1950's Promotional Fan


I love this picture. I found this fan a while back at one of my junk store stops. I paid a whole $1.25 for it. Back when I was a little girl, air conditioning wasn't common, fans similar to this were a favorite giveaway from funeral homes and politicians. I can remember when there would be a fan sitting on almost every pew in the church. This picture also reminded me of long ago Easter dresses...back when little girls not only had a new Easter dress, but were also expected to wear a hat and white gloves.  Thinking along these lines, brought me to adding some easy recipes that you can go off and leave cooking, that are good enough to serve a crowd when you return home. Of course, you could just put these on to cook, goof off all day, and have lots of leftovers so you don't have to cook again for a favorite kind of cooking. I need to dig out a long ago Easter dress picture to put with this. But, in the meantime, enjoy these quantity cooking recipes. If you don't need to cook for a crowd, maybe it's time to have a party. The weather is getting cooler, it's time to move beyond the BBQ. In Oklahoma, we never really got to use the BBQ this summer because we lived the whole time under a burn ban. It was a $1,000 fine if you started a fire even accidentally. I decided that was too expensive an option to have a cookout. Plus, who wants their neighbors mad at them because they wanted to cook out on the patio?

Bette Millwee's Easy Sunday Dinner For A Crowd

Place into a roasting pan with a lid:
2 chuck roasts about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch thick
Carrots, canned or fresh (I like the bags of baby carrots)
2 cans mushroom soup to each roast
Sprinkle with 1 package of dry onion soup mix
Add whole potatoes. If potatoes are too large, you need to cut them in half or they won't get done in time.

If you get this in the oven by 7:30 a.m. and bake at 250 degrees it will be done by 12:00 to serve when you get home from church. Or, put it in 4 1/2 hours before you need to serve an evening meal and you will have a great supper to serve guests.   Do not turn the oven up, as your mushroom soup will disappear, this will make your gravy. 

Baked Chicken For A Crowd

To a roasting pan add:
Put 4 cups minute rice in the bottom of the roaster. Place 2 cut up chickens over the minute rice. Cover with 4 cans cream of mushroom soup. Sprinkle with 1 package of dry onion soup mix over the soup. Pour 2 cups white wine over the soup.  Put this in the oven by 7:30 a.m. so it will be ready for dinner after church. (Or 4 1/2 hours before an evening meal). 

Don't totally dismiss the roasting pan. Roasting pans were the housewife's answer to the crock pot before the crock pot was born. They can still be the answer to the crock pot when you need to cook larger amounts of food than can be fitted into a crock pot. I own several crock pots of varying sizes, but none of them will hold 2 roasts, a package of carrots, and a bunch of potatoes. Consider adding a roasting pan to your arsenal of kitchen equipment if you do not already own one. Of course, if you never cook for more than 5 people, you can probably spend your life without one. (I wish I had figured out how to never cook for more than 5 people, that would have saved me a lot of trouble and effort.) However, having a couple of recipes like this to fall back on when you need to cook for a crowd can really take the sting out of cooking for that crowd.  


So, here's my answer for the Mexican food alternative. Tonight I needed an easy recipe for fish and I wanted something I could serve with corn. This is what I made up. I decided it definitely fit in the category of Quick and Easy, so here it is before I forget what I did. Because I so definitely want to make this again. 

4 pieces of tilapia (4 oz fillets)   
1 can whole corn (almost completely drained), 
1/2 can chopped tomatoes (I like the kind seasoned with basil, garlic, & oregano), 
Sweet & sour duck sauce - 2 TBSP to 1/4 cup. 
STEPS: First of all, you need to be somewhat intentional about thawing out your fish at least an hour before you need to cook it. If you know you won't have time to thaw it when you get home, set it in the refrigerator to thaw in the morning so it will be ready to cook. This fish is thin enough, it does not need to be defrosted in a microwave, that would be too hard on it. 

Spray skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet. 

Place thawed pieces of tilapia into hot skillet. Brown on each side. No it is not necessary to add any breading  of any type to the fish prior to putting in the skillet. Cook fish on each side until almost done. Remove from skillet and set aside till needed. 

Add 1 can of whole corn that has been almost completely drained, to the skillet. Add 1/2 can of chopped seasoned tomatoes. I used the one seasoned with garlic, basil, and oregano and we like it. Add a little salt and pepper. 

Save the other half of the can in a refrigerator safe container. You can make it again real soon, or throw it in something else you cook over the next few days. 

Heat the tomato-corn mixture till the vegetables are almost hot. Return the tilapia to the pan, gently placing on top of the tomato-corn mixture. Drizzle some sweet & sour sauce from a jar. I used La Choy Sweet & Sour Duck Sauce. I drizzled the sauce over the fish, continue to heat for a few minutes with a lid over the pan. Then about 5 min. later, I flipped the fish over and gave the sweet & sour sauce a chance to join with the corn-tomato mixture. Cover the fish and vegetables a few minutes longer to continue heating. 

Serve with a salad. Because we're trying to take advantage of one more meal with the end of the summer watermelon, that was our salad choice. It was perfect. Don't go overboard on the sweet & sour sauce, too much overwhelms the palate.   

Pat's Easy Low Sugar Pie*

It would be best to make this the night before or early in the morning before you leave the house, so it will have several hours to set up and get firm. However, us haphazard cooks like to push the limits sometimes and see if we can make this an hour before we need it. It will set up, it will just cut a little sloppy. But, the taste will be fine.

INGREDIENTS:  This recipe is easy to add seasonal fruits to. Just don't leave bananas sitting on top. You don't want your pie getting all brown, you know.
1 box sugar free jello
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (I use the 1/2)
2 small containers flavored yogurt (Flavors should blend with your jello flavor)
8 oz. carton Cool Whip type product
1 pie crust (the bought graham cracker crust is typically used for this type of pie)
Bring the water to a rolling boil.  Quickly, dissolve the jello in the boiling water. Stir well till all the jello is dissolved. Amazingly enough, it is possible to mess up this simple recipe by not fully dissolving the jello. (I know this because I used to be jello-disabled). Add the 2 small containers of yogurt. Let cool briefly, add the Cool Whip and stir well. Pour into the crust. Chill.
*Pat is my sister-in-law and she swears by this recipe!
(Picture: my husband Mike, sister-in-law Pat, and my mother-in-law Bee. They were on their way to a church reunion. I apologize for the blurriness, it was taken with my Blackberry, uploaded to Facebook, then downloaded to my computer. You know how us photo obsessed people are.)

Pat's Plumber's Chicken
Yes, seriously, it came from her plumber. It's so easy it deserves to be here.
Raw Chicken off the bone (cut up in squares)
2 small jars Taco Bell taco sauce (that's what the man said - but I have also used Picante Sauce)
Can of black beans, drained
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Saute in pan. Add the 2 small jars of taco sauce or picante sauce. Simmer till the chicken is done. Shortly before the chicken is done, add 1 can black beans. Heat until the beans are heated completely.
Serve with tortilla chips. Top with grated cheese, if your family can't live without it. 
Can substitute hamburger meat if you're all out of chicken.) Easy peasy. 

 CHILI BEAN SOUP: The 15 minute supper solution
You can shave a few minutes off the time if you throw out the Jiffy cornbread mix and serve corn chips on the side instead.  I suppose if you want to skip chips or cornbread, you could call this the 5 minute supper, but it would be kind of plain. 
Can of your favorite kind of Chili, No Beans
Can of Pork and Beans, keep the "broth" as part of the soup base
Can of Whole Corn, drained
Grated Cheddar, for garnish
Sliced Black Olives
Broken Corn Chips, for garnish (don't crush if you're substituting them for the cornbread)
Dollop of Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogart per bowl 

Box of Jiffy Cornbread, milk & egg per the box
Bag of premade salad mix and your favorite salad dressing
First quickly mix up the cornbread so it can bake while you do the soup. 
While cornbread is baking, combine a can of No Beans Chili with a can of Pork and Beans or a can of small White Beans. Add the can of drained Corn. If this is too thick for your tastes, add about 1/2 chili can of water, add a little more if you like your soup thinner, less if you want it to be more like a stew. Stir over heat till hot, being careful not to let it scorch.  While the soup is heating, make a simple salad.  When bread is done, remove from the oven and cut in squares.
Pour soup into bowls. Garnish with desired garnishes. We like a dollop of sour cream or yogart with some crushed corn chips. If you have them, some chopped green onions would be good. 
Serve with the cornbread. 
Call suppertime and you're done.  I made this up years ago when I was a child welfare supervisor, had 3 kids still at home who had a gazillion activities, and was always getting paged at the most inconvenient times for on-call emergencies. 
Note: some people may have the need for "Beano" a short time before supper, if beans disturb their digestive systems. 


Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom of a crockpot. Put a cut up chicken in the crockpot. If desired, you can sprinkle a little taco seasoning from a seasoning package or couple of teaspoons of chili powder.  Put a can of whole kernel corn (drained) and a can of black beans that's been rinsed and drained on top of the chicken. Pour a small jar of Pace picante sauce over the chicken and vegetables. If desired, you can also add a chopped onion.   Cook mixture in crockpot on low for approximately 6 hours, or until done (test chicken to make sure juices run clear before serving. Note: avoid lifting lid on a crockpot during the cooking time, as you can lose from 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time every time the lid is opened. Add a salad or sliced melon and either some warmed tortillas or taco chips and consider it a complete meal. We always buy mild picante sauce, but your family may prefer the hot.

I know what ya'll are thinking..."do these people only eat Mexican food?" Well, living in Oklahoma, we may eat a higher percentage of it than other people, but we do eat other things. It's just that I'm trying to come up with quick and easy right now and I seem to have tunnel vision. But, I'll work on that...after I get back from the Mexican restaurant. 

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