Mom, What’s for Dinner?

It doesn’t matter what you make for dinner – everyone will love this cake for dessert! 


Peanut Buttery Chocolate Cake



I love sausage bread. We make it as an appetizer for family get-togethers, as a breakfast, lunch and snack.

Sausage bread is easy to pack and carry, and it’s really easy to make. The bonus is that amazing smell of homemade bread that will bring every member of your family into the kitchen! Here’s how to make it:


Makes 2 loaves, to make one loaf, divide recipe in half.

2 loaves of Rhodes frozen bread dough (found in grocer’s freezer case)

1 16 oz. roll of breakfast sausage (Jimmy Deans, Bob Evans, etc.)

1 8 oz. pkg of shredded mozzarella cheese

Thaw bread dough according to pkg instructions – BUT YOU DON’T WANT IT TO RISE. The quick thaw instructions (using the oven work well).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fry sausage, crumbled til completely cooked. Drain grease.

Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place one loaf of dough on cookie sheet. Pound out dough or use  rolling pin to make it flat and even. About 12 – 14 long, and 7 -8 inches wide

Spoon 1/2 of the cooked sausage down center of dough. Top with 1/2 of the shredded cheese.

Pull sides of break dough over the top, overlapping each other. Pinch together to keep dough from pulling apart.

Close ends of dough, folding and pinching much like wrapping a gift or closing a diaper. Pinch together.

Wrap in aluminum foil.

Repeat for second loaf.

Place wrapped loaves of dough on cookie sheet and baked in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Unwrap to make sure loaf is no longer “doughy.” When cooked, remove from oven. Slice and eat.

Can easily be reheated in oven, wrap in foil and warm at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or until warm.


From my kitchen, where the biscuits are for baking, but the buns are for show!

Mom, what’s for dinner!

Those four words have caused moms to cringe on a daily basis. The answers to them make disgruntled kids even grumpier and are the daily dilemma moms face everywhere.

What is for dinner? It’s hard enough to parent without having to think of something new, something different, and something that fifty percent of your gang will like. I know – feeding a family of six, I’ve found that you can’t please some of them any of the time or all of them all of the time.

So, I’m going to help moms by eliminating one major decision they have to make every single day. What is for dinner?

Dinner – Like Mom Used to Make:

My mom grew up in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains with six brothers and sisters. Her father died before she was a teenager, leaving her mother with no income to feed a large family. Meat was a rare and precious commodity in their home – they mostly ate meals made from their garden harvest. When they had meat, they made it last for as many meals as possible.

When I grew up, my mom knew how to cook these types of meals. At least once a week, she would cook one of her Southern make-ends meet dinners; and we loved them for the taste. Now that I have my own family I realize the true value of those meals – for their nutritional value as well as their pocketbook friendliness.

There are a couple of dishes my family requests frequently. When you take into account that they are or can be entirely made of vegetables, you begin to realize the health benefits from these meals.

My favorite dinner was green beans. Yes, a big pot of fresh green beans, slowly simmered and cooked down for hours. To truly appreciate this meal, you’ve got to taste it. Fresh, cooked down green beans are extraordinary – there is absolutely no comparison to canned green beans. For additional flavor, just add a couple pieces of bacon, a ham bone left over from another meal, or chopped onion. On the side, we have hot cornbread (which is so much healthier and flavorful than white bread). This is a true southern depression era meal. Sometimes, we’ll turn the cornbread into Mexican cornbread by adding cream corn and chopped peppers into the batter. The prep time for the meal is minimal, the fat content is low, and the nutritional value is high.

Another family favorite that makes a ham go further is a pot of pinto or northern beans cooked with a ham bone. I always use a bag of dried beans – they are much cheaper, their nutritional content is higher because they haven’t been processed, and they don’t taste canned. Also, the economic waste from the bag is insignificant compared to the jars of cooked beans you can buy. I add onions, diced carrots, and celery for a great bean soup. Once again, this meal goes well with fresh baked cornbread.

These are meals which can be easily thrown in the crock pot or slow cooker in the morning, and all you have to do at night is mix and bake the cornbread. When I think about how cheaply my mom’s family ate due to necessity and the amount of prepared foods people now buy at the grocery store, I realize the high costs of convenience. Yet, most people don’t realize that these inexpensive dishes take no more prep time than a box of Hamburger Helper. Better yet, they are loaded with natural nutrients and fiber, and eliminate red meat, fat, and the sodium and salt which gives packaged food its flavor.


Finally! Something we can do with leftover turkey besides sandwiches. My kids love this stuff!

Chicken or Turkey White Chili

Hearty chili with one-third of the calories and half the fat of regular chili.

Great way to use leftover turkey or chicken!


3/4 cup chopped onions

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken or turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 cup canned chopped green chilies

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1 (16-ounce) can northern beans, drained

1 (14-1/2-ounce) can fat-free less sodium chicken broth


Heat ½ cup chicken broth in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and chicken/turkey, saute’ until tender. Add chiles, oregano, cumin, salt, peppers, beans, and remaining broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.



Recipe for five, adapt accordingly

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed

Pound chicken breasts until they are flat.

Dip in milk, coat w/flour.

Now, whip up two raw eggs in a bowl.

Dip chicken breasts into egg, then coat w/bread crumbs (I use premade crumbs purchased at grocery store).  Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour 1/4 cup olive or vegetable in skillet. And heat to medium.

Fry chicken breasts til golden on each side.  (Make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly).

Top with one slice of swiss cheese and one slice of cooked bacon.

Serve on rolls or buns.

Side Dishes:

Chips or fries

Baked beans or macaroni salad

Easy one-pan dinner done in 30 minutes!

OCTOBER 28: Homemade Cream of Potato Soup

Love this meal because it’s hearty, good, and inexpensive!  Excellent for cool fall nights.


6 potatoes

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 stick butter or margarine

Flour (approx. one cup)

Salt and pepper to taste

Milk as needed to achieve desired consistency

1 can Chicken Broth

Peel and dice six potatoes.  Boil until tender – drain

In a pot, saute chopped onion in 1/2 cup of butter or margarine.

Add flour to butter and onions, enough to soak up the butter and form a paste.

Add milk, several cups, stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken as it cooks.

Add chicken broth, and more milk as needed to create soup as creamy, thick or thin as you prefer.

Add cooked diced potatoes, salt and pepper to taste.


Add chopped carrots to potatoes as they’re cooking for color and flavor.

Add celery to onions if you like.

Stir in 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese for additional color or flavor. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Add chopped dill weed to soup (this is a unique flavor which is very good).


Recipe as above, substituting chicken broth with vegetable broth or more milk.

SERVE WITH:  Chicken sandwiches, cornbread, dinner rolls, etc.

ALTERNATIVES:  Add cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and Velveeta cheese for a homemade soup that impresses everyone!



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