When Steve and I married, he quickly discovered that I don’t do yard work. I don’t mow, weed-eat or pull weeds. I will plant some seasonal blooming plants in the terra cotta pots outside and water them, but that is as far as I go.

Steve loves the yard. He mows, weed-eats and takes great pride in what our yard looks like. When our son was growing up, he would mow the yard. He never quite did the job well enough to please his dad.

Last week, Steve made the observations that hunting season was over and basketball was coming to an end. Next on his list of priorities was to work in the pool and house yards. As he said this, he glanced my way. We got a laugh about things that have occurred in the past.

Quite a few years ago, Steve was farming and it was a very busy time of the year. The fact that the yard needed mowing and he didn’t have time to do it was just about to drive him crazy. I decided to be “Wife of the Year” and surprise him by mowing our yard. Any idiot can use a riding lawn mower and cut the yard, right? After 2½ hours of my meticulous and careful mowing, paying careful attention to the sidewalk and driveway edges, I was almost done.

Steve pulled into the driveway about that time, and I was beaming with pride. As he walked over to me on the mower, I was waiting for glowing compliments on the wonderful thing I was doing. Instead, he walked over to the mover, grabbed the lever that lowers the blade and told me that is what actually cuts the grass. Well, that would have been a real handy bit of information to have known before I ever got started. He made me promise to never try to help him in the yard again. I have kept my promise to this day.

The next weekend Steve was going to mow the yard but was running out of time on his Saturday afternoon. He did not have enough gas for the mower, so I offered to take the gas can and fill it up, along with his truck. The last thing I heard him say was to make sure the yellow cap is on tightly so the gas won’t slosh out.

While filling up the truck, I removed the red gas can from the truck bed. I took the yellow top off the long black tube, just as I had been instructed. I then realized that the top of the black nozzle was just about the same size as the nozzle on the gas pump.

How in the world was I going to get the gas from the pump into that little black tube when they were both about the same size?

After experimenting with different amounts of pressure applied to the gas nozzle, and more gas on the ground than in the can and a bill of about $12, I decided that I was doing something wrong. So I headed home with half a tank of gas and reeking of the smell of gas, both on my clothes and in his truck.

When I arrived home, Steve asked what in the world had taken so long. After realizing what I had done, all he could do was laugh and make fun of me. I’m just glad I wasn’t near an open flame. Another lesson was well learned. There is another yellow cap on the top of the big red can that you actually place the nozzle in to fill up the gas can. Go figure! Once again, that would have been a handy little bit of information to have known.

Hope you enjoy this week’s recipes. Thanks for reading.

SPANISH PAELLA

1 pound chicken breasts, boneless

Paprika

Salt and pepper

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into rounds

2 cups raw rice

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas

Spanish saffron

Sprinkle paprika, salt and pepper over chicken breasts and brown in skillet to seal juices. Remove and set aside. Add onion and bell pepper and brown in skillet. Add smoked sausage and brown. Pour 2 cups rice, can of diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add green peas and heat. Add two pinches of saffron on the top and serve immediately.

HERBED CHEESE BISCUITS

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup butter, softened

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

¼ teaspoon dried parsley

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter and dried herbs. Gradually stir in flour until blended. Spoon dough by tablespoons into greased mini-muffin pans. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes

MASHED RED POTATOES

10 cups unpeeled and cubed red potatoes, about 5 pounds

5 tablespoons butter

¼ cup milk

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine potatoes and water to cover. Boil over high for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes. In a large bowl, combine hot potatoes and remaining ingredients. Stir with a spoon until potatoes are coarsely mashed.

Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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