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Tasty trio from Land of Lincoln

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Updated: January 6, 2013 9:32AM

Known as the Cookbook Ladies, Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley evaluated more than 10,000 cookbooks and 17,000 recipes before producing their cookbook series that includes the newly-published The Best of the Best from Illinois.

It includes recipes for Pumpkin Creme Muffins, a solution for J.V. of Chicago; Taffy Apple Salad, requested by J.F. of Hoffman Estates, and Reuben Sandwich Casserole, a tasty choice for a quick meal for holiday company.

The Mississippi friends drove 70,000 miles, flew 40,000 miles, corresponded through snail mail with 30,000 people, and made more than 25,000 phone calls as they searched for recipes to include in their Best of the Best State Cookbook Series (Quail Ridge Press), available at

To make Reuben Sandwich Casserole: Cut 1 large onion into thick slices. Cut small (1- pound) head of cabbage into thin wedges.

In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons salad oil and add onions; cook until onions are tender.

Remove onions. Add cabbage wedges to skillet and brown; add ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ cup water.

Over high heat, bring water to boiling; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes until cabbage is tender when pierced with fork.

In small bowl, combine 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup chili sauce, ¼ cup milk and 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish; stir until well-blended.

In 13x9-inch dish, arrange cooked onions, cooked cabbage, ½ pound thin-sliced deli corned beef and ¼ pound thin-sliced Swiss cheese.

Top with half of an 8-ounce loaf of party pumpernickel bread slices.

Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly on top of bread slices. Cover dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.


I would love a recipe for what we used to call refrigerator cookies. My grandmother would keep them in her fridge and then slice off a dozen or so each day. So easy!

V.T., Cicero

I misplaced my recipe for chocolate chess pie — and now need it for a family gathering!

C.S., Chicago

Has anyone heard of a Partridge in a Pear Tree Pie? It contains raisins, cranberries and pears.

G.G., Addison

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