The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

April 18, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Road trip proves it’s a small world

JOPLIN, Mo. — I had the opportunity to make a short road trip last week with my friend Carol. We headed to Lincoln, Neb. While at the Nebraska Press Association convention, I was introduced to that state’s governor and enjoyed a little of what downtown Lincoln has to offer.

There was, however, one brief moment during our visit that was a little eerie.

Carol and I visited with a young playwright named Becky from the area, and she mentioned she is in our area quite often as her parents live in Grove, Okla.

Then she volunteered that they live at Megan Coves. I had to get my senses about me and verify what she had said. Megan Coves is where my late friend Margaret Mullikin lived for several years. I mentioned my friend’s name and wondered if Becky’s parents knew Maggie when she lived there. Becky called her mother and, sure enough, her mother mentioned that the Megan Coves community was going to be planting a pink dogwood by the entrance gate the very next day in memory of Maggie. Who would have thought someone in Lincoln, Neb., would have such a close connection to me? We frequently say it’s a small world, and it truly is.

On our way to Lincoln, Carol remembered seeing a sign for an Italian restaurant somewhere not too far from our destination, but the timing for lunch was wrong. We decided to watch again on our way home for the big sign inviting us to eat some pasta.

The sign for Valentino’s is just outside of Nebraska City, so we made our way to the eatery, imagining we would have to decide which wonderful dish to choose. But, pulling into the parking lot, we saw one of the most wonderful words in the English language -- buffet. No need to narrow down our choices because they were all waiting for us in one place. Pizza, pasta, salad and s’mores pizza for dessert. If you find yourself in Nebraska City, Neb., look for Valentino’s and I guarantee you will leave with a full stomach and a smile on your face.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband Chris and I were going out to dinner with our friends, Betty and Frank Saferite. Betty was going to be preparing deviled eggs the next day, so, wanting to get a head start on the egg boiling, she covered the eggs with water in her slow cooker and left them cook on high while we went to eat, planning to finish them up on top of the stove.

We were gone a little longer than expected, and when we returned some four hours later, Betty cracked one of the eggs to see how much longer they would need to cook to get them hard boiled. To our surprise, the eggs were cooked perfectly and ready to cool and fix for stuffing. I’m not sure exactly how much time is needed to get the eggs hard boiled because it could be much less time than four hours. Finding that out would take a little experimenting, but the slow cooker method is certainly one to remember when you have time to leave the eggs alone and let them cook.

Today I’m sharing two recipes from the “Taste of Home” cookbooks that will be on sale at the Taste of Home Cooking School on April 27 and 28. Time is running out for you to get your tickets to this great event, so resolve to get them this week if you have not yet done so. You won’t want to miss the fun. I can’t wait to see what fabulous door prizes there are this year because they are always very nice. These are also two of the recipes I used when I visited Carol Parker Tuesday on Living Well. If you can’t find zucchini or are not a big fan, use any squash for the same tasty results in the Italian veggie skillet. Still without a kitchen, I cooked the honey-mustard turkey breast in my slow cooker, adding a little apple juice to the bottom of the cooker. Two easy recipes sure to please your family.

I’m also sharing a chili recipe from Brenda Speer of Diamond. She said she uses this recipe as a substitute for Fred & Red’s chili, and while she has regular chili recipes calling for tomatoes, this one does not, although it does contain tomato sauce. I have had several others tell me they thought tamales were the filler in the original. You can add more chili or less tamales to suit your personal taste. Brenda said she finds the brick chili near the hot dog section at the grocery store. I have again not been able to try this one, but with my kitchen remodel on the downhill side, I see spaghetti red cooking and eating in my future. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!


Italian veggie skillet

1 medium onion, halved and sliced

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed

1 large tomato, chopped

2 teaspoons minced fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion and red pepper in oil for 2 minutes. Add zucchini; saute 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in corn, tomato, basil, salt and Italian seasoning; cook and stir until heated through. Sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.


Honey-mustard turkey breast

1 (5 to 6 pound) bone-in turkey breast

1/2 cup honey mustard

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place turkey breast skin side up on a rack in a foil-lined shallow roasting pan. Combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over turkey. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 13/4 to 21/2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees, basting every 30 minutes. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Yields 10 to 12 servings.

Spaghetti red

1 large can Hormel tamales

1 brick of chili

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Place tamales in a pan, remove the wrappers and warm them on low heat. Mash them with a potato masher; add the brick chili and tomato sauce. Heat thoroughly. Serve over spaghetti.

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