Category Archives: Casseroles

Remembering a beloved neighbor, and her first plate of cookies

Remembering a beloved neighbor, and her first plate of cookies

Daughters Verena and Loretta are making supper. On the menu is tater tot casserole, rare beef, and cheese. The casserole is a new recipe they are trying out. Rare beef is thinly sliced steak from our beef we butchered. It’s heavily salted and peppered, then deep-fried in oil. Verena will do the deep frying. The girls insist I still stay out of the kitchen at meal time. They make sure I don’t overstep my boundaries or do anything I’m not allowed to do.

Loretta and Joseph are still washing laundry twice a week and I’m amazed at how well it gets done. I almost think they get it done faster than when I’m down there helping. I am learning how hard it is to be patient but I think it is a good thing for me. Life doesn’t always go as we want it to. I feel this helps me understand the struggle my children who have special needs encounter on a daily basis.

Foremost on our minds tonight is the sad news of neighbor Irene’s passing. Our hearts ache for her family and our sympathy goes to them as well. Irene had her 91st birthday on February 9.

Fifteen years ago when we moved here to our home in Michigan, we met Irene. She lived across the road from us and came over to meet us with a plate of cookies. Through the years Irene was always willing to run me to town to a doctor with one of the children or to just get some groceries. Or then she would come over with extra vegetables from her garden. I would try to return the favors with a loaf of homemade bread, etc. I always felt that Irene would keep an eye on our animals and homestead when we were gone all day. Needless to say, our dear Irene will be missed!

Irene’s grandson Joe is also our neighbor and his daughter Jaelyn has spent lots of time visiting over here, or the children with her at her dad’s or grandma’s. I am sure this will greatly affect their lives. They were with Irene so much. Rest in peace, Irene. You were so greatly loved and will be missed!

Our thoughts and prayers are also with cousin Amos, wife Barbara and family. Last week they laid to rest their 22-year-old daughter Edna. Her death was caused by an accident at work. Such a tragedy! Our sympathy to the family.

Son Kevin is wearing his air cast and is getting around with the aid of a walker. He can now go to school with the school bus. He is tired after a day at school. Another week of the air cast, and then he can try to walk with a shoe.

Kevin and I both say thanks for all the cards, letters and gifts that were sent to us. Mail time is special and Kevin loves to come home to mail. Thanks to my friend Ruth that brings our mail from you readers. We appreciate all the kindness!

Last but not least I want to announce that niece Elizabeth was published to be married to Manuel on May 24. We wish them much happiness as they exchange vows until death do them part. May God be their guide always. Sewing machines will be busy this spring as we sew for this upcoming wedding.

Joe and Joseph are getting a lot of work done outside in the barn, building more horse stalls and hauling manure this week while Joe is off work.

Tomorrow evening daughter Elizabeth and Tim will bring our supper in. Last Friday evening daughter Susan and Mose brought us supper. It is greatly appreciated. Sons-in-law Tim and Mose are starting to cook the maple syrup they’ve tapped from trees.

God’s blessings to all!

Tater Tot Casserole

4 cups frozen tater tots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 envelope (.75 ounce) mushroom gravy mix
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix tater tots and shredded cheese. Set aside.

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, brown beef over medium heat until completely browned. Stir in gravy mix then milk, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened (about 1 minute). Stir in vegetables. Top with potato mixture. Bake 25–35 minutes until sauce bubbles and tater tots are crisp. (If you don’t have an oven proof skillet, bake in a 9×9-inch pan.)

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Life with children is more than just the work waiting for us

We are all home on this Wednesday. Our thermometer still shows -14 and the wind chill is -45. It is cold and windy with snow blowing. We are staying pretty warm here in the house. It is a little cooler in here than other days with that strong wind blowing outside. We hardly see any traffic go by. Joe’s RV factory shut down for the rest of the week and school was closed all week, so far.

My surgery was rescheduled for next week because of the cold weather. Its so nice to not have to go outdoors today. Joe and the boys did the chores and the horses are in the barn for the day. It sure wouldn’t take long to get frostbite in these temperatures.

Sunday the temperature was mostly in the single digits. Our daughter Lovina stayed home from church with Kevin with his cast since it was cold and snowing. Church families all brought gifts to church for Kevin, and my sisters Verena and Susan brought them to him after church. He received many nice things to pass the time while he’s in his cast. The kindness from everyone was greatly appreciated!

Our church had five new babies born in December and January. Four boys and one girl. Grandson Timothy, and a little one named Caleb made their first appearance in church. The other babies that we still didn’t get to see are Titus, Jayden and Velda.

On Monday daughter Elizabeth had a doctor appointment. We had the joy of watching baby Timothy and two-year-old Abigail while mommy went to her appointment. Timothy did really well for us; we had lots of fun holding him and of course spoiling Abigail.

Some of the Eicher beef will likely end up in a tasty and warming pot roast such as this, or beef stew for a cold day.

Last Friday Tim, Elizabeth and children, Mose, Susan and Jennifer came to cut up the beef quarters we gave to them. Lovina and Kevin went to school. Verena and Loretta watched the little ones here in the house while Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph and I helped Tims’ and Moses’ with the beef. Hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks cut and sliced, beef chunks and hamburger processed. Mose also made some beef bologna to put in cans and process. We were all tired by evening but so glad to have it all done for them. I remember how hard it was to get things done with little ones to care for. We had a casserole for supper and I made rare beef for everyone after we were done. Tims left for home and Mose and Susan decided to spend the night here and wait to take their meat home in the morning. Susan and I put on a few more pressure cookers the next morning from the jars of meat that didn’t get canned the day before. We had four pressure cookers going, so it went fast.

It was so nice to do all this outside in the heated pole barn. I remember having to cut up beef in the house and what a mess it was to clean up. Now this is so much easier. The hot water pipe froze out there, so we had to heat some water, but the cold water worked and the bathroom still worked. We need to do some more insulating out there for colder winters.

Kevin received a few puzzles among the gifts sent from church so we are going to start a 1000 piece this week. I have some mending I need to do yet, but I enjoy putting together 1000 piece puzzles. If we look only at the work waiting, we would never do anything else.

I will share a recipe for rigatoni and cheese casserole I made for supper Sunday evening when Tims’, Moses’, and Dustin were here. I didn’t have mozzarella cheese so I used Colby and it still tasted good. I used fresh hamburger that was ground on Friday.

As I write here by the kitchen table, I cannot believe how cold that wind sounds outside. Stay warm and safe everyone! God’s blessings to all!

Rigatoni and Cheese Casserole

1 16-ounce box rigatoni noodles, cooked
1 pound ground beef
2 26-ounce jars spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
16 ounces cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
4 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In saucepan over medium heat, brown beef. Then add pasta sauce and seasoning. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese with 1 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish and spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce/beef mixture over the bottom. Top with half the noodles, cheese mixture and repeat in layers until everything is used up. Sprinkle remaining 3 cups of mozzarella cheese over top. Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 10–12 servings.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina asks about oldest reader; plus life heads back to a welcome routine

All is quiet here at the Eichers this morning except the yapping of daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppies. They are really playful but she is eager to sell them as they are now eating well on their own. If anyone knows of someone needing a nice house companion, let me know. These dogs do not shed hair so that is another good thing about them. Son Kevin will not like to see them go but we already have Ricky and Ruby here in the house.

Kevin has returned to school  yesterday for the first day since his surgery. A bus with a lift picks him up every morning at 7:00 a.m. and brings him home after school. This should help make his days go by faster. Daughter Lovina goes on their regular bus and leaves about 15 minutes earlier.

Last night daughter Elizabeth, Tim, Abigail and baby Timothy came for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cheese, bread, butter, grape jelly, canned peaches and cookies. I hadn’t seen them for nine days so I was excited to spend time with the little ones. Baby Timothy is doing well and is four-and-a-half weeks old now.

Daughter Verena spent a few days over at Tim and Elizabeth’s helping out with household duties. Abigail is a busy body so she keeps Elizabeth on the run. Verena brought their laundry back with her. Tim washed their laundry last week but I told him we can do it this week. He has been battling a cold so I’m sure he was glad to not do it.

Today Verena will go with Elizabeth and her children to the children’s doctor appointments. It will make it easier for Elizabeth to have someone help with Abigail and baby Timothy. Daughter Susan needs to go to town so she will leave Jennifer here with Loretta and I. How fun!

Jennifer had her first birthday on January 15. On Friday evening we’ll all go to Mose and Susan’s house to see Jennifer eat her cake. Jennifer is taking a few steps but is still scared to go too far.

Grandchildren are special! Abigail kept asking Elizabeth when she can go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house again. This was the first time Tims were here since Kevin’s surgery. Abigail was fascinated by Kevin’s “big band aid.” She sat by her uncle Kevin most of the evening and he entertained her.

My husband Joe went back to work on Monday after being off for three weeks. They will only have four-day work weeks as of now. Life now seems a little more back to a routine since the holidays.

Daughter Verena also spent a day this week with my niece Emma (the one that just got married) at her new home. It was different for the two cousins spending the day together again. They did Emma’s laundry as they visited and then had lunch together there.

I’m relieved that our meat butchering, canning and freezing is now done for the year. We will not butcher hogs this year as we still have plenty of sausage in the freezer. We are still able to enjoy fresh pon hoss that Jacob and Emma brought over.

Pon hoss is a winter specialty breakfast (or supper) of sautéed cakes, made from pork broth cooked with cornmeal after butchering. Serve up with apple butter or local favorite condiment!

Joe and the children packaged over 200 hamburger patties for the freezer. He has a hamburger patty maker he attaches to our meat grinder so it went fast. He said it took them only a half hour. They had an assembly line going with someone putting the paper between the patties and some bagging them, etc. Many hands make light work, as most know! Working together as a family strengthens that family bond, I think.

The canned meat jars were cleaned and carried to the basement and put on the shelves in our canning room. So nice to see the freezer and shelves filling up. We need to thank our Heavenly Father for all the bounties he provides. Are we thankful enough?

I just answered a reader’s letter from Minnesota. Martha is 102 and still baking. May God bless her with good health and happiness. Are any of my readers older than Martha?

God bless!

Chuck Wagon Hot Dish

1 pound hamburger, fried and drained
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups diced, partially cooked carrots
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 large onion, diced
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
3 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
pepper to taste
shredded cheese

Mix all ingredients together and bake in covered pan at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with a little cheese just before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Abigail sings “We wish you a Merry Christmas” while the dishes get washed

Family Bibles are used in devotions, as Lovina mentions in this column, and at other times. These are in German.

Christmas 2018 is now history. We hope you all had a blessed Christmas with loved ones, and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season! Our wish is for God’s blessings on each of you in the coming New Year, 2019, and always.

We had a very nice Christmas with our whole family here several nights and on Christmas Day. Everyone came over Christmas Eve. Baby Timothy—Elizabeth and Tim’s newest—is nine days old today but they still came over. We tried to make Elizabeth take it easy but with two little ones to care for, she is kept busy. Of course while Abigail is here with us she is pretty well occupied. We had a light supper for whoever didn’t eat before they came on Christmas Eve. Everyone went to bed early to get rested for Christmas morning. Elizabeth had a doctor appointment earlier on Christmas Eve, so she was more than tired.

Christmas morning it was so good to wake up and know that our whole family of 16 were all here. How sweet to greet the grandchildren in the morning! After devotions with the family, we had a 10 o’clock brunch. On the menu were fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, cheese, hot peppers, clementines, cookies, orange juice, white or chocolate milk, and coffee. We set the table for 14 and Jennifer sat in the high chair. Baby Timothy was passed around and not left too long in the crib. He is a quiet baby other than when he wants to be fed. Abigail was a little more fussy so this makes it nicer for Elizabeth.

The dishes were washed up quickly with everyone’s help. Abigail loves singing and wanted to sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” while we washed dishes. She really knows the words to the song if we ask her what words come next.

Jennifer is walking behind a push toy and will stand alone if she’s not thinking about it. When she realizes she’s standing all alone, she grabs for support.

After dishes were put away, we all gathered to open gifts. The children and in-laws all exchanged names so it was interesting to see who had whose name and what they had shopped to buy them. After that our children wanted to give their gifts to Joe and me. They gave us some nice, useful gifts. We then passed out our gifts to the children and grandchildren. Everyone was happy for what they received. We need to remember the true meaning of Christmas, but we can also have joy in giving. I really enjoy giving gifts that the children need. For our married daughters and families, we raised a beef, for them to share the meat. It is something they can use.

After gifts were all passed out, we played games together; I had fun entertaining the grandchildren.

Later in the day we got out snacks that everyone brought. I put a turkey in the oven to cook through the day, so we enjoyed that with the meal. Later in the evening we made an easy supper of grilled cheese sandwiches for whoever was still hungry.

Tim, Mose, and Dustin went to deliver presents and do evening chores over at Tim’s and Moses’s places. They all decided to spend the night here again. This morning Dustin and Mose went hunting. Tim and Elizabeth took baby Timothy for a check up at the doctor’s office. Abigail stayed here with us. I made a breakfast casserole for everyone to enjoy around 9:30 a.m.

Mose and Dustin helped Joe and the boys dress our beef and hang it in the pole barn to chill. It is a big beef and looks like work for next week. Tomorrow, plans are to go help Jacob and Emma prepare for church services they will host at their house Sunday.

On Friday, Joe and our sons-in-law have a paid trip to Cadillac, Michigan, to go ice fishing for the day. Elizabeth and Susan and their littles ones will come here to spend the day with us.

Blessings to all! Enjoy this recipe for something different!

Cheddar Chicken Salad Casserole

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup cooked rice
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together the chicken, rice, eggs and onion in a medium bowl. Stir in lemon juice, soup, mayonnaise and cheese. Season with black pepper. Spoon the chicken mixture into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available at the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Garage sales yield great bargains, including gifts for the grandchildren (of course)

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s cold and windy outside, and the temperature has dropped to 54 degrees. We had just enjoyed a few nice warm and sunny days until yesterday, when it was rainy and cooler.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came to our house yesterday morning. Daughters Verena and Loretta kept Abigail and Jennifer here while Elizabeth, Susan and I went to the “community building.” There were 24 families from our community having garage sales with booths inside the building.

I always have fun going to garage sales, and I did really well. With the cost of fabric so high, it’s so much cheaper to buy clothes that are sewn up already at garage sale prices. I bought quite a few days’ worth of sewing! I brought home some pants for the boys, dresses and coverings for the girls, and of course some dresses for my little granddaughters.

When we got home, Abigail tried on the new clothes. She does well dressing herself. Jennifer couldn’t care less what dresses she has! I also was able to get a baby swing and stroller that were in good shape for a few dollars each. They will come in handy when my grandchildren come. And yes, I did buy some toys for the granddaughters to play with when at our house. It seems I don’t have many toys to keep them entertained. They both like to look at books, and they also liked the wooden blocks I brought home.

Elizabeth and Susan found good bargains on clothes, so it was worth it for them as well. We stopped at a few more garage sales on our way home. Elizabeth said Abigail hadn’t wanted to go to bed the night before, so Elizabeth told her when she wakes up, she can go to Grandma’s. When Abigail opened her eyes the next morning she smiled and said, “Going to Grandma’s!” and was wide awake. How precious!

Lovina’s daughter Loretta and her friend Dustin prepared grilled whole chickens and salmon (wrapped in foil).

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was on Monday, October 8, so Loretta went to their house in honor of his birthday. On Sunday evening Dustin and Loretta prepared supper on the grill for our family, also in honor of his birthday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer joined us for supper. On the menu were grilled whole chickens, French fries, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, veggies and dip, cake and ice cream. The chicken was grilled and seasoned just right and was very juicy. It was a treat to me that supper was being prepared and I could just spend time with my granddaughters. Jennifer likes to gnaw at an apple; I think it feels good to her gums, with more teeth pushing through.

Next week’s plans include daughter Verena helping a lady from our church district who is on bedrest. Verena will watch her two little boys and get meals for them. Our church ladies are taking turns taking in supper, so there should be plenty of leftovers. It’s so good to help each other! I remember after my surgery how helpful it was to have people bring supper over to us almost every other night. That meant a lot to me.

We have now scheduled son Kevin’s surgeries for next year. He will have the heel lengthening surgeries done to help him get his balance better. He has what is called “limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A,” and he seems to have a hard time lately. The doctor doing his surgery at the children’s hospital is the same one who did both our daughters’ surgeries, so we know he’s in good hands.

The first foot surgery will be in January, and then the second foot in March. Hopefully it will all be healed for him when the warm days come next spring. Kevin will have many weeks in a wheelchair while recuperating. He won’t be allowed to put any weight on the foot for six weeks or more. I’m sure that going to school will help him pass the time.

God’s blessings!

Carrot Casserole

1 (2-pound) package carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter
1 sleeve (about 35) Ritz crackers, crushed

Boil carrots for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and slice into smaller pieces if desired. Add onion, sugar, cheese and mayonnaise. Stir and place in casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in crushed crackers. Spread on top of carrots. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

Verena and sister Loretta made this delicious supper on the grill.

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

This is Verena, 20, writing for Mom this week. Mom isn’t home and I know she needs this written.

I’m off work on Wednesdays every week. I work the other four days for my cousin Emanul. He owns a woodworking shop so I work in the office. I really enjoy it and it seems to be working so far with my handicap. I really enjoy doing office work.

My sister Loretta, 18, Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 12, are also home so Loretta is getting lunch for all of us. Dad and Mom left to go do some shopping so Dad can do some repairs around here. He is off on vacation this week yet.

Loretta is heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for our lunch which is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Mose and Susan (sister) and niece Jennifer drove in last night just as we were getting ready to eat so we told them to stay and eat with us. Jennifer is full of smiles every time I see her. I love being Aunt to Jennifer and Abigail! They are my whole world!

We are back home getting settled after spending last week camping at the lake. My siblings and I told Dad and Mom that next time we do a camping trip we want to be far enough away from home so they can’t always be running home to check on things and doing laundry and chores.

We were at the lake from Sunday, July 1 to Saturday, July 7. It was very enjoyable with the entire family together. I will always cherish these memories we made.

We rented three older model RV’s from the campsite owner. They didn’t have electricity in them but the water for the toilet and the lights worked from being hooked up somehow to a 12-volt battery. It beat not having to sleep in tents. We divided up between the three RV’s and had a screened-in canopy for our cooking spot.

We all gathered once a day at least to have a meal together. Otherwise, some were fishing; some were swimming; and others were enjoying the little ones and visiting and relaxing together. The owner treated us very well and always was willing to do whatever he could to make our stay go smoother. We had a few very hot days but found comfort in cooling off swimming. Although we did use sunscreen, a few of us had sunburns which is not fun.

Abigail loved the water but Jennifer preferred only having her feet in the lake water. I loved spending time with Abigail and Jennifer on the swings, slides, etc.

Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and family took care of my Yorkie dogs (Ricky and Ruby) while we were gone. They also had sister Elizabeth’s dogs (Izzy and Crystal) so they had a handful of extra chores. We all appreciated it very much.

Thursday evening we invited Jacob and Emma and family, also their daughters Emma and Elizabeth’s boyfriends, Menno and Manuel, to the camp to spend the evening with us. The men went fishing after supper. Aunt Emma brought a wet burrito casserole for all of us. Dad grilled some brats to go along with it.

Sister Loretta turned 18 while we were at the lake (July 1). We had cupcakes in honor of her birthday. Brother Benjamin and Loretta are both the same age now until Saturday, July 14, when Benjamin will have his 19th birthday.

July 4 we attended cousin Levi’s wedding. I was a tablewaiter and had to wear a light gray dress, cape, and apron. It was nice to see family again!

We all packed up to leave the campground on Saturday evening.

Sunday we attended the viewing of our former bishop, John, who passed away. Our church became too large so we divided in two districts and John was bishop for the other district. He was 75 and a cousin of my deceased grandmother Elizabeth Coblentz, the original writer of this column. I stayed home from work on Monday so I could attend the funeral with my family. It was a big funeral!

On Tuesday I went back to work. We were busy catching up from our week’s vacation. It’s always enjoyable to have time off but I love when everything is back to a routine.

Well, you all take care and God bless! I’ll share a recipe with you the best I can of what Loretta and I made for supper Monday evening.

Supper on the Grill

1 pound steak cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound bacon cut into small pieces
1 package shrimp de-tailed (optional)
1 medium onion cut up in chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 box fresh mushrooms
6 medium potatoes cubed
1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and add seasonings of your choice. Toss until seasoning is well mixed with all ingredients. Grill in tin foil on grill until meat is cooked and potatoes are soft. Serves about 12.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Attentive doctor reminds his patients to trust God

Spring has arrived—or at least that’s what the calendar says! We did have some nice sunny days, with the mercury on the thermometer reaching almost 60 degrees. We have taken advantage of the weather and dried the laundry outside on the clotheslines. It sure makes it so much fresher than when it’s dried in the basement. Monday the air was chilly, and I was cold by the time I had hung everything outside!

It is almost 4:30 a.m. here at the Eicher home. I think we have adjusted to the Daylight Savings Time now. Son Benjamin, 18, is waiting on his ride to go work at the RV factory. My husband, Joe, left 45 minutes ago for work. I almost forgot that this column needs to be written before we leave this morning at 6:30 a.m. for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Daughter Verena and son Kevin have appointments with the doctor who did Verena’s surgery. This doctor’s office is located at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. We always like to start out early enough. It takes time finding a place to park, etc., once we get there.

Verena’s surgery was five weeks ago. She is getting impatient to have her cast off. She is hoping the doctor will let her take the cast off and give her a walking boot. I’m not so sure that will happen, but we will find out today. It all depends on how well it is healing. Verena sure enjoys all the cards and letters she has received. She looks forward to mail time! On Friday evening some of her friends are bringing snacks after supper and will stay to play games.

On Sunday we attended church in a neighboring church district. Church was held in the basement of Dustin’s brother’s house. (Dustin is Loretta’s special friend.) We took Verena along. Timothy, Elizabeth, little Abigail, Mose, Susan and baby Jennifer also went to church there. They wanted us to all stay for supper, but we decided to come home in the afternoon to do our evening chores. Our children, except for Verena and Kevin, and nephew Henry stayed for supper.

Tippy, Susan and Mose’s dog, gets super excited to visit his “old” friend Kevin, Lovina’s youngest son.

The weather was so nice that Verena and Kevin said they were going for a ride with our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser. Joe and I decided to also go for a ride with our almost three-year-old horse, Midnight, and the buggy. We all went to Mose and Susan’s. Timothys showed up there as well. We loaded Verena’s battery-operated scooter on the pony cruiser, and she and Susan went for a walk with Kevin and Tippy (Mose and Susan’s dog) trailing behind. Because he lived with us for so long, Tippy is always excited to see us come, especially Kevin. When he sees Kevin is along, Tippy jumps into the buggy and goes crazy over seeing Kevin! Kevin spends a lot of time with Verena’s Yorkies also.

I volunteered to watch Jennifer when the girls went on their walk. She is always full of smiles, and it’s just so much fun watching her. I went with Susan to Jennifer’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. She weighs almost 13 pounds and is 23 3/4 inches long. The doctor said she is doing great!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan take their little girls to the same pediatrician I took my children to after we moved to Michigan. He is a good doctor and has been a great help to us. He was the first one to notice that some of our children have muscular dystrophy. He noticed the signs even before we did. I remember how upset I was, and how he encouraged me to put it all in God’s hands. Life goes on, and we must take one day at a time and put our trust in God. Where would we be without God’s help?

I wish God’s richest blessings to each of you and good health as well!

Easy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with water and boil until soft. Mash and add remaining ingredients. Put in a greased baking dish and refrigerate overnight.

Hamburger topping:
2 pounds hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Brown hamburger; drain. Add can of soup. Put everything on top of the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Find out what’s new at the Eicher household!

The sun is shining bright but the mercury is only at 16 degrees. We have had our share of cold weather.

I am very excited to share the news that Joe and I are grandparents for the second time! Jennifer Susan was born at 7:46 a.m. on January 15, 2018, to daughter Susan and Mose. She was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long, and she has a head full of black hair.

And if that isn’t enough excitement, I have more! Susan, Mose and baby Jennifer are staying with us since they were released from the hospital. How precious to hear that sweet cry during the night hours. She’s already smiling and has won all our hearts.

Lovina’s second oldest daughter Susan and husband Mose are the happy parents of a new baby girl, who is charming the Eicher household.

Susan was diagnosed with toxemia, but she is recovering as well as can be expected. That’s why they are staying with us for awhile until she feels better. Otherwise, mother and baby are doing just fine. And little Jennifer has more babysitters than she needs. I do not hear anyone complaining—except maybe for the fact that they think they might be getting cheated out of their turn holding the baby! Even Grandpa Joe asks for his turn to hold her.

Aunt Elizabeth quickly sewed this dress for Susan and Mose’s new baby daughter, Jennifer, in a half hour.

Daughter Verena is sitting in front of a tote bag full of baby clothes, deciding what she will put on her next. Daughter Elizabeth, after hearing the news that it’s a girl, went right to work, and a half hour later had a new pink dress sewed for Jennifer.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail came to see little Jennifer again. I told them to stay for supper. I made hamburger potato casserole and husband Joe grilled fresh pork chops from our recent hog butchering.

Sixteen-month Abigail is not so sure she likes her new little cousin, Jennifer. She was confused when she saw Aunt Susan with a baby. I am sure she will soon grow to love her little cousin and they will have lots of fun times ahead.

Mose’s four sisters came to meet their new little niece last night. Mose’s sister Hannah’s little four-year-old daughter, Alissa, is still in the hospital. She was admitted four weeks ago after suffering injuries from a buggy-car accident. Hannah, her husband Leroy and their four children were hit in their buggy by a drunk driver. All six were taken to the hospital. They have all been released now except Alissa. Christmas was a sad holiday for this family, with the day being spent mostly in the hospital. Alissa has to stay in the hospital for three more weeks until she is back at home with her family, and she has lots of therapy ahead. She will be five years old on January 20. Prayers for the family are appreciated! The horse was killed in the accident, and the buggy demolished.

Church services were set Sunday to be at Jacob and Emma’s house on January 28. I want to go help Emma tomorrow with her cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to help too. Timothy and Elizabeth will host church services at their house two weeks after Jacob and Emma host, so we need to help her too.

Life seems to just get busier for this grandma! I am glad to have good health to work. So often we take our good health for granted. Having children with disabilities has taught me much patience and to take one day at a time. And I think I worry more when my daughters have babies than when I was having them myself! Susan wanted me to be there with her and Mose when Jennifer was born. We have an amazing Creator, and we thank God for all his blessings he has given to us. I wish God’s blessings on all of you as well.

I will share the hamburger potato casserole with you. It is a favorite around here and has been a favorite since I was a little girl at home. The potatoes and meat get fixed all at once in a skillet—no oven.

Take care!

Hamburger Potato Casserole
1–2 pounds raw hamburger
8–10 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Seasonings of your choice
Colby cheese slices

Press the hamburger onto the bottom of a skillet with a lid. With a salad-maker, shred potatoes and onion on top of hamburger (you do not need to peel the potatoes). Then top with cream of mushroom soup (do not add milk). Season to taste.

Turn the burner onto a medium heat and cook until potatoes are soft, about 25–30 minutes. Layer cheese on top after the potatoes are soft. Turn off the burner and cover until cheese has melted.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

It’s Wednesday morning and we have lots to do today. I think I have some kind of stomach flu. It makes me feel weak so I haven’t moved too far from my recliner yet. Hopefully I will feel better soon. I do not have time to be sick! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I need to be well for my guests.

The school is having their annual Thanksgiving feast today. I won’t be able to make it but maybe the girls can go. Son Kevin, 12, wanted me to come, but I can’t when I’m feeling like this.

The Living Skills class always prepares and serves the feast. The menu is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, squash, applesauce, squash bread, and homemade pies. I don’t think this would be possible without the guiding hands of teacher Mr. Ultz. He has worked many years at the school and taught many students how to cook. The school would be lost without him for this class. It would take lots of patience to teach all the students how to cook. He has taught cooking to all eight of our children.

The girls or I usually fry the eggs for breakfast but one Saturday morning, my youngest son Kevin told me he would fry our eggs. He said Mr. Ultz taught him how to fry them so I showed Kevin how I fry six to eight eggs at one time on my griddle. Kevin fried up all two dozen eggs for breakfast that morning! He did a very good job. When we have fried potatoes we all like eggs fried over-easy. Son-in-law Mose does not like his eggs over-easy so it is always nice to have someone that will eat the eggs that break in the skillet and turn out well-done.

An Ohio buggy on a rainy day. Photo by M. Davis

We have not had more than a few snow flurries this season. Yesterday we had rain. Daughter Susan and I took our buggy and horse Mighty to town to get groceries. It rained on the way home. We have a small trailer that we pull behind the buggy to get groceries. On days when it’s cold and rainy, it makes me glad for our covered buggies. I was raised in a community with open buggies and how well I remember the cold rides. Our buggy has a heater but it’s not hooked up right now. We wait until it gets colder. I wear glasses, so when it rained in the open buggies and if I was driving, my glasses would be hard to see out of. We have hand-operated windshield wipers on our buggy now. Even though the wipers are hand operated (with batteries), it really helps to have them wiping off the outside of the windshield. Plus, I am always glad to have Mighty in town. He’s safe around traffic.

Last Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin, and nephew Henry all assisted Mose and Susan with blowing in insulation in their house walls and attic. Joe and Mose were over there one afternoon after work this week and also put new drywall up in the bedroom. They want to put new drywall in the dining room and living room. They will also take out a wall and add a hallway going to the bathroom from the living room. The insulation and drywall will make the house so much easier to heat. The carpet was pulled out and new floors will be put in after the painting is done.

I have two turkeys to get ready today to put in the oven early in the morning. I always like to have the dressing mixed together and the potatoes peeled and in chunks. It makes it so much easier if all of this is done before tomorrow morning.

Last night son-in-law Moses shot his first doe this hunting season. That is now the third deer that is getting processed here. Loretta was fortunate enough to get two deer in this first hunting season for her.

I’ll close with a delicious recipe for another day! And I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow. For those of you that have to travel—safe travels to you. God bless you!

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
6-8 medium red potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups fiesta blend cheese (or your favorite kinds)
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup diced green onions

Mix oil and seasonings. Add chicken and potatoes. Stir to coat and carefully transfer into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until cooked through, crisp and browned on outside. Top with cheese, bacon and onions. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with hot sauce and/or Ranch dressing or sour cream.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings telling us it’s time to start another day. Mornings come around too quick. I pack Joe’s lunch and put on a pot of coffee so he can take some to drink on his way to work.

3:45 a.m. Joe and son-in-law Mose leave for the RV factory. I go back to bed and set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hear nephew Henry, 20, leaving every morning around 4:15 a.m. to go to work. He does really well to always hear his alarm and get ready for work.

4:45 a.m. I pack lunches for sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15. They will go help nephew Noah today on his construction job. The boys go do the morning chores while I make them a breakfast sandwich consisting of egg, ham, cheese, and toast. I wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it warm. Sometimes they eat their breakfast here and sometimes on their way to work.

Favorite breakfast fixings.

5:15 a.m. The boys leave for work. I get a cup of coffee and relax in my recliner until it’s time to get Kevin, 12, up for the bus. How different it seems from when I had five or six children to send on the bus by 7:00 a.m. Kevin makes his own breakfast and when he packs his lunch I help with that. I usually wake Kevin up around 6:15 a.m.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here and Kevin leaves for school. Lovina, 13, gets up to get ready to start her school work here at home. Daughter Susan and I are getting ready to leave today. Susan harnesses our pony Stormy up and hitches him to the pony buggy. Susan and I are going to help bake pies, etc., at our neighbors for their daughter’s wedding which is Friday. Susan and I are both cooks at the wedding.

Daughters Verena, 19, and Loretta, 17, will be here today with Lovina while we leave. Verena helps tutor Lovina on days I can’t. She grades her work for me and gives her the spelling tests. So far it’s really going well and Lovina understands the work well.

8:15 a.m.  Susan and I are ready to leave. We go pick up my sisters Verena and Susan as they were asked to help also and to be cooks at the wedding Friday.

12:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home from helping the neighbors. I helped with the pecan pies and making crusts for the peanut butter pies. Tomorrow they will make the cherry pies. We were done early with all the jobs that were assigned to us.

1:00 p.m. Susan and I are ready to leave to go get groceries for Sunday. Mose and Susan will host church services here on Sunday. It will be Rule Church (preparation for communion services) so services will go until mid-afternoon. We serve lunch during the services to two tables at a time while the services keep on going. Usually chicken noodle soup is on the menu with the regular church lunch.

4:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home. Benjamin and Joseph are back home. With everyone’s help the groceries are carried inside and put away.

Joe, Henry and Kevin are all home as well. Mose went to his parent’s house to help his dad set up their tree stands. Everyone is getting prepared for the upcoming deer season.

6:30 p.m. Dustin comes for supper or rather ends up making supper for all of us! We have supper outside on the porch. Dustin has the deep fryer going (propane). He makes French fries, jalapeño poppers (jalapeños with cream cheese inside and breaded), breaded mushroom,s and breaded mozzarella sticks. It’s a different kind of supper for us but easy to do and out of the house on this hot day. Temperatures are hitting the 80’s and it takes some getting used to after all the cool days we had.

7:00 p.m. Mose is back home and joins us for supper.

10:30 p.m. Finally everyone is settled for the night. Dustin left and it’s past our bedtime. It was a nice evening sitting on the porch.

One additional note: We had around 80 people here for the family gathering last Saturday. Quite a few of the nieces and nephews couldn’t attend. Joe and Mose grilled 100 pounds of chicken starting at 3:30 a.m. We had lots of food with everyone bringing a dish or two.

God’s blessings!

Pizza Casserole

1 pound sausage
1/3 cup onions, chopped
½ cup green bell peppers, diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked
2 (10-ounce) cans pizza sauce, or equivalent amount homemade sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
15–18 slices pepperoni (optional)

Brown the sausage, onion, and bell peppers in a skillet. Drain grease. Add the mushrooms and salt, then spoon into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with cooked rotini. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, arrange pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbling.

Note: This recipe can be made a day ahead; add 15 minutes to baking time if casserole has been refrigerated.

This recipe is from Lovina’s newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. (Herald Press, 2017) If you love her cookbook, consider writing a review on Amazon. There are over 25 reviews and almost all rank them 4 or higher (on a scale of 1-5 stars)!

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.