Raspberry Dessert

Low in sugar, yet still delicious, this easy dessert is great for a potluck or work event.

2 cups graham crumbs

1/2 c. melted butter or margarine

4 cups raspberries (thawed if frozen)

1/4 c. sugar

3 – 4 T. cornstarch

1/4 c. water

Combine graham crumbs and melted margarine in a oblong pan. Combine raspberries, sugar, and water in small sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add cornstarch and stir until thickened. Pour over graham crumb mixture and place in refrigerator for several hours to chill. Don’t panic if it is quite runny prior to placing in the fridge; it will thicken as it chills. One package unflavored gelatin can be used in place of the cornstarch. Serve with whipped cream. Cuts into about 12 pieces,

Chili for a Crowd


2 lbs. ground beef

2 onions

2 peppers

2, 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 c. salsa

1 large can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp. each oregano, garlic, cumin and cocoa powder

1 – 2 T. each chili and curry powder (depending on heat preference)

Brown ground beef in large skillet adding a little oil if necessary (our ground beef is extra lean so we need to brown it with a little oil).  Place in large (7 quart) slow cooker.  Chop onions and peppers.  Add to slow cooker along with the canned tomatoes, salsa, beans and spices.   Don’t forget to plug the slow cooker in (like I did once).  Cook on low 6 – 8 hours or on high for four hours.  Serves approximately 10 – 12 (or more if part of a potluck, as this was).

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables, Feta and Pastrami


1 c. quinoa, rinsed

2 c. water

Combine quinoa and water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.

1/2 c. each broccoli, cauliflower and pepper, chopped into large pieces

1 medium sized carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 garlic cloves


Place vegetables and garlic on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast at 450 for 15 minutes.

Combine quinoa, vegetables 3/4 c.crumbled  feta and 1/2 c. chopped pastrami in a medium sized bowl.


In a jar or other covered container combine the roasted garlic cloves that have been smashed up with 1/3 c. olive oil, 1/8 c. rice vinegar, 1/8 c. maple syrup and 1 T. of mustard and 2 T. of a spice blend for the dressing.   Chill.

Ham and Broccoli Noodle Casserole

Taken from a church cookbook that was likely put together for a fundraiser.  A good way to use up leftover ham.

1 1/2 c. cooked noodles (such as medium egg noodles)

1 1/2 c. cooked ham, chopped

1 small onion, minced

1 1/2 c. broccoli, chopped and partially cooked

1 10 ounce can Cream of Mushroom soup – Amy’s has less additives http://www.amys.com/

1 1/2 c. shredded cheese

1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. buttered breadcrumbs (optional)

Grease large casserole dish.  Layer noodles, ham, onions and broccoli into it.  Combine milk, soup and cheese and spread over ham – noodle mixture.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs if using.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Serves about 6. Note – slightly undercook the noodles to avoid them turning out overcooked after baking the casserole in the oven.


Pumpkin Delight

Canadian Thanksgiving was this past weekend. American Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Here is an easy dessert that is slightly different then pumpkin pie.

1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 c. melted margarine
1/4 c. solid margarine
4 eggs
4 c. canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
2/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped almonds

Reserve one cup dry cake mix crumbs. Combine remaining cake mix crumbs, 1/2 c. melted margarine and 1 egg, beaten. Press into a 9 x 13 pan. Combine pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, 1/4 c. white sugar, milk and cinnamon. Spread over base. Combine reserved cake mix crumbs, almonds, 1/2 c. white sugar and solid margarine. Mix until crumbly (I usually use a pastry blender). Bake at 350 for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves at least ten.

Kit Kat Dessert

My in-laws, Henry and Mary, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year.  Their extended family is getting together this weekend, camping in the mountains.  There will be twenty of us, including small children.  When we get together as a family on these camping weekends, we divide up the meals.  My sister-in-law Arleen is making dinner Saturday evening.  My other sister-in-law Pauline and I, at my behest, got our heads together to come up with a special dessert for Saturday evening’s meal.  It had to be portable, suitable for all ages, and fit in a small RV fridge or cooler.  And, of course, something that my in-laws would like.  Pauline test drove a dessert last week that she pronounced “too eggy-tasting” (Henry does not like eggs by themselves. If they are in baking, he is fine).  The dessert she test drove was an almond torte which happened to be gluten free, and I wonder if the lack of flour made the egg taste more prominent.  Cheesecake was suggested, however, careful questioning by myself revealed my father-in-law is not fond of cheesecake.  We eventually concluded that the dessert below fit our criteria.  We are hoping Henry likes cream cheese.

Don’t be daunted by the length of this recipe, it is easy and comes together quickly.  It is a perfect summertime dessert as no oven needs to be turned on.

1st Layer: Mix together:

½ cup of melted butter or margarine

2 cups graham crumbs

1/3 cup white sugar (optional)

Press into the bottom of 9 x 13 pan.

2nd Layer, mix together with mixer:

1 cup of icing sugar

8 ounce package cream cheese

¼ cup of butter

Spread evenly over layer one.

3rd Layer, mix together:

1 pkg of instant chocolate pudding, prepared as per package directions

3 smashed kit kat bars

Spread evenly over layer two.

4th Layer:

Spread 1 tub of cool whip evenly over layer 3.

Sprinkle 1 smashed kit kat bar on top of cool whip.

Put in fridge to chill.

Now that I have made this once, and not being fond of packaged pudding and cool whip, I would make the chocolate pudding from scratch and use real whipping cream for the top layer.  Made that way, it would have to be eaten the same day it was made, as the whipped cream could start to separate.

Summer Coffee Cake (aka “Platz”)

Adapted from the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes

I don’t cook much out of the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes (circa 1961) — the recipes contain too much saturated fat and carbohydrates for our taste — even though I am a Mennonite-in-law, marrying into a Mennonite family almost 15 years ago.  There are a few recipes I don’t mind though, I’ve mostly made Fruit Soup (Plumimoos) and Platz (aka Dutch Apple Cake, Coffee Cake).

I made this last week.  It takes about 25 minutes to put together. You can cut up the fruit the night before and refrigerate (sprinkle with a little lemon juice so it doesn’t go brown.)

Mix together:

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

4 T. sugar


2 T. margarine or butter (cut in with a pastry blender or two table knives)

1 c. milk (the original recipe calls for cream)

1 egg

Mix well and pat out on a fairly large baking dish.  Put on a layer of any of the following cut up fruit:  apricots, apples, peaches, plums, rhubarb, or any in season fruit. (I used rhubarb)

Combine in a small bowl:

3/4 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 T margarine or  butter

Sprinkle over fruit.  Bale at 375 for 25 – 30 minutes (this seemed to take longer in my oven; I had put the platz into an 11 x 13 glass baking dish and it took about 40 minutes).  Serves about 10-12.

Blueberry Crunch

Servings: 8-12
3 Cups Blueberries (Fresh or Frozen)
1 Stick Butter
1 White Cake Mix
1 Can Crushed Pineapple
1/3 cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)
Spread blueberries in bottom of 3 qt cooking dish.
Spread pineapple on top.
Spread cake mix on top of pineapple.
Melt butter and pour over top of cake mix.
Add a sprinkling of nuts if desired.   Do not stir.

Bake at 375 F until cake is done (about 45 min).  Top with ice cream, if desired.

Orange Almond Raisin Bars

Adapted quite a bit from a Company’s Coming recipe

1/2 c. non-hydrogenated margarine, melted

1/2 c. sugar

1 – 2 T. grated orange rind

juice of one half an orange

1 egg

1 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1/2 c. raisins

Combine melted butter with sugar, orange rind and juice in large bowl. Blend well. Add egg and beat.  Mix together flour and baking soda first then stir into batter.  Add almonds and raisins.  Scrape into a 9 x 9 inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, being careful not to overbake.  Cut into 36 squares.  When I scraped this into the pan, I thought there was no way this would work out but it rose beautifully.  I have a “hot” oven so I baked it for 20 minutes and that may have been a bit too long.

Lentil Sausage Soup

2 Italian sausages or one “Mennonite” sausage (Spolombo’s sausages are gluten free)

2 – 3 tsps. minced garlic

2 onions, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 19 oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained

2 19 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

8 T. uncooked rice

Remove casing from sausages if necessary and cook in skillet over medium heat.  Drain fat.  Add the rest of ingredients to the skillet (if it’s big enough, otherwise transfer sausages to a soup pot and add rest of ingredients to that container.)  Simmer 10 – 15 minutes until vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked.   Serves 8.