I always enjoy hosting guests for Sunday dinner—and the menu is sure to include some of the tasty Pennsylvania Dutch dishes I was raised on.

One of my favorite meals includes Sweet 'n' Sour Meatballs, Sunday Dinner Mashed Potatoes, Cheddar Broccoli Salad and Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert.

With two small children—Brent and Lynette—to care for, it's a challenge to prepare a meal that is both delicious and attractive. So I use recipes that can be made ahead.

While this meal is special enough to serve Sunday dinner guests, it's also easy enough to prepare for a weeknight supper. All of the dishes seem to appeal to families.

Sweet 'n' Sour Meatballs were a family favorite when I was growing up, and they are now my husband John's favorite as well.

Gingersnaps are the "secret ingredient" in the tangy sauce for these hearty meatballs. There's plenty of sauce to pass around as gravy for the Sunday Dinner Mashed Potatoes.

I particularly like to serve these rich, creamy potatoes when I'm entertaining because they can be made the day before. Just store the dish in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.

To come up with my version of Cheddar Broccoli Salad, I combined several different recipes. Since chilling enhances the flavor, it is best made a day in advance. Besides serving it at home, I take this salad to family picnics.

Guests often ask for a second helping—and John is always pleased to see it on the table. He never liked broccoli in salad until I came up with this recipe.

John is a generator service technician. He spends a lot of time on the road, going from job to job maintaining and repairing emergency generators used during power failures at hospitals and rest homes and in agricultural applications.


Homegrown Goodness

We grow many of our own vegetables in a large garden, and I do a lot of canning and freezing. Last summer, we also planted an herb garden. This 20- by 30-foot plot has lots of room for a variety of herbs. I'm really enjoying experimenting with them in my cooking.

Each summer when the area's Montmorency cherries are ripe, we go to the local orchard and pick them for my homemade pie filling.

Those cherries top my Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert, too. I carefully pit each one by hand, using a new hairpin to lift out the stone. With this old-fashioned method, the cherries stay nice and round and look lovely.

This layered treat is quick and easy to prepare, and it looks delightful served in a glass dish. The tart cherries complement the sweet, creamy filling and graham cracker base. My mom remembers making this pretty dessert when she was a young girl, and it still is popular with young and old alike.

I started cooking at a young age, too. As soon as I could push a chair to the kitchen counter, I began helping Mom in the kitchen. Over the years, I learned to make many of her specialties the same way she and Grandma have always made them, putting in a little of this and a little of that until it tastes just right.


Mom's Kitchen Helper

Field Editor Melody M.

Now Brent stands beside me, dumping premeasured ingredients into my mixing bowl. Helping Mommy cook is the highlight of his day!

As I mentioned earlier, growing up here in rural Pennsylvania has had a strong influence on my cooking. Pennsylvania Dutch food is basic but so delicious. Although the recipes are simple and straightforward, the results are Mmmm…good!

Trying new recipes could be called my hobby. I have quite a collection of them, including some from my former students. I taught at a local Amish and Mennonite school for several years.

When I got married, my students made a cookbook for me with their favorite recipes. It is a special treasure, with each recipe handwritten by the student who shared it.

Besides cooking and baking, I enjoy gardening, sewing and counted cross-stitch. Music is another hobby. I play the piano, accordion and violin.

Being a Taste of Home field editor is an exciting part of my life. I consider it a privilege to share my best recipes with you and hope you like my Sunday dinner as much as we do. Enjoy!