Cooking · Dining · Food

I Don’t Often Eat Over The Sink

But sometimes it is the easiest, and cleanest, ways to enjoy things you might not have very often.

We recently were benefited by a rather large snowstorm that shut pretty much everything down for a few days. Not a regular occurrence around here. Because I paid attention to the warnings, I ordered groceries earlier than I normally would and, because it just seemed like the thing to do, I picked up some things I don’t normally buy.

I have to say that the change in menu has been wonderful!

The first thing off the bat was a lucky purchase of a couple of pounds of ground beef at a price that was palatable. I cooked it up and put it in the fridge so I could use it for a variety of meals.

I found a can of chili for chili dogs – something I never knew you could buy – and tucked it alongside the hot dog buns. The hot dogs were in the fridge along with the cooked hamburger and cheese. Because I really wanted something salty, I picked up a box of different snacks, which included some Fritos. So I had the makings for a Frito pie, or chili cheese dogs, or even tacos.

Yep, I picked up some taco shells, too. I don’t normally pick up the premade shells but this time it just seemed like a good idea. I tucked them into the oven to crisp up while I reheated the meat and pulled the cheese out of the fridge.


Messy. Tasty. Silly fun that I really did need to eat over the kitchen sink. 😀

While I don’t recommend this type of spurge very often, it is quite a nice change of pace from the standard chicken, pork, or whatever that is part and parcel of the regular meal plan.

And did I forget to mention that it worked perfectly with the snow days when we really couldn’t order in or go out for anything at all?

Cooking · Food

Magic Pantry Strikes Again!

Hot Dogs. Pork and Beans. Cornbread

This family favorite is a combination of budget friendly, kid friendly, time friendly foods.

Last week I stocked some items in my pantry that would be easy to fix if the weather turned (it did) and things got a bi dicey. Frankly, I got several bits of comfort foods that I don’t normally buy, but they have made wonderful meals while the weather outside was awful.

This recipe is not quite corndogs, not quite beans and franks, not quite … and a bit of all of them.

Beans, Dogs, and Corn Bread

Not quite corn dogs and more than beans and hot dogs with a side of corn bread.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 8 x 8 square baking pan


  • 15 ounce Pork and beans
  • 1 package hot dogs
  • 1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan with baking spray.
  • Slice the hot dogs and place them in the baking pan. Cover with the pork and beans.
  • Combine the milk, egg, and cornbread mix as per the instructions on the box. Pour the mixture over the beans and hot dogs in the baking pan.
  • Bake until the top is brown and tests done using a toothpick.
    Be sure to insert the toothpick as close to the bottom of the pan as possible.


This quick and easy pantry recipe will be a hit for anyone who loves hot dogs, pork and beans, or cornbread. 
It is easy on the budget too, because you don’t need to purchase expensive ingredients to make a wonderful meal.
The beans and hotdog mixture will keep the batter from baking quickly, so it is important to check for doneness before you serve.

You can easily double or triple this recipe just be sure to use a baking dish that is big enough and to allow enough time for the batter to cook through.


A Little Something Extra

When I was a kid, convenience foods were not common in our home. It was an EVENT when store bought TV dinners or pot pies were on the table. I emphasize ‘store bought’ because my mom would save the aluminum foil pans to make her own and tuck them away in the freezer.

Now, when I’m looking for a touch of comfort food, I enjoy the occasional store bought pot pie or even a TV dinner.

The other night I found myself contemplating tucking one of those delicious pot pies into the oven. As I recalled the lovely end result (hey, to each his/her own) I remembered that I have a pot of rice in the fridge. Hmmm. Could I?

I did!

When I put the pot pie into the oven to bake, I took about a cup of the rice out and put it on the bowl I would serve the pot pie in. When the pot pie was done, I turned it out over the rice. Yum!

The rice soaked up the extra gravy and also bulked out the meal a bit. Maybe a bit over the top, but on a cold winter day this toasty tasty meal hit just the right note.

Why not treat yourself to a touch of comfort food and step it up a notch by adding something a little extra?


Cooking · Food

Cozy In The Kitchen

For decades I’ve been enjoying, indulging, learning, and basically having a great time watching TV cooks in their respective kitchen. I’ve learned a lot, enjoyed a lot, and come away with not only an appreciation of the tips and techniques they’ve shared, but in many cases grown a desire to have a seat at their table to sample the wonders they’ve created.

Who are these teachers?

  • Here is a partial list in no particular order:
  • Julia Child
  • Jacques Pepin
  • Lidia Bastianich
  • Rick Bayless
  • Mary Berry
  • Rachel Allen
  • Graham Kerr
  • The Hairy Bikers

These people, and many others, have taught me a lot about regional cuisine. They’ve shared their passion for the foods they love and create while inspiring me to try new things, incorporate techniques into my own food creation.

I have discovered that many of the series that these folks created are now available on many of the free streaming platforms available. They are wonderful to watch – some are not as old as you might think.

If you are looking for something new to watch, interested in learning more about a method or cuisine, I invite you to take a few minutes to run a search or two or three and find these folks on your TV. Enjoy!

Cooking · Food · Recipe of the Month

Revisiting the Fresh Apple Cake

If you need the directions to the Fresh Apple Cake, check out the printable below.

Fresh Apple Cake

This has become a fast favorite.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 12 people


  • bundt pan Tube pan


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts OR pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup raisins OR dried cranberries
  • 4 cups peeled, sliced OR shredded tart apples


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour bundt or tube pan.
  • OPTIONAL: soak raisins in 1 -2 tbsp of rum and set aside.
  • Prepare apples.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars and oil. Add eggs and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, folding in the nuts, raisins, and apples.
  • Spoon into the prepared bundt or tube pan.
  • Bake for 75 to 90 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a cake plate.


You can change out the nuts or leave them out completely.
You have the option to replace the nuts with raisins and or dried cranberries.
Be sure to add the soaking liquid (rum) with the raisins.
You have the option of slicing, chopping, or shredding the apples. 

Cooking · Dining · Food

Guilty Pleasure: Vinnie’s Vittles

I have to admit, I miss Vinnie’s Vittles on YouTube. That is not to say the channel is not still there, along with all those great recipes. Sadly, due to a lot of things, mostly time related to the growth of Maymay Made It, Vinnie (Maymay’s trusty sidekick) decided to stop making videos for his channel.

Thankfully, we can all go back to earlier postings to see what delights he brought to the table. And there are lots of them!

Vinnie loves to cook and loves to find easy, flavorful recipes that don’t take a lot of time or ingredients but give great flavor.

Head over to YouTube and type ‘Vinnie’s Vittles’ in the search box to go to his channel. Browse the recipes and dive in. There are lots to enjoy!


Kitchen Bucket List: Apple Cake

This recipe has been on my Kitchen Bucket List for far too long! I finally had all the ingredients on hand and decided to give it a try.

P Allen Smith – Fresh Apple Cake

I suggest that you consider shredding the apples rather than slice or chop. And be sure to thoroughly grease and flour your pan.

This cake is not overly sweet and I can understand why Allen suggested it as a good breakfast item.

Give it a try!


Pantry Forage

Or, I didn’t realize I still had that!

I’ve been consciously and deliberately working to use up items in my fridge and freezer that have been there, shall we say, longer than they should have been?

No, not excessively, just long enough they should be used up.

I have a couple of bags of frozen veg that could become part of a soup or casserole. There’s some garlic and ginger that could possibly find their way to the bin because, well, you know. 😉

On the other hand, I uncovered some really great jam that had been tucked behind the mustard. It would be great on biscuits or muffins. Or maybe melted and poured over waffles or pancakes.

There’s the jar of bullion that is really, really salty. It is still there because it is really, really salty, too. Do we need to guess where it will end up?

There’s the tub of mustard sauce that I love to put on all sorts of things. Or, I did, but somehow it got relegated to the back of the fridge and really should be tossed. It’s been there that long. 🙁 Thankfully, the sauce is easy to make and I always have the components, yep you guessed it, in the fridge.

Part of the adventure of foraging through the pantry (which is fridge, freezer, and cabinets) is finding things that once were most used items and might not be now. Another part is discovering things forgotten that are still usable.

There are spots in our kitchens we visit regularly – like every day. Then there are the spots that don’t get as much attention.

Sometimes you find things you set aside for special occasions only to realize that you forgot you had them on hand when the last special occasion occurred. Why not make your next meal a special occasion and use them?

I wonder what else I will discover?

Cooking · Food

Authenticity and the Rules in the Kitchen

When to use them, when to toss them

I recently came across a discussion about authenticity of a dish, or more precisely, the lack of authenticity of a dish that caught my attention. The person relating the incident was the cook, who was presenting her version of a dish her family had innumerable times as she was growing up. The commenter told her that the dish was not ‘authentic’ based on what was the ideal from the home country.

The response to the commenter made my day: “It is authentic to the way I grew up eating it and adjusted it for my preferences now.”.

This made me consider how many cooks seem to be stuck with the idea that a recipe – any recipe – is written in stone and can not be altered for any reason. They literally put themselves into straitjackets to avoid any kind of adjustment be it necessity or creatively.

If you have ever perused a recipe website or any number of cookbooks, you will note that there are hundreds of varieties of the very same dish, each with its’ own variations. This is due to the fact that it has evolved over the years based on any number of reasons.

To be fair, there are certain, shall we call them rules, that cooks need to be aware of, if only to avoid unnecessary problems, but by being aware of those ‘rules’, they have the leeway to springboard from them to create something different.

A recent Glen and Friends video is a perfect example of what I would call springboarding. Check it out:

I love both of these recipes! My version would replace the hot pepper with a bell pepper. I love the gnocchi recipe, too. It is something my father would think of as cornmeal mush (something he would avoid) but I find an interesting and much easier method to produce a flavorful base for the stew.

Food is fluid in so many ways. Recipes change based on location, availability, tastes. When you step out of the straitjacket and begin to experiment in the kitchen, the results can be amazing.