Mona’s, June 2020 Food for Thought!

Hello my friends. Hope you are all healthy and safe. I spent two months in Arizona during the beginning of the pandemic. That was a very quiet vacation for me, but cheap. No bars, shopping or restaurants. What a way to save money!

I told my little sister Patti that I thought I was normal. She reminded me that I had never been normal. We have to stay positive and still laugh at ourselves and with others. It helps!

This month I will be featuring three Side Lake gals recipes.
Rita Charter’s vegetable casserole. You can put any kind of veggies in it. She crushed pretzels and put in a pan with some butter for a few minutes. So good!

Par-boil or steam 2-3 broccoli crowns, broken into florets ( or use a bag of frozen broccoli)

Cube 1/2 cup of American cheese or Velveeta

Make 1 recipe of white sauce, using 3 T. Butter, 3 T. Flour, 1/4 tsp. Salt, 1 c. Milk or more, depending on how thick you want the sauce, a dash of onion powder and garlic powder to taste.

Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook that mixture over low heat, stirring until it is smooth and bubbly. Stir in the milk and heat to boiling. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the seasoning and the cheese. Remove from the heat and stir the cheese in, until it is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Place the broccoli in a buttered baking dish and pour the cheese mixture over it. Top with buttered Panko bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers or finely crushed pretzels. Bake for about 45 minutes at 325.

Next is Marie Pogorelc Erickson’s recipe for a Brie dip. This is addicting. Marie worked with me at the Interpretative Center while in college the summers of 1983 and 1984. We are still friends. Ask her about Bobby Vee. She is very special to me.


Sugar and Nuts – Glazed Brie

1/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Chopped Pecans
1 Tbsp Whiskey or Brandy
14 oz Brie Round (1)
Mix the first 3 ingredients
Place Brie on oven proof platter and bake @ 500 degrees for 4-5 min.
Sprinkle sugar mixture over top of Brie and bake an additional 2-3 min.
It should be heated through but not melted.

Jean Jaranson made at a social distancing soirée. A great hit.

Strawberry Shot Glasses

Clean and pare out center of large strawberries. Dip them in melted chocolate. Let harden. Put in an empty egg carton. When ready to serve fill with Amaretto and cover with Reddi Whip. One gulp! Delightful.

I am so proud of my grandson Cedric Abel who graduated from Sauk Centre high school. He is going to Concordia in premed and theatre. This kid has a voice on him that you cannot believe!

Cedric graduated with high honors and two scholarships !

So until next month, keep healthy and happy and keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, May 2020 Food for Thought!

I’m so sorry this is coming to you late!

So much is happening to everyone right now. I sincerely hope that you are able to stay stress free. I surely miss my family and friends.

This month I am going to share a couple of recipes.

  1. Curried Cheese Canapés (from my first Cook Book, “To Mom With Love”)
    I make this a lot and it will keep in the refrigerator for a month!

    1-1/2 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    1 C. Chopped Ripe Olives
    1/2 C. Mayonnaise
    1 tsp. Curry (more or less as desired)
    1 C. Chopped Green Onions

    Mix all ingredients together on Triscuits or cracker of choice. Broil until bubbly.

  2. Strawberry Margaritas for 6 – also from my first cook book.
    Coarse Salt (Kosher)
    10 oz. Tequila
    4 oz. Triple Sec.
    3 oz. Lime Juice
    10 oz. pkg of frozen strawberries in syrup
    Crushed Ice

    Moisten rim of six glasses and dip in salt. Chill
    Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend.
    Pour into glasses and serve.

My friend Anita shared a recipe with me and I thought I would pass it on to all of you.

Ricotta stuffed Brussels Sprouts


Cooking spray1 lb. 

Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved1 c. 

ricotta 1/2 c. 

freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling 1/4 c. 

Italian bread crumbs

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes1 

clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch Brussels sprouts until bright green, 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water, then drain.
  2. Using a small spoon, scoop out insides of sprouts (reserve for another use), then transfer hollowed sprouts to a prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into Brussels sprouts, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more Parmesan.
  4. Bake until ricotta mixture is warmed through and Brussels sprouts are crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.

I asked my friend and contributor/supporter of my 3 cook books, Tami Chandler, if she would share some of her tips to help alleviate stress.

Tami’s Tips for Stress Reduction

  1. I believe the first, most important thing for me, is to eat a clean and nutrient dense “diet”. Lately this has been a real challenge for me since I have some new food sensitivities. STAY AWAY FROM PROCESSED FOODS and Sugar
  2. I know that when I get good sleep, I can function much better. There are so many ways to help you get a good nights sleep. What I find works for me, is to turn off electronic communications at least an hour before bedtime. Maybe take this time to reflect upon the day and do some form of “meditation”. I also incorporate a high quality-trusted essential oil to my bedtime regimen.
    You may visit for aromatherapy products.
  3. Herbal remedies such as, teas and essential oils. I use these on a daily basis.
  4. Exercise is so very important. I have struggled this past year with a lot of pain and lack of mobility. With that being said, walking and stretching are so very important and the body needs it to remain “healthy”. I use a fitbit to track my activity, sleep, pulse and food/water intake. I find this keeps me accountable.
  5. So thankful for my friends, family and pets! It is important to maintain some sort of communications with people and pets.
  6. Positive thinking. Be kind to yourself. Nobody will take care of your mental well being, so you MUST be diligent at keeping your thoughts under control. So very important!
This is my Friend Arthur and we both enjoy exercising together and eating a well balanced diet. We use aromatherapy as well and essential oils topically and internally. Again, must be a trusted company!

I use the following products as well as promote them. I have successfully incorporated these tips into my daily life and totally notice a difference when I omit or waver from the regimen.
Daily Regimen to help combat the bad stuff ! Plus so much more. I get pain relief and benefits from so many oils and Young Living Health Products.

As always, we need to keep our sense of humor. This is a very challenging time for all of us.

Until next month, Keep smiling!

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer