1. My Favorite Recipes

My Pie Dough from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Everyone always asks where I get my pie dough.  I make it from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  (My copy dates from about 1976.)  But here are my tricks – 1.  Use half butter and half shortening.  2.  Fill a small bowl with ice, add water, let it chill while you do everything else, then use the ice water in the recipe.

for a single crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (See trick above)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water (See trick above)

for a double crust, or 2 single crusts, or 6-8 tarts:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening (see trick above)
  • 5-7 tablespoons ice water

Sift flour and salt, cut in half the shortening at a time until pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water on dough, toss with a fork to moisten; repeat until you can form a ball.  The amount of water will vary depending on the humidity – last week I only used 4 tablespoons for a double-crust!  Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.  Roll out for needed application.


Fratelli Briganti Tomato Sauce

While watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives last week I just had to copy this recipe from Fratelli Briganti in Firenze, Italy!  Made it on Friday, and it was wonderful!  You have got to try it.  You will need to find the freshest local tomatoes for the wow factor!

  • Fresh local tomatoes (I used about one large or two small per person)
  • Garlic cloves (2, or to taste)
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Pasta (2 ounces per person)
  • Fresh grated  Loccatelli romano, or parmaggiano reggiano.

Peel the tomatoes with a very sharp knife; dice into a small dice, place in.a colander and drain the excess juice.  Slice then dice the garlic finely. Chop the basil leaves. Place the tomatoes, garlic a drizzle of olive oil and a oinch of salt in a bowl, let sit for an hour.

Start the pasta, cooking according to package directions.  Be sure to use a good imported Italian pasta, although I did try it with a gluten-free corn pasta, and it was still quite good.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan,.  Add the tomato mixture, and cook briefly till the tomatoes are softened. Add the drained pasta and some of the basil; toss together.  Plate, and top with grated cheese and the rest of the basil.


Phyllis’ “Tomato Zucchini Pie”

Preheat oven to 350o

1. Mix the following with fork, press into 9-10” pie pan (it will be a little sticky so rub some butter onto fingertips.

  •  1 cup Bisquick mix
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 TBS soft butter (I use Smart Balance spread)
  • 1 tsp oregano

2. In microwave dish, add the following with a small amount water, then microwave about 3-4 minutes to slightly soften, then drain well:

  • 2 small green zucchini, unpeeled, sliced about ¼” thick
  • 1 small onion, diced

3. Add to zucchini and lightly mix together:

  •  2-3 large tomatoes, cut into large diced pieces
  •  2 TBSP parsley
  •  2 TBSP oregano
  •  4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese ( plus some provolone and/or sharp if desired)
  • Salt, pepper to taste (remember that the cheese is salty)

4. Spread the tomato mixture into the Bisquick lined pan, adding a few ounces of additional shredded cheese over the top of  the tomato mixture.

5. Bake in 350o oven about 30-45 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Let cool a few minutes, cut into pie shaped wedges.


  1. If tomatoes are too watery, best to drain off some water by cutting in half and lightly squeezing out some liquid into the sink.
  2. If using a large deep-dish pie dish, increase the Bisquick mixture by about 50%, and the vegetable ingredients to fill the dish.
  3. If I have them, I add yellow squash into the vegetable mixture.
  4. For an 8-10 in regular pie pan, total cheese should be about 8 oz. Larger baking dish add more cheese; I have used a few TBSP grated Parmesan-Romano cheese rather than Provolone/Sharp. Whatever you have in the ‘fridge and suits your taste.


Thanks to Sean for sharing this recipe on your Facebook page the other day – I just made these tonight:

Better Than French Fries


“Lew Boyd’s Ice Box Pickles” – from Jan Karon’s A Continual Feast


  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • cucumbers
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 garlic clove chopped

Combine Vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.  Bring to boil.  Take off heat and let cool.  Wash, peel and slice cucumbers.  Place onions and garlic in jars.  Add cucumbers, filling jar to top.  Fill with vinegar mixture and close lid..  Refrigerate  3 days, keep unused portion in fridge.  Can re-use the vinegar in later batches.

My notes:  I have used this method on cukes, zucchini and beets.  I have also substituted brown sugar for white


Blueberry Boy-Bait  from Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake-Off Collection

Yes, that’s really the name of the recipe!  I found it in Mom’s old Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake-Off Collection cookbook from 1959!   The cake part of this is so yummy that I plan to use it for a layer cake with some butter cream icing this fall!

(Junior Second Prize Winner by Renny Powell, Chicago, Illinois)

Bake at 350 degree for 40 to 50 minutes.  Makes 12×8 ro 13×9 inch cake

  • Sift together 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups sugar into large mixing bowl
  • Cut in 2/3 cup butter or margarine until the size of small peas.  Reserve 3/4 cup of flour mixture for topping
  • Add   2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 unbeaten egg yolks and 1 cup milk to remaining crumb mixture in bowl
  • Beat 3 minutes at low-speed
  • Beat 2 egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold into batter.  Spread in well-greased and lightly floured on bottom baking pan .
  • Arrange 1 cup drained blueberries (fresh, frozen or canned) over batter.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over berries.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.  Serve warm with whipped cream, or plain as coffee cake.


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