Tag Archives: Gooseberry Patch

Michele’s Review – Italian Chicken Spread From “Hometown Christmas” By Gooseberry Patch

Welcome back to “40 Days of Joy” after a weekend off.

Are you attending a Christmas party this weekend?  Then here is perfect recipe from Gooseberry Patch’s “Hometown Christmas.”

Italian Chicken Spread

Patrice Lindsey

Lockport, IL

Gooseberry Patch

“Hometown Christmas”

This makes a yummy appetizer or luncheon spread.

13 oz can chicken, drained or 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken

1/3 c. mayonnaise

1/3 c. Italian salad dressing

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 t.  Italian seasoning

crackers or lightly toasted Italian bread slices

Place chicken in a bowl; fake or shred finely.  Add remaining ingredients except cracker or bread; stir well to combine.  Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature, or bake at 350 degress until hot and bubbly. Serve with crackers or bread.  Makes 2-1/2 cups.


Michele’s Thoughts

This spread is delicious.  The taste will vary depending up what type of salad dressing you use.  I made a batch with dressing from a local Italian restaurant and the dip was on the zesty side.  For the second batch, I used Wishbone’s House Italian which is not heavily seasoned. I used Saltine crackers but an Italian flavored cracker would pair nicely with this dip.

If however, you use a bolder Italian dressing, I would use plain crackers or bread so your mouth is not overwhelmed with spices.

I did not bake the dip but tried it after 3 hours in the fridge.

The Book

I recommend you either add this to you holiday wish list, or get it as a gift for someone else.  Most recipes appear easy to make, which is crucial when you are grieving.  Your brain does not function at top speed during the first year so quick and easy are the most important ingredients in any recipe.

The book is available at GooseberryPatch.com.

Go buy the book and have fun making the recipes.

New Traditions & Gooseberry Patch: “A Hometown Christmas”

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I thought I would do a brief post today since you might still be sluggish from too much tryptophan.

New Traditions

Starting new traditions at Christmas is a perfectly natural and acceptable thing to do in establishing a “new normal” for your life once widowed.

New traditions can make you feel as though you are taking a tiny step forward in your grief journey. Each step forward is progress and prevents you from getting stuck in grief. A new tradition does not have to be something big like switching who hosts your family Christmas dinner. It can be something small, like my new tradition.

My New Tradition

I love looking through new cookbooks and trying new recipes.  While I am not back to cooking or baking like I did when Joe was alive, each year I find myself working on my culinary skills a little bit more. After all I may end up getting married again and need to cook for family gatherings.

A year or two ago, I fell in love with the “Gooseberry Patch” family of cookbooks and earlier this year received a copy of “A Hometown Christmas” , which contains favorite holiday recipes submitted by their readers.

So this week, I will finally be making a couple recipes to share this coming weekend. (Yes, I am a little behind schedule) I highly recommend you get a copy and check out the recipe for “Old Country Cake” on page 152.  You never will guess who submitted that recipe.

Now off to make “Italian Chicken Spread”, or maybe “Snowball Cake” or “Italian Fish Skillet” or…


Don’t be afraid to try a new tradition this year.  You just might like it. Even if you are not grieving, try a new tradition to shake things up a bit.

(P.S.  Thank you JoAnn & Vickie for choosing my recipe.)

(Coming later this week, “Finding Hope Through Actions”)

Weekend Wisdom: 5 Thank You’s

This weekend was going to a “Gooseberry Patch” weekend in honor of the release of “Hometown Christmas: Remember Christmas at home with our newest collection of festive recipes, merrymaking tips and warm holiday memories (Seasonal Cookbook Collection)[Hardcover].


However, I felt it was more appropriate to write about the kick-off of Lisa Ryan’s second annual “5 Thank You’s a Day Gratitude Challenge.”

As part of the challenge, you can list 5 things per day you are grateful for so here is what I am grateful for today.

I am thankful the firemen killed in yesterday’s hotel fire in Houston were:

  • born
  • brought joy to the people whose lives they touched
  • possessed compassion for their fellow man; so much so they would search a burning building for trapped people.

I am thankful for the medical personnel in the field and hospital who treated the wounded.

I am thankful for the police who do whatever they need to do in these circumstances.

I am thankful for the companies who make the equipment used by firefighters.

I am thankful for my brother-in-law (a fire chief) and paternal grandfather (a volunteer fire fighter) and for their years of service.


Thank you to firefighters and police for keeping all the hometowns in America safe.

God bless you and your families. 


How Michele Got Published

Yes, I am going to be published, but it is not a book.

It all happened a few weeks ago when I got an envelope in the mail.   I said to myself “Great! I’m even getting a reject letter from them.”  Then I opened it and it was a letter stating my submission was going to be published with a release date of June 2013.   All I had to do was sign a release letter and mail it back to them, which I did.

The Letter

Here are excerpts from the letter:

“Dear Michele,

Congratulations! We’re delighted to let you know that your recipe Old-Country Cake, will be included in our upcoming cookbook, Hometown Christmas, along with your name and hometown!

…Thanks again for sharing with us!  We’re always happy to hear from you anytime and enjoy receiving your favorite and original recipes, tips, crafts and memories.”

The letter is from Gooseberry Patch.  There will be a special private and shareable announcement when the book is published.

What I Did

I was at their site awhile back and they asked for submissions the new cookbook.  So I got out paternal grandmother’s recipe and emailed it to them.  After trading emails back and forth about some clarifications, I then received the letter.

So watch your local bookstore and/or Amazon.com for the June release.

Favorite Recipes Part 3

Author’s Note: If you got here from the link at CBCMagazine.com,


You have landed in my special summer series “Swingin’ Summer Saturday’s and Sunday’s.”  A series of recipes and survival tips designed to get you through the hot summer.  This weekend the series is running from Friday – Monday and I’ve decided to share some of my favorite recipes that have appeared on this blog.

Hopefully you will find a recipe or two this weekend.  If not, check out the “Swingin’ Summer Saturday’s and Sunday’s category for more wonderful recipes.

Thanks for clicking over from CBC Magazine.  On Tuesday I will get back to the business of grief, extended unemployment and current adventures in my life.

Have a fun and safe weekend and see you on Tuesday.

This recipe was also originally published last December during the “40 Days of Joy” series

Friendship Quiche

Yes, this recipe is more work than what I originally intended when deciding to do recipes but my readers are my friends.

So from one friend to another…

Friendship Quiche

Lori Comer,  NC

 This is a wonderful recipe given to me by a friend. The French fried onions really give it a fabulous flavor. I bake this quiche every Christmas and take it to our office…our maintenance man always seems to come by at just the right time for the last slice!


1 refrigerated pie crust

1-1/3 c. French fried onions, divided

1-1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

6 eggs, beaten

1 c. half-and-half or milk

1/2 c. bacon bits

Optional: 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped


Unfold pie crust and place in a 9″ pie plate. Sprinkle 3/4 cup onions evenly over bottom of crust; sprinkle with cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half or milk, bacon bits and green pepper, if using. Pour mixture over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until center tests done. Sprinkle remaining onions on top. Bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Patch, Gooseberry (2009-07-01). Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook: Favorite recipes, homemade memories and little touches that make the holidays warm & cozy. (p. 22). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Michele’s Notes

Several months ago, I downloaded Kindle for PC.  In researching recipe’s for today’s post, this  cookbook was listed as “Cookbook of the Week” on Gooseberry Patch.com.  Also, it could be downloaded for free (on Friday 12/16/11).  Hey, I’m unemployed!  I’ll take free anyday.  Check out the site, not sure if you can still download it.

This is very flavorful and delicious.  I love the addition of French-fried onions rings.    I see this as something different to take to someone who is having a tough holiday season besides the traditional Lasagna.

Friendship Quiche

Mad Chef Michele’s Latest Experiment – Southern Oatmeal Cookies

Good Morning.  Hope your day is filled with sunshine. FYI – There is a special post at OgleOhio.com today and tomorrow.

I am going to be making the following recipe for the GriefShare group at church this week.  Only I will be tweaking it.

Southern Oatmeal Cookies

Dawn Fannin/Ravenna, TX

(pg 295 Gooseberry Patch “Blue Ribbon family favorites: tried & true recipes from Gooseberry Patch family & friends)

These are the best oatmeal cookies you’ll ever taste.  They’re great with a glass of cold milk.


1 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

3 c. long-cooking oats, uncooked

1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans


In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed, until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Add vanilla; set aside.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Fold flour mixture into butter mixture; stir in oats and nuts.  Form rounded teaspoonfuls into balls and place on greased baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes.  Let stand on baking sheets for 4 to 5 minutes before moving to wire racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 4 dozen.

How Mad Chef Michele Will Tweak The Recipe

I will be adding in dried cranberries, dried blueberries, coconut and white chocolate chips.  This is being done to hopefully replicate the discontinued Blueberry Bar mix from Tastefully Simple.  How much of each I will be adding has yet to be determined but will probably be 1 c. of the cranberries, blueberries and white chocolate chips.

Will keep you updated on how this turns out.

Well off to the grocery store.

Swingin’ Summer Saturdays and Sundays – “Shake Your Smoothie” (Part 2)

Today’s delicious recipe comes from Jessica Phillips of Bloomington, IN and can also be found in Gooseberry Patch’s Blue Ribbon family favorites, tried and true recipes from Gooseberry Patch family and friends. (page 41 – same as Nutty Banana Shake)

Just Peachy Coconut Smoothie

The natural sweetness from the peaches and honey is divine! 


16-oz. pkg. frozen peaches, divided

14-oz. can coconut milk

2 T. unsweetened flaked coconut

2 T. honey

1 t. vanilla extract


Place half the peaches in a blender;reserve remaining peaches for another recipe.  Add remaining ingredients to blender; process until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.  If consistency is too thin, add a few extra frozen peaches to thicken.  Serves 2.

Michele’s Thoughts

This was a lovely way to start a Saturday morning.  It was smooth, creamy and naturally sweet.  My grocery store did not have frozen peaches so I cut up 2 peaches and put them in the freezer overnight.

This is the 4th recipe I tried from Gooseberry Patch’s Blue Ribbon family favorites cookbook.  I enjoyed every one and highly recommend adding this book to your collection.  I will be trying out more from this cookbook, especially have my eye on the Southern Oatmeal Cookies.  I have some ideas for tweaking it, but more about that at another time.

“Just Peachy Coconut Smoothie”

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