The Odessa Record -

Welcome to My Kitchen

From sandwich fillings to quick and easy casseroles


Graduation season is here and high school and college graduation celebrations abound. Most years this column features salads and sides for a crowd suggestions for all the celebrations, but this year the column is aimed toward the parents, the soon to be empty nesters who need to figure out cooking for less people.

There are several difficulties inherent to cooking for two. Packages, cans and bottles are geared to 4 to 6 servings. What do you do with the rest? Recipes for two are more prevent now, but tend to run to sandwiches and soup. Personally, I am not a fan of sandwiches, but it occurred to me, the filling of the sandwiches in current magazines and cookbooks would make a great salad or casserole.

The 2018 issue of Taste of Home, Cooking for Two, has a recipe for Mediterranean Turkey Wraps, submitted by Donna Noel of Gray, ME. Following is my version, Mediterranean Turkey Salad.

Mediterranean Turkey Salad


3 Tbsp mayonnaise

8 pitted Greek olives

1 1/4 tsp capers, drained

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 small clove garlic


2 cups shredded lettuce or other salad greens

1 cup diced, cooked turkey

1 medium tomato, chopped or 1 cup cherry tomato halves

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Make dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a blender and processing until smooth.

Combine all salad ingredients, tossing to mix well. Divide between two salad plates and top with dressing. Yield: 2 servings.

Note: a half cup of crushed corn chips sprinkled over the salads adds a satisfying crunch to the dish.

In the same magazine, is a recipe for Rotisserie Chicken Panini, submitted by Terri McCarty, Oro Grande, CA. I turned the ingredients into a nice casserole for two with the addition of a can of condensed cream of celery soup.

Rotisserie Chicken Casserole

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of celery soup

3 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp prepared pesto

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

3 Tbsp milk

2 slices sourdough bread, cubed

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/4 pound sliced rotisserie chicken

4 slices cooked bacon, broke in 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup chopped red onion

4 slices ripe tomato

Combine, soup, mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pesto, pepper and milk in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss cubed bread with the melted butter and set aside.

In a small greased casserole, layer chicken, bacon, mozzarella, onion and tomato. Pour soup mixture over ingredients in casserole. Gentle tap the dish on the counter to settle the sauce. Top with the buttered bread cubes, pressing them into the surface of the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until bread cubes are browned and mixture is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 2 servings.

Cooking in foil packets is another way to conquer cooking for two, especially if you are grilling meats on the barbeque. New red potatoes from farmers markets or from your own garden, are easy to prepare in this fashion. Red Potato Bundles, also in the Taste of Home, Cooking for Two magazine, submitted by Kriss Erickson, Kalauea, HI, is good with any grilled meat, and a savory addition to any meal.

Red Potato Bundles

6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 whole garlic cloves, peeled

2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1-2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

Dash ground black pepper

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Divide potatoes, onion and garlic between 2 pieces of heavy duty foil about 12-15 inches square. Top with rosemary, salt, pepper and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.

Fold in edges of foil to form packet and seal tightly.

Grill, covered, over medium heat for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Carefully open foil to allow steam to escape. Yield: 2 servings.

Note: to bake in the oven, place packets on a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Small red potatoes make wonderful potato salads, and the occasions will come requiring food for a crowd. The kids will return with laundry and relatives will show up over the summer. Dilled Potato Salad is ideal for feeding a crowd, yielding over 2 quarts salad, and now is a perfect time to make this salad especially if you have some young dill growing in your yard.

Dilled Potato Salad

4 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed, cooked, drained and cut in 3/4 inch chunks

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup minced red onion

1/2 cup minced fresh dill

Put prepared potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar, tossing lightly to evenly coat.

In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, salt and pepper, blending until smooth. Stir in onion and dill.

Pour dressing over potatoes, toss gently to coat well. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours before serving. Yield: 12-15 side servings.

Share your favorite small batch, or cooking for two recipes with your fellow readers. Summer and harvest jobs will soon have Odessa cooks preparing food for varying meal times. Share your best recipes for summer meals that hold well for several hours, and are refreshing during summer heat. Mail to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. As flower and garden beds are cleared of weeds, mulch with straw or grass clippings to discourage new weed growth and preserve moisture in the soil.


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