Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Story of Rosie's Book Cover

Cover photo by Rob Resetar
I don't know who said not to judge a book by it's cover, but as a book publisher, I must respectfully disagree. A successful book needs a compelling cover.

During World War II, the U.S. government produced hundreds of posters to help keep up morale at home. They depicted everything from rationing to scrap drives to civil defense. All are in the public domain, and I included a number of them in Rosie's Riveting Recipes. I also chose this one for the cover of my original WW2 ration cookbook, Anna's Kitchen, as it illustrated food rationing perfectly. 

As must as I love this poster, I wanted Rosie's Riveting Recipes to have a different look. Now we've all seen the famous, "We Can Do It," poster. It's a wonderful piece of art, but it's been used so much that it's become a cliche. I choose a different poster, and the following was the original cover art.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't quite right. Thankfully, I live in Tuscon, Arizona, home of the Pima Air and Space Museum. My good friend, Rob Resetar, needed to shoot some photos to include in the Rosie's Recipes book trailer he was working on. Another friend, Sheryl Ann McKinley, had played Rosie in the video, so the three of us met at the museum and Rob shot photos of Sheryl Ann in front of a few WW2 era airplanes. He also needed a copy of the book cover, so I emailed the above cover to him after the photo shoot. Rob didn't think the cover was right either. His response was, "Let's use one my photos for the cover." The result is what you see today. A unique image that illustrates the story perfectly.

Thank goodness for caring friends, and kudos to Rob and Sheryl Ann. It takes a team to produce a book, and I'm grateful to both for their help.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

© Can Stock Photo / roxanabalint
My mother gave me this recipe many years ago. It was one she acquired after my father retired and they joined an Airstream Club. Potluck dinners were a common practice at their rallies, and this recipe soon became a family favorite as well. Over the years I too have taken it to many a potluck. It's always gone over well, and sometimes I'll fix it at home just because I like it. It's quick, easy to prepare and delicious.


   4 to 6 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped*
   1 bag restaurant style tortilla chips
   1 small can diced green chilies
   1  cup corn
   1 15 oz. can of black beans
   2 cans cream of chicken soup
   1 can cream of mushroom soup
   1/2 cup chicken broth or water
   2 cups cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
   breadcrumbs (optional)

Generously coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Fill bottom of the pan with broken tortilla chips -- about 1/4 inch thick. Add chopped chicken breasts, green chilies, corn and black beans. Blend soups together with chicken broth in a medium sized mixing bowl and pour over top. (If a thinner sauce is desired add more liquid.) Cover top layer with cheese and add bread crumbs, if desired. Bake at 350F for 35 to 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Variations: For those who like it hot -- use jalapeno or chipotle peppers instead of green chili peppers.

*2 cans chicken - 9.75 oz size may be used instead of fresh chicken

Friday, September 28, 2018

Rosie's Recipe -- Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Fall is in the air, there's nothing like a bowl of homemade soup on a crisp autumn  day. It warms the heart and the soul. This historic recipe, courtesy of Rosie's Riveting Recipes is easy to prepare and totally delicious.



   3/4 to 1 lb hamburger
   1/3 cup chopped onion
   2 cups canned or cooked tomatoes
   2 cups potato cubes
   2 medium-diced carrots
   1/3 cup diced celery
   2 teaspoons salt
   1/4 cup rice
   1/8 teaspoon pepper

Brown meat and onion lightly in 2 tablespoons fat or drippings, add all rest of ingredients in large kettle, add 1 1/2 quarts water and simmer slowly 3/4 to 1 hour. Serve with toast or crackers as the main dish for lunch or supper. Makes 4 servings.

Modern adaptation:  To give the soup more zing use chicken stock instead of water, and add 1 teaspoon cumin. A 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes works nicely. Cooking oil can be used for fat or drippings if using lean group beef. Additional fat or oil may not be necessary if using regular ground beef.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Chicken Divan

© Can Stock Photo / roxanabalint

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.

I'm not a big fan of frozen dinners, but back when I was in high school my mother used to buy Stouffer's Chicken Divan, and it was awesome. I don't know if they still make it or not, but I've tweaked a couple of Campbell's Soup recipes to come up with my own version, and I think it comes pretty close. It's easy to prepare, and tasty. Best of all, it uses ingredients that most of us probably already have. 



(inspired by Campbell's Soup recipes)

   2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
   2 cans cream of mushroom soup* 
   1/2 cup milk
   3 tablespoons butter (divided and melted)
   1/4 teaspoon black pepper
   1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli (thawed)
   2 cups cooked noodles
   1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese blend
   1 small can fresh mushrooms (optional)
   2 to 3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Chop broccoli, (if using fresh), and prepare noodles according to the package directions. Clean chicken breasts thoroughly and cut into small cubes. Saute in a skillet until cooked all the way through. Remove from heat.

In a 2-quart casserole dish stir milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and cream of mushroom soup. Add pepper and canned mushrooms, if desired. Add broccoli, cooked noodles and cooked chicken, mix well. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, add breadcrumbs and mix until breadcrumbs are moistened. Top chicken mixture with generous layer of grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in 350F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until top layer is brown and sauce is bubbling.

* One can of cream and mushroom soup, and one can of cream of chicken soup can also be used.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Rosie's Recipe--Buttermilk Biscuits

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mom and dad in our kitchen baking buttermilk biscuits on Sunday mornings. Biscuits and gravy were a breakfast staple at our house when I was growing up. Over time my older brothers starting making biscuits too, but I can't recall any of them ever reading a recipe. It must have been a technique that they learned from our parents. Or perhaps some secret family recipe. You never know.

Sadly, for whatever the reason, the recipe was never handed down to me. So, after I moved out, my biscuits came  from the Bisquick box. Don't get me wrong. Bisquick is a great product, and the biscuits you make with it are far better than the pre-made biscuits found in the refrigerated section at the grocer. They came close, but they were never quite the same as the homemade biscuits Mom and Dad made from scratch.

So fast forward a few years. (Well, maybe more than a few years.) I'm testing some of the biscuit recipes for Rosie's Riveting Recipes, and they tasted exactly the same as the ones my parents used to bake. Aha! The secret family recipe is finally revealed.



   2 cups flour
   1/2  teaspoon soda
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1 tablespoon baking powder
   2 tablespoons margarine
   3/4  cup sour milk or buttermilk

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Work in margarine with a fork, add the sour milk gradually to make soft dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thick, cut, place on baking sheet; bake in moderately hot oven, (400 F) until done and brown. Yields 16 biscuits.

Modern adaptation: Butter can be used in place of margarine. To turn plain milk into buttermilk simply place a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill with milk until it reaches the 3/4 mark. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using. Prepare as directed above. Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Yield will vary, depending on the size of the biscuit cutter used.