Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Taste of Love

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here.  I've been busy and not really cooking much.  That hasn't been a problem though, thanks to the bulk cooking I was doing earlier this year, when the semester was slower.  I still have some yummy stuff in the freezer, we tend to eat fairly well, and I don't have to feel guilty.

However, this week, I did carve out some time to cook before life got complicated.  The plan had been to make my mom's spaghetti and meatballs and a big "12 hour salad" on Sunday.  However, I got a little carried away doing some schoolwork, got around to cooking late so it didn't happen, and three of three children were not going to be home anyway, so it was good.   I did make a 12-Hour Salad (aka layered salad) Sunday. Then my husband ended up in ER later Sunday night and wasn't released until Tuesday.  After a long, stressful day, which involved my eldest homeschooling my youngest, and lots of lost sleep for all of us, I took the kids out to dinner Monday evening.  All is well now, and we've finished off all the edible left overs, so I buckled down tonight and made some real food, my mom's spaghetti sauce.

Let's talk about my mom and "ethnic" food.  None of it is very ethnic.  So, please don't get your hopes up that some wonderfully authentic Italian recipe is going to follow.  My mom was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio, a.k.a. "Springtuckey".  While she loved cooking, Midwest "church" food was more her style.

But her spaghetti sauce is the spaghetti sauce I grew up with and is what spaghetti sauce means to me.  And tonight it tasted a little bit like love.  I has been years since I'd had her sauce.  She gave up making it when jarred sauce became the norm in stores, I guess.  Also, after my brother and I moved out, and then she and my father split up, I'm sure the smaller jars of sauce were more convenient for her.  As much as I enjoyed this sauce tonight, my middle son totally loved it.  He's my pasta eater, most specifically spaghetti with meat sauce.  He was really happy when he got home to see what was on the stove!

This recipe card is written in my mother's hand, on a recipe card that is headed "My Pet Recipe for...." and at the bottom, there's a stylized 1950s woman in an apron and chef's hat and the words "A Pet Recipe from Connie Cooper."  Connie Cooper is a name I remember from my childhood.  She was one of my mother's friends when we lived in Lakewood, Ohio.  So, maybe this recipe is her recipe, but my mother copied it out at her house or something?  Odd mother's handwriting on one of Connie's recipe cards.


Brown onions (2-3) in olive oil
Add 1 large can of Italian (pear shaped) tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato paste (or 2-12 oz cans NOTE:  this 2-12 oz cans part makes no sense to me)
3 cups water
crushed garlic cloves (2-3) or garlic powd.
chopped parsley
salt and pepper
bay leaves
thyme, basil and red pepper

That's it.  No directions.  My kind of recipe!  Dump, stir, heat, eat.

On the back of the card is a recipe for meatballs.  Initially, because my middle boy loves meatballs, I was going to make them.  I never remember my mother making them.  I have a memory of her "Swedish Meatballs" and I have a memory of her making some sort of baked meatballs.  But I really don't have any memories of spaghetti and meatballs.  However, because I ran out of time, I simply browned the meat with the onions and drained the fat.  Here's the recipe anyway.


ground beef
beaten eggs
bread soaked in milk, drain or squeeze
crushed garlic
chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Make small meatballs and brown.  Add to sauce.

I think everyone has seen a layered salad at one time or another.  This one is really basic.  I think last Sunday was the first time in over a decade, maybe two decades, that I used iceberg lettuce!

12 Hour Salad

(from the kitchen of "Ohio Farmer"  <--how cute is that?)

1 head of lettuce
1 1/2 c. finely chopped celery
2 green peppers, cut in rings
1 c. chopped red onion
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen green peas, partially cooked
1 c. mayonnaise
3 T. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 lb., cooked and crumbled bacon

Shred lettuce into 9x13 pan or large clear glass bowl.  Layer celery, peppers, onion, and peas over top.  Mix mayo, sugar, and s. cream.  Spread over top.  Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.  Cover with foil and refrig. 8-12 hours.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This week, I started planning our meals by asking the rest of the family what they would like.  Nathan wanted something with sauerkraut, Tynan wanted potato soup, Aidan wanted something with pasta, Louis wanted pork chops, and Brendan (Nathan's friend who is here several days a week and eats our leftovers) wanted fried chicken.

For Family Sunday Dinner, I decided to make oven fried chicken using one of my mom's recipes.  Brendan is usually here on Sundays and it was was his request.  Since I'm tyring to make a dessert each Sunday, I found a recipe for Harvest Loaf cake that looked easy and good, as well as quite freezable should they not eat it all.

This recipe for Corn Crisped Chicken sounds easy and workable.  As with so many of my mom's recipes, there's really nothing special or unique about this recipe.  In fact, I'm not sure she ever made it for us.  The recipe card is quite unmarked or worn.  Then again, I know I've had similar dishes that my mom made.  Whether they were this particular recipe or not, who knows.

Corn Crisped Chicken

1)  1 tender young broiler-fryer chicken, cut into serving pieces (I used boneless chicken breast, which I marinated in some leftover buttermilk I had).
2)  Dip pieces in 1/2 c. Pet evaporated milk.
3)  Roll in mixture of:
          1 c. Kellogg's corn flake crumbs
          1 1/2 tsp. salt; 1/4 tsp pepper (because I don't follow directions well, I used seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
4)  Place chicken in shallow baking pan lined with Reynolds wrap
5)  Bake in 350F oven 1 hour or until tender.
Again, there's nothing special about this recipe.  I made a HUGE batch of it and I'm hoping what I froze holds up well. It was well accepted by the family.

To go with the oven-fried chicken, I made Harvest Loaf Cake.  I'm warning you in advance that I didn't read the recipe card carefully and didn't notice that there is a glaze recipe on the back.  I was unprepared to make it,not having any cream on hand.  I wasn't sure what would substitute well (I'm a competent cook, but not skilled at the chemistry of foodstuffs, if you know what I mean).  I didn't want to make a glaze that would ruin two cakes when drizzled on.  I figured I'd dust the cakes with powdered sugar instead.  Who doesn't love things dusted with powdered sugar anyway?

Harvest Loaf Cake

1 3/4 c. flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t, salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 c. butter (I used coconut oil)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
3/4 c. choc. chips
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

Grease 9x5 loaf pan.  Combine flour with soda, salt and spices.  Cream butter.  Gradually add sugar.  Blend in eggs, beat well.  At low speed add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin, beginning and ending with dry.  Stir in chips and 1/4 c. nuts.  Turn into pan, sprinkle with rest of nuts.  Bake 350 for 65-75 minutes.  Cool, drizzle with glaze.  Let stand 6 hours before slicing (I have no idea why one might do so, and I didn't.)

Spice Glaze--combine 1/2 c. sifted confectioners sugar, 1/8 t. nutmeg and cinnamon.  Blend in 1-2T. cream until consistency of a glaze.

There is a handwritten note that says:  "Peg, I usally use 2 smaller pans because does make a Big Loaf.  Kay.

This wasn't a huge hit, but no one turned their noses up at it.  It's rather dark and was rather dry.  Kind of bland.  I don't know if using coconut oil instead of butter made a big difference or not.  I've been told it substitutes well.  It was just kind of bland.  I'll make it again, though.

The big surprise this week, though, was the Kielbasa and Gnocchi.  I've never enjoyed sauerkraut.  My husband swears he hates it.  My mother loved it.  My father not so much.  Nathan loves it and suggested it.  So, I dug out a recipe that looked like there'd be something for everyone in it.  Aidan, Louis, and Tynan all like Kielbasa.  Those three also like dumplings.

Kielbasa and Gnocchi

Onions---2 large
Gnocchi---1 pkg
Sauerkraut---1 pkg
Kielbasa--1 1/2 lb
cr. mushroom soup (you didn't think you'd escape that, did you?)

Saute onions in oleo and then add 1 tsp. paprika.  Boil kielbasa (in cold water to start) for about 20 min. (cut in pieces first).  Boil Gnocchi according to directions.

Layer meat, kraut, gnocchi, cr. mushroom soup, and onions.  Add milk if need more liquid.  Bake or in crock pot until ready to eat.  1 hr?
I won't kid you; I was trepidatious.  Nathan and Brendan loved, loved, loved it.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Aidan ate it, and most surprising, Louis ate a bowlful.  Tynan wouldn't have anything to do with it.  I doubt Aidan or Louis will ask for it again.

This wasn't a hugely successful week.  Nothing great.  Nothing fancy.  Nothing I remember from my childhood, but recipes out of the recipe box, nonetheless.  They must have seemed good enough to make it into the box to start with.

A week of heavy foods (1/22-1/28/11)

I'm so far behind on updates here.  My intention was to do one a week or so.  Yet, here we are, two weeks behind.  The semester is up and rolling, and my food plan is working well, so well that my freezer is bursting at the seams.  That's all fine and good, but hasn't left me much time for updates here.

Two weeks ago, I rounded out the previous week's comfort food indulgences with more of my mom's comfort foods, and some of the kids' favorites:  Lasagna, Hamburger Stroganoff, hearty Hodge Podge Soup, and Apple Crisp.

The Hamburger Stroganoff is a hit across generations.  My brother's one son adores it (I believe my mother, in knowing so left him a special copy of the recipe before she died) and my boys love it too.  As most of my mother's recipes, it too has cream of something soup in it.  Whatever, cream of whatever haters.  It rocks.

Hamburger Stroganoff
(from Sally W.--I have no clue who she is)

1/2 c. minced onion
1 clove garlic,minced
1/8 c. butter
1 lb. ground beef (I used 2 lbs ground turkey)
2 Tbs. flour
1-8 oz can mushrooms (I used fresh)
10 1/2 oz c. cr. of chicken soup, undiluted
1 c. sour cream
2 tbs. minced parsley (I omitted)

Saute onion and garlic in butter over med heat.  Stir in meat and brown.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.  Stir in soup.  Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream.  heat thoroughly.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Serve in ring of noodles or rice.  ( I used whole wheat noodles).
And yes, it rocked.  Rocked to the point that the boys almost came to blows over eating the leftovers.  I figure that if I'm using ground turkey, it's ok to use cream of soups, you know?  I know I could substitute the "lite" cream of soups or use light sour cream.  If only Aldi carried those options.....

I served that delight with Apple Crisp, a recipe card not written in my mother's hand and inscribed "for Peggy Hubble" which indicates it came to her after marriage but when she was still young enough to be referred to as "Peggy" OR that the owner of the recipe knew her before marriage when everyone referred to her as Peggy.

Apple Crisp

6 cups (6 med) peeled, sliced cooking apples (I used whatever we had)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
3/4 c. firmly packed Br. Sugar
1/2 c unsifted flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1tsp. Cinnamon, if desired (I say the more the merrier)
1/2 c. butter or margarine

Preheat oven 375F.  Slice apples in 8-9 in. sq. pan.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and water.  Combine Br. sugar, flour, rolled oats and cinnamon.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender.
Of course, this was a hit:)  And it's not much different than any traditional apple crisp recipe, it was in my mom's recipe box, so it counts!

Also, to freeze, I made a triple batch of Hearty Hodge Podge soup.  It's not much to look at, that's for sure.  Sort of a grayish brown mess.  But it's yummy and satisfying and filling.  And easy to make, too.  I wouldn't recommend tripling the recipe of you don't have a HUGE pot.  Mine wasn't big enough and that caused all sorts of problems.   I didn't really notice that the recipe card says it serves 12-14, and there I went, tripling it.  So, if any of you want any, let me know....I actually did give two quarts away and ended up throwing some away that went bad over time.  I have at least two gallons in the freezer.

Hearty Hodge Podge Soup

1 1/2 lb. Ground beef (I used turkey)
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
3 cans dilute Minestrone (or if you buy the ready to heat, be sure to omit water later on)
1 can pork and bean in tomato sauce (I used vegetarian)
1 1/2 chopped celery
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbs. Worchestersire sauce
3 c. water

In large sauce pan, cook beef, onion, garlic till beef is browned and onion is tender.  Stir in soup, beans, 3 c. water, celery, W. sauce, and oregano.  Simmer covered for 15-20 min.

This freezes well, thankfully!
And finally, we finished off the week with my mom's lasagna.  It's certainly by no means a traditional lasagna, no more so than her "chili soup" is traditional chili.  However, it is the lasagna I grew up with and it's the lasagna that I think of when I think "lasagna."  We have a whole other one in the freezer just waiting for another week.  There were three small pieces left over.


1 can Italian style peeled tomatoes, size 2 1/2 (I used chopped, and had to look up what a size 2.5 can is, information readily available on the web, so look it up yourself if you need to because now I forget)
1 cup water
1 tps salt
1ps oregano
dash pepper

Simmer uncovered for 1/2 hour.  Ad i can tomato paste and 1 cup water.  Continue simmering meanwhile brown:

1 1/2 lb. ground round steak (again, no surprise, I used ground turkey) in
1/3 c. oil (or less)  (I used coconut oil)
1 tps garlic pwd
1 tps salt
parsley, sprinkle (I omitted)

Add meat to sauce (after draining grease) and simmer 1 hr.

Layer: sauce, noodles, sauce, cheeses ending with layer sauce and sprinkle of Parmesan.

Cheeses:  1 pint (or 2) cottage cheese (mix 1 egg, beaten with) (I used 1 pt. of cottage and 1 pt. of ricotta)
                1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced (I used grated and used less than a pound)
                Parmesan, grated (please, dear friends, not the gnarly nasty crap with the green label on a plastic
bottle...use the real stuff.  They sell it at Aldi, inexpensively.)

I also used whole wheat lasagna noodles, not the new fangled kind that you don't cook.  I like whole wheat pasta.

Bake 350F for 30 min. (Best made ahead).
I made mine on Saturday and cooked it Wednesday and it was droolishious.

Now I want to thaw the other one and eat it this week, but I shan't.  I shall wait until the middle of February or March when I need a pick me up.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week of 1/16/2011: Of Souffles and meatloaf

Berry Kuchen

In keeping with my efforts at a sit-down family dinner every Sunday--greatly helped by Nathan's new work schedule in which he is off Sunday and Monday--I decided to have Salmon Souffle this week. Why you might ask? Because I have a few cans of salmon I need to use. I was pretty sure the kids wouldn't like this, but I made it. I doubled it. I froze one for use later. They'll either learn to eat it or figure something out, I guess.  

This recipe originally came from my Aunt Rita, and we had it last fall when we went to lunch at her house.  Louis and I liked it; I trust the kids will grow to like it.

Salmon Souffle

2  c. cubed bread (I used Wonder Whole Wheat White) in bottom of buttered 2.5 qt. casserole.

Mix     1 can salmon, drained
            1/2 c. chopped onion
            1/4 c. chopped celery
            1/4 c. chopped gr. pepper
            1/2 c. mayo

Spread over bread cubes.

Beat     4 eggs
             1 c. milk
             1 can cr. mushroom (Dawn's note:  I used cream of chicken because that's what I had)
Pour over salmon and bread cubes.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Uncover.  Top with 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese and bake 1 hr 15 minutes @ 350F (May put cheese on last 20 minutes).

Of course, not being very good at following directions, I put more than 1/2 c. of cheese on top and it was too cheesy.  Live and learn.  Otherwise, it was yummy.

One of my goals for this year is to offer my family homemade desserts more regularly.  By more regularly, I mean more than once or twice a year and when we have company.  I've added "Dessert from Grandma" into my Sunday dinner routine.  This week, it was "Kuchen."

The interesting thing about this recipe is that it apparently is one of those recipe cards on which my mother melded more than one recipe.  In parentheses next to the word "Kuchen" near the top is written (Dee's and mine!) in black ink.  "Kuchen" is written in blue.  Next to several of the ingredients which are written in blue--the "original" recipe--are ingredients in parentheses written in black.  I surmise that my mother tweaked this to make it more to her liking after getting it from my Aunt Dee.  Or, she could have had a similar recipe and wrote both on the same card?  Only she knew.  Sadly, I'll never know.

Kuchen (Dee's and mine!)

(1 stick=1/2 c)
1/2 # (2 sticks oleo)
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar (1 c.)
1 can fruit filling or 1.5 cup fresh fruit (Dawn's note:  I used frozen berry mix)
3 eggs (2)
Berry Kuchen
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. b pud (this took me quite a while to figure out....baking powder)

2/3 batter bottom greased 9x13 pan. Top w/fruit.  Add other 1/3 batter.

350 for 60 min(?)

Once again, this is a recipe that is very minimalist regarding instructions.  Does one melt the butter?  Does one cut the butter in?  Blend it in?  I have no clue.  Now, I easily could have looked up other Kuchen recipes and decided, but instead I decided to do what was easiest.  I melted the butter to make a smoother batter and to avoid having to use the electric beaters.  It seems to have worked fairly well.

Seeing as Tuesday is my long day at school, I'm trying to make Tuesday's a day for leftovers or something simple.  However, this week, I didn't think that I'd have leftovers anyone would eat, since I was pretty sure that Salmon Souffle wouldn't be a huge hit and Monday's menu is enchiladas, which most likely will all get eaten.  Therefore, I decided on something simple, warm and wholesome:  Bread and Cheese Dish.

The rest of the modern world knows this as "breakfast casserole."  However, back in the 70s, I guess breakfast casserole hadn't been invented.  Either that or Nina, who was from Romania, didn't know about breakfast casseroles and was preparing a bread and cheese dish....This recipe card has several recipes written on it.  So I combined several.  Nina's original calls for toasting the bread but doesn't call for refrigeration as is typical now.  Since I'm preparing Tuesday's dish on Sunday afternoon, I went with the refrigeration method. 

Bread and Cheese Casserole

8 slices of bread torn or cubed (Dawn's note:  I used Wonder Whole Wheat White)
(optional:  one lb. browned sausage, bacon, or ham)  (Dawn's note:  I used left over turkey ham, cubed)
6 eggs
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
(dash hot sauce or Worcestershire) (Dawn's note:  I used hot sauce)
(garlic powder)
(dried onions) (Dawn's note, I used both garlic powder and dried onions)

Mix together and refrigerate.
Bake 1 hr. 325F

I will confess, I didn't measure anything but the milk.  So, I hope this turns out.  I'm thinking I dumped in a little too much garlic powder.  Anyway, this will be easy for someone to pull out Tuesday and pop in the oven.  I have a vague recollection of eating something similar only made with whole slices of bread on a regular basis.  In the future, I'll have to dig it up.

The final grandma meal this week was suggested by Aidan, lover of all things meat based:  Meatloaf.

Most families have a family meatloaf recipe.  Ours is no different.  In fact, we've all always loved meatloaf.  However, we've discovered that we aren't fans of other families' recipes for the most part, especially those with green peppers in them and tomato sauce on top.  Who knows why my mother first decided to try this recipe, maybe because Lipton's Instant Onion Soup Mix was considered to dang modern and also hit the shelves right about the time my mom was getting married (introduced in 1952), regardless, we love this recipe.  (Oh, and for those of you interested in food, you need to check out this wiki). 

Meat Loaf

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2-1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 eggs
1/3 c. catsup
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
3/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 375.  In large bowl combine meat, Lipton Onion Soup, eggs, catsup, bread crumbs, and water.  Shape into loaf and place in pan.  Back 45 min.

(mom's note:  soft bread = 1/2 c. about or 3/4 c. dry crumbs)

We love this recipe to death.  I remember when I first asked my mom for her recipe for meat loaf and she said, "It's on the box of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix, but I can copy it out for you."  I bet it's copied out in my own recipe box.  Who knows though because I generally just buy either Lipton's or another brand of onion soup mix and follow the recipe on the box.  Lipton's Beefy Onion Soup makes it especially tasty.  Yum, indeed.  This is the recipe Nathan asks for as his birthday dinner every single year.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kids' Favorites and Winter

This weekend, I started a new endeavor: to do a modified "once-a-week cooking" regime. It was also the last weekend of winter break *and* moderately cold. I'm teaching three sections this semester of more-or-less the same course, and I'm making very few changes, so I had very little prep work to do. The kids aren't involved in any activities right now. Therefore, the weekend was slow and restful. In fact, I spent a late morning both Saturday and Sunday sleeping in and reading in bed.

Since I desperately love winter cooking and cooking comfort foods, and since I do so well cooking big, I've planned to double everything that I cook for the next few weeks, while it is cold and before the semester and Spring soccer heat up. So, this was a perfect weekend for me to prepare several of Mom's recipes, including two of my kids' favorites and one of my favorites.

Since it was Sunday and we'd all be home for dinner, I decided to double up for Sunday dinner, with two recipes from Grandma: Burger Bean Cups and Coffee Cake. All families have those staple comfort foods. The differ from family to family and region to region and decade to decade, but we all have them. In my family, one of those staple comfort foods for me growing up was Burger Bean Cups. It was one recipe I'd request when I'd know I was in college and going home for the weekend. My kids liked it as well. I've made it for years, and my mom would make it frequently when we'd visit. It's very much a 1970s classic, including both green beans and cream of mushroom soup. Who knows where she got this recipe. There's no provenance indicated on the recipe card, but she did go to the effort of typing the card on an unlined, unadorned recipe card.

Burger Bean Cups

1 can cr. of Mushroom soup
1 lb. gr. beef
1/3 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 pkg. (9 oz.) frozen cut gr. beans (cooked and drained)

1/4 tsp. dried dill leaves

Thoroughly mix 1/4 c. soup, beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, and
pepper. Divide into 4 mounds on waxed paper. Flatten each into
5-inch circle. Turn up edge of meat to form a 1/2-inch rim; remove from
paper. Place in shallow baking dish. Combine remaining soup, beans
and dill. Spoon into burger cups. Bake at 350 for 30 min.
Makes 4 burger cups.

Now, obviously, a mere four bean cups won't do me much good. There are five people in my immediate family, and Brendan was eating with us. Plus, when do my boys ever eat just one of something they like? So, I more than tripled this recipe and made 8 bean cups and froze the extra seasoned meat and beans separately (not made into cups).

Also, there's no need to add the salt. Really.

Whenever Mom came to visit, whenever we'd visit her, and pretty much whenever she went anywhere, we could count on her bringing her Coffee Cake. In fact, she had a special "Coffee Cake" pan and anyone who knew her well, knows exactly what pan I speak of: silver 9"x11" baking pan with a sliding lid. Oh, yes, she also made other baked goods in it--rice krispie treats and chocolate chip squares mostly. She may have made non-desserts in it, but I can't think of any.

This recipe card indicates that she got the recipe from her sister-in-law, my Aunt Dee; however, buried deep in the recipe box is a very similar recipe in my grandmother's hand, my mom's mom, and Dee's mother-in-law. So, maybe Dee got it from Grandma Maute. It's not a highly unique recipe. It could have come from anywhere, but from now on, we all know it as Grandma Hubbell's Coffee Cake.

Coffee Cake

2 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 c. shortening
tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. soda

Mix sugar, flour, shortening, cinn and salt together keeping out 3/4 c.
crumbs to use on top of cake. (I use pastry blender for mixing crumblie

Bake 350 for 30 min.

This is one recipe I didn't double this weekend, being stupid. I just assumed that there would be leftovers for the next night or for breakfast. That's always how it worked at Mom's house. Silly me. Brendan, Nathan, Aidan, and Tynan went to town on it, even fighting over the crumbs.

There were no leftovers within minutes of my cutting the cake.

What is January without beef stew? I wouldn't know, since I've never experienced one. With snow in the forecast, I decided this would be a good week for some beef stew. Ideally, this recipe is best when it's baked in the oven, but it was more convenient to use the crock pot, plus I didn't have an oven proof pot large enough to double the recipe. Doubled, it just fits into my large crock pot.

Mom got this recipe when we lived in Coshocton, Ohio, Susie Tileston.

Susie's Stew

1 1/2 lbs stew meat, salt, pepper (here, Mom added in at a later date, 1/2
tsp basil)

carrots, potatoes, celery, onion <--on top of meat V-8 (2 c?) or
1 tomato sauce 8 oz, 1 tbs. bouillon

3 or 4 Tbs. tapioca

mix liquid and tapioca and pour over.

Bake 3 1/2 hrs at 325

This turns out fine in the crock pot on low and doubles well. At a later date, Mom copied a similar recipe on the back. I'm sure it's fine as well, although I've not made it, nor do I doubt that I ever will. Why would I? Susie's Stew is awesome.

2 lbs stew meat cut in 1 1/2" pieces
2 med onions-cut
3 stalks celery-cut
4 med carrots-cut
1 c tomato juice
1/3 c tapioca
1 tbs sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp basil
(2 med potatoes)

cover and cook 300 --2 1/2 hrs then add potatoes, cover and cook 1 hr until

Finally, I had a couple of cans of chicken due to expire soon. Who knows why I had them in the cupboard since I don't like canned chicken. Maybe I got some wild idea that canned chicken would be good in my lunch? They were on sale? Who knows. Anyway, seeing as I missed my opportunity to use that chicken to pay off library fines during "Food for Fines" and couldn't stand to see it go to waste, I decided I had to figure out a way to use it up. Because one of my children really, really likes rice-based, creamy, baked casseroles, and since no one else in the family really dislikes them *and* they make such good left-overs, which means Brendan will finish them off, I decided to look for some "chicken and rice" kind of thing.

As it turns out, there was such a recipe in the recipe box. It's not one I ever remember Mom making, although I'm sure that there are many meals I've forgotten. The recipe card doesn't look well worn like so many others, but two things drew my attention: The name of the recipe and the provenance.

It's a typical 1970's casserole. Nothing special, but the name "Golden Chicken and Rice" just made me feel warm and sunny. Also, in the late 1960s and early 1970s we lived in Coshocton, Ohio. Both my brother and I remember those years as good years, and I think my mom did, too. She made some good friends there, including Susie. But her closest friend, I think, was an elderly woman, Nina Haus. Nina, a widow, had immigrated with her husband to the United States from Romania, before Communist take over. Nina loved children, gardening, cooking, and hand crafts. She became a motherly figure for my mom, whose mother died while we lived in Coshocton. This recipe is recorded as one of Nina's. Again, it's not unique by any means, there are hundreds if not thousands of similar recipes. But, it was Nina's. And that was important to Mom.

Golden Chicken Soup

1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. gr. pepper
2 tbs. oleo
(Dawn's note: don't you love saying the word "oleo?" Does anyone use that word
any more?)
1 can cr. chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp hot pepper
2 cans boned chicken (5 oz each)
3 c. cooked rice (1 c. rice to 3
c. water) (Dawn's note: I used brown rice because that's all I use for anything
any more)
1 can onion rings (Dawn's note: I forgot to get the canned onion
rings, so I popped into Big Lots and picked up a small bag of off-brand fungyun
type onion rings from the Aisle of Lost Chips)

Saute onions and peppers
in oleo (there's that fun word again!). Add remaining ingredients and bake 10
min. at 450.

OK, so, I decided that the onion rings were to be a topping. It just seemed a little too gross to mix them into the the wet mess. As Brendan said when he saw the chicken, soup, rice, milk, etc. (all but the onion rings) sitting in a bowl, "This looks like cat puke, but I bet it will make good leftovers. I mixed all but the onion rings together, put it in a casserole dish, topped it with crushed onion rings, and popped it in the oven a few days later. I don't know if fresh and warm 10 minutes at 450 would be enough to heat it through, but it certainly wasn't enough time to warm it through cold from the refrigerator. In the future, I'll probably do the more typical "heat at 350 until heated through). Aidan and Brendan liked it. Everyone else ate it without complaint. Brendan finished off the leftovers a couple of days later.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chili Soup

I grew up eating "chili soup." It wasn't until I went to college or later that I realized that most people don't automatically use "chili" as an adjective. The label on the recipe card simply says "chili," but I know I've seen "chili soup" in my mother's handwriting somewhere.

Since I've had my own home, I've made other chili recipes frequently and rarely made my mother's. It's not that I don't like her recipe. I guess I was just making my own way, finding my own preferences. One of the first recipes for chili that I made after getting married (and I got married rather young, right after college, so really didn't start doing any large degree of cooking until I was married) comes from the Sunset Vegetarian Cookbook. I'm surprised to find that this cookbook looks the same as it did when I first purchased it in the mid-1980s. That recipe calls for mustard seed, chocolate, cinnamon, and toppings, which all seemed quite radical back in the day. I'd never thought of putting cheese on top of my chili, let alone pickled onion. I've used a variation of this particular chili recipe for years. However, one day just a few years ago, I somehow agreed to host a gathering of my teenage sons and their friends to watch The Ohio State vs. University of Michigan football game. Being planned solely by the boys themselves, it was done rather on the spur of the moment, and as luck would have it, game day fell on the same day as our local holiday parade, an event my family has dubbed "the longest parade in the universe." In fact, this parade is walked in by seemingly every single citizen and organization in our community. It seems ever family in town has at least one member in the parade.

This little event and the spur of the moment planning on the part of the boys left me needing to make two crock pots of chili in a hurry. So, I tried something I'd never tried before. Chili seasoning packets. I also had at least two vegetarians coming, so I decided to just make both batches vegetarian, which saved the time to brown beef. In essence, I chopped some onions and opened up cans of beans and tomatoes, dumped it all in the crockpots, added packets of seasoning, and a few hours later, voila! chili that had the boys drooling. One young man asked me to give his mother my recipe for the best chili he'd ever eaten. Flattering, yet disappointing.

My first thought upon deciding to engage in this activity was that I'd start with one of mom's signature recipes: rhubarb pie, lasagna, hamburger stroganoff, strawberry jam, coffee cake, pumpkin roll, Dilly Bread, the list could go on.

But today just called for Chili Soup (pictures to come)

Peg Hubbell's Chili Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

1 large can crushed tomatoes with puree
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can Bush beans in chili sauce
1 can Bush pinto beans or refried
1 can H2O or more
1 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sugar
Bay leaf, basil, oregano
salt, pepper

That's all that's written on the recipe card. I assume that she assumed any idiot could figure out you mix it all together, heat, and stir.

I doubled the recipe (which I frequently try to do so that I can freeze some and have leftovers) and I didn't use Bush brand beans. I assume that at one point, there simply weren't as many brand options available. Instead, I used Kroger brand beans "chili ready".

I served this with a green salad and corn meal muffins. The muffins tasted fine, but didn't look very appealing since, at the last minute, I realized I didn't have any white flour in the house and had to make them with whole wheat flour.

This recipe got a 5/5 with all of us enjoying it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What is this?

Every week, for the next full year, my intention is to choose a recipe from my mother's recipe box and make it for my family.

I'll post recipes and pictures here, along with comments.

More later....

When I began to think about starting this blog, my first thought was that I'd do one of those 365 type things...but I quickly realized that I don't even cook 365 days. And I certainly wasn't going to try to make up for it by cooking multiple recipes on weekends or something crazy like that.

So, I thought "once a week, typically on a day when we are all together>