Mini Cream Puffs

I made these for the big Easter gathering at the Farro homestead this year, and they were such a big hit that I made them again for Mother’s Day. I’ve been using this recipe for more than 30 years, and I highly recommend it. Enjoy!


½ cup Water
¼ cup Margarine or Butter
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
Cream Filling (below)
Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat water and margarine to rolling boil in saucepan.
Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball,
about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs all at once.
Continue beating until smooth.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Cool away from draft.

Cut off tops; pull out any filaments of soft dough. Fill puffs with cream filling.
Replace tops. Dust with powdered sugar. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes about 20 cream puffs.


1/3 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Milk
2 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons of Margarine or Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan.
Stir in milk gradually. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,
until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into egg yolks.
Blend into hot mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Stir in margarine and vanilla. Cool.


Chicken a La King

I have been making this delicious dish for 35 years, and it’s one of my family’s favorites. It makes a fabulous white sauce that isn’t too heavy, but still tastes rich. If you have leftover chicken or turkey on hand, this recipe can make good use of it. Enjoy!

Chicken a La King

1½ cups cut-up Chicken (or Turkey)
1-4 oz. can of Mushrooms (drain, but reserve liquid!)
¼ cup Margarine or Butter
¼ cup Flour
¼ teaspoon Salt
Dash of Black Pepper
1½ teaspoons Instant Chicken Bouillon
1½ cups Milk
1 cup hot Water
Rice or Noodles

Cook and stir mushrooms in margarine or butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in bouillon, milk, water, and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Stir in chicken or turkey and heat through. Serve over rice or noodles.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Pressure Cooker Chili

If you’ve got a pressure cooker, then you can make fabulous chili in a fraction of the time. If you like your chili spicy, feel free to double the amount of chili powder in this recipe.

Pressure Cooker Chili

1 LB. Ground Beef
1 Large Onion (chopped)
1 Green Pepper (chopped)
2 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
1 8-oz. can Tomato Sauce
1 cup Water
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
Sprinkle of Black Pepper

1 16-oz. can Kidney Beans (Added after cooking)

Brown meat, onion, green pepper, and garlic.
Add remaining ingredients, except kidney beans.
Cook 15 minutes in pressure cooker.  Release pressure quickly.
Stir in kidney beans and cook for 10 minutes on top of stove.

Joanne's French Toast

This is my own recipe, and I have been making French Toast this way since my boys were little. I usually use fresh white bread, but bread that is a bit stale works well, too. If I don’t have real butter or margarine, I use Smart Balance spread, and it comes out just as delicious. Sometimes I prepare a double batch, so that I can make scrambled eggs out of the leftover egg batter. If you like sweet scrambled eggs, this is the recipe for you!

Joanne’s French Toast

3 Eggs
¼ cup Milk
½ to 1 tablespoon Sugar
Butter or Margarine for pan
4-6 slices of Bread
Maple Syrup

Whisk together eggs, milk, and sugar in flat bowl.

Heat large pan on medium heat. Smear bottom of pan with butter or margarine.

Dip one slice of bread at a time into egg mixture until well coated on both sides.
Place in pan and brown each side until golden.

Serve with maple syrup and cinnamon, if desired.

Nancy's Shrimp Marinara Sauce

This recipe is from my husband’s mom, Nancy. She has made this fabulous dish for us many times, and I recommend it highly. Enjoy!

Shrimp Marinara Sauce

3 or 4 large cloves of Garlic, halved
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 28 oz. can Crushed Italian Tomatoes
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper (or to taste)
½ to 1 teaspoon dry Basil
2 fresh Basil leaves (optional)
½ to 1 teaspoon dry Parsley
½ medium green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1 cup Water
1 to 2 pounds raw Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 pound Spaghetti

In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté garlic in oil until golden; remove and discard.
Carefully add tomatoes to pan. Add pepper, basil, parsley, and green pepper.
Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.

Add salt to taste, along with one cup water. Bring to fast boil and add shrimp.
Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Shrimp will turn bright pink.
Do not overcook.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Serve covered with sauce.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

This recipe is one that my sister, Janet, has been making for years. She has made it her own, and it’s a keeper! A special thanks to my niece, Lisa, for making this tasty recipe available to us.

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Makes about 4 dozen

Cheesecake part:
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Chocolate Chips (you can use less)

Chocolate part:
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Oil
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Vinegar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda

Combine the cream cheese, egg, and sugar in a bowl. Mix with mixer and then stir in chocolate chips.

Mix remaining ingredients in another bowl.

Fill the cupcake tin halfway with the chocolate part, then top with the cream cheese filling.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Joanne's Beef Stew

This is my own recipe, and it’s one that I have made for my husband and children countless times over the years. John and Amy ask me to make it regularly. I make this stew in a pressure cooker, so it’s a relatively quick meal to prepare. It’s filled with nutritious veggies, and is a good way to get your family to eat more vegetables.

Joanne’s Beef Stew

1 pound Egg Noodles
2 pounds Beef Cubes
2 tablespoons Oil
2½ cups hot Water
½ teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Brown Bouquet Sauce
2 teaspoons Beef Bouillon (broth)
1 Bay Leaf
1 medium Onion (chopped or grated)
2 medium Potatoes (cubed)
3 Carrots (cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 Celery Stalks (cut up)

Brown meat and onions in pressure cooker in oil with the lid off.

Combine hot water, salt, pepper, bouquet sauce, and bouillon in bowl; blend well.

Add cut-up vegetables to pot, along with the prepared liquid and bay leaf.

Cover pressure cooker, and when steam is built up, cook for about 15 minutes on medium. Let pressure drop naturally, or run pot under cold water to hasten.

Add 1 tablespoon of flour to about a half cup of cold water, and stir until smooth.
Add flour mixture to pot gradually, while stirring stew, and bring to a boil for one minute, until the stew thickens.

Serve with egg noodles. Enjoy!

Favorite Pancakes

Favorite Pancakes

1¼ cups sifted all-purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 tablespoon Sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
1 beaten Egg
1 cup Milk
2 tablespoons Oil

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine egg, milk, and oil.
Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
Bake on hot griddle.

Makes about 12 silver dollar pancakes, or eight 4-inch pancakes.

*For thinner pancakes, add 2 tablespoons milk to batter.

Blueberry Pancakes: When undersides of pancakes are nicely browned,
sprinkle about 2 tablespoons drained blueberries over each pancake.
Turn, brown other side.

Buttermilk Pancakes: Substitute buttermilk for regular milk.
Add ½ teaspoon baking soda and reduce baking powder
to 2 teaspoons.

Super Sweet Potatoes

My husband, Joe, and I make sweet potatoes like this all the time. If you want your sweet potatoes to have a buttery flavor, you can certainly add butter to them when you add the cinnamon and brown sugar. Enjoy!

Super Sweet Potatoes

You will need:

Whole Sweet Potatoes (figure ½ to 1 whole per person)
Brown Sugar


Cook whole sweet potatoes in microwave oven, in conventional oven, or on grill until soft.

Cut each sweet potato in half, and mash gently in skin. Sprinkle cinnamon on each half.
Press 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar into each half. Drizzle with molasses.

Bake in oven or toaster oven, or grill on foil, until brown sugar and molasses are melted,
and potato is hot.