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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Corn Chowder


It looked better in the crockpot. I sprinkled some chives on it for the picture.
This was what was left. As usual we ate some before we got a picture.

 Modified this from the Brotherhood of Locomative Engineers & Trainmen Cookbook.  It called for a pound of bacon so I subbed vege-bacon and it worked fine. You could probably use TVB based Bacon-Bits (check the label).  I reduced the recipe a little but not much.  Here's how it goes. I really liked this recipe. It'll go in the family cookbook. Lovely stuff on a cold night. Sheila had me make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.


 1. Stripples or Morningstar Farms Breakfast Strips (to taste - I used 4 crisp strips)
 2. 1/2 cup diced onion
 3. 2-4 large Russet Potatoes peeled and cubed
 4. 1 can cream of celery soup or substitute 1 can mushroom soup + TBSP celery seed
 5. 1 15 oz can whole kernel corn (I didn't drain it - figured it needed the moisture
 6. 1 can of evaporated milk
 7  1 1/2 cup water
 8. 1-2 TBSP McKay's chicken seasoning (or Wyler's)
 9. Mashed potato flakes
10. Crockpot or Stock pot depending on how much of a hurry you're in.


1.  Crisp your vege-bacon in a skillet or in the microwave. If you like it baconish, use more. You can always add more by popping them in the microwave and piecing them up. Don't add them to the soup just yet. If you use a skillet add the onions and saute them a bit. Otherwise just dump them into the soup from the get-go.

2. Peel and dice the potatoes. add to the pot with the onions. Hold off on the bacon till the last.

3. Add soup, celery seed if needed, corn, McKay's or Wyler's Powdered Chicken seasoning. Turn on the crockpot or put the soup pot on medium heat.

4. Add evaporated milk and water

5. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring periodically. Heat until potatoes soften.

6. Add potato flakes 1/4 cup at a time until the soup reaches the desired thickness. 

Serving Suggestions:

Is great with grilled cheese sandwiches, club crackers, saltines, Ritz crackers, or cornbread. I like it in my big giant cup with the grizzly bear on it. Perfect for a cold winter's night by the fire. I keep the leftover soup in the bog bowl with the plastic lid. It's not safe for the microwave so from there on I just fill up my soup bowl and 3 minutes in the microwave gets it hot enough to suit me.  It's very filling and you'll have a nice warm tummy all evening. One of life's decadent pleasures on a peasant's budget.

Bon Appetit'


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Breakfast Soft Tacos


Breakfast Soft Tacos are very tasty and so easy to make. The insides can be adjusted to what you have in your pantry, freezer or fridge and allow you to eat Tex-Mex in the morning without people thinking you are weird. Breakfast tacos are first cousins to the famed Breakfast Burrito (which I shall describe in a later post). The soft tacos are easier than burritos since they tortillas are smaller and can be corn tortillas if you must. But do try them with warm flour tortillas, preferably homemade flour tortillas warm out of the pan.


  • Scrambled eggs and/or Morningstar Grillers Recipe Crumbles, vegetarian sausages, sausage patties or even vege-bacon. Pick your favorite or combine them.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt, or (optional) seasoned salt, Creole or Cajun Seasoning, or taco seasoning)
  • Velveeta style cheese (optional)
  • Butter or margarine
  • Your favorite peppers, hot, medium or mild
  • Chopped onions
  • Grated cheddar cheese or Fiesta Blend (Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  • Picante sauce
  • Sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes (and lettuce if you like lettuce in the morning
  • Diced black olives and/or avocado slices


  1. In (preferably) an iron skillet, sautee onions and peppers in light oil until the onions are caramelized and set aside in a bowl or on a plate.
  2. Melt butter in the skillet. Season and brown the Recipe Crumbles or what have you if you're going to use them. Set these aside in a bowl or on a plate. 
  3. In the skillet melt butter, scramble your eggs with a bit of salt and maybe a little seasoned salt, Cajun or Creole seasoning (optional). I cube up some Velveeta type cheese and add to the eggs to make them fluffy. Stand over them while they cook or they get overdone and dry. Set eggs aside in a bowl or on a plate.
  4. Gently warm your flour tortillas for a few seconds in the microwave or in the skillet. If you make homemade flour tortillas (recommended) prepare them in advance and keep them warm. (You should buy a tortilla press, they're totally worth it.)
  5. On a bed of eggs, recipe crumbles, sausage crumbles or whatever you want in your tacos.
  6. Add onions and peppers, grated cheddar, diced tomatoes, black olives, avocado slices.
  7. Top with picante sauce and sour cream, fold them over and eat them (see photo above).

Serving Suggestion:

A little OJ, cup of milk, some sliced fruit and you've got a ranch breakfast worth serving to the visiting academy choir. Let them make their own soft tacos. Gives them something to do with their hands.

One of my favorite things for breakfast. Enjoy!

Tom King

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Poblano Vege-Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Prep: 15 mins Cook:1 hr Total:1 hr 15 mins Servings: 8
Yield: 8 servings


Ingredient Checklist

  •  6 tablespoons butter or margarine divided (you could even use olive oil)
  •  2 cans diced vege-chicken (Loma Linda or Worthington)
  •  2 fresh poblano peppers, seeded and slice into strips
  • 4 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lime, halved
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ounces sour cream
  • 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Step 1:  In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Drain diced vege-chicken. Sautee diced vege-chicken in olive oil in the skillet with poblano peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Squeeze the juice from one lime half over the vege-chicken. Simmer for 25 minutes covered, stirring occasionally.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step 3: In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over low heat. Gradually stir in flour and half-and-half. Mix mushrooms, sour cream, cilantro, and the rest of the lime juice. Simmer until mushrooms are tender (about 10 minutes).

Step 4: In a 9x13 inch baking dish melt butter in the baking dish. Cut up and spread 3 tortillas. Pour half the chicken pepper mixture and one cup mozzarella over the tortillas. Pour half the cilantro sauce evenly over the first layer. Add another layer with remaining chicken and pepper mixture. Pour the rest of the vege-chicken pepper mixture and the cilantro sauce evenly over the casserole. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Step 5:  Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.



Saturday, September 5, 2020

Sheila's Mexican Cornbread

When I was a kid, I wasn't a fan of cornbread. Then I married my Sweet Baboo and discovered iron skillet-baked Southern cornbread. After she moved in with me in Texas, she took her cornbread to the next level with the most delicious Mexican skillet cornbread. We used to have this stuff ever once in a while and every time I found myself wondering why we didn't have this more often.  It's not hard to make and it's sure to be a family favorite. I could make a whole meal out of a skillet load of this stuff.


  • 1 cup stone ground corn meal 
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • 1 small onion chopped finely
  • 1 small bell pepper chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • small jar diced pimiento 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 finely chopped jalapeno peppers (vary according to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl beat together eggs, soda, salt, milk, and oil 
  3. Add corn meal, whole corn, onion, peppers, garlic, pimiento, and grate cheese
  4. Mix well
  5. Heat tsp oil in iron skillet - make sure the bottom of the skillet is oiled
  6. Pour cornbread batter into skillet
  7. Bake cornbread in oven until a table knife inserted into the bread comes out clean

 Serving Suggestions:

Goes great with any Tex-Mex casserole, Frito chili pie, or even haystacks. A little butter is nice but not necessary. Absolutely lovely cornbread.

Tom King

Monday, June 22, 2020

Southwestern Vege-Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Didn't dice the avocado. got in a hurry. Topped with a little sour cream.

I'm from Texas so I have to have lots and lots of Tex-Mex recipes - especially enchiladas. I have recipes for enchiladas with flour tortillas and corn tortillas. This is one of the corn tortilla types. I used several types of vegetarian chicken including Morningstar Farms chicken strips, Fri-Chik cut up into strips, Morningstar Farms Vege-Chicken Nuggets, and other vegetarian chicken substitutes. The rest of the enchilada recipe is what makes the dish good anyway.  Here we go....

  • 2-3 cups vege-chicken cut up
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • Red or green bell pepper chopped
  • About 10 oz spinach, fresh or frozen chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa mild to hot depending on your taste
  • Corn tortillas (6 inch)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack is good but so it cheddar, mozarella and once I grated up some leftover Brie), 
  • 1/4 lb cubed Velveeta.
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes 
  • 1 Avocado peeled and diced
  • Chopped black olives
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray
  2. In a medium bowl, combine chicke, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Add to lightly oiled skillet and cook over medium high heat for 4 to six minutes until vege-chicken starts to brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add oil to the  skillet. Add onion and pepper; cook over medium heat stirring occasionally about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the spinach. Add cubed Velveeta, diced tomatoes, milk  and salsa. Stir until melted. Add chicken srips to sauce
  4. Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
  5. Fold sauce and chicken mixture by spoonfuls into corn tortillas and roll. Place tortilla rolls side by side in the casserole until you fill up the casserole. Spread the rest of the sauce and chicken mixture over and around the enchiladas. 
  6. Cover with shredded cheese and bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Peel and dice avocado. Garnish the top of the casserole with avocado, black olives and cilantro. 
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 
Serving Suggestion:

Serve with sweet corn and maybe a salad with a nice Ranch dressing and some tortilla chips, iced decaf tea or caffeine free Dr. P. 

Tom King.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Sheila's Never Fail Perfect Pie Crust

I've had some requests for Mama's never fail, flaky perfect pie crust. The woman can make a pie crust I'm here to tell you. Her made from scratch chocolate pie using this crust recipe is to live for (I say live rather than die because you are going to want a second piece. It's easy and hard to mess up.  Enjoy!       - Tom


4 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 tbsp vinegar
1 large egg
1/2 cup water

  1. Put first 3 ingredients in large bowl
  2. Mix well with fork
  3. Add shortening and mix with your hands until crumbly
  4. In small bowl beat water, vinegar and egg
  5. Combine the two mixtures, kneading with hands until mixed
  6. Divide dough into four or five portions and shape into round flat patties
  7. Chill at least 1/2 hour
  8. May be frozen if individually sealed in plastic wrap or ziplock bag

Makes 4 or 5 crusts. I've used this recipe for more than 30 years and never had it fail. I use my hands to mix the dough because the more gently you mix it, the flakier the crust will be. When you are ready to make a pie, thaw (if frozen) and roll our with rolling pin. There are tools to make the fancy edges with or you can do it the old fashioned way by pinching the edges to make a nice looking edge.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Making Bread While Working at Home

You can buy a bread machine, but that doesn't guarantee your bread will be any good.

It promises to be easy to do, but in reality, mmmmmmmmmm not so much!

There is a secret to making bread and I will share it with you. It involves no exotic ingredients, no special kitchen tools or the wearing of special underwear (although you may if you wish). The secret to great bread-making is knowing what a baby's butt feels like when you pat it!

Of course, you actually have to have taken a run at diaper changing at some point in your life. If you have not, then by all means, run straight out, find a baby, remove it's diaper and pat its butt. If you get home without being arrested, then you are ready to make Grandma's bread.


The "Bread Machine Recipes" cookbook says to measure all the ingredients carefully. If you ever watched you grandmother bake bread, you realize at once what balderdash that is. The truth is bread wants to be baked. The flour and yeast and stuff wants to become a beautiful loaf of golden crusted bread. It has no higher ambition. You, as the baker, are merely the facilitator of this exquisite transformation. So remember, the ingredients are merely a suggestion. It is the baby's butt that is the key!

  • Half cup or so of hot tap water (not boiling)
  • Teaspoon of salt
  • One egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey, Karo Syrup or a big handful 
    of brown sugar. (As you gain confidence - and weight 
    - you WILL later add more than this I promise you).
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup or so of white all-purpose flour
  • A big glop of butter or margarine, a couple of 
    tablespoons of Olive or vegetable oil or some Crisco, 
    whatever you have.
  • 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk (I've never done it this way 
    - I put this in for historical purposes). I use a quarter 
    can of evaporated milk.
  • 1/4 cup or so of wheat germ.  This was another of my 
    grandmother's secrets for making the bread the right 
    texture and adding nutritional value to it.  Wheat germ 
    is the heart of the grain and is very good for you and 
    also slightly crunchy, a quality which I like in my wheat bread.
  • 2 packages of rapid rise yeast or regular yeast or a yeast cake 
    - whatever works for you.

1. Dump everything into the bread machine in any order you want. They say it matters, but it doesn't. Just don't do the water yet. Make sure you screw in the twirler paddle dealy bob before you pour in the ingredients or it gets real messy trying to get the thing on there and rotating freely - I do that a lot (like tonight).

2. Program the machine for basic bread and a 1.5 pound loaf. If you want to not have the hole in the bottom from the paddle that you get when you bake it in the machine, then set it for dough. You'll have to pull out the loaf, reshape it and put it in a bread pan to bake in your oven, but you're on your own there. I make 3 of these babies or more a week on a good week and I don't want to have to watch the oven - am almost certain recipe for smoked bread if I'm watching it cook. Press Start.

3. Fiddle with the dough as it forms. The bread recipe book stopped at step 2. It is wrong to do so, especially since I haven't told you to put in the water yet. Once you press start, you must tend to the critical initial kneading of the loaf. Open the top of the bread machine. Watch the paddle dealy (no need to learn these technical names - it will be obvious to you what the paddle dealy is). Use a big wooden spoon and poke on the dough ball as it forms so that it picks up all the flour as you slowly add the hot water. Don't use all the hot water before it starts coalescing into dough. You may not need it all.

4. Be patient. At first it won't look like there's enough water, but keep poking the dough ball down to pick up the excess flour. You may need to add some flour if the dough ball is too sticky. Here's where the secret comes in!

5. Feel the dough. If it feels just like a baby's butt when you pat it, you have achieved doughy perfection. Add hot water or flour to achieve the perfect texture. Once you have done that, go away and let the machine do its job. Come back in about 3 and a half hours to witness the completion of the process.

6. Most bread machines use the paddle dealy to push the bread out when it is done. I try to get there before that happens so that the bottom of my bread doesn't get squashed. I take it out before the machine ejects it. It may just be my machine, but that's my recommendation.

7. Enjoy!

Tom King - Baker Extraordinaire
(and God bless whoever invented the bread machine!)