Monday, February 28, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup and a Milk glass MENU plate

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I attached some vinyl letters and shapes to a vintage milk glass platter to create a 'dry erase' board. This would also work to make a daily to do list.

Tomato Basil Soup

4 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped
4 cups tomato juice
12 to 14 fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves

Combine tomatoes and tomato juice in saucepan; simmer over med low heat. 30 minutes.
Cool slightly, place in blender or food processor with basil leaves and purée in batches.
Return to saucepan and add whipping cream and butter. Stir over low heat until cream and butter are incorporated.
Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

Serve with crusty bread.

Making: Vintage bird, nest, and egg envelope seals

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscar Dinner Menu

Sweet Orange Caesar Salad
Chicken Diable
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
Chocolate Fudge Ribbon Cake

Sweet Orange Caesar Salad

3 T olive oil
3 T butter
4 cups Cubed crusty bread
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese Shredded
Salt and pepper

Salad and Dressing
2 Oranges
1 Large garlic clove, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sacks chopped romaine lettuce, 8 to 10 cups
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus a little more to finish the salad
Salt and pepper
Preheat 325 degrees

For the croutons, combine the olive oil and butter in a small pot. Place over medium heat and cook until the butter is just barely melted. Place the bread in a large bowl and toss with the oil and butter. Season the bread with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.

Spread the croutons evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Let them cool.

For the salad, cut the stem end and the opposite end of the orange, stand the oranges on a flat side, and, using a paring knife, cut the peel from each orange in a long downward strokes, being sure to remove the white pith. Cut the oranges into 1/4 inch thick slices, and cut each of those slices in half.

To make the dressing, combine the garlic, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, mustard, and anchovy paste in the bowl you made the croutons in. Whisk until the anchovy has completely broken up in the mixture. In a slow steady stream, whisk in the 1/2 cup of olive oil.

When you Are ready to serve, add lettuce to the dressing in the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Add the shredded cheese, orange slices, salt, pepper, and the cooled croutons. Toss again. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

Chicken Diable

from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves pounded lightly, at room temp

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

About 1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium shallot, finely chopped, rinsed and patted dry

1 garlic clove, split, germ removed, and finely chopped

1/3 cup dry white wine (I used Vermouth)

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoon Dijon or grainy mustard, preferably French

1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

 Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 200 degrees. 

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Put a large skillet over med-high heat and add the butter and olive oil.  When the butter is melted, slip the chicken breasts gently into the pan.  Adjust the heat so that the butter doesn’t burn.  Cook the chicken until its well brown on the underside, about 4 minutes.  Turn the pieces over and cook until the other side is also well browned and the chicken is cooked through.  If the pan dries out, add a touch more oil.  Transfer the breasts to a heat-proof plate (one with a rim to catch juices), season with salt and pepper, cover lightly with a foil tent, and keep warm in the oven. 

Lower the heat to medium, toss the shallot and garlic into the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until just soft, about 2 minutes.  Pour in the wine, and when it starts to bubble, stir it around the skillet.  Let the wine boil for a few seconds, then pour in the heavy cream.  As soon as it reaches a boil, stir in the mustard and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.  Taste and decide if you want more mustard, Worcestershire, or pepper. 

Remove the chicken from the oven, pour any juices on the plate into the skillet, and stir the sauce again. Serve the chicken with the sauce

Parmeasan Smashed Potatoes

3 pounds red new potatoes, unpeeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 pound unsalted unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a 4-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered for 25 to 35 minutes, until completely tender. Drain.

In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half and butter.Put the potatoes into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
and mix the potatoes for a few seconds on low speed, to break them up. Slowly add the hot cream and butter to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed (the last quarter of the cream should be folded in by hand). Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, the remaining salt, and pepper; taste for seasoning and serve immediately. If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.

Chocolate Fudge Ribbon Cake

Makes 16 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 48 to 52 minutes
Assembly time: 3 to 4 minutes


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
1 1/3 cups buttermilk or water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs


1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

Place the soft cream cheese, butter, and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Set aside. Place the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl, and with the same beaters, mix on low speed for 1 minute to incorporate ingredients, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the mixer to medium and beat two minutes or until lightened. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the chocolate batter, and do not stir. Place the pan in the oven.

Bake the cake until the top is firm and the cake tests done, 48 to 52 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring until the glaze is smooth.

Turn the cake out onto a rack or cake plate, and while it is warm, pour
or spoon the glaze just over the top. Let the glaze firm up before slicing, then serve.

The 'Glaze" recipe is the best ever, great on ice cream, or other cakes!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Baking: Schlotsky's Deli Rolls

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1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups bread flour (all-purpose will work)

Directions:Prep Time: 30 minsTotal Time: 1 1/2 hrs
Stir water, sugar and yeast together and set aside. Dissolve baking soda in 1/2 tablespoon warm water in medium bowl. Add warm milk, salt and 1 cup flour; beat till smooth. Beat in yeast mixture and remaining flour (batter will be thick and sticky, but not as thick as normal bread batter). Spray two pie pans with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Divide dough and place in pie pans, cover and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375ºF and bake for 20 minutes till golden. Cool 1 hour and cut in fourths.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blueberry-Pomegranate Smoothie

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This is a great smoothie recipe. I usually just throw stuff in the blender so you never know how it will turn out. I was looking for something with pomegranate juice in it. It is so healthy but does not taste great all by itself but sure Tastes great in this smoothie.

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie
Recipe by

8oz pomegranate juice
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 C roughly chopped strawberries (3-4 berries)
1 orange, peeled
 1 C crushed ice
optional: honey

Place all ingredients into a blender in the order listed.  Process until smooth.  If it's too tart for your liking, add a drizzle of honey!

POM Wonderful Juice: POM Wonderful is well known for its anti-oxidants. POM Wonderful has more naturally occurring antioxidants than just about anything. In addition to being an antioxidant super power, POM juice is clinically proven to improve both cardiovascular and prostate health.

Blueberries: Blueberries are another antioxidant super power. In addition to that, they're high in vitamin C and E and science supports that they are beneficial for anti-aging, especially with memory skills and motor function. Plus they are super cute and they taste good :) Here's some great blueberry facts.

Oranges: Just one orange provides over 100% of your daily vitamin C needs, helping boost your immune system and fight off nasty things like colds. They are also a great source of fiber and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Don't believe me? See here.

Strawberries: one cup of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange. They're also rich in antioxidants and have tons of other beneficial phytonutrients.

This smoothie isn't just delicious, it's great for your health.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hot and Sour Soup

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There many different recipes or variations of hot and sour soup. Two important things are how sour (rice vinegar) and how hot (chili oil, chili paste, red pepper flakes, or some combination of the three). Hot and sour soup is an easy, quick, tasty and healthy soup that you can make to your liking.

Here's my favorite variation:
8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 pound thinly sliced pork tenderloin
1 T minced fresh garlic
2 T vegetable oil
5 cups chicken broth
2 T cornstarch
4 T rice vinegar
15 ounces tofu, cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T minced fresh Ginger
1 can bamboo shoots
1egg, beaten
2 T sesame oil
3 green onions, sliced

Heat vegetable oil and cook pork and garlic in soup pot for 5 minutes; add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until mushrooms are tender. Add broth and bring to a boil and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Mix together the cornstarch and the rice vinegar, and then stir into the soup until thickened. Add the tofu, salt, soy sauce and red pepper, Ginger, and bamboo shoots. Stir in the egg, then the sesame oil and green onion. Taste for seasonings; the soup should be a little tart and spicy. Adjust to your taste.

Play with hot and sour combination to get the right taste for you. You can add more vinegar or more red pepper.

Loving Vintage Fabrics

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Covering pillows with this beautiful vintage fabric

Greaseless oven French Fries

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1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups water
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, water and soy sauce until smooth. Add potatoes; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Drain potatoes and pat dry on paper towels. Toss potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Turn; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until tender and golden brown.

Peanut butter pound cake with chocolate ganache

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 Recipe from Penzeys Spices...enjoy!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk

12 oz. premium semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the sugar and beat until light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix batter until smooth and creamy then pour into pan. Place in cold oven and set oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until a tester inserted in cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely before icing.

For the icing: Place chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl. Heat cream in saucepan until boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and creamy. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before icing cake.                                                                         

Friday, February 18, 2011

Diamond lake special pizza

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Yields 3 pizzas

4cups flour
1tsp salt
2 T sugar
1/4 cup milk
4T shortening
4T yeast
21/4 cups water

Mix flour, salt, sugar, dry milk and shortening together for 5 minutes. Combine yeast and water; add to dry mixture and blend well. Let rise twice.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness; shape to fit three pizza pans. Spread pizza sauce over dough; cover with a mixture of cheeses. Arrange toppings of choice over cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Pizza sauce

1 pinion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup vegetable oil
24 ounces tomato sauce
18 ounces tomato paste
16 ounce whole tomatoes crushed
1tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 cup parsley
1:2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Sauté onion and celery in oil in large pan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Pizza toppings

3 cups sausage cooked
3cups sliced pepperoni
1 cup onion chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cues sliced black olives
2 cups green peppers chopped

Add or delete toppings to your taste.

Glimpses of S p R I n G

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We have had a wonderful break from winter- a few days of Spring weather-
Makes me wish Spring was really Here-

Spring Pools by Robert Frost

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods --
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teacher Dinner Recipes

Italian Chicken pot pie from the boot

2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and halved
1 one pound bag frozen pearl onions, defrosted, then drained on a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/3 palmful
Salt and black pepper
1 24-ounce log prepared plain or flavored polenta (on the refrigerator aisle)
1 one pound ball fresh mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 cooked rotisserie chickens
1 pint red grape tomatoes
1 10 ounce box frozen peas
1 1/2 cups fresh basil, about 25 leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, about 3 generous handfuls, chopped
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 3 overflowing handfuls

1. Preheat the broiler. Place the rack at the center position or drop the lower or upper broiler pans as far from the heat source as possible.

2. Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat with the EVOO, 2 times around the pan. Add the butter and, once it melts, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, to give them a little color. Add the pearl onions, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, and a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes longer.

3. While the veggies are cooking, slice the polenta log into 1/4 inch thick disks. One log should yield 20 to 22 disks. Halve the ball of mozzarella, then slice each half into 1/4 inch thick half moons and reserve alongside the polenta disk.

4. Sprinkle the flour into the veggies and stir to combine, then continue to cook for another minute or two. Add the white wine, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and cream and bring up to a bubble, then simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Remove all the meat from the rotisserie chickens, tearing it into large bite-size pieces and discarding the skin. Add the chicken meat to the simmering sauce as you break it up. Once all of the meat is in the pot, add the tomatoes and peas and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the basil and parsley; taste to adjust the seasoning.

6. Transfer the mixture to a large oval or rectangular baking dish, casserole, or lasagna pan. (Disposable pans are fine as well but buy two and double them up for sturdiness and to keep the bottom of the pot pie from scorching). Shingle the polenta disks and the mozzarella half moons over the top of the chicken and vegetables, distributing the cheese evenly among the polenta.

7. Sprinkle the top of the assembled dish with the grated cheese and transfer to the broiler several inches from the heat. Broil until the polenta is warm and the cheeses have browned.

Mac and Jack Salad

1 lb elbow macaroni
10 oz frozen corn, defrosted
1 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 - 8 oz brick pepper jack cheese, diced
3 TB red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa (salsa verde) or chipotle salsa
chopped cilantro or parsley

1. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain & rinse with cold water to cool it down. Drain well.
2. While pasta cooks combine corn, red pepper, onion and celery in large bowl with cheese. Season with s/p.
3. Add cooled pasta to vegetable mixture.
4. Whisk together vinegar and oil. Stir in salsa. Pour over pasta & vegetables. Toss to coat evenly. Garnish with cilantro

This makes a lot. This salad works well to make ahead and let it chill in the fridge.
Rachel Ray recipe

18 oz. pkg. frozen corn or 3 c. fresh corn
6 oz. can evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 c. soft bread crumbs
1 tbsp. melted butter
Cook corn according to package directions; drain well. Combine corn, evaporated milk, egg, onion, salt, dash of pepper and 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Turn into 10 x 6 x 1 1/2 inch baking dish.
Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Sprinkle over top of corn mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 6.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Steak Soup

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2 pounds cubes beef or ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cups water
Jar of spaghetti sauce, 12 ounces
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 can corn, drained
2 tsp beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
Steak seasoning to taste
1 cup macaroni

Brown beef with onion; drain
Add water
Add spaghetti sauce, celery, carrots, corn, green beans, beef bouillon, salt and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Add macaroni and cook until pasta is done.

Banana bars

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Great after school snack

The boys ate half of this pan right after school today - they must have liked them or they were starving after being back in school after 3 snow days at home.

1 cup butter
11/2 cups sugar
3 to 4 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream ( i used low fat plain yogurt )
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Cream cheese frosting

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, bananas, eggs, sour cream and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended.
Add flour, salt and baking soda until well mixed.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until light brown.
When cake is cooled completely, ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 (8) ounce pig cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla


Making Spring wreaths

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Blueberry buns with lemon frosting

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These were great this morning warm from the oven with coffee. Like a cream puff with blueberries baked in.

Recipe comes from the Oregon Sampler

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Lemon Frosting:

1 T butter
1 1/2 T heavy cream or half and half
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan bring water, butter, salt and sugar to a boil. Add cinnamon and flour all at once and beat over low heat for 1 minute, or until mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and beat 2 more minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in blueberries ( well drained, if using frozen).

Drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Frost with Lemon frosting while still warm.

To make the lemon frosting:

Melt butter in a small saucepan or melt in the microwave. Remove from heat. Add
cream and stir in the powdered sugar and flavorings,

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Another snowy day

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"In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows."
-   Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden

Dinner: tamale pie

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I picked up this cookbook for 25 cents and I was happy to find that is loaded with great recipes that call for fresh and healthy ingredients.

Tamale pie :

11/2 pounds ground beef

3 cloves garlic

1rib celery chopped

1large onion chopped

1green pepper chopped

2 cans tomatoes with chiles (20 ounces)

8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 cup cornmeal

1tsp salt

4 cups water

1/2 pound shredded cheese Monterey jack or cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown ground beef and then add garlic, celery, onion, and green pepper. Cook vegetables and meat until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Cook until thick.

Combine cornmeal, salt and water in a large pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until thick mush forms stirring often.

Layer mush (reserving some for the top layer). Cheese and meat mixture in a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Top with remaining mush.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour

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