McPike Mansion

Just north of St. Louis MO, in Alton Il, is the mansion of Henry Guest McPike. Construction started on the home in 1869. The family used this as their country home until 1936. The house has seen many owners, and has been used as a college, and a boarding house as well. The house has not been occupied since the 1950’s.

McPike Mansion

But what’s so special about this neglected house? In paranormal circles, it is readily known for it’s hauntings, not only in the house but on the 15 acres surrounding it as well.

The house is thought to still house many of the spirits that lived there, and many people including psychics and mediums have felt a presence, with the majority of energies being strongest in the cellar. If you choose to research this location, and actually hunt on the property, you may encounter the following:

  • There is a man in old-fashioned clothing, who is suspected to be Paul Laichinger, one of the former owners.
  • Mists and orbs, some appearing in pictures.
  • The sensations of being touched, or smelling a phantom lilac perfume.
  • Hear metal doors scraping across the floor on their own
  • The wine cellar seems to be the hub of the paranormal network.

The house is open for private tours, overnight campouts, and nighttime paranormal research. Who would be willing to explore this location? Of course I would, but it’s always important to hunt together.

You are your own best investment

McPike Wine Cellar

Aokigahara

**Please use caution when viewing the images on this article, some may be too graphic for some people**

There are many things in this world that are amazing for different reasons. It might be the architecture, the lifestyle, the beauty of the location, or the history. One of the places on my bucket list is Japan. I think the country has an amazing history, beautiful architecture, the people are some of the politest you will meet. On top of my list is Kyoto. However there is another place in Japan that is just as beautiful, but has a darker history associated with it as well.

Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees is a forest on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji. It thrives on 12 square miles of hardened lava, that was laid down in 864 CE. The forest has parts there are very dense and the porous lava absorbs sound helping to provide a sense of solitude.

However, the forest has recently become known as “the Suicide Forest” and one of the world’s most used suicide sites, second only to the Golden Gate Bridge. So it has the historical reputation of being home to the ghosts of the dead. Signs at the head of some trails, urge suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association. 1.800.273.TALK or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

In 2003, 105 bodies were found in the forest, exceeding the previous record in 2002 of 78 bodies. Annual body searches are conducted by police, volunteers, and journalists, since 1970. However the numbers have no longer been publicized, to help decrease the suicides in the forest.

Due to it’s dark history, the forest is reputed to be haunted by the Yūrei, or ghosts of those left to die. They usually take the form of pale women in white gowns with long black hair. Tradition says that those to take their own lives can’t join the spirits of their ancestors, so the spirits remain in the forest.

What do you think? Would you be willing to visit the forest and potentially find the remains of a person who ended their life? Those who feel their only option is to leave this life, have not made that decision lightly. They have walked through life and experienced things that were too hard for them to overcome, they weren’t able to continue.

For those who have thought of it, but haven’t done it, please don’t. The world needs your light, know that you have people who care, and want you in their lives. Please, with everyone whom you come into contact with; please give them respect, love, and kindness. We don’t know what they are going through and even a small act of kindness could change their day, their life, and their future.

Please take care of yourself and others, be kind; always.

On The Dinner Table – Taco Soup

A couple years ago I had won an Instant Pot from work. I was so excited, as I had really wanted to get one and be able to make dinners much faster. As I was winning mine, my sister was actually purchasing one online for her family. We then faced the dilemma….what do we cook in this? Thankfully we are both avid Pinterest users and were able to start finding recipes. One that she shared with me is Taco Soup, and it’s one that we LOVE in our family.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 packet of Taco seasoning mix
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 packet Ranch Dressing mix (optional but worth it)
  • 1 – 10oz can of Rotel
  • 1 – 7oz can of Diced Green Chiles, with juice
  • 4 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 – 14oz can Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 14oz can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 14oz can Red Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 14oz can Diced Tomatoes with juice
  • 1 – 14oz can of Corn, drained

Directions:

  • Turn the pressure cooker on to the Sauté setting. Add the meat. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the taco seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked.
  • Add the Ranch packet, if using, Rotel, green chiles, and chicken broth. Stir, and place a glass lid on the pot to help the broth heat up faster. Once the broth is at a slow simmer, add all of the beans and stir well.
  • Add the can of diced tomatoes, but don’t stir. Place the lid on the pot and lock in place. Turn the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
  • Cancel the Sauté setting and then press the Pressure Cook/Manual button (or dial) and the + or – button (or dial) to choose 6 minutes. The pot will take several minutes to build up the pressure before the timer starts.
  • When the cooking cycle has finished, let the pot sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. Then do a controlled Quick Release of the pressure by turning the knob towards the Venting position.
  • When the pin in the lid drops down, you can open the lid facing away from you. Give the soup a stir, carefully as there could be some hot steam pockets in there.
  • Taste and adjust salt, if needed, then add the corn. Stir well and let sit for a few minutes.

We serve this over corn chips, with cheese and sour cream as garnish. But you can add your favorite flavors, Avocado, Jalapeno, Onion, and Salsa.

This is one of my favorite recipes, and it’s great to reheat during the week as well. Please give it a try and let me know how you like it. If you have any other Instant Pot suggestions, please share them as well!

Happy Eating!

Chernobyl

Saturday, April 26, 1986. The number 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded during a safety test. The test was a simulation of an electrical power outage to help create a safety procedure for maintaining reactor cooling water circulation until the back-up generators could provide power.

During the planned decrease of reactor power, the power dropped to a near zero level, operators were able to only partially restore the specified test power, which put the reactor in an unstable condition. The risk wasn’t clear in the operating instructions, and upon test completion the operators triggered a reaction shutdown; but a combination of unstable conditions and reactor design flaws caused and uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction instead.

Highly radioactive material dubbed “Elephants Foot”

Two explosions ruptured the reactor core and destroyed the building. One explosion was a highly destructive steam explosion from the vaporizing superheated cooling water, the other explosion could have been another steam explosion or a small nuclear explosion. This was immediately followed by and open-air reactor core fire that released considerable airborne radioactive contamination for about nine days.

The town of Pripyat, Ukraine, population approximately 49,000 people, was evacuated and then another 68,000 were further evacuated as the “exclusion zone” was increased. Two of the operating staff were killed with the initial explosion, another 28 staff and firemen later died due to acute radiation syndrome. Approximately 14 suspected radiation induced cancer deaths followed within the next 10 years.

Chernobyl today with the new enclosure

To reduce the spread of radioactive contamination, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus was built in December 1986. It provided protection for the crews of the undamaged reactors at the site, which continued operating. Due to is deterioration, it was further enclosed in 2017, allowing the removal of the sarcophagus and the reactor debris. Nuclear clean up is scheduled to complete in 2065.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Approximately 2 miles north of Chernobyl was the town of Pripyat. It was created in 1970, to provide housing for the workers at the Chernobyl plant. In April of 1986 the town had a population of 49,360.

After the explosion at Chernobyl, Pripyat was evacuated and is now in the Exclusion Zone, and primarily a ghost town. The city has been opened up for group tours, but only if you have the proper permits, and a tour guide.

This event is something that the entire world was affected by, and I’m grateful that it wasn’t worse than it was. The memory of those who helped on the day of the disaster and lost their lives and everyone who has lost the battles they experienced are never forgotten. I would love to visit the Pripyat ghost town, if only to experience the history of it.

You are your own best investment

Simmons Family

*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*

Serial killers, mass murderers, spree killers, they are all similar in that they plan to take a life. What makes them different is the timing of their murders. A serial killer has a methodic way of hunting, capturing, and murdering their victims. After the crime, they are usually able to “cool off” for weeks, months, or at times years before killing again. A mass murderer kills a lot of people in one location at one time. A spree killer is a person who kills two or more people, over a short period of time, experts agree up to seven days for a spree killer. Today I wanted to talk about a spree killer and his family.

Ronald and Becky Simmons

Ronald Gene Simmons was born in Chicago in 1940. He was raised in a military home, and moved often. In 1957 Ronald joined the US Navy and was stationed in Washington where he met his wife, Rebecca “Becky” Ulibarri, whom he married in July 1960 in New Mexico. Ronald was a career military man, starting in the Navy and retiring from the Air Force as a Master Sergeant.

Sheila, who carried her father’s child

In 1961, Ronald and Becky welcomed their first child, Ronald Gene Simmons Jr. In 1963, their daughter Sheila was born. By 1979, they had a total of seven children. However, all was not as it seemed in the Simmons house. By 1981, Ronald was being investigated for fathering a child with his 17-year-old daughter Sheila. The child’s name was Sylvia.

Fearing that he would be arrested, Ronald moved the family to Arkansas, eventually settling on a 13 acre piece of land, near Dover, Arkansas. They named the property Mockingbird Hill. The residence consisted of two older model mobile homes, joined together, neither of which had a telephone or indoor plumbing. There was a makeshift privacy fence as high as 10 feet in some areas, the family was secluded as much as possible.

Because of this isolated home compound, Ronald was able to carry out one of the worst family massacres the United States has ever seen. It all started on December 22, 1987…

The morning of December 22, Ronald made the decision to murder his entire family. He first killed his wife, Becky and eldest son Gene, by shooting them with a .22 caliber pistol. He then killed his 3 year old granddaughter, Barbara by strangulation. Ronald put all the bodies into a cesspool that the kids had dug previously. The four youngest Simmons kids were at school, so he waited at the house for them to return.

He told the kids that he wanted to give them presents, one at a time. His 17 year old daughter, Loretta, was first. He strangled her and then held her under the water in the rain barrel. The other three children, 14 year old Eddy, 11 year old Marianne, and 8 year old Becky, were then killed the same way.

Police at the Simmons home

Around mid-day, on December 26, the remaining family members arrived for a Christmas visit. The first to be killed were Ronald’s son, Billy and his wife Renata, who were both shot dead. He then strangled their 20 month old son, Trae. Ronald then murdered his daughter Sheila and her husband Dennis. He strangled his daughter he had with Sheila, 7 year old Sylvia, and his 21 month old grandson Michael. He placed all of these bodies neatly in the lounge. Covered with coats except for Sheila, he covered her with the best tablecloth that Rebecca Simmons had. His two grandsons, were wrapped in plastic sheeting and left in abandoned cars at the end of the lane.

Sheila and Dennis McNulty

Ronald left the home and went to a local bar, when he returned he spent the rest of the evening and the following day drinking beer and watching television.

It all ends on December 28….Ronald woke on December 28, and drove into Russellville, walked into a law office and killed the receptionist named Kathy Kendrick. He had previously been infatuated with her and she had rejected him. Next he went to an oil company office and shot a man named J.D. Chaffin and wounded the owner Rusty Taylor. Next he drove to a convenience store where he previously had worked, shooting and wounding two more people. Afterwards he went to the Woodline Motor Freight Company where he shot and wounded a woman. Then being done with his spree, he sat and chatted with the secretaries while waiting for police. He handed over his gun and surrendered with no resistance.

In a weeks time, Ronald has managed to kill 16 people, 14 of which were his entire family, and two strangers. He had wounded four people.

Ronald was charged with 16 counts of murder, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He refused to appeal, instead looking forward to his execution. Other death row inmates, threatened him daily and he was separated from them. They threatened him because he refused to appeal his conviction and the others believed it would damage their chances.

On May 31, 1990, then Governor Bill Clinton signed his execution warrant, and on June 25, 1990, Ronald died by lethal injection. None of his surviving family claimed his body and he was buried in a potter’s field.

That my friends is the story of a spree murderer. What are your thoughts? Why did he do it? I find it very interesting that he opted to not appeal his case, as that is something you don’t often see death row inmates do. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments and share any ideas you have about why Ronald Gene Simmons killed his whole family and two innocent individuals.

*Shout out to Jennifer Y. for mentioning this case to me*

Be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe

Mystery – Zodiac

We may never find out the answers to life’s mysteries, who killed the Black Dahlia? Who killed Epstein? Why do we lose socks in the dryer? Was 9/11 an inside job? And who is the Zodiac killer? This last one, we at least can read about today.

ZODIAC-C-14DEC99-SC-HO–Police sketch of the man suspected of being the “Zodiak Killer,” 1969.

In the late 1960’s to early 1970’s, The Zodiac, went on a murder spree. He had killed 5 that have been confirmed, injured 2, and bragged about killing 37. But he was never identified by his surviving victims, nor by police. His hunting grounds were San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The Zodiac Killer remains an open case.

The Zodiac killer may have claimed to kill 37 people, but investigators have agreed upon seven known victims, two of which survived.

David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen
  • David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen, murdered on December 20, 1968
  • Michael Mageau and Darlene Gerrin, shot on July 4, 1969, Michael survived.
  • Bryan Harnell and Cecelia Shepard, stabbed on September 7, 1969. Bryan survived.
  • Paul Stine, murdered on October 11, 1969.

While on their first date, it is suggested that the killer ordered the two teens out of the car and then shot David in the head. Betty fled for her life and was shot five times in the back, 28 feet from the car.

July 4, 1969, an American holiday, Darlene and Michael, while parked four miles away from the first murder location, noticed a second car park behind them, and the driver exited the vehicle. Shooting five times into the vehicle, both victims were hit, and then they were each shot one more time. Not more than an hour later a man phoned the local police department to report and claim responsibility for the attack. The caller also took responsibility for the murders of David and Betty Lou. Michael survived the attack, despite being shot three times. He was able to describe the attacker, a 26-30 year old white man, about 200 pounds, 5 foot 8 inches tall, with light brown curly hair.

Less than a month later, the local newspapers received letters from the killer. They were nearly identical, and they took credit for the shootings. Each letter contained 1/3 of a 408 symbol cryptogram which the killer claimed contained his identity. The killer demanded they be printed on the front page, or he threatened to kill up to a dozen people over the weekend. The threatened murders did not happen, the police asked for another letter to prove his identity as the police were not satisfied that the letter was written by the murderer. All three parts were eventually printed.

September 1969, Bryan and Cecelia were picnicking on a small island when a white man about 5 foot 11 inches, weighing more than 170 pounds approached them with a hood covering his face. After tying them up, he stabbed them both repeatedly. Then wrote a message on the couple’s car door. Bryan survived the attack.

October 1969, two weeks after the last attacks, a man got into a taxi cab, the cab drove a couple blocks and then the driver was shot in the head. The passenger was observed by three teenagers across the street who called police while the crime was in progress. Police responded quickly and police believe they may have seen the killer for 5 to 10 seconds as he was walking on the sidewalk. The Zodiac claimed the two police officers responding to the Stine murder, actually stopped and spoke with him for 3 minutes. The driver of the cab, Paul, didn’t survive. This was the last known murder attributed to The Zodiac.

Numerous people have been investigated as possible suspects in this case, and authorities had hoped they would solve this one, similarly as they did with the Golden State Killer. One person who was a potential suspect based on circumstantial evidence was Arthur Leigh Allen.

Arthur was interviewed number times, and the subject of several search warrants. One of the detectives on the case said of Arthur, “As soon as that guy walked in the door, I knew it was him.” Unfortunately they didn’t have a solid piece of evidence.

What are your thoughts? Is the Zodiac Killer still alive? Do you think Arthur Allen was the Zodiac? I would love to hear your thoughts and theories as well.

Be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe

Zodiac Movie, 2007, starting Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, and Jake Gyllenhaal

Olivu 426

Since last week was Mother’s Day, I thought this week I would showcase the skincare business that I was intending to do then. This is a Wisconsin based business, and they are not sponsoring this post.

Olivu 426 Store, Sheboygan Wisconsin

In Sheboygan WI, you will find a shop, devoted to improving the well-being of their customers. The owner, Caitlin Brotz, creates natural, personal care products that are truly healing, non-harmful, and affordable for everyday use.

Their website, olivu426.com, tells the story behind the brand. And showcases the staff and products they offer. The store offers products for men and women, babies and kids, from your hair to your toes. They also offer home gifts as well.

Now I’m all for supporting small business owners, and especially, Wisconsin business owners. So based on their website this is a business I want to shop at. I love the fact that the products are for your skin, and the testimonials claiming that they work, and most importantly, the cost isn’t going to break the bank.

Inside the Sheboygan store, Olivu 426.

Please consider shopping at small business owners, and giving them your hard earned money for a product that is better, usually less expensive and you are supporting your friends and neighbors. If you have tried these products please let me know!

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Starvation Heights

A mostly forgotten place, across Puget Sound from Seattle, Olalla, WA, has a handful of dilapidated buildings. But in the 1910’s it was international news for a murder trial that the region hasn’t seen before or since. At the center of this is a woman named Dr. Linda Hazzard.

Linda, lacked a medical degree and formal training, but she was licensed by the state as a “fasting specialist”. She believed that the root of all disease lay in food. She wrote a self published book in 1908, Fasting for the Cure of Disease, and wrote that the path to true health was to periodically let the digestive system “rest” through near total fasts for days or more. During the fasts that her patients performed, they were also “flushed” with daily enemas, and vigorous massages that sounded more like beatings. They only consumed small servings of vegetable broth.

Linda’s methods attracted patients who were from all walks of life, but her best remembered patients were a pair of British sisters, Claire and Dorothea(Dora) Williamson. They had learned of Dr. Hazzard’s book while staying at a lush hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. The girls were not seriously ill, but they felt that they were suffering from a variety of minor ailments. They were also believers of “alternative medicine”.

As soon as they learned of Hazzard’s Institute of Natural Therapeutics, they became determined to undergo the “most beautiful treatment”. When the sisters arrived in Seattle in 1911, they were told that the sanitarium wasn’t yet ready in Olalla, and instead they were set up in an apartment, where Dr. Hazzard fed them a broth made from canned tomatoes. A cup, twice per day and no more. They were also given hours-long enemas in the bathtub with supports for when the girls fainted.

Claire and Dora Williamson were transferred to the home in Olalla two months later and weighed about 70 pounds each. This was worrisome to neighbors who saw them.

Claire and Dora Williamson before treatments

Claire and Dora’s former nurse, Margaret Conway was the only one who suspected something was amiss. She arrived in Vancouver where, Samuel Hazzard, Linda’s husband, met her. On the way to the hotel, Samuel shared some startling news: Claire was dead.

Dr. Hazzard explained that the real culprit was the course of drugs given to Claire as a child that shrunk her internal organs and caused cirrhosis of the liver. As Dr. Hazzard stated, Claire was much too far gone for the “beautiful treatment” to save her.

Arriving at Olalla, Margaret saw Dora, who weighed approximately 50 pounds and couldn’t sit without pain, but she couldn’t get her to leave Olalla, even though she was starving to death.

The horrors that Margaret saw in Dora’s bedroom matched those in Dr. Hazzard’s office: The doctor and her husband had been appointed the executor of Claire’s considerable estate and well as Dora’s guardian for life. Dora had also signed over power of attorney to Samuel Hazzard.

The Hazzard’s had helped themselves to Claire’s clothes, jewelry, and household goods, and delivered reports about Dora’s mental stated to Margaret while wearing Claire’s robe. Finally, with help from Mr. John Herbert, the girls’ uncle, they were able to remove Dora from the property.

Upon investigating the case, Mr. Herbert and the British vice consul Mr. Lucian Agassiz, discovered that Dr. Hazzard was connected to other deaths of wealthy individuals. Many of whom had signed over their estates to her before they died. In all about a dozen people are said to have starved to death under Hazzard’s care, although the number could be higher.

Dr. Linda Hazzard, mug shot

In August 1911, Linda was arrested on first degree murder charges for starving Claire Williamson to death. The jury was unmoved by Linda’s claims and returned with a verdict of manslaughter. She served two years hard labor at Walla Walla, and her medical license revoked. She was later pardoned by the governor, but her license was never reinstated.

The institute burned down in 1935, and in 1938 Linda fell in and passed away shortly thereafter. The ruins of the building still remain as does her offices in downtown Seattle. It is rumored that the ghosts of murdered patients still haunt the premises.

You are your own best investment

Carl and Elena

Carl Tanzler and Elena Hoyos

We all strive to have the love and relationship that others aspire to emulate. For me, it’s Gomez and Morticia, for others it’s Cinderella and Prince Charming. But what happens if the person you love most in the world passes away, what do you do then? For most of us, we will grieve and eventually move on with our lives, maybe finding another partner to be with. For others, like Carl Tanzler, you exhume the body of your obsessive love and live with it for seven years.

Carl Tanzler, also known as Count Carl von Cosel, was born in Germany in 1877. He had traveled across the world during World War I, and in 1920, after returning to Germany, he married Doris Schafer, and together they had two children. In 1926, he emigrated to the United States and his wife and daughters joined him at a later date. Leaving his family in Zephyrhills Florida, Carl took a job as a radiology technician at the hospital in Key West, FL.

Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, was born in 1909 and was viewed as a local beauty in Key West. She was the daughter of a prominent cigar maker, and was married to Luis Mesa. After suffering a miscarriage, Luis left Elena and moved to Miami. She was legally married to Luis at the time of her death.

In 1930 Elena was brought to the hospital in Key West for an examination. Carl recognized her as the dark haired beauty that he had had visions of since his youth. Supposedly his ancestors revealed the face of his true love, and now he had met her. Eventually Elena was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a typically fatal disease at the time.

Carl, attempted to treat and cure Elena with a variety of medicines, as well as X-ray and electrical equipment that were brought to her home. Carl often gifted Elena with jewelry and clothing and professed his love to her. There is no evidence that Elena reciprocated his affections. Sadly, Elena would pass away in 1931.

Carl paid for her funeral, and with permission from her family, he commissioned an above ground mausoleum in the Key West Cemetery, which he visited almost every night.

In April of 1933, undercover of darkness, Carl removed Elena from her mausoleum, and carted it back to his home. Carl attached the bones together with piano wire, fitted the face with glass eyes, and as her skin was decomposed, he replaced it with silk cloth, soaked in wax, and plaster of Paris. As her hair fell out of Elena’s decomposing scalp, Carl fashioned a wig from her hair that he had previously obtained from her mother. He filled her body with rags, to keep the original shape, dressed her in clothing, and kept her body in his bed. Carl was forced to use copious amounts of perfumes and other preserving agents to mask the odor and stall decomposition.

The remains of Elena, that Carl preserved.

It was almost seven years later that Elena’s family heard rumors that Carl Tanzler was sleeping with the disinterred body of their daughter. Elena’s sister confronted Carl, and Elena’s body was discovered. The authorities were notified, and Carl Tanzler was arrested, however charges of ‘wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization’ were dropped, as the statute of limitations for the crime had expired.

Elena’s body was returned to the Key West Cemetery, where she was reburied in an unmarked grave, in a secret location.

The public was mostly sympathetic to Carl, labeling him as an eccentric romantic. However, doctors who attended the 1940 autopsy of Elena’s remains, recalled years later that vaginal lube had been inserted into the vaginal area of the corpse that would allow for intercourse. This hasn’t been fully proven, or refuted, so it’s unsure if Carl was involved in necrophilia.

Carl Tanzler lived the remaining years of his life in Pasco County Florida, near Zephyrhills, where his wife Doris lived. She apparently helped support him in his later years. Carl passed away at age 75 in 1952. His body was discovered three weeks after his death, and it was reported that he was found in the arms of Elena’s effigy.

What do you think? Were the actions by Carl justified as romantic, or downright creepy? Do you believe he had intercourse with Elena’s corpse? After being caught and moving away from Key West, it’s rumored that he had again acquired her corpse and lived with it until he died. What are your thoughts on this freaky Friday case?

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

On The Dinner Table – Poor Man’s Steak

This recipe is one we discovered several years ago from a Four Ingredient Cook Book. It has become one of our favorites and it’s a great option for leftovers the next day as well. You can change the recipe to suit your family’s tastes, as it very simple and basic. But, that doesn’t mean it is without flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground meat
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced, you may need more sliced onion depending on how many patties you make, but we generally use one and have one slice per patty.
  • 2-3 jars of beef gravy
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup of water, if needed
  • You can use any seasonings you prefer, I usually use a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of oregano.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. You don’t need a lot of spray. If your pan is not big enough you may need to use two.

In a large bowl, mix the beef, crushed saltines, seasonings, and a little water to combine all together. Form into even sized patties, we usually get about 8-9 patties.

Heat a skillet to medium high heat, you don’t want this screaming hot. Cook the patties in the pan for 3-5 minutes on each side. **Note – They will not be fully cooked, you will finish cooking these in the oven. If you prefer your meat to be cooked more, add another minute or two on each side.**

As each patty is finished cooking, add them to the baking dish and put a sliced onion on top. Once all the patties are in the pan(s) cover them with the beef gravy. They don’t have to be swimming in the gravy.

When all the patties are in the pan and covered with onion and gravy, cover them with aluminum foil, and put into the oven to cook for 45 minutes. If the patties are not cooked to your level of doneness, keep them in another 15 minutes or until done.

You can serve the patties, with your choice of green vegetable, egg noodles or potatoes. This dish is a comfort food that will warm and fill you up.

Happy Eating!