I hope everyone has had a nice and windy week. I did some work outside and thought I would end up in Jasper. We didn’t make it to Galena Days on Friday evening, which probably worked out for the best, as the evening was cut short because of weather.

But we had a good reason for missing the fun. Beth Foust decided to have Frank and Betty Saferite’s granddaughter, Addie, that day, so needless to say, they were on cloud nine plus more than a little tired from a long night on Thursday.

I spoke with Betty on Friday morning as she sat in the Freeman Hospital waiting room, and she was in need of a phone charger. Hoping to help her out, I gathered several choices from co-workers and headed to the hospital, anxious and in hopes of arriving to good news about the bundle of joy. I pulled into the hospital entrance and saw the sign. The left arrow points you to the main entrance. The right arrow points you to deliveries. Honest to goodness, for a split second I thought I should follow the right arrow for deliveries if I wanted to get to the baby place. Then I realized they probably meant parcel deliveries ,so I made a left turn and found my friends.

We were able to attend Galena Days on Saturday night and had such a fun time, seeing lots of familiar faces and enjoying the Duke Mason Band. Bill Hall and everyone involved with Galena Days does such a great job. We enjoyed their hamburgers for dinner but the funnel-cake line was too long, so we opted for dessert at the local Dairy Queen. Each visit brings back fond memories of the Dairy Queen many years ago in Carthage at Oak Street and Baker Boulevard when it was run by the Brackens. Always spotless, always great service and always a thank you. And I do mean ALWAYS.

My sister, Sue, and I would take our baths, put on our jammies and Mom and Dad would take us to the Dairy Queen. I always got an ice-cream cone, and Sue always got potato chips and a Coke. Even to this day, she does not care for ice cream. Strange. After dessert that night, we headed to the hospital, and I got my hands on the precious little girl I look forward having join us on some of our outings. As we drove down Seventh Street into Joplin, we were already planning to take Addie and my grandson, Atlas, to the Route 66 Carousel Park for the fun rides.

A few weeks ago, Avis Rudd of Seneca had called to invite me to the Swars Prairie Baptist Church 140th anniversary celebration. I excitedly wrote down directions, and I was going to arrive at around 1:30, eat lunch, get recipes, then stay for the outside entertainment. Yes, it was Duke Mason. My big plan was to be there when Duke and Stephanie arrived and surprise them. Long story short, I failed to take my directions with me, got lost and had to call Stephanie so I could meet them in town and follow their lead to the church. So much for the surprise.

We arrived well after lunch, but I was still able to enjoy some Barney’s Kitchen brisket as well as some dessert. I’m sorry I missed out on all the wonderful dishes prepared by the members of the church, as well as the home-churned butter. But they served cake and ice cream as we sat outside and enjoyed the gospel music and I, unlike my sister, never turn down ice cream. It was so nice of them to invite me, and I apologize for my late arrival. But I’m hoping Avis will send some recipes I can share with everyone.

We have three very different recipes today. The butternut squash and tomato gratin recipe is from “The Dinner Doctor” and is so good. It’s hearty enough to use as a vegetarian meal and another one of those vegetable dishes that add a little variety. Quickly fix the cheddar and bacon muffin melts using rotisserie chicken and ready-to-serve bacon. Different muffins can be tried for different tastes. Sourdough ones would be good. This recipe is from “Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue.” And instead of a plain spice cake, spruce it up a little with apples and try the easy apple spice cake. This recipe is from “Cooking with Apples” and would make a great Father’s Day dessert.

I hope my dad and all fathers have a wonderful day Sunday. They deserve it. Happy Father’s Day and happy eating!

Butternut squash and tomato gratin

1 medium-size butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, drained

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp knife, trim off and discard the ends of the squash, then slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard them. Place squash halves, cut side up, in microwave and cover with waxed paper. Cook on high until soft yet still firm enough to cut into cubes, about 8 minutes. Carefully remove squash from oven and place on cutting board. Remove waxed paper and let squash cool enough to handle. Peel squash and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass or ceramic baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the tomatoes on top of the squash and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Bake until the cheese melts and the squash and tomatoes are heated through, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.

Cheddar and bacon muffin melts

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of salt and pepper

2 English muffins, split in half and lightly toasted

Dijon mustard, to taste

2 small tomatoes, sliced

Thinly sliced rotisserie chicken breast

4 thin slices red onion

4 slices sharp cheddar cheese

6 slices ready to serve bacon, broken in half crosswise

Mix together paprika, salt and pepper; set aside. Place toasted muffin halves on baking sheet. Spread with mustard and top with tomato slices. Cover with chicken and sprinkle with spice blend. Top with onion slices, then cover with cheese. Place one slice of bacon in center of each muffin then make and X on top of the cheese with two more slices. Broil until cheese melts and bacon browns, 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately. Yields 4 open-face sandwiches.

Easy apple spice cake

1 spice cake mix

2/3 cup water

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups apples, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons butter

Blend half a package of cake mix with the water and egg in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until batter is smooth. Pour half the batter into greased 9 inch square pan. Combine remaining cake mix with cinnamon; add melted butter and vanilla. Toss with a fork to form large crumbs. Sprinkle half of crumb mixture over batter in pan. Arrange 1 cup of apple slices over crumb mixture. Carefully spoon on remaining batter. Arrange remaining apple slices over batter. Dot with butter and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until done. Serve warm. Yields 9 servings.

Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, Mo. 64802.

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