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Cooking column gets new name — Lick the Spoon

Shelly Moran began this column about 25 years ago as a recipe exchange for readers to share their recipes, and it remains that way. She named the column “Sharing the Best,” and I borrowed the name while getting the ball rolling with a revival, but time has come to re-christen the work.

Two weeks ago, a line from “Recipe for Life” from the Carlisle Alumni Association Cookbook begged to be used for more. Marilyn Hill Oakley, Carlisle Class of 1945, wrote “Life is what you bake; mix the right ingredients - purpose, passion, and persistence and watch your spirits rise. Find the frosting. Follow the recipe. Add your own spice - there’s no such thing as a half-baked idea. Life’s short. Lick the spoon!”

That last line leapt out — “Life’s short. Lick the spoon.” Or, just “Lick the Spoon.” So, there it is. Be sure to lick the spoon.

Recipes here need not be fancy or original; just good cooking that you and your family enjoy. A few sentences about any history behind a recipe make it all the better.

Civic service organizations, non-profit organizations, churches, school classes, EHC, 4-H, etc. can also take part. Collect six or seven recipes from members, include their names; tell about the purpose of the organization, maybe a little history; include when and where the group meets, and how to join.

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Crockpots, slow-cookers, by whichever name they go by, they have been an integral part of our household. We wear out, probably, one a year. If a dish is baked, it can likely be done in a crockpot. This is one of my favorites, though pretty much any lasagna recipe could be used by adding a little extra water for the noodles. The noodles are added uncooked - they soften during the long cooking time. Add spinach, mushrooms or whatever other ingredients desired.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 lb. ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, pork sausage, etc.)

2 tbs. dried chopped onions

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 24-oz. jar spaghetti sauce

1/2 cup water

1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese

2 cups (total) mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup (total) grated Parmesan cheese

1 whole egg

2 tsp. parsley (or 1 tbs. fresh parsley)

6 uncooked lasagna noodles

(A four- to six-quart crockpot works best.)

Brown the ground meat in a large skillet. Add the dried onions, garlic, spaghetti sauce and water and then simmer for about five minutes. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, egg and parsley. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the crockpot. Place three of the noodles on the sauce (break the noodles to fit as needed), and then half of the cheese mixture; cover with 2 cups of the sauce. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the sauce on top. Cover, and then cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with the lid and let stand for about 10 minutes (to melt the cheese) and then serve.

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Cheese-Broccoli personal meat pot pies

Not a crockpot recipe, but one is quick and easy for a change of pace, and a good way to use leftover cooked meat. Those with the wherewithal could make this from scratch, but this works pretty well for a minimal-effort meal as it is. This needs a cupcake pan to make.

1 12-oz. can refrigerated biscuits; or enough instant biscuit mix for 12 biscuits

2/3 cup shredded Cheddar or American cheese

2/3 cup crisp rice cereal

2 cups frozen broccoli cuts, thawed; or fresh broccoli cut into small pieces

1 cup cooked meat (chicken, turkey, roast beef, pork roast, etc.)

1 10-3/4 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 375F.

Lightly cook the broccoli. Not too much, otherwise it will be too soft.

Separate the biscuits.

Place one biscuit, or enough dough for one biscuit, in each ungreased cupcake cup. Form the dough to the cup, and slightly above the rim.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon each of cheese and cereal into each biscuit.

Combine the meat, broccoli and soup, mix well.

Put about a half cup of broccoli/meat mixture into each biscuit.

Bake for about 25 minutes; biscuits should be golden.

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Anyone who has spent any time at all in Nebraska has heard of runzas - a sandwich baked with a meat/cabbage/onion filling. Runzas are a popular upper-midwest specialty - so popular that the Original Runza® Sandwich has grown from a 1949 drive-into a franchise operation with more than 80 locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa. It can also be found on Facebook. While the Original Runza® Sandwich claims “secret spices,” Maria Turner of Cabot has this recipe that is very good, too.

Homemade Runzas

2 cans (or more) prepared crescent roll dough (extra large)

1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion

1 head of cabbage, cut coleslaw-style

salt and pepper to taste

dash of celery seed

Worcestershire sauce

Brown the ground beef and onion together;

Add the cabbage and seasonings, cook until the cabbage is soft;

Separate the crescent rolls into pairs of triangles – press down the perforation to seal it into rectangles.

Place filling on top of the dough; pull up the dough around the sides and pinch together.

Cook according to the crescent roll directions.

- Maria Turner, Cabot

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And for dessert, another from Maria Turner.

Italian Cream Cake

2 cups sugar

1 stick oleo

½ cup Crisco

5 eggs separated

2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 can Angel Flake coconut

Frosting-

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 1/2 sticks oleo, softened

1 1/2 boxes powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Cake: cream sugar, oleo and Crisco. Add egg yolks, one at a time, then flour, milk, baking soda, and coconut. Fold in beaten egg whites and pour into three 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cool and frost.

Frosting: Cream softened cream cheese, oleo, sugar and vanilla. Add nuts and spread over cake.

- Maria Turner, Cabot.

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When submitting recipes, include all ingredients and instructions. Give amounts and measures as well as sizes of cans and packages. It is also helpful to know sizes of dishes or pans used. Include your name, city of residence and phone number; the phone number will not be published but is needed should questions arise while preparing for print. If handwritten, please print. Submissions are first-come-first-printed, and are subject to editing for style, grammar and space.

Original photos of recipe results are invited but are subject to space limitations; attach pictures to the email in jpeg format; or include a photo when mailing or hand-carrying to the newspaper office. Photos must not be copyrighted.

Hand-carry to the appropriate office:

Carlisle Independent - 209 N. Court Street, Suite 3B, Carlisle,

Lonoke Democrat - 402 N. Center St., Lonoke, 72086

Cabot Star-Herald - 206 Plaza Blvd., Suite G, Cabot, 72023

Or send to:

By e-mail - news@cabotstarherald.com, with “Sharing the Best” in the subject line.

By U.S Postal Service - SHARING THE BEST, Cabot Star-Herald, P.O. Box 1058, Cabot, AR 72023.

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