Category Archives: Casseroles

Cherishing Time and Memories of Loved Ones

It’s 5 a.m., and the temperature is 39 degrees. Yesterday we had a cold, rainy autumn day. We also had a few snow flurries and a little ice this week. Old Man Winter is just around the corner, it seems. Our tomato and pepper plants still didn’t get a killing frost, so we are still harvesting what’s left of them. Hopefully, there will be a nice day soon so we can clear out the beds and prep them for the winter. I really like having the raised beds this year and think we will appreciate them in years to come.

My husband Joe and son Joseph, 20, both left for work already. Son Benjamin, 23, is out in the barn harnessing our horse Midnight for me before he leaves for work. Daughter Loretta and I plan to attend the Pampered Chef shower niece Emma is hosting for Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s wife). This will be held at niece Emma’s house. Loretta and baby Denzel, three months, are here already. Dustin came over with them before he left for work. Now they are both asleep on the recliner. Denzel loves to cuddle up to his mama. He smiles a lot in his sleep. Such a precious little angel!

The Pampered Chef shower is at 10 a.m. then lunch will be served afterward. It’s a nice time to visit with friends and family. The shower helps a young bride fill her kitchen.

One afternoon last week, granddaughters Abigail, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn came here from school and spent the night here. They left for school again the next morning. We had so much fun with them. Daughter Verena came home for the night as well and helped entertain the little girls. They colored, listened to someone read books, put puzzles together, and played with play dough. We made fried chicken and french fries for supper and had ice cream cones for dessert. Their evening was full, and they were tired little girls when bedtime came around. They slept with Verena in her bedroom she still has here. The next morning, they were all cheerful and willing to get dressed for school. Their little goodbye hugs and saying “Bye, Grandma—I love you” made my day.

Saturday, the family gathering was well attended at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. My parents have 42 living grandchildren. Nieces Mary (daughter of Paul and sister Leah) and Marilyn (daughter of sister Emma and Jacob) both died at a young age. Mary was five, and Marilyn was eight and a half months. Out of the 42 grandchildren, only four couldn’t make it. It was a good turnout!

Alberts had grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, and green beans for the hot food. Then there were different kinds of salads, desserts, cakes, fruit pies, and more by everyone else. There is more than enough food by the time everyone brings something. I made three chocolate pies, a big bowl of taco salad, a pudding, and fruit mixed with fruit dip using eight ounces of cream cheese, eight ounces of whipped topping, a cup of powdered sugar, and two teaspoons of vanilla. Then after that is all mixed well, I add grapes, pineapple chunks, and apple slices.

Everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we all left for home. It was good to see everyone again, but our loved ones that passed were greatly missed. Rest in peace, dear parents, brother Amos, sister Susan, brother-in-law Jacob, son-in-law Mose, and nieces Mary and Marilyn. You will always be remembered, and we have many memories of you.

We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Casserole
12 slices bread
2–3 cups cooked and diced chicken
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
salt and pepper
8 ounces shredded or sliced cheese, desired variety
1 can cream of chicken soup, diluted according to instructions on the can
cracker or cornflake crumbs

Arrange bread slices in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Cover with chicken. Mix chicken broth, milk, eggs, butter, salt, and pepper. Pour over the chicken. Add a layer of cheese on top, then pour one can of diluted cream of chicken soup on top of the cheese. Top with cracker or cornflake crumbs. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes till bubbly. It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated if needed.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating More Summer Birthdays & Anniversaries

On July 15 our family all gathered here for supper in honor of our 29th anniversary. (July 15 is also brother Albert’s 58th birthday.) A delicious supper was made on the grill, including banana poppers, wings, and chicken. Daughter Liz and Tim brought a nice, decorated cake. Abigail, 5, was so excited to give us a big helium balloon with “Happy Anniversary” written on it. Susan’s friend Ervin was here, but his children Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis were spending a few days with his wife Sarah’s parents. I am so glad they can still have that relationship with their grandchildren and still spend time with them. It can’t be easy to lose a son or daughter.

This week, Lovina and family celebrated her 29th wedding anniversary, along with other family birthdays. Photo provided.

July 19 was sister Emma’s 49th birthday—her first birthday without her dear husband by her side. She needs our prayers. Friday in two weeks will be her son’s wedding, and she won’t have Jacob by her side for that. Memories are all that is left!

On Friday evening, daughter Susan will host Mose’s family for a family night supper. That will also be different without Mose there. I am so glad that she still has a relationship with his family and that Jennifer and Ryan get to see their grandparents. It means a lot if family accepts change and will support it. They all need our prayers.

On Monday, July 18, I had a voicemail from Aunt Lovina, who lives in Ohio. She wanted to let me know that she is thinking of us on my mother’s 86th birthday. Lovina is a sister to my mom. I want to call Lovina back today, as it is her 83rd birthday if I remember correctly. It was nice to hear her voice again. We have many precious memories of times spent with her family.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s brother Benjamin, Miriam, and family from Ohio. It was nice to visit with them. Their children are growing up so fast. Time certainly does not stand still.

Daughter Verena is back home from her Colorado trip. She is staying a few nights with daughter Elizabeth. Son-in-law Tim had the chance to go fishing in New York with his co-workers at the sawmill. It is an expense-paid trip. Grandson T.J. was going to go along but ended up being sick so granddaughter Abigail went instead. They left Sunday afternoon and will start home Wednesday morning. One night when Tim called home, Abigail said, “Mom, I’m catching more fish than Daddy!” I am sure she will have plenty to talk about when she gets home.

Elizabeth, T.J., Allison, and Andrea spent the night here Sunday. Monday morning I made breakfast burritos. Elizabeth and children and I walked over to Dustin and Loretta’s house before she headed home. I took some burritos to Loretta and Lovina for their breakfast. Daughter Lovina is still assisting Loretta with her housework. Of course we had to hold sweet little Denzel. He is doing great. He had a checkup on Monday at the pediatrician and everything seemed to be well.

Yesterday daughter Verena spent a few hours at Dustin and Loretta’s to see Denzel since she hadn’t seen him since he was one day old. I walked over to visit with Verena since I hadn’t seen her since she was back from Colorado.

I will share a recipe this week for Zucchini Egg Bake. It was our supper last night and I used hamburger. I think adding sausage instead would make a good breakfast dish. Everyone loved it, so I’m sure we will have it again with all the zucchini we are getting from our garden. Until next week. God bless!

Zucchini Egg Bake
4 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
1 pound hamburger or sausage, browned and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
seasonings to taste
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix everything but the cheese and put in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Add cheese and bake a few additional minutes to melt cheese.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daugher Lovina’s 18th Birthday & Hosting Church

Today—May 18—is daughter Lovina’s 18th birthday. Lovina was born soon after we moved to Michigan. It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years. She has grown into a lovely young lady with a great sense of humor. Her special friend Daniel is an important part of her life and she has enjoyed his friendship for almost two years. He is a kind, loving young man.

A beautiful cake to celebrate daughter Lovina’s 18th birthday! Photo provided.

Our family plans to come home tonight in honor of Lovina’s birthday. Lovina is baking a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (her favorite). She also requested that she would like “rare beef” on the menu (also her favorite). So now I need to make something that goes well with that.

 

I plan to make the rare beef outside on the porch, on the side burner of my new gas grill. My husband Joe bought me a gas grill for Mother’s Day. I love to cook outside on the porch on hot summer nights. I love it! Last night we cooked asparagus in butter on the grill.

Sunday church services were hosted here. We set a total of eight tables for everyone to eat. Our menu was homemade wheat and white bread, egg salad, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, rhubarb and grape jam, coffee, tea, chocolate crinkles, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies.

While the women washed dishes, popcorn was passed out to everyone. All the bread, cookies, and popcorn are made by the ladies in our church. We take turns furnishing it for each other’s church services.

The eggs for the egg salad were donated to us from daughter Elizabeth and Tim, daughter Susan, and daughter Loretta and Dustin.

On Saturday we cooked 20 dozen eggs, then peeled and chopped them. Also, 24 packs of hot dogs were chopped. Joe sliced 2 horns of Colby cheese with the slicer. The peanut butter mixture—peanut butter, marshmallow crème, and corn syrup—was also mixed.

Those assisting us with our work on Saturday were Dustin and Loretta, Sister Verena, Daniel and Grace (Lovina and Joseph’s special friends), and daughter Verena. Their help was greatly appreciated! Hash brown casseroles were also made, so they were done and ready to heat for supper Sunday evening. Grilled hamburgers, macaroni salad, and a variety of desserts were also on the menu for Sunday supper. The salad and desserts were brought in by family.

The benches were set up in our pole barn to hold the service and meals. With a kitchen area and bathroom out there, it makes it easier.

I still do not have any garden planted. I’m hoping we can do that this week, but it looks like rain today. We are enjoying asparagus and rhubarb.

Dustin and Loretta are remodeling their house—taking out a wall and rearranging her kitchen, and also putting in other kitchen cabinets and making it more handicap accessible for her. It is really looking good and will be so much more space for her. They can still sleep at their house, but they come here for their meals since her kitchen is not usable for now.

Dustin mowed sister Verena’s yard one night this week. No one had mowed it yet this year and it was very high. With all that was going on at his house and helping us, he couldn’t get to it sooner.

I’ll sign off wishing everyone God’s richest blessings as we travel into the unknown future.

Hash Brown Casserole
2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes
1/2 cup melted butter
Seasoning of your choice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated cheese
1 pound smoked sausage, chopped

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Potatoes should be thawed (unless preparing a day ahead). Pour into greased casserole dish and 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. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Spring Cleaning and Tending to the Garden

We are into the first week of May. The grass is growing fast with all the rain April brought us. We need to buy a new mower. Ours last year was getting repaired constantly. I couldn’t believe what new ones are selling for now. It seems like one thing or another is giving up or needing to be repaired. It’s a part of life!

Asparagus is popping through the ground. The rhubarb plants look really nice, and spearmint and peppermint tea plants are coming up along with the weeds (already). Those who have winter onions are enjoying those. I would like to get some started again. I haven’t planted any garden yet, but we have our soil to put in the raised garden beds that Joe and the boys already built. Joe did plant some potatoes last night. He’s trying a different way of planting, so time will tell if it works.

We are mostly busy preparing for hosting church services here next time.

Yesterday I had a lot of help, and a lot was accomplished. Those assisting us with work were sisters Verena and Emma; nieces Elizabeth, Emma, and her children Jessica and Menno; daughter Elizabeth and children T.J., Allison, and Andrea; daughter Susan and Jennifer and Ryan; daughters Verena and Loretta; then after work, sons-in-law Tim and Dustin. Son Joseph came back home from his construction job as it was raining all day, so they couldn’t work.

Son Benjamin is in Traverse City, Michigan, working on a house all week. He will be back Friday evening. Traverse City is around four hours from here. I always wanted to go there for a book signing and meet the many readers from that area.

Granddaughter Abigail came off the bus here from school. She is excited that they will be going on a field trip to the zoo. Her daddy (Tim) will go with her class to help and be with her. Elizabeth couldn’t go as she breastfeeds Andrea and couldn’t take her along. It was so cute how excited Abigail was when Tim told her that he got to take off from work to go with her but that she needed to be a big helper and pick up toys. She was picking up the toys here too.

We had communion services Sunday at our neighbor’s house. Abigail was sitting between me and sister Emma while we were having communion. All the members stay standing while the children that aren’t members sit back down. When Abigail watched Emma and I get some bread and wine but not her, she told us, “That’s okay if the children don’t get any. We aren’t hungry or thirsty anyways.” She didn’t understand why only the adults got some. Then when we were washing feet, she commented to me that she washed her feet before she came so hers aren’t dirty, and she doesn’t need them washed. Such innocent little angels! I can see her growing up, even more so since she goes to school.

I made a breakfast casserole for yesterday morning, and everyone came for breakfast. Niece Emma brought a tater tot casserole for lunch. Desserts and snacks were brought in, so meals were easy. There were enough leftovers for supper as well.

The basement was thoroughly cleaned. The can room, the bathroom down there as well as the windows.

Sister Verena has been staying here a few days. She made a potato casserole to bring along when she came Monday night. It helps when we don’t have to take time to prepare meals.

Dustin and Tim were helping with jobs that needed to be done around here. They were here Saturday helping too. Joseph was cleaning out the barn. Appreciated everyone’s help. Today, daughters Verena and Susan and children and Verena’s friend Laura are coming to help.

Until next week … God bless!

 

Spaghetti Pie
6 ounces spaghetti (3 cups cooked)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs (beaten well)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 pint spaghetti sauce or more as desired
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain, stir the butter in hot spaghetti, and stir in parmesan cheese and eggs. Form mixture into crust in a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Spread cottage cheese over the bottom of the spaghetti crust. Cook ground beef, onion, and green pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are soft. Drain off fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Heat through. Turn meat mixture into crust. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Caring for each other when family members are ill

The menfolk just left for work so I decided to write this column while all is quiet. Dustin and daughter Loretta and daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. Loretta wasn’t feeling the best last night, so they decided to stay. I’ll try to be a nurse to her.

Jennifer and Ryan are also sick, so they have been here the last two nights and we are helping Susan with them. Ryan gave them quite a scare when his temperature went up to high causing him to have a febrile seizure. Our friend Jodi took Susan and Ryan to the ER to see what’s going on. He tested negative for covid and the flu so they think it’s a virus of some sort. His temperature had spiked to 107 degrees and made him a sick little boy. Being here with Grandpa Joe makes him feel good. Susan brought her laundry, bedding, etc. over here and we washed it all yesterday and it’s drying in our basement. She went home a few hours and cleaned her house while we took care of the children.

Verena went to help daughter Elizabeth yesterday as she’s sick too. Their whole family was sick, but Elizabeth is having a harder time getting over it. I will be glad once everyone is feeling well again! I told Elizabeth I’d wash her laundry, but Tim washed it for her one night. It’s hard when the mother gets sick as it seems everyone depends on them.

Jennifer’s fourth birthday is Saturday, January 15th, but Susan might postpone her birthday party until everyone is well again. When the little ones are sick Susan misses the support of her husband Mose. He was always good at “doctoring” the children. Daughter Verena helps out a lot and set her alarm every hour to check on Ryan during the night. He was laying in her arms when he had the seizure and it really scared her.

Joe and I attended the Christmas supper at the metal shop where he works on January 5th. It was nice to see everyone that traveled together to Outer Banks in August. We were served a good supper, entertained by Juggler Yoder from Goshen, Indiana, and then played games afterwards. Juggler Yoder is a very good juggler and if you are looking for clean, fun family entertainment he is it. He kept the crowd laughing and his stories of how God changed his life were interesting.

Lovina’s view of a Michigan sunset is a good reminder of the master artist and creator we have. Photo provided.

Of course, Andrew from the metal shop came up with another game to get us laughing. We stood in a circle, alternating men and women. One woman was given a pillow, as was a man across the circle from her. The women had to pass the pillow around the circle to each other, while the men passed theirs trying to catch up with our pillow. This got to be very exciting!

Our thoughts and prayers are still with the people that were affected by the tornado in Kentucky. Several van loads of volunteers have been going from our community to assist wherever needed. I can’t imagine how they must feel. Losing loved ones isn’t easy and then to also lose all your belongings as well. God makes no mistakes, so we trust that He has a plan. God’s blessings to all!

 

Vegetable Bake Up

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can mushroom soup

Combine the first four ingredients, and sprinkle in a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until browned. Combine the vegetables and soup; spoon in a 1-quart dish and top with baked oat mixture. Bake casserole for 25 minutes, until heated through.

 

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.

Daughter Lovina takes a turn at writing

Dear readers,

I’m Lovina’s youngest daughter (also Lovina). I feel very privileged to share the same name as my mom. I’m proud of how far she has come in life and hope to maybe write a newspaper column someday like she does.

It’s a lot different being the only girl living at home right now. I like to label myself as “Manager of the House” because I do my duty of keeping the boys in line. I even check their rooms to make sure they’re clean.

The other night I was cleaning brother Ben’s room and saw that he had water bottles stuck in between the window and the screen. I couldn’t understand what they were doing there, but he later explained that he gets thirsty through the night and sticking the water bottles outside the window keeps them cold in the wintertime.

When I get thirsty at night, I just walk to the fridge and grab my water bottle, but he decided to “work smarter not harder.” At the end of the day, I got a good laugh and he got a clean room. On the bright side, I have other personality traits other than being a “bossy” sister.

I do miss having sisters here at home, but I’m just thankful that all four of my sisters are alive and healthy. I also learned that if I ask really, really, nicely brothers do help with dishes.

I look forward to decorating Christmas cookies, and I definitely look forward to eating them! Christmas is my favorite holiday and not because we all get gifts, but because of what it stands for.

Mom won’t be home in time to make supper, so she left me with doing the honors. I considered asking her if peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will work but figured my three brothers and dad would protest against that. So instead, I decided to make Barry Salt Casserole. It is one of my favorites and also very easy!

There is a story behind the name of this casserole: Barry Salt was a man that sold stainless steel cookware sets to the Amish families back when my mom was a young girl. Mom’s sister Leah and a cousin of Mom’s would go along when Barry would make supper for the families to show how to use the waterless (no cooking liquid required) cookware. He would make this casserole in a skillet, and it became a favorite of my mom’s family—which was then nicknamed “Barry Salt Casserole.” Leah and her cousin would help wash the dishes for him after supper.

Today has been exactly a year since my sister’s husband Mose passed away. We miss him every day. It’s been a long, lonely year for Susan. Mose was a great husband to her and an amazing father to their kids.

Mom wanted to do something special for Susan, so she took Susan and the kids out to eat. My sister Verena also accompanied them. Jennifer and Ryan have gotten very attached to her since she moved in with Susan.

The other day Mom and I went Christmas shopping. I think she was doing some shopping for me to because when I showed a special interest in something, it magically ended up in the cart.

When I asked her who she bought it for she said, “Probably Kevin.” Although she sounded very convincing, I doubt Kevin started taking a sudden interest in women’s sweaters!

It’s hard to believe that this year is coming to an end. Life goes so fast, and if this year taught me anything, it is that we might not have our loved ones as long as we want.

So, I’d just like to mention that I’m so thankful for my family and friends. I’m also very thankful special friend Daniel is a big part of my life.

Merry Christmas to all! God bless!

 

Simple, but delicious, this casserole is nicknamed Barry Salt Casserole and has a fun story to go with it.

Barry Salt Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, diced
6-8 potatoes, shredded
2 (10.5 ounce) cans of cream of mushroom soup
cheese of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

Press the ground beef on bottom of skillet, spread the onion on top of the meat, then spread the shredded potatoes over that and use seasoning to your taste. Spread the cream of mushroom over all. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Put slices of cheese on top and cover to let cheese melt.

 

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.

A Bridal Shower and Chicken Club Brunch Ring

This column will wrap up my writing for October already. Daughter Loretta and Dustin have been married a month on Monday. Where does the time go? Do we take enough time out of our busy lives to thank God for all the blessings we have? When our lives don’t go as we expect, it is so easy to give up. We need to take one day at a time and remember that God will help us through the hard trials.

Last week sister Emma and I spent a day with sister Verena. We washed off her bedroom walls, ceiling, window, and furniture. We emptied sister Susan’s desk and dresser and packed some of her clothes in totes for now. This was a hard job to do. It makes it so final. Susan collected a lot of things through the years, so we have lots more to sort through. But we made a start at least. The physical work wasn’t what was hard. It was the going through a loved one’s belongings and knowing they won’t need them anymore. It made me think that the only thing I can take with me one day are my children. Let us spend time with our family while we still have each other.

Sunday evening we had supper at niece Emma and Menno’s house. They served a good supper of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, deep fried mushrooms, potato salad, desserts and more I am probably forgetting. Those enjoying the supper were Joe and me, and sons Benjamin, Joseph (and special friend Grace), and Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), daughter Loretta and Dustin, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Verena, sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin (and special friend Crystal), and Steven, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. The three special loved ones that were usually with all of us were dearly missed. We played board games after supper. It was a rainy evening and cold outside so it was nice to be indoors.

Yesterday daughter Verena hosted a Pampered Chef bridal shower for daughter Loretta which was held here. It was a very good turnout, and Loretta was able to choose lots of free items for her kitchen. The consultant made a chicken club ring and chicken salad. I made a tater tot casserole and potato salad. My daughters and sister and her daughters all brought desserts and snacks, so we had a nice meal to enjoy after the party.

Sister Verena had been staying with us since Sunday. She went home with sister Emma. Emma had supper brought in last night from our bishop, ministers, and deacon and their families. She wanted us to come, but it is not so easy to leave since we don’t have our buggy. The boys use our other buggy, and Benjamin has one he bought. We need to go look for another one since ours was demolished in the storm in August. We do have an old buggy here that they use to train horses, but the door doesn’t shut on one side and with the cold weather it’s not fun to ride in. To think Joe and I both grew up with open buggies. I think we are spoiled now.

Today daughter Elizabeth goes on a field trip with granddaughter Abigail’s class to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and pet farm. Daughters Susan and Verena will have her other two children T.J. and Allison at their house for the day. Abigail is so excited to have her mother come to school with her.

Saturday we travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend my family gathering at sister-in-law Nancy’s house. It is right on brother Amos’s 60th birthday. He will be greatly missed as will all the other loved ones that have gone on before us. God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Club Brunch Ring

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1 pound bacon slices, crisply cooked and chopped
2 (8-ounce packages) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper
2 cups lettuce, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and onion; mix well. In another bowl, put in flaked chicken, bacon, 3/4 cup cheese and 1/3 cup of mayonnaise mixture; mix well. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13-inch round baking stone (or other round pan) with wide ends of triangles overlapping in the center and points toward the outside. There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center of stone. Using a medium scoop, divide the chicken mixture evenly onto the widest end of each triangle. Bring the outside points of the triangles up over filling and tuck under the wide ends of dough at center of ring. The filling will not be completely covered. Cut tomato slices in half and place a tomato half over the filling in between the openings of the ring. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven immediately and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cut top of bell pepper off. Remove membranes and seeds. Fill bottom part of pepper with the remaining mayonnaise mixture and place in center of ring. Arrange lettuce around pepper. Slice and 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 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.

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.