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.