Last month, I asked readers to share family favorite recipes and the wonderful memories that go along with them. The responses have nourished my soul.

In fact, many that have not yet appeared here will continue to be featured in future columns.

Alongside the old favorites, I would welcome readers who have mastered the latest kitchen gadgets to share new recipes. Over the holidays many a home cook may have been gifted an electronic pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, or maybe an air fryer. It’s time to pass on your knowledge to those of us who haven’t yet worked with these appliances.

And while many of us know someone who is always raving about what they just made in their Instant Pot, as a food columnist and cookbook author my kitchen is packed full of cookware and gadgets. I’m betting many of you will smile when I say my all-time favorite cookware includes a few brightly colored Dutch ovens and the navy blue-white speckled cookware pans with covers used through the years when it was time to bake a turkey or good sized beef roast with mashed potatoes and gravy.

My five slow cookers, however, are in need of attention and sit on basement shelves.

But that’s OK with spring’s arrival, there are new kitchen treats to look forward to — including the arrival of the season’s first asparagus.

Donna Brooks, Baraboo, shares this soup recipe.

Fresh asparagus soup

1 cup water

1 ½ cups fresh cut up asparagus

½ cup flour

4 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

Shredded cheese for serving, optional

In a large kettle, bring the water to a boil, and add the asparagus. Cook about 10 minutes and drain. Mix flour, milk, butter, salt and pepper in a large bowl and add the asparagus. Let the mixture come to a boil and serve.

Serves 4-6


Another favorite asparagus recipe from Brooks includes chicken and mushrooms.

Chicken and asparagus

4 cups cooked chicken, cut up

2 cups cooked asparagus

3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

4-ounce can of mushrooms, drained

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Buttered crumbs

In a buttered baking dish, layer chicken, asparagus, mushrooms and eggs. Using a saucepan, make sauce by melting butter, stirring in flour, milk, and chicken stock until thickened, then pouring over chicken ingredients, topping with buttered crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. This can be prepared the day before using.


Here is a chicken dish, now a favorite of the Rohde family, that was initially discovered in the cookbook, “Yes, You Can Have The Recipe” compiled by Maria Baker, Northbrook, Illinois, and described as being “creative, exciting, and loaded with warmth”.

Chicken in tomato wine sauce

¼ cup Wesson oil

1 chicken, cut into parts

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup peeled and sliced carrots

16-ounce can tomatoes

6-ounce can tomato paste

1 cup white wine

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oil in Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove chicken; add onion, celery, and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Bring sauce and vegetables to a boil. Return chicken to the Dutch oven and bake in 350 degree oven for 2 hours or until tender. Serve with rice or pasta and a fresh lettuce salad. Serves 4


Another chicken recipe was shared by Mike Repas who notes that his grandson especially enjoys this recipe because of the time constraints working full time at Clack Corporation in Windsor and a few days a week at Fleet Farm. Mike works with him in his spare time on “from scratch” dishes to make using his slow cooker that provides delicious meals when he arrives home from work.

Slow-cooker herbed chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon dry thyme

½ teaspoon dry basil

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon browning sauce (Kitchen Bouquet)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved horizontally

½ cup chicken broth

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl, mix well, then rub into chicken. Add chicken to a slow cooker (at least 5 quart size) add the broth, but do not pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with a vegetable, like green beans or peas and potatoes, rice or noodles.


Sandra Brandon responded to Karen Tyler’s request for a Pennsylvania Dutch chicken potpie recipe with one she has always remembered as being a connection to her husband’s grandparents who lived among the Pennsylvania Dutch many years ago. She isn’t sure if this is exactly what Tyler had in mind, but Brandon describes this recipe as being a “very delicious and comforting meal.”

Chicken and noodle potpie

5 pound roasting chicken, cut up

1 celery stalk, cut up

6 whole black peppers

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

4 medium potatoes (2 pounds) pared and sliced ¼ inch thick

1 cup sliced onion


1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Chopped parsley

Wipe chicken pieces with damp paper towels. Place in 6-quart Dutch oven with 6 cups of water. Add celery, peppers, salt, and saffron. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 60 minutes or until tender. Remove chicken pieces from broth; reserve broth.

Remove chicken meat from bone in large pieces; discard skin and bones. To broth, add potatoes and onions. Bring to boiling; simmer, covered until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove broth with slotted utensil.

Meanwhile, make noodles: In medium bowl, combine flour, butter and salt; mix with a fork. Make well in center. Add egg and 2 tablespoons water; beat with fork until ingredients are combined. On lightly floured pastry cloth or surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. With sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut into strips 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. To the boiling broth add noodles strips; return to boiling. Boil, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes.

To serve, add reserved chicken pieces and vegetables to broth. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Makes 6 servings


Time for something sweet? Here is Mona Fuszard’s favorite fruit compote that she’s treated her family to for many years. Her daughter, Susan, “a fabulous cook and baker” now prepares this for the family on special occasions. And thanks to daughter Kathy for making sure the fruit can sizes are correct.

Delicious hot fruit compote

15-ounce can of peach halves, drained

20-ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained

15-ounce can of apricot halves, drained

1 cup brown sugar

1 can cherry pie filling

1/3 cup apricot brandy

Place drained fruit in a 2-quart casserole dish; sprinkle with brown sugar and cherry pie filling. Pour over the brandy and bake at 350 degrees 35 minutes.


Doris Streiff, New Glarus, is a great cook whose “Down On The Farm” cookbooks compiled with great love have become treasures for me. Another sweet treat would be the molasses sugar cookie recipe given to her by a friend 50 years ago that remains her favorite cookie.

Molasses sugar cookie

¾ cup butter, softened

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup dark molasses

2 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon ginger

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Stir in beaten eggs and molasses. Sift flour with remaining ingredients; stir into creamed mixture. Chill. Shape balls the size of marbles, dip each one in white sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.

Who wants to go out for a bite?

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Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at