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Simple favorites

May 2, 2012
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

Creamy oatmeal, noodles with butter, sloppy joes, raw fried potatoes, fresh-baked cookies. What do these foods have in common? They were favorites of my siblings (and myself) during our childhood. We are adults now, but these simple foods still get a "thumbs up" from all of us.

Now that I'm older, I tend to use less sugar on my cereal. To make a more grown-up version of buttered noodles; garlic powder is added and some Parmesan or feta cheese is sprinkled on top. No sloppy joe is complete without pickles. And, still enjoy fried potatoes - especially the real crispy slices.

As for the cookies, few can compare to the tasty treats Mom baked for us. I can follow her recipes. but the cookies just don't taste quite the same.

To me, this is comfort food


Any kind of pasta, cooked and drained


Olive oil

Garlic powder or salt


Feta cheese (try tomato/basil blend)

Parmesan cheese, opt.

Sliced ripe olives, opt.

Combine all ingredients using amounts to suit your taste. Enjoy while hot; reheating in microwave if necessary.

Great served with fries or a pasta salad


1 cup chopped onion (red or white)

1 T. vegetable oil

1-lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup chili sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup dill relish, drained

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Buns, split and lightly toasted (4-6)

Shredded cheddar cheese, opt.

In a skillet, combine onion and vegetable oil. Cook onions until tender; about 5 min. Crumble in the turkey and cook until no longer pink, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine chili sauce, water, relish and Worcestershire Sauce. Stir into skillet. Cook (simmer) for at least 30 minutes, covered. Sauce will thicken.

Divide turkey mixture among toasted buns. If desired, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Yield: 4 to 6 sandwiches.

A crispy side dish


5 med. baking potatoes, cut into 1/4" strips

2 T. vegetable oil

4 to 5 tsp. Italian seasoning

1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pepper

Place potato strips in a large resealable plastic bag; add oil. Seal bag and shake gently to coat potatoes. Add seasonings and shake again. Place seasoned strips (in single layer) on a large baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 25 min. or until crispy. Serve immediately.

Note: For 2 servings, just cut recipe in half.

Soft and chewy


2-1/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2/3 cup margarine, melted

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)

1/2 cup choc-flavored syrup (Hershey's)

In a small mixing bowl combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl beat melted margarine with an electric mixer on med. speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well on med. speed. Add peanut butter and chocolate syrup; beat on med. speed till well mixed. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed till combined. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper) Bake at 350 for about 8 min. or until surface appears dry and cookies are set. Let stand on cookie sheet one minute; remove to wire rack to cool.

Notes: Be sure to use stick margarine, such as Imperial or Blue Bonnet. For variety, add some mini chocolate chips to all or just a portion of the dough. Yield: about 6 dozen. May be frozen.

To make you smile ...

A little boy told the saleswoman he was shopping for a gift for his mother and asked to see some cookie jars. At a counter with a large selection of jars, he carefully lifted and replaced each lid. His face fell as he came to the last one. "Aren't there any jars with lids that don't make a noise?" he asked.



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