Bronco Buster

Anything with the word “buster” isn’t good. But I’m fairly certain the Bronco Buster recipe was one of the worst meals my elementary cafeteria ever concocted. For those of you who didn’t attend Wisner Pilger Elementary School, this recipe was a slice of white bread topped with cold cheddar cheese and kidney beans. It was truly nasty. Perhaps this was one of the reasons I have avoided chili my enter life.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at my sister’s house. Her friend Susan brought chili. I remember Steph (also not a chili fan) saying that Susan made great chili. In an effort to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought I would give it a try. Kidney beans are really high in fiber and low in fat. Plus, my vegetarian friends swear if I start eating more beans I’ll be less hungry eating more veggies and less sugar/fat. I have to say, Susan’s chili was pretty good –  I even had seconds. So it got me thinking, maybe I should make a chili recipe.

As someone who has never saved a chili recipe, I decided to pull out one of my home-cooking recipe books. I decided to turn to the Perfect 10 Cookbook as this lady assembled only her best recipes. Although I have to say this recipe isn’t bad, it did make me realize one other thing, chili has a very Mexican food taste. I’m not a huge fan of Mexican restaurants and I think it is because I like sweet over bitter taste. It makes total sense because I love fruit but don’t love the taste of veggies.

So for those of you who love chili, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Although I think I liked the leftovers better after they sat in the fridge for a few days, I think I’m does cooking chili for a really long time.

Cook-Off Chili by Debbie Kraft
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 an onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can Bush’s Chili Beans (medium)
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. beef broth
1 small can tomato sauce
2-3 T. chili powder (I used Wildtree)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
dash of seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese

In a large Dutch oven pot, brown beef, onion, and garlic. Drain grease. Sprinkle meat with all seasonings. Add chili beans, Ro-tel, tomato sauce, and broths. Stir well and simmer for 30 minutes. Add cheese and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with crackers or Frito’s.

Toffee Bars

This is a recipe I made recently for my volunteers. My boss actually fell in love with them. The recipe comes from Relish Magazine – a newspaper supplement that used to be in the Johnson County Sun.

Butterscotch Toffee Squares by Jean Kressy
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. Heath toffee bits (they are by the chocolate chips in the grocery store)

Line a 8×8 square baking dish with non-stick foil. Beat butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and blend. Stir in toffee bits. Pour ingredients into baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan and cutting. Makes 16 bars.

Nutritional facts per serving: 190 calories, 9 g. fat, 2 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, and 110 mg. sodium

Strawberry Slushy

I ran across this recipe for a strawberry slushy drink. Since I love strawberries, I thought I would give it a try. It’s pretty good but I still like my aunt Linda’s Brandy Slush the best. This recipe made about two large square Gladware containers. The recipe came from General Mills website –

Strawberry Margarita Slush
16 oz. strawberries (I used fresh but recipe called for frozen)
1 (12 oz.) can of limeade
1/3 c. sugar
1 and 1/2 c. water
4 c. Squirt (or another sour soda)
1 and 1/2 c. Tequila

Blend limeade, strawberries, and sugar together. Slowly add 1/2 c to 1 c. water. Pour into a nonmetal freezer container. Stir in remaining water, alcohol, and 1 & 1/2 c. Squirt. Freeze 4 to 5 hours or until icy, stirring twice after 2 hours. Spoon into glasses and top with a 1/4 c. carbonated beverage. Makes 10 – one cup servings.

 Nutritional facts per serving: 250 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 10 mg. sodium, 43 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 40 g. sugar, 0 g. protein. Contains 30% daily value of Vitamin C.

Beefy Cheese Soup

My mother hated potato soup as a child. It is my understanding that she was forced to sit at the dinner table until bedtime on the nights my grandma made it for dinner because she refused to eat it. One of the reasons my mother said she didn’t like it was because she hated warm milk. That said, she will drink hot chocolate made with dried milk.

This potato soup recipe has meat and cheese. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m pretty sure I got this recipe from Misty’s Facebook Recipe group a couple of years ago. I hope you enjoy this hearty soup as much as I do.

Beefy Cheese Soup
1/2 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
3 T. butter
3 c. chicken broth
4 c. cubed potatoes
1/4 c. flour
2 c. cubed cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sour cream

In a large pot, cook beef and onion until over a medium heat. Stir in basil and parsley. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Melt butter and flour into soup. Add milk stirring until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through. Do not boil.

Notes: To make it a little healthier, I used low fat sour cream, 2 percent cheese, low sodium broth, and skim milk.

Bread Bowl

Fall is here so now is the perfect time to prepare comfort food. Some of my favorites are Hamburger Casserole and Chicken Noodle Dinner. But hearty soups are also great this time of year. For the first time, I decided to try to make bread bowls. I think my creation worked perfect for a cup of soup.

Bread Bowls by Amber Bourek
1 package of Grands refrigerator biscuits
8 custard cups or pep bowls
1 baking sheet

Flatten out a Grands biscuit into a large circle. Spray a custard cup with nonstick spray. Wrap biscuit around cup. Place upside down on baking sheet so biscuit is up. Bake according to package – 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly and use a table knife to gentle remove from cup. Serve with a cup of warm soup.

Just a touch

I’ll be honest. I have never really watched The Bachelor. If it has been on in my house it’s most likely because I got busy doing something I am not watching the television. But I do know Jake Pavelka because he also appeared on Dancing with the Stars. I don’t always watch Dancing with the Stars but I watch it if I’m home and nothing else is on. I wasn’t a fan of Jake but I thought his recipe in People magazine looked appealing. Since I am on a health kick right now, I figured I would give this recipe I try. I thought it was a light and refreshing marinade. I served it with Green Giant Steamed Red Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans.

Honey-Lemon Grilled Chicken by Jake Pavelka
Juice and zest of three lemons
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. honey, plus a drizzle
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast (4 breast)
Grilled lemon wedges

Mix marinade and pour into a gallon sized baggie. Add chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (I usually turn it a few times to evenly coat.) Grill basting with marinade til cooked.


  • I halved the recipe and it still made four meals.
  • I did not put any additional lemon or honey on it. I just marinated and basted


Guilt-Free Onion Rings

The interesting thing about food is how we will eat some versions of things and not others. For example, I won’t eat popcorn but I like caramel corn. My aunt Joyce is even a picker eater than me. She has never eaten pizza or ketchup because she doesn’t like tomatoes. Despite the fact she won’t eat onions, Joyce loves onion rings.

This healthier version of onion rings in The Kansas City Star caught my attention. At just 52 calories, I thought I would give it a try. After making the recipe and loving it, I discovered I actually knew who one of the authors. Kathy was in charge of the clown ministry at her church. Back in my days as a Communications Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at Hope House, her absolutely amazing group of 7-12 graders volunteered once a month at our shelter. They did things like indoor snowball fights (with pom poms), cookie decorating, and coloring a giant cardboard gingerbread house with our families.

But my absolute favorite memory of her youth was an encounter with a high girl. When anyone came to shelter, it was my job to remind them why you must maintain the confidentiality of our clients for safety reason. The young lady recognized another high schooler at the shelter. She didn’t say anything to her at school about it and the two developed a friendship because she knew this person was someone she could trust. I always remember her telling me that story like it was no big deal. I’m sure it was a BIG deal to the young lady whose safety she protected.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Over the course of a lifetime, 1 in 3 women will be the victim of sexual or domestic violence by a current or former intimate partner. Let’s not judge these women as nobody falls in love with someone who hits, kicks, slapped, punches, or yells death threats on a first date. I have met women from all backgrounds who have experienced intimate partner violence. To learn more about ways you can help, visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Hope House, or SAFEHOME. In the Kansas City area, call 816-HOTLINE if you need help.

Guilt-Free Onion Ring by Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss
1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely crushed cornflakes (I used a chopper)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 to 2 medium yellow onions, sliced 1/4 in. thick and seperated into rings
2 slightly beaten egg whites

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. In a shallow pie plate, combine bread crumbs, cornflakes, salt, and pepper. Dip onions into egg whites, then in crumb mixture. Arrange onion rings in a single layer on baking sheet. Spray onion rings with non-stick spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Notes: Make sure you make the onion rings 1/4 in. or you will over bake them at 12 minutes. They still taste good though.

 Nutritional Facts: 52 calories (7 percent fat), trace of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 9 g. carbs, 3 g. protein, 172 mg sodium, 1 g. fiber. Makes four servings.

Salsibury Steak

One of my favorite school meals was salsibury steak and mashed potatoes. I ran across this recipe a few years ago in my Simple and Delicious Magazine. Lots of favor and very moist so I hope you enjoy it. The author says she got it at a Weight Watcher meeting but I don’t know how many points it is.

Salisbury Steak with Gravy by Danelle Weiher
1/2 c. fat-free milk
14 fat-free saltine crackers, crushed
2 T. dried minced onion
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 jar fat-free beef gravy
2 T. ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine milk, crackers, onion and parsley. Crumble beef over and mix well. Shape into patties. Place in a greased glass baking dish. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over patties and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.