Old dogs and new tricks

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

Sometimes an old dog can learn some new tricks, when she has the right pups to help her.

My children like to cook, just like their mother, nanna, and great-grandmother before them. They’re very good “scratch” cooks who delight in finding and putting together the right ingredients for delicious meals. They are, for the most part, healthy cooks. And they’re teaching me.

All of us are interested in lowering the fat content of our long-time favorites. Take Chicken Marsala, for example. The original recipe used enough butter to clog an artery at one sitting. When I make it now, I use just enough butter to taste — it really doesn’t take much — mixed with enough olive oil to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan. Even the thin coating of flour on the chicken has gotten thinner. Happily, it tastes just as good as it ever did and is a lot better for us.

Many of our old family favorites, like Chicken Marsala, are still in my children’s repertoires. They also have expanded their library of ethnic foods to include more authentic Indian and Mexican recipes than I ever tried, all while cutting calories and carbs.

All of us are constantly on the lookout for new and different recipes. We find them at potlucks, or in the food section of the newspaper, online or by word of mouth. Some of the most wildly popular recipes come from “out of the blue.” They’re passed around among friends and foodies, tweaked and reinvented.

Those who know me are used to my sharp eyes settling on their food as I weigh the possibilities for a recipe to publish, and they usually offer me a taste. A co-worker brought something to eat with her lunch a week or two ago that looked intriguing.

“It’s a sausage muffin,” she said. “Do you want to try some?” I did.

It tasted wonderful. A meal in a muffin and with just four ingredients. The recipe is quick and easy and it makes enough to feed several people generously. I have no idea where this originated, but I know my children and their families love them. Thanks, Karen.


1 pound sage sausage, cooked and drained

1 cup Bisquick or similar baking mix

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

4 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all four ingredients. Mix well. Fill muffin tins. (You can use either full size or mini muffin tins.)

For full size muffins, bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Mini muffins are done in 15 minutes.

Makes about 30 mini muffins or 12 full size.

Try ham or bacon or Italian sausage for a change. For a vegetarian version, substitute 3/4 cup of finely chopped mixed green peppers and green onions for the meat.


Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.