Here’s the story about man and a woman

Today is my Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher’s 60th Wedding Anniversary. In their honor, I thought I would share the story of how they met and married. Both my grandparents’ fathers died when they were children. My Great-Grandma Kingston (Grandma Fletcher’s mother) was pregnant with her youngest child when her husband passed away. As a woman in her late 20s, she was widowed with six children. Her siblings offered to take the younger children but my Grandma Kingston refused to split up her family. And she never remarried. Grandma Kingston worked super hard to support her family in the 1930s when women didn’t really work outside the home. She took in laundry, cleaned homes, and ended up getting a job as the custodian for Wayne State College.

Grandma’s children were also hard workers. Many of them started babysitting and then working at the ice cream shop (pre-Dairy Queen days). I think my Grandma Fletcher was just 14 years old when she started working at the ice cream shop with some of her older siblings.

As I understand it, my Grandma Kingston required her children to take a sibling with them when they went on dates. My Grandpa Fletcher took out Grandma’s older sister Joyce on a date. And because of Grandma Kingston’s rule, my Grandma Fletcher was the chaperone for her older sister’s date roller skating. My Grandpa ended up liking my Grandma better than her older sister so he started dating her. They were just 14 and 16 years old at the time.  Two and a half years later Shirley Ann Kingston and Gene Edward Fletcher would be married on June 30, 1952 at the United Methodist Church in Wayne, NE.

The years that followed were filled with lots of hard work, a few tragedies, and some great successes. Grandpa’s hard work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit lead to the development of Fletcher Farm Service and Fletcher Rentals. They were also blessed with children: Kathy (my mother), William (Chris), Edward (Irene), and Thomas (Annette). They are also the proud grandparents to 10 grandchildren: Jeremy, Stephanie (my sister), Shannon, Amber (me), Rebekah, Daniel, Marilyn, Ashley, Cameron, and Sarah. The current tally on great-grandchildren is 12.

Although my grandparents can be very different, they do share loves for the arts, music, movies, education, volunteering, traveling, and having their family come together. Happy 60th Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!

Since weddings make me think of cake, I thought I would share a recipe for individual cakes. I got this recipe from my mother’s best friend. It’s a great recipe because it is perfect for individuals or serving individual taste.

3-2-1 by Deb Proett

1 box of angel food cake mix (you must use this cake because the mix has eggs in it)
1 box of cake mix (any flavor)

Mix both cake mixes together in a gallon sized baggie. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cake mix and two tablespoons of water into a custard cup and stir together. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Serve with frosting or fruit if desired.

Mexican Casserole

My sister was telling me a story about how she heard on the news that the Dorito Loco Taco increased sales at Taco Bell by 435%. Talk about taco crazy. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Doritos. Do I buy like I did when I was a kid? No, not really. But when I saw this recipe for a Doritos Casserole, I knew I wanted to make it.

This recipe is from my Perfect 10 Cookbook. Author Debbie Kraft said she first tried it at her sister-in-law’s house. Debbie refused to leave until she had a copy of the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Doritos Casserole by Diane Krumm

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. onion
1 package of taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can of Cheedar Cheese soup
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 medium bag of Nacho Doritos, crushed
1 1/2 c. Cheddar Cheese, grated

Brown hamburger with onions. Drain off grease. Add taco seasoning and salt. In a seperate bowl, combine soups, milk, and tomatoes and mix well. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish. Layer Doritos, meat, and soup. Repeat one more time. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from over and sprinkle with cheese. Bake another 10-15 minutes til cheese is melted. If desired, garnish with sour cream and ripe olives.

Recipe modications:

  • I didn’t have onions so I made it without.
  • I was also out of Ro-Tel so I substituted diced tomatoes.
  • I wasn’t sure what a medium bag of Doritos was so I used have a super bag (from Sam’s Club). I think you might also be able to use Baked Doritos.
  • The soup mixture is pretty soupy. I think you can use Fat-Free or Reduced Sodium soups without messing up the recipe thickness.
  • I used skim milk and fat free shredded cheddar cheese.

Twinkie the Kid

Kansas City is the home of Interstate Bakeries – the geniuses behind Hostess products. As a kid, I remember going to the Hostess Thrift Store in Norfolk with my mom. I’m sure my mother was probably buying bread while I was enthralled with the huge Twinkie the Kid replica. My mom was good about letting my sister and I each pick one individual item. For me, it was always Twinkies. Stephanie usually picked the Cupcakes.

When I moved to Lenexa, I loved going for walks because sidewalks are everywhere. I smelled this amazing fresh bread smell on many of my walks. I kept walking close to every restaurant in my neighborhood and couldn’t figure out where this captivating smell was coming from. Finally, it occurred to me. That great smell was coming from the Interstate Bakery factory off I-35. If you have to live near a factory, I couldn’t think of a better smelling one to live next to.

I think this recipe may have come from a supplement in the newspaper. While shopping at the Interstate Bakeries Thrift Store a few weeks ago for some garlic bread, I decided to pick up some Twinkies that were on sale. I made this recipe and thought it was really good. It occurred to me that the little shortcakes they sell in the grocery store near the strawberries are made like the Twinkie cake (just without the cream filling). Yummy, none the less.

Tiny Twinkie Strawberry Trifles

2 c. diced fresh strawberries
1 tsp. sugar
2 Twinkies
2 biscotti, any flavor
1 c. Cool Whip, thawed

Place strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Crumble Twinkies into a small bowl. Place biscotti in a Ziploc bag. Break into crumbles using a spoon to hit the bag. Set out eight shot glasses. Layer Twinkie, strawberries, 1 T. Cool Whip, and biscotti. Then repeat all layers and top with a strawberry slice. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with espresso spoons.

Nutritional facts: (Serves 8) 100 calories, 3.5 g. fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 16 g. carbs, and 1 g. protein.

Recipe modifications:

  • I didn’t have enough shot glasses so I used custard cups.
  • I made it without biscotti and I was still delicious.
  • I used fat free Cool Whip. No real difference in taste and better for you.

Monkey Bread Style

If you liked my recipe for the mini-crescent cinnamon rolls, than I think you might also love this recipe. It reminds me of a breakfast my mom used to make when we were kids. I got this recipe from my 2011 calendar – it was either Betty Crocker or Pillsbury. I can’t remember which since I had both calendars. Yes, I am a recipe geek.

Mini Caramel Pull-Apart Rolls

1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cans refrigerated biscuits

Grease muffin tin. Mix butter and brown sugar. Spoon 1 T. into each cup. Mix sugar and cinnamon in 1 gallon baggie. Separate 20 biscuits and cut into 6 pieces each. Add to bag and shake. Place 10 pieces in each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cool 1 minute and then turn upside down on a foil wrapped cookie sheet.

Spring Salad

This recipe comes from the Summer 2008 issue of Cooking for Two. Taste of Home no longer makes this magazine but I always loved that I didn’t have to halve recipes.

This recipe makes me think of a little bed and breakfast in Columbus, NE called Traditions. It’s an older home with colonial decor, glass dishes, and a limited menu featuring things like Homemade Chicken Salad. It’s the type of place my sister Stephanie and I go when my nephew Brock isn’t with us.

It’s a great dish for workday lunch or a night you don’t want to turn on the stove.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad by Renee Glowe

2/3 c. uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken breast
1/4 c. slivered almonds, toasted
3 T. chopped onion
2 T. dried cranberries
2 T. chopped celery
1/4 c. poppy seed salad dressing (fat-free preferred)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, grill chicken. When pasta and chicken are done, mix with all remaining ingredients. Chill until serving. Makes two servings.

Nutritional facts: 315 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 g. saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 42 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 18 g. protein

Recipe modifications:

  • I usually make it without nuts. I’ve also made it without onion.
  • If you omit the noodles and increase the other ingredients accept the dressing, you can serve this in a tortilla with fresh romaine lettuce.

Mango Passion

I’m allergic to Panera Bread. I’m not sure what it is but I think it is some sort of grain. They also use this ingredient in Wheat Thins and IHOP omelets. Since I can’t eat the breads at Panera, I usually buy a drink when I have a meeting at Panera. They have this delicious mango smoothie on their menu.

While perusing through my recipe binders, I found a recipe I saved from a Hy-Vee magazine for a mango smoothie. So I decided to make it. I forgot to take into account, I don’t have a professional grade blender. And when you are used to enjoying lattes and smoothies at restaurants, you forget it takes a little more blending at home to properly mix your drink. Overall, this drink was OK but I thought the banana overpowered the mango.

Mango Smoothies

2 ripe mangoes, seeded, peeled and cubed
1 small ripe banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (8 oz.) carton Hy-Vee low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 c. peach or apricot Looza Nectar, chilled
1 T. honey
1 c. small ice cubes

Place mango, banana, yogurt, nectar, and honey in a blender container. Cover and blend until smooth. Gradually add ice, blending til almost smooth.

Nutrition facts: (Serves 3) 240 calories, 1.5 g. fat, 0.5g. saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 3 g. fiber, 55 mg. sodium, 54 g. carbs, 29 g. sugar, 4 g. protein. Daily values: 60% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, and 15% calcium.

Baked French Toast

I don’t remember where I found this recipe but it is a Weight Watcher’s recipe for french toast. I served with fresh fruit since they are zero points in Weight Watchers. I hope you like it.

Baked French Toast
2 eggs
1/2 c. skim milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 slices of whole wheat bread, thick
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat over to 425 degree and spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Lightly beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Soak bread in eggs mixture and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with butter and bake until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes.

Each piece is worth 3 points.


For my friend and co-worker Denise’s baby shower, our Executive Director made some great Mexican food. I asked her for the recipe for her tortilla bites because I couldn’t stop munching on them. I hope you also enjoy these fun little snacks.

Pinwheels by Lori Maris
5 – 10″ flour tortillas
parsley to garnish
1 (8 oz.) sour cream
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 (4 oz.) chopped olives
1 (4 oz.) diced green chilies
1 c. fine grated cheddar
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix togther by hand, divide filling over totillas – spread to edges. Roll-up. Cover with Saran Wrap. Refridgerate for two hours. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Make 50 slices.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles

The first time I went to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher in Arizona, they took my mother and I to meet all their friends. One couple they hung out with my Grandpa Fletcher’s cousin Joann and her husband Jerry. When we went to Jerry and Joann’s house, Joann made this delicious homemade chicken and noodle dish. I’m sure her secret to the success of this dish was the homemade noodles. Although I never got a copy of Joann’s recipe before she passed away, I found a dish with a similar taste.

 This recipe comes from the cookbook Perfect 10. I had a chance to meet the author at a Craft Patch craft show in Lee’s Summit. The author was telling me how her family always gave rating of 1-10 (with 10 being the best) whenever she made a recipe. She placed all the perfect 10 recipes in a separate binder to make recipes for her family’s favorite dishes easily accessible. One day, she realized she had three binders full of perfect 10 recipes. The binders sparked an idea – to create a cookbook sharing these wonderful recipes with others.

The first recipe I made from the Perfect 10 cookbook was for this Homemade Chicken and Noodles. I halved it but I forgot to decrease all the spices. Loved it! The second time I made it, I didn’t do that and I added a little more carrots and celery. I felt like the flavor was better the first time. The recipe below is the original recipe as written. I would recommend making the spices a little bit more if you are adding extra vegetables.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles by Rita Lindsey

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 can (16 oz.) chicken broth
1 white onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 package (large) Reame’s Frozen Eggs Noodles (I used regular Martha Gootch too.)

Put chicken in large stockpot. Pour in 2 cans of chicken broth and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Skim foam from top. Add vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and cool. Then, cube. Remove bay leaves from stock and increase heat. Add noodles and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and cook until tender and stock thickens. Add chicken back.

Serves 4-6.

Pineapple Casserole

When I worked at SAFEHOME, our managers always hosted a holiday party for us in December. It was actually pretty nice because they cooked all the food. It was a chance to taste some of their best breakfast recipes. I got this recipe from our Associate Director. I hope you like this spin on pineapple.

Pineapple Casserole by Janee’ Hanzlick
2 (15 oz.) cans crushed pineapple (or chunk if you prefer)
3/4 c. – 1 c. sugar
6 T. flour
1 & 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter, melted

Put ingredients in casserole in order given. Layer and do not stir. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recipe modifications:

  • I halved this recipe. I used one 20 oz. can of pineapple, 1/2 c., 3 T. flour, 3/4 c. fat free Kraft shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 sleeve of reduced fat Ritz crackers, and 1/2 stick of Country Crock. I baked it in my Rachael Ray Bubble and Brown 2 qt. dish for 30 minutes.