One basic white sauce for a variety of recipes and creamy sauces.

This key recipe I learned before the arrival of my precious Betty Crocker cookbook.  White sauce, roux, whatever you call it can be the basis for so many recipes.  My mom taught me how to make macaroni and cheese using this white sauce, which surprisingly takes about the same amount of time as opening a box of Kraft.  Here in germany where the “cream of” variety of condensed soups are not sold, I found I needed to use the white sauce in order to re-create many of my American recipes, like hamburger stroganoff, a chicken and rice casserole and my favorite cheesy potatoes.  I also use this as the basis for my southern gravy and alfredo sauce.

Since I have been cooking-through my cookbook, I find now that it was used in so many recipes during the fifties and that I can even make a short cut to white sauce and keep it on hand in the refrigerator.

This is how I make my white sauce, which also seems to be the same recipe in the cookbook.  Makes sense I guess, since I learned it from my Mom who used this cookbook too when it first came out in the fifties.

Let’s get started.

First, melt the butter over low heat.

Next, blend in the flour and seasonings cooking over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat to stir in milk.  Then bring to a boil for about one minute.  Here, you have to stir constantly.

Sometimes, I switch to using a whisk if there happen to be any lumps in the sauce.  When the sauce is your desired consistency, it is done.

The recipe states for the best flavor to cook for 10 minutes.  I never knew that.  It also states to use a wooden spoon, so next time I will try as Betty suggests.

The measurements for a medium sauce is 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1 cup milk.

For the shortcut to always have the basic roux (butter paste)  on hand says to blend to a smooth paste equal amounts of soft butter and flour.  Keep in jar in the refrigerator.  I will be trying this too, it will save a lot of time for me.  When ready to use, heat to scalding the milk, stock or other liquid and seasonings. Stir constantly until mixture boils for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

I thought it was time to share this method today, as throughout this month I will be trying out a few new recipes that require this white sauce and sharing a few of my own in the near future.

I can’t tell you how many times this basic, simple, little white sauce has saved my dinners!

If you are curious about learning more about this basic white sauce, you can find all the little hints and techniques in the sauces section of the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.



A new casserole idea- asparagus, turkey, bacon & hollandaise sauce

We are well into our asparagus season here as you may know, if you read my “Not your mothers asparagus” post.  I love finding new ways to cook  seasonal vegetables other than serving them as a steamed or sautéed side dish, not that there is anything wrong with those.

I do have to give my husband credit for finding this new recipe in the paper.  It did not have exact measurements, just the ingredients and cooking temperature, that’s all.

So, kicking into creative cooking gear, I put on my apron and took a stab at making this casserole.

Here are my ingredients:  Turkey schnitzel, white asparagus tips, bacon, and hollandaise sauce and some water for half way through the cooking.

I put the turkey in the bottom and I did spray the dish first with a little vegetable oil, peeled the asparagus of course and wrapped them in the bacon strips.

Next, I added the hollandaise sauce.

I then baked it in a 180 C degree oven (or 350 F) for half an hour. At that point,  I added about 1/3 cup water over the top, covered it in foil and baked 20 more minutes.

I served it up with some rosemary baked little potatoes and you know what?

It was absolutely delicious!  The turkey tender, bacon crisp and asparagus very tender.

We decided to add this recipe to my growing card file of recipes.

It is so nice when a recipe actually turns out not only edible but tasty too!


My first recipe in the Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge! (Fancy Chicken Salad)

I am thrilled to share my first recipe in Mary’s Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge!  If you aren’t quite sure what I am talking about, you can read all about it here.  Basically, she choose’s a category each month and we have to cook or bake recipes from that category for the entire month.  The amount we choose to make is up to the participant.  I plan on sharing a recipe weekly.  Oh, I almost forgot!   The category for this month is Salads &  Salad Dressings. I knew you would want to know!

To refresh your memory, I chose to cook from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (1950).

As soon as I found out what the category was, I started reading the section on salads.  Did you know there is even “Salad Etiquette” according to Mrs. Crocker?  Who would have known!  I will share many of the extras I have been learning throughout May as well.

Okay, enough chatter!   On to the recipe I chose to cook today.  From page 316 of the cookbook, Chicken Salad.  Also considered “An All-American favorite.”

I absolutely love chicken salad in the summer but never made it from a recipe before.  So let’s get started… it seems easy enough.

My ingredients, ready to mix.

Next, I decided to be as authentic as I could to serving the chicken salad as the recipe suggests.

Yes, I actually served this for my husbands lunch!  He loved it by the way.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about making the tomato flower but it worked and I even had fun “playing with food” creating a nice presentation.

Here is a closer look at the chicken salad.

Keep or Toss?  Definitely a keeper.  I’ll be adding this recipe for chicken salad to my regulars, although, I can’t say I will display as such every time.

My Thoughts?  I think this would be a great recipe to serve at a ladies luncheon in the summertime.  You can make it up a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

See you next week with a new recipe from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Anyone can join the cooking-through challenge!  You don’t have to have a blog, you can follow along at home.  Please feel free to link your recipe or share your cooking experience in the comments and don’t forget to head over to see what Mary is up to, the original source for this fun challenge!

If you would like, you can also follow along on Twitter @Happily_Mrs #chaoticcookthrough.







A Quick Dessert – Chocolate Chip Honey Squares

I really do bake every week.  First of all, I find it quite relaxing, the  measuring of ingredients, mixing and creating something that smells and tastes delicious.  (If all goes as planned.)  I have learned discipline and can actually just eat one of something.  This is a newly learned trait though.  My husband likes to have cakes or cookies in the house and enjoys dessert most evenings.  Extras, I give away.

So at the beginning of the week I always make sure to bake something.  Sometimes, by the end of the week, the cookie jar or cake plate has barely a crumb left so I find myself looking at the ingredients I have on hand and finding or making up something to bake.

That is a long introduction to this recipe, which I found in my Fantastic Fifties cookbook.

It was a first time for making this recipe and I must admit, I was a bit leary at the thick consistency which looked like this.

Of course it wasn’t until after I popped the pan in the oven that I realized I had used a thick type of honey.  I will try these again using normal honey and see if there is a difference.

All in all they came out very delicious!

The recipe called for nuts, but I didn’t have any.  Also, since it was just a small recipe, it was the perfect amount. Oh, and if you are wondering, if I actually sift my flour? If a recipe calls for it I do.  (I will be talking about this topic in a future post even.)

To make Chocolate-Chip Honey Squares, here is what you will need.

  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

The Directions:  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together.  Combine honey and egg; mix well.  Add butter, chocolate, nuts and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add sifted ingredients and beat thoroughly.  Turn into greased 8″x 8″ pan.  Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 30-45 minutes.  Cut into squares.

Serving size:  about 24

Recipe from: The Fantastic Fifties Cookbook (1,000 classic recipes by Mary Margaret McBride)

To print this recipe, click the link:  Chocolate-Chip Honey Squares


Asparagus, Basil & Parmesan Pasta (not your mothers asparagus)

Before I get to the pasta dish at hand I must share a very short story.  I hate asparagus.  Plain and simple.  The end.

I have memories of that side dish served up at dinner which looked like sad little wilted trees and  tasted like them too.  Not that I ever have eaten wilted trees.  I never tried it again until….of course you knew I would say, “until moving to Germany”.

Now for the updated version of that very short story.  Every spring, one of the local farmers has a little stand across the street from my house.  (how convenient is that?) When I learned he only sold fresh picked asparagus and strawberries, well,  I gagged.  Two things I do not eat.  My husband promised me that I would like it.

I told him my story (above) about what I thought about this vegetable and he said he, never ate it like that.  For my first introduction to the vegetable I only previous knew as “wilted tress”, he cooked white asparagus by boiling and adding sugar and butter to the water.  Served it up with boiled potatoes, rolled ham cold cuts and hollandaise sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  I was so ready to make my standard “eww face” with the first bite, but found I did not need to.  I genuinely enjoyed that meal.

Since that first meal of asparagus, I have found many different recipes for this new-found (to me) veggie that I really do like in springtime.  White or green, it doesn’t matter.

Here is my favorite way to eat asparagus.  I mean… isn’t everything better with pasta anyways?

Asparagus, Basil & Parmesan Pasta Recipe

250 grams white asparagus

250 grams green asparagus

300 grams spaghetti noodles

80 grams fresh grated parmesan cheese

a few of springs fresh basil

sea salt

fresh black pepper

Directions: Peel asparagus and cut into thirds. Make sure to cut off the tough ends. In lightly boiling saltwater, blanch then plunge into cold water.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

In a frying pan, melt butter then add the asparagus. Saute about 2 minutes. Then add the pasta, salt and pepper to taste and toss through about 2 more minutes.

Plate and top each serving with a good amount of parmesan and basil.

My wine recommendation (if you will) is a nice chilled, dry Riesling.


Click here to print this recipe.   Asparagus basil and parmesan pasta



Joining the Chaotic Cooking Challenge – Cookbook Pick

I am guessing many have seen the movie Julie & Julia?  Yes, it is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Possibly because I adore Julia Childs.  If you have not seen it, basically it as about a woman named Julie who blogs her way through Julia’s cookbook, Mastering the art of french cooking, recipe by recipe.  This movie is what I thought of when I read the words cook-through challenge.

Just recently, I was reading a blog, Mary’s Chaotic White Space , and she thought about doing a “cook-through” one of her cookbooks and opening it up to all.  What a great idea and I can’t believe I never thought about doing this on my own before!


What it entails, is the first day of every month, she will provide a category in a blog post, “then challenge each of the participants who are following along to look through their book for recipes which could be included in that particular category and choose the ones to make in their own kitchen.” I should mention before hand, we are to pick the book we are choosing to cook through.

I have very difficultly picked my book.  It was not easy as I treasure all my cookbooks, in fact I have gone back or forth between using my mother-in-laws vintage german cookbook.  That would be a great challenge as it is vintage and written in german but I have a hard enough time reading modern-day german still.  It is something I want to do at my own leisurely pace so I decided to go with a newer book of mine although not a new book by any means.

I had been obsessed with the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook for years.  It was only the end of last year when my husband tracked it down for me in England of all places.

As my favorite decades are the 1940’s & 1950’s, I  am excited to choose this book for my cook-through.  Along with the challenge of the cook-through, will be the challenge of finding like ingredients, if needed, here in Germany.  Although, I have been doing that for the past 6 years so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing or just following along with, please join us.  Go to Mary’s awesome blog and join in the challenge!  I am looking forward to seeing what cookbooks others choose and the recipes they pick and their experiences.

On the first day of every month I will tweet the category chosen by Mary, using #chaoticcookthrough  and then share my pick and my experiences in making the recipe, the following weeks Friday,  here on my blog.

If this sounds like something you would like to participate in or just want to enjoy reading about others’ cook-through experiences, head over to Mary’s blog so you don’t miss any updates.

Also be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss my chosen recipes for this cook-through challenge.

I hope you will join us.  I wonder what the first category will be?




How do you keep your recipes?

I have been having a bit of a recipe assembling crisis lately and wonder if there a secret formula that works for storing your recipes and being able to actually find them at a moments notice.  I have always kept my written recipes in a box that I purchased many years ago.  It has always worked, kinda….  not only did it contain recipe cards, but it also became a storage place for the tooth fairy’s treasures, rubber bands, paper clips, old shopping lists and the occasional box top.  In fact, the lid would not close all the way and I could never find the recipe I was searching for.  I guess that defeats the sole purpose of the recipe box.

I tried to go the binder route, but never completed it.  I thought that having all my recipes in a binder would be a good idea.  That way when I travel back to the States, I could throw them in my carry-on bag.  I do enjoy cooking in my moms kitchen.  Its I great concept, but it seems a bit bulky.

As I am no longer in the “tooth fairy” season of life it is time to at least clean out my box and change it up to actually assist me in my meal planning.

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how they store their recipes.  I recently visited pinterest to see if I could find that perfect secret formula for storing my recipes.  There are so many wonderful ideas out there.

As I am still on the fence about which way to go with my recipe storage, I would be only too happy to have some input from you.  How do you store your recipes and does that system work well for you?


**All images from Pinterest



White chocolate pecan cookies; truly decadent

010I have discovered a most decadent cookie.  Luxuriously, self-indulgent truly describes it.  I am happy to say that the discovery of adding pecans to this recipe was purely by accident.  This original german recipe called for pine nuts and I have made it true to that before and it is good.  Pine nuts have just been a bit too expensive lately but I really like that cookie.  I looked at the nuts I had on hand and decided to substitute the pecans instead.  I am so glad the pine nuts were too pricey!

Too make a long story short…. let’s get baking!

Here are the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

pecans, white chocolate, all-purpose flour, sugar, egg, butter, salt, baking soda

First chop the chocolate into small chunks and set aside.


Next, break or chop up your pecans into smaller pieces.


Brown slightly in a pan.  Keep stirring them over medium heat because they will burn easily. Then also set aside.


In a bowl combine your butter and sugar and mix until creamy.


Then beat in the egg.

Now, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.


It will become quite a thick consistency.

Stir in with a spoon the pecans and chocolate.


It should look like this.


Roll into balls about the size of a teaspoon and a half.  The dough is quite sticky.

Bake in a 300 degree (150 Celsius) pre-heated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.

Then cool on parchment paper.


Now the fun part, enjoy!

You can click on this link,  whitechocolate-pecan-cookies to find this recipe in Imperial and Metric measurements.