The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Everything in place, including the kitchen sink

By Cheryle Finley
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — I can finally say I have a kitchen again. With my sink and countertops installed last week, the kitchen can be used for its intended purpose.

As I’m filling the new cabinets all the drawers and shelves are neat and orderly, but I know it won’t really be a kitchen until I have a junk drawer. I might as well pick a drawer right now and put some odds and ends in it because you have to have a junk drawer in the kitchen. My mother has always had one, so that’s as it should be in my home, too.

I say thanks again to Mike Highley and Ryan Knell at the Carthage Lowe’s store for all their help. I knew what I wanted, and they helped make it a reality. The cabinets Mike designed are beautiful, and the stove Ryan suggested gets me a pan of boiling water in a matter of a couple of minutes. I love all the new things.  

The biggest thank you for the beautiful new kitchen goes to my sister-in-law Pam Roets and her husband, Mike. They have worked tirelessly getting the kitchen fixed, facing every challenge and were there with a “let’s fix it” attitude. They worked on every detail as if it were their own home, making sure things were as right and as they could be. I am forever grateful to them for all their help and experience. When you consider that my husband, Chris, has a receipt from a tetanus shot he had to get for an injury when he took out the first cabinets last October, they stayed the course for quite a few months. I just hope no one mentions kitchen remodeling to them for a while. I am in awe of those who build new homes from the ground up. I’m not sure how they do it unless they have great relatives.

I hope you were able to attend the Taste of Home Cooking School that was brought to Joplin last weekend by The Joplin Globe. I had so much fun seeing old friends and making new ones. And what’s not to like about getting to sample some of the dishes made by Jamie Dunn, the Taste of Home culinary specialist? Everything she prepared was delicious, but I was especially fond of the shrimp bisque. Had I not been in front of a crowd of people, I would have licked the bowl clean. Jamie had some great tips during the shows. We learned about hulling a strawberry with a straw, preparing a leek and salvaging our old springform pans. I can’t wait until the next time Taste of Home comes to town.  

I’m looking forward to Tuesday when I get to join Carol Parker on KSNF-16 at noon with some Mother’s Day ideas. With Mother’s Day just a week-and-a-half away, it’s time to start thinking about serving up something special for someone special.  

As my birthday creeps up on me, I can’t help but think about my father who died last June. On each birthday for the past three or four years, Dad would shake his head and tell me he couldn’t believe he had a daughter that old. I’m sure he would have been in total shock to be here Monday for my big 6-0. But I’m so lucky he was here with me to celebrate 59 birthdays. Starting Monday I’m going to be all over those senior citizen discounts.

Let’s have one more week of Taste of Home recipes. These are all from the newest Taste of Home cookbook. The cinnamon raisin bread is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack, and it makes two loaves so you can freeze one or share it with a friend. The Salisbury steak is fixed in the microwave, and if you follow the directions and don’t cook the meat on full power the patties will be just fine. If you use the prepared potatoes from the meat section, they will cook during the five minute rest time for the patties, and dinner will be ready in no time. The mini apple strudels use the phyllo dough Jamie used in one of her cooking school recipes. She reminded us that the dough will keep up to a year in the freezer and for a month in the fridge. Be sure to thaw it in the fridge and not on top of your counter to avoid a gooey mess. Have a wonderful week and happy eating!

Cinnamon raisin bread

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup raisins

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a bowl, combine the flour, 11/2 cups sugar, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins. Transfer 1/4 of the batter into each of two greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle half over batter. Repeat layers. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yields 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Speedy Salisbury steak

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound ground beef


2 tablespoons flour

1 (141/2 ounce) can beef broth

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 (41/2 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms

Mashed potatoes

In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties; place in a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover; microwave at 70 percent power for 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the flour and broth until smooth. Stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, basil and mushrooms. Turn patties; drain. Pour gravy over patties. Cover and microwave at 70 percent power for 5 to 6 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Gently stir the gravy; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes. Yields 4 servings.

Mini apple strudels

1 1/2 cups chopped peeled tart apples

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 sheets phyllo dough

Butter-flavored cooking spray

Confectioners’ sugar, optional

For filling, in a small bowl, combine the apples, sugar, walnuts, flour and cinnamon. Set aside. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface (keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent drying out). Spray with butter-flavored spray. Fold in half width-wise: spray again. Spoon 1/3 cup filling onto phyllo about 2 inches from a short side. Fold side and edges over filling and roll up. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo to make five more strudels. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits in tops of strudels. Spray with butter-flavored spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired. Yields 6 servings.