Print Me!

Kathy's Kitchen!

Kathy's Kitchen

I'm Kathy O'Connell and welcome to my kitchen!

OK, it's not MY kitchen, it's Kathy's Kitchen, a space here on where I'll share family-friendly recipes and family food traditions with you. Or you can share your recipes and family traditions with me!

Kathy O'Connell

As you might know, great family memories are cooked up in the kitchen. Even though my grandmother (Grandgree) has been gone for many years, I still remember baking pies with her. Mostly, I remember talking with her while she cut up apples and cooked lemon filling. Kids learn about more than food by cooking with family. The kitchen is a place to learn family stories, traditions, and recipes to pass to future generations. I hope some memories are made when, as a family, you try these delicious recipes!

These recipes are intended for adults to prepare with assistance from kids. These are NOT recipes for kids to try alone! Cook safely - Leave the cutting and hot pots to the adults!

My Recipes

Cornucopia Salad ala Kathy*
*recipe taken directly from Paula Deen on Food TV Network - here is the original

This is a great layered salad that parents and kids can make together. It looks like a big taco salad, and it tastes like a turkey club sandwich. It's crunchy and creamy and sweet and salty all at the same time. You frost the salad with dressing like it's a cake. If you want to cover the whole salad with dressing, use 2 jars of dressing. Otherwise, 1 jar works fine for me.

Before you start assembling ingredients, put a large rectangular-shaped dish in the freezer to get nice and cold.

1 bag of salad greens (your choice)
3 diced peppers (I used green, red & orange for color)
3 diced celery stalks
1 box frozen peas (Unthawed)
2 cans water chestnuts, drained
3 bananas, peeled, sliced & squirted with lemon juice to avoid getting brown
1 medium bag craisins (or raisins)
½ bag chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1 jar cole slaw dressing (or 2)
½ bag shredded Cheddar cheese
5 slices cooked bacon, crisp & chopped
3 green onions (green part only, chopped)

Take your cold rectangular dish out of the freezer. Layer the ingredients as listed, with the salad greens on the bottom. Finish with the nuts. Let all that stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Pour the jar of dressing on top a little at a time, spreading it across the salad like you're frosting a cake. Top with the bacon & green onions. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I refrigerated it overnight, and it was great.

In her recipe, Food TV Network's Paula Deen uses more bacon than I do, and she makes her own dressing. But my recipe is easier and works just as well. The finished product was a big hit with the Kids Corner staff (both of us). This makes a great party salad!

REAL Macaroni and Cheese

Much as I love Ernie & Neal, their song "Macaroni & Cheese" (Rock & Roll Band CD) includes a recipe that shocks me because I'm a macaroni & cheese purist. I eschew (gesundheit) macaroni and cheese fixin's that come complete in a blue box. Ernie explained that both he and Neal are fathers, and blue box macaroni & cheese is easy to make when they have to feed their kids. Good answer, but not great macaroni and cheese.

My mother was a terrible cook who made great REAL macaroni & cheese, which she called "macaroni puddin'." Her "secret" was a shake of dry mustard in the bottom of the dish. My recipe has a snappy taste because I had horseradish cheddar on hand when I first made it. You can use any kind of cheddar, along with other leftover cheese you might have on hand.

1 box macaroni (any kind - I like spirals or ziti)
1 bag/bar of cheddar, shredded. (When I first made this, I had half a bar of horseradish cheddar, which was heavenly. This recipe is a great way to use up bits and pieces of cheese from your fridge.)
Parmesean or asiago cheese, grated (a couple of hands full)
1 cup of pesto sauce (I use store-bought because it's easier)
1 cup of milk
½ stick butter (you'll melt the cheese with these, so add more as needed to get a soupy cheese sauce, whose career never reached the heights of Soupy Sales)
dry mustard (couple of shakes in honor of my mother)
basil (this part is up to you - use whatever herbs you like - this is America)


Pre-heat your oven to 350. Cook up a box of macaroni. While that's cooking, heat milk and butter in a saucepan. Stir in whatever cheese is laying around on a very low flame until everything blends into orange goo. Mix in your herbs to taste. Throw in one handful of the parmesean or asagio. Keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Add more milk and/or butter if it gets too thick. If it's too thin, throw in more cheese. Once it's all melted, turn off the heat and set aside. BE CAREFUL - it's hot!!

Non-stick-spray a glass baking dish. Drain the macaroni, then put it into a big bowl with the dry mustard and herbs, and stir in enough of my beloved pesto (yeah, I know I can make it myself... but I don't want to) to lightly coat the macaroni. Remember you're not making pasta and pesto, so just coat it lightly. Layer the baking dish with half the macaroni & pesto mixture, then evenly pour on half the cheese sauce. Repeat. Finally, I spread another tablespoon of the pesto on the top of the whole thing, and the other handful of the grated asiago on top of that. Bake for 20 minutes (or until you can smell it) in that pre-heated 350 oven.

My nose has become a good indicator of when something is done because my oven can't always be trusted. So, when you are able to smell the macaroni and cheese, check on it. If it's bubbling, it's probably done. Take it out of the oven (careful!!) and let it cool down. If anyone complains this is too spicy, cook up a blue box of mac and cheese and throw my mother's words at them: "You don't know what's good. All the more for me."

Your Recipes

First Name: Paulina
City/Town: Ephrata, PA
Recipe: Sea Food Salad
Ingredients: lettuce, baby carrots, Goldfish crackers, ranch dressing, blue food coloring

Mix the lettuce, carrots and goldfish crackers in a bowl.  In another bowl mix the dressing and 3 drops of food coloring in it. Mix the dressing and the other stuff in the other bowl and enjoy!

First Name: Lily
City/Town: Exton, PA
Recipe: Sunday Sticky Buns
Ingredients: frozen roll dough, 1 pack of butterscotch pudding, 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 pat of melted butter


Mix all the ingredients together in a greased bundt pan and leave covered on the kitchen counter overnight... in the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

First Name: Taylor
City/Town: Baltimore, MD
Recipe: Chocolate Turtles
Ingredients: chocolate rolos, square pretzels


Put a rolo on top of a pretzel and if you want a sandwich put another pretzel on top. Just put them all in the microwave for 0:30 seconds until they are done. Microwave time may vary so be there when you first cook them. They may be hot, so be careful. If you want, you can put them in freezer and have them later!

First Name: Erin
City/Town: Toughkenamon, PA
Recipe: Roll Ups

My family loves these! Their real name is German Pancakes. You can cook apples in cinnamon and eat the with the apples (chunky applesauce). You can also eat them with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar - oh, and grated cheese goes great with the apples!

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1-2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla


Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Whisk the eggs in a separate pan. Then pour them in with the dry ingredients. Slowly add the milk and stir until a thick and creamy batter forms. Add the vanilla (this is optional) and stir. Use a sloping sided non-stick pan, heat pan on medium and add small amounts of butter. The heat is right if the butter sizzles. Pour in a small amount of batter and move it around into a very thin layer. Cook until the edge pulls away from the pan, then flip. Roll them up with the sauce or cinnamon and enjoy!

First Name: Marley
City/Town: Bryn Mawr, PA
Recipe: Roasted Red Peppers

Fire! Knives!

Cut up red peppers and have an adult put them under the broiler, till the skin turns black. Take the peppers out of the oven and let cool. Peel the skin off of the peppers. Place peppers in a bowl and add olive oil, lots of fresh garlic (chopped) and toasted sesame oil. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Share your recipes and
family food stories with us!

* Please note that fields marked with * are required!

Taking Care of You

Want to be part of the Birthday Bunch?
Back to School Tips
Your Body & Nutrition
Share Recipes in Kathy's Kitchen