Thursday, November 30, 2006

15 Recipes ~ 15 Minutes

I’ve long believed that being a good cook isn’t about culinary art, it’s about picking a good recipe. I am completely capable of making more difficult dishes but I don’t very often, when I’ve got recipes the family likes that are done in the time it takes to brown the hamburger. The fifteen minutes doesn’t include baking time. These meals aren’t all DONE in fifteen minutes. It’s preparation time, which is what counts for me. For example, the French Dip Sandwiches cook in a crock pot all day. The only way I make roasts anymore, too. But my time spent in meal preparation is 15 minutes or less.
One note about the recipes. I've read them through several times and have tried my best to have them be correct. But...disclaimer time...if you see a recipe calling for one CUP of salt, or telling you to bake something at 3500 degrees, use your head. It's a typo!

Main Dishes
French Dip Sandwiches
1 rump roast
1 C. beef consommé (buy it canned in the soup section of the store)
1 can beef broth (canned)
1 C. water
1 pkg. Good Season’s Italian Dressing
Put in crock pot for 8 hours on low.
Slice meat. Serve on hoagie buns. Use liquid for French Dip sauce. Serve sauce in coffee cups or small bowls.

1 lb. hamburger (browned)
Stir into hamburger:
1 container cottage cheese
1 jar Prego spaghetti sauce

Lay uncooked lasagna noodles in bottom of 9 x 13 pan (3 or 4 noodles). Add layer of sauce, and layer of 1 C. mozzarella cheese (I use more)
Repeat for second layer, that’s all I ever make. Three layers usually runs over the pan. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake for in 350 oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until cheese on top is browned. Serve with garlic bread and salad.
Use a smaller baking dish, make half-sized lasagna, then freeze extra sauce—with meat and cottage cheese in it, in the cottage cheese container for even quicker lasagna next time.
Garlic bread, slice loaf of French bread the long way so it looks like a huge hotdog bun. Lay halves of bread side by side on a cookie sheet. Butter, sprinkle with garlic powder, sprinkle with mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese (I use both) and bake the last fifteen minutes with the lasagna.

1 lb. hamburger (browned)
1 onion (chopped and browned with meat)
1 can tomato juice
1 can chili beans
garlic, chili powder, sugar –seasoned to taste
*Add a can of tomato paste if you like it thicker
*I chop up a whole celery stalk, just slice through the whole stalk from top to bottom, then freeze it in zip lock bags so it’s easy to add to recipes. I pour some celery in with the browning meat and onions to a nice extra texture and color

Three Bean Hamburger Casserole
(we actually call it Moosehead – don’t ask me why)
1 lb. hamburger (browned)
1 can pork & beans
1 can butter beans
1 can kidney beans
I skip the extra beans most of the time and just use pork & beans. Otherwise the recipe is too big. Add:
½ C. brown sugar
½ C. catsup
1 T. mustard
Heat thoroughly, serve. The kids just love this. It’s probably because of the brown sugar.

Everything In The Garden Soup
1 lb. hamburger (browned)
Water to cover meat
2 or 3 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3 or 4 carrots (peeled and cubed)
1 onion
Cook until tender. Add:
1 can corn
1 can green beans
1 can whole tomatoes
1 can tomato juice
Bring to boil. Serve.

Cheesy Chicken Soup
2 C. cooked chicken (canned works)
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
3 Tbl. butter
1 clove garlic (garlic powder works)
1 can creamed corn
1 can green chilis
1 cup cubed Velveeta
2 Cups Half & Half
1 can Rotelle tomatoes

Meat Loaf
1 lb. raw hamburger
1 slice bread
1 glub of milk
1 egg
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
½ C. cubed Velveeta cheese
Mix together. Use your hands. C’mon you can DO IT! We’re in a hurry here! Put in greased casserole dish, and grease the sides and the handles so it’s easy to clean.
½ C. catsup
1 lump - ¼ C.? brown sugar
1 T vinegar or mustard or both
Stir topping ingredients together, spread over raw meat loaf.
Bake for one hour.

Enchilada Casserole
1 lb. Hamburger (browned)
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can green chilies
Layer in 9 x9 baking dish:
Flour tortilla
Meat mixture
1 C. cheddar cheese
Repeat -- two layers.
Bake 20 - 30 minutes until warmed through and cheddar cheese on top is melted.

1 lb. raw hamburger
½ C. uncooked rice
Mix together. Shape meatballs put in casserole dish. Expect them to look nothing like porcupines. Add:
Tomato juice to cover meat. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in covered casserole dish at 375. It takes every minute of that time or the rice isn’t tender.

1 lb. hamburger (browned)
1 small onion
1 C. cooked macaroni
2 C. tomato juice
1 T. sugar
Salt to taste

Quick Beef Stroganoff
1 lb. hamburger (browned)
1 or 2 C. noodles (cooked)
1 can cream of whatever soup
¼ C. milk

Hamburger Corn Bread Casserole
1 lb. hamburger (browned)
Onions and Green peppers if desired.
2 T. catsup
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1 can tomato soup
Mix. Pour into casserole dish.
Top with unbaked prepared Jiffy corn bread mix. If you find a better recipe for corn bread let me know. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. This is easy to underbake, then the cornbread is doughy and that’s gross so be careful

MAC Soup
1 lb. hamburger
1 onion (chopped. About ½ C.)
1 green pepper (chopped)
Brown first three ingredients. Add:
Seasoning packet from 1 pkg. Chili Tomato Hamburger Helper (It may have a different name now???). Mix well. Add:
5 C. water
Macaroni from Hamburger Helper
1 t. chili powder
½ t. garlic salt
¼ t. salt
1 lb. can of whole tomatoes
1 c. Black olives (halved)
1 can corn
Simmer until macaroni is tender, around 10 minutes.

Ham & Potato & Cheese Casserole
Leftover ham cubed (any amount)
Cooked cubed potatoes (any amount)
Cubed Velveeta cheese (any amount)
Milk to thin cheese
Combine all in saucepan. Heat until cheese is melted.


Fast, Delicious Sweets

Connealy Crunch
2 pounds (about a package and a half) Almond Bark (melted)
Melt in microwave 1 ½ minutes. Stir. Melt 1 ½ minutes. That should be enough. You might need slightly longer. Almond bark doesn’t lose its shape when it melts so you have to stir it to see if it’s enough. Add:
3 C. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal
3 C. miniature marshmallows
3 C. Rice Krispies
3 C. mixed nuts
Spread out on waxed paper. Let cool. Break into bite sized pieces.

Baby Ruth Bars
½ C. white sugar
½ C. brown sugar
1 C. white syrup
Mix together in sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Add:
1 C. peanut butter
Mix thoroughly. Pour over:
6 C. cornflakes
1 C. peanuts
Press into 9 x 13 pan.
1 C. chocolate chips
1 C. butterscotch chips
Melt in microwave. 1 ½ minutes, then stir. 1 minute then stir. Should be enough.
Spread over cornflake mixture.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Road To Romance Review

My first on-line book review for Petticoat Ranch has appeared. And they liked it!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Techno-genius strikes again!!!!!

I've spent the last oh....DECADE trying to figure out MySpace. So this
weekend my 17-year-old Katy finally took pity on me and showed me how to
invite people to be my friends and how to....
forgive me....
pimp my page.
Where do children come up with these things????
And why do they have the nerve to say them to their mother?????????
Anyway, I invited a bunch of people today, felt kind of....nervy you might
say, like a bad highschool party that you come to and everyone gives you the
"Who invited you?" look. But Katy pep-talked me into it, so I did it.
Then after all the invites went out, I tried to...p@#$ my page and
Forgive me again....
Ended up with a stripper somehow as my background picture.
So of course, on the very day someone might actually ask to be my friend...
Another aside here....
I've got a comment about THIS language, too. Whenever I hit the wrong button
on the Create Profile page it says things like...
You've got NO FRIENDS
You can't post here because you're not anyones friend.
Very cruel and now I'm like.... you know... clinically depressed because I
have no friends.
Anyway...back to whatever I started out to say
short break while I try and remember......
I got rid of the stripper, although honestly I felt like I should witness to
her first, because she pretty obviously needs the Lord, but of course I'm
not her FRIEND.
And now my Myspace page, which is ... oh, I'm not even going to tell you
whats there, it's so....let's say...minimalist. It says nothing but the
title of my book.
And here's the part where I apologize to Camy.
Somehow when you click on the blog link....Camy Tang's blog comes up. I did
NOT do that. I went and READ Camy's blog but I didn't steal it. Or, of
course I DID steal it, but I didn't MEAN to steal it and maybe I linked to
it somehow but I didn't MEAN to. And I'm afraid to do much to fix it because
I'm afraid the stripper will come back.
For now, is okay, now that the
stripper's gone. Plus I've got this great blog...Camy's. Honestly Camy's
blog is better than whatever I was going to write. Which I DID write
something but have no idea where it went. And again, stripper issue so I'm
afraid to hunt too hard.
So Techno-genius strikes again and CAMY?????
If you want your blog back, you're going to have to go wading in the swamp
of my mind.
Take a GPS tracker so when you call for help.....and you will.......the
search and rescue people can find you.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wording of the Press Release

Glass Road Public Relations, LLC
October 11, 2006
Contact: Jessica Dotta
Mary Connealy Releases Suspenseful Romantic Comedy
(NASHVILLE, TN) Sophie Edwards knows a thing or two about survival. During the Civil War, she ran her Texas ranch single-handedly and managed to raise four daughters. And when her husband was murdered and the ranch stolen from her, she kept her family hidden and alive.

Clay McCellen grew up in the West and has seen few women and even fewer girls. When the search for his long lost brother leads him instead to his brother's widow, Clay takes it upon himself to marry Sophie, restore the family ranch, and provide for his fatherless nieces. What he doesn't realize is that Texas cowgirls don't require much looking after. While Clay tries to adjust to a houseful of teary-eyed females who giggle too much, a gang of desperados learns that Clay's new wife—the sole witness to her first husband's murder—is still in Texas. As Clay tries to convince his new
family to depend on him, the womenfolk get to work booby-trapping the property to catch the bad guys.

“If Katie Elder had daughters, they would surely inhabit Petticoat Ranch!” Kathleen Y’Barbo Author of Brothers of the Outlaw Trail and Louisiana Brides

About the Author: Mary Connealy is an author, journalist and a
teacher. She releases three books with Barbour this year, is a columnist
for the Lyons Mirror-Sun, and an occasional book reviewer for the Sioux City Journal.
She lives on a farm in Nebraska with her husband, Ivan. They have four daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy.
Petticoat Ranch
Mary Connealy
ISBN: 978-1-59789-647-4
$9.97, tradepaper
Barbour Publishing
February 2007
Glass Road Public Relations

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Press Release from Glass Road Public Relations

My book is now among the montage of covers on the Glass Road Public Relations website. The title of this post is a link to that page. I've also been informed that the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) is on it's way to me. I'm going to get to hold it in my hand!!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I learned to create links today

I have been adding links but it's a slow painful process, exacerbated by constant mistakes, including one where I erased the whole line after I'd almost finished it. For some reason Michelle Sutton's link is there to stay and no matter what horrible thing I did, that link would remain and I could begin to rebuilt the wreckage of my link list using hers. Thanks Michelle. :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's on Barbour's website, too

It's in their winter '07 catalogue.
It's also on


I checked on Amazon today because I know books show up there before they're ready for release and THERE IT WAS. No picture yet, but I just am so excited.
I'm on Amazon
I should buy one, don't you think?

Sara Mills

Another co-teacher, although lots of people at ACFW helped make that class a success. Her book talk newsletter is really great, She's also got this site:
and this one:
I'll bet SARA didn't take two months trying to figure out how to run a blog.

Linda Mae Baldwin

For some semi-frightening reason Linda Mae seems to like this picture of herself best. Of course, I'd like to go scuba diving, too. So maybe I'D like a picture of myself underwater in full gear. Who's to say since I've never done it.

Crystal Miller's Chat 'n Chew Cafe

Crystal was another co-teacher on the ACFW forum class. I was supposedly in charge but Crystal, Michelle, Linda Mae Baldwin and Sara Mills all knew more about reviewing than I do and I learned a lot--while I was pretending to be the teacher.

Michelle Sutton

Michelle has a great blog. Full of book reviews. A woman after my own heart. She co-taught a class on the ACFW forum with me, a class on writing book reviews. I've been trying to make this blog work ever since she inspired me and I'm getting onto it finally. For example, after two months, I'm managed to add her link to me site. Uh...It might be here somewhere else, too. Heaven knows.

Glass Road Public Relations

I'm learning about the publishing world slowly but surely. The only wild card in that is how much is there to know that I don't even know I don't know? Huh?
Anyway, Barbour Publishing has assigned Glass Roads Public Relations to publicizing my book and I'm really, really excited about that. I had no idea there's be a publicity firm in my future. Jessica Dotta, a member of the firm is my publicist and we've talked on the phone once and emailed a lot and she's great.

Kathleen Y'Barbo

Kathleen is the author of book three of the Historical Alaska Series and she's also a publicist for Glass Roads Public Relations, the company that is publicizing Petticoat Ranch for Barbour, although I'm working with Jessica Dotta

Cathy Marie Hake

My hero, Cathy Marie Hake. She's writing book one of the Historical Alaska Series for Heartsong Presents and without her encouragement and support, well her generosity humbled me. I thank God for her.
Kathy is writing Golden Dawn, released in January '07, I'm writing Golden Days, released in February '07 and Kathleen Y'Barbo is writing Golden Dusk, released in March '07.

American Christian Fiction Authors

This is the site for American Christian Fiction Writers.

On the public side of this site you'll find a lot of book reviews for Christian Fiction, I've written a few of them.

Will Write 4 Food

This is Christy's other website. She published a book review I wrote.
Stephen King's 'On Writing ~ A Memoir of the Craft'

Christy Barritt

My even LONGER time crit partner than Suzan. This is Christy, Suzan and me in Nashville at the 2005 ACFW conference. Christy and I both found out we had a book contract right then, Christy right before the conference -- she waited to tell us in person -- and me AT the conference.

Suzan Robertson's blog

I'm figuring out how to do links. A little. So forgive the clumsiness as I post links to a lot of people I love.
My long time crit partner, conference roomie and friend, Suzan Robertson.

I joined the Christian Authors Network

The link above is to the CAN blog, a great site that focuses on marketing Christian Fiction.
And here is a link to their website.
And here's a link to my page on the CAN website.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I got an ISBN number today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe how thrilled I am. But then I find every little step along the way to holding my book in my hands thrilling so far. :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Why 'Real Life Petticoat Ranch'?

Whenever I pitched my novel Petticoat Ranch to editors I'd start with: Petticoat Ranch is my husband's story. Ivan, my husband, grew up in a family of seven sons, no daughter. (His sweet mother is a saint). Then Ivan and I had four daughter, no sons. The poor man's life has just been one shock after another.
I remember one conversation where the girls were discussing the ins and outs of control-top panty hose. Ivan said, "You know, this is something that we just NEVER TALKED ABOUT when I was growing up."
Out of moments like that, I created Petticoat Ranch. I thought, "What if, instead of getting to start a family of all girls slowly, one wife, one baby girl, break it to him gently, Ivan had been dropped into the middle of it.
What if, instead of a normal life with plenty of exposure to woman, his mother of course, but classmates, sisters of friends, etc., he'd come from a truly all-male world, like, oh, if he grew up the son of a mountain man in the old west and, without ever really speaking to a woman, he suddenly found himself married to a woman with four daughters.
I just had such a good time writing this. There's so much more the Petticoat Ranch than just my very confused hero trying to figure out how to handle all these women. But that's the heart of it. That's where almost all the comedy comes from.
So, because my family, we live on a farm and we're knee deep in girls here, fits the description of a Petticoat Ranch, I decided that might work for a blog name.
Below, down a few posts, my four daughters are pictured at the first family wedding. Left to right, Wendy, Joslyn, Shelly and Katy. And now, as the proud owner of one son-in-law, we've finally got a BOY! Aaron's picture made the blog, too. No sign of Ivan yet, but I'll get him.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Article on Conflict

Amazing that someone might think I could give them advice on writing, but I got an article published on Spirit Led Writer, an online Christian writer's magazine at

Of Mice...and Murder

'Of Mice...and Murder'

Being named in Great-grandma’s will was like hitting bankrupt on Wheel of Fortune. The whole family held their breath while the wheel ticked around and around, or rather while the lawyer opened the envelope. Then they all heaved a sigh of relief when the wheel stopped on Carrie’s name. Carrie the heiress. Great. Clean up the house. Clean up the yard. Clean up Great-grandma’s rap sheet. Carrie hates mice and loves the big city. So why is she living in a huge mouse infested house in her dinky hometown? The dead guy in her pantry closet is the most interesting thing that's happened since she came home. Of course the carpenter whose helping her trap her mice and solve the crime is pretty interesting, too. A cozy mystery coming December 2007 from Spyglass Lane Mysteries, a division of Barbour Publishing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Time to post

I'm trying to figure out how to blog and so if you're reading this, you're a guinea pig.

Cozy Mystery Book Club
An Imprint of Barbour Publishing
1810 Barbour Drive
P.O. Box 719
Uhrichsville, OH 44683
P: 740.822.6045

These are the kind folks who are publishing my cozy mystery

I had a terrific writing day yesterday, really fun. I just feel like I've finally gotten the hero just right. I love the guy already, he's outwardly gorgeous but he's inwardly a nerd. A genius who relates to people badly because his head is full of math and logic. Now he sees a pretty girl who is everything he wants, but he can't string a sentence together to save his life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I think I now have two blogs

And I don't know what to do with either of them