Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Autumn Sausage Medley



I'm thinking it's definitely past Autumn in most parts of Canada now 
but the ingredients of this dish still speak to me of crisp Fall days.
Farmer Sausage, Butternut squash, apples flavoured with a touch of Rosemary - what's not to like?
  • 1-2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 apples, cubed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts drained (optional)
  • 1 red pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 large mushrooms quartered
  • 1 link Farmer Sausage cut into 1 inch pieces (you can use garlic or Kielbasa sausage if you like)
 Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

    1. Saute' apple and squash in 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan until lightly browned.  Remove to 3 or 4 cup casserole dish.
    2. Place onion, red pepper and mushrooms in pan, and saute' until wilted adding more oil if needed.
    3. Remove to casserole dish. 
    4. Add sausage pieces.
    5. Mix cornstarch and 1/2 cup apple juice in a small bowl.  Set aside.
    6. Add remaining sauce ingredients to pan  stirring well until sauce boils. 
    7. Add cornstarch mixture and stir and cook until sauce returns to a boil and thickens. If you like a sweeter sauce, feel free to add more honey. Add more cornstarch mixed with a bit more apple juice if you'd like the sauce a bit thicker.
    8. Pour sauce over ingredients in casserole dish and bake at 350˚ for 30- 45 minutes or until squash and onion are tender.
    9. Serve over rice or noodles.
    10. Serves 4-6.

    Flash Back Friday ~ Molasses Kissed Pumpkin Pie




    I first posted this Pumpkin Pie in 2013.  It's still our favourite and I think you will find it easy to put together for your family too! 

    There is no need to buy pumpkin pies from a bakery when they are really so simple to make.
    If you don't have time to make your own pastry, purchase a package with two frozen deep dish shells and use one of the shells to cut out little leaves with the thawed pastry for garnish.

    • 1 9 inch deep dish pie shell or make your own  (this can be done ahead of time)
    • 1 3/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (about 1 -  15 ounce /398 ml can)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk  (can sizes vary between US and Canada)
    • 1 tablespoon molasses
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves*
    • dash nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Adjust oven rack to second lowest level. Line a 9 inch deep pie plate with pastry. Decorate edge with leaf cutouts or crimp with your fingers or 
    2. Whisk together the pumpkin with the remaining ingredients until smooth. If you have a blender, put all the filling ingredients in there and process until smooth.
    3. Pour carefully into the pastry crust.  To prevent the crust edges from becoming too dark, use kitchen shears to cut out the inside of an aluminum pie plate and cover the pie as shown in the photo.  
    4. Bake at 425 F. for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 35 minutes.  Test by putting a sharp knife an inch from the edge. It should be clean.
    5. Cool on rack.  Only refrigerate the pie if it is not being served the same day it is baked.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream.  Refrigerate leftovers. 
    *if the cinnamon, ginger and cloves are not spices you use often, purchase pumpkin pie spice and use 2 teaspoons. 

    School Lunches from the Kitchen


    September is here with all of its joy of new school clothes and school supplies for the kids, while parents make renewed resolutions for organization toward a healthy and happy family lifestyle. I am a Grammy now, with all of that behind me, but still so clear in my memory. In fact, I have vivid memories of the lunches my mom packed for me and today, when I have thermos tea along with a ham, lettuce and mayo sandwich on a bun, my mind goes right back to my school desk at Sir James Douglas Elementary. The sandwich was always neatly wrapped in wax paper with a unique fold on top. If lunches can have such a lasting impact on a person, I like to think that it's food, not only for the body, but for the mind and soul. Maybe this is why I still like to help out my kids with a bag of pizza buns or pinwheels to put into the freezer, knowing that moms just get way too busy to keep up . . . and again, it's toward more than food for the body.


    A variety of homemade buns, rolls, cookies and  muffins will take a few hours of focused time to prepare but will go a long way toward stress free lunch packing for the next month. All of the suggested recipes freeze well and are ready to pack into a lunch bag along with some veggies, yogurt, cheese and fruit.

    With this post I just want to share a few favorite ideas. I'll add the links and more suggestions.



    The pizza buns are made with a quick French bread dough, pizza sauce, cheese and bacon bits. One recipe makes about 30 buns. The banana chocolate chip muffins make a nice treat in miniature size for younger kids.


    These sausage rolls are posted as a recipe on my personal blog, but I will give you the method here quick. You will need half of a skinny farmer sausage, quartered lengthwise, so that you have four long strips of sausage. Then, using 3 cups of the  the Basic Large Biscuit Mix, mix in 1 egg and 1 cup buttermilk. Roll it out to about 16 X 12 inches and divide it into four strips to roll the sausage up in. Cut these long rolled up sausage strips into small segments to make two dozen sausage rolls. Bake at 400 F about 15 minutes or until golden. The treat in this lunch is a mini chocolate zucchini muffin.


    Cheese stuffed breadsticks are also made with French Bread dough. I made these with half whole wheat, half unbleached white flour. The recipe makes 24 to 32 bread sticks.



    Maybe you have someone who prefers salads to sandwiches. A favorite pasta salad is a great idea. I added some left over rotisserie chicken into this lunch and some raisin oatmeal cookies which I have not posted, but there are a lot of cookies on this site to choose from. Plain mini meatballs (without the glaze or sauce) are also good in a lunch.



    I was sure I had posted this quiche, but found out it's one I can still do in the future. A friend of mine told me her grandchildren love taking quiche in their lunch. They are easy to prepare. You can use frozen pastry tarts and simply fill them about 3/4 full with your choice of quiche filling. Bake at 400 F about 20 minutes.



    Bev's Ham and cheese pinwheels have become a favorite just in this past year. If you love to roll out pastry and play with it, this is for you. These treats are a bit of work but very rewarding as the recipe makes about 60 pinwheels. Pop them frozen into a lunch bag and they will be good at noon. I use the cooked ham that comes cut square (375 g package) and quarter each slice for the perfect size on each pinwheel square. You can use only cheese if you like. If your school is not a peanut free zone, try the rice crispy chocolate rolls for a treat. Dried mango or apple slices might be something your kids like.



    Biscuits, along with a few favorite things to nibble on may be a nice change for some. Split them to add butter or jam.


    And last but not least, an old family stand by, are plain or whole wheat buns for sandwiches. Shape them large for bigger sandwiches or small, almost touching when you put them on the pan, so that they turn out more like a soft roll. Some kids love the "no crust" feel. Slice them before freezing, so that they can be filled on the day of, while frozen. If you want to minimize processed meats, use egg or tuna salad, homemade roast beef, chicken or ham. Home cooked meat is easiest to slice thinly once cooled.

    I hope that lunch making can be an enjoyable time for whoever prepares it. Sometimes parents need for their kids to prepare their own lunch but again, to eliminate stress, prepare or delegate someone to peel and chop vegetables once a week and keep them in sealed containers with a bit of water. Ripen fruit on the counter, then wash and put in fridge when good to go. Have sandwich options and snacks readily available. If you pack a lunch and find out it does not get eaten, find out what needs changing. Sometimes younger children just feel like they do not have enough time to eat. Some like to know what is in their lunch in order to look forward to it. Some like a surprise. Know your own child to work toward a happy lunch experience. One day this too will only be a memory.

    For more ideas, try a search of cheese straws, muffins, pizza muffins, vegetable muffins,wiener rolls, meat buns, baked oatmeal, cookies or school lunches in the recipe search window near the top of the sidebar.



    Orange Peach Jam


    Combine this jam, slightly runny and rich in citrus flavor, with cream cheese on a bagel OR with a barbecue sauce to use as a glaze on baked meatballs. I have given quite exact numbers when it comes to the fruit, but it does depend on size of fruit.

    Ingredients for one batch:
    (the goal is approximately 7 cups raw fruit blended before adding sugar, equaling 8 cups cooked, for one batch. I recommend doubling the amounts and cooking two batches)
    • 9 ripe peaches
    • 3 seedless oranges
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
    • 3 tablespoons Certo Light or 1 pkg regular pectin

     Method:
    1. Wash jars and lids. Place clean jars in 225° F oven to keep hot. Place lids in small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off element, covering pot to keep lids hot.
    2. Peel peaches, quartering them to remove pit. In blender, blend only for a few seconds until barely smooth. Can have a few tiny chunks. Pour into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
    3. Peel oranges with potato peeler. Remove pith (white part) and discard. Blend orange segments with the orange rind until thick and smooth, for about 1 minute.
    4. Combine blended oranges and peaches. Measure out 7 cups (or at least 6) to pour into large stainless steel pot.
    5. Measure 1/4 cup of the sugar, blend with pectin and stir into fruit. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, bring to boil on high heat.
    6. Add 4 1/4 cups sugar all at once and continue stirring until it comes to a full boil once more.
    7. The whole top layer should be bubbling before setting the timer. Boil for three minutes, while stirring and making sure it cooks hard the whole time. If it splatters quite a bit, turn down the heat just a tad.
    8. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot jam into jars and cover with lids to seal. Repeat process if cooking more batches.
    9. Cool sealed jars at room temp before storing. Jam thickens as it cools.
    I prefer storing jam in the fridge or freezer, so that it keeps fresh tasting, but you do not have to if it is sealed. You can tell if it's sealed if the center of the lid is slightly inverted rather than rounded. Do not push it in by hand.

    Blueberry Lemon Loaf


    This bread will have you thinking of coffee time, but not only that.  Serve it warm with ice cream for dessert or leave it out for breakfast. It's not very sweet, yet filled with lots of lemon and blueberry flavor. Switch it up with orange rind, if you like.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • rind (grated) from one large lemon
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream (I use 7% fat)
    • 1/4 cups oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups blueberries. (fresh or frozen)
    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or line with parchment paper, one 5x9 inch loaf pan.
    2. Mix dry ingredients along with rind. 
    3. In separate small bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry along with blueberries.
    4. Stir until just combined and spread into loaf pan.
    5. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, until cake tests done with pick. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
    6. If desired, drizzle with a mix of 3/4 cup icing (confectioners) sugar and juice of about 1/2 lemon. 


    Alvina's Cinnamon Twists


    For this Flashback I want to remind you of these sweet little twists I first sampled in Alvina's kitchen many years ago. Alvina is my cousin by marriage and lives about 1500 miles from us, but the visits we’ve had as families have been the best! Besides being an excellent cook and home-maker, Alvina has a wonderful warm personality and the best laugh!. I love reminders of our times together and when I make these I wish that the distance between our houses would not be so far.




    More recently, this recipe came up when MGCC were invited to do a cooking class in Shipshewana, IN, and we demonstrated this simple biscuit pastry to be used plain, with a savory or a sweet filling.

    Ingredients:

    Your favorite biscuit or scone pastry. I use:
    • 2 c flour
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp soda
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
    • 6 Tbsp butter, room temp.
    • 1 c buttermilk or milk
    filling and icing:
    • 2 - 3 Tbsp melted butter
    • 3/4 c brown sugar 
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 Tbsp flour
    • 3/4 c icing (confectioner's) sugar

    Method:
     
    1. In medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter with pastry blender. 
    2. Add buttermilk, stirring with fork until dough holds together. Shape into a ball.
    3. Pat into a rectangular shape on lightly floured surface and roll out to a 6 x 24 inch strip.
    4. Spread with melted butter, then with sugar/cinnamon/flour (mixed)
    5. Starting from long side, fold over twice, so that you have a 2 inch strip that has 3 layers.
    6. Cut into 3/4 inch slices and twist each slice so that it looks like the figure 8. (right hand twists away from you and left hand toward you)
    7. Place on greased and floured (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet.
    8. Bake at 400F until golden. About 12 - 14 minutes. Yield: approx. 30 mini twists
    Icing:

    Fill a 1 c measuring cup 3/4 full of icing sugar. Stir while adding a little water at a time, until it has an easy spreading consistency. Drizzle or brush over warm twists. (If you did not use
    parchment paper, remove twists from sheet with lifter before sugar, that has run out, hardens.)


    Rollkuchen Meatpockets




    I remember the years when I was a teenager, we lived close to the church and my parents would often invite company home for lunch. My mom usually had a pot of soup ready and quickly made Rollkuchen to go along with the soup. It was pretty much the same, Sunday after Sunday, but she never stressed and everyone loved the meal. This recipe yields about 24 meatpockets or regular Rollkuchen ... you may want to double it. 

    Ingredients:
    • 2 eggs
    • ¾ c milk
    • 2 tablespoons vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 2 cups flour - could be more
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 generous teaspoons baking powder
    • 3 - 4 cups oil for frying
    Filling:
    • 1 - 2 cups left over sloppy joe sauce or chili



    Method:
    1. In a small bowl, mix eggs with fork and then mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.
    2. In another larger bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder, make a well and add the wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon, adding in the dry, until all ingredients are mixed well.
    3. Dust with flour and knead slightly jsut to gather and smooth. Add flour as needed so it is not sticky. (Can be wrapped and refrigerated at this time to roll and fry later.) Roll out quite thin on floured board or counter. 
    4. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling about one to one and half inches apart in a row, along one end.
    5. Fold dough over top of filling and press with a cup (dipped in flour) to form a perogie like crescent. No need to pinch. Lay on floured cookie sheet until all done before proceeding to fry. (If making regular Rollkuchen, simply cut into two inch strips and cut five inch lengths.  Cut a slit and flip one end through it to make a bow tie)
    6. Heat oil – test with a little dough to make sure it fries quickly, or throw in a few kernels of popcorn. Oil is ready when they pop. The trick to not have deep fried food soak up too much oil is to fry quickly in very hot fat. A cast iron works great. Use 2 forks or tongs and have a paper towel lined pan ready.




    Jam Rolls (Rollchen)

    I didn't realize until I was finished preparing this recipe that it is actually very much like Julie's Authentic Schnetki that she posted quite a while ago. You can find some nice variations there. For one reason or another, my family made them with jam and they have always been one of my hubby's favorite snack. Usually they just appear at our house with my Mom, who makes them regularly. The pastry can also be used for (fruit filled) Perishky.

    Ingredients:
    • 3 1/2 c flour plus some for shaping and rolling out
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 cup milk or water
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour cream)
    • 1 - 1 1/2 cups thick jam (we prefer plum or guava)

    Method:
    1. Cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender.
    2. Add combined beaten egg and liquids. Stir with fork until everything is moist.
    3. Sprinkle with a little more flour, kneading gently and shape into log. Can chill at this time.
    4. Divide log into four parts. Set aside three.
    5. Roll a quarter of the dough out - rolling it up gently with the rolling pin (or flipping) to add more flour underneath. Roll sideways and up and down to achieve desired size - about 16 x 10 inches.
    6. Divide into four rectangular strips, each about 4 x 10 inches.
    7. Along one long side of each strip, spread about 1 - 2 Tbsp thick jam.
    8. Roll up like jelly rolls, pinching ends. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Can freeze at this time to bake fresh when needed.
    9. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 375° F for 30 - 35 min.
    Some jam most always runs out - hence the parchment paper for easy clean up. This is why it is best to use thick jam, preferably cooked without pectin.


    Rhubarb Meringue Torte



    Here is a springtime favorite...with a press-in-the-pan shortbread crust that makes this dessert 'easier than pie'! 

    Crust:
    • 1 cup cold butter
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    1. Combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly.
    2. Pat into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan, and bake in 350 F oven for 10 minutes.
    3. Cool slightly.
    Custard:
    • 6 egg yolk
    • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 Tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into small pieces
    1. Beat egg yolks, cream, sugar, flour and salt together.
    2. Fold in rhubarb and pour over baked crust.
    3. Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes (until custard is set).
    Meringue:
    • 6 egg whites
    • pinch of salt
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    1. Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla until foamy.
    2. Add sugar gradually, and beat until stiff.
    3. Spread over custard and bake at 350° F until golden (about 10 minutes).

    Serves 12-15

    *This is a large recipe...can be halved and made in an 8 inch square pan.

    Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas


    I recently discovered this quick and easy method for preparing chicken fajitas.  The seasoned chicken and veggies are roasted in one pan in the oven.  While they are cooking, there is time to prepare the guacamole and other fixin's.

    • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
    • 1 red pepper, sliced
    • 1 green pepper, sliced
    • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
    • 1 medium onion,  halved and then cut in slices
    • 1-2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
    • fajita seasoning (recipe below) or 2 tablespoons of packaged taco seasoning mix
    • 6 - 8" tortillas 
    • Avocado, salsa, sour cream, cheese for toppings.

     Fajita Seasoning:
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  
    • dash of red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper  

    1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
    3. Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
    4. Distribute the veggies and chicken pieces evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Toss to coat.
    5. Bake for 15 minutes.  
    6. Stir and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and veggies are tender.
    7. Serve hot from the oven on warm tortillas with optional toppings, as desired.