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It was obvious when I visited Lois Ann Johnson that she was a pet lover. On the wall was a big picture of her dog, Max, who was 9 years old when he passed away last year. And coming to the door with Lois Ann was Kobey, who she adopted from a friend last spring when Kobey was 10 years old. Kobey just quietly sat at our feet while we visited. Lois Ann also had a 15-year old cat, Scamp, who just passed away one month ago. I managed to get Lois Ann’s picture beside her picture of Max. That evening when I got home she had sent me a picture of Kobey, which I’m also including today.
Lois Ann is a retired church secretary. She was married to her husband, Richard, for 46 years before he passed away in 2001. Lois Ann grew up in Ottumwa. She graduated from Cedar Falls College, which was at that time Iowa State Teachers College. After she and Richard were married they lived in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls areas for about 30 years. They moved to Humboldt, transferring with Richard’s job in the Electric Utility Business (NIMECA). She told me she has lived in Humboldt for 20 plus years. Together they had four children who all grew up in Cedar Falls. She is a proud grandmother of five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Lois Ann is an active member of Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt. She stays very busy singing in the choir, playing hand bells and playing the violin. She also is a part of the Charity Circle and United Methodist Women. PEO Chapter OA and the Hospital Auxiliary are two more organizations that keep her busy. She works in the Hospital Auxiliary Coffee Shop at the Humboldt Hospital at least once a month. Her hobbies include gardening (in the summer), cooking and caring for pets.
Her preferred menu would be rib eye steak, rare, baked sweet potato and corn on the cob when in season. It was evident that she loves to cook by all the appealing recipes she shared with us today.

Grammy’s Baked Beans
This was her mother’s recipe and her family loves it!
32 ounce can pork and beans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup chopped onion
Several strips of bacon (your
choice as to how many)
Brown bacon in skillet until crisp; set aside to drain. Sauté chopped onion in bacon drippings until slightly soft, but do not brown. Cut up cooked bacon, add rest of the ingredients and put in a greased casserole dish. Depending on what temperature the rest of your meal is cooking, I usually do 400 degrees for about 1 to 2 hours. If a lower temperature is used, it will take longer. Try to get most of the juices to reduce so the beans are thicker and not runny.

Stuffed Mushroom Appetizers
Lois Ann received this recipe from her sister.
1 package hot pork sausage
1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 large egg yolk
(3) 8 ounce packages
mushrooms, stems removed
A day before serving, brown the sausage in skillet; add oregano; cool. The next day, combine all of the ingredients together (except the mushrooms) and put about a tablespoon of the mixture in the cap of each mushroom. Sprinkle with a little of the reserved cheese; sprinkle with paprika. Put in an oiled baking dish and bake 350 degrees (uncovered) for about 25 minutes. Best if appetizer is served at room temperature.

Asparagus Roll-Up Appetizers
30 slices bread (I use white
sandwich bread)
(2) 8 ounce containers herbed
cream cheese, room
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
30 asparagus spears, cooked (I
cut each spear in half if they
are long)
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove crusts from bread and use a rolling pin to flatten each slice. Combine herb cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, seasoning salt and mayonnaise, mixing well. Spread cheese mixture on bread, covering well. Lay one asparagus spear on each slice of bread and roll up; place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Brush each roll with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Hospitality note: These can be prepared in advance and frozen; then baked just before serving.

Fruit Salad
This is good in the summer when there is a lot of fresh fruit. This salad keeps really well.
1 banana
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup raspberries
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne
1 or 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup watermelon chunks
1 cup cantaloupe chunks
1 cup cut up strawberries
1 cup raspberries or blackberries
1 cup blueberries
Blend first 8 ingredients together; add poppy seeds; set aside. Put all of the fruit in a large container and pour the marinade over.

Marinated Tomatoes
This recipe is from Lois Ann’s daughter.
2/3 cup oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh dill
1 tsp. fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Tomatoes, quartered, add as
many tomatoes as you want

Strawberry Pie
This recipe is from Lois Ann’s sister.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 package strawberry Jell-O
1 to 1-1/2 quarts fresh
strawberries, sliced
Cook until clear and thick; add Jell-O. Cool; then add strawberries. Pour in prepared and cooled pie shell. Serve with whipped cream.
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
Blend in food processor or with pastry blender. Press into 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool.

Mexican Tortilla Soup
This recipe is from Lois Ann’s sister.
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups frozen corn
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper,
diced, seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
(2) 14 ounce cans chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can condensed tomato soup
Crushed tortilla chips
sour cream
Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft; add garlic. To that, add all the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE TORTILLA CHIPS AND SOUR CREAM.
Simmer covered for one hour, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, pass the tortilla chips and sour cream for garnish.

Favorite Meatloaf
Family favorite, “comfort food.”
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork (or pork
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
and onion
2 eggs
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meats, cracker crumbs, onion, green pepper, eggs, basil, salt and pepper and catsup in large bowl. Shape in loaf and put in a lightly oiled baking pan. Pour topping mixture over the loaf and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches
Another “comfort food,” a
family favorite.
2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
dash Tabasco
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 cup water
dash garlic powder
1/2 cup catsup
Brown meat and onion; add remaining ingredients; simmer 1 to 2 hours. Serve in sandwich buns with pickles on the side.

Italian Spaghetti
Family favorite.
2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
(2) 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
(2) 12 ounce cans tomato paste
7-1/2 ounce can ripe olives
2 envelopes spaghetti sauce mix
3 cups water
1 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over cooked spaghetti and pass the Parmesan cheese.

Swiss Steak
Another family favorite.
2 pounds round steak
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large onion, sliced
14-1/2 ounce can tomatoes
8 ounce can tomato sauce
Brown meat; add remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered for 1-1/2 hours. Can also be baked in 350-degree oven for an hour.

Beef Stroganoff
Old family favorite.
1 pound cube steak
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
(2) 14 ounce cans cream of
mushroom soup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 can mushrooms, drained
Sauté cube steak and onion; stir in other ingredients; cover and cook for 45 minutes. Stir often. Serve over cooked noodles.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Lois Ann Johnson served this at a ladies luncheon.
1 package long grain and wild
rice mix, cooked
16 ounce package frozen
chopped broccoli, thawed
3 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 cup American cheese,
1 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 can mushroom soup
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a greased 13 x 9 inch pan, layer rice, broccoli, chicken, cheese and mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, soup, mustard and curry. Pour over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Sauté crumbs in butter and sprinkle over cheese. Bake 30 minutes until bubbling. Makes six servings.

Rigatoni Salad
Another family favorite.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 pound box rigatoni, cooked
green pepper, cucumber,
radishes, onion, cauliflower,
celery, onion
dried parsley
small jar pimentos
Mix oil, vinegar, sugar, spices, mustard in blender jar and mix well. Pour over cooked and drained pasta and raw chopped vegetables. Let stand in refrigerator for several hours before serving.

Easy Pastry
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups Crisco
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
8 tablespoons ice water
Mix flour, salt and shortening. Add vinegar, egg and ice water that have been stirred together. Makes 3 (9-inch) pie shells. Bake 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes if using as pie shell with filling.

Cranberry Salad
Lois Ann Johnson made this for the Christmas dinner at church last year. This recipe came from a cookbook from First United Methodist Church, Cedar Falls, 1992, which was her former church before moving to Humboldt.
2 cups fresh cranberries
1-1/4 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 ounce package raspberry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small can crushed pineapple,
1/2 cup orange sections
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Bring cranberries and water to boil. Add sugar and cook 5 minutes. Add Jell-O and salt; cool. Add the drained, crushed pineapple, orange sections and nuts. Pour into a 9 x 9 inch pan and chill until set. I like to serve this with a dollop of mayonnaise. She changed this recipe by omitting the oranges and adding 1/2 cup diced celery and 1/2 cup chopped apples. She also put in 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon when mixing in the Jell-O and salt. She likes the flavor of the cinnamon in the salad.

Rice and Mushroom Casserole
Good with steak.
1 cup raw regular rice (Uncle
Ben’s Converted)
1 can French onion soup
3/4 can water
1 stick margarine
2-1/2 ounce jar undrained
Put all ingredients in a 2 quart greased casserole with lid. DO NOT STIR. Bake 325 degrees for 1/1/2 hours.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.