Category Archives: 15min

Rice Pancakes, or using up the leftovers.

This will be brief! When raising and feeding a family of ten, we stretched the protein with sauce and rice — a lot! Well, if you study food combinations, you learn that rice combines with several things to make a high-quality protein.  Latin America lives on rice and beans, and so can we! This meant, however, that we often would have leftover rice. And we used up our leftovers!! Often, we would use the leftover rice the next morning in these pancakes, here at my son Amos’s request.

Rice Pancakes

  • 1 cup milk (I usually economized by using reconstituted dry milk in our cooking.)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour (I like to use half whole wheat flour, but if I am using brown rice, I let that be the whole grain)

Mix the milk, rice and salt in a large bowl.  Beat the egg yolks and add them, then stir in the butter and flour.  Beat the egg whites until stiff, and gently fold them in.  Drop by large spoonfuls onto a moderately hot greased griddle.  Turn with a spatula when the cakes are  full of bubbles.  Of course, I often would have to double this, and sometimes would cook extra rice just so that we could eat these the next day.  From an old copy of Fanny Farmer’s Cookbbook.

One Dish Meals – The Series: Not Tuna Casserole

Growing up in southern Kansas, we called the one-dish meals “casseroles”; I understand that in some parts of the country, they are called “hot dishes”.  Whatever you call them, they probably got started as a way to stretch the food dollar by combining a little bit of protein with a whole lot of what we used to call “starch”, or carbohydrate. This starch was usually in the form of what we used to call noodles, now known as pasta.  Sometimes,  rice was the stretcher.  To tell the truth, these casseroles all kind of ended up looking alike: a gummy mass of noodles that was pretty salty.  My mom went to her grave never knowing that I hated tuna casserole, for instance.  It had four ingredients: macaroni, tuna, cream of mushroom soup and sometimes peas.  Or cheese.  Fat city, here I come! I knew that there had to be a better way, and I’m sure that I was not the first one to turn to the Italian method for inspiration.  This was the result: something I call Tuna, Pasta, Tomatoes and Olives.  or Not Tuna Casserole.

  • One bag of whole wheat, spiral macaroni (I think it’s about a pound)
  • One large can of diced tomatoes
  • One onion
  • One green pepper
  • One can of pitted black olives
  • Some olive oil
  • Some balsamic vinegar
  • Some basil and garlic
  • one can of tuna, preferably the solid white kind.

Cook and drain the pasta.  Chop the onion and pepper.  Slice the olives. Drain the tomatoes, but drink the juice — it’s yummy and good for you.Mix together about 1/3 c. of olive oil, the same of the vinegar, and season with basil and garlic until you are satisfied with the flavor.  You can serve this hot or cold.  Some crusty bread is good with it.

Zucchini: Is There Anything It Can’t Do? (Zuke Salad and Zuke Cake)

And, by the way, how do you spell it? I think this is the accepted form.  Tomorrow is the first day of summer, and if you’re a gardener — or the friend of one– it’s not to early to start planning for National “Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch” Week.  I’ve actually never grown zucchini, because I have so many generous friends who do.  This vegetable is good for everything from soup to dessert.  If you have a particularly large one, you can stuff it with a ground meat seasoned with cumin, oregano, garlic and mint (some chopped tomatoes, if you like) for a Mediterranean-style entree.  Here are two recipes that I think are excellent examples of zuke versatility. If you have a copy of Jane Brody’s Good Food Book (and I hope that you do!) check out her recipe for Zucchini Fritatta.


I’m not sure of the origin of this recipe; I may have gotten from a fellow teacher in Kansas City who probably brought it to some luncheon, as my copy is scribbled on the back of a blank test form.  When I pulled this scrap out of my bag  home the other day and prepared it, I had forgotten how delicious it is!  It is reminiscent of home-made pickles.

Mix together:

  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used about 1/2)
  • salt and pepper – you decide
  • 2/3 cup vinegar ( I used a combination of balsamic vinegar and apple cider; red wine vinegar would also be good.)


  • 5 cups of thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced

Mix it all up and refrigerate.  It keeps very well and gets better every day (just like you!).


Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.  Preheat the oven to 375.

Mix in a large bowl:

  • 3 cups peeled and grated zucchini
  • 3 cups sugar (you could probably get by with 2 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine and add:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • 1 cup nuts, optional
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, also optional
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, also optional

Pour into the pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  It’s good with cream cheese frosting, but isn’t everything? You can see that this can be made to be a chocolate cake or not.  1 teaspoon cinnamon can also be added.

I have to be honest:  I don’t think you need that much oil.  I think you could leave out 1/2 cup, but it’s been a while since I’ve made this.  Tell you what:  I’ll make it up next week and let you know.

Ranger Cookies

I have always been a history buff.  Maybe it’s because I come from a family of storytellers, and was fascinated with our family history, the stories my mom and dad and grandparents would tell. First person sources are always the best, but stories passed down through generations ring true also. So I was interested to find out the origin of this recipe; I found that the recipe on my little brown, creased recipe card is the same as the original printed in the April 26, 1935 edition of the Uniontown, PA News Standard, on page 14, in column 4.  (Isn’t Google great?) My story about these cookies goes back to about 1961 or 62.  My brother and I frequently made cookies together, and of course, we ate about as much raw dough as we put into the oven. We were making Ranger cookies on this occasion, and we must have both gone overboard, because when Mom got home froom work, we were both groaning on the couch with major bellyaches.  I don’t think we got a whole lot of sympathy that time……


  • 1 c. butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 c. white sugar


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspns vanilla

Sift together:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 teaspn. soda
  • 1/2 teaspn baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 2 c. Rice Krispies (some claim to have made these cookies with corn flakes; okay.)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Stir flour misture into the butter and sugar mixture.  Roll into small balls and flatten slightly with a damp fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Gingersnap Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s still winter up here in Omaha; so last week Faith baked a batch of our favorite gingersnaps: soft, chewy cookies with lumps of chocolate. What could be better for a cold, windy afternoon? The recipe that I use is typed on a little card with a note from my mom at the bottom:”  Good luck, Julie.  Love, Mom.” They have been my favorite for years, although mom’s recipe didn’t have the chocolate chips.  We figured adding them would be the only way to improve these cookies.

3/4 c. shortening

1 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. molasses

1 egg

2 1/4 c. flour

2 teasp. soda

1/2  teasp. salt

1 teasp. ginger

1 teasp. cinnamon

1/2 teasp. cloves (ground)

1 c. chocolate chips

Oven temp: 350.  Grease the cookie sheets.

Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and egg.  Stir in dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips.  Roll into small balls and dip the tops in white sugar.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 8 minutes.  Should make about 4 dozen depending on size of cookies and whether you can keep your fingers out of the dough.

Faith used a little honey in the last batch, because she thought that they looked too dry.