Friday, January 16, 2009

Welcome to the home of the lunch bunch!

This is the home of the beautiful, lovely and talented lunch bunch that live in Thanksgiving Village! We are a lovely group of ladies who like to gather for food, fun, and frivolity... well that may be a bit overstated, but we are all enjoying the friendships we are making as we gather for lunch each month. Living in "Thanksgiving" daily, has become the motto of those who live here, that is to say in Thanksgiving Village! We have lots to be thankful for and when we gather each month... the bounty of delicious foods, gourmet cooks, amazing recipes, beautiful dishes and lovely home settings, makes our hearts full of THANKS!

This past Thursday we gathered at Gilberta's home. Her home looked lovely and inviting, and her bubbly and vivacious personality created an atmosphere of fun. She chose to serve soups and salads and had a great assortment of them, not to mention the delicious desserts.

Many thanks to Gilberta and all who attended, for your help in providing such a wonderful lunch. (lest you think that Gilberta wrote this post to pat herself on the back, I must let you know that Katie Gauger was the one to wrote this first post, so the story was told via Katie!)

ZUCCHINI/ BASIL RECIPES Thanks to all of you wonderful cooks who contributed to the evergrowing collection of Zucchini recipes. If Katie's garden grows any more zucchini, we will have to publish a whole cook book to keep up with the bumper crop.

Jil Hunt

½ c. margarine 2½ c. flour
½ c. oil 4 T. cocoa
1¾ c. sugar ½ t. cinnamon
2 eggs 1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla 1 t. baking soda
½ c, sour milk or buttermilk 1 t. baking powder
2 c. grated zucchini
Combine margarine, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour milk. (To make sour milk, put 1½ t. lemon juice or vinegar into one-half cup and fill with milk; let stand five minutes.) Stir together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, soda, and baking powder; add to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini. Pour batter into greased 9” X 13” pan. Sprinkle ¾ c. of each of the following on top: chocolate chips, brown sugar, and chopped nuts. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 40-45 minutes. (Alice Hunt)

Zucchini Apricot Oatmeal CookiesMary Ross 6/09

2 cups oatmeal
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup milk
1 large egg or 1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini, grated with peeling on
1 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
Drop 2 tablespoons full onto oiled cookie sheets. Round into a ball and flatten slightly.
Bake 375 11-13 minutes. Will not appear brown; don’t over bake.

Zucchini Blueberry Oatmeal CookiesMary Ross 7/2009

2 cups oatmeal
1 cup bran cereal
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups zucchini, grated with peeling on
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups blueberries
Drop 2 tablespoons full onto oiled cookie sheets. Round into a ball and flatten slightly.
Bake 375 15 minutes. Will not appear brown; don’t over bake.

Squash Casserole
Submitted by Amina Johnson

• 6 cups large diced yellow squash and zucchini
• Vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1 teaspoon House seasoning, recipe follows
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute the squash in a little vegetable oil over medium-low heat until it has completely broken down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Line a colander with a clean tea towel. Place the cooked squash in the lined colander. Squeeze excess moisture from the squash. Set aside.
In a medium size skillet, saute the onion in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and mix all ingredients together except cracker crumbs. Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish and top with cracker crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Zucchini Bread
butter-flavored cooking spray
3 large eggs or 3/4 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup canola oil
7 packets Diabetic Sweetener
1 tablespoon natural vanilla
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, packed in natural juice, well drained
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat two 8-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs; add the oil, Diabetic Sweetener, vanilla, pineapple, and zucchini. In a second large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt (if using). If using, add the walnuts and toss. Mix the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Spoon into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on wire racks.

Note: This fantastic loaf freezes well. You can top it with frozen fat-free, sugar-free vanilla yogurt, if desired. Makes 2 loaves, 10 servings each

Per serving (bread only): 118 calories (35% calories from fat), 3 g protein, 5 g total fat (0.6 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 32 mg cholesterol,149 mg sodium

Diabetic exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (1 bread/starch), 1 fat

Here are some links to great recipes using Zucchini. This link was sent provided by JoAnn Thomas

Here's another link:

Now for a great Basil Recipe, once again due to the overabundance of Basil growing in Katie's garden...

Classical Pesto
From: Ramona Jorgensen

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves 2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup pine nuts 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 tsp. salt

Place basil, garlic & pine nuts in a blender and process. With machine on, pour oil through the feed tube in a steady stream until almost 1 cup of oil has been used. With machine still running, add cheeses and then the remaining oil. Taste and season with salt, if needed.

(I line cupcake pans with plastic wrap, fill, and freeze and then wrap and put in zip-lock bags for later

Perserving fresh basil
by Mary Ross

"You can freeze the herbs in ice cube trays and water and place in freezer bags. Then when wanting fresh herbs, thaw them".

Amina’s Tomato Salsa
Amina Johnson

24 Cups diced tomatoes
4 Cans tomato paste
6 Cups chopped onion
6 Cups green bell peppers (plus 1 orange,1 yellow, and 1 red)
1 ½ Cup Jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped)
4 Tbsp oregano leaves
4 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 ½ Cup lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients except cumin, oregano, and cilantro in a large crock pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add spices and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into pint jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 30

Processing time:
0 – 1000 feet altitude – 15 minutes
1001 – 6000 feet altitude – 20 minutes
Above 6000 feet altitude – 25 minutes

Notes from Amina… “I also roasted all the tomatoes. you can do it on the grill or the oven. tomatoes are roasted when the skin turns black. then you let them cool down. I don't like cumin in salsa,so I won't recommend using it. do not roast the jalepenos . About the peppers I used green, red ,yellow, and orange. You can mix couple of chili peppers in there too, just make sure you roast them all. You can also add if you want 4tbs of wild spicy basil. (it looks purple) if you can't find it don't worry about it.”


(submitted by Katie Gauger)
2 Sticks butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Combine butter and sugar and beat for about 5 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and beat. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and add slowly into the batter. Beat again. Cut out with cute flower cutter or one of your choice. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes for regular oven, 350 for 5 - 6 min. Cool.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Tube on the frosting recipe below)

1 pkg Philly Cream cheese (softened)
1 Cube Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Almond extract
1 Tbsp. water or milk
Food coloring
Powdered sugar ( amount varies see below)

I don't put the amount of powdered sugar as it seems to be different every time I make it, so just keep adding until it is a consistency that is firm enough to hold it's shape when piped out of a tube.


2-3 chicken breasts (or 3 cups cooked, diced chicken)
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs dried minced onion
2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs ground cumin (or use a half pkg of Mexican seasoning and omit the onion and garlic powder)
2 16-oz cans chicken brother (or 4 cups water with 4 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 24-oz jar mild of medium chunky salsa
1 15-oz can corn, drained
2 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can diced mild green chilies
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bag baked tortilla chips
Shredded cheese and sour cream for garnish if desired

Dice chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes) Brown chicken in the oil in a large pot over med-high heat, adding the onions as the chicken begins to brown. Add garlic, cumin, broth, salsa, corn, black beans and half of the cilantro. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and cook 10-15 min or until chicken is well cooked.
To serve: put a few chips in each bow and ladle soup into bowl. Sprinkle on remaining cilantro, sour cream, cheddar cheese and tortilla strips if desire. Serves 8 – 10.

Options: If using a slow-cooker, put all ingredients in the pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 5-7 hours. If you have leftover soup, make a Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole by stirring in cooked rice: top with cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese.

Chili Relleno Bites (Donna Gonzales)

2 sm cans diced green chilies, drained
4-5 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 eggs, beaten well
dash Tabasco sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Spread the green chilies on the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle cheese on top. Add the Tabasco sauce to the beaten eggs and pour over the chiles and cheese. Bake for 30-35 mins. Cool & cut into squares.

Pasta E Fajioli (Olive Garden Copycat)

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (we use the bottled stuff)
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, with liquid
1 15 oz. can great northern beans, with liquid
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 11.5 oz. can V-8 vegetable juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste--this recipe is high-sodium
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 pound ditali pasta (salad macaroni)

Brown beef in large saucepan, drain fat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer 1 hour. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente, or slightly tough. Drain and add to pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Add more V-8 juice if too thick. (We like it even better the next day).


1 Dough Ball (available Kohlers. Albertsons or other bakeries)
1/2 cup melted butter
Salad Supreme

Cut ball in half. Roll in rectangle. Cut into 1” strips. Dip in butter. Twist or lay flat on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Salad Supreme. Repeat for second half of dough ball. Let rise (several hours) and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Yield 10 large breadsticks per ball.

From: Ramona Jorgensen

Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute:
1 C cider vinegar, 1/2 C vegetable oil, 1/2 C sugar,
1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 Tbs. salt. Let it cool, before pouring over bean mixture.

Drain, rinse & combine one can each of:
Blacked eyed peas, Small kidney beans (pinto beans can be used),
Black beans, Small white beans
White shoe peg corn, either canned, or frozen with no sauce

Dice small & add:
Onion, Celery, any color Pepper (I like to use red or orange for color)

Refrigerate at least overnight. Can be made up to 2 days before serving. Serve with scoop Fritos or Tostado Chips.


  1. This is where all you gals get to sign in and make comments, announcements, set next month's dates, or whatever you want. Hope you all enjoy blogging! XOXO Katie Gauger

  2. These cookies were SO delicious & adorable. They looked just like the ones from the cookie store - tasted even better! Katie is very talented.

  3. Gilberta & Katie,
    Suzanne & I are hosting the next luncheon, Feb 15 at the Cranberry Farms Cabin Clubhouse. Valentine Theme - more details to come. Linda Tiffany