Sharing Favorite Foods In Friendship

IN THE KITCHEN

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I collect cookbooks and recipes, but there are only a few things I make on any sort of a regular basis. I guess they could be considered "my favorites" -- though I wouldn't call them specialties, as they're not all that difficult to make.

Chicken Salad

(measurements are approximate)

2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken breast

1 to 2 cups cored, peeled and chopped apples (a combination of Fuji and Granny Smith is good)

1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery

1/2 to 1 cup seedless grapes (I used green)

1/2 cup pecan halves (can be toasted, but I didn't have the time)

1/2 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Dijonnaise spread

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup (scant) Splenda

salt and pepper to taste

Combine first five ingredients and set aside.

Combine (a whisk works) remaining ingredients for dressing.

Combine chicken mix with dressing. Again, measurements are approximate, I just eyeballed it. I'd suggest going slow and tasting as you go to get the flavor you want.

The original version of this is from Equal sweetener and was published on cooks.com, but I don't use Equal, so substituted Splenda (I imagine sugar would do as well).

The original called for mayonnaise and Dijon mustard (which I didn't have, hence the substitution), and also recommended serving the salad on red leaf lettuce, but I just ate it plain and was very pleased with the result.

A suggested variation uses cubed, lean smoked ham instead of chicken and pineapple chunks instead of grapes.

Quick Chili

1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef

4 heaping tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

salt and pepper to taste (about 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper)

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans chili beans (S&W or Green Giant brands are what I prefer)

Brown ground beef, seasoning with chili, garlic and onion powders, along with salt and pepper as meat starts to sizzle. Stir to distribute seasoning throughout meat.

Once beef is browned, add tomato sauce and beans. Heat through and serve with cornbread.

Chili is one of my all-time favorites and this combination (which I concocted only a couple of weeks ago) was probably the best I have come up with over the years.

I prefer using garlic and onion powders because I don't like the texture of cooked onions.

This makes a good-sized batch, enough for about two servings a day for three or four days and it seemed to improve with "age" -- probably because the seasonings had a chance to really mix in well.

Applesauce and Oatmeal Cake

1-1/4 cups applesauce

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup quick oats

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups flour

1 cup pecans

1 teaspoon soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the first 7 ingredients. Pour over the oats. Let stand 20 minutes. Then add sugars and eggs. Stir in flour, pecans soda and salt. Pour into greased, 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Serve warm with half-and-half, whipped cream or ice cream.

Other dishes I like, but have already published the recipes in past issues of the Review, are Cream of Cauliflower Soup, a fruit salad my family calls Orange Stuff and slow-cooked Round Steak with Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes.

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