Pillsbury Complete Cook Book


It was August 25th, 2001, when I married my best friend.  On that day, just before taking that walk down the aisle, my Dad came into the room and said that I would never believe it, but Wilma Dominic (the sweet, receptionist that worked at our doctor’s office, and who we had known for years) was my future husband’s aunt!  It was a great surprise.  This cookbook, Pillsbury Complete Cook Book was given to us for our wedding, by Aunt Wilma and Uncle Bob.  I’ve turned to this cookbook a number of times through the years.  With our 16th wedding anniversary right around the corner, I decided to pick a recipe from this cookbook to review and write a blog post.

Here are two pictures of Aunt Wilma and me.  I think they were taken in 2006.  I love this amazing woman!  I just wished she lived closer, so we could visit more often.



After flipping through the cookbook, I decided to roast a chicken.  I love chicken, especially roasted or baked chicken, but I don’t make it very often.  I guess I’ve just never found that tried and true roasted chicken recipe, that is…. until now!   This recipe is delicious!  It’s seasoned just right and was really moist and tender.  I only made two small changes.  First, I forgot to use fresh garlic, but it was fine how it was.  Second, I sprinkled a little lemon pepper seasoning on top, before roasting.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.   I hope you will give this recipe a try, as you won’t be sorry!


Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken

1 (4-6 lb.) whole chicken

1 lemon, thinly sliced

2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes, divided

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon butter, softened

Lemon pepper seasoning


Heat oven to 425F.  Remove and discard neck and giblets from the cavity.  Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Loosen skin covering chicken breast.  Take one lemon slice and rub it all over the chicken breast, under the skin.  Take one teaspoon dried parsley and rub it on the chicken breast, under the skin.  Take the additional 1 teaspoon parsley, along with sage and thyme and rub it into the cavity of the chicken.  Place lemon slices in the cavity.  Tie up the legs of the chicken.  Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up.  Spread the softened butter over the chicken.  Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning, if desired.  Bake at 425F for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until meat thermometer reaches 180F – 185F, when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh.  If necessary, cover chicken with a tent of foil half way through cooking, so that it doesn’t brown too much.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before carving.










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Variety Pack Favorite Recipes – Ladies of the Sacred Heart


The Variety Pack Favorite Recipes Cookbook is compiled by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, here in Houston, Texas.  I recently found this gem of a cookbook at an estate sale.  I had no idea this book existed.  It’s full of wonderful recipes, and to my surprise, there is a small section on cucuzza recipes!

Most people have never heard of a cucuzza.  A cucuzza is a long green Italian squash, which has the texture of an eggplant, but tastes more like a zucchini, but with a slight nutty taste.  I normally grow these in my backyard, but I didn’t grow any this year, as my husband hasn’t made a bed or trellis for them in our yard yet.  However, I plan to grow them next year, for sure!  I purchased this cucuzza at Canino’s Produce, off of Airline Drive.  I plant my cucuzza seeds on St. Joseph’s Day, just like my Aunt Frances always did, which is March 19th.  The seeds start off growing slow, but by June and July, the established plant grows extremely fast.  The vine can grow up to 2 feet in one day and the squash can grow up to 2 inches in one day!  They grown to the length of a baseball bat and one squash can easily be used for two recipes of your choice.  I’m attaching a photo of me with the squash.  As you can see, my puppy Shady, was intrigued with the cucuzza, and wanted a bite.


Naturally, I decided to try a recipe to use the cucuzza I had purchased over the weekend.  It was hard to choose, but I finally decided on “Creole Ro-Tel Cucuzza”.   Now, if you don’t have a cucuzza, you can use zucchini instead.  This was a simple meal to make and I served it  over rice, along with garlic bread.  It would have been delicious with a salad, but I was out of lettuce.  Here is the recipe, with just a few minor changes.  I’m not fond of lima beans, but I put in a smaller can than the recipe called for, because my husband likes them.  However, I’d be happy without them in there next time around.


Creole Ro-Tel Cucuzza

1 (2-3 pound) cucuzza, peeled and diced

1 large yellow onion, chopped

Olive oil, for sautéing

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 cup water

1 (8.5 oz.) can Del Monte lima beans, rinsed and drained

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté cucuzza and onion in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once they are translucent, remove from skillet.  Brown ground beef in skillet, until done; drain.  In skillet, combine cucuzza, onion, and browned ground beef.  Add Ro-Tel, , tomato sauce, water, lima beans, garlic, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.






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Sorry for being MIA!

Dear Cooking Friends,

I’m so sorry for being missing in action for so very long.  It was never my intent to be gone for so long without a post.  It seems that live got really busy and one thing led to another, and before I knew it, my blog was casted to the side because life happens.  However, since we last spoke, I’ve had two kids graduate from college, one kid tie the knot, and my husband and I have moved to a new home.  However, we are now settled into our new home and I’m ready to try some new recipes and post on my blog again.  I do hope you will accept my apology and continue to follow me in my cooking adventures!

Many thanks!





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The Bush Family Cookbook

bush1A few weeks ago, I stopped in to look around in a resale shop around the corner from my house.  I always check out the cookbook section, just to see if there is anything I can’t live without.  I know… I really don’t need another cookbook added to my collection.  It’s an illness, I believe (at least my husband thinks so).  LOL   Anyways, I found a cookbook called The Bush Family Cookbook and I immediately thought, “I wonder is this is the same Bush family as our past presidents?”   After all, they were from Texas and President H.W. Bush and Barbara live in Houston, so it could be!  I immediately decided to buy the book, although I had only flipped through it quickly.  Once I got home, I found that there was a contributor by the name of “Logan, Laura Bush (Mrs. George)”.  I thought “Wow, could it be one in the same!”, but then I got to thinking that the maiden name of “Logan” didn’t sound right.  So a quick internet search found that Laura Bush’s maiden name is actually Welch.  So, I guess this cookbook by the Bush family might not be the same Bush family as our former presidents, but I still found it to be a neat book, full of wonderful recipes.  This cookbook was printed in 1976 and has some writing in the inside cover that says “Margaret, Hope you can use and enjoy some of our favorite family recipes, Josh and Maurine, Sept. 15, 1976”.  After carefully looking through the book, I decided to pick a recipe submitted by Laura Logan Bush, called  “Fruit Cocktail Torte”.  It is really easy to put together and it reminds me a little of a peach cobbler recipe that my Maw Maw used to make when I was a kid.  I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, but I would use less brown sugar next time around, as I found it to be too sweet.

bush2Fruit Cocktail Torte

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

1 (16 oz) can fruit cocktail, drained

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Sift together sugar, flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix in egg.  Add drained fruit cocktail and mix.  Place mixture in a greased 7X11-inch glass baking pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.  Bake for 1 hour at 300F.  Serve warm or at room temperature with Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.

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The Best of the Best from Louisiana

BOOK1I’m not exactly sure where I acquired this cookbook, but it’s been in my collection for a long time. I’m talking about “The Best of the Best from Louisiana”, published by Quail Ridge Press, Inc. in 1984. This is a collection of recipes from Louisiana’s favorite cookbooks. What’s not to love about the food from Louisiana??? Naturally, I wanted to make sure the recipe I tried from this cookbook was truly “Cajun” in nature, which is why I chose to make “Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish” recipe. OK, so I didn’t use redfish, I used catfish, but it was excellent! I’d recommend this recipe to anyone who loves blackened catfish. However, I will warn you, you really need to COOK THIS OUTSIDE! More on that later. Paul Prudomme, if you don’t recognize his name, is a celebrity chef, famous for his Cajun cuisine. He has written a number of cookbooks and has owned several restaurants, so when I came across this recipe, I just knew it would be delicious.  I didn’t have redfish on hand, so I substituted catfish and made a few other slight changes to the recipe.  The recipe below includes the changes I made.   I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine did.  This is going to be my go-to recipe for blackened fish in the future.

Now, I’d highly suggest you COOK THIS OUTSIDE, as it will smoke up your house, set off your fire alarms, and upset you dog.  Your teen might even come out of their room to see what all the smoke is from and ask if the house is on fire.  I will tell your from experience, that it smokes that bad!   So please, take my advice and cook this outside.  But don’t pass up this recipe just because it needs to be cooked outside, it is definitely worth the trouble!


Paul Prudhomme’s blackened Redfish

3-4 redfish fillets (I used catfish) **See Note Below

2 dried bay leaves, finely crushed

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 stick butter, melted

NOTE:  It is important to use a fillet that is no less than 8 oz. and no more than 12 oz, otherwise, it won’t cook properly.

When ready to cook, place a heavy, cast-iron, deep skillet or Dutch oven on the burner and heat up to high.  You must use cast-iron, as no other metal can take this high heat!  Heat until skillet is almost “white hot”, you want to get it hot enough to see a “flame circle” in the center.  Remember, you are heating this dry, no oil, butter, etc..  While you are heating the skillet, lay the fillets out on a baking sheet or large plate.  Fill all the spices together in a bowl.  Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the fillets and slightly pat the spices on to the fillet, on both sides.  Dip each fillet into the butter, coating completely.  The immediately drop them into the hot skillet.  It might be best to do them one at a time.  The fish is going to sizzle, pop, and smoke, but that’s OK.  That is what it is supposed to do.  Cook for about a minute, then flip the fish over and let it cook for another minute or so until you think it is done.  (The original recipe says cook 30-40 seconds per side, but mine needed more than that.  I think it will depend on the thickness of your fillets).  When done, there should be a brown crispy crust on the outside, but the fish inside should be light, tender and flaky.

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Best of the Best from Minnesota Cookbook

minnesotaThe Best of the Best from Minnesota Cookbook, as the name suggests, is a selection of recipes from Minnesota’s favorite cookbooks.  This book was edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley and was printed in 1997.  I have several of these cookbooks from other states and I really like them because they do choose the “best” recipes from cookbooks from that particular state.

I decided to look for a quick bread or bar recipe that Vince could eat for breakfast during the week.  He gets up so early that he normally just eats a poptart or a bowl of cereal and I know that gets old pretty fast.  Thumbing through this book, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Bars that originally came from the Old Westbrook Evangelical Lutheran Church Cookbook.  Vince loves carrot cake and this particular recipe would be similar in flavor, in that it’s a spice cake with cream cheese icing.  Perfect!  This bar is more like a cake and it’s super moist and have a great flavor.  It’s definitely a recipe I’d make again.

As with all recipes I write about, I did make a few changes to the recipe and the recipe printed below reflects my changes.

Pumpkin Bars 

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

2 cups granulated sugar

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


1 (8 oz. package) cream cheese, softened

3/4 stick butter

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, canola oil, granulated sugar and canned pumpkin.  Mix well.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, ginger and cloves and mix to combine.  Pour mixture into a greased 9X12-inch baking pan.  Bake for 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean, when inserted in the middle of bar.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For icing, combine all icing ingredients, mixing well; then ice the bars.

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June 29, 2012 · 9:44 AM

Treasured Recipes – The Ladies of Sacred Heart

This cookbook was published in 1998 by The Ladies of Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas. The recipes were submitted by its members and is filled with wonderful recipes, many of which are Italian recipes. Over the years, I’ve tried many recipes from this cookbook and I’ve always been pleased with the results.

I purchased my copy at one of the Sacred Hearts weekly Thursday spaghetti lunches. If you live in Houston, I’d highly recommend visiting them for lunch. They are located at Whitney Hall, which is off of I-45, near Crosstimbers and Airline. They serve from 11:00 AM – 1:15 PM every Thursday. This Catholic’s men society has been serving these lunches since 1953 and their menu includes: spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sausage, fried chicken, salad, garlic bread, Italian cream cake and cannolis. It’s similar in taste to my Aunt Frances’ sauce (at least from what I remember it’s been so many years), so I’m naturally a fan.

Anyways, back to the cookbook, I decided to try a few new recipes so I could get back on the blog wagon, as I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while now. I apologize to my readers, so I am going to try to do better.

So over the period of two nights, I tried out several recipes. The first night I made Pork Chops and Lima’s, which I served with white rice, Italian Artichoke & Green Bean casserole, and a wheat roll. The second night I made Italian Veal Cutlets with baked potato, leftover Italian Artichoke & Green Bean casserole and a wheat roll. I love that the veal cutlet is broiled instead of fried. It makes it much healthier than my usual method of frying and I didn’t see a big difference in taste. I also found a Coconut Pie Lopez recipe that I’d love to try, but I need to get all the ingredients, so I’ll have to blog about that one later.

So as usual, I have altered the recipes to suit my families tastes. If you try out these recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Enjoy!

porkchopsPork Chops Navy Beans

1 can Navy beans, rinsed and drained

1 medium onion, sliced

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

4 boneless pork chops (3/4 – 1″ thick)

Ground black pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

Rinse and drain navy beans and set aside. In a large skillet, brown pork chops on each side until slightly brown. Place chops in a greased 9X13-inch baking dish. In saucepan, add sliced onions and grill a few minutes to soften. Then add soup and milk and stir until well combined. Add beans and stir. Pour over chops. Cover and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Italian Artichoke & Green Bean Casserole

1 can Progreso Artichokes packed in water

3 cans cut green beans

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Seasoned Italian bread crumbs

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Olive oil

Rinse and drain both the artichokes and the green beans. Place in a mixing bowl. Add bread crumbs and minced garlic to mixing bowl and toss the artichokes and green beans to coat. Place coated artichokes and grean beans into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Grate Parmesan cheese on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Bake at 350F for about 25-30 minutes until heat through.

Italian Veal Cutlet

4 veal cutlets

Italian bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and garlic powder.  In another shallow bowl, place about 1/2 cup olive oil.  Salt and pepper the veal cutlets.  Then dip each one in olive oil and coat both sides.  Then dip the veal cutlet into the bread crumbs and press into the crumbs so that the crumbs stick on both sides.  Place the veal cutlets on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil on low until brown.  Be sure to turn veal so that both sides get brown.  Do not over broil.


June 20, 2012 · 9:06 AM