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My great-granddaughter, Scarlett, age 4, ready for first day of school.  Doesn’t have anything to do with recipes, but I thought she looked so cute!! 


With the busy holiday cooking marathon about to begin, I’ve featured a Taco Casserole that can be put together ahead of time and baked at the last minute; Angel Yeast Biscuits are a delicious accompaniment for your holiday dinner, and yummy Cheesecake Cookie Squares are a great addition to your holiday cookie collection for parties, drop-in company, or just a delicious treat with a cup of coffee, cider or hot chocolate!


Taco Casserole

On a busy baking day, put this together the night before or early in the morning and pop it in the oven for dinner!



1 lb. lean ground beef

¼ cup chopped onions

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

1  (1¼-oz) envelope Ortega Taco seasoning mix

½ cup water

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

1  (16-oz.) can refried beans

1  cup (½ of 8-oz pkg.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Toppings: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced ripe olives, sour cream and picante sauce


In a large skillet place broken up ground beef, chopped onions and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until meat is no longer pink, drain. Stir in Taco seasoning mix and water.  Cook, stirring, until thickened, set aside. Place the crushed tortilla chips in bottom of a greased 8 or 9-inch square baking dish. Spread the refried beans over chips. Then top with browned beef mixture and cheese.  Bake, uncovered at 375º for about 15 to 20 minutes till heated all the way through.  When ready to serve, top with lettuce, tomatoes and olives. Serve sour cream and picante sauce on the side.    

Makes about 4 servings




Angel Yeast Biscuits

Make these for your Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner. They’re so light and fluffy, they’ll “fly” right off the plate!!!



1   envelope active dry yeast

2  Tbsp. warm water

5   cups plain White Lilly flour

½ cup sugar

1  Tbsp. baking powder

1   tsp. baking soda

2   tsp. salt

1   cup shortening

2  cups whole buttermilk

Melted butter


Stir yeast into warm water to soften; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in softened yeast and buttermilk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or very lightly roll out to ½ inch thickness, Cut out with 2½ -inch biscuit cutter. (You can use a drinking glass, but dip it each time in flour before you cut). Place biscuits 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter.  Bake in preheated 400º oven for 12 to 14 minutes till golden brown. Brush again with melted butter when removed from oven.  Serve in a basket with colorful cloth napkin.  

Makes 18 biscuits

Cheesecake Cookie Squares

A great addition to your holiday cookie collection!

For an open house party, make 3 pans for 72 squares!




1  cup flour

¼  cup light brown sugar, packed

1   cup chopped pecans

 ½ (1 stick) butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350º. Combine flour,

brown sugar and pecans. Mix well by

hand with large spoon.  Add pecans

and mix well. Press into a lightly greased

9x3-inch baking dish. Bake for about 15

minutes until light brown. Set aside.



2   8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

1   cup granulated sugar

3   large eggs, lightly beaten

2   tsp. vanilla


Meanwhile, beat softened cream cheese and sugar together until smooth; add eggs and vanilla, beating well. (get all “lumps” out)  Pour over baked crust and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool completely. Chill. When ready to serve cut into squares, 4 across and 6 down. These are pretty sprinkled with colored sugar before baking.  Keep refrigerated between servings with plastic wrap over top.

Note:  Be sure & check out the Creamy Pumpkin Pie recipe in Nov. 2010 archives.  It calls for a can of sweetened condensed milk and is really good!

Stock up on eggs when they’re on sale…Deviled eggs are a good “side” dish when you need something more to round out a meal…Also be sure they’re at least one week old in your refrigerator or they will be almost impossible to peel.

Another reason to stock up: you’ll need a lot of eggs during the holidays for cookies, cakes, etc.

 Egg facts:  Store raw shell eggs in the refrigerator in their carton and they will keep about 4 to 5 weeks, way past the “pack” date.

What does the “pack” date mean?  It is usually a number from 1 to 365, (representing the number of days in the year.) 1 being January 1st and 365 being the last day in December.

A “sell by” date is the date a grocer puts on them, beyond which they should not be sold.  (It is not a “bad after” date)  With proper refrigeration, eggs should be good 3 to 4 weeks after you get them home.


“Granny’s Taste of Christmas” cookbook has over 293 of our family treasured holiday recipes. There’s an extensive kitchen “arithmetic” chart and tips throughout.  You’ll love the old fashioned Christmas carols for family “sing-alongs”. We personalize the autograph and ship immediately so you’ll have it for your holiday baking or gift giving. Choose the  “cookbooks” icon on our home page and proceed to order .

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