Comfort Food - Grandma's Salmon Casserole

Cooking While Sheltered in Place

I admit I am not much of a cook. So I depend on my friends to share their recipes. This week I asked them what they were cooking while sequestered at home. They so inspired me that I might have to do something besides throw together a salad or open a can of soup for dinner.  Cynthia

Here is what they are making...

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

From my friend Chris

Flavorful recipe for this farm raised fish that is easy and done in minutes! The fish is broiled with a creamy cheese coating for an impressive flavor and texture.


½ Cup Parmesan cheese

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2-3 Tablespoons Pesto

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon onion powder

⅛ teaspoon celery salt

2 pounds tilapia fillets


Step 1

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

Step 2

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

Step 3

Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook the fish.

My friend Lynn shared her Grandmother's Depression era cookie recipe. 

Best Cookies!

2 cups “quick rolled oats “
1cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon
1egg slightly beaten
Teaspoon vanilla

Mix oats, brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla together . Let sit overnight ( or for 4 to 5 hours)
Add salt and egg
Put dough on cookie sheet, ( on parchment paper ) slightly flatten the dough
Put in 350 oven for 11 to 14 minutes
You can add dried cranberries or raisins
You could switch out almond extract for vanilla
Really good!

Lynn also shared her Pineapple Cucumber salad. Okay. This looks like something I can do.

Pineapple cucumber salad

Pineapple tidbits
Lime zest
Lime juice

Frozen pineapple tidbits
(you could use fresh pineapple for sure tho)
Cut up cucumbers small pieces
Add lime zest and lime juice
Add mint leaves
Mix all together ...

That easy! Refreshing and delish!
My friend Barbara made this and served it in a martini glass! So fun.

From my Canadian best friend Virginia. She's been baking the ultimate comfort food - cinnamon rolls. She got the recipe online from Newfoundland Recipes...

Cinnamon Rolls

2 cups flour
½ cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup of butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ cup brown sugar

Mix flour, shortening, milk, baking powder and salt together, then roll out in a rectangle shape. 

In a separate bowl mix butter, cinnamon and sugar together

Spread mixture over dough

Roll dough into a log

Cut into slices of desired thickness

Place on parchment lined baking sheet

Bake @ 350 for 15 minutes (might take longer to bake depending on thickness you cut them)

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

My friend Chris and I have been friends since 7th grade. I spent a lot of years hanging out at her parents house, eating her mother's great cooking.

Tomato Aspic (Mom’s easy and delicious)

Serves 6 Prep 10 minutes Total time 4 hours. Can be made a day or two ahead.

2 Cups Tomato Juice
½ Small Onion diced
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper

Heat the above 4 ingredients to boiling point stirring constantly. Turn off heat and let sit for about 3-5 minutes to let the onion flavor come through. Strain and return juice to pan (you can keep the onions for another recipe or discard). Keep tomato juice hot to dissolve Jello.

To the hot juice, stir in and dissolve:
1 Small pkg. Lemon Jello
2 Tbsp Vinegar

Pour into an 8”X 8” pan or individual molds or dishes. Chill 1-2 hours until slightly thickened so vegetables stay suspended when added.

Add to slightly thickened Jello:
½ Cup Celery chopped
½ Cup Green Pimento Olives drained and sliced or chopped
Adding Diced avocado and crab meat are delicious just drain the crab meat well.

(I have not tried this but the original recipe says you can add any other vegetable to this)

Return to refrigerator until thick and solid.

Served a square on a lettuce leaf

For final topping:
Chop ½ - ¾ of a peeled cucumber and mix into about ¾ cup of mayonnaise. Mix well and serve a dollop on your aspic.

My friend Diana who lives out in the country in Oregon whipped up a stir fry. She had no recipe. But wrote down what she included for us.

Teriyaki Stir Fry

*Thinly slice carne asada cuts of beef. Can also use boneless pork loin or chicken breast

*Marinate in prepared (I use Lawry brand) teriyaki or can use Sesame Giner. For at least 1/2 hour.

*Slice or Julian: asparagus tips, broccoli florets, carrots, celery & yellow onion. Sprinkle with your favorite spices. I use either lemon pepper or herbs de Provence.

*Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in skillet. Add vegetables. Stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add about 3 tablespoons water. Cover & let simmer for no more than 5 minutes.

*Transfer veggies to a covered dish

*Add two more tablespoons olive oil to pan. Add marinated protein to pan. Continue on high heat. Sauté until protein cooked through. Usually 5-10 minutes.

*Add veggies & stir with protein to warm up

*Serve over bed of jasmine rice (I add 2 tablespoons of wild rice when cooking rice for added “nutty” flavor.

Just the Toppings Salad

My friend Jo comes from a family of olive oil producers. And boy does she know how to cook with olive oil. She came up with this recipe herself.

Canned pickled beets
Garbanzon beans
Fresh mozzarella
Small grape tomatoes
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Cut everything to bite size pieces
Drizzle olive oil and red wine vinegar
Toss and sprinkle lots of salt and pepper over all

"I made this recipe because when I ate salads I only liked the things they put on top of the salad. So I decided to make a recipe that had only the toppings and no lettuce products. Everyone I have made this for asks me for the recipe. Also, I use a very high quality extra virgin olive oil that tastes like my grandfather's oil. It's expensive but worth it."

Karen and I have been friends since 6th grade. She now lives in France and sent this hummus recipe


(Use a VitaMix or BlendTec Twister Jar to make this recipe)

Add to blender in this order:
2 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
1 clove garlic, halved (use SMALL clove!)
1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1-15 oz can chick peas (garbanzos), drained (conserve liquid)
1/3 cup liquid from chick peas

Blend until completely smooth. Add the 1/3 cup liquid sparingly the first time you make this to get your desired consistency. I use it all, and mine is not thin.

Variations I like to add:
Roasted garlic instead of garlic. I like about 1/2 bulb (8 or so cloves roasted in the bulb—makes the house smell lovely for a couple of days)
Replace lemon juice with lime juice and add 1 cup of cilantro
Add 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. cayenne to above recipe for a little spicy dip

Karen also sent a fish and fruit salad recipe from her French cousin.

Fish and Fruit Salad

1 avocado diced
1 medium apple, peeled and diced
1 grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and cut into pieces
1 6 oz can white albacore tuna
6-8 oz cooked crab, cut into pieces
6-8 oz cooked shrimp, 30-40 per pound size, left whole
1 lobster tail (6 oz), cooked and cut into pieces

1/3 C. mayonnaise
2-3 Tbsp BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp. mustard
herbs: dill, or cilantro, or purple onion (finely diced), or saffron

NOTE: I think the fun of this recipe is to vary the ingredients to your taste. I got the recipe from my French cousin without ANY amounts suggested. The above amounts on the fish and fruit as well as the dressing are my suggestions, and can be varied to your tastes!

Stacked Shrimp Enchilada

Another friend from high school, Stephanie, recommended this Stacked Shrimp Enchilada recipe from My Recipes. Here is the link.

Pumpkin Bread

My friend Judy makes 5 small loaves (5x3), filled about 2/3 full-timing was about 45 min @325 degr, or 35-40 min @350 degrees. She says,  "I made a bunch this past Christmas during December, froze them, then took them out before distributing -t hey freeze well. I use 1/2 t cloves just because I don't want it that clovey :-) The recipe is from Once Upon a Chef. Here is the link.

Obe Ata Stew with Chicken and Spinach

My friend Tricia in Washington sent me a recipe that her new son-in-law Kyle makes. It's from bon appétit. Here is the link.

And a couple more from my friend Karen in France

Thai Chicken

2 shallots thinly sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thin
1-2 Tbsp oil
3-4 tsp red curry paste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
4 freeze dried kaffir lime leaves (adds to appearance and taste, but can be replaced by lime juice)
400 ml. coconut milk (not cream and not the thin stuff you get in a big carton—use the milk)
20 g. cilantro

Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium high heat (high for wok). Add shallots and fry 3-5 min until translucent. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 min. stirring. Add chicken pieces; stir until coated. Add lemon grass, fish sauce, sugar, lime, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and decrease heat to simmer uncovered 15 min until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.

While chicken is cooking, strip cilantro leaves from stalks, and chop roughly. Stir half the cilantro into chicken. Taste. Add more curry and salt if needed. Pour into serving dish and sprinkle the rest of the cilantro on top. Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.

And of course, the ultimate comfort food...

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 C. salted butter, softened
1 C. white sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 tsp sea salt

Cream butter and sugars until well blended, then add next 3 ingredients until smooth.
3 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Mix dry ingredients and add gradually to butter-sugar mixture.

2 C. chocolate chips or chunks

Bake 8-10 min on parchment paper. Remove from oven and let rest 2 min on cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack. Tops should look a little moist if you want a chewy cookie. If you like a crisp cookie, bake longer until top looks done, approx. 10-12 min.