I ate a Pop-Tart once when they first came out. I haven’t eaten another one. Therefore, it never occurred to me to make my own until I saw a recipe for a similar breakfast treat. You can fill it with anything you want. I’m going to use seedless strawberry jam next time. It was suggested to sprinkle the first layer with cinnamon and sugar. If I did that, I’d want to spread a cream cheese mixture down first. Then it would be coffee cake, not a Pop-Tart.

If you don’t like mushrooms, skip to the fried chicken salad recipe. If you do like mushrooms, you’re going to make this recipe for pasta in mushroom sauce often for a long time. It’s quick and really easy, but you do have to babysit it whilst it’s cooking and I much prefer to eat it as soon as it’s done even though it’s quite tasty reheated.

Fried chicken salad sounded about as appetizing as hot chicken salad did a few years ago. I found hot chicken salad to be evermore delicious, so here’s fried chicken salad. The recipe used cold, leftover fried chicken. I did, too. The recipe used skin-on, cold, leftover fried chicken. Not in a million years! I fried my own boneless, skinless chicken breast. It isn’t the same if you use store bought and peel the skin off.

The dressing is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The recipe makes more than you need for the salad. I used the remaining on an everyday green salad and loved it. It isn’t a make ahead dish, but you can make the dressing anytime and prepare the salad ingredients early. Dress it about half an hour before serving.

I’ve looked for the perfect sugar cookie recipe most of my adult life. I’ve found some good ones but never exactly what I had my mouth set for. I’ve shared all my findings with you. I think this is the one.

Homemade Pop-Tarts

2 cans Pillsbury dough sheets

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1/2 cup sweet orange marmalade

Melted butter

For the topping:

1 cup powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons cream or milk

Stir together until smooth. Add more milk if necessary.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray lightly with Pam. Lay one sheet of dough in the prepared pan. Brush lightly with melted butter. Stir together preserves and marmalade. Spread mixture evenly over dough.

Lay second sheet of dough over marmalade. Crimp edges. Pierce top with a fork at intervals. Brush lightly with melted butter. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden. Drizzle with creamy topping. Serve at room temperature.

Pasta in mushroom sauce

6-8 slices bacon

2 cloves minced or grated garlic

1 pound sliced, fresh mushrooms

12 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked according to package directions

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Chop and set aside. Add mushrooms and garlic to bacon drippings. Cook and stir until most of the mushrooms are brown. Add broth and cream to the skillet. Season to taste. Bring to low boil. Cook until slightly thickened. Add pasta, stirring to coat. Remove to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped bacon. Serve immediately. Some unusual shaped pastas are hard to find. Use medium shells if you like. Be gentle with the stirring spoon. They are delicate when cooked.

Fried chicken salad

For the dressing:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup whole buttermilk

1 rounded tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together. Refrigerate.

For the salad:

4 cups chopped fried chicken

3 ribs celery diced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Add about half the dressing to the salad ingredients. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate the remaining dressing.

Sugar cookies

2 sticks butter at room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Add flavorings and blend well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add about one fourth at a time to the creamed mixture, beating well after each. Do not chill. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop about two rounded tablespoons of dough for each cookie two inches apart.

Bake 12 -15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven. Leave on the

Cookie sheet five minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

MISS OLIVIA Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

Melanie joined The Daily Times in the early 90s and has served as the Life section editor since 1993. A William Blount and UT alum, Melanie is generally the early arriver who turns on the lights in the newsroom.

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