Creative Cooking

Post #40 – Whitti Meals #2

This is a re-posting of my Family’s FAVORITE meals.  I originally posted this just over a year ago (Sept. 3, 2016) and I LOVE that these are recipes that we are still enjoying.  Yes, over time some of these recipes have needed a break, so I put those recipes in green.  But I also wanted to add some of the new recipes that we discovered over the last year and those will have an (*) next to them.  Lastly, I wanted to highlight some of the recipes that my family is really craving right now, so those recipes will be in purple.

As always, you are welcome to use my new Meal Plan that I made a little over a month ago.  I have LOVED having this new tool in my life.  It has literally taken the stress out of deciding what to make and it is so flexible to use.  I just choose a meal that works for each night we have and enlist the help of the family and Voilà! Dinner is served!  I did update the recipes below so you can easily find the recipe to match any meal you are interested in trying.  I will work on making a shopping list so shopping for these the ingredients can be a snap for my family and yours!  I hope you enjoy this reposting as much as I will.  ~ Wendi


Chicken Parmesan –

Lasagna – Oven or Crockpot options:

A fellow ex-pat, living in Spain, contacted me and shared this AMAZING step-by-step post, complete with pictures, that she shared on her blog for a crowd pleasing oven lasagna.  Looks yummy!  I’m excited to have some time and give this a try!  Thanks Tracy!


A yummy crockpot recipe here, but I add 2 eggs to the ricotta mixture, makes it creamier.

Spaghetti & Meatballs – I LOVE this red sauce!!!!!  I use it for EVERYTHING calling for sauce.

Pizza, Calazone, Breadstick, & Scone Dough Recipe – given to me by Emily Adair

2 1/2 cups warm water (warm to your wrist temp)

2 Tablespoons yeast

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon salt

2 Tablespoons oil

6 cups flour (I use 1/3 wheat & 2/3 white)                                    

Start by activating your yeast in 1 cup warm water and 1 T. sugar.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl or kitchen mixer, add the leftover sugar, the salt, and the oil.  Mix together.  Add yeast mixture to the mixing bowl.  Add one cup of flour and mix well, until it is creamy.  Alternate the rest of the water and cups of flour.  Keep mixture creamy until you turn the dough into a nice ball.  The ball should “clean” the sides of your bowl.  Sprinkle your counter, covered in saran wrap (a quick clean up trick) with white flour and set the ball on it and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Then shape into pizza or calzones or scones or navajo taco shapes or breadsticks.

Bake the dough at 375 degrees for 18 – 22 minutes or until crust is cooked to your liking. 

Wendi’s Homemade Pizza Sauce – 1 can of tomato sauce (or 1 can tomato paste plus 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup water).  Add oregano, garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar (to make less acidic).  Season to taste.  Stir. 

Pizza Sandwiches (Joy Boy’s favorite!)

Veggie Stir-fry – by Pampered Chef

8 ounces linguini, cooked                            

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 medium onion, minced                            

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped                            

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon canola oil                               

1 teaspoon basil, chopped

1 teaspoon oregano, chopped                   

1/4 Cup parmesan cheese

Cook Pasta, Drain and keep warm.  Chop and prepare vegetables.  Heat oil on medium heat.  Stir fry 15 seconds garlic then add onion, zuchinni, and cook 2- 3 minutes till crisp and tender.  Add rest of vegetables and heat 1-2 minutes.  Stir in linguini, sprinkle with parmesan.  Serve warm.

Pasta e Fagioli and Olive Garden Breadsticks* – by

Mexican Foods:

Navajo Tacos – Use Dough Recipe (above), let rest and then cut into rectangles or ovals.  Cook in hot oil.  Top with taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, olives, corn, taco sauce, sour cream.  Use leftover dough for scones for dessert. 

Macho Nachos – Top tortilla chips with taco meat mixed with shredded cheese, black/kidney beans, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, corn, olives, taco sauce.

Enchiladas – We LOVE these enchiladas (especially since there is NO Mexican food in Costa Rica), these really hit the spot.  But we also like to make a batch of red enchiladas to go with them.  So we make half and half.  YUMMY!!

Salsa Chicken

GingerSnap’s “other FAVORITE” soup ~ Chicken Fajita Soup* – The Food Nanny

  • 1 pound Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 can Kirkland’s canned chicken
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 2 cups Beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbs Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Serve with…

  • Tortilla chips
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Avocado Slices
  • Lime Wedges


  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. chop the onion. Melt the butter ina large pot. Cook and stir the chicken and onion over medium-high heat until the onion is soft and the chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth, beef broth, tomatoes, bell pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Serve in bowls and top with the tortilla chips, cheese and avocado slices. Squeeze lime wedges into bowls.

*Be creative! Add some red peppers, corn, black beans or even some rice to this soup to create a hearty masterpiece in a bowl!

White Bean Chicken Chili – OUR FAMILY FAVORITE GO TO MEAL!!!  If you don’t have 2 cans of beans, you really can use any beans that are your favorite.  We often do one can black and one can Northern because of how expensive Northern beans are in Costa Rica.  We then call it “Black and White Chicken Chili”.  I also like to double the liquid, so it is more like a soup.  YUM!

Comfort Foods:

Michelle Loosli’s Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole* – by Six Sister’s Stuff

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces

1 bunch broccoli, steamed

8 oz. cream cheese

3/4 cup milk

2 tsp. flour

1 tsp. garlic salt

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

Ritz Cracker Crumbs (optional)

Place broccoli in a greased quart sized baking dish, sprinkle with salt, then chicken pieces.  In a saucepan, heat milk, cream cheese, flour, garlic salt and parmesan cheese over low heat.  Stir until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken.  Pour over broccoli and chicken.  Sprinkle with optional Ritz Crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.  Serve over rice or favorite pasta or alongside slices of bread.

Easy Shephard’s Pie – This is a GREAT leftovers or quick freezer supply meal.  We love to use leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes (or instant Idahoan potato flakes) to make this meal.  It is put together in less than 20 minutes and bakes up in 25 – 30.  It is flavorful and very satisfying.  Our company LOVED it.  I make gravy from scratch using the Better than Bouillion beef gravy recipe (I double the gravy it calls for).  YUM!

Slum (My oldest son’s FAVORITE dish) – Marjorie Whitchurch

Peel, dice and boil potatoes.  Cut up and cook bacon.  Grate cheese.  Prepare white sauce (or just use milk).  Mix together and heat 20-30 minutes for 350 degrees.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Company ChickenMarjorie Whitchurch

Dip pieces of chicken in melted butter.  Coat with crushed Ritz Crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Serve with mashed potatoes, homemade chicken bouillon paste gravy, and your favorite green veggie.

Chicken & Rice Marjorie Whitchurch

1 can shredded chicken, drained

1 cup rice

1 cube/tsp. chicken bouillon or paste

1 can evaporated milk + water to make 1 quart

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup flour

Boil rice in 2 cups water for 20 minutes.  Combine milk and water.  In a large pot, melt butter and slowly add flour until it forms a ball.  Slowly pour in milk and water until smooth.  Add bouillon and stir until it is dissolved.  Add rice, canned chicken, salt and pepper.  Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Salad Nicoise with Salmon* (Lemon Dill Salmon recipe here) – by The Food Nanny    

2 hard boiled eggs
4 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes, baked
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and steamed
5 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Make into a salad by topping lettuce with toppings and a piece of fish.  Drizzle with dressing and serve alongside your favorite bread.  Wendi’s FAVORITE meal!!!

Fish and Rice Pilaf – I bake our favorite fish in the oven (recipe here) and serve this alongside it, but I add peas and carrots to the rice.

Beef Stroganoff – THE BEST RECIPE EVER!

Stuffing Chicken – first given to us by Kelli Rogers

Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Sauce & Oven Fries

Oven Fries – microwave potatoes but pull out 2 minutes early.  Cut into wedges.  Spray with cooking oil.  Sprinkle with season-all salt.  Bake on broil until crispy and golden brown.

BBQ Chicken & Salted Baked Potatoes – BEST Cooked Chicken Recipe EVER!!!  Just add BBQ sauce.

Joy Boy’s BBQ Chicken Legs with Homemade BBQ Sauce* – from epicurious


  1. Basic bbq sauce:
    • 1 cup organic ketchup
    • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
  2. For the chicken legs:
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 pounds chicken legs


  1. Basic BBQ Sauce:
    1. 1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together all the ingredients.
    2. 2. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat to low and simmer 2–3 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
    3. 3. Allow BBQ Sauce to cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. For the Chicken Legs:
    1. 1. Preheat oven to 375F.
    2. 2. Place the chicken legs in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and coat with 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce, cover and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
    3. 3. Place the chicken legs on a baking rack over a foil lined baking sheet, baste with extra BBQ sauce, if desired, and roast for 45 minutes.

Quick Sweet & Sour Chicken Bowls – We serve it in bowls so that it is easier to use chopsticks.

THE BEST Sweet & Sour Chicken – ALL TIME FAVORITE!!!!

Delicious Sloppy Joes (I like to double this recipe and have leftovers)

1 pound ground beef

2/3 cup onion or 2.5 Tablespoons dry onion

1/3 cup green pepper (or red pepper can work if you prefer or a mixture of both)

5 ounces tomato sauce

2/3 cup ketchup

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot.  Add beef, onion, and green pepper.  Cook until beef is browned.  Stir until crumbled.  Drain in a colander and return to skillet.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir frequently.  Serve on hamburger buns or homemade rolls (Griffith’s roll recipe below) with potato chips, steamed green beans and fresh fruit.

*This recipe is originally from Weight Watchers but don’t let that stop you from trying it.  It is truly company dinner worthy!

Steak and Fries

Sunday Foods:

Ham and Grandma Karen’s Potatoes -This is our Christmas Meal but better than funeral potatoes.

Hi Wendi – Love you too pieces – right down to your tippy toes!

1 potato per person or more for leftovers (leftovers are best)

Boil potato’s (skins on) until fork puncture comes out easily

Let Potato’s cool.  Peel them, cut sized how you want (cubed) – Place in bowl for later

Make a white sauce rue

    1 cube butter melted on low in a large pan

    add flour until you have a rue, thick pasty substance

    add milk to the rue and stir until you have a thinner sauce to pour over potato’s

    Pour into bowl for next step

Buy shredded medium cheese or shred medium cheese – about 1 to 1/5 cups

Make bread crumbs:  1 stick butter melted on low in a pan

    add day old bread torn up into bite size piece – 7 or 8 slices – you will know

    stir bread crumbs and butter on low until crispy

    remove from heat and place in bowl

Okay – time to do ‘build the potato’s

In a pyrex 9 x 13 glass baking dish

1 layer of cut up potato’s on the bottom, not to thick, leave room for sauce to mix in

pour white sauce over layer of potato’s

Cover with a layer of shredded cheese

Repeat layer of potato’s and cheese again

Top with crispy bread crumbs

Place foil over top of baking dish

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, remove foil for last 10 minutes to brown bread crumbs


Loves – Karen

Simple Crockpot Beef Roast* – Wendi Whitchurch

Start crockpot on low heat.  Add 1 cup of beef stock or 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Beef Paste diluted in 1 cup hot water.  Using a refrigerated roast, wash roast in cool water and paper towel dry.  Season with salt and pepper on all sides.  In a heated skillet or stir-fry wok, brown roast on all sides.  Place browned roast into crockpot.  Sprinkle roast with season-all and top with sliced onions.  Add carrots and potatoes, if you would like them.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  I have gone as long as 12 with a Costa Rican Roast – I have even put in a roast frozen over night and it was ready in 12 hours.

Easy French Dip Sandwiches* – inspired by Our Best Bites

Using leftover roast beef without the beef stock, put 2 cups water and 1 T. Better Than Bouillon Beef Paste into saucepan.  Add 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1/8 tsp. garlic salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add meat and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes while you prepare buns.  Spread butter and slices of cheese onto buns and broil.  Top with meat and pickles.  Dip into the au jus.  YUM!

Cranberry Pork Chops (crockpot):  Add 1 tsp. ground cloves and 1 apple, chopped.  YUM!

Serve with mashed potatoes and you can also make a quick gravy out of the drippings.  It will be a bit sweet but it is divine!

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – recipe from Weight Watchers, but we bake in double lined cupcake pans at same temperature for 22 minutes.

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup onion fresh or 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried onion, minced

2 tablespoons parsley fresh or 2 teaspoons dried parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 large egg whites

1 1/2 pounds ground round or beef

1/2 cup quick -cooking oats

1/4 cup ketchup, for top of meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, onion, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well.  Add meat and oats; stir just until blended.  Shape mixture into an 8 x 4 inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. (use Lillian Vernon meatloaf pan)  Brush remaining 1/4 cup ketchup over meat loaf.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done.  Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.  Cut into 12 slices.

Meatloaf Cupcakes:

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper muffin cups.

2. Divide the mixture evenly among the lined cups (the liners should be filled only to the top of each cup).

3. Place the filled muffin tins on cookie sheets and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes – 20 minutes or until cooked through (not too runny and no pink showing).

Irish Stew – Our family’s FAVORITE Fast Sunday Meal.  Instead of leaving it on the stove to cook, I put it in a slow cooker on low and let it tenderize while we are at church.  Then we thicken.

Chicken Pot Pie (crockpot) –

Grandma’s StewMarjorie Whitchurch

1 lb. Stew Meat cut into smaller bites

carrots, potatoes, onion, corn, fresh green beans

Brown stew meat in a little oil, salt and pepper.  Place in crockpot.  Add veggies.  Season with season-all, salt and pepper and 2 tsp. beef bouillon dissolved in 1 cup hot water.  Stir and add 2 bay leaves.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Dissolve 1/4 cup flour in 1/2 cup water.  Pour into stew.  Stir.  Add more water if you prefer.

 Family Favorite Crowd Pleasers:

CHICKEN CASHEW SALAD – Ginger Cannon (Rachel Whitchurch’s Mother)

serves 30-35

3 cups cooked chicken breasts (4 single breasts) – cover with water & cook 30 minutes*  cut in chunks

*I have used chicken from a rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken from Costco works well

1 (12 oz.) pkg. shell macaroni cooked and separated

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits

2 Fuji apples – cut in chunks (sometimes we use 4 apples to make it stretch)

2 cups celery – finely chopped

3 cups red grapes – halved

2 cans roasted salted cashews add just before serving  (optional or put on side) –

1 can sliced water chestnuts drained (optional)

Combine all together and pour over top:

1 bottle Kraft Coleslaw Dressing

Let it sit at least 2-3 hours, better overnight

Serving suggestion – place on red lettuce

or… make your own dressing

3 TB White Vinegar

1 ½ Cups Mayonnaise

½ cup sugar

Wendy’s Copycat Chili –

Beans from scratch:

BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Griffith’s Rolls2 videos you can watch to help you are here.  Bowl and spoon method – Ellie Mecham “How to Make Thanksgiving Rolls” – YouTube.  Bosch/Kitchen-aid method – Ruby Franke at Quick Easy Recipes “Dinner Rolls”

Start with:
3 Tbl. Yeast                   
1 tbl. Sugar
1 Cup Water
In a measuring cup, first add yeast, then sugar, then fill cup to 1 cup water line.  Mix together and let it double in bulk (be careful, it doubles fast!) In large bowl (my silver bowl), add 9-10 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbl salt. Mix and add yeast mixture, 3 cups warm water, 1/2 cup oil. Mix well and let rest for 30 min.  Cover with a towel.  Knead and let raise for 1-2 hours as needed.  Then punch down dough and form into a dough ball.  Grease a cookie sheet with crisco.  Grease hands.  Pull off a dough ball and shape into a ball.  Place onto cookie sheet.  With your fingers, spread a bit of butter on top of each roll and then sprinkle just a dash of salt on each roll.  It REALLY makes a difference!  Let rise until doubled.  Bake at 375 for 15-30 minutes (Depending on your oven – my oven 20 minutes or golden brown).

** Dough is perfect for cinnamon rolls and orange rolls (my family does not like orange marmalade rolls – they prefer orange filling) or scones.

Cinnamon Rolls – Substitute canned pumpkin for the butter, it is a tip I was given and my family and friends really enjoyed them!!

or for a QUICK and quite yummy version, try this recipe but I liked them “normal size” and baked in muffin tins, not mini size.

Alyssa Dumas Wardle’s Crescent Rolls – Wardle Family Favorite

1 package of dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup milk

1 stick of butter or margarine

1 tsp salt

3 eggs beaten

1/2 cup sugar

4 1/2 flour


Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Melt butter on stove over low heat, once butter is melted add milk, salt & sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and cool to luke warm.

Add in beaten eggs and dissolved yeast, mix well.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour, mix well.

Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time mixing well after each addition.

Place dough in greased bowl and cover. 

Allow to rise until dough has doubled in size, once dough has doubled in size punch down.

Cover and place in fridge until dough has doubled in size again, once doubled in size punch down.  

Cover and place in fridge until ready to use.

I usually make the dough the night before but I’m sure you could do everything the day of if you wanted.  It is kind of a long process and for me the dough is easier to work with once it has been refrigerated for awhile. 

Directions when ready to roll them out:

Melt butter on stove over low heat.

Take 1/2 the dough and place on floured surface, roll out into a circle until about 1/4 inch thick.

Spread with melted butter.

Cut into 12 wedges (I use a pizza cutter and cut it just like you would a pizza).

Roll each wedge starting from the wide side first, pull slightly as you roll.

Place on greased backing sheets.

Butter the tops of the rolls with the melted butter.

Cover and allow to rise until they have doubled in size.  You can cover them with the flour towels or I use cling wrap.

Take the over 1/2 of the dough and repeat.

Bake at 375° for 11-12 minutes. 

Katrinka Blunt’s Orange Rolls – Costa Rican Ex-pat & Thanksgiving Hostess

Yield: 3 dozen


2 T yeast

1 t sugar

2 t salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs (well beaten)

4-5 cups flour

For Filling:

1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup sugar

1T grated orange peel

1. In small bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar.

2. Boil 1 cup water.  Place butter in large mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over the butter.

3. Add salt, sugar, eggs, and let cool slightly.

4. Add yeast mixture.

5. Stir in 4-5 cups flour (It will be a wet dough) Cover and let rise one hour.

6. Stir down, cover and refrigerate overnight or all day (i.e. several hours)

7. Take out 1-2 hours ahead (one will work 2 is better)  Divide dough into thirds.

8. Roll each third into a rectangle (about 8×14).  Spread with filling.

9. Roll up, log fashion and pinch edges together. Cut each log in half, then halves again, then thirds to make 12 slices.

10. Put into greased muffin tins (can spray with Pam) with coiled side up.  Cover with towel and let rise to double.

11. Cook at 400 degrees 10-12 minutes.  Watch carefully and do not let them brown.

Filling: Combine all filling ingredients and mix.  (**I usually make more than this amount–1.5x)

Karen Whitmer’s Potato Salad – Whitchurch Family BBQ Favorite

For a family size I use 6 potatoes and 6 eggs (4 in the salad cut up and 2

on top sliced)  I cut the potatoes into small pieces and pressure cook them

for about 13 minutes (after the shaker starts).

After I boil the potatoes, I sprinkle them with minced onion (about a

tablespoon) and a little salt and pepper then I put them in the fridge to

cool.  After the potatoes are cool, I add about a cup of mayo and about a

tablespoon of mustard to the potatoes and the diced eggs.  Mix it up and add

salt and pepper to taste.  

Berry Dream Salad – by Wendi Whitchurch

Quick Meals:

Chicken Noodle Soup

GingerSnap’s FAVORITE SOUP ~ Summer Corn Chowder* – by Weight Watcher’s

  • 1 medium uncooked Yukon gold potato(es)
  • 1 spray(s) cooking spray, (5 one-second sprays per serving)
  • 1/2 cup(s) uncooked celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup(s) uncooked onion(s), chopped (or 1 large shallot)
  • 4 piece(s) corn, kernels removed with a knife
  • 1 cup(s) sweet red pepper(s), diced
  • 4 oz uncooked Canadian bacon, diced
  • 2 cup(s) fat free skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste


Puncture potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. (Note: Feel free to substitute your favourite fresh vegetables like asparagus and broccoli for the red pepper. Or to save time, substitute 2 cups of frozen corn and 1 cup of frozen, diced bell pepper for the fresh corn and red pepper.)

Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving

Veggie Beef Soup

Turkey Melts / Monte Cristos – If we don’t feel like frying them, we butter the bread and grill them.

Cobb Salad

Beef and Green Bean Stir-fry*Our Best Bites

Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry*Our Best Bites

Sheila Reed’s Homemade Shells & Cheese*– Expat friend in Costa Rica

6 cups water

8 oz. dry pasta (shells or elbow)

4 T. butter

3 T. Flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

onion powder, dash

1 cup sharp cheese

1 egg yolk, beaten

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain
  2. On medium-low heat, melt butter and add flour to make a paste.  Add pasta and stir evenly.
  3. Add milk slowly and stir.  Then add salt, paprika and onion powder.
  4. Stir in half the cheese.  While stirring, add egg yolk (to keep from frying).
  5. Add rest of cheese and stir until melted.  If sauce is too thick, thin with a tablespoon of milk.  Enjoy!

Macaroni and Cheese* – Ruby Franke (8 Passengers)  Alright, I made this for lunch today and it was AMAZING!  Except . . . I used sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups & 1 cup mixed shredded cheese) and it was too strong for even me.  BUT! ! ! the creaminess of the sauce was PERFECT, now to just find the right balance of flavors.  So . . . this is definitely a try again for me!  Also, her recipe made A LOT!  I might half it, until I find the right balance of flavors.  BIG THUMBS UP! 

BOIL 10 MINUTES: 2 cups macaroni noodles ADD: 1/4 cup butter, 12 oz evaporated milk, 2 eggs.  REMOVE FROM HEAT and ADD: 2 cups cheese

Chalupas – Crunchy, round tortilla shells.  Topped with bean puree, sprinkled with cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted.  Top with scrambled eggs.

Tuna Melts

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast Ideas:

Pancakes, Eggs and BaconMarjorie Whitchurch

4 cups flour (1/3 wheat, 2/3 white)

2 T. sugar

4 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

2 t. salt

3 cups milk (9 T. powdered milk + 3 cups water)

2 eggs (2 T. egg powder + 4 T. water)

1/2 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients first.  Slowly add liquids.  Cook at 400 degrees on griddle.

Waffles: Light and Crispy by Our Best Bites or Soft and Thick by the Ivory Family Cookbook “Favorites” (below)

2 cups white flour

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

2 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

4 eggs

3 1/2 cups milk (12 T. powdered milk + 3 1/2 cups water)

1 cup vegetable oil

2 t. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients well.  Slowly add liquids.  Not too runny but not too thick!

Favorite Crepes – by the Ivory Family Cookbook “Favorites”

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup cold milk

4 eggs

1/4 t. salt

2 t. sugar

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 cup wheat flour

2 T. butter, melted

Put liquids, eggs, salt and sugar into blender; blend until mixed.  Add flour and melted butter and mix at top speed for one minute.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Top with powdered sugar and lemon juice or berries and cream.

French Toast

Scrambled Eggs & Toast


Cream of Wheat

Scones & Eggs pizza dough recipe or Griffith’s Roll Recipe


Baked Eggs with Bacon, Spinach & Goat Cheese* – Our Best Bites

German Pancakes

Muffins, Sweet Breads or Donuts with Scrambled Eggs

Wonderful recipe for Double Chocolate Pumpkin muffins.  So soft, use margarine instead of butter (in Costa Rica at least).

Grandma Wardle’s Zucchini Bread Recipe Marjorie Barron Wardle

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup vegetable or canola oil

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups grated zucchini **  (if frozen, see below)

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour  (you can use ½ wheat & ½ white)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine both sugars, eggs & oil; beat until smooth (not creamy).  Add Zucchini & vanilla; blend well.  In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients with a sifter or with a fork, until mixed well.  Slowly add dry ingredients to cream mixture.  Add nuts.  Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour or in muffin cups for 18 – 22 minutes.  The bread is done with you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out with cooked but moist bread or just a dry toothpick, not wet.  Do not overcook the bread, but do not undercook the bread.  You will figure out the best cooking times for your oven.  Make sure your rack is at the middle of the oven.  Place your bread to bake in the middle the rack of your oven for balanced baking.

** If you have “extra” zucchini that you do not want to use, don’t throw it out.  Grate it and then put it into freezer bags in 2 cup quantities and freeze flat.  When you want to make zucchini bread another day, defrost the zucchini over night (or lightly defrost it in the microwave) and then add ALL of the zucchini, liquid included, to the recipe.  The liquid is VERY IMPORTANT to making your zucchini bread moist.  Enjoy!

GingerSnap’s Lemon Poppyseed Muffins* by Creme de la Crumb

12 muffins
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
  • zest of 2 small lemons (or 1 large lemon – about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup plain fat free greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 450 and grease a muffin pan. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice, and greek yogurt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in poppyseeds.
  3. Fill muffin tins about ⅔ full with muffin batter. Bake for 12-16 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. To make the icing cream melted butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes until very fluffy. Add powdered sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Drizzle icing over cooled muffins. (If icing is too thick you can warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds ) Serve immediately or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.

Paul’s Best EVER Old Fashioned Cake Donuts* – by Foods 101 with DeRonda

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough out
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk or milk, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
3-4 cup vegetable oil, used for frying doughnuts

1. In a large mixing bowl add sugar, baking powder. salt and nutmeg. Whisk well.

2. Add melted butter, eggs and buttermilk to sugar mixture and mix until combined.

3. Add 3 cups of flour to wet mixture, beat until blended. Add 1 cup of additional flour. Combine with wooden spoon until well blended. Dough should be sticky but firm to handle. Add 1/2 cup or more of flour it needed.

4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

5.Add oil to 10 inch skillet and heat over medium heat until temp on oil reaches 365 degrees F.

6. Remove half the dough from refrigerate and roll out 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into doughnut shapes by sing a 3 inch round circle. Use a 1″ circle to make and remove doughnut center.

7. Add doughnuts and centers to hot oil, be sure not to over crowd, Fry for 2 1/2 minutes, flip and fry 1 more minute or until doughnuts are light and golden brown.

8. Remove doughnuts from oil and drain on paper towels. Cool

9. Glaze doughnuts, toss in sugar & cinnamon or powder sugar. Frost doughnuts and add sprinkles if desire.


2 cups Powder Sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon honey
3-5 tablespoons of water

Add powder sugar, honey and vanilla into a deep mixing bowl. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze will coat doughnuts.


1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Toss sugar and cinnamon well together. Gently toss doughnuts.

The BEST Maple/Chocolate Bars – by Our Best Bites


3 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup very warm (105 degree) water
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon mace (optional; I left it out)
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4-4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Peanut oil for frying

Maple Icing

1 lb. powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/3 cup (plus more if needed) hot water

Easy Homemade Chocolate Frosting 

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

5 cups powdered sugar (1 Costa Rica Bag)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-4 Tablespoons milk

Whip butter and cocoa together until smooth.  Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.  Slowly stream in milk until frosting reached your desired consistency.  Scrape sides and whip again until fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Frosts one cake or 24 cupcakes+.


Combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 cup very warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to proof for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.

While the yeast is proofing, combine the sugar, mace (if using), baking powder, salt, and 4 cups of flour in a large bowl. When the yeast is ready, add the shortening, egg yolks, and vanilla and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute to break down the shortening. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients and mix on low until blended. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Switch to the hook attachment and add the remaining 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until no white spots remain and then turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes.

While the dough is kneading, bring a large pot of water to a boil (a little more than 2 quarts of water). Lightly flour a baking sheet.

When the dough is done kneading, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Form a 6×6″ square and cover it with a clean cloth. Place the pan in the oven and place a 9×13″ pan on the rack beneath the baking sheet. Pour the boiling water into the 9×13″ pan and close the door to the oven. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

When the dough is done rising, remove it from the oven and place it on a lightly floured surface. Bring another pot of water to a boil. Roll the dough into an 11×12″ rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to trim 1/2″ off all the edges of the dough. Cut the dough into 12 rectangles about 5×2″ big. Use a flexible scraper to carefully transfer the dough rectangles back to a floured baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2″ apart. Place the baking sheet uncovered back into the oven and pour the boiling water back into the 9×13″ dish. Rise for 30-45 minutes (or more), until the dough is doubled.

When the dough is almost done rising, heat 2+ inches of peanut oil in a large, high-sided pot with a candy thermometer attached to it. Heat it to 350 degrees. When the oil is hot enough, in batches of 2-3, use the rubber scraper to carefully transfer the rectangles to the hot oil and fry for 30-40 seconds and then flip and cook for another 20 seconds or until golden brown. Remove from the hot oil, allow to drain on paper towels, and repeat with the remaining dough.

While the dough is cooling, whisk together the icing ingredients. Dip the dome-iest side of the bars into the icing and spread it out if necessary. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes (at least) before serving. Makes 12 doughnuts.

Dayna Karlinsey’s – Ham, Cheese and Spinach Strata

3 or 4 large day old croissants

2 TB butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

8 oz. Fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 cup diced ham

6 eggs

2 1/4 cups half and half

2 tsp. dijon mustard

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. dried Basil

1.  Butter a 9 x13 casserole.  Using a serrated knife, cut the croissants into 3/4-1 inch cubes (you will need 6 cups) and scatter half of them in the casserole.  set the remaining cubes aside.

2.  Melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Add the onion and saute it over medium low heat for 5 minutes stirring often.  Stir in the spinach (you may have to do this in batches) and cover the pan.  Let the spinach cook until tender, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Spoon the spinach mixture over the croissant cubes in the casserole.  Then sprinkle on half of the cheese and all of the ham.  Next, add the remaining croissant pieces and the rest of the cheese.

4.  In a mixing boel, whisk the eggs, half and half, mustard, salt, pepper, and basil just intil blended.  Ladle the liquid evenly over the layers in the casserole.  Press the croissant down gently with a fork to dampen all of it.  Cover the casserole with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or over night.

5.  Heat the oven to 350.  Removemthe plastic wrap and bake the strata in the center of the oven until it is puffed and golden brown, about 45-55 minutes.  Transfer the casserole to amwire rack and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 12 servings.

*When she made this for book club, the store did not have spinach, so she substituted fresh basil in a lesser quantity.  I actually LOVED it with basil.  It had so much flavor and it the spot!


The WORST EVER Chocolate Chip Cookies – recommended to us by Kori Scott  –  these cookies were very yummy.  The secret ingredient is maple syrup.  Yes, you can taste it in cold dough but not once the cookies are cooked.  Moist, soft and chewy cookies.  YUMMY!

Sour Cream Pound Cake* – Our Best Bites (not found online)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about one minute.  Continue beating and add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and sour cream.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture while beating, and beat just until combine.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch or 9-inch loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan.
  5. Top with whip cream and favorite berries.  YUMMMMY!!!!!  Wendi’s FAVORITE dessert!!!

Fabulous Mint BrowniesOur Best Bites

LeAnna’s Sour Cream Banana Cake – our neighbor on Damon Way

¼ cup butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

½ cup chopped nuts

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Add bananas and nuts, mixing just until blended.  Turn in a buttered 13x9x2 inch pan.  Bake at 375⁰ F, about 40 minutes.

Quick Caramel Frosting

½ cup butter

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¼ cup evaporated milk

2 ¼ cups confectioners sugar (sifted)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat together the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts.  Blend in the evaporated milk; cool.  Gradually beat in the sugar until spreading consistency; add vanilla.

Swedish Bread – Jenn Pitt

1/2 c. melted butter

2/3 c. sugar

1 tsp salt

2  1/4 c. hot milk

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 egg, well beaten

1 tsp almond extract   (2 tsp.)

7 c white flour, approximately 

Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and hot milk in a large bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Stir the yeast into the warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve. Add the dissolved yeast, egg, almond extract, and 3 c. of the flour to the first mixture and mix vigorously. Add 3 more cups of the flour and mix well. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, kneed for a minute or two, and let rest for 10 minutes. Adding the remaining flour only if the dough is too sticky, resume kneading until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a large buttered bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down, knead for a minute or two, and shape into two loaves. Place in buttered loaf pans, cover, and let rise until double in bulk once again. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake bread for 40-50 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. 

Swedish Tea Braid. Cut off three pieces of mixture of equal size and roll, using the hands, in pieces of uniform size; then braid. Put on a buttered sheet, cover, let rise, brush over with yolk of one egg, slightly beaten, and diluted with one-half tablespoon cold water, and sprinkle with finely chopped blanched almonds. Bake in a moderate oven.


  Swedish Tea Ring I. Shape as tea braid, form in shape of ring, and proceed as with tea braid, having almonds blanched and cut in slices crosswise.


  Swedish Tea Ring II. Take one-third Swedish Bread mixture and shape, using the hands, in a long roll. Put on an unfloured board and roll, using a rolling-pin, as thinly as possible. Mixture will adhere to board but may be easily lifted with a knife. Spread with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and chopped blanched almonds or cinnamon. Roll like a jelly roll, cut a piece from each end and join ends to form ring. Place on a buttered sheet, and cut with scissors and shape . Let rise, and proceed as with Tea Ring I.

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Ruby Griffith Franke (8 Passengers)

3/4 cup + 2 T. Crisco shortening

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix with handheld blender.

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

Mix well.

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking soda

Mix well, looks crumbly.

1 cup chocolate chips


Shape into balls, small.

Bake at 375, 9 minutes, cool on sheet

Cassie Huffaker’s Large Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C. sugar
2 C. brown sugar
1 C. shortening
1 C. margarine
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 C. milk
6 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. 12 oz. milk choc. chips

1 pkg 12 oz. semi sweet choc. chips

(note:  I just eye ball the choc. chips I never do the full two packages,

I try to put in equal amounts of milk and semi.)

 Cream sugars and shortening together in large mixing bowl.
Add beaten eggs, milk and vanilla and mix well.
Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.
back in 350 deg. oven for 10-11 min.


(note: my oven is 14 min. and I’ve found that silicone cookie sheet is best if you have them.

These cookies will set up a little more after coming out of the oven so  

I pull them out when the top of cookie starts to go golden.

If you wait until they are not doughy on top they will be over cooked and kind of hard. 

I store them in Tupperware after cooled and they stay soft for a long time.)

Makes 5 doz. cookies.

(Note: I like my cookies big so it only makes about 2-3 doz. for me)

Michelle’s AMAZING Lemon Bundt Cake*

1 box yellow (or lemon) cake mix

1 box small lemon instant (or cook ‘n serve) pudding

2/3 cup oil (canola or vegetable)

4 eggs

3/4 cup water


1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all 5 cake ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix on low speed until blended, then beat on high for 10 minutes (or 5 minutes on high in my Bosch).  Put in a greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 -35 minutes.  Turn onto a plate immediately.  After cake is done, make glaze.  Poke holes into the cake with a fork.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.  Let it cool.  Enjoy!

Cheater’s Fried Ice Cream – by

  • 5 cups corn flakes cereal*
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla bean ice cream , firm enough to shape but just soft enough to scoop (I prefer Breyers All Natural Vanilla)
  • Optional servings suggestions:
  • honey or caramel sauce , store bought or homemade
  • chocolate fudge sauce , store bought or homemade
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • cherries , fresh or Marachino, for garnish


  1. Pour cornflakes into a large Ziplog bag, seal bag and use a rolling pin to crush cornflakes. Melt butter in a non-stick 10-inch fry pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, stir in crushed corn flakes and cinnamon and increase heat slightly. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until golden brown and fragrant (color will deepen and begin to smell lightly toasty and corn flakes should be crisp), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour mixture in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly. Use a fork to break mixture down if desired.
  2. Remove ice cream from freezer, scoop out desired serving size (you should be able to get 3 baseball size ice cream balls, or more if you do a thinner coating or smaller size ice cream balls) and shape into a ball with clean hands (yeah, it will be seriously cold, like rolling a snowball without gloves so work quickly. If you don’t care to have a uniform shape then you can simply just scoop out the ice cream and drop into toasted corn flake mixture without shaping), then immediately drop shaped ice cream ball into corn flake mixture and roll to evenly coat, while pressing corn flake mixture around outer surface for a thicker coating as desired. Serve immediately topped with optional toppings, or place in freezer in an airtight container (without toppings) and chill until serving.
  3. *You could also replace some of the corn flakes with sweetened shredded coconut or finely chopped pecans.

Cinnamon Bundt Cake* – Elizabeth Callister (Winder 5th Ward)

 package butter flavored cake mix
 small package vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup water
Cinnamon Pecan Filling
1/4 cup sugar
2.5 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans (other substitute other chopped nuts)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cake mix, pudding, oil, eggs, vanilla and water in mixer.
  3. Add 1/3 of batter to bottom of well greased bundt pan and then sprinkle with 1/3 of cinnamon pecan filling.
  4. Repeat two more times, ending with cake batter.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Frost with powdered sugar icing while cake is still warm.


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