Makes about 3 ounces (enough for 2 pounds of meat)

3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

To Use:
Use up to 3 Tablespoons of this mix for every pound of browned, ground or shredded meat.
In frying pan with browned meat, add right amount of mix and 1/2 cup of water per pound of ground meat. Stir until mixed. Cook over medium-high heat until the water evaporates.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker oats (Quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.
Drop by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
Cool 1 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.
Makes about 4 dozen.

[Bar cookies: bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13×9 inch metal baking pan.]

No oven There are three VERY important things to remember about this recipe:

  •  DO NOT overcook
  •  DO NOT use “instant” oatmeal
  •  DO NOT use “spreadable” or “lite” butter or margarine
    Otherwise it is easy.


      1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or baking margarine

      2 cups sugar

      1/2 cup milk (may use skim if you wish)

      4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) bakers’ powdered cocoa (may use more if you like a bitter, daker chocolate flavor

      1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy) [add another tablespoon if you use chunky]

      3 to 3 1/2 cups of dry quick-cooking (not instant) oats

      2 teaspoons vanilla


      1. Add first four ingredients into a large sauce pan

      2. Bring to a rolling boil for no more than one minute. Just enough to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar so the granules disappear. (DO NOT OVERCOOK)

      3. Remove from heat.

      4. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla until thoroughly mixed

      5. Stir in the oats until evenly covered.

      6. Spoon onto wax paper and let cool to set.



  • OATS – Not a big oatmeal fan? You can swap them out with chow mien noodles, cheerios, coconut, puffed rice, granola, or trail mix.
  • VANILLA – You can replace the vanilla with almond extract. This is particularly good if you make it with coconut instead of oats.
  • OTHER: For a Mexican Chocolate feel, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon with Step 1 of the above directions
  • Nothing is better than warm freshly made French onion soup on a cold and blustery winter day. 

    Despite its simple elegance, you can’t rush true French onion soup. If you want do do it right – it’s going to take you about four hours to prepare – but it is worth it if you commit to dong it right. 

    INGREDIENTS – (Serves 6)


    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 6 large yellow onion. It is important that they be yellow onion and not white onions, which are too hot.
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup dry sherry (not salty cooking sherry – real sherry)
    • 4 cups chicken broth (canned broth/stock is fine)
    • 2 cups beef broth (canned broth/stock is fine)
    • one tied bundle of fresh thyme (half a dozen sprigs)
    • 1 bay leaf
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Croutons and Cheese:

    • 1 small french baguette cut into slices a half-inch thick. Do not use sourdough baguettes.
    • 8 ounces of Gruyere cheese shredded (makes about 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese)

    Adjust oven rack so that it is in the lower-middle level and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Half and cut the onions into 1/4-inch wedge-shaped slices. (Sliced pole-to-pole – not like onion rings).

    In a large Dutch-oven type of baking/stove-top pan add butter, onions, 1 teaspoon of salt. If you are not using a non-stick pan, be sure to coat the inside of the pan generously with a nonstick cooking spray.

    Cover the pan and cook in the oven for one hour.

    After the first hour, remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot.

    Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar to allow stem to escape. Cook for another hour. Scrape the sides and stir the pot and return to the oven as before, cooking an additional 30-40minutes until onions are very soft and thoroughly golden brown. (We are trying to get the deep brown carmelization that is key to French onion soup.)

    Remove pot from oven and place on stove at medium high heat. Use oven mitts (the pan will be very hot) and stir the onions and continually scrape the sides and bottom. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and the onions are brown. This should take 15-20 minutes.

    Continue cooking on the stove top and stirring frequently until the onions become a dark, crusty color. If you are not using a non-stick pan, the bottom should start to become encrusted with a dark crust. This is the desired effect. This should take an additional 6-8 minutes after the liquid has evaporated. Adjust heat as needed so it doesn’t cook too fast or burn to black.

    Stir in one cup of water – scraping the pot to loosen the crust is you are not using a non-stick pan. Stir until mixture is  well mixed and cook down again until all liquid evaporates, again forming the dark crust. This should take 6-8 minutes as before. Repeat this step 2 or 3 more times until all the onions are a deep, dark brown.

    Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently until the sherry evaporates. This should take about 5 minutes.

    Now stir in both broths, 2 cups water, the thyme bundle and the bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to deglaze it and to get all the browned onions mixed evenly in the broth mixture.

    Increase the heat to high until the soup starts to simmer. Reduce to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes. 

    Discard herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    While soup is simmering for the final 30 minutes, cut the baguette into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until bread is dry and crisp. This is about 10 minutes. Set toasted the bread aside.

    Serving: Adjust the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler. Place individual broiler-safe crocks on a baking sheet. Fill each with about 1 and 3/4 cups of soup.

    (The bast way to do this is to test your favorite soup ladle before hand – and use it to fill up a measuring cup with water. You’ll soon learn how many ladle scoops equals a cup – or in this case, 1 3/4 cups.)

    In the soup-filled crock add one or two of the toasted baguettes so that they float on top. Do not overlap them. Sprinkle he top with some of the Gruyere cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges. This should be about 3-5 minuted in the broiler

    Remove from broiler and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.


    If you are serving fewer than 6, make the recipe as normal. The excess French Onion soup liquid keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and is easily and quickly warmed up in the microwave for a future meal. It also can be frozen and kept indefinitely in individual-serving sized portions.

    While cleaning up the office, I found a little hand-written and faded note card with this recipe on it in Rich’s stuff.

    I don’t know who it’s from, but it is very German sounding, of course – with an Asian twist believe it or not. It also looks like a recipe for someone who doesn’t mind spending time in the kitchen preparing a meal as it takes more than 3 hours from start to finish.

    Pork & Sauerkraut
    (About 3 hours preparation time)

    1 jar (16-oz) of sauerkraut
    1 pound pork chops or “country-style” pork ribs
    1 apple cored, peeled and sliced
    1 onion sliced
    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    Place sauerkraut, sliced onion and sliced apple in a pot. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat fro 2 hours .

    About 15 minutes before the sauerkraut time is up, in a lightly-oiled large frying pan, thoroughly brown pork. Sprinkle with soy sauce. Pour cooked sauerkraut over the pork. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add water as needed.

    Serve with mashed potatoes.

    [Upon reading this, instead of mashed potatoes, I’d add potato pancakes and applesauce since there is enough time to make them while the sauerkraut is simmering.]

    <<UPDATE: Upon reading the email that announced this recipe being posted to the site, I heard Rich ask from the other room, “Where’s that card? I was looking for that!” Apparently it is the recipe that the mother of our friend Laura used to make. And many years ago, he borrowed the card from Laura – and has yet to return it!>>

    Here we have altered the traditional Yiddish tzimmes recipe to fit in with any generic American-style holiday meal. This is an ideal option for a vegetarian side-dish or a modern, but hearty variation on traditional sweet-potato-type recipe.

    I came across this dish Dec. 23, 2007 when Rich and I were having a Christmas dinner in Petaluma, California with the Straub family. I altered it slightly to make the recipe easier to prepare without losing any of the flavor.

    Like candied yams, it is a sweet and slightly spiced dish that not only brings the Autumn harvest color orange to the table, but as it cooks, the house fills with a mood-lifting aroma that says a delicious holiday meal is being prepared.

    These are made in a crock pot – and are slow cooked over 10-11 hours. Don’t be limited to thinking these tzimmes are only a side dish. They also are ideal to prepare the night before Christmas when you can wake up with a house smelling like the holidays and a warm, sweet and healthy holiday breakfast treat.

    Pat’s Christmas Tzimmes

    • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into medallions
    • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
    • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
    • 2 medium yams, peeled and sliced thinly
    • 3 cups dried fruit: apples, prunes, cherries, apricots
    • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
    • 2 cups orange juice
    • 2 cups white wine (optional)
    • water

    Put the sliced vegetables and dried fruit in the insert of your crock pot. Stir to evenly mix to avoid layers. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and salt on top. Add wine and juice. Then, add water until the mix is covered. Cook on HIGH for 10-11 hours or until vegetables are very soft. Serve warm.

    The Zucchini:

    • 6 medium-size zucchini, about 6 inches long
    • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
    • Salt

    Preheat the oven to 375.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, leaving
    the ends on.  Scoop out the centers of the zucchini, leaving about a
    1/4-inch shell.  Save the scooped flesh to add to the filling.  Mix the
    garlic and olive oil and brush the inside of the zucchini.  Sprinkle
    with salt, place on a baking sheet cut side down, and bake until just
    tender, about 20 minutes.  The zucchini will finish cooking after
    they’re filled.

    The Filling:

    • 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
    • 1/2 medium-size red-onion, chopped, about 1 cup
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
    • Salt and cayenne pepper
    • 3 or 4 ears of corn, shaved, about 3 cups kernels
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 cup diced zucchini, either the scooped zucchini flesh or a new zucchini so green skin will show in the filling
    • 2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (may be skipped if cilantro is not to your taste)
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
    • 2 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated, about 3/4 cup

    Preheat oven 375. 

    Heat the olive oil in a medium-size skillet.  Add the
    onion, the cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of cayenne.
    Saute over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes, then
    add the corn, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Saute until just tender.
    Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

    Toss the chilies, cilantro, marjoram, and cheese with the filling.
    Season to taste with salt and cayenne.

    Mound the filling into the zucchini, place in a lightly oiled baking
    dish, cover, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

    This oddly made but surprisingly delicious cake and frosting recipe is a great addition for any white trash or hillbilly-themed party.  It’s actually best made the day before and served at room temperature.


    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 pound butter
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 cup Pepsi
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour 9X13X2 inch pan. 

    Combine flour and sugar in large bowl. 

    Melt butter, add cocoa and Pepsi.  Pour over flour and sugar mixture, and stir until well blended. 

    Add buttermilk, beaten eggs, soda, and vanilla.  Mix well. 

    Stir in marshmallows.  (It will look like a very weird mixture by this point.)  Pour into prepared pan.

    Bake 40 minutes. 

    Remove cake from oven and frost while still warm.

    Broiled Peanut Butter Frosting

    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup packed tight dark brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 2/3 cup chopped peanuts

    Cream butter, sugar, and peanut butter. 

    Add milk and stir well.  Add nuts. 

    Spread over warm cake.  Place frosted cake under broiler about 4 inches from heat  source. 

    Broil just a few seconds, or until topping starts to bubble.  Do not scorch! 

    Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

    This is a good recipe for people who garden and like to grow beets, but don’t know what to do with them once they are harvested.


    • 2 cups lentils (1 16-ounce bag)
    • 8 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon turmeric
    • 3-4 large beets, peeled and large diced
    • 1 large onion large diced
    • 5 cloves garlic (crushed) [2 teaspoons bottled crushed garlic]
    • 2 tablespoons cumin
    • 1 tablespoon coriander
    • 1 large chicken breast (or block of tofu) cut into bite-sized chunks
    • 1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube
    • 2 tablespoons black/brown mustard seed (optional)
    • 10 Crushed dried red chili’s (optional)
    • Salt to taste

    Step 1: Bring lentils, water and turmeric (and bouillon cube) to boil in large pot. Reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally.

    Step 2: While lentils simmer, pop mustard seeds in a lightly-oiled frying pan. This will change the flavor. The seeds will be popped when you smell a rich, nutty aroma. Add onions and garlic (and chicken) and saute until onions start to become translucent.

    Step 3: Add ingredients of the frying pan to the lentil pot. Add beets and crushed pepper and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until lentils start to dissolve.(The beets, which will have a potato flavor and texture, will change the color of the curry from yellow to a rich orange-brown.)

    Step 4: Serve hot.