Category Archives: Casseroles

Wedding Celebration and Gratitude for Help

Dustin and Loretta had perfect weather for their wedding day. All week was nice and sunny, which we were so grateful for.

We ended up with around 450 here for the noon meal and 550 for the evening meal. We could seat 350 people in one setting. Around 100 or more people eat before, such as the cooks, table waiters, special helpers, babysitters, some of the cooks’ children, and drivers that bring family and friends from farther away.

At 4:30 p.m. the tables were set for the cooks to eat supper then at 5:30 p.m. for the guests. At 7 p.m. the youth and Dustin and Loretta’s family ate.

We ended up having 600 pounds of chicken grilled. Although we had quite a bit left, I think we would’ve run out if we didn’t get another 100 pounds. A family in our church has a huge grill and grills for others, so we had them grill the chicken. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes but had 150 pounds left that didn’t get cooked for mashed potatoes. Our goal was to have 75 pies, but we ended up with around 80. Sometimes there is extra pie filling that they just use up in a few extra pies. The pecan pies were eaten except a few pieces. We had a few pumpkin pies, and a dozen or more cherry pies left.

Our menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing (40 loaves of bread were toasted for this and took 18 dozen eggs), green beans with cheese sauce, overnight salad, and homemade bread with grape jelly and butter.

Dessert was pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, caramel pudding, fresh fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes), chocolate and white cupcakes, candy bars, and coffee.

The bridal party table referred to as the “Eck” was beautifully decorated in a fall theme. Photo provided.

It is tradition that the bride and groom furnish candy bars to serve after each meal. Dustin and Loretta bought 1200 for the whole day. They had quite a few left. The parents buy all the other food for the day.

Dustin’s parents have their own chickens, so they brought over 40 dozen eggs for the wedding foods. That really helped out. We don’t have chickens right now.

Loretta did a fall theme for decorating the “Eck,” the corner reserved for the bride and groom and bridal party. Her colors for the cooks and table waiters were all fall colors. Loretta chose a dark rose-colored dress for her wedding day. Dustin’s mother and I wore olive-colored dresses. The cooks wore rust. The table waiter girls wore orange dresses, and the boys wore black pants and vests with white shirts. Daughter Verena and Dustin’s brother Willie were witnesses. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel (also Dustin’s brother) were the other witnesses.

Without the help of friends and family it wouldn’t be possible for us to prepare for such a big event. Many hands make lighter work.

We were so thankful for the ones that helped clean up and pack all the dishes and tables in the wedding wagon. The neighbor ladies cleaned the cook wagon, and we’re also thankful for my three head cooks that kept everything so organized.

A special thank you to my great friend Ruth for taking me shopping and not even charging me for gas. Ruth did a lot of the shopping on the final days, as I didn’t have time to go after everything.

Ruth and I went after the wedding cake the night before, and we were relieved once we had it home safely.

Our dear family members were missed very much over the wedding prep and that day. Sisters Verena, Emma, and our daughter Susan all did well to put their grief aside and be happy for the newlyweds. Daughter Loretta now lives across the road with Dustin. Today we will go help her put away the many nice gifts they received.

Dustin and Loretta want to thank those of you that sent gifts, well wishes, etc. May God bless you!

 

Green Beans with Cheese Sauce (served for lunch and supper)

8 quarts green beans, cooked or canned

Cheese Sauce
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 pounds Velveeta cheese
3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
3 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Heat sauce ingredients on low until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Place the beans in a roaster and pour over the cheese sauce. Heat at 300 degrees until hot.

Cracker Crumb Topping
15 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 3/4 cup melted butter

Crush crackers in sleeves and mix with melted butter. Spread on cookie sheets and toast in oven until browned. Use 1/2 cup crumb topping per 2-quart bowl of beans.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

Warm days for tilling and planting

Today was our first day of 80-degree weather this year and we enjoyed the great outdoors. Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan came last night and are staying again tonight. Susan and I worked on getting everything organized for the garage sale we are having here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Susan has a lot of baby stuff she’s getting rid of. She has so many nice items that have only been used a little. She is also selling the RV Mose bought for them to live in while they remodeled the house. When we were cleaning it, Jennifer came in there and said, “This is my bed.” Then she pointed to the bed and said, “This is where my daddy slept and Mommy on that side.” Life brings so many changes.

I bought little Ryan a small black hat and what fun he has walking around outside with it. He takes really big steps to make it look like he’s older or something. When Joe comes home from work he puts his hat beside Grandpa Joe’s. Joe was tilling the garden and Ryan was right behind him.

Last night Joe and son Joseph planted 10 pounds of red potatoes and 400 Candy sweet onions. I have more seeds to put out yet but it’s calling for rain so we will see.

We also want to plant the tree my good friend Ruth gave in memory of our dear son-in-law Mose. It’s a Cleveland Pear and we will plant it beside the other Cleveland Pear that we call our “Marilyn” tree. Ruth also gave us that one 11 years ago in memory of sister Emma and Jacob’s 8 1/2-month-old, Marilyn, who passed away. Ruth also gave daughter Susan a tree, so we want to help her get her tree planted. This is so thoughtful of Ruth and is very much appreciated.

Cousin Amos had the viewing and funeral in Bryant, Indiana, for his wife Rose Marie. Amos lives 8 hours from us in Wisconsin, so with the viewing located in Indian instead, only a little over 2 hours from us, we were able to attend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

Sister Verena, sister Emma and Jacob, and Joe and I left Sunday afternoon and attended the viewing of a good friend Alvin and then went on to Rose Marie’s viewing. Alvin will be greatly missed in their community. Our sympathy goes to his family as well.

We saw a lot of family while at the viewings. On our way home we stopped at sister Liz and Levi’s for a short visit.

We saw sister-in-law Nancy and some of her children at the viewing. Also Brother Albert, Sarah Irene and some of their children and quite a few cousins. We didn’t get to see sister Leah and Paul, but it was getting late and we had to start for home. We were thankful we had safe traveling and made it back okay.

Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) took his mower down to sister Verena’s house to mow her grass. Daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina went there too so they can visit with Verena. Lovina will stay the night with Verena and go to work from there. Verena was so glad her yard was getting mowed. Joe wants to till her garden so we can plant a few things for her to use. Sister Susan took care of their yard and garden. She is still so greatly missed. God has been a great help and comfort through our recent trials. God bless!

Lovina doubled the recipe for the oven baked omelet featured in this week’s column. Photo provided.

Oven Baked Omelet

8 eggs
1/2 cup milk or half and half cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Add cheese, ham, onion, and green pepper. Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4-6. Substitutions or additional meat and vegetables such as sausage, tomatoes, or mushrooms may be used if desired.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

Easter egg fun with grandchildren

It’s the last day of March. The rain during the night brought colder temperatures this morning. Friday will be Good Friday so everyone will be off work. Sunday is Easter—we give thanks to our dear Savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross so we can be saved from our sins. We have so many blessings. Do we appreciate them enough? It takes daily prayers to be parents to our dear children and grandparents to our dear grandchildren. Do we set enough of a good example for them? It is good we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know in whose hands it is…God. May he keep being our guide into the future.

Yesterday daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Emma and son Steven, niece Emma and children, sister Verena, son Kevin, and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Steven came after school (which they have until noon right now).

Elizabeth cooked 10 dozen eggs for the children to color. Did they ever have a ball with it! A big mess but lots of fun. Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, T.J., 2, Jessica, 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 1, did the egg coloring. Baby Menno (niece Emma’s baby) is eight months, so he didn’t help. T.J. and Jessica liked to smash their egg at first. Allison had her first egg peeled and was coloring the egg without the shell. It was so cute to watch all of them.

Elizabeth made a low-carb bacon cheeseburger casserole for lunch and also had deviled eggs and sliced cheese. Lettuce salad, pretzels and dip, pickles, blueberry pie, cookies, and chocolate pudding were brought in by all of us ladies. Elizabeth is pre-diabetic, so she tries to eat low-carb and no sugar meals. The casserole is low-carb and I asked her for the recipe, so I can share it.

The past few months I have been cooking a lot of low-carb, no sugar meals for Joe and I and the family. I had one slice of bread in two months so that is a change for me. If any readers have good low-carb recipes I would appreciate them. Joe and I both feel better eating like this and it has helped us shed a few pounds which is always good. Most of all though is that it makes us feel better.

I haven’t done too much baking lately, but daughters Susan and Verena brought monster cookies that Verena and Jennifer baked. Sister Verena sent over chocolate chip cookies she made. So, for the ones in the family that still like some sweets, it was nice to have those on hand.

Family members enjoyed getting together and had a ball coloring hard boiled eggs for Easter. Photo provided.

Elizabeth sent colored eggs home with all of us yesterday, so I have some for Easter. I want to go look for dandelion greens to make dandelion salad and dice some of the colored eggs in it (after they are peeled, of course). I love dandelion green salad with bacon or some fresh ham from the freezer.

Joe wants to see if he can dig up a little horseradish root to make fresh horseradish to have with colored eggs on Easter. That’s a tradition we always have, horseradish and colored eggs on Easter.

Tim and Elizabeth have 10 baby chicks and 2 baby ducks in a tote in their house that they bought this week. It was a full-time job for Elizabeth to keep the children away from the chicks. T.J. was riding a sit and scoot toy which has room under the seat. Someone discovered he had the 2 ducks and a few chicks under the seat. They were rescued and put back with the rest. He wanted to give them a ride. Abigail and Jennifer were playing with their dolls when Elizabeth discovered they had snuck 4 baby chicks to play with. Needless to say, Elizabeth will be glad when the chicks are big enough to put in the chicken coop. God’s blessings and a blessed Easter to all.

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces grated cheese
1 teaspoon fresh dill (optional)

Dice the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan and add the ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat, add onion and garlic, and cook a little. Add the cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet and cook over low heat stirring constantly. Spread the beef mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Top with cooked bacon. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk together with the heavy cream until combined. Stir in the pepper and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over the beef and bacon. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

Mourning another loss in the community

The mercury dipped down below zero degrees this morning. Brrr! It is cold outside and even colder with the wind chill. Yesterday we woke up to over ten inches of snow, which cancelled work for everyone.

Daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan were here since Sunday. She brought her laundry, and we both helped each other wash clothes on Monday and hung it all in the basement. Daughter Verena went over to sister Verena’s on Sunday night and stayed there until last night. She then went home with Susan and her children. Sons Joseph, 18, and Kevin, 15, went over to stay the night with sister Verena last night. Joseph isn’t working this week, so it’s easier for him and Kevin to go than daughter Lovina, 16, right now.

Daughter Lovina is waiting for our neighbor lady to pick her up to go to work. They both work at McDonald’s. It is almost 5:30 a.m. She starts at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m.

Today I’ll go to town with sister Verena. After we come back, Joe and I, sister Verena, and daughter Susan will go to the visitation of Ida, 72, a lady who lived a couple miles from here who battled with Alzheimer’s for years. She and her husband Joni have thirteen children, and two of them are our neighbors. She will be laid to rest in the cemetery down the road from us, where son-in-law Mose and sister Susan are buried. In two months’ time, three people will be laid to rest in that new cemetery. Mose was the first to be buried in there. It’s a short walk from our house, so daughter Susan often walks to Mose’s grave when she’s here.

On Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and Tim dropped off Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, on their way to church in another church district, where their nephew was being baptized. Both children love books and were soon cuddled on the recliner with Grandpa Joe, reading books while I made breakfast. Tim and Elizabeth came for supper then and Susan and children were here, too, as well as Loretta and Lovina’s special friends Dustin and Daniel. It’s a comfort to all be together, but Mose is missed so much when we are all together. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan would often leave at the same time and drive behind each other until Mose and Susan would turn off on their road. Tim and Mose did so much together, helping each other out as they lived a few miles from each other. God makes no mistakes, we know, so we need to trust that He has a plan.

On Sunday, Abigail was playing with two dolls and had another doll laying on a small table. She kept walking past it, and I asked what she was doing. She said, “I am acting like my husband died and these are my two children.” Such innocence from sweet little children who can’t quite grasp what happened.

Over ten inches of snow fell this week at the Eicher homestead. Photo provided.

Dustin cleaned our drive out yesterday with his skid loader and also went over to clean out the drive at sister Verena’s house. He pushed a lot of snow. After he was done, he and Joe went to daughter Susan’s house and shoveled her drive out, too, before she left for home.

I made a casserole to take to the visitation tonight. I need to have it heated, ready to eat, and there by 4 p.m. today. I am glad to help out. We had so much help over both funerals. It is a blessing to have all the support of a church, friends, and family at times like those. Our sympathy goes to the family of Ida. Stay healthy and safe. God bless you!

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

3 pounds hamburger
1 cup onion, diced
1 16-ounce package of noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
breadcrumbs

Fry hamburger with onion until meat is browned. Prepare noodles as directed on package and mix with hamburger. Add both soups and sour cream. Top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Variation: Add frozen or canned peas and top with shredded cheese before adding breadcrumbs.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

Thanksgiving preparations at the Eicher homestead

Thanksgiving Day is coming upon us. A great day to spend with family! My sister Emma and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families and sisters Verena and Susan. This year sister Liz and Levi and daughter Suzanne have plans to join us since they will be in the area that day.

We had a surprise visit from Joe’s sister Esther and David and their son David Tyrel, age 4. It was so good to see them again and have a visit with them. David Tyrel is really growing up fast. They live in the Sugarcreek, Ohio, area.

This week I am sharing many recipes for your Thanksgiving celebrations.

This turkey casserole is a great way to use up leftover turkey.

 

Turkey Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups turkey, diced (or chicken)
1 cup shell macaroni, cooked
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1 small onion, diced

Mix mayonnaise and soup together. Add remaining ingredients and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Another recipe I’ll share is the pumpkin roll we always have for Thanksgiving.

 

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs, pumpkin, and sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch cookie sheet that has been greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Flop out the pumpkin cake into the towel when it comes out of oven. Roll up like a jellyroll; let cool completely before filling.

 

Filling:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll cooled cake, then spread with filling and roll up again without towel and refrigerate.

I use this dressing recipe to have with the turkey. It’s a simple, easy dish to add to your menu.

 

Dressing

4 eggs
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery or celery leaves
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups hot water (use potato water, if you have some)
2 tablespoons chicken-flavored soup base
10 slices bread, crumbled

Dissolve soup base in hot water, then add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish or cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I never think we can go without pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day either. Whipped topping or ice cream finishes it off. This recipe is for a 9-inch regular pie plate (not deep dish). If you use a deep-dish plate you will probably need to double the recipe.

 

Pumpkin Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except cinnamon. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees until set. Makes 1 pie.

And to finish off a good meal there is nothing better than some dinner rolls warm from the oven. Mix these up after your turkey and dressing are in the oven and bake them last so they are warm to serve with the Thanksgiving meal.

 

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
4 cups flour

 

Add yeast and sugar to warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir well and let stand in warm place approximately 20 minutes until double in size. Form into 24 egg-sized rolls. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks for all the blessings we receive from our Father in Heaven. May God be with each of you. Let us pray for unity in our nation. Peace to all and God’s blessings!

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

Painting project combines work with family visits

Supper is over with, and I need to start writing this column. We had potato soup, side pork (from our pork we butchered last winter), cheese, and crackers. Daughters Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, aren’t home tonight. Loretta’s friend Dustin’s family is having a belated birthday supper for him, so that is where they are. Lovina is dating Dustin’s brother Daniel, so she’s included too.

The three boys were hungry so at least it makes it worth while to make supper. Daughter Verena helped me make it. I was glad for her help.

I helped paint at Mose and Susan’s house last week Friday and Saturday. The girls brought Jennifer and Ryan (Mose and Susan’s children) here both days so Mose, Susan, and I could keep painting uninterrupted. We painted three coats on the bathroom and bedroom and two coats on the living room. Friday was a drying day and the paint dried fast but Saturday it took longer.

The cabinets are ready to be installed in the kitchen now. It all takes time and money. We are hoping they can be moved in by the end of the month. It really looks nice how they remodeled. They are adding a second bathroom which is good to have.

Saturday while we were painting at Mose and Susan’s house, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and their three children stopped in to look at the progress. They were all still tired from getting home from the wedding in Kentucky at 2 a.m. on Friday. Elizabeth helped us paint while we visited. Not only was the seven hour trip each way exhausting to the parents but the children do not like being in their seats that long. T.J., 22 months, is so energetic that it’s hard for him to be strapped in a seat that long. Abigail, 4, can entertain herself so it’s not so bad for her.

I am going to finish this in the morning so good night to all!

Good morning! It is already 10:30 a.m. and I need to get this column finished.

Daughters Verena and Lovina left to go stay with Elizabeth and Tim’s three little ones while Elizabeth runs some errands. Kevin, 15, is sorting tomatoes and throwing the bad ones away. We picked all our tomatoes (green ones too) and had them on two tables. Some went bad on us. I had always wanted to make juice with them but too much else was going on. Loretta is washing dishes. I want to sew niece Emma’s little girl Jessica a dress to take along tonight. I had it cut out a long time ago and never got it sewed.

Niece Emma is hosting a Pampered Chef party tonight which is actually a belated wedding shower for her sister Elizabeth. The girls and I plan to attend. Emma said the men folks can come after the party to eat supper, so I don’t have to cook for them. I want to have the girls make a dessert to take along.

Monday evening our family helped Dustin with his patio again. It’s close to being done. It started raining so they worked between the rain. Loretta and I made spaghetti and meatballs and garlic toast for everyone that came. Daughter Susan made a cake to bring along and Elizabeth sent apple pie. She stayed home with their girls and T.J. came with Tim.

Lovina hosted her family for the Sunday noon meal, setting the table for a crowd. Photo provided.

Sunday we had fast and prayer day in preparation for communion services. Our family came for the noon meal. We had mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, corn, cheese, dinner rolls, butter, jam, hot peppers, apple slices, fruit dip, brownies, and ice cream. We set the table for all of us. After lunch we played games.

I’ll share my recipe for meatloaf. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Then shape it into two logs in a 9×13-inch pan or two loaf pans. Pack firmly into pan. Mix the sauce together and put on top of meat loaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit five minutes before slicing. Optional: add a little barbecue sauce with the ketchup and mustard mixture.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

Late summer harvest and wedding celebrations 

 Four years ago, on August 5, we were busy hosting daughter Susan and Mose’s wedding. Happy Anniversary Mose and Susan. We wish them many more happy and healthy years together with God as their guide. They have been blessed with two wonderful sweet children, Jennifer, 2 1/2, and Ryan, 12 months. Those two little ones keep Susan busy. She had some anxious moments yesterday when she went out to get the mail and came back and Jennifer had locked her out. Susan said she tried to explain to her how to unlock the door, but Jennifer couldn’t figure it out. Finally, Susan managed to get in through a window. I’m sure she was relieved once she was inside with those two little ones on the loose. Susan said she has learned to never leave for just a minute without a key.

A wagon full of sweet onions from Lovina’s garden.
Photo provided.

Tomorrow is the wedding for niece Laura and Enos in Berne, Indiana. Our driver will be here at 5:30 a.m. then we will pick up sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, their son Benjamin, and his special friend Crystal. I’m not sure if anyone else from their family is going along. Daughter Verena is the only one from our children going as she is a table waiter at the wedding. I was asked to help cook.

Tonight, our church is invited to neighbors Joas and Susan for their annual fish supper. Joas loves to fish and every year they have the church over for a fish supper. I will take a dessert. I’m not sure yet what kind of dessert but the girls will make it. I am still sewing on my dress for the wedding tomorrow. I want to finish it this morning. It has just been so busy lately that it was hard to find time to sew.

Homegrown onions hung up to dry for the months to come.
Photo provided.

Yesterday I told daughter Elizabeth to come over and bring her laundry so we can help her wash it. Her son T.J., 1 1/2, and baby Allison, 7 months, have had ear infections, so they were fussy lately. It can be frustrating for a mother to care for her children and see there is work waiting to be done. How well I remember those times and how much it meant for my mother and sisters to help me out with the work.

Elizabeth’s laundry was folded and ready to put away when she arrived back home. She acted so relaxed to have that job off her list for now, which of course will be back on her list later this week. We know how much laundry three young children can make. Oh, but they are worth every minute of our time. Allison is standing by furniture and crawling all over. She is so petite and it is hard to believe how little but mighty she is. She has bright blue eyes (same as her father) and always such a big smile. Abigail, 3, and T.J. love to play hide and seek with son Kevin. They enjoy when he takes time to entertain them. Kevin spends a lot of time with our border collie dog Buddy, so when Kevin hides from the children Buddy always gives it away because he’ll go to wherever Kevin is.

Kevin, 15, and daughter Lovina, 16, picked the green beans this week. We are also still enjoying sweet corn. Kevin helped me pull the sweet onions and tie them up to dry by the walk out of our basement. We had a very nice crop of sweet onions. They taste so good with no hot flavor at all. I think these are almost the biggest onions we have grown. My husband Joe put plastic down around them this year.

I have new glasses and Joe has glasses for the first time now, too. It is taking him some getting used to bifocals. I don’t like mine, but you need them to read.

God’s blessings to all.

Zucchini Casserole

1 pound ground beef
4 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook zucchini in 2 cups boiling water until tender. Brown beef and onion. Mix all ingredients. Pour into casserole. Dot with butter and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

May showers and tater tot casserole

 Today daughters Verena, 22, Loretta, 19, Lovina, 16, son Kevin, 14, and I went to assist niece Emma in preparing for hosting the next church services. Sister Emma and son Steven, niece Elizabeth, and sisters Verena and Susan were also there helping, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children.

Emma told us all to come for breakfast and she had made a breakfast casserole. Everyone took a dish, so there were four different kinds of cookies, rhubarb pie, watermelon, and cupcakes. Daughter Susan took a tater tot casserole for lunch, so that made the day easier. Their laundry was washed and the living room and kitchen walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were all cleaned.

My grandchildren enjoyed playing with Emma’s 16-month old Jessica’s toys. They all get along, playing together nicely. T.J., 17 months, enjoyed standing outside the chicken fence, watching the chickens.

We finally had a day of sunshine after having rainy weather here in Michigan. I think my husband Joe said we had over six inches of rain this week. The gardens are still too wet to put the plants out. Today it did rain lightly for a little bit, enough to make us run to get Emma’s laundry off the lines. The laundry was mostly dry, so we hung what wasn’t dry yet in the house on clothes racks.

I had the same problem with my laundry on Tuesday when I decided to chance it. It would start raining awhile and then stop, but the wind was strong and dried it fast. My new lines held out really well in the wind. I like laundry days when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining. That is much more relaxing than not knowing when you might need to run to get the clothes in because it has started raining. We cannot control the weather, so I must not complain. Such is life!

One of the first attempts at training son Joseph’s horse, Sugar. Photo provided.

Son Joseph, 17, is out in the field, line-driving his two-year-old horse, Sugar. He is training her, and eventually wants to hitch her to the buggy. It’s always challenging, with a little excitement, when they train a horse. Sugar is doing pretty well. My husband, Joe, has trained most of the horses that we have raised, so he can give Joseph pointers on training. Sugar will be our gift to Joseph in July for his 18th birthday.

Son Benjamin, 20, left tonight to go fishing with friends. Daughter Lovina went to a friend’s house for supper. Verena made potato soup and heated up the grilled meat from last night’s supper for our supper tonight. Of course, we needed cheese and crackers to go with potato soup.

Tomorrow is Ascension Day, so everyone will be home from work. We will fast and have a prayer day in the morning. Our family is all coming for the noon meal.

After lunch, we will have an egg hunt for our grandchildren that we couldn’t have at Easter. As a treat for our children, Joe and I wrapped small gifts in plastic, making a big ball. They will take turns rolling dice until they get a six and can unwrap the ball and keep the gifts that fall out before the next person rolls a six and takes over. This is always exciting to watch, especially when they get closer to the last gift, which is the grand prize.

Friday, May 22, will be birthday number 49 for me! This is my last year in my forties, and then it’s the big 50! I really am getting old! (smile)

I’ll share the recipe for the tater tot casserole that daughter Susan took to niece Emma’s. I wish God’s blessings to each of you! Stay safe and healthy!

 

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pounds tater tots
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Velveeta cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes or Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Fry hamburger with onions and set aside. Put tater tots in bottom of a large casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt, and pepper and pour over tater tots. Top with cheese and fried hamburger with onions. Sprinkle with corn flakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Variation: Lovina’s daughter Susan uses crushed Doritos instead of corn flakes or crackers.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

Spring memories while staying home

As I’m writing this on April 16, I remember that thirty-nine years ago today my oldest sibling, sister Leah, and Paul were joined in holy matrimony. I was in third grade at the time and remember seeing my mother cry as the bishop was uniting Paul and Leah in marriage. I could not understand why she was crying, but of course I now know the feeling of your firstborn getting married, moving out, and starting their own life. It’s not that we do not like to see them getting married, but the changes in life we accept and trust that God plays a role in their marriage.

Another memory I have is of the day after Paul and Leah’s Thursday wedding. It was Good Friday and I remember going out to the mailbox to get the mail. For some odd reason that always reminds me that we still get mail on Good Friday. In our community we have “fast and prayer day” on Good Friday, so it always seems like a Sunday. I want to wish Paul and Leah a Happy 39th Anniversary.

Last night after supper I signed a card for them, to put in today’s mail. I wrote a letter and before I knew it I had several pages written. We don’t often see each other with the 100 plus miles between us. Actually, with this pandemic going on I don’t see any of my siblings. It has been a different spring which I’m sure many people will remember in history. We have all been home three and a half weeks, and it looks like we have another three weeks until the “stay home” order is lifted.

Our church services have been canceled again, so Lord willing we will host Rule Church here on May 3 now.

It has been a challenge trying to keep the house clean with everyone home. And keeping son Kevin, 14, busy with his schoolwork is another challenge. With everyone around he doesn’t like to be seated at the table doing schoolwork. I cannot imagine how much of the day it takes out of mothers that have quite a few in school yet. Daughter Lovina helps Kevin with figuring out problems if he needs help.

We are having cold weather again and the ground was covered with snow for a while yesterday. Hopefully it won’t hurt the flowers and plants that are peeping out in the garden already.

Lovina’s husband Joe gets a head start on planting using a greenhouse, pictured, despite a spring cold snap. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has moved his plants in from the greenhouse. He has them on tables by the window in the dining room, instead of keeping heat in the greenhouse at night, until this cold spell is over.

I hung our laundry outside this week. Although everything dried well, my fingers were cold by the time I finished hanging up the clothes. I’m not used to it anymore, with lines in our heated basement.

I have a little more painting to do in the basement, in my can room, where I keep all my canned jars of food. I need more paint rollers and brushes, but that is shut off in stores now. It’s too bad, since now people would have time to do jobs like that. It would help keep them occupied.

I have had letters from readers asking for information on where they can order my newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. My cookbooks can be ordered online from your favorite bookstore. I am really happy about how the new cookbook turned out. So many of our favorite recipes are in there, such as Breakfast Omelet Roll, which we had Sunday morning for breakfast. We like to top it with sausage gravy.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

 

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30–35 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell paper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

Spring Cleaning and Fresh Breezes

Last week my sisters Verena and Susan did a good job cleaning the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. We like to take the screens out and bring them to the basement to spray off with soap and hot water. The summer dust accumulates on them.

Just before lunch time Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana, drove in. They stayed for lunch and visited with all of us. I want to wish them a happy 50th wedding anniversary on March 14. Not everyone gets to see their 50th anniversary anymore, so I think that’s special!

We also washed laundry that day and with the temperature in the 50’s and the sun shining, we hung everything outside. We washed the curtains from the bedrooms upstairs while the windows were getting cleaned. All the laundry was dry, folded, and put away again, which is a sure sign spring is not too far away. The curtains were ironed and hung back on the sparkling windows.

Along with spring cleaning in preparation for hosting church services, Lovina and daughters did many loads of laundry this week and took advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures to hang it outside to dry. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis

Monday, daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena drove the five miles to the doctor’s office to have 7 1/2-month-old Ryan checked out. He had been running a temperature and was very fussy so Susan stayed home from church with him. The doctor says he had inner ear infection and gave him an antibiotic and ear drops. I had Susan bring her laundry here, and daughter Loretta and I washed it while they were in town. We washed ours too, so we put through quite a few loads of laundry. I hung most of it outside and it dried fast in the wind. It’s always harder to hang clothes on the lines on windy days, but they dry fast.

Wednesdays are usually the day our married daughters Elizabeth and Susan come home for the day along with our five sweet grandchildren. Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan washed off the walls and ceiling in the master bedroom, and also cleaned the windows and furniture. It was relaxing to go to bed last night with our bedroom so refreshed. The master bathroom still needs to be cleaned but that won’t take long for me to do one day.

My other daughters were baking cookies and washing dishes, rocking babies, etc. They made chocolate crinkle cookies. This recipe will be in my new cookbook coming out next month. They also made ranger cookies, which are an oatmeal cookie. They wanted to make outrageous cookies but we were out of chocolate chips. Granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, love when their aunts let them help mix and bake the cookies. Some turned out very small because the little girls were helping, but they enjoyed it. Ryan is back to smiling and chattering and is acting so much better than a few days ago.

I made a list of everything we hope to accomplish in cleaning before we host church services in April. It’s not that we can’t host the services if this doesn’t get done, but I like to set a goal and the list helps to get everything done. How refreshing once the house has a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Plans are for me to do quite a few book signings after my new cookbook is out. I know I will relax much better leaving and knowing my house is cleaned for the summer months ahead. The girls are always happy to mark things off my list. They will also be glad when we are done.

This month 16 years ago my husband Joe and I and our six children made the move here to our home in Michigan from our home in Indiana. Eight weeks later we were blessed with our seventh child, Lovina. She came earlier than expected and I had her by emergency c-section and spent a week in the hospital. Sixteen months later we added another son, Kevin, to our family. Sixteen years went by so fast! Time does not stand still.

I want to get to answering my reader mail today. I am so sorry for the delay in answering but it’s so easy to put off for another day, week, etc. God bless!

 

Chicken ’n Rice Casserole
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 hard-boiled eggs

Mix together all the ingredients and put in a two-quart casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or tortilla chips. 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. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.