Pie Crust

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 T sugar
½ cup Crisco  (can use half butter - cold) 
4 tablespoons cold water (or less to feel)
Sift flour and salt into a medium-size bowl; cut in shortening with a fork or pastry blender (or your hands) until mixture has a fine-crumbed texture like cornmeal.  (This is the secret for the flaky crust).  Sprinkle water over, a tablespoon at a time; mix lightly with a fork just until pastry holds together and leaves sides of bowl clean.  Roll out, fill and bake, following instructions for your pie recipe.  This makes 1 9-inch crust.  Double for two pies.  
Note: If using salted butter, cut salt to 1/4 teaspoon.  
Can add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla to crust in place of part water
For double crust or one deep dish pie plate:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick cut in small slices)
2 tablespoons sugar
6 to 8 Tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
For prebaked crust recipe - roll out and fill pie plates.  Bake in 350 degree oven until lightly browned (about 30 minutes).  May need to cover with foil to prevent getting too brown.

Poppy Seed Dressing (Video)

½ cup white vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon onion, finely grated
1 clove garlic minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups salad oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Mix all ingredients in blender, adding oil slowly at end. This is a sweet dressing that works well over fruit or spinach.  Great over spinach or romaine with added strawberries, toasted pecans and sprinkles of blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese.



Potato Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup crushed fresh potato chips (or pretzels)
½ cup finely chopped pecans
Powdered sugar
Combine butter and the 1 cup powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat till well mixed.  Gradually beat in flour. Stir in potato chips and pecans with a wooden spoon. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Pull parchment paper with cookies off of baking sheet to cool. While cookies are still warm, sift with powdered sugar. Store in airtight containers.
Makes about 40.  

Roasted Chicken (Video)

1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil 
2 lemons (1 quartered, 1 whole for juice)
1 whole head of garlic peeled and separated into cloves
Rosemary sprig
2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced (optional)
2 cups chicken stock, divided 
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets.  Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.  Cut one lemon in quarters and place inside the chicken cavity along with half of the garlic cloves and rosemary sprig.  Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Place the sliced onions, carrots (if using), and additional garlic cloves in a large bowl and toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken. Add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the pan. If desired, squeeze juice from the second lemon over the chicken and veggies. 

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh and the skin is golden brown (between 155 and 160 degrees if testing with a thermometer). Remove the chicken to a platter, leaving the onions and garlic in the pan. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

Place the pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Add the remaining chicken stock and wine (if using) and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect on the platter under the chicken and taste for seasoning. Carve the chicken onto the platter and spoon the onions, garlic and sauce over it. Sprinkle with salt and serve. 



Sausage Egg Casserole

8 slices white bread 
2 cups milk
12 eggs 
1 ½ cups grated cheese
1 pound bulk sausage 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon dry mustard 
½ cup milk (additional)
Butter a long 3-quart Pyrex dish. Crumble bread and place in dish. Brown sausage, drain and cool. Beat eggs, add mustard, sausage, 2 cups milk and cheese. Pour over bread. Mix the additional ½ cup milk with mushroom soup and pour over top. Cover with aluminum foil and let set 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator. Bake uncovered in 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes until bubbly and brown. 
Serves 15 to 18.