Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Use the entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin to create these tasty and timely cookies!

I first made these pumpkin cookies years ago. Everyone was blown away by them.

There is nothing more annoying than finding a recipe which requires a partial container of an ingredient leaving you with the dilemma of either making a double batch or tossing things into the trash.

This cookie recipe requires the entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin to create melt in your mouth cookies that are a bit unexpected.



Frasier (2023)

Dare I say it? I’m enjoying this reboot.

Dr. Frasier Crane is back and he really has not changed all that much. Or has he? So far the jury is out.

I discovered the original Frasier somewhere around season 2 after the topsy turvy tumultuous first season where Frasier and his father, Martin, moved in together in Seattle.

The foundation of the series was the relationship between Frasier and Martin who were as different as night and day. Martin was a retired police officer who had been injured on the job. Frasier was the oldest of his two sons, both who were more interested in things far different than beer and poker.

The show was sharply written, creatively cast and beautifully performed.

When I learned that there was the possibility of a newer version of Frasier I admit I was hesitant. Reboots are often disappointing.

Paramount+ dropped the first two episodes of the series recently and I sat down to test the waters watching each episode separately just to see what I thought.

Dr. Frasier Crane is back…pompous, inflated ego, oblivious, and well meaning. And 20 years older and wiser. Mostly.

This new series is excellently cast. Kelsey Grammar has not missed a beat. The new characters are holding their own and making their marks. James Burrows is back as director (hooray!) which provides a solid foundation to tie both series together. The writing is as sharp and funny as I had hoped it would be.

I’m glad I took the time to check it out. So far, I’ve not been disappointed.

New episodes drop every Thursday on Paramount+.

Cooking · Food

Skillet Casserole

Customize to your heart’s content

I have been craving tuna casserole lately but have not been in the mood to start up the oven. I found an interesting recipe over on Campbell’s and it worked a treat. Upon reflection, however, I thought that the basic recipe could be adapted to whatever you had on hand.

One Pot Skillet Casserole

Switch up items to suit your taste or pantry
Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 5


  • tbsp butter
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 10.5 ounce can Cream Of … Soup use your favorite
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup UNCOOKED medium pasta small shells would work
  • 10 ounces cooked protein canned tuna, chicken, left over roast
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons, crushed


  • Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the celery and cook for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp.
  • Stir in the soup, water and uncooked pasta and heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the tuna and 1/3 cup cheese and cook until the mixture is hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the croutons and the remaining 1/3 cup cheese (the heat from the pasta mixture will melt the cheese).


Customize based on what you have on hand.
  • canned tuna
  • canned chicken
  • left over roast chicken, pork or beef
Use whatever cream soup or make your own.
Add in some frozen vegetables during the last 5 minutes.
Instead of croutons, use chow mein noodles.

How will you create this recipe?

Cooking · Food · Meal Building Blocks

The Curated Pantry Is The Magic Pantry

If you have been around here for any length of time, you know I often speak about my Magic Pantry (aka: Pantry Magic). The Magic Pantry is a collection of foodstuffs that enable me to create a variety of meals without being tied to a set meal plan. For those of us who like more versatility or variety, this is the perfect starting point.

The magic pantry might take a bit of time to develop but it is an easy process. Last week we talked about developing a shopping list based on menu items for the week. But what if you don’t shop every week? You can tailor your shopping to the amount of menu items you need, so don’t worry.

In my case, as a rule I shop monthly splitting my list between items from my local market and Yelloh. I have a reasonably set list of things I purchase to give me a base to pull recipes for. Every once in a while I will find a special or sale on something that catches my eye or I will find I am in the mood for something a bit out of the ordinary.

As cold weather moves in, I find I really enjoy making casseroles or putting items in my slow cooker (don’t forget those show cooker liners!) So, how does this include my Magic Pantry?

Casseroles are usually a combination of a cream sauce or soup, a starch, a protein and a vegetable or two or three. Now creating the cream sauce is not that difficult but you can use canned cream soups. Look for low sodium versions. I’ve used evaporated milk instead of cream in my sauces and they come out as rich and flavorful as if I used cream or full fat milk.

Some of us have our favorite casseroles but if you are stuck or looking for new recipes Taste of Home has an interesting collection of 60 of their favorite casseroles. Click the link HERE to see their list.

So, thinking about the magic pantry, I will need to have cream soup, rice or pasta, cheese, vegetables, something for a topper…perhaps bread crumbs or fried onions or maybe croutons that I can crush. I can use canned fish or chicken or pull same from the freezer or use ground beef or turkey. You get the idea.

Frankly, I’ve been thinking a lot about tuna casserole lately. I haven’t made one in years, but it seems to be heading to my menu soon!

Another thing I love to have is an alternative to a Make A Mess meal. My Make A Mess meals are those that require a bit more effort than usual. Sometimes they are just what I am in the mood for but other times I need to find an alternative.

My Chicken Parmesan is dead easy! Yelloh has some fabulous Italian style chicken breasts that are a regular on my order. Rao’s Marinara sauce is also a pantry staple. I simply bake up the chicken I need, cook pasta and heat the sauce, top with cheese and I have a Chicken Parmesan that is tasty, easy and economical. I can make some garlic bread to go along with it, too.

That same sauce and pasta could be matched with ground meat for Spaghetti Night or the chicken could be added to a plate with rice pilaf and steamed veggies.

If you would like to check out Yelloh’s latest catalog click on the link HERE. You could get 25% off your first order.

As you begin to develop your list of favorite meals, don’t forget to make notes of the brands you have tried. Quite often I try different brands of sauces, condiments, etc. Some I like, some I’m not a fan of, and every once in a while I find something amazing. This is especially important if you shop in a store that does not always carry nationwide brands.

Food For Thought

Now might be a good time to add a bag of cooking apples to your pantry. You can use them for a pie, a crisp, to make an apple cake or apple sauce. We are heading into the Fall Holidays, so keep this in mind as you contemplate your grocery shopping. Buying in advance those items you know you will use later can save you time and stress later on when prices and quantities shift.

Cooking · Food

Tackling Your Food Budget

Where To Start

If you browse YouTube or Pinterest you will find a huge quantity of material focusing on meal prep, meal planning and saving money. Lots of great ideas that may, or may not, work for you.

Before I dive in I want to make sure you understand that there are lots of ways to tackle your food budget and plan meals. They are not ‘new’ by any means as this is something that has been ongoing for as long as folks have been around. The trick, if you want to call it one, is to find the method that works for you and your family. What works for a small household might not work for larger families and vice versa. This is what works in my household.

Step One: What do you like to eat?

Simple, right? Maybe. Have you ever sat down and thought about what you like to eat? Grab some paper and a pen and make some notes.

  • What do you like to eat?
  • What do you NOT like to eat?
  • Are there any food allergies?
  • Are there any dietary requirements?
  • Are you a beginner cook or are you reasonably skilled?
  • Do you need to have a plan you rarely deviate from or can you go to your pantry and put a meal together with what you have on hand?

You might find you like Italian dishes where pasta is a main component. You could also like Mexican meals. You might also like to have breakfast sandwiches or burritos in the freezer for a quick grab and go breakfast.

Make a list of the foods/meals you eat often, then break it down by ingredients. For example, do you eat a lot of ground beef or chicken? If you have recipes, use them to collect an Ingredient List. This is your starting point.

Quick Note: You can find a lot of tools to help you collect your recipes and shopping lists, etc. I have see some rather amazing items on Amazon in addition to some printables on Pinterest.

Step Two: Building your Pantry

I keep a basic pantry of items that I can use in many different recipes. Flexibility is the key. For example, I love pasta so I keep several varieties on hand. I can use most of the shapes in different recipes as long as I keep in mind that each shape handles sauce differently. That could be an issue depending upon the recipe. I do the same with canned beans. Sometimes a recipe calls for a particular variety. If I don’t have it on hand, it will go on the next shopping list.

Make a list of the basics that are in the recipes you want to make. As you go through this process watch for patterns or duplicates. If you have several recipes using ground beef or chicken, note that you can purchase family packs which will save you money and you can break them down into smaller containers for the freezer.

Step Three: Create Your Shopping List

The very first thing you need to do is create a meal plan based on the time frame you set. List all the meals you will be cooking from home.

Shop your pantry first. What do you already have on hand? Subtract those items from your list. Are you getting low on any of your staples? You might want to add those items to your list. (Don’t forget coffee, tea, sugar, flour, salt, pepper, etc.)

Check the weekly ads for the stores you frequent. Shopping the sales ads can save you money. One of my local chains has a 5 for $25 sale. Five different items found in the meat department for $25. Each package is roughly 1 pound. They offer a variety of meats, fish and poultry. When you do a cost comparison and keep in mind that many recipes only call for one pound of a protein, this could be a great option.

On the other hand, I like to purchase large quantities when I can so I can cook ahead. I think of it as money in the freezer.

I also prefer to purchase frozen vegetables and fruits because they save me money. Picked and processed at the peak of freshness and flavor these items won’t go bad when I have a week where I don’t want to use them or have forgotten about them. There are a few items I buy in the can for the same reason.’

Contemplating buying in bulk? Don’t forget to check to be sure you have the space to store your purchases.

Create your list based on the meals you want to make and the ads from your local market. Before you head out to your local grocery store you might want to take a look at this article from the Food Network: 11 Grocery Shopping Mistakes.

You have the basics. As you fine tune your pantry and your budget you will find other options and recipes to help keep costs under control.

Classic TV · Media · Movies · Old Time Radio · TV

Down The Rabbit Hole

Where one thing really does lead to another.

As you probably know, I love the ‘extras’ on the DVDs. I love to learn more about the behind scenes work that is part and parcel to any film or TV show. I also love digging about on where I can learn more about a performer which often leads to delving into shows, films, etc.

I rarely know what I will find when I start nosing away. Lots of ‘I didn’t know that’ moments appear out of nowhere. For example, I grew up with Bob Hope and Jack Benny (to name but a few) on my TV. I had no idea they had long careers in radio and film. The impact Lucille Ball had on television is astounding – and that is beside her iconic I Love Lucy show.

I love ‘discovering’ a performer. Sometimes what I think I know is not nearly the whole story. Some careers are mind boggling. Others are eye opening.

As for those extras on the DVD package, they can be fun, informative, interesting and a nice addition to the main event. You never know until you dive in.

Classic TV · Media

Do You Remember Humphrey The Bear?

Many decades ago Humphrey the Bear was introduced to the weekly viewers of the Wonderful World of Disney. He and the ranger made at least 2 different shorts for Disney which were focused on the Disney version of Yellowstone Park. I’ve had a soft spot for the bear ever since first encountering him in my living room all those years ago. What follows is not only my favorite of the shorts, but one many folks claim as their favorite, too.

I make no apologies for the ear worm. Enjoy!