3-Bean Chicken Dip


During the summer, I take full advantage of a local farm market which carries wonderful bi-color corn from Indiana.  We have buttered corn-on-the-cob every Sunday and I try to serve something as an entree that won’t be too filling.  I make a Texas Caviar dip which everybody likes, but my older daughter requested one that uses less sugar/oil, no corn (since we were  having the fresh version) and includes chicken.  I couldn’t find anything like this online and adapted my Texas Caviar  to fit the bill.

3-Bean Chicken Dip

  • Servings: Approximately 5 cups of dip - 6 servings
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½ cup cider vinegar
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1/3 cup light olive oil

Place vinegar and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat, add salt/pepper and oil. Set aside to cool.

Dip Ingredients:
One 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
One 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh tomato, chopped into bean-size pieces
1 cup cooked chicken breast, chopped into bean-size pieces
2 Tblsp. fresh cilantro leaves, snipped into small pieces

Tostidos Scoops or tortilla chips. Chips should be sturdy enough to hold the dip.

Optional: I serve this along with a bowl of chopped onions and a shaker of cayenne pepper for those who want to add them (I do).

Mix dip ingredients in a large bowl and pour marinade over. Toss gently to mix and refrigerate at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours, adding the chicken and tomato pieces during the last 2 hours).

Serve cold dip with dippers.

This dip along with corn-on-the-cob and fresh fruit pie = a great summertime meal.


Peach, Pineapple and Tomato Salsa

Peach Salsa (3)Susan at Desertsky Quilting posted a recipe for a cooked salsa with tomatoes, pineapple and peaches (click here for her version) which sounded really good.  I wanted to use this idea, taking advantage of the wonderful fresh produce that is available now and made up an uncooked fresh salsa.  I didn’t have fresh pineapple and used two slices of canned pineapple cut into small segments.

Note:  Peaches and tomatoes can be peeled easily and without waste by dipping them in boiling water for about 20 seconds – the skins slip right off.

Peach Salsa (4)


  • Servings: About 3 cups of salsa
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1 cup peaches, peeled and diced
2 slices pineapple, drained and cut into small segments (about 1 cup)
2-½ cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
1 Tblsp. hot banana pepper, finely chopped
1 Tblsp. cilantro, snipped in small pieces (fresh basil is also good)
1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tblsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
Grating of black pepper

Place prepared peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, banana pepper and cilantro in a medium bowl.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the salsa ingredients and toss lightly.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 3 cups of salsa.  Will keep well in refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Peach Salsa (1)This is a good side dish and was delicious served with grilled tilapia.

tilapiaIt is also good served as a dip with cinnamon crisps.

Holiday Fried Wontons


I first had fried wontons at the home of my son and his wife in St. Louis in 1993.  My daughter-in-law liked to try different dishes and this was new to all of us.  They are delicious, crispy and not difficult to make, although a bit time-consuming.  Allow about a half-hour to sit down and assemble the wontons.  The good news is they can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in single layers in a closed container, with waxed paper between each layer.

We have these wontons every year for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  I like to serve them with dipping sauces – our favorites are hoisin, sweet and sour, and duck sauce.



  • Servings: 48 wontonbs
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  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 6 Tblsp. parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. package of wonton wrappers (about 48)
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • ¼ cup water mixed with 1 tsp. cornstarch

In a small bowl or food processor, combine cream cheese, sour cream, thyme, parmesan, salt/pepper and mix until smooth.


Lay out a piece of waxed paper and place 9 wonton wrappers on it.  Keep remaining wrappers covered with waxed paper.  On each wrapper, place a tsp. of filling.
Dip a finger into the water/cornstarch mixture and moisten the edges of the wrapper.  Bring one corner up to form a triangle and seal.  Bring the two side points together and twist to seal.
Place the finished wrapper on an ungreased sheet and cover sheet with waxed paper while completing the rest of the wrappers.

The wontons can be fried immediately or can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in a covered container.  Place wontons in a single layer and separate with pieces of waxed paper.

To fry the wontons, heat about 2 inches of peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Fry the wontons in a single layer, turning once to brown on both sides.
Remove fried wontons to a piece of paper towel to drain and serve immediately.  Wontons can be kept warm in a 170 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes and still retain their crispness.

Makes about 48 wontons.  Serve with dipping sauces of your choice. 


Chicken and Cheese Dip–Crock Pot – Slow Cooker

I adapted this recipe from one I saw a couple of years ago on Crockpot Recipe Exchange.  It was easy to mix the ingredients and let them cook in the slow cooker for about 2-½ hours.  The result was delicious – cheesy with a lot of chicken  and a delicious flavor.  I used the coriander chutney and didn’t need any additional seasonings.  You might want to taste and add salt, pepper or some kind of hot sauce.  I used this as an entree and it made a nice lunch for three people with leftovers for supper.


  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese. cubed
  • 3 cups (12 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 14.1 ounce can of diced tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced and sautéed just until tender
  • 2 Tblsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1-½ Tblsp. Coriander Chutney or 4 oz. can of diced green chiles


Put all the ingredients in the order listed into a 2-1/2 quart crock pot. Place the lid on and cook on low for 2.5 – 3 hours.


I like to serve this with Tostido scoops.  Mixture can be kept warm in crockpot for up to 2 hours.  Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove.  This dip should be piping hot.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

My breakfast normally consists of oatmeal mixed with brown sugar, raisins, nuts and flax seed plus a tablespoon or so of milk.  When I’m traveling, I like to eat hearty breakfasts in a restaurant, but still want the healthful benefits of my oatmeal breakfast.  Since I always get up around 6 AM and have to wait around for others to wake up and go to breakfast, I bring along snack bars that contain the nutritious ingredients I want plus a few goodies to make them taste really good with a morning cup of coffee.


  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1-1/2 cup oats, quick cooking
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup flax seed
  • ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and milk in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring and checking each time

Stir in oats, vanilla, flax seed, peanuts and raisins

Press mixture into an 8 x 8 pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until cooled and firm.  Cut into 10 slices.  I like to wrap the slices individually in waxed paper and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator.

With my DietPower software, I did a comparison  of these Snack Bars (based on 10 servings) and my big bowl of enhanced oatmeal:

Oatmeal:  246 calories, 13.1 g fat, 31 g carbs, 8.7 g fiber, 9.4 g protein

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Breakfast Bars:  204 calories, 12.4 g fat, 20.0 g carbs, 3.0 g fiber, 6.1 g protein

Weight Watchers based on 10 servings:  6 points per bar

The breakfast bars are lower in calories, fat, and carbs, but also lower in fiber and protein.   I feel they are still a good substitute for traveling.  For hot weather traveling, keep the container of bars in a cooler.

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls and Pastel Milk Punch – 1940s Recipes

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

For my version of these two recipes, I used ¼ of the ingredients to make smaller amounts.  The popcorn balls are easy and a good buttery snack.  My only change was to substitute butter for oleo (margarine) and a dash of salt.

The Pastel Milk Punch is somewhat like a smoothie and I used the modern convenience of a blender rather than stirring as the 1940s cook did.  I also used frozen strawberries and omitted the sugar.  The only mint ice cream I could find had very fine chocolate chips in it which didn’t do any harm except for clogging the straws occasionally.

Both items, like the other recipes in the book, are rather mild.  My daughter wasn’t feeling well and drank two large glasses of the punch, saying that it settled her stomach.


*4 cups of popped corn (about 2 Tblsp. unpopped corn)
*2 Tblsp. butter
*10 regular size marshmallows
*Dash of salt

In a large pan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the marshmallows and salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, until marshmallows have melted.

Add popcorn to marshmallow mixture and stir to combine.  As soon as the popcorn has cooled down enough to handle (don’t let it cool completely), butter the palms of your hands and form balls of the mixture.  I chose to make 10 snack-size two-inch balls.  Any spare kernels that can’t be formed into balls can be a snack for the cook.


*¾ cup frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
*Dash of salt
*2 cups cold milk
*1 cup (½ pint) strawberry ice cream, softened
*1 cup (½ pint) mint ice cream, softened

Place slightly thawed berries in a blender.  Add salt, milk and ice cream.  Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately.

Yield:  3-4 servings, depending on size

This little planter (marked Japan on the bottom) was always in my Grandma Helen’s living room in the 1940s and until I inherited it in 1978.

Rolo Pretzel Candy

I found this idea several places on the internet and it was our snack of choice for the month of December.  It’s very easy and very delicious.


  • Servings: As few or many as you want to make
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  • Rolo caramel candy
  • Small round pretzels
  • Toasted nuts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.

Place round pretzels on the foil-lined sheet.  Unwrap and place a Rolo candy piece on each pretzel.  Place in the preheated 300 degree F oven for 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately press a piece of nut into the top of each Rolo.

Place in the refrigerator to chill for 10-15 minutes.

Place some Rolo Pretzel Candy on a plate and watch it disappear.

Any kind of toasted nut would work – pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.

Texas Caviar via St. Louis

txsvdbestMy daughter-in-law in St. Louis enjoys cooking and loves to try new recipes.  She passed this one on, which was also new to me.  It makes a delicious snack and has also served as a light lunch a few times.  The only changes I made to her recipe were to reduce the olive oil and to add cilantro.



  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Place vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add oil, salt/pepper.  Set aside to cool.

Fresh Vegetables (Chop all about the size of a corn kernel)

  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 Tblsp. jalapeno*
  • 2 Tblsp. fresh cilantro leaves

*I used New Canaan Farms’ Sweet & Hot Jalapeno

Canned Ingredients (Drain and rinse)

  • One 15 oz. can pinto beans
  • One 15 oz. can black beans
  • One 11-15 oz. can whole kernel corn

Mix all of the canned ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the chopped vegetables and the cooled marinade.


Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.


My family likes to use Tostido scoop corn chips with this caviar.

Teriyaki Almonds — New Year’s Snack


These almonds are really good and addictive.  They are quick and easy to make and since they’re baked and have a small amount of sweetener and oil, they make a nice snack, especially for New Year’s Eve.


  • Servings: Makes about 2 cups of almonds
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  • 2 cups whole natural almonds
  • 1 Tblsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tblsp. Lyle’s Golden Syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  On an ungreased sheet, spread almonds.  Toast in oven for 15 minutes without stirring.  Remove sheet from oven and let almonds cool.  Reduce oven heat to 250 degrees F.

In a medium sized saucepan over medium low heat, bring the teriyaki sauce and Lyle’s syrup/honey to a boil.  Stir in almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until the almonds absorb the sauce, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add oil.  Toss until almonds are well coated.

Turn onto baking sheet, separating almonds.  Bake for 5 minutes, stir, then turn almonds and bake 6 minutes longer.

Cool on wire rack, stirring frequently.  Store in a plastic bag or covered container.  Makes about 2 cups.

According to my DietPower software, a 1/4 cup serving would be:  122 calories, 10 gr. fat, 0 gr. cholesterol, 6.04 gr. carbohydrates, 3.72 gr. protein.

Chinese Fried Walnuts


About 25 years ago, a co-worker brought these Chinese Fried Walnuts to a company Christmas party and everyone loved them.  She gave me the recipe and I’ve been making them every year since then.  They are quick and easy to make and always popular.


  • Servings: Makes about 4 cups of walnuts
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  • 6 cups water in large pan

  • 4 cups English walnut halves

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • Peanut oil for frying

  • Salt

Heat the water to boiling, add the walnuts, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.  Drain the nuts, rinse under running hot water and drain again.

Gently stir the warm nuts with the sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat 1″ of oil to 350 degrees F in a large skillet.  Add about half of the nuts to the oil and fry for about 2-1/2 minutes until golden brown.


Place the nuts in a coarse sieve over a bowl to drain.


Transfer to a cookie sheet to cool – sprinkle with salt.

Repeat with the remaining nuts.

Yield:  About 4 cups 

A portion of these walnuts in a vintage mug makes a nice extra gift for my oldest son, who loves this snack.