Friday, February 24, 2012


I've never been shy about begging for recipes from friends when I've been treated to something they made that was wonderful. The first recipe is one of those.

As a teen I worked for a woman who turned out to be a longtime friend. She owned a fabulous restaurant, Le Gourmet,  and this was one of her signature desserts. Light and fluffy, it's the perfect dessert after eating a meal.


8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
grated rind off of one lemon

Mix with beater until whipped.

Mix 1 small package lemon jello dissolved
in one cup boiling water.
Chill until thick (not set, just thickened) before adding.

Now fold jello into cream cheese and pour into a graham cracker crust.
One can well drained crushed pineapple can be added if desired before pouring mixture in crust.

Chill overnight.

When the kids were still living at home, I used to make this regularly because they loved it so much.

2 lbs 80% lean hamburger
2 tablespoons Wright's or Morton's Tenderquick
1 cup water
1 and 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard seed (optional)

Mix all ingredients and shape into three large rolls. Wrap in foil, put in refrigerator for 24  hours. Take out, lay in a pan. Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. Keep refrigerated. Serve on sandwiches or with crackers.

SECOND METHOD: Remove rolls from refrigerator. Tie both ends of each roll with twine. Put in a pot, cover with water, and boil for 1 hour. Remove from water, drain and refrigerate.

Each of the two cooking methods will produce difference results. Try making two different batches…one with the baking method and one with the boiling method.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Most people have heard about the forced Cherokee Removal called "The Trail of Tears". What isn't widely known…before the removal, Cherokees were forced to live in illegal forts that were built on Indian land. These were called Removal Forts. Their purpose was to gather the Cherokees together so the removal could be accomplished.

From that time until the Trail of Tears when they arrived in Oklahoma, the Cherokees had very little to eat with a huge number of them dying from disease or starving to death. They learned to make food from what little commodities they received. One thing that originated at this time was the Cherokee Fry Bread, which had to be made with what little was available, flour, salt, water and lard. Later when powdered milk became available, they would use some of that instead of plain water. I basically use the traditional way of making Cherokee Fry Bread with one exception. I use self-rising flour instead of all purpose because it's easier.

A friend, Patricia Thompson, uses a recipe she says is more of a Mexican fry bread or Sopapilla. However, this method of making Indian fry bread is prevalent in western states. The Navajos sometimes use buttermilk in their fry bread.

Keep in mind I never said Indian fry bread was healthy. It's not. But it's one of the most delicious things you'll ever eat. Most Cherokees would rather die than give it up. But since it's being blamed for causing type 2 diabetes in the Indian population, some are making it an occasional treat instead of a 3 times a day staple. And you can always switch to Corn oil instead of lard.


3 cups white self-rising flour
About 1 cup water.

Add the water until dough is formed about same consistency as biscuit dough. Cover with a damp cloth  and let dough rest for 15 minutes. (Don't skip this step. It makes a difference)

Heat lard to 350 degrees. Lard needs to be about 2 inches deep.

Dump dough out onto a floured surface. Knead a few time so it's not sticky. Pull off an egg sized piece of dough. Pat it and gently pull it out making it flat and thin in the middle. Put pieces in hot lard, turning over when dough begins to brown around edges. Bread will puff up. It will cook in 1-2 minutes depending on size of pieces.

Drain pieces on paper and eat with honey or roll in sugar and cinnamon.

If using fry bread to make Indian tacos, pull off larger pieces of dough and flatten with your hands until size of a saucer, making sure to pull thin in the middle so bread will cook all the way through. Indian Tacos recipes below.

3/4 c milk
6 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg beaten
3 cups flour
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water to dissolve yeast in
Soften yeast in lukewarm water
Combine milk, sugar and salt. Bring to boil.
Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Allow to cool to lukewarm.
Stir in beaten egg and yeast mixture.
Gradually add flour.
If mix becomes too stiff to stir, work with hands.

Cover dough with a damp cloth and let rise until double in size. (About 1 1/2 hours)
Punch down and turn onto lightly floured board.
Knead briefly until dough is smooth.
Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.

The recipe says to roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut with 2 inch cookie cutter. I just tear off chunks and work them with my fingers to about this size. Be sure and put a small hole with your finger in the middle of the piece so it cooks all the way through.
Oil needs to be one and a half  - 2 inches deep and about 350 degrees. Brown on one side and then flip to brown the other side. Only cook a few at a time because they puff up quite a bit.  Serve with Honey or jam.


If you go to the Cherokee Nation holiday in Talequah, Oklahoma, and order an Indian Taco, here's what you're going to get: a large flat piece of Cherokee fry bread, covered with something like my basic pinto bean recipe. It will have lettuce and diced tomato on top of the beans and topped with shredded cheese. Everyone raves about them and you have to stand in line to buy one.


I don't have a recipe per se for Indian tacos. I use red beans, ground beef, all the normal veggies and cheese. To the beef, I add crushed red peppers (it only takes about a teaspoon per pound.


Take dough, flatten with your fingers. Take a heaping teaspoon of a filling, fold over and seal edges well with your fingers.

Just make sure the filling you use has cooled off before using or dough will fall apart before you can fry it.

1. You can use cooked fruit. Mix a little powdered sugar with a little water and drizzle over the fried pie.
2. Make some spicy taco filling. Just cool before using.
3. Fill with a little cheese of your choice
4. Use your imagination.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I love beans and use them in a number of dishes I cook. My ex-husband hated beans so I would never fix them. One day, a few years ago, I asked myself several questions: Why should I have to do without them? Why did I NEVER have chili beans when I needed them? Why did I have to run to the store every time I needed refried beans to make a tostado? The answer was because you can't cook beans for one person very easily. It just takes too much time. I remembered what my daughter, DeLee, used to do when she was cooking only for herself. She would spend one day a month cooking different meals and freezing them. So the solution: Cook beans once every month or six weeks, zip lock them and put in the freezer. I've been doing it ever since.

I usually start with 2 pounds of dry pinto beans. Pick through them to remove any debris, rocks, shriveled beans, etc. Then wash them several times to remove dirt.

Put beans into a large soup pot. Add a smoked ham hock or some chunks of smoked ham. Add one large chopped onion.

Add enough water to come up to about one inch below the top of pot.

Add 2 tablespoons molasses and 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, and the black pepper.  DO NOT ADD SALT AT THIS TIME.

Here's how I add the black pepper…I take the pepper can with the shaker side open and start shaking the can up and down while I slowly count to 15. Seriously. I don't shake the can 15 times. I shake the can up and down 2- 3 times for each number as I count.

Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium low. Check in a couple of hours to make sure there's still enough water in the pot. Cover again and continue cooking. Check a bean in another hour and see if it's soft. If not check again in an hour.

Once beans are finished, here's how you "de-gas" them. Take a good pinch of baking soda, toss in the pot and stir quickly. You will never again have to worry about beans causing gas. Then add one tablespoon salt, taste juice. If not salty enough, add a little more to taste.

NOW IT GETS FUN! You're going to need 2 sauce pans for this step.

I use one pan for my chili beans and one for the beans I'm going to refry later.

FOR CHILI BEANS: With a ladle, dip some beans with the juice in one pan. Try to avoid getting the ham pieces in this pan. You're going to want quite a bit of chili powder and ground cumin in this pot. I prefer heavy on both spices. Then add several minced garlic cloves. Experiment with the spices until you get a good chili sauce in this pot.

a ladle, dip some beans with a LITTLE juice into the pan. Add a little ground cumin.


In sandwich size ZIP LOCK bags add enough chili beans for a pot of chili

In sandwich size ZIP LOCK bags add enough beans for however many you'll use for refried beans.

In quart size ZIP LOCK bags add enough ham and beans for a meal. If you only need single servings of ham and beans, you can use the sandwich size bag.

Now freeze all bags of beans and you're good to go for awhile.


REFRIED BEANS: Thaw beans. Add 2 tablespoons lard to a small skillet and heat until hot. Add beans without the liquid, mashing with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon while beans are frying. When beans are mashed and fried, add some of the bean liquid until the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add a little chili powder and garlic. Add salt a pinch at a time until salty enough because refried beans take a little more salt than fixed other ways.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This is NOT a light fluffy cake. It's more like a custard cake but an absolute crowd pleaser. The Mexicans that read this recipe are probably screaming "Don't do it that way!" right now. However, if there's an easy way to do something, I'm going to find it. This is MY version of 3 milks or in Spanish Tres Leches cake.

STEP ONE: Buy a yellow or white cake mix. See how easy step one is.

STEP TWO: Mix according to directions on box EXCEPT add 1/3 cup oil and 3 large eggs.

STEP THREE: Pour into an 8 x 8 cake pan that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking oil. Bake according to directions on box or until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake cool until it feels room temperature. Turn the cake over onto a platter that has raised edges. Pierce cake 20 - 30 times with a fork. Now put it in the refrigerator for an additional 30 minutes.

12 oz can evaporated milk
14 ounce can Eagle Brand milk
1/2 cup HEAVY cream.

(I prefer the Mexican heavy cream. It's available in the refrigerated section of most larger grocery stores and is wonderful. It's in a jar if you have to look for it.But you can use any heavy cream. NOT HALF AND HALF)

Whisk the three milks together. Slowly (seriously SLOWLY) pour the liquid over the cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Occasionally, spoon the milk runoff back onto the cake.

The last step requires NOT standing close to any of the graves of any Mexicans who have passed because the ground will be acting like an earthquake as all of those who were wonderful cooks will be rolling over in their graves.

They would tell you how to make the whipped topping for the top of this delicious cake.

On the other hand, I'm telling you to buy some of that Extra Creamy Cool Whip and spread it on your cake. Then sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top of cake.

As you cut and serve each piece, spread about three tablespoons of a fresh fruit, preferably strawberries or blueberries, spread out around each piece on the plate.