Friday, November 16, 2018

Giving Thanks for Easy Camping Recipes

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Camping and RV Recipe of the Week
Mulled Cider

    It’s so easy, so popular, so seasonal, so affordable. Sip mulled cider  around the campfire, serve it as a breakfast bracer, or add a tot of rum and have it as a nightcap. If you’re camping in a hot weather zone, toast the Thanksgiving season by serving it over ice, with or without a shot of vodka. 


1 gallon apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon each ground cloves, ground allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange extract

    Stir, simmer gently for flavors to blend, then ladle into mugs. Makes 16 cups. 

Camping tip of the week: to save the nonstick surfaces on your camping cookware,  save a plastic knife from your next visit to a fast food place.  Use it to, say, loosen a bread or cake  before turning it out of the pan or to slice a quiche or pizza cooked in a skillet.

    Are you camping the Nevada Hot Springs Trail this winter?  Get the official trail cook book here 

    You’ll find many uses  around the campsite for this heavy duty, lidded,  stainless steel, medical quality bucket  Carry anything from clean water to pet food. 



Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Chili Cheese Dip for a Crowd

     This is a favorite at tailgate parties and potlucks. Save time by using pre-cooked crumbles.

12- to 16-ounce package of fully cooked beef, sausage or vegetarian crumbles
2 packages, 2 pounds each, process cheese such as Velveeta
2 small cans diced chilies, well drained
15-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic and green pepper
1 tablespoon each chili powder, Worcestershire sauce

    Dice the cheese and put everything in a slow cooker or stove-to-table pot. Heat gently until cheese melts. Stir and surround with dippers of your choice. Makes about 2 quarts of dip. Provide plenty of dippers and let the crowd dig in.
    I divide this into two serving bowls, one surrounded by a starchy dipper such as crackers or chips and one with raw vegetables such as celery and carrot sticks.

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Freeze-Ahead Recipe of the Week
    Tip for the Camp Cook: If you freeze lasagna or other food that contains raw eggs, make sure to bake thoroughly in camp.

Bistro Pork Ragout
    Why not make two batches, one with caraway seeds and one without?


4 pounds lean pork in bite size
1 slice thick-sliced bacon, cut up
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
6 large potatoes, scrubber or peeled and cut in chunks
2 large onions, cut up
Medium rutabaga, peeled and diced
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried, crumbled thyme OR
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons Dijon-styled mustard
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons minute tapioca
Salt, pepper to taste

    In a large pot, fry out bacon to release fat, then stir in pork to brown it. Add garlic. Add everything else, cover and cook over low heat until pork and vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings. Cool and package in portions for the freezer. Plan about 1 1/2 to 2 cups per serving.

    Thaw and heat. If it’s too thick, add a little water, broth or white wine. Serve as is or with a scoop of sour cream.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Camping Meals and Menus Take It Outdoors

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Campground Recipe of the Week

Sweet Italian Doughboys
    These sweet, golf ball-size donuts are known in Italy as Zeppole. They’re ideal  for outdoor cooking for a crowd. Set up a production line and keep ‘em coming.. Just be very cautious with the hot oil.
    You’ll need at least a quart of oil, enough to make a depth of three to four inches in the pan.  


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon each salt, cinnamon, ground nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
I cup drained ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
1 cup applesauce, pumpkin puree, mashed banana or mashed butternut squash

1 teaspoon vanilla
Oil for deep frying

    Put dry ingredients in a clean bag and jostle to mix. In a bowl whisk eggs, then whisk in cheese, pureed fruit or vegetable and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until well mixed. Heat oil to 375 degrees and cook dough in walnut-size balls (they will swell to golf ball size) until brown and crusty. Remove to paper toweling. Make in batches. Avoid crowding.
    Serve dusted with powdered sugar as a finger food snack, or sauce with caramel or pancake syrup and serve in bowls for breakfast.   

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Tips for the Camp Cook
    * When making pasta salad, mix ranch dressing half and half with spicy barbecue sauce. Fold into pasta and vegetables.  This puts a nice red blush on the pasta.

    * Instead of cocoa try Atole, a sweet Mexican hot drink. Mix 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, ½ cup masa harina, 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Stir in a quart (4 cups)  of cold water. Heat, stirring, until it thickens. Stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla. Serve hot in mugs. The bonus for people with allergies: no chocolate, no dairy, no gluten.  


    * Melt chocolate chips or candy-making chocolate and quickly dip plastic spoons to be used to stir cocoa or eat dessert. Cool on waxed paper until chocolate hardens.

    * Orzo is a delicious, rice-like pasta but don’t try to cook it in a rice steamer. Like all pasta, it’s cooked in boiling water. 

    * Make herb butter to melt over steaks, burgers, chops, vegetables, pasta, rice. Mash 1/4 cup mixed, dried herbs (4 to 5 different kinds)  and a tablespoon of lemon zest into a pound of softened butter. Mix well. Press into a mold and chill. 

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Pumpkin Fluff

    This is easy to serve in small, disposable plastic cups. I like the 3-ounce size cups for potlucks. Dispense mousse easily with a self-releasing ice cream scoop. Stick a plastic spoon in each.
1 can pumpkin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon each vanilla, cinnamon
1 tub whipped topping (large or small, to taste)
    Whisk together pumpkin, condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Chill. Serve as is or with a spritz of whipped cream on top. Makes about 12 servings.

Freeze-Ahead Recipe of the Week
Oven-Roasted Vegetable Pilaf

    The secret to oven-roasting vegetables is to cut each type in a suitable size according to how quickly it will cook. Root vegetables take longer; cut in smaller pieces.
    Freeze this in family size portions to serve as a side dish or in individual portions as a vegetarian main dish.

4 cups cooked rice or orzo

8 cups cut-up vegetables (sweet pepper, asparagus, carrots, celery, onion, etc.)
Salt, pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

½ cup toasted pine nuts

    Cook 2 cups raw rice or orzo in vegetable or chicken broth to make 4 cups cooked.  Spread on a baking sheet to cool. Set aside.  Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread vegetables on a greased baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dot with garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake 4 minutes, stir and bake again just until vegetables are browned and crisp-tender. Mix with rice/orzo and pine nuts.
    Package and freeze. To serve, thaw and heat. Optional: sprinkle with crumbled feta or blue cheese, shredded yellow cheese or salted sunflower seeds.
    Plan ½ cup per side dish serving and 1 ½ cups per main dish portion.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Campground Potluck and Any Day Meals Made Easy

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Campground Potluck 
Recipe of the Week
Eggs-ellent Pilaf


  When it’s your turn to bring a side dish to the potluck, try this affordable, hearty favorite. It   can also serve as a vegetarian main dish, or you can add cooked meat and make it an entree.  This recipe serves 10 to 12 as a side dish.  Another time, serve it to your family for breakfast sprinkled with crumbled bacon instead of the chives.

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth
½ cup water
2 cups rice
½ stick butter
3 eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Dried chives

    Bring the broth, water and rice to a boil over high flame, cover, reduce flame to its lowest and cook without peeking until liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Whisk eggs with pepper. When rice is done, stir in butter then the eggs. Cover, set aside 5 minutes for the heat of the rice to cook the eggs, then sprinkle with chives and keep warm until served.
    Variation: If you have a pressure cooker (and I do recommend one for saving time and fuel in the galley) bring rice and broth to full pressure for one minute. Turn off heat. Do not quick-cool. When pressure returns to normal and you can safely remove the lid stir in butter and beaten eggs, cover loosely, and let eggs solidify.

Camp Chef Tips of the Week
    * Give a lift to canned vegetables. Melt 2 to 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped nuts and a pinch of dried tarragon. Heat and drain canned or fresh vegetables and toss with this butter sauce. Makes enough for about 4 cups of vegetables. 


    * I love this compact air fryer for RV travel and I can also throw it into the car for tent camping or motel travel. It is SO versatile, it fries with little or no oil and takes up so little room. Sweet potato fries anyone? 

    * A vacuum sealer is invaluable for camping, even if you don’t freeze items. Use it to refrigerate leftovers, then warm by dropping the bag into hot water. Seal up non-food items too, things you need to keep safe and dry such as spare parts, dry beans, extra socks, a passport. I ike this space-saving, compact bag sealer.  Here are bags go to go with it.

Camp and RV Recipe of the Week
Warm ‘n Crunchy Chicken Salad

    Cold nights, warm salad. Canned mixed Chinese vegetables are a boon to the RV cook. The mix is colorful and has a lot of different textures. Canned water chestnuts add crunch, especially if you don’t have fresh celery. Serve over rice, noodles, ramen, or crisp Chinese noodles. 


1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or more to taste)

3 cups bite-size cooked chicken OR
1 or 2 cans of chunk chicken
15-ounce can mixed Chinese vegetables
Small can sliced water chestnuts, drained (optional) AND/OR
2 ro 3 stalks celery, diced
½ teaspoon (or to taste) dried lemon zest (optional)
Crisp Chinese noodles

    In a small bowl whisk soup, vinegar and soy sauce. In a saucepan, sprinkle a teaspoon of powdered chicken bouillon over canned Chinese vegetables in their juice. Bring to boiling and turn off heat.  Fold in chicken and vegetables., then soup mixture.  Cover and cook over very low heat just until heated through. Adjust seasonings. Spoon over crisp Chinese noodles. Serves 4. 

Freeze-Ahead Dish of the Week
Spoonbread Burgers
    Stretch your meat supply by adding sweet, creamy corn to a sloppy joe-like recipe. Spoon this juicy treat into burger buns or over cornbread. 

2 pounds lean ground beef, turkey or pork
2 tablespoons canola oil
Medium onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Small green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 1/2 cups ketchup
15-ounce can cream-style corn
Salt, pepper to taste

    In a large skillet, fry out the meat in hot oil, gradually stirring in onion, garlic and green pepper. When meat is thoroughly cooked and crumbly, stir in ketchup and corn. Cover and cook over low heat  until meat and onion are thoroughly cooked.  Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
    Season to taste. Cool and freeze in batches suitable for your crew. This makes about 8 servings. It’s easily multiplied.  Heat and serve in buns or over a starch such as biscuits, cornbread, noodles, potato, rice. 

 Janet Groene's RV cookbook, Cooking Aboard Your RV, 2nd Edition,  makes an easy and welcome gift for yourself and other campers. One size fits all.
See Janet Groene's Pantry Recipe of the Week, made 100% with shelf-stable foods, at

Friday, October 19, 2018

Camping Conditions Call for Cooking Shortcuts

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Camping and RV 
Recipe of the Week
Hot Dogs and Tater Tots

    This ordinary, one-pot, hobo meal becomes a standout with the addition of a creamy gravy and a dilly garnish. Pre-cooked bacon, your own or store-bought, comes in SO handy for quick camping meals. 

 ½ stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon each salt, pepper, dry mustard
2 cups chicken broth
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pound hot dogs, cut in coins
Small can sliced black olives, well drained
2 to 3 cups thawed Tater Tots

1 large dill pickle, chopped fine (or 1/4 cup relish)
3 scallions, chopped

    Melt the butter in a roomy saucepan and stir in flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Gradually stir in broth. When it’s thick and smooth, fold in hot dogs, bacon and black olives. Cover and heat over low heat. Fold in Tater Tots. Cover and heat gently. Mix chopped scallions and pickle and sprinkle some over each portion. Serves 4 to 6.
    Cook’s note: No freezer? No problem. Thawed Tater Tots will keep in your well-chilled ice chest up to three days.


Campground Potluck 
Recipe of the Week

Creamy Caraway Cabbage
    When it’s your turn to bring a vegetable side dish, wow ‘em with this exotic, affordable cabbage dish.

1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Large bag shredded cabbage cole slaw mix
Large onion, cut up
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) caraway seeds
Salt, pepper to taste

    Bring the water and teaspoon of salt to a boil and stir in cabbage. Add onion. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender.
    Drain cabbage, saving 3/4 cup of the water. Whisk sour cream, flour and mustard in a bowl and gradually whisk in the water. Fold this mixture into cabbage in the pan with the caraway seeds. Cover over very low heat and let cook 20 to 30 minutes, but don’t let it burn. Adjust seasonings. Serves 8 to 10.
    Cook’s note: Cabbage can also be put in a buttered casserole and refrigerated to heat later.

Tips for the Camp Cook

    * When flouring chicken for frying add a little sugar to a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Chicken will brown faster.

    * Make inexpensive  bread sticks. Buy day-old hot dog buns, cut in long sticks. Dip in melted butter and sprinkle with cheese, garlic salt, seasoned salt or poppy seeds.

    *  If you break glass clean up large pieces, then go over the area with damp paper toweling to pick up tiny shards.
    * Lightly spray the dust pan with nonstick spray or duster spray (such as Pledge) and sweepings will not scatter.
    Instead of using screws to affix towel racks in the camper,  use screw-in cup hooks. You then have extra hooks for small items like dish rags or wash cloths.

    * Be ready for the next hurricane, power outage or other emergency. Survival Food Handbook is a guide to stocking your pantry with supermarket supplies that last for weeks, sometimes months. Recipes, tips, lists and how-to’s for handling many types of food emergencies. 


Freeze Ahead Dish of the Week
Asparagus and Eggs

    This vegetarian main dish is ideal for freezing in boilable bags. Just thaw and heat in hot water. 

3 pounds asparagus, trimmed and sliced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
½ stick butter
12 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 packet country gravy mix
2 cups milk or water

Crushed buttery crackers such as Ritz
Shredded cheese

    Flash-fry asparagus and mushrooms in melted butter just until they are crisp-tender. Stir in chopped eggs. Whisk milk or water into country gravy mix and stir into asparagus mixture until it’s thick. If it’s too thick, add water or milk to taste.
     Freeze in portions you need, allowing one to 1 ½ cups per portion. Don't forget to bring cracker crumbs and cheese on your camping trip. To serve this dish, heat gently, stir and serve sprinkled with cracker crumbs and cheese. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Camping and Motorhome Recipes Made Easy

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Camping and RV 
Recipe of the Week
Skillet Tortilla Casserole

12, 6-inch corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cans, 10 ounces each, chunk chicken
1 cup diced onion, green pepper, garlic, celery mixture
15-ounce can sliced carrots, drained (optional)
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cans, 10 ounces each, diced tomatoes with chilies
½ teaspoon each dried oregano, cumin, chili powder
Grated cheddar cheese
Sliced avocado (optional)

    Cut tortillas in strips and set aside. Drain chicken,  saving juice. Stir-fry raw vegetables in hot oil, gradually stirring in chicken to brown it. Whisk juice from the chicken into condensed soup and stir into skillet with herbs and tomatoes. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add carrots and tortilla strips to heat through. Serve each portion topped with a tuft of grated cheese and some sliced avocado.  Serves 6.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Dilly Cheese Crackers

    Serve these addictive snacks in a big bowl or individual cups. Everyone loves finger foods at potlucks, tailgate parties and around the campfire. Zip some of these crackers into plastic bags to take on hikes too. I make this recipe with white cheddar Cheez-It crackers. 

1-ounce packet of ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon each garlic powder and dried dillweed
2 boxes, 16 ounces each, (low sodium if possible)  small square cheese crackers

    Mix dressing mix, oil, garlic powder and dillweed and drizzle over crackers. Spread on a rimmed pan and bake 30 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool completely before storing. Makes 2 pounds.

Tips for the Camp Cook

    * Tuna is available in many sizes including canned and packet single servings. To make a casserole for one, heat 3 ounces tuna with cooked rice, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a tuft of shredded cheese. 

    * Cut zucchini in half, scoop out a groove in each cut side and pack with ground sausage.  Press cut sides back together. Wrap tightly in foil and roast over the campfire or grill until sausage tests done. (Here’s where an instant read probe thermometer comes in handy). 

    * Waffles (store-bought or homemade) aren’t just for breakfast. Serve as a base for creamed chicken, chili, stew or top with fruit or ice cream to make dessert. This Coleman waffle iron can be used over any heat source from a camp stove to a charcoal grill. And it's nonstick.

    * Open a can of Hoppin’ John and heat with chicken broth to taste. Serve as a soup. Pass the hot sauce. 

Freeze-Ahead Recipe of the Week
    For camping, travel or busy days at home it’s good to have readymade meals in portions that are right-size for YOUR needs. The following recipe is a superstar because you can do so many things with it. Spoon over baked or mashed potato, rice, pasta or noodles, serve in buns or top with a freshly baked biscuit.
Beef Burgundy

4 pounds lean, boneless beef stew cut in bite size (may include up to one pound of some other meat such as dark meat chicken,  turkey or pork)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped onion, with a little carrot
1 cup water
2 cups dry red wine such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon beef base such as Better Than Beef

    Brown beef, gradually stirring in onion. Stir in water, wine, Worcestershire and beef base. Cover and cook until meat is falling apart. Cool and freeze in portions, allowing ½ to 1 cup per serving.  Be sure each batch gets its share of juices. To serve, thaw and heat.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Quick Recipes for Camping Cooks, Motorhome Meals

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Camping and RV
Recipe of the Week

Sausage Stomp

    This quick, easy, versatile and good-for-you recipe takes its flavor from ground sausage, so try it with different types each time:  Italian sausage, breakfast sausage with sage or maple, extra spicy, venison sausage, fine grind, coarse grind, etc.

Large red onion, cut in crescents
1-pound  lean bulk ground sausage
14- to 16- ounce bag shredded cabbage (cole slaw mix)
Small red cabbage, cut in coarse shreds
Salt, pepper
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
3 tablespoons cooking sherry OR
½ cup heavy whipping cream

    In a large skillet or wok, fry the sausage, breaking up as you go. As soon as it has given up some fat, start stirring in the cabbage and onion. Keep stir-frying until sausage is done and  vegetables are crisp-tender and lightly glazed with pork drippings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk sherry and mustard together and fold in. Or omit sherry and add cream, with or without the mustard.  Heat gently until every thing is hot to go. Serve with rye rolls. Serves 4 to 6.

Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
    Here’s an appetizer that will knock their socks off. It will work in your RV oven, toaster oven or microwave-convection oven. You can also string the chicken pieces on skewers and grill them, then serve in individual bites on toothpicks. 


Chicken Redhots

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
½ cup hot sauce such as Frank’s
1/4 cup each vegetable oil and water
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Cut chicken in bite size.  Whisk remaining ingredients.  Place everything in a plastic bag, seal it and refrigerate several hours, turning bag to flavor the chicken evenly.
Oven Method: Set the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking pan(s) with nonstick foil. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. Drain chicken well, arrange on foil without crowding and bake 10-15 minutes until it’s lightly crusty around the edges and reads 170 degrees. Place each piece on a toothpick or small skewer for serving.
Campfire method: Drain chicken well and thread on skewers. Cook over hot coals. Remove from skewers to serve one at a time on toothpicks. 

Fun idea for the potluck, coffee klatch or party! Have a cookie exchange. Lavishly illustrated Cookie Party Cookbook tells what and how

Tips for the Camp Cook

* If hot juices spill, they soak into fabric oven mitts and cause burns. Get silicone gloves instead. Note their length (for wrist and arm protection) and their heat tolerance. Some brands are said to be good for up to 450 degrees; others to 500 degrees. I like these extra long gloves with a soft quilt lining. 

    * It’s a snap to make foolproof marshmallow fudge. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square pan with nonstick foil. Spray foil. Fit a single layer of  36 marshmallows in the pan. Melt 1 ½ cups chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons butter and ½ cup peanut butter. Pour over marshmallows, spread evenly and chill. Cut in squares.


* This top quality canvas clothespin bag (left) can be hung anywhere around the camper or campsite to hold galley gadgets, extra towels, paper goods, what have you. Wash it time and again for years of camping use.

   * Not just for the RV bathroom.  I like these hang-up mesh bags (right) for RV or tent camping because they hang  anywhere, indoors or out. Fill with cooking gear, shower gear, socks, scarves, craft supplies, kids' stuff.  They dunk clean in a jiffy and have pockets in several different sizes. Hang from any handy hook or tree.

 Freeze-Ahead Recipe of the Week
Pork Carnival

5 pounds lean ground pork, preferably coarse grind
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Large onion, diced
1 bunch celery, cut up
1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon
2 20-ounce cans pineapple tidbits in juice
2 cups cut up dried apricots
2 cups water

    In a large pan brown pork in hot oil, breaking it up. Gradually stir in onion, celery and drained pineapple to brown them. Add pineapple juice, apricots and water. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables and pork are tender.
    Allowing one cup per serving, package and freeze. To serve, heat and serve over rice, noodles or crisp Chinese noodles. Makes 20 servings

Bonus Recipe
Jammin’ Almond Squares

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons water
Strawberry jam
1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
½  cup flour
White almond bark melting chocolate

    Cut the first stick of butter into the cup of flour with the salt. Stir in water and press mixture into a sprayed 8 X 8-inch baking pan. Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees, remove from the oven and gently spread with jam, using about 2/3 cup.
    Melt the second stick of butter and whisk in sugar, eggs, flour and a teaspoon of almond flavoring.  Spread over jam. Bake another 35 minutes or until the batter is firm and pulling slightly away from edges.
    Cool, cut in squares or triangles and arrange on waxed paper. Nuke almond bark  according to package directions and drizzle lightly over squares. Cool completely, then arrange on a plate for sale or wrap individually for sale.