I think the world can be divided into two groups of people — pet lovers and non-pet lovers.

My family falls in the category of pet lovers. Steve and I never really go looking for a cat or a dog. They kind of find us. We have his mama’s cat and dog that both came with the house when we moved. We even have a dog at our farm that we also feed each day. Our pets are a full-time job but worth every minute of time and trouble.

Every night when we go to bed, they all join us and curl up in their respective spots for a good night’s rest. They have their own special places where they like to nap during the day. To say they lead good lives would be putting it mildly. Yes, I treat them as if they were my children.

My sister, the cat lover, sent this to me from her home in California. She is really a cat lover. Her cats eat rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear dogs and cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me does not help, because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king-sized bed. I am very sorry about this, but it cannot be helped. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort; however, dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out on one end and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years — canine or feline attendance is not required.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door.


• They live here. You don’t.

• If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That’s why they call it “fur”niture.

• I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

• To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons and daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

• Eat less.

• Don’t ask for money all the time.

• Are easier to train.

• Normally come when called.

• Never ask to borrow the car.

• Don’t smoke or drink.

• Don’t want to wear your clothes.

• Don’t have to buy the latest fashions.

• Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college.

• If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

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


1 (32-ounce) carton chicken broth

1 pound uncooked spaghetti

2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 tablespoon butter

1 (8-ounce) package fresh mushrooms, sliced

½ cup shredded carrot

4 cups shredded, cooked chicken

2 (15-ounce) jars Alfredo sauce

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid. Melt butter in skillet, and saute’ mushrooms and carrots. In a large bowl, combine spaghetti, reserved ½ cup cooking liquid, mushroom mixture, chicken, Alfredo sauce and seasonings. Stir well. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent casserole from sticking on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Combine Parmesan cheese and panko crumbs. Remove foil and sprinkle mixture on top of casserole. Bake an additional 5 minutes.


2 pounds ground beef

2 packages taco seasoning

2/3 cup water

1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1½ cups Bisquick

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 medium tomato, diced

1 can (2¼ ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

In a large skillet, brown and drain ground beef. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in beans. Spoon mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk and Bisquick until moistened. Pour over cheese and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Spread top with sour cream, top with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and olives. Cut into squares and serve.


1 (16-ounce) package vermicelli pasta, cooked according to package directions

1½ pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes

2 teaspoons chili powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 (15-ounce) can chili without beans

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 (2.8-ounce) can French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set aside. Cook ground beef and drain fat. In a large bowl, combine cooked beef, onion flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, chili, tomatoes, sour cream and cooked pasta. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and top with cheddar cheese and French fried onions. Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

• Contact Lee Ann Flemming at lafkitchen@hughes.net.

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