Mom's Recipes

April 2008

This page is dedicated to my Mom, who passed away in 2006.

Mom was a great cook. Not a chef, not inventive, not imaginative, not speculative. Just an all around good cook! She made tasty, filling food that everyone remembered! She inspired me to learn to cook, and I believe she inspired my siblings -- all of whom are good cooks.

When I graduated from college I moved about 30 miles from home. In the process of moving out I realized that a huge number of family recipes, recipes Mom cooked while we were growing up, existed no place except between Mom's ears. Yeah, she had things written down, but ingredient amounts were often unspecified and the "recipes" did not begin to explain how to reproduce her dishes.

So I visited Mom & Dad each weekend, did my laundry, and Mom made a dish while I recorded it. This process went on for several years until I captured everything we could think of. Did I get everything? I'm sure I didn't, but I got everything we could think of.

Since 1987 I've had my own cookbook, stored since 1994 in a Microsoft Access database -- printed and 3 hole punched every 2 to 5 years. Copies of a spiral bound 1989 version still exist around the family. In every version are all Mom's recipes (tagged with her name) and I'm now publishing them on my web site.

Most of these recipes are not original. Many came off a can or box label, or were cut from a newspaper or magazine. But they're recipes my siblings and I remember from our childhoods, ones that we still make today.


Table of Contents

Meats

Barbecue Pork Chops
Mom's Poultry Stuffing
Paprika Chicken
Porcupine Meatballs
Pork Goulash
Pork-In-The-Oven
Steak & Dumplings

Vegetables

Deep Fried Mashed Potato Balls
Green Tomato Casserole
Potato Puffs
Scalloped Potatoes

Soups

Mom's Vegetable Beef Soup
Mom's Chicken Soup

Beverages

Light Eggnog
Tom & Jerry

Quick Breads

Johnny Cake
Zucchini Bread

Cakes

Banana Cake
Dutch Cherry Cake
Eggless Cake
Mayonnaise Cake
Pineapple Cheesecake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Tomato Soup Cake

Desserts

Fudge
Glorified Rice
Muffins
Sweet Apple Egg Rolls

Pies

Rhubarb Pie
Pumpkin Pie


Meats

Barbecue Pork Chops

Mom found this recipe in a magazine when I was a teenager. It was a big hit with pork chops and just as big a hit with chicken.

For a number of years we made it regularly, then stopped making it. I made it a few times as an adult, but it didn't quite have the same "magic" that it did when I was a teenager.

Preheat over to 350 F. Line meat in a casserole dish in one layer. Mix remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour over meat and bake for 1 hour.

Variation: Use chicken instead of pork.


Mom's Poultry Stuffing

No idea where this recipe came from. I need to ask Dad.

All my siblings love it. Me? Can't stand it, never did. Just not my taste. But given it's overall popularity within the family I made sure I captured it. Nope -- I'll never make it. But my brother Kevin does.

Funny -- last fall we compared notes. It looked like his version of this recipe was VERY different ... until I realized that his recipe was half size (or mine is double size?) and some ingredients were listed in a different order.

Place giblets in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface, then season w/salt. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until tender. If the water level drops too low, add only as much hot water as needed to keep the giblets covered.

Remove the giblets from the stock, reserving stock. Grind the giblets into a large mixing bowl. Grind the bread and onion into the same bowl. Mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Mix well. Add some reserved giblet stock to moisten the mixture. Mix in the egg and potato. Stuff the bird and roast as usual. As an alternate, place stuffing in a greased baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350 F for 30 minutes.


Paprika Chicken

This is one of my absolute favorites from my childhood. Which is good -- Mom made it often. The chicken was always tender, and oh-so moist and flavorful.

But as a kid I wouldn't touch the rice! Probably because of the color and chunks of onion. As an adult? Love the stuff!

Brown chicken in oil, seasoning with salt & pepper. Dust with enough paprika to color the meat dark. Saute onion until clear. Add more paprika to color meat. Add 1/2 cup water and simmer until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken to warm platter, & stir rice into drippings until well mixed.


Porcupine Meatballs

I'm fairly sure this came from the booklet that accompanied one of the pressure cookers Mom owned. She had three (2-1/2, 4, and 6 quart) and used them all regularly.

I remember an incident when we were teenagers. My brother Kevin & I had several friends over and Mom invited them for dinner. One of the guys asked what we had and she answered "Porcupines". Bill thought she mean porcupine meat -- Kevin and I ran with that idea! Giz, the other friend, had no idea what it was but figured out there was a joke in it some place, so he noisily chomped through his, raving about how great it was. I have vivid memories of Bill tentatively trying a bite ...

I don't make it all that often, but my sons love it!

Combine first 5 ingredients; form into balls. Mix water & soup; put into pressure cooker. Drop meatballs in. Set control at 10 lbs of pressure and cook for 10 minutes after it jiggles. Let set 5 minutes before opening.


Pork Goulash

I always laugh when people talk about "Hungarian Goulash" as a mixture of macaroni, ground beef, and tomato sauce. Growing up "goulash" meant pork, yellow beans, carrots, and cabbage.

Granted, I didn't like it -- I ate pork and carrots. Unless it's fermented (sauer kraut) I'm not a cabbage fan.

Mom made this ONLY with yellow beans. They have a far more delicate flavor -- green beans overpower the dish.

Place pork, including bones, in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum that forms on the surface. Reduce to a simmer and season with salt & pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes; add beans & carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes; then add potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Remove the bones and thicken the broth with a mixture of flour & water. Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Pork-In-The-Oven

This recipe is comfort food. Mom made this VERY often and I always loved it! Lorraine makes it and we always enjoy it!

The secret is to brown the meat well, and deglaze the pan. Doing so makes the gravy far richer.

In a heavy skillet, brown the pork chops in oil, cooking both sides; season with salt & pepper during cooking. Pour 1/2 the chicken stock into a deep casserole dish. Dredge the pork chops in flour and place in casserole. Sift 1/4 cup additional flour on top of chops. Add remaining chicken stock to drippings in the skillet, and then pour over the pork. Cover and bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.


Steak & Dumplings

Mom made this dish fairly regularly when I was a kid. Often the steak was tough, but slicing it thin and braising it tenderized the meat.

Interestingingly enough, I've NEVER made this dish as it's written. Instead I pressure cook beef (whatever cut it may be), make the dumpling recipe and put dumplings on top of the meat, then cover it again (without the pressure ring) and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

I used to use Bisquick to make dumplings, but these are just about as easy and have a MUCH better consistency and flavor. One difference is that Bisquick dumplings thicken the underlying liquid, the homemade ones don't.

Season meat with salt & pepper, and fry in oil until well browned. While meat is frying, blend remaining ingredients to form a wet but firm dough. Add enough water to barely cover the steak, and drop dumplings by spoonfuls onto meat. Cover tightly and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until dumplings are done.


Vegetables

Deep Fried Mashed Potato Balls

These were tasty. We typically made them from left over potatoes.

My parents were always meat-and-potatoes people. Once in a while we'd do pasta or rice, but it was mostly potato with every meal.

Me? We do potatoes on occasion for variety, but I'm much more into rice, pasta, and grains. Just as well ... since I don't really like potatoes (except fried in ANY form) and typically put FAR too much gravy, butter, and/or sour cream on them to give 'em flavor!

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender; drain and mash. In saucepan, combine water, shortening, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Stir in flour; cook until mixture forms a ball. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg, then add to potato, mixing well. Drop by tablespoon into 365 F oil for deep frying. Fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.


Green Tomato Casserole

Mom got this recipe from a magazine. Its purpose was to use up two things: zucchini and green tomatoes.

Dad grew bumper crops of tomatoes -- we pickled green ones in dill pickling brine, and peeled & crushed ripe tomatoes and froze 'em in cleaned 1 gallon milk jugs. This recipe came into the family the year Dad first planted zucchini ... the year he and Mom discovered how many tons of zucchini are produced by a single plant ...

Fry sausage until browned on all sides; set aside. In large skillet brown the garlic in oil; remove from skillet. Add the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and sausage. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve over egg noodles.


Potato Puffs

Kevin & I loved these puffs. But we didn't make them often, as we never kept instant potatoes in the house. Mom & Dad did real potatoes so there was little point in keeping boxed around ...

As an adult I still detest boxed potatoes ... FAR more than I dislike real potatoes.

Prepare the potatoes according to directions, except decrease water by 3/4 cup. Cool slightly. Combine the flour, baking powder, & salt; add to potato mixture along with egg, green onion, & parsley. Beat on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls into deep oil heated to 365 F; fry until puffs are brown (2 to 3 minutes), turning once. Drain on paper towels. Makes 12 to 18 puffs.


Scalloped Potatoes

Getting me to eat potatoes was tough. This recipe turned out to be one of the few non-fried recipes that I really liked! I think it was the onion that gave it flavor. I also snitched the browned one off the top!

Saute onion in margarine for 5 minutes, then stir in flour, salt, & pepper. Stir in milk & cook stirring until thickened. Arrange half the potato in a baking dish. Pour 1/2 the sauce evenly over the potato. Add the remaining potato and then the remaining sauce. Bake covered at 375 F for 45 minutes, & then 15 minutes uncovered.


Soups

Mom's Chicken Soup

I think the original recipe called for a pound of carrots ... even 2 lbs wasn't enough! But more made it carrot soup, not chicken soup with carrots.

It's amazing how tasty this soup is and now few ingredients go into it.

Oh, and this soup demands fresh pasta. Mom always made egg noodles. As a child I remember her rolling the dough with a rolling pin, letting it dry a bit, then rolling it in tubes and cutting it at an angle. The resulting noodles had an angle too them; they weren't quite straight.

In my teen years Mom got a hand-crank pasta machine. That made life FAR easier, especially since Kevin & I could help with the making of it, doing the cranking if nothing else. And yes, when I make pasta (which isn't that often) I have my sons help.

Cut the chicken up and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and skim scum off surface. Add salt, onion, & parsley and simmer for 1 hour, or until chicken is mostly cooked. Add carrots and cook until done, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken & carrots and strain broth. Cut chicken up, and return to broth along with carrots. Serve with egg noodles.


Mom's Vegetable Beef Soup

As a kid I wasn't fond of this soup (actually more like a thin stew) but as an adult I *love* it! Lorraine likes it as well, and I don't make it often enough.

Place soup bones in large pot. If there is not much meat on the bones, add some low grade beef. Add enough water to cover, bring to boil & skim the surface to remove scum. Add onion, parsley, salt & pepper. Simmer until meat is cooked, about an hour. Remove meat and reserve, strain broth. Refrigerate broth. When cold, skim fat off top.

Bring broth to a boil. Cut reserved meat into bite sized pieces. Add meat to broth, along with all remaining ingredients. Simmer until carrots & potatoes are cooked. If desired, add macaroni during last 10 minutes of cooking.


Beverages

Light Eggnog

Mom made eggnog every Christmas. As a child it seemed like a lengthy process and I remember she put it in a heavy cut-glass punch bowl (used only once each year). Dad would carry it out onto the backporch to chill it. [I grew up in Upstate NY!]

HOURS later (this was torture to a small child!) Dad would bring it in and everyone would have a cup. As a small child I got a VERY small portion and always begged for more! YOW! It tasted great, but my parents had no interest in having a drunk child wandering around so begging got me no place.

This version is different from the original recipe -- it called for 6 eggs but Mom always used 9. If I recall correctly, she said 9 produced a much better volume. I also think she cut the alcohol down -- I've seen similar recipes that call for more like 2 to 3 cups. I considered upping the rum but have never done so ... as is it's a pleasant beverage not a strong drink.

Beat eggs until as thick as mayonnaise. Gradually beat in sugar & then rum. Stir in milk and half the cream. Whip the remaining cream until stiff and fold into eggnog. Put in punch bowl and sprinkle with nutmeg.


Tom & Jerry

I was in my late teens the first time Mom made this. She remembered her older brother Gordon making it in the winter and had vivid memories from her childhood. [Gordon was killed in a car accident when Mom was 9.] Gordon made her a version with just a splash of alcohol.

Mom found the recipe some place and we made it a few times. I'll admit I wasn't overly crazy about it (tastes like a warm eggnog) but I drank it with her anyway!

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in half of each sugar. Beat the yolks until thick. Add remaining sugar. Fold white mixture into yolk mixture. Refrigerate.

To make the drink: Put 1 jigger of whiskey and 1/2 jigger of rum or brandy into a coffee cup. Add 2 heaping Tbsp of batter. Fill with hot water, beating until smooth.


Breads, Quick

Johnny Cake

Mom talked about having Johnny Cake when she was little. They always drizzled it with maple syrup.

Given that my Grandfather died when Mom was 9 (around the time her brother Gordon died) I suspect that Johnny Cake was a common food due to low cost. These are the things that make memories ...

Mix all ingredients well. Place in greased 9x13 cake pan and bake at 350 F. It is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: To make sour milk, add 1 Tbsp vinegar to each cup of milk.

Zucchini Bread

Growing up on a small dairy farm, I recall Dad planting a small garden every year. Well, small for a farm, huge compared to what the neighbors grew.

When I was 10 or so Dad planted zucchini. He and Mom had NO idea how much zucchini *1* plant would produce ... he planted at least a dozen!

We had zucchini ad nauseum. Mom kept coming up with new recipes for it -- we had 3 different kinds of zucchini jam, we shredded it and froze it. ARGH! I think Dad gave it away at gunpoint, "Take this bag of zucchini or die!" ROFL!

Of all the things we did with zucchini, the bread is my favorite. I still love zucchini bread. Although initially I admit I had my doubts, as Mom chopped it instead of shredding it the first time!

The second year Dad only planted 3 plants ...

Beat well the eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, & vanilla. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flour; beat well. Add nuts & raisins; beat well. Place in two greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour 20 minutes.


Cakes

Banana Cake

Back in the days before microwaves and such, Dad took a lunchbox to work every day. I recall him taking a cold sandwich most of the time. Mom frequently baked this cake and he took a large square with his lunch. Mom rarely frosted it, as the frosting would pull off on the plastic wrap. In those days frosting only went on takes Dad didn't take to work. So once in a great while she's make a brown sugar frosting for it. This cake was good with or without (but as a kid I much preferred "with".

Blend sugar & shortening. Add the following in stages, one at a time: eggs; banana; sour milk; flour; baking powder; salt. Add walnuts & vanilla extract. Grease & flour a 9" x 13" pan; pour in cake batter. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes.


Dutch Cherry Cake

I don't honestly remember anything about this recipe, other than Mom making it a few times while I was a teenager. The recipe probably came from a can of cherries.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, & 1/2 cup sugar. Combine beaten egg yolks with milk, vanilla, and butter. Add liquids to flour mixture all at once; beat until smooth.

Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff by not dry. Fold cherries and egg whites into batter. Pour into greased 8" x 8" baking pan and bake at 350 F for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with hot Cherry Sauce.


Eggless Cake

This was the other cake Mom made frequently so Dad could take some with his lunch. I still love this one as well as the banana!

Blend sugar & butter until well mixed. Add next three ingredients. Blend sour milk & baking soda. Add to sugar/butter mixture. Add remaining ingredients & blend until smooth. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes.


Mayonnaise Cake

The first time I recall Mom making this (I was probably 8) I was totally grossed out by the idea of putting MAYONNAISE in a cake! The taste got me over that issue, REALLY fast!

Lorraine makes this cake relatively often (she's the baker in the house) and discovered some years back that it makes fantastic cupcakes. It's a really good cake!

Mix all ingredients well. Place in a greased & floured 9" x 13" cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 38 minutes.

This recipe also works well for cupcakes. Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes.


Pineapple Cheesecake

Mom make this about once a year. I remember the delicate texture (not that a child cares about that) and the rich flavor (which a child does care about!).

Cream sugar & cheese together; add pineapple & gelatin. Fold whipped Pet milk into mixture. Crush Graham crackers; add 2 Tbsp sugar & nutmeg. Line 9" x 13" pan with half of cracker mixture, pour filling in, then top with remaining cracker mixture. Refrigerate overnight.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Mom didn't make this one all that often, but it was a favorite of mine. Probably the visual appeal was as good as the taste. She dressed it up by using canned pineapple rings and putting a maraschino cherry in the hole of each ring.

Blend the melted butter, brown sugar, & juice in a 9" x 13" baking dish; add pineapple. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixer bowl; mix on medium until smooth. Pour over pineapple mixture. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To serve, invert each slice on the plate, so the fruit is on the top. Best served warm with whipped cream as a garnish.


Tomato Soup Cake

I think my sister Denise got the recipe for this from a friend. It sounded SOOOO gross to a little kid!

But as with the Mayonnaise Cake, the taste convinced me!

Cream together the sugar & butter; add the egg. Mix & add tomato soup & baking soda. Add remaining spices. Add flour sifted with baking powder. Mix well & pour into greased & floured 9" x 13" baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.


Desserts

Fudge

I remember having to scrape the pan 'cuz it got all gunked up from the boiling. Lorraine doesn't care for it but this is my favorite fudge!

Mix sugar, cocoa, & milk. Bring to boil and boil for 20 to 30 minutes, until a drop forms a soft ball in cold water. DO NOT STIR. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients & pour into well greased 9" x 9" baking dish.


Muffins

Realistically this could be called Blueberry Muffins, but Mom never made it with blueberries. Instead we made it with fresh huckleberries, a type of wild blueberry. They were tiny but so delicious! We picked 'em every year!

In bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine remaining ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, stirring quickly just until dry ingredients are just moistened. Pour into muffin cups and bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes.


Sweet Apple Egg Rolls

These came into the family while I was in college. A college friend's family introduced me to shrimp egg rolls. We liked those, but I developed a recipe for chicken egg rolls that used mung bean sprouts instead of cabbage.

THIS recipe was on the egg roll wrapper package. I have no recollection if this recipes is exactly what was on the package of if we changed it. Knowing me I'm guessing we changed it ...

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Saute apple, raisins, and cinnamon until apples are tender but not soft. Add fruit juice and preserves; stir fry until apples are well coated. Let cool (hot filling will rip egg roll skins). Put 2 tablespoons of the filling in the middle of each egg roll skin & roll in the usual manner. If filling mixture has too much liquid, add cornstarch to thicken.

Fry in skillet over medium-high heat in oil. Oil should bubble immediately when egg rolls are put in. Brown on all sides (4 turns). Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.


Glorified Rice

When I was little we went on a picnic every Memorial Day, visiting relatives and often graves. Mom made this every year, and continued making it, off-and-on, when Kevin & I were older and we didn't visit as often.

Whip cream until stiff; add sugar & vanilla. Combine with rice & pineapple.Note: To make a large batch, use

1 pint cream, 4 Tbsp sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 5 cups rice, & 4 cups pineapple.


Pies

Rhubarb Pie

Dad grew some rhubarb but our neighbors grew even more -- far more than we could use. So we always had enough rhubarb to use!

Not so surprisingly, my first batch of wine was rhubarb, a noxious mixture that I'm surprised anyone choked down!

Preheat oven to 425 F; prepare pie crust. Stir together sugar, flour, & orange peel. Turn half the rhubarb into pastry-lined pie pan; sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining rhubarb and sugar; dot with butter. Cover with a top crust which has slits cut in it; seal and flute. Sprinkle with sugar. Cover edge with 2" to 3" strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.

Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie: Substitute sliced strawberries for half the rhubarb. Decrease sugar to 1 cup for the 8" pie, 1-1/3 cup for the 9" pie, or 1-3/4 cup for the 10" pie.


Pumpkin Pie

Mom made pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving, usually a couple of them. I suspect this recipe came off a can of pumpkin pie filling.

Mom had done pie from scratch before I was born, but she and Dad didn't think it tasted any better than the canned filling and it was a LOT more work!

Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, then milk. Divide the pumpkin mixture between the two pie crusts. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour. Makes 2 pies.