A cooking and baking journal

Tried and True Recipe: Turkey Dressing


No, there is no turkey in this dressing. It just earned such a title because it is the perfect choice for a turkey dinner, or a pork dinner, or a chicken dinner. You'll be making up excuses to have this side make its way into the menu plan. The family had a turkey dinner the other Thursday (who said turkey is once a year?), so I jumped on the opportunity to whip out the camera and get a few shots of this tried and true recipe that goes back decades.

Tried and True Recipes (TNT) are those great, no-fail recipes you reach for again and again. I am doing a TNT series here on this blog where I will post one of my family's TNT recipes every other Sunday. See my previous posts:

When I was a kid and Thanksgiving came along, I didn't care much for the turkey part (save for the skin!), or the veggies. What I couldn't wait for was the dressing. Yes, it's true that I probably ate most of the canned cranberry sauce in Jell-o form, too, but dressing was my all time favorite. It still remains high on my list and the cranberry sauce? Canned is good, homemade is great!

As I said earlier, our dressing recipe goes back decades and was first introduced into the holiday food lineup by my grandmother, Gertrude. 

[ recipe binder that includes some of my grandmother's recipes ]

So want to see this dressing I've been raving about? 

The recipe starts off with you browning bacon bits, removing them from the pan and leaving most of the fat behind. Make sure you cut your bacon fine.

After chopping up an onion and some garlic cloves, you throw them into the pan and let them cook until translucent. Follow up with cup-after-cup of milk (6 in all!), eggs, and poultry seasoning. Next is the saltines, crushed and grounded until they resemble a tuna noodle casserole topping. Once the saltines have soaked up most of the milk and are looking more and more like oatmeal, you add in the bacon bits you rendered earlier. You cook this until most of the moisture is gone and the dressing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Yes, stick. 

May look like the dishwasher will have a hassle later on but you can avoid breaking out the elbow grease. When the meal is done and no dressing is to be seen, add water to the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes (like 5). Come back and scrape up the sticky, dressing bits with a spatula. You'll be surprised on how easily the bits come off the bottom!

OK, onto the recipe!

Turkey Dressing
Serves: 6-8 
(for printable recipe click here)

20 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups milk
4 eggs, scrambled
1-1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
4 packs of Saltine crackers, crushed and grounded 
salt and pepper

Cut the bacon crosswise, into small bits. Try cutting partially frozen bacon, it is easier to handle. Add bacon to a large skillet or dutch oven and cook until browned. Remove bacon from pan. Drain away some of the fat if need be. Make sure you are left with 4 or so tablespoons.

Throw in onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add in milk, eggs, poultry seasoning, and finally, crackers. As soon as the cracker mixture begins to look like oatmeal, add back in the bacon bits. Cook, stirring often, until most of the moisture is gone and dressing is sticking to bottom of pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For easy pan cleanup: add some water to pan, let simmer for five minutes, and scrape stuck-on, dressing bits using a spatula.


See you on May 5th!


Tried and True Recipe: Mashed Potatoes


Rice, noodles, bread, and potatoes are my family's usual "starch choices" for a meal. Potatoes must rank as #2 in the lineup for I seem to be always scrubbing and chopping those spuds. So for this week's tried and true recipe I thought it was high time I showed you how we make mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes can be prepared many, many different ways. Cream or milk. Skinned or skin on. Red potatoes or russets. Whipped or mashed. OK, I think you get the picture!

Tried and True Recipes (TNT) are those great, no-fail recipes you reach for again and again. I am doing a TNT series here on this blog where I will post one of my family's TNT recipes every other Sunday. See my previous posts:

TNT Recipe: Chicago Style Pizza
TNT Recipe: Favorite Brownies
TNT Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes
Tried and True Recipes Intro

For our mashed potatoes, we keep things thrifty and simple. We use milk, butter, skin-on red potatoes (usually), and salt and pepper for seasoning. When it comes to the mashing part, we grab for either the "ye old" potato masher or the hand-held electric beater, it really depends on the cook.

There are a couple things you should keep in the back of your mind when cooking up a pot of mashed potatoes. First off, when boiling your potatoes, cut the potatoes in quarters; it will make them cook a lot faster. Also, make sure your potatoes are fork tender (fall apart when you stab them with a fork), before you drain and start mashing. Mashed potatoes with chunks of raw potatoes. . . Ek. Lastly, go a little adventurous with the salt. I've noticed that you need to use more salt than you initially think when it comes to this side dish. OK, let's get to the recipe!

Simple Mashed Potatoes
Serves: 6
(Click here for printable recipe)

2-1/2 lbs., or 16 medium-sized, potatoes (I often use red skinned potatoes)
6 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Wash and clean potatoes. Leaving the skins on, cut potatoes in quarters or halves, depending upon the size. Place potatoes in a 4 quart pot and fill with water until potatoes are covered. Put on high heat and bring to boil. Boil for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, (potatoes full apart when you stab them with a fork).

Drain potatoes and return to pot. While potatoes are still piping hot, mash with potato masher. Before the potatoes are fully mashed, add butter and milk. Add more milk if the mixture looks too dry. If you want, you can use an handheld electric beater at this time to whip up your mashed potatoes. Alternatively, you can continue using your potato masher. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.


See you in two weeks!  Next TNT recipe will be posted on the 21st.

Tried and True Recipe: Pizza Buns


Back again this weekend to share with you yet another pizza recipe! 

So the tried and true recipe for this week is Pizza Buns. Tried and True Recipes (TNT) are those great, no-fail recipes you reach for again and again. I am doing a TNT series here on this blog where I will post one of my family's TNT recipes every other Sunday. See my previous posts:  

TNT Recipe: Chicago Style Pizza
TNT Recipe: Favorite Brownies
TNT Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes
Tried and True Recipes Intro

This recipe, simply put, is a pizza done cinnamon roll/jelly roll style. Don't worry, it's not one of those fiddly yeast dough recipes that require great skill in dough manipulation. May not be as easy to make as the Chicago Style pizza from last week, but it is, in my opinion, easier to make (and bake), than the traditional flat, circular pizza pie. I have found through my experiences that it is not always easy to roll and stretch out pizza dough to a large and thin circular object. Main cause of this is not giving the dough enough time to rest and have the gluten relax--and time is not something I always have. So with these pizza rolls, the dough needs just a short spurt of rising (for me, 50 minutes on average in a warm kitchen), before rolling it out into a shape that resembles a rectangle. It needn't be exact, because jelly rolls through their nature, always turn out beautifully, even if they start with rather poor aesthetics.

So after rolling out the dough to a rectangular shape, you spread out your filling. In my case I used ground Italian pork sausage that was browned and cooled beforehand. Follow this with a few handfuls of mozzarella, and we're good. Taking a long side, roll the dough into a log just as you would your traditional jelly roll. Seal the edges with a bit of water; it is not a sticky dough in the first place and it needs some help in the adhesive department. Using a knife, cut twelve rolls from each log.   

[ rolls with sausage and cheese filling rising for the 2nd time ]
[ I chose to do six of them with only cheese ]
After another short rise (twenty minutes or so), and fifteen minutes of baking in a 350F oven, take out the rolls and give them a good dollop of homemade pizza sauce. I would say two large dollops per roll. I think "dollop" terms do help. Should be placed right alongside "pinch." 

And of course more cheese! Place rolls back in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes more. Before you take them out you may want to do what I do to get a nice golden brown cheese topping. (I love crispy cheese!) I like to turn on the broiler and broil until I see the right amount of golden brown. Takes only but a few minutes more and I think it is well worth the extra time. If you try to achieve golden brown cheese delight by way of extended baking at 350F, your pizza bun bottoms will be past satisfactory by the time the cheese catches up. Believe me, I've been there.

So without further ado. . .

Pizza Buns
Recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour website. See it here.
(Click here for printable recipe)


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup hot tap water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons Pizza Dough Flavor,* optional but good
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • *Increase the salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons if you omit the Pizza Dough Flavor


  • 1 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, removed from casing, crumbled, and fried
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, or the pizza cheese of your choice


  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning, optional
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, or the pizza cheese of your choice


1) Whisk together the milk, hot water, and olive oil. The hot water should heat the milk so that the entire mixture is lukewarm. Set it aside.
2) In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the salt, Pizza Dough Flavor, sugar, dry milk, potato flour, all-purpose flour, and yeast.
3) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
4) Mix and knead the mixture — by hand, using a stand mixer, or in a bread machine — to make a smooth, soft dough.
5) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or a large (8-cup) measuring cup, cover it, and allow it to rise till doubled, 60 to 90 minutes.
6) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
7) Roll the dough into a 12" x 18" rectangle.
8) Spread evenly with the 1 cup cheese, and the browned sausage, gently pressing them into the dough.
9) Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 12 pieces.
10) Space the rounds on two parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets, six to a sheet. Flatten each to about 1/2" thick.
11) Cover the pan, and allow the buns to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till they're nicely puffed. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
12) Bake the buns for 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, combine the tomato sauce with the Pizza Seasoning and 2 teaspoons sugar, if you're using them.
13) Remove the buns from the oven, and brush each with a generous tablespoon of sauce. Sprinkle with about 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
14) Return the buns to the oven, and bake until their edges are golden brown, and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
15) Remove from the oven, and serve warm. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat for about 10 minutes, covered, in a 350°F oven; or very briefly in a microwave.
Yield: 12 pizza buns.


Come back on April 7th for another tried and true recipe!

Tried and True Recipe: Chicago-Style Pizza


My family loves pizza. I've tried many different variations throughout the years, from BBQ Chicken Pizza to Ciabatta Bread Pizza. We like any version really but one does stand out in regards to being flavor-packed and easy to make. You may remember me mentioning it last year; it is the Chicago-Style Garlic and Butter Pizza. Made it so often that it has become the Tried and True Recipe of the Pizza World; for this house anyway! 

Tried and True Recipes (TNT) are those great, no-fail recipes you reach for again and again. I am doing a TNT series here on this blog where I will post one of my family's TNT recipes every other Sunday. See my previous posts:

So this is what the pizza looks like:

13x9 pan! Yay! Makes it so much easier to do. If you have a Pyrex dish of some sort you might want to make the pizza in that. It allows you to take a peek of the bottom while cooking to make sure it is not too under or over browned.

So here is the recipe and a side note to go with it. It is not necessary to use garlic and butter in the crust. The garlic can be completely omitted (which I did once and it still was tasty), and vegetable or olive oil can be substituted for the butter.

Update: I modified the following recipe on 4/14/13 to make it closer to what I personally do.

Chicago-Style Garlic and Butter Pizza Crust
Yield: One 13x9 pan / Click here for printable recipe

  • 1 (2-1/4 tsp.) package active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups lukewarm water (110F - 115F)
  • 3-1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting (Try using half bread flour; makes for a chewy crust)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • pizza toppings, your choice (What I Did: My toppings were homemade pizza sauce--tomato sauce, dried basil, salt and pepper, sugar--mozzarella cheese, sliced bell peppers lightly sauteed, and browned, Italian pork sausage)


1. In a measuring cup, dissolve yeast with 1-1/4 cups lukewarm water and sugar. Wait until yeast starts to "bloom" or create foam. 

2. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add garlic to butter and cook on medium heat until fragrant. Move from heat. 

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and salt. Stir in yeast mixture. Add butter and garlic mixture.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl, add the dough and turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Deflate dough. Grease a 13x9" baking dish and press in dough to cover bottom and 2 inches up the sides; let rise for 20 minutes. While waiting for dough to rise, preheat over to 400F.

5. Top pizza dough with your favorite toppings and bake for 30 minutes.

Tried and True Recipe: Favorite Brownies


Whenever a recipe allows me to spend fifteen minutes prepping, thirty minutes baking, zero to three minutes cooling, and all done with a 13x9 pan, well, let's just say that the recipe print out or cookbook page quickly becomes crumbled and stained by multiple use. I love this type of recipe because advance planning is not necessary and I wind up with a dessert in under an hour. Oh, and don't forget that 13x9 pan tagline. I don't know why but whenever I see the 13x9 pan as recommended hardware in the recipe, everything seems so much more doable. 

Now onto my promised Tried and True Recipe for today. Tried and True Recipes (TNT) are those great, no-fail recipes you reach for again and again. I am doing a TNT series here on this blog where I will post one of my family's TNT recipes every other Sunday. See my previous posts:

Actually, this time I will be sharing two recipes, each being a recipe for a brownie. And yes, they come together in no time and 13x9 pans are in your future.

The recipes are called "Best Butterscotch Brownies" and "Four-Way Fudge Brownies." Sounds yummy, huh? So you can better picture them in your mind. . .

I could take credit for these moist, chewy, fudgy, butterscotch-y brownies, but I shouldn't. My sister Catherine baked these and did a mighty fine job. They tasted better than usual! 

What I really like about these butterscotch brownies is that no butterscotch chips are used. Brown sugar and butter heated together is what gives them their flavor. To me, butterscotch in chip form leaves a metallic aftertaste so not too fond of them. Another highlight for these brownies is how well they travel. Great lunchbox choice.

I tried a lot of different chocolate brownies before I found the Four-Way Fudge Brownies recipe. With a lot of the recipes I found the chocolate to be prominent, but the brownie's chewiness was always an issue. They always turned out more crisp than I wanted them to be. Up until last year when I found the Four-Way Fudge Brownies, I thought boxed brownies were the best. Yeah, I was that far from brownie bliss.

Onto the recipes!

Best Butterscotch Brownies 
(click here for printable version)
source: www.cdkitchen.com


2 cups light brown sugar
1-1/2 sticks butter, melted
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla


Melt sugar and butter together. Cool. Add eggs. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla together. Add to other mixture. Mix well. Bake in greased 13x9 pan at 350F for 30 minutes.


Four-Way Fudge Brownies
(click here for printable version)
source: Better Homes and Garden cookbook, out of print


1 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut up
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/3 cups flour


Grease a 13x9 pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat lightly by hand just until combined. Stir in flour.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake brownies in a 350F oven for 30 minutes. 

Next TNT recipe will be posted on March 10!

Tried and True Recipe: Blueberry Pancakes


Here's the premiere post of my brand new blog series: Tried and True Recipes. TNT recipes are those great, no-fail recipes that you reach for again and again. See my previous post to learn more. 

Homemade blueberry pancakes have been a staple for my family for years. They are the pinnacle of Sunday brunches and most recently, Friday lunches, as we abstain from meat on this day of the week. Add the fact that we grow and freeze our own blueberries and you have one spectacular pancake. We typically reach for the Bisquick mix to make pancakes, but last year I found a wonderful pancake recipe from Annemarie's famous Betty Crocker cook book from 1950. According to Pinterest, this is one popular cook book! Recipe follows photos. . .

Blueberry Pancakes
(click here for printable recipe)


1 egg
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. soft butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup frozen blueberries


In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, and baking soda. Beat until foamy. Beat in flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, and salt. Make sure you don't over beat. Pour frozen blueberries in (don't bother rinsing them unless you see ice), and stir gently with a spoon. 

Heat griddle and grease with butter. Here's a tip on how to grease: take a stick of butter straight from the fridge and unwrap it at one end. Using the other end as a handle, slide the butter stick over the entire surface of the griddle. Place butter back in fridge until you have to grease again. Using a ladle, pour batter on hot griddle. Test and adjust amount of batter you need for a pancake in your preferred diameter. (Hey, every family is different. Some like it big, others small!) Once the pancakes' edges are firm and you see large bubbles in the middle, it is time to flip. First, use a large spatula to cut and separate the pancakes that are touching, then flip! 

As soon as the other side is brown the pancakes are ready to eat. You can have them right off the griddle or you can place them in a warm, glass baking dish and put them in a warm oven. They will be still nice and butter-melting-warm when it's time to eat!

Yield: 16 4" pancakes.


Next TNT recipe will be posted on February 24! 

New Tried and True Series


I've been mulling over in my mind an idea I came up with a couple weeks ago. In a nutshell, it is a series of blog posts where each post will have the slogan: "Tried and True Recipe."  Or "TNT" for short. So what makes a tried and true recipe? For me, a TNT recipe is one that I grab for first whenever I think of making that particular dish. I remember watching Melissa D'Arabian (host of Ten Dollar Dinners on Food Network), a couple years ago and she used to say, "This is a good recipe to have in your back pocket." In other words, a great, no-fail recipe that has proved his worth in the past and acts like a culinary swiss army knife. Aka family favorites. Aka comfort food. Aka tried and true recipe. Aka TNT recipe.

Years ago when Sabbath Supper was just starting out, I used to post each week what I cooked/baked on Sunday afternoon. That's where the name came from! For this new series, I will be scheduling a post every other Sunday morning with a TNT recipe to share with you. So you can sip your coffee and read at the same time. :) A written (and printable) recipe will be shared along with any tips that will help make my recipe a TNT recipe for you.

The first post in this series will be going public this coming Sunday, February 10th.


Some other news: I thought I should fill you in on some recent news of mine. First I will give you some background info! Last summer I started to sell homemade baked goods at Magicland Farms (my family's roadside farm market), under the Michigan Cottage Food Law. I was selling bar cookies, brownies, blueberry muffins, sugar cookies, cupcakes, and more throughout the summer and fall months. All of them were really popular and I had a hard time keeping up with the demand! Thank goodness we had air conditioning because I don't think I could have made it through hot summer baking without it!

Later in the year I started selling my baked goods at craft shows and forming my own business called Becky's Sweet Delights Bakery. (See website here.)

Last month I managed to obtain a job at a local camp and will be working part time as Food Service Staff. In all likelihood, I will need to cut off any bakery pursuits for this year which is a sad thing considering how new it is. On the bright side, it will always be there for me to lean back on and it is something I know I will enjoy. I am very excited to start working at the camp; my training will be starting at the end of February so I don't have to wait very long at all! Pray for me and my new endeavor!