The New & The Old – 2020 Greatest Hits Post

2020, what a year it’s been, huh? I really don’t even know what to say about it other than I wish we had do-overs.

Left to right: Addi, Audrey, James, Michael, Andrea and baby Kenzi.

I’ve been absent from my site for a while, and if you follow me, I apologize if I worried anybody. So no, I didn’t get covid (although I was pretty sick for a month and thought maybe…). I wasn’t jailed in any protests, arrested or injured doing anything heroic. I really wasn’t doing anything exciting at all!

I moved down to Georgia to be with my daughter and her family and after a week, fell down the stairs with dire consequences. I broke my sacrum and obtained a couple of bulging discs and things just snowballed from there.

I’m on the mend now, but I think I lost my momentum and lost my voice, figuratively speaking. It wasn’t just the physical issues; I find myself thinking that serious times like we are going through need serious action…yet there’s nothing to do but just get through every day as best we can.

It took me a while to realize that my answer to almost any crisis is food and that maybe I should just stick to what I know. My scale will tell you it’s working, lol! But once I hit upon that realization, I came across this quote on my Sister in law’s FB page. Maybe it will help inspire you if you’re struggling, too.


It was heartbreaking to leave my home and gardens (and my sweet cat Homer, who went back to her “birth family” – at age 14 it seemed cruel to put my one-person cat into a large boisterous family home) but there is so much here in Georgia. We’re constantly busy even when we are doing nothing. I’d forgotten that was a thing with kids!

Chance is having a hard time integrating. He’s such a rascal, getting no exercise since my back issues and it never seems like there’s never a moment without food or other dangers around. But we’re making do and both of us are seeing improvement – it’s just slower than I’d like!

Chance snoozing. He’s such a nutjob, lol! Of course his doggie bed is on the floor mostly unused…

But enough about me! Here’s what made my top 10 list for 2020. I try not to peek at the statistics until the end of the year because I love surprises and this year some of the most viewed recipes really were a surprise. Although maybe that’s not surprising, being it was a year like no other?

10) For the second year running in my top 10, Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib. It took the number 10 spot. It’s a great recipe to take any cheap grocery store roast and perfectly roast it. It works for real prime rib, too, if you’re feeling flush! Basically, you toss it in the oven at a high temperature, then turn the oven off and let it do it’s thing.

Poor Man's Mock Prime Rib

Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib

9) A personal fave is my Easy, Cheesy, Broccoli Skillet. It’s divine. It’s broccoli literally swimming in cheese, so it’s not for the faint of heart (or those prone to guilt, lol!). It’s best served with something simple, I think because it’s gonna be the star of the table.

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Skillet

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Skillet

8) Moving on to number 8 on the list, my Easy Overnight Crusty Bread. It’s a no-knead bread and not a surprise it showed on my top 10 for this past year, given how many of us were making bread. Five minutes to mix and an overnight rise makes this such an easy endeavor. It’s gonna be a perfect accompaniment for all your soups, stews, and braises this winter.

Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread

7) My method of “Doctoring Canned Baked Beans” is not only in the number 7 spot, but it’s also consistently shared on social media. I guess I tend to think it’s a summer dish; either peeps eat Baked Beans all year long, or a lot of us are still trying to work through all the canned beans we’ve stocked up on! Whatever the reason, they’re crave-able!

Doctoring Canned Baked Beans

Doctoring Canned Baked Beans

6) For the first time in the top 10, is my French Onion Soup Burgers. I have seen the method of adding in FO soup mix for years, maybe decades, but these burgers take it a step further. They’re dripping with caramelized onions, have a touch of Sherry or Brandy and then there’s the cheese! Need I say more?

French Onion Soup Burgers

French Onion Soup Burgers

5) In spot five, and for the third time in the top 10, is my method for making Steakhouse Mushrooms. I ignore all the advice on how to cook mushrooms and go rogue. I actually add water to the pan, gently steam them and then let them brown up. They’re fabulous and so easy.

Steak House Mushrooms - so beautifully cooked & caramelized - this method is magic!

Steak House Mushrooms – so beautifully cooked & caramelized – this method is magic!

4) On to number four: That Old Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe. It’s such a classic standard throughout the Midwest. Maybe all over. Easy, simple down-home cooking like this is never wrong, amirite? This is the 2nd year running this pot roast was in the top 10.

That Old Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe

That Old Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe

3) Million Dollar Dip has pretty consistently been in my top 10 since I published it in 2017. It’s a dip of many names, and some people call it ABC dip for the Almonds, Bacon, and Cheddar it’s made from. Best made a day ahead, it’s still great if you can’t wait!

ABC Dip, Neiman Marcus Dip, Million Dollar Dip, One Million Dollar Dip

Million Dollar Dip

2) Canned Refried Beans Restaurant Style takes a can of any old refried beans and takes them over the top with just a few additions. They’re so rich, creamy, and luscious. This little recipe has been in my top 10 every year since it was published in 2015. I seem to always forget to work on a new photo, lol!

Canned Refried Beans Restaurant Style

How to doctor up canned refried beans

1) And again, my Ruth Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat is solidly in the number 1 place. And it has been since I first made them in 2018. They’re really just fabulous and a great make-ahead option. You might want to make them to go with that roast up above. 🙂

Ruth's Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat

Ruth’s Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat = see how creamy!

So that’s it for the top 10 but this year four recipes fell from glory – no longer on the top 10, that is. My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce which randomly became popular out of the blue last year (after years on my site) dropped in the stats. My Oven Baked Hotel Eggs, after years on the top 10 list were edged out, maybe because they feed a crowd, and these days, most people aren’t having crowds over. Same with my Classic Cornbread Salad. It’s still popular but dropped to #14. My Instant Pot Pork Chop One-Pot Meal did much the same.

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They’re going to go to join the recipes that rotated off the top 10 last year: my traditional Nebraska Runzas (Bierocks), Instant Pot Swiss Steak with Mushrooms, this glorious 15-minute Broccoli Cheese Soup, along with my Homemade Chorizo. You are gone, but not forgotten!

Every year, I like to pick what I think of as an “underdog” recipe. One of my favorite recipes that’s never gotten quite the love I think it deserves. Think of this as a kind of Best Personality Award. There are a couple of recipes on my site that always create an instant longing when I see them, and one of those is a huge fave, my Cabbage Roll Soup.

It’s cheap and easy and uses mostly common pantry ingredients and can be made on the stove or in the Instant Pot. My daughter and I just made a huge pot this last weekend.

Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Soup

Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Soup

I’m so glad you’re here and hope you’ll give me a shout out now and then as I start blogging again. Just so I know you’re still with us in these uncertain times. I think things are starting to look up but boy do we have work ahead of us.

In the meantime, I’ll keep cooking and posting, and thank you for following. If you have any friends or family who you think might like to follow along, I’d appreciate it if you’d share.  Just like that old girl scout song, which I end with every year:

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold…”

Happy New Year Everyone! Stay safe, and may you have many more new memories (and recipes, lol) this year to cherish along with the old…


33 thoughts on “The New & The Old – 2020 Greatest Hits Post

  1. Nancy Sutton

    As I just ‘found’ you, I guess I didn’t miss your absence…but now empathize with the trauma drama of last year. (And I have a bountiful archive to mosey through!) Thank you for your ‘authenticity’, charm and humor (which probably came from Somewhere else, but takes courage to share, sometimes 🙂 ox

  2. hennie

    Hi, Mollie, Miss you and hope you are getting better. Have loved your recipes and stories for many years. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Get well!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi and thanks for stopping by to say so! It was kind of you. It seems there has been one thing after another but we are working through issues one after another! I really miss posting! And will be back soon (I hope!)

  3. Happy New Year, Mollie! Sorry to hear about the accident 🙁 I see why you decided to move; the grandchildren are adorable. Having you living close by will give them the opportunities to create memories with grandma. Wish I was a grandma, lol. Btw, I want to tear into that crusty bread!! Take care and give Chance a hug XOXO

  4. So glad to hear you’re back. Sounds like you went through some tough times health wise as well as rethinking your place in the greater scheme of things. I look forward to future posts.

    Happy New Year … 2021 WILL get better. 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness. What a terrible fall. Yikes. i sure hope your back can heal without surgery, and if there’s surgery i certainly hope it’s successful. There’s nothing quite like living with pain. What a year for you! but glad you got all moved. And what a big beautiful family!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      The kids are so fun, but boy are they an adjustment, lol! The noise for one!! I’m having more fun though now that I’m getting around better. Happy New Year to you, Mimi!

  6. Nancy L Janssen

    Mollie! I always cringe when I hear of back injuries. I once slipped in some mud and bruised my sacrum and that was painful enough; I cannot imagine how you feel! I hope you are healing.
    Poor Chance, the big love! Our Labs need that activity, don’t they?
    I’m happy you are settling in; those children are adorable. Making Grammy memories is important, so I’m glad you get the chance.
    And the recipes! I’ll certainly look forward to seeing what you’re coming up with this year. Be good to yourself, and I’ll keep an eye out for your posts.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I feel like I should be posting more, after all, we’re eating! I think the pain sucks the energy out of you! Hope all is well with you and Happy New Year.
      How’s your boy doing? I can’t think of his name offhand, just remember a beautiful silver lab, right!

  7. I was so happy to see your blog pop up in my email box. But, oh no, I am sorry to hear about your accident. And so soon after your move as well. Glad you are on the road to recovery, you must have your hands full with those lovely children.

    Thanks for the recap and welcome back.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Lori. You made me laugh because it was a year that truly did feel like it was a year half lived and one of survival. Of course, better than the alternative, may all those souls rest in peace!

      Here’s to a better year to come!


    • FrugalHausfrau

      I am getting there slowly but surely! I have some pretty mean physical therapist, lol!!

      Happy New Year to you, too!

  8. Nancy Bridges

    I’m very sorry to hear of your injury and send healing thoughts. I hope you are not in much pain.

    I love seeing your recipes, even the ones I don’t make or can’t eat (I have celiac disease and type 1 diabetes and don’t eat meat). I believe it was an apple cake recipe on your site that got me hooked. Your recipes remind me of a simpler time, growing up in a blue collar family in Queens. Keep it up! I plan to see if your bread recipe will work with GF flour 🙂

    Nancy, in Maryland

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Nancy, thank you for commenting and Happy New Year! I’m glad you like the site. My daughter and I were just talking and I was telling her that we’ve lost something. When I was growing up, we all watched the same tv shows, (I loved the wonderful world of disney!) all watched the same news (relatively speaking) all saw the same movies (or at least had the same choices) and even recipes, if they were good spread throughout the country as people visited relatives and so on. I think you just proved my point…even though you grew up in Queens and I grew up in a small Iowa town, there’s still some nostalgic commonality that kids today don’t have!


      • Nancy Sutton

        I’ve often thought the same thing (74 yo) … plus it seemed easier to find a job… and an affordable apt… and something fun/interesting to do (like home cooking, instead of the seductive boobtube, although limited channels did give common conversation topics at work the next day). As a beloved friend commented long ago, ‘perhaps we have way too many options, and it doesn’t promote happiness’. (Must be a lot of red-haired Irish in the blood, btw 🙂

  9. AJ

    Happy New Year! Hope you continue to heal. Take time to take care of YOU. Looking forward to seeing more great recipes from you in 2021

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi AJ, thank you! I will be sure; actually, the fact that I fell was a wake up call that I am getting to be the age where I have to admit I can’t do “everything” any more!! 🙂

      Happy New Year!

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