Special recipes for Lexi's birthday

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy birthday, Lexie! Today is our daughter's 16th birthday. We have gone through a wild and exciting time of transition from a love of black and white cows, the Wizard of Oz, Wicked the musical, Glee and a myriad bands and musical groups, to now being able to drive a car. My goodness, I find myself wondering where all that time went. It has been an absolutely wonderful 16 years and our lives are greatly changed for the better because of her.

Lexie has a curiosity to try new foods, tastes and ethnic foods, but when it comes right down to it, some of our home cooked everyday favorites are simple -- comfort foods. I am sharing just a very few of those with you here today, on her very special 16th birthday.

This recipe was originally given to me in the early 1980s and we enjoyed it so much, but through the years I have altered it just a bit to use a rotisserie chicken in place of poaching a whole chicken and fresh mushrooms instead of canned.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

1 large herb roasted rotisserie chicken, not BBQ flavored

2 (6 ounce) boxes Uncle Ben's original long grain and wild rice mix

2 onions, chopped

2 sticks butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 cup milk

1 box sliced fresh mushrooms

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound longhorn cheese, grated

Remove skin and bones from the roasted chicken, saving the juices in the bottom of the container. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. Prepare rice according to box instructions. Sauté fresh mushrooms and onions in butter. In this same skillet, stir in flour, soup and milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grate longhorn cheese and set aside.

In large baking pan, sprayed with Pam, alternate layers of chicken, rice, cheese and sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout.

This makes a large recipe, excellent for fixing ahead and freezing for company. If frozen, it takes about 1 1/4 hours to bake, and edges tend to get a little overdone; it is better to thaw in refrigerator before baking.

I got this recipe from my cousin, Camilla Dude in the 1980's and we still enjoy it today. I watch the larger grocery stores in town when they have reduced the price of the flank steak and buy it then.

Marinated Flank Steak

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder or garlic salt

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

1 flank steak

Lightly score flank steak and place in plastic zip top bag. Combine all other ingredients mixing well. Pour over steak in bag, seal up getting all of the air out of the bag. Refrigerate overnight.

Grill steak over medium-hot coals for 8 minutes on each side, no more, keeping pink on the inside. Slice on the bias. You can bring the marinade from the bag to a boil, and boil for a couple of minutes, and serve alongside of the steak.

My mother's biscuits are so wonderful we use them for biscuits, shortcake, snacks and desserts. Our son loves her biscuits with applesauce poured over them for a dessert or snack. Lexie loves then with butter and jelly or smothered in gravy, and they are heavenly with chocolate gravy and a dollop of whipped topping. And, they are so easy to make. If using for shortcake, I add a little more sugar than it calls for.

Mom's Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup good quality shortening

Approximately 2/3 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a fork. Toss with a fork adding milk gradually, enough to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and flour hands good. Press together and pat our and flatten to 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. Cut with biscuit cutter, the top of a glass, or just use the fork and cut off hunks. I even use a pizza cutter and cut squares from the dough. Place on a baking sheet, just not quite touching. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Light and delicious.

This chicken recipe is one of Lexie's favorites because the chicken is so moist and tender. She likes a small dish of the ranch dressing to dip the chicken in while eating. I cut the breasts into strips or even nuggets, and it will not need to bake quite as long.

Ranch Chicken

4 chicken breast halves

1 cup bottled ranch dressing

1/2 packet of Hidden Valley ® Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix

3/4 cup cornflake crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl, pour in the bottled ranch dressing. In another shallow bowl, place cornflake crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 packet of dry dressing mix. Stir to combine. Dip each chicken breast in the ranch dressing, removing any excess, and then dip in cornflake crumb mixture. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Lexie got hooked on Puppy Chow several years ago and she makes it quite often to have as snacks or to take to parties and get-togethers with friends.

1 (12 ounce) box Crispix cereal

1/2 cup butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until mixture is melted and smooth. Place the cereal in another large bowl and pour the melted mixture over the cereal. Stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour the powdered sugar into a large plastic food bag. Pour the coated cereal into the powdered sugar and gently shake or turn bag over and over until it is well covered with the sugar. Pour the cereal onto wax paper to cool and dry. Store in tightly covered containers at room temperature.

Fresh Blueberry Pie

1 unbaked pie shell

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired

6 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, if desired

Fit your favorite pie pastry into pie plate. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/2 cup flour and the cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with top pastry that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours. Makes 8 servings, or fewer if Lexie is in your house.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy birthday Lexie, and happy cooking.Prepare rice according to box instructions. Sauté fresh mushrooms and onions in butter. In this same skillet, stir in flour, soup and milk. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grate longhorn cheese and set aside.

In large baking pan, sprayed with Pam, alternate layers of chicken, rice, cheese and sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout.

This makes a large recipe, excellent for fixing ahead and freezing for company. If frozen, it takes about 1 1/4 hours to bake, and edges tend to get a little overdone; it is better to thaw in refrigerator before baking.


I received this recipe from my cousin, Camilla Dude, in the 1980s and we still enjoy it today. I watch the larger grocery stores in town when they have reduced the price of the flank steak and buy it then.

Marinated Flank Steak

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder or garlic salt

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

1 flank steak

Lightly score flank steak and place in plastic zip-top bag. Combine all other ingredients mixing well. Pour over steak in bag, seal, removing all air from the bag. Refrigerate overnight.

Grill steak over medium-hot coals for 8 minutes on each side, no more, keeping pink on the inside. Slice on the bias. You can bring the marinade from the bag to a boil, and boil for a couple of minutes, and serve alongside of the steak.


My mother's biscuits are so wonderful we use them for biscuits, shortcake, snacks and desserts. Our son loves her biscuits with applesauce poured over them for a dessert or snack. Lexie loves then with butter and jelly or smothered in gravy, and they are heavenly with chocolate gravy and a dollop of whipped topping. And, they are so easy to make. If using for shortcake, I add a little more sugar than it calls for.

Mom's Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour

4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup quality shortening

Approximately 2/3 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening with a fork. Toss with a fork adding milk gradually, enough to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and flour hands. Press together and pat and flatten to 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. Cut with biscuit cutter, the top of a glass, or just use the fork and cut off hunks. I even use a pizza cutter and cut squares from the dough. Place on a baking sheet, just not quite touching. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Light and delicious.


This chicken recipe is one of Lexie's favorites because the chicken is so moist and tender. She likes a small dish of the ranch dressing to dip the chicken in while eating. I cut the breasts into strips or even nuggets, and it will not need to bake quite as long.

Ranch Chicken

4 chicken breast halves

1 cup bottled ranch dressing

1/2 packet of Hidden Valley Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix

3/4 cup cornflake crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl, pour in the bottled ranch dressing. In another shallow bowl, place cornflake crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 packet of dry dressing mix. Stir to combine. Dip each chicken breast in the ranch dressing, removing any excess, and then dip in cornflake crumb mixture. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.


Lexie got hooked on Puppy Chow several years ago and she makes it quite often to have as snacks or to take to parties and get-togethers with friends.

Puppy Chow

1 (12 ounce) box Crispix cereal

1/2 cup butter

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

2 to 3 cups powdered sugar

In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until mixture is melted and smooth. Place the cereal in another large bowl and pour the melted mixture over the cereal. Stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour the powdered sugar into a large plastic food bag. Pour the coated cereal into the powdered sugar and gently shake or turn bag over and over until it is well covered with the sugar. Pour the cereal onto wax paper to cool and dry. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

Fresh Blueberry Pie

1 unbaked pie shell

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, if desired

6 cups blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, if desired

Fit your favorite pie pastry into pie plate. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, mix sugar, 1/2 cup flour and the cinnamon. Stir in blueberries. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut butter into small pieces; sprinkle over blueberries. Cover with top pastry that has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours. Makes 8 servings, or fewer if Lexie is in your house.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy birthday Lexie, and happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Reciples published have not been tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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