Over the years I find I come back to favorites when meal planning.  Some of these are favorites of my family also.

Chicken is my second most favorite meat and it is the most versatile and healthy choice.  I will share my Cracker-Coated Chicken recipe which is easy and can be prepared ahead of time.

Ingredients:  4 to 6 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  (You can also use cut chicken parts with bone and skin. About 2 cups of finely crushed saltine crackers.  3/4 to 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese.  About 1/2 cup of dried parsley.   1 to 2 sticks of melted butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces.  Mix together crackers, cheese and parsley in shallow pan. Melted butter in another  pan.  Dip chicken pieces in butter and then into cracker mixture to coat evenly.  Place on lightly sprayed cookie sheet.  Pour any remaining butter over chicken pieces.   (You do not need to salt chicken as salt is already in crackers and cheese).

Bake 45 min. until golden brown.  May be prepared ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, leave at room temperature 15 min. before baking.

Healthier version:  substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter.




I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for more than fifty years.  My menu is basically the same menu I grew up with, some things left out and over the years I have taken some short cuts.  The most important part of this wonderful dinner is family and friends, not how much work you put into preparation.

My dinner menu starts with Italian Wedding Soup, The star of the event, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, green salad, dinner rolls and of course pumpkin pie.  This is served with beverage of wine and sparkling juice.

Yeah, a lot of food.  When I was first married I followed my mother’s way of doing things with her help.  Of course at that time there were few choices except to cook from scratch.  Today grocery stores will deliver your complete thanksgiving dinner, restaurants are opened for turkey dinner, and there is a wide variety of prepared food that only needs to be warmed.

Today I take advantage of a few prepared items for my dinner, such as buying Bob Evans or Costco mashed potatoes, already baked dinner rolls, prepared pie crusts.  I still prepare my soup, the dressing and the turkey.   I gave up on candied sweet potatoes and just bake them along with the turkey.  I buy the prepared pie crusts and finish pie with Libby’s pumpkin pie filling, just adding milk and eggs.  I prepare as much as I can the day before.  If I have a large group, I buy two smaller turkeys, stuff them and cook one the day before, then there’s enough dark meat plus leftovers for family.  Although it still takes a lot of work, it is lightened considerably with taking short cuts.

The Italian Wedding Soup, we always called it green soup because of the spinach in it, is probably the most time-saving short cut I use today.  I don’t make my own soup stock, but use the packaged chicken broth, I use cooked chicken from the rotisserie chickens, shredded and frozen ahead of time.  The taste is the same, but a lot less work.  Recipe for soup follows.

I enjoy Thanksgiving and all the fixings, and am very thankful for my wonderful children and their spouses, my beautiful grandchildren, friends and the most wonderful country we live in.


Green Soup Recipe:  32 oz. of chicken broth, 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken, 10 oz. of frozen chopped spinach, (I also make very small meatballs to add to the soup, but this is not required), 2 eggs beaten and 1/3 to 3/4 cuo of grated parmesan cheese.          Heat broth, chicken and spinach to boiling point.  Beat eggs and add cheese to eggs mixing well, then add to hot soup, stir well, turn off heat and let set for 5 minutes.  Serves 4.