Food Columnist Judi Leaming turns to old favorites from the Gooseberry Patch recipe collection, including Mexican Potato Soup, Strawberry-Apple Pie, and Tiger's Eye Brownies.

I’m safely back from the American Pie Championships in Florida and, after tasting more than 90 pies in three days, I hope you’ll forgive me if I put off sharing those recipes for one more week. For now, I’m more than “pie-tisfied.”


Prior to the competition, I had discovered that the very bottom of the Gooseberry Patch website, www.gooseberrypatch.com, contains a subject index of many recipes that have been featured in the various Gooseberry cookbooks. I felt as if I had struck the proverbial gold mine when I found this site, and it took me several days to just run through those recipes. Almost immediately I began to test them with very positive results.


The recipe for Mexican Potato Soup comes from the cookbook “Country Quick & Easy,” and it is appropriately placed in this book because, indeed, it was quick and easy — and very, very tasty. I did adapt this recipe to suit our taste, so I’ll give you that recipe and you can check out the original recipe on the Gooseberry Patch website.


The excellent recipe for a Strawberry-Apple Pie lasted about 24 hours in our kitchen, and it comes from the cookbook, “Mom’s Very Best Recipes.” The change that I made when I tested this was minor. I used 3 large Braeburn apples and 1 pound of strawberries. I think this will become a favorite in your household, too. (I realize that I’m not supposed to be mentioning p-i-e in this column, but this one is just too good to be delayed.)


Since this is again tennis season for two of our grandsons, Matthew and Josh, I’m always looking for cookie recipes — preferably bar cookie recipes — to take along to their tennis matches. I tested Tiger’s Eye Brownies, and these were a great reward for the team when they won all of their matches! This recipe originally appears in “101 Cupcake, Cookie & Brownie Recipes.”


Mexican Potato Soup




1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of potato soup

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup

3 cups milk

1 (8-ounce package) shredded four-cheese blend

2 tablespoons minced pimientos, well-drained

1 (15-ounce) can white corn niblets, drained

1 (7-ounce) can yellow kernel corn, drained

6 tablespoons Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits or 6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

1 teaspoon onion powder

In a large saucepan or stir-fry skillet, slowly whisk together all ingredients and warm over medium heat, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes until mixture is hot and cheese has melted. Do not boil. Serves 6 as a hearty soup.


-- Adapted from Gooseberry Patch “Country Quick & Easy”


Strawberry-Apple Pie




Pastry for double 9-inch piecrust

3 large Braeburn apples, peeled and sliced

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 9-inch pie pan with one of the piecrusts, and set aside. Combine apples and strawberries together in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice.


In another smaller bowl, combine flour and ½ cup sugar; sprinkle over fruit mixture and toss lightly to coat fruit. Spoon fruit mixture into the piecrust in the pie pan. Top with remaining crust; trim, seal and flute edges.


Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Combine cinnamon and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and mix. Sprinkle evenly over the top crust. Cover edges of crust with pie shield or strips of aluminum foil.


Bake for 10 minutes and remove shield or strips. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue to bake for 35 to 40 minutes more until golden on top. Cool to room temperature before slicing.


-- Adapted from Gooseberry Patch “Mom’s Very Best Recipes”


Tiger’s Eye Brownies




1 (10-ounce) package peanut butter chips

1/2 cup butter

1 2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat, melt peanut butter chips and butter together, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Spread batter evenly into an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into small bars.


-- Adapted from Gooseberry Patch “101 Cupcake, Cookie & Brownie Recipes”