Party Sliders

Party Sliders

This is the perfect finger food to serve to your family and friends. It’s an easy-to-make appetizer that’s tastes butter-licious. And you just can’t go wrong with melted cheese.


½ cup butter

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ cup French fried onions, pulsed until finely chopped in food processor

1 package of 12 Hawaiian-style dinner rolls

¼ cup mayonnaise

Sliced turkey lunchmeat, 4 ounces

1 large tomato, sliced

12 slices of dill pickles

Sliced cheddar cheese, 6 ounces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt butter in sauce pan, remove from heat and stir in Dijon mustard and French fried onions.

Slice the entire slab of dinner rolls through the center to separate from top to bottom. Place the bottom half on a sheet pan; spread mayonnaise on it. Add the turkey, tomato, dill pickles, cheese and top half of dinner rolls. Sprinkle the butter mixture evenly over the top. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and tops of sliders are browned, 15-20 minutes. Cut into individual sliders and serve. Serves 6.

Breaded Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Guests will devour these breaded mozzarella cheese sticks, which are especially yummy when served with a side of marinara sauce or ranch dressing.

Breaded Mozzarella Cheese Sticks


1 cup vegetable oil

1 package of 12 string-cheese sticks

3 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups seasoned bread crumbs

Optional: Marinara sauce or ranch dressing


Heat oil on medium heat in a frying pan.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Put the flour on a plate and the bread crumbs on another plate.

Take each cheese stick and dip it in the egg; flour; egg; flour; egg and bread crumbs.

Take a pair of tongs and place each breaded cheese stick in the hot oil. Brown one side, which takes about 10-15 seconds, then turn onto other side and brown. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve mozzarella sticks on a platter with a side of marinara sauce or ranch dressing. Serves 6.

Blonde Brownies

Here’s a quick-and-easy recipe for blonde brownies, which are similar to chocolate brownies, but the batter is flavored with vanilla instead of chocolate. They are also called blondies or butterscotch brownies. In addition, if you add chocolate chips, which is what I like to do, they are known as chocolate chip cookie bars. I actually learned how to bake blonde brownies when I was in first grade and my teacher taught our class how to cook. That’s one of two memories that I have of Mrs. Gunner–the other was that she wore Keds sneakers in a wide variety of colors to match her clothes. I recall that we consumed our blonde brownies with our individual-sized cartons of milk. So grab yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!

Blonde Brownies


2 sticks butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

2 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and, if desired, nuts. Grease a 13” x 9” pan. Spread prepared dough into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 2 dozen bars.

Rancher’s Slow-Cooker Soup

Here’s an sausage soup recipe that’s perfect for cold winter weather as well as a busy lifestyle. After you put together the soup ingredients, you can slow-cook it for a few hours and then enjoy a delicious meal. This recipe calls for pinto beans, but you can substitute other types of beans that you have on hand. After you transfer the soup into serving bowls, you can garnish it with cheese, sour cream, sliced avocados and/or cilantro. Whether you live on a ranch or in the city, this slow-cooker soup is easy-to-make comfort food.

Rancher’s Slow-Cooker Soup


1 pound fresh sausage

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight

1 bell pepper or 3 stalks of celery

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

To garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, cilantro, etc.


1. In a large pan, cook sausage over medium heat; remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to pan and sauté until it’s soft, 5 minutes or so.

3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute or so.

4. Transfer cooked meat and sautéed vegetables to crock pot. Add the water, chicken broth, beans, bell pepper or celery, Rotel tomatoes, salt and pepper. Slow-cook on high 8-10 hours.

5. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and garnish as desired.

TIP: Serve along with a green salad and cornbread, butter and honey.

Persimmon Boozy Cake

Here’s a cake that’s full of spirit. It combines persimmons and whiskey. Persimmon trees are very attractive fruit trees that happen to grow where I live in Northern California. After the trees lose their leaves, you can see the orange fruit hanging from the branches. Whenever I’m lucky enough to get a bag of persimmons from someone I know, I let them ripen on my kitchen counter; once they become very soft, I scoop out the flesh and puree it in my food processor. My husband grows distillery corn that’s fermented to make whiskey, so I like to use that in my recipe. You can substitute brandy if you prefer. I bake this in a decorative Bundt cake pan but any tube pan will suffice. It’s a tasty way to disguise an alcoholic beverage as a dessert. Cheers!

Persimmon Boozy Cake


¾ cup raisins

¼ cup whiskey or brandy

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ sticks butter, softened

1 ½ cups persimmon puree

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 ¼ cups chopped walnuts or pecans


4 ounces cream cheese

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2/3 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt cake pan with butter.

Pour the whiskey or brandy in a small sauce pan over medium heat, and add the raisins. When the liquid starts boiling, stir the raisins around for a minute and then remove from the heat; cover and set aside.

Place the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and stir. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, persimmon puree, eggs and vanilla; add to the flour mixture. Fold in the raisins and whiskey or brandy. Add the nuts.

Transfer the batter into the greased Bundt cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 60-70 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool, carefully invert it onto a cake plate.

To make icing, beat together the cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and vanilla with a hand-mixer or stand mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Gradually add the water so that the icing is easy to pour. Spoon the icing over the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Garnish with the remaining nuts and serve.