slab of salmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the blue cheese, cucumber and dill sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (light, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Dash of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Place salmon on baking sheet, skin side down and brush with oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on thickness, and until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile:
  5. Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Makes 1-1/2 cups


In Honor of Veterans Day...

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary marking the end of World War I.  Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

U.S. Army Private Bill 1965

President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American Wars.

As of 2016, there are 18.5 million veterans living in the United States, according to the Census Bureau.  A large proportion of the veteran population, 9.2 million, are aged 65 and older, while 1.6 million are younger than 35.

Odds are that someone in your life has served the military, and my someone is my dear husband, Bill.  He proudly served in the United States Army from 1965-1968, with most of his service time in Bamberg, Germany, ending in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO as Sgt. E5, Machine Gun Instructor.

Sgt. Bamberg, Germany, Sept., 1965

Sgt. E5, Machine Gun Instructor Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.  1968

Many thanks to Bill and all veterans across the country, who served in defense of our great country, protecting our freedom.  God Bless you all…


Midwestern Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes and My 8 Year Blogiversary!

Spoon chicken and noodles over what?  Mashed potatoes, really!  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

It isn’t soup, it’s not a potpie, it’s a hotdish ~ it’s thick and creamy noodles topping a mound of mashed potatoes.

Creamy, rich gravy smothers bites of savory chicken, chewy noodles and mashed potatoes. You haven’t eaten Midwestern food until you eat this for supper!

We like mushrooms with the noodles, skip them if you don’t.  Chop up and add carrots or celery, if you desire.  I poached chicken breasts, but I’ve also picked the meat off a rotisserie chicken when in a hurry.  

It may not make a pretty picture, but it more than makes up for it in goodness.  And if you have leftovers, it’s your lucky day!

Chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes is a great hearty homestyle one-dish meal for a crisp evening, any day of the week!

As a side note ~ I was recently reminded that I  have been blogging for 8 years now.  I started this blog October 29, 2009, that's a lot of posts!  Back then, I just wanted a way to organize and document family recipes.

I look back and cringe at some early posts, the writing, the photos.  But what makes up for that is the great people I have virtually "met" along the way.  I feel like I truly know many of you who share the same passion I do:  food.

I've seen a lot of blogs come and go over the years and I've learned a lot along the way from reading what you share ~ whether your travels, books you've read, music you like, food from your kitchen or in restaurants, I've enjoyed it all!

Thank you for all for visiting here and your positive comments!  

And I give a special thank you to our older son, Bill, Jr., Bubba here on my blog, for helping me to start it all!  Couldn't have done it without you, son! 

Here's to 8 more years... 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Midwestern Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

Midwestern hearty chicken and noodles at it's best!


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large jar of Heinz Homestyle Chicken Gravy
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Enough mashed potatoes for everyone


  1. In a large skillet, or pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, and sauté until cooked.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or blender, whisk 1/4 cup broth and flour until smooth, no lumps. Stir into skillet mixture.
  3. Add remaining broth, gravy and soup to mixture, stir well, bring to a boil.
  4. Add noodles. Cover and cook until noodles are almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add more broth if needed.
  5. Stir in chicken and heat through. Add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve immediately over mashed potatoes.


Add more broth or water as needed, the noodles soak it up.
This dish should be just a touch soupy, but much thicker than a noodle soup.  
Takes about 1 hour, total time to prepare.


It's Nutter Butter Ghosts Here!

Ghosts, maybe with the exception of Casper the Friendly Ghost, are a whole lot creepy to me; however, the little ghosts here are irresistible and don't bother me at all! 

They're super fast and easy to make...

Dip Nutter Butter cookies in melted white chocolate chips and use two mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave and dip one end of the cookie.  Place the eyes on the ghosts while the white chocolate is still soft.  

Place on wax paper until chocolate sets.  

Voila!  Nutter Butter ghosts for your ghouls and goblins to gobble up! 


Fall's Quintessential Vegetable ~~~ Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rice

Roasted acorn squash, fall’s quintessential vegetable, is made even better with a hearty mixture of rice, made with Parmesan cheese and a bit of crisp-fried bacon.


This recipe here is pretty much everything I like about fall food cooking.  It’s easy.  It uses fresh vegetables from the market.  It’s tasty delicious.  And it’s cozy and comforting.  The only hard part is cutting the squash in half.

This stuffed squash is good for a week night dinner like we just enjoyed last night, but flavorful enough to serve at a holiday dinner this for company this fall.  

I used white long-grain rice, but wild rice would be great with the squash.  There’s a hint of sweetness in the squash itself, use brown sugar or not. 


Crispy bacon crumbs and Parmesan make for a heavenly addition to the savory dish.  

The flavors of this simple side are so spot on ~ delicious with its amazing flavors and great for these cooler days!

Yield: 4 servings

Roasted Acorn Squash with Rice Stuffing

A good side of stuffed acorn squash with a rice filling that compliments many main dishes.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins


  • 2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 strips cooked crisp bacon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, brush 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the tops and insides of squash halves. Roast in oven until fork tender, about 40 to 55 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add brown sugar, onion, celery seed, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add broth and rice, bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbent, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and bacon.
  6. Carefully scoop out 2 to 3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half and stir into rice mixture.
  7. Divide rice filling among the roasted squash halves. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of butter over top.
  8. Continue roasting for 5 minutes, until warmed through.
  9. Serve


The Only Cornbread Recipe You'll Need: Dragonwagon's Skillet-Sizzled Corn Bread!

She, Crescent Dragonwagon, that is, came to understand, cornbread “not only is hot, just baked cornbread delicious, it evokes ~ powerfully ~ the heart, soul, and taste of home.”

Amen!  CORNBREAD, I love cornbread!

After making this cornbread, I know why it was the single most requested recipe at the Dairy Hollow House in Eureka Springs, Arkansas!

I’ve tried what seems like a ton of cornbread recipes and I’ve made more than one from this great cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon.  I’m just trying to figure out what took me so darn long to make this one!

Crescent Dragonwagon is her real name ~ read here ~ or buy her great cookbook, if you want to know more about it.

Dragonwagon’s cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels, is a surprising eccentric read, filled with curious antidotes and tales along the cornbread trail from the Appalachians to the Rockies to the Green Mountains.  I was hooked from the beginning to the end ~ this is just not a recipe book to take up space on your kitchen counter, it’s at home in any room.

Here’s a sample of what Crescent Dragonwagon has to say about this cornbread:

"This is the cornbread I served when I owned and ran Dairy Hollow House; it was its single most requested recipe.  It is the first Southern food I ever learned to fix and the one that started me on my cornbread journey.  I learned how to make it in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York, in 1969, when I was very young and living in a brownstone with 7 other people.  Viola, the soft-spoken lady friend of a kind neighbor, taught it to me.  Viola was from Georgia, and it was she who initiated me into baking cornbread in an already-hot skillet.”

Cornbread batter over sizzling butter-oven ready!

To me, the secret of this recipe may just be the already-hot skillet that’s filled with melting butter that’s brought to a sizzle.  And stone-ground cornmeal only makes the bread even better.  If you’ve been around my blog a while, you know it’s stone-ground cornmeal and grits in my kitchen.

This cornbread truly surprised me, and Bill too.  It is simply delicious!

Thank you, Crescent Dragonwagon for the great recipe, great cookbook!

Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread

This cornbread recipe, courtesy of Crescent Dragonwagon, is the best you will ever make! Use stone-ground cornmeal for a crispy crust, made in a sizzling iron skillet. It is my "go-to" cornbread recipe!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 35 mins


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (I added ½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup mild vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or mild vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet with oil and set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, stir baking soda into the buttermilk.
  5. Whisk in the sugar, egg and the ¼ cup oil.
  6. Put the prepared skillet over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until butter melts and is just starting to sizzle.
  7. Tilt the pan to coat sides and bottom.
  8. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and combine them quickly, using as few strokes as possible.
  9. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake the cornbread until it is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  10. Let cool for a few moments, and slice into wedges to serve.

This cornbread is the créme de la créme of cornbread! 


“He shoveled the bacon out on a plate and broke the eggs in the hot grease, and they jumped and fluttered their edges to brown lace and make clucking sounds.”

~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden


Jules-Alexandre Grun

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