Monday, April 9, 2012

Favorite Family Recipes

My Mom’s Pie Crush

In a bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp salt.  Using a pastry  blender, cut in 1/3 cup of shortening (good old lard works best if you can get it) until pieces are pea size.  Using 4 to 5 tablespoons of cold water maximum (I put ice cubes in my water), sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over the flour mixture, tossing with a fork until all the dough is moistened.  The amount of water you need varies each time you make the crust depending on the weather.  Form dough into a ball and put in refrigerator to cool before rolling out.  This make one single crust pie.  You will need to double for a double crust pie. 

Honey Butter Spread

There is nothing better that hot bread just out of the oven.  We all have our favorite.  Dion makes the best rye bread  and he brings it each year to our family get togethers.  He does not want to share his recipe with me.  I’ll keep after him.  In the mean time here is a great honey butter to put on the warm bread or biscuits.

1/4 cut butter, softened
1/4 honey
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Simply blend all of the ingredients together and serve with your warm bread. 

Doris’ Green Bean Casserole

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans (1 bag of 16 oz frozen green beans)
1 1/3 cups canned French Fried Onions
Mix soup, milk, soy, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in 1 1/2-qt. casserole.  Bake at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot.  Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 5 min. 
For a creative twist, stir in 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese with soup. Omit soy sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup additional Cheddar cheese when adding the remaining onions.
Thanksgiving Turkey
For the family Thanksgiving get together, I have always supplied the turkey.  This is my very simple way of preparing a large turkey for a very large family.  Since it requires 20 pounds or more to feed the family, along with ham and Dion’s pork, I did not want to go through the thawing of a big bird.  Don’t remember where I heard this, but have done it since the 70’s.  I take a frozen turkey and put it into a grocery large paper bag frozen and put it into the oven before I go to bed the night before Thanksgiving.  I do nothing to it other than slow cook it.  I put the oven on 250 degree about 10 o’clock at night and by noon the next morning, it is beautifully browned, moist and completely cooked.  Take out of the oven 1/2 hour before serving to let it rest.  Do not cut it until it has rested.  This keeps the turkey moist.  Save your water from boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes.  To make gravy from the dripping take some of the turkey dripping (will be more than you will need)  Save the drippings and refrigerate.  It makes a great demi glace sauce (thicken broth) and add to potato water from mashed potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  When it comes to a boil, add a corn starch slurry to thicken it.  Mom has always supplied the dressing which is a pork sausage dressing with sage and onion.  We serve it on the side.  Yum. 

Left overs:  Take your demi glace and add water to make a broth and you can add left over turkey to it and make turkey and noodle soup.  Take your demi glace and add to milk and turkey and you can cream it for turkey on left over biscuits.  Don’t waste any of it. 

Turkey and Dressing Sandwiches

Want to extend a turkey to feed a large group of people?  I took this recipe to a pot luck that had a lot of people from South Carolina and they laughed at our bread on bread combination, but they sure ate it.  This is Blanche McAllister’s recipe.  This is often served at farm receptions for weddings or anniversaries.   If you don’t have turkey leftovers, you can buy a turkey roast or turkey breast if you like white meat best. 

Cubed turkey
4 cups sage and onion stuffing (1 bag)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk or cream
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1 cup gravy (I just make the gravy you buy in a envelope and add water to make)
1 small can of chicken broth
Use as much sliced or cubed turkey as desired, but the more the better.  Mix all above ingredients and spread in casserole.  Add chicken broth last until moisten to your satisfaction.  Bake in hot (400 degree) oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve hot on  hamburger buns.

Dump Cake

Doris originally gave Mom a dump cake recipe and we went a little crazy with it.  Each Sunday in the winter of 2008, Dona and I took turns making different dump cakes and took them to mom's for our Sunday dinner to see which one we liked the most.  We tried chocolate with cherries, apple and spice cake, pumpkin and many others.  The following is the one we like the most. 

2 cans of cherry pie filling (21 ounces each)
1 box of chocolate cake mix
2 sticks of butter, sliced into 12 pieces each
2.25 ounce bag of chopped pecans
1/8 cup white sugar

Preheat the over to 350. In a 9 x 13 cake pan dump the 2 cans of cherry pie filling into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the box of chocolate cake mix evenly on top of that. Distribute the butter slices on top of the cake mix. Spread the pecans evenly over the butter and cake mix. Sprinkle the sugar over all. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes and serve warm!  Doris’ recipe called for pineapple so we modified it by deleting it completely. 
Dona’s Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3 tbsp. baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/4 cups hot water

Mix 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and 3 tablespoons baking cocoa in bowl. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Pour into greased 9x9 inch baking pan. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar and 1/4 cup baking cocoa in bowl. Sprinkle over mixture in pan. Pour hot water over all; DO NOT STIR.  Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tests done.

Josh’s Oreo Pudding Dessert

This was Josh’s favorite dessert.

2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups buttermilk
16 oz Cool Whip
1/2 pkg. of Oreos

Mix pudding and buttermilk, add Cook Whip and fold.  Refrigerate.  Crush Oreos and mix before serving. 

Sal helping Grandma out by beating the cookies in  a baggie.  

Fruit Pudding Salad

3 pounds mixed fruits, cut into chunks (Possible choices:  1 bananas, 1 kiwi, 1 can of mandarin oranges, 1 jar of Marciano cherries*, 1 can of fruit cocktail, pineapple chucks or fresh or frozen strawberries). Use the fruits you like best.  (Keep all of your juice)
1 package (3 ounces) vanilla or French vanilla pudding, not instant.  You can get creative and use banana pudding if you are putting bananas in it.
1 1/3 cups of juice from your fruits you have drained to use in the salad
1 1/3 cups orange juice

Put chilled drained fruit into a large bowl and combine.  Put into individual serving bowls and set aside. In a saucepan, combine pudding mix and juices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour the sauce over the fruit. Refrigerate until chilled. 

*if you use Marciano cherries juice it will give the pudding a pretty pink color.

Dion and Betty’s Cherry Dessert

This was brought to many a family gatherings and we all loved it. 

2 cups graham crackers, rolled fine
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

1— 8 oz pkg. cream chese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 envelopes Dream Whip (Need to use Dream Whip)
1 cup whole milk

2 cans cherry pie filling

Make crust by mixing crackers, butter and sugar and pat into 9 x 13 pan.  For filling mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together.  Beat Dream Whip with milk and add cheese mixture and beat with Dream Whip.  Pour over crust and cover with cherries.  Refrigerate. 

Variation.  I have used marshmallow in a jar in place of the Dream Whip and worked out well.  You only need the marshmallow and the cream cheese.  Nothing else for the filling.

Wedding Mints

Butter Mint

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
Around 7 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Food color & mint
Extra granulated sugar

Cream butter and salt together until smooth. Blend in milk. Add Confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time until unsticky to touch. Knead in color & mint. Shape into ball, size of mold. Roll in granulated sugar then press into mold firmly. One ball at a time.  Flex mint out and place on serving tray. Mint will dry and stick slightly in place. Keep dough covered while not using. Makes approx. 200.

Cream Cheese Mints 

1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. mint extract
3 drops food coloring
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, mint extract and food coloring until blended. Gradually mix in powdered sugar; knead until smooth. Gather into a ball; shape into flattened round on cloth-covered surface generously sprinkled with granulated sugar. Coat with granulated sugar. Roll 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 inch squares or cut with 1 inch cutters. To roll any remaining cream cheese mixture, gather into a ball and moisten slightly with water if necessary. Or you can place this in your mold of choice!

Place mints on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Decorate as desired. Makes five dozen 1-inch mints. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days.  This is the recipe most used around here for weddings.  

Sal’s Snake Bread

1 can crescent rolls
10 ounces thinly sliced ham
12 ounces Monterey Jack, grated
Red and Green Liquid food coloring
1 egg
2 whole cloves
2 small pimiento-stuffed olives
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread out the crescent dough - do not separate. Pinch together the seams so that you have 1 piece of dough. Roll out to make a large rectangle. Make sure the dough does not stick  to the surface at all by rolling out on a little flour.

Lay ham down the center of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border on either end. You can feel free to use your favorite cold cuts. Top the meats with your favorite cheeses. Fold 1 side of the dough over the filling, lengthwise. Fold the other 1/2 over and press the seal the filling inside. Take 1 egg yolk and beat lightly with a fork. Brush the egg over the top of the dough. Divide remaining egg in ½ and put red food coloring in one and green in the other.  The yolk will act as the glue to hold. Fold the dough in 1/2 again lengthwise. Pinch the seam with your fingers to seal. Press the outside of the dough to make sure everything is sealed tight and to make an even thickness for the body of your snake. Taper 1 end of the dough to form a tail shape.  Form the other end into a head shape.

Using a clean paintbrush, "paint" the snake with the egg food coloring mixture.  Transfer the snake to the foil lined sheet tray. Form into an "s" shape so it looks like the snake is slithering. Insert 2 cloves into the head to look like nostrils.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes  or until golden.  Create a mouth or tongue with the roasted red peppers from a green olive.  Cut an olive in half and attach with a toothpick as eyes.  Put 3 olives on a toothpick for rattle if you wish to make it a rattle snake.  Get creative and make sure kids help in the creation.  Sal and I made this together.  What fun.

Ideas for cooking with kids:

Sal helps me fix dinner for the family each week when I watch him.  He likes to watch the Food Network with me now.  He really looks forward to us cooking and so do I.  Make sure you cook with your kids and teach them all you know.  Let them get their fingers dirty helping make meat loaf or meat balls.  Let them stir and add ingredients when you are making cookies or cake.  The food tastes even better when they have helped make them. They can make their own snack by putting peanut butter on celery or sliced apples.  Let them make their own little pizzas and put on their toppings.  A simple way to make kids pizzas is to use English muffins and let them top with cheese and meats.  You can also set up bars with tortilla wraps or taco shells and let them fix their own.  I like to cut tortillas in the shape of hearts and let them fix their own Quesadilla.  We did this for Valentines Day last year.  Let the kids cut their own shapes.  Take a heart cookie cutter and let them make their own bird’s net (egg over easy in a hole in piece a buttered bread and then fried).  This is another way of telling them you love them and being with them.  Have a family night where everyone helps with dinner.  Let the kids help decide what is for dinner on family night.   Don’t make it a chore, make it a great family experience.

German Noodles

Sam asks me to make this for him.  It is a recipe that I got from a foreign exchange student who stayed with me in 2007.  His name was Johannes Guenther and he was from Germany.  He made it for us.  I don’t remember what he called them in German. Us Germans love our noodles though.

1 package of thin noodles
2 cups of milk
4 eggs
1 cup of graded cheddar cheese
2 cup of cubed ham
Salt and pepper

Boil your noodles until they are al dente and drain.  Do not over cook them because they will cook some more in the casserole.  Whip the eggs and milk together well and add the cheese and ham.  Add salt and pepper.  Put noodles in a 9 x 13 baking pan and pour the mixture over it.  Put in oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until golden on top. 

Charmayne’s Cranberry Salad

I now make this every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 red apples
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups small marshmallows
8 oz. whipped topping like Cool Whip

Chop cranberries in a processor until they are finely chopped.  Add the sugar and let set over night.  Cut up apples in small pieces and add to cranberries.  Add walnuts and marshmallows.  Mix in whipped topping.  This has been a staple at most of our Thanksgivings. 

Variations:  You can add 2 stalks of celery or maraschino cherries.  The maraschino cherries adds more sweetness and takes it to a whole new level.  

Porcupine Meatballs

This recipes comes out of the 50s.  I first ate it at a church get together and fell in love with it.  I later picked it up as a standard for my dinner menus and make with Saylor since it is gluten free and dairy free.

1 1/2 lbs. of 90% lean hamburger
1 cup of cooked rice (Of course we use the Puerto Rican white rice which is a staple in our diet)
2 eggs
1 tsp. of Worcestershire Sauce (I leave out for Saylor when he is eating)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can 29 oz. tomato sauce 

Mix the first 7 ingredients together and roll into golf ball sized meatballs. This is fun food because you use your hands to mix and make the meat balls.  Bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until they are brown.   Once they are brown, cover them with tomato sauce and put back into the oven for another 10 minutes.  The original recipe I made for years called for tomato soup but since Saylor can’t have milk products I am now using tomato sauce.

Puerto Rican White Rice

The secret is to have a good rice pan.  I was taught how to make P.R. rice by Ed's Aunt Epi.  She was a sweet heart.  Puerto Rican rice is so different than what I grew up on, I needed an expert to teach me.  I prefer basmati rice because of it's aroma and taste, but many use the yellow rice.  Cover the bottom of your heated pan with olive oil (Should be on high heat).  Put in 2 cups of rice.  Add a tsp. of garlic powder, pepper and salt.  Stir until the rice begins to turn whiter.  Add 3 cups of water and wait until it boils.  Turn down the heat to low and put on the lid. Do not lift the lid for 30 minutes.  Rice should be done.  

Married to a Puerto Rican, I was taught that you always had rice and beans on the stove so should company drop in, you always had plenty of food to share.  We had rice and beans at every meal even breakfast.  Ed would mix eggs with them.  I always had beans soaking for the next day.  They were also cheap and nutritious.  

Old school teaching by Aunt Epi:  I was taught to rinse my rice well before cooking, but I stopped that practice some time ago knowing that I was washing away nutrients.

Red rice is nothing more than adding a little tomato sauce and maybe onion to the recipe.  Ed loved red rice also, but he always wanted to add shrimp to it and it became a whole meal with a side salad.

Puerto Rican Beans  

Soak your bag of pinto beans over night in lots of water. Drain well, rinse and put in a stock pan and cover with water.  Add salt, pepper, a pinch of oregano, a tsp. of garlic powder and a small piece of salt pork for flavor.  Add a large tablespoon of tomato paste; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Watch to make sure it does not need more water.  You can also use red beans, but Ed always preferred pinto beans.  There should be a wonderful bean broth that you put with the beans over the rice.  Add water as needed. This is Ed’s Aunt Epi recipe. 

I have seen many recipes out there but this is the simple one I made every day.  You can buy pinto beans in a can and my friend Carmen made her beans using canned.  Make sure you rinse them well and follow the other steps if you do use the canned beans.  Of course, it cuts down the cooking time because they are already cooked. 

I still have a lot more favorite recipes to share tomorrow.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

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