Category Archives: Dinner

Country Captain (chicken)

This fall, we welcomed Kedar Singh into our family when he married our daughter, Faith. Kedar and his brother (who also lives here) are from southern India, home of one of my favorite cuisines! I’m sure that the “Indian” food I’ve enjoyed is merely an Americanized imitation of his mother’s cooking. I hope to learn more about preparation and serving of Indian dishes, but until then, I will use the best curry powder I can find!

A few weeks ago, we invited Faith and Kedar and Vamsi over to our house for dinner. We served a dish of Country Captain, a curry flavored stew of tomatoes and chicken, served with rice. Apparently the stew got its name from the British sea captains and military officers who lived in colonial India. During the meal, I mentioned this and learned how poorly modern Indians think of the British and the whole colonial experience! (something like the early American colonists.) But they liked the stew.

(Note: I first saw this recipe in the Family Circle Cookbook, Volume 1.)

Country Captain

(Makes 8 servings – more or less)

4 # chicken: I usually use all white meat, but you could use a couple of whole chickens
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 T curry powder
1 can (1 pound) chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup raisins
hot cooked rice

Dredge chicken with flour. (Actually, I usually skip this.) Season with salt and pepper. Brown pieces (don’t crowd the meat!) in oil in Dutch oven. Remove chicken, keep warm. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and curry powder. Salute until soft. Add tomatoes and chicken, cover and simmer 1 hour. Serve with rice.


Thanks to Kathy Taylor for this recipe. She contributed it to a church cookbook about 25 years ago, just in time for me to start wondering what to feed 5 children and a husband on a budget! These are great little fist-sized hot sandwiches. At their best, they should remind you a little of White Castle hamburgers.  Actually, up here in Omaha, they have something similar that is called a runza, but it’s not quite the same, or as good.  Some people eat them with cheese sauce, but we like them with ketchup (like White Castles!). They can be made with either chopped cabbage or sauerkraut, but I almost always use kraut.  They aren’t bad cold, and if you make enough, you can wrap and freeze them and have a handy lunch ready.

okay, here’s the truth: I can’t find my recipe, so I’m flying by the seat of my pants as far as the amounts go.  I’m pretty sure this is right; I double checked the bread recipe so it’s reliable.  Silas and Patty, thanks for asking: I sometimes don’t find time to update this unless I get a request.

Lots of chopped onion and black pepper make these tasty.


  • 2 pounds of hamburger
  • 1 very large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans sauerkraut, drained (or 1 large can)
  • salt and lots of black pepper

Cook the onion until soft. Add the hamburger. Drain the excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained kraut. Hold it. Make the dough.


  • 2 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.


  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups milk

Stir all this together and add

  • about 8 cups flour; I use about 3 cups of whole wheat flour.

Stir until the dough holds together.  Knead for about 8 minutes. Let rise — about an hour.

Divide the dough in half.  Roll one half into a rectangle and then cut into squares.  Put a large spoonful of filling onto each square and bring up the 4 corners to meet each other and pinch the sides together.  You want to enclose all the filling. Repeat with the other half.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 35o until brown — about 20-25 minutes.

Kusherie: You really don’t need to eat dead animals…….

One of my boys (my young men?) has asked for this recipe several times.  I’m glad you like it, Aaron, it was always one of my favorites, also.  I really don’t have any philosophical reason to avoid meat — I just don’t like it.  I think vegetarian meals, including protein from legumes and grains, is a lot more healthful.  A good resource on this are the books, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe, and its companion, Recipes for a Small Planet, by Ellen Buchwald.  I really like this approach.  And, of course, More With Less is an excellent source of common-sense recipes for those who want to eat responsibly, for their own health as well as for the good of others.

So we ate a lot of beans when I was growing up.  My mom always served navy beans, slow cooked with ham hocks, onion and bay leaf. Just like the chili, we added a dash of vinegar, and lots of ground black pepper, and hot cornbread.  Mom was mildly amused when, after she had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks, Dad proudly said that he had “discovered a great way to cook beans: you just soak them overnight, and then cook them at a really low temperature for about 3 hours! ” To Mom, it was sort of like reinventing the wheel.  I continued the tradition while raising a family of eight children.  I remember being a little embarrassed when one of the boys’ friends walked in the house, sniffed and said, “Hmmm your mom’s cooking beans again.”  I don’t think he wanted to stay for supper that night. Lentils are a more convenient legume to serve, as they do not require soaking.  Brown lentils look a little “homely”, so if you can get red lentils at the City Market, they look a little better.  Kusherie is a recipe straight out of More With Less, and is subtitled Egyptian Rice and Lentils.  If you have trouble with raw onions, ask hubby to slice them.


Heat in a skillet:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil


  • 1 1/4 cup dry lentils

Brown lentils over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.


  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper

Cook uncovered 10 minutes over medium heat.

Stir in:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup boiling water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 24 minutes without stirring.

In another saucepan, heat together:

  • 3/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups tomato juice or tomato sauce
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Simmer for 20 minutes

For the Onions, in a skillet heat:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Cook these gently til soft and slightly brown.

To serve, put the rice and lentil mixture on a platter.  Pour the tomato sauce over and top with onions.  Serve with a nice spinach salad.

One Dish Meals, cont’d – Chicken Paprika

One dish meals are convenient, but sometimes they are sort of — well, unattractive.  Just some noodles and sauce.  I guess that’s not so bad, but I’m married to a man who really likes to see a piece of meat bigger than his thumb on the plate.  I like this one from Family Circle magazine.  It’s easy, cheap, and pretty tasty.  Serve it with noodles, mashed potatoes or rice on the side (there goes the one-dish idea) or with some really good, crusty bread (a perfect go-to side dish) and spinach salad.

Chicken Paprika

  • 8 chicken thighs or legs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup paprika (try to find a store that sells good Hungarian paprika)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 14-oz (used to be 16 0z) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth (see note at bottom)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Remove skin from chicken(not absolutely necessary, but I do it with this dish.) In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4 min.  Add  seasonings and cook for 1 min.

Add tomatoes, with the juice, 1 1/2 cups broth and chicken pieces.  Cover, bring to boiling, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for about 20 min, til chicken is nice and tender.  In a small bowl, combine the rest of the broth into flour and stir until smooth.  Stir into skillet, cook 1-2 min until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  Some fresh parsley is a great garnish.

Note re: chicken broth.

Of course, the best way to get chicken broth is to cook some chicken.  This didn’t always seem practical to me, because, unless you are going to use the cooked chicken,  —well, it just didn’t make sense.  I guess you could cook the chicken, and if you’re not planning on using it (for instance, this dish calls for raw chicken), you could freeze it and make chicken enchiladas or tacos another day.  If you are going to make soup, then you are making broth for that dish, and you won’t have any left over.  Anyway, here’s my solution to what some may not think is a problem in the first place.  First, If I am doing a stir fry, something that calls for cutting the raw chicken off the bones, I cook those bones into broth and freeze it.  Otherwise, I buy canned broth or I have even used bouillion cubes, which I am ashamed to admit.  I know some fine chefs who will cook a chicken only for the broth and then give the meat to the family pet or something.  You get really good broth that way.  Like mom used to say, “You can either save time or money.”

One Dish Meals: First in a Series . Macaroni and Cheese

One of my sons has suggested a “one pot” theme.  Good idea, especially if the dish is such that you can do like the cavepeople did and all stick your spoons in the same pot!  No dishes! I like it.  To my way of thinking, soup makes a great one pot meal, especially if you have got (or have made!) some really good bread.  Anyway, watch this spot; there will be more to come.  But for the first one pot meal, let’s make it macaroni and cheese.  Technically, I use 2 pots, one for the mac and one for the sauce, but there is a way to make it in one pot.  Here it is.  Don’t forget  to serve with applesauce.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 bag of macaroni – usually about a pound.  And I like to use whole wheat mac, the spirals.
  • 4 tablespoons butter.  and it’s better if your butter is not margarine.
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk (or alternatively, 2/3 cup dry milk powder mixed with 2 cups water. or add the powder with the flour and then stir in the water.)
  • 0ne pound (or more) of cheddar cheese, shredded — or you can  use a mixture of Monterey Jack, cheddar, etc.  Sometimes I also use some cream cheese.  And, while some would say that Velveeta is not real cheese, it sure does melt nicely. Use the big box.
  • salt and pepper
  • additional seasoning: I like to use either Worcestershire sauce or Lawry’s seasoned salt.  Some chopped green onions are also good.

First, you need a big pot in which to boil your water and cook your macaroni.  I assume you can follow the directions on the bag.  When it is cooked, drain it and return to the stove (but turn the burner way down.  In fact, turn it off for a while.  The mac is pretty hot.) Now, stir in the butter and let it melt, and then add the flour.  Now the milk (or the milk powder and water). Now, with the heat on low, start stirring in the cheese til its melted.  If you choose to add the additional seasonings, go ahead.  Remember, the more cheese the better.  That’s it; you can eat it out of the pot, or if you are from southern Kansas, pour it into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 til brown on top.  (buttered bread crumbs always make a good casserole topping.)

Like my Mom said, “Feed ’em macaroni and cheese!”

A Word about Powdered Milk

I don’t suppose anyone likes to drink powdered milk, but it is handy to have around.  If you bake or cook any recipe that calls for milk, the difference won’t be noticeable if you substitute reconstituted dry milk. It’s cheaper, and it keeps for a long time. And then you can save the real milk for drinking and eating cereal.

BLT Chicken Salad

This is a much-requested recipe (at least as far as my children are concerned). I have seen it from several different sources (mags, etc.) but it’s pretty much PD now. (I hope.) Enjoy.


  • 1/2 c. real mayo
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 1/2 teaspns. vinegar (balsalmic is good)
  • 1 tablespn. BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 teaspn garlic powder

Cook 1 pound chicken breasts; cool, cut in cubes.

Cook 1/2 pound rotini pasta (of course, I prefer ww)

Cook several strips bacon til crisp (how about 1 1/2 strips per person?)

Now, mix pasta and dressing. Toss in chicken, bacon.  Add 3 c. chopped Romaine lettuce and fresh spinach.  Throww in a chopped tomato. Toasted croutons made of good french bread are a good add-in: I toss the cubes with olive oil and bake at a low temp til crisp. This will probably serve 6 people.

Mauk Borscht

The name is sort of a play on words, since I’m not sure this is true borscht.  It is published at the request of my daughter Kate.

1 large onion, chopped                                      2 cloves garlic, minced                    4-6 slices bacon, chopped

1 28-oz can tomatoes                                         2 stalks celery, sliced                        2   med. carrots, jullienned

1 small cabbage, sliced very thinly                  1 med rutabaga, cubed                      4 c. chicken broth

3/4 lb. smoked kielbasa, sliced                        1 16-oz can sauerkraut                      2 tablespn lemon juice

2 bay leaves                                                          salt, pepper                                          1 tablespn fresh dill, chopped or 1 teaspn dried

1 tablespn sugar

Saute onion and garlic with bacon pieces.  Add tomatoes, veggies, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer covered 30 minutes.  Stir in sausage, kraut, juice, sugar, bay leaves and simmer another 20 minutes or so.  Sprinkle in dill.  Serve with sour cream and hot homemade rolls. it’s really good for you.

Cincinnati Chili from Cleveland

I was first introduced to chili on spaghetti in the sixth grade. The new girl from school invited me to her house for supper.  They had just moved to Winfield from Cleveland, and when her Mom served this, she said they ate chili on spaghetti all the time in Ohio.  I’m a Kansas girl and had never heard of chili with anything but crackers.  Later in life, I learned that German Mennonites love chili with cinnamon rolls, and lots of other folks eat it with cornbread, which is now our tradition.  By the way, the recipe calls for chopped raw onions as a garnish, but if that’s a little too strong, just use sliced green onions.

2 Tablespn olive oil                                  1 c. chopped onion (1 large)                  2 cloves of garlic minced

1 lb. ground beef                                       1 lb. ground lamb (frankly, I just use 2 lbs. beef)

2 Tablespn cocoa                                      2 Tablespn chili powder                         1  teaspn ground cumin

1/4 teaspn ground coriander                  1/4 teaspn cinnamon                             1/4 teaspn ground allspice

1/4 teaspn ground cardomom                1 20-oz can chopped tomatoes             2 tablespn tomato paste

2 tablespn red wine vinegar                    2 tablespn honey (or brown sugar)      salt and pepper to your taste

1 pound linguine, or long macaroni       2 16-oounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

4 oz grated Monterey Jack cheese         chopped onion for topping.

In a big pot, cook the onions in the oil til soft, about 10 minutes (did i say low heat?). Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.  Add meat, raise the heat and cook til the meat is brown, crumble it up as it cooks.  Drain grease.  Add cocoa and spices; coo and stir for about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, the vinegar and the honey. Add the beans.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Salt and pepper as you like it.  While the chili cooks, boil some water and cook the linguine. (or spaghetti) Serve the chili atop the noodles, garnished with cheese and onions.   This ought to serve 6, but maybe just four.

Remember that chili is what you make it; use the seasoning measurements as a starting place.  The combination of spices in this chili is characteristic of the Greeks who have a large community in Cincinnati, and from whom i think we get this recipe.