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

River Road Recipes

Growing up, my Mother always had her River Road Recipes Cookbook on the kitchen counter.  I believe she probably cooked from it often.  I know that she made her fudge and French cocoa balls from this cookbook every Christmas.  When I moved out on my own, I knew this was one cookbook I would have to have in my collection.  The cookbook was published by the Junior Leage of Baton Rouge.  It was first published in 1959 and has had many printings over the years.  The recipes are tried and true and if you like southern cooking, this cookbook should be on your shelf.

One weekend back in August, my husband and I went to Canino’s produce market in the Heights.  As a child, I remember my grandpa shopping there and always bringing home a huge box of apples.  He did this about once a month when apples were in season. Canino’s produce is always fresh and they have individual local growers selling their produce in the back.  It is so much fun to go look around.   Anyways, my husband loves lima beans, in fact, I think he is the only one in our family who will eat them.  He saw a bag of frozen lima beans and quickly put them in our cart.  Well, I still had more than 1/2 a bag in the freezer, so I decided to make a recipe to use them up.  I found the perfect recipe to go with our bacon-wrapped chop steaks and baked potatoes…. “Barbecued Lima Beans”.  Believe it or not, they were really good and I even ate them.  As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe and below is my version of the barbecued lima beans.

Barbecued Lima Beans


½ pound fresh or frozen

1 smoked ham hock

1 tablespoon salt

1 clove garlic, crushed


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

Boil lima beans with ham hock, salt and garlic.  Simmer until beans are soft.  Drain, reserving ½ cup of liquid.

For sauce, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent, being careful not to burn garlic.  Add remaining ingredients for sauce; stir well.  Add cooked lima beans to sauce and stir.  Heat on stove until heated through or bake at 300F for 40 minutes.  If baking in the oven, a slice or two of bacon can be added to the top.



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Farm Journal – America’s Best Vegetable Recipes

Oh my!  Why have I not cooked anything from this book before now?  There are so many delicious looking recipes in this book!  I’m talking about a Farm Journal cookbook, titled “America’s Best Vegetable Recipes”.  My copy is a first edition, printed in 1970.  My copy is a little worn, by a previous owner, and is missing the jacket and has a worn binding.  The pages are a little discolored, but the recipes are legible.  Best of all, I picked up this little gem about five years ago at a Half Price Bookstore for $1!

My husband picked the last two heads of cabbage from our garden, so I decided to make the Cabbage Au Gratin recipe with one of the heads of cabbage.  I served it with chicken fried steak and green beans and boy was it good!  This cabbage dish reminded me a little of a broccoli rice casserole, because of the cheese sauce.  It’s probably not the healthiest of veggie dishes, but is truly a comfort food kind of dish.  I will definitely be putting this recipe in my card file and making it again.  My husband and I think an addition of rice might be good as well, so I might try that next time.

Our spring garden is now planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and squash, so I hope to make more vegetable recipes from this cookbook in the near future.  As usual, I made a few changes to the original recipe and the recipe below reflects my changes.  Enjoy!

Cabbage Au Gratin

1 large head of cabbage, torn into pieces

1 can condensed cream of celery soup

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup milk

1 8 oz block of Velveeta cheese, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cook cabbage in boiling salted water for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender.  Drain.  While cabbage is cooking, combine soup, celery, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper in a saucepan.  Heat until cheese is melted, stirring constantly so that the cheese doesn’t burn.  In a bowl, combine cooked cabbage and cheese mixture.  Pour mixture into a greased 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish.  In a small bowl, toss bread crumbs and butter together, then sprinkle on top of cabbage.  Bake at 350F for about 15-20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.  Serves 4-6.

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Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans

Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans is a cookbook that was published by the Parents Club of Ursuline Academy in 1971.  This cookbook has some very interesting information concerning the Old Ursuline Convent in New Orleans.  It was so interesting, that I did an internet search myself  and found more information.  Yes, I love to read about history.  Did you know that the Old Ursuline convent was built in 1752 and is the only remaining French-Colonial building in the United States today?   After a long hard journey at sea, the Ursulines, or Sister of Ursula, arrived in New Orleans in 1752.  They were the first to provide decent medical assistance to countless people, and they were the first to open a local school and orphanage for girls.  St. Mary’s Church was added in 1845. I won’t bore you with more history details, since this is a cooking blog, but if you would like to take a tour, it is located at 1100 Chartress Street and to see details of tours and times, you can click  http://www.neworleansonline.com/directory/location.php?locationID=1278

OK, to get back on track with my post….  I made the Tarte A. Bouillie, which means French Custard Pie.  It was a deliciously rich and sweet filling, yet the crust turned out a little dry in my opinion.  This was probably the cook’s error.  The recipe says to mix up the pie shell and place it in the pie dish.  Once you cook the filling on the stove, you are supposed to pour the filling in the shell and bake until brown on top.  Since the crust was really thick, I decided to bake it a little before adding the filling.  Perhaps I baked it too much.  The crust did have a nice flavor though.   I did made a few changes to the recipe, as I usually do and the recipe printed below reflects those changes.

Tarte A Bouillie

Tarte A. Bouillie (French Custard Pie)

Sweet Dough Crust:

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

Custard Filling:

1 1/3 cup milk

2/3 cup milk

4 eggs, beaten

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

For crust, cream shortening and sugar.  Add egg, flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Mix well and knead slightly.  Roll and dough and place in a pie dish.  Note that crust will be thick.  Pre-bake the crust for about 6-8 minutes at 400F.

For filling, bring 1 1/3 cups milk to a boil.  In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup milk, beaten eggs, flour, sugar and salt.  To prevent curdling, remove the boiling milk from the stove and SLOWLY add a little of the hot milk at a time to the cold milk and egg mixture, stirring as you add it.  Be very careful not to add to quickly because you don’t want scrambled eggs in your filling.  Once all the hot milk has been added to the mixing bowl, pour the mixture back into the sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until mixture is thick.  Stir constantly to keep from burning.  Pour filling into half-baked crust and continue baking in 400F oven until crust is slightly golden.  Keep leftover pie covered in the refrigerator.


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