Fran's Macaroni Salad

A pasta side dish recipe that has stood the test of time. This makes a big batch. If it seems dry to you, just add more mayo.

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup ranch dressing
2 celery ribs, diced
1 onion, diced
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced sweet pickles
1 small can sliced black olives
1 cup cooked baby shrimp


Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing, onion, celery, eggs, salt, pepper, pickles and olives. Mix well and stir into macaroni. Gently fold in shrimp. Chill 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Amos' Beans

No question: These beans are what I am most often asked to make for parties. Even confirmed bean-haters will like them.

2 really big cans pork and beans
1 pound polish sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
1 bottle hickory-brown sugar barbecue sauce (I like KC Masterpiece)
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or to taste

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine all ingredients in Dutch oven. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.


George's Wedding Potatoes

I'm not even sure why this is called George's Wedding Potatoes, but I do know that they're tasty. Not for dieters.

1 24-ounce bag frozen diced potatoes with onions and peppers
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick melted butter or margarine
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 1/4 cups cornflakes
Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup of cornflakes and two tablespoons of butter or margarine.

Pour into oblong baking pan or casserole dish.

Stir cornflakes into remaining melted butter or margarine. Sprinkle on top of casserole.

Bake 30 minutes.

 

John's California Clam Dip

My brother-in-law's party standard. It's a riff on a dip invented by his father, Marco.

2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese
1 can Snow's Chopped Clams, drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Minced fresh dill, optional


Mix all ingredients together. Chill 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips for the California-style. Salsa on the side!


Aunt Betsy's Stay in Bed Stew

This is just the perfect fall- and winter-day meal, and it doesn't hurt that it's so darn easy to make.

1 can beef consommé
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cubed
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 potato per person
1 carrot per person
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in Dutch oven. Bake covered (no peeking!) for 5 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving. (You can also slow-cook this stew on medium-low for 4 to 6 hours.)


Cherie's Dad's Eggy Pancakes

My sister Mary could be found many weekend mornings making these with Gaga (my grandma). They're very crepe-like and delicious with sweet or savory fillings.

5 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar and butter to top pancakes

In a medium bowl, beat eggs for 2 minutes.

Add flour, milk, salt and vanilla, and whisk for 2 minutes.

Melt butter in large skillet or griddle. Pour just enough mixture into the pan to make a 5-inch-diameter circle. Cook until bubbles appear; flip and cook for 1 minute more.

Roll up pancakes crepe-style and serve with powdered sugar, butter, jam or fresh fruit.


Aunt Ma's Coconut Cream Cookies

These cookies were my introduction to coconut as a kid. If you like the chewy kind like we do, don't let them overbake.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup butter or margarine
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans (optional for nut-allergy or non-nut lovers)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, cream together the eggs, butter or margarine and vanilla. Stir mixture into dry ingredients until blended. Add the oats, coconut and nuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

 

Mom's Flank Steak

You can make this on the grill, too. It's delicious any way you cook it.

1 good-sized flank steak
1/2 to 1/3 stick softened butter or margarine
1 cup Kraft Parmesan cheese (the kind in the can)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove finely chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil, thyme, oregano
String or toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of steak. Place saran wrap over steak. Pound with kitchen mallet to 1/2-inch thickness.

Laying steak flat, score steak one way, then turn and score the other. Lay steak flat and spread with butter. (You may need slightly more butter to cover larger steak)

Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic, seasonings and parmesan cheese on steak. Starting from the small end of the steak, carefully roll the steak up. Pat loose cheese back in as needed. Tie with string or secure with toothpicks. Place in baking dish.

Roast for 30 minutes for medium doneness or longer for more well-done meat.

 

Grammy's Banana Bread

This is actually my mother, but her banana bread is one of my kids' favorite snacks, so I'm calling her Grammy here. I know this recipe by heart.

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
3 large ripe bananas, mashed well
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in large bowl. In another bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Add to dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Add bananas.

Pour batter into 9-inch loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. You can also make muffins—one batch makes about 12.

No-fuss tip from Grammy: Freeze your old, spotty or brown bananas--for heaven's sake, don't throw them out! Set them out for 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the batter. Trust me: When you need a treat fast for a school or sporting event or party, you'll thank your lucky stars you have those ugly bananas on hand!

Flo Karney's Onion Bread

Flo sadly passed from cancer several years ago. We think of her fondly whenever we make this tasty bread.

1 large loaf sweet French bread
5 scallions, finely chopped
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small microwaveable bowl, mix together butter, scallions, garlic powder and pepper. Cover and microwave on high 1 minute. Set aside to let the scallions and garlic and spices meld together.

Slice French bread in half lengthwise, leaving one side uncut. Open bread flat and place on a sheet of foil. Score horizontally into pieces, stopping before you cut all the way through. Brush or spoon butter/scallions mixture onto the bread. Close up bread and wrap tightly in foil. Cook for 15-20 minutes in the oven at 350, or on the BBQ away from direct heat. On BBQ monitor closely so that bottom of loaf does not burn.

Mom's Broccoli Dip

A total crowd-pleaser that is ridiculously simple to make. I like to use my small slow-cooker to keep this dip warm.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste
1 package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 small can chopped mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 jars Old English sharp cheese spread (located near the Velveeta)


In medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook until onions and celery are translucent. Add garlic powder, pepper, mushrooms and broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes. Mix in soup and cheese. Heat through. Serve warm with crackers, cocktail rye bread or fresh vegetables.

Sister Mary's Stuffed Mushrooms

Mary always gets asked for this recipe. That's because they're fabulous. You probably have all the filling ingredients in your pantry and fridge right now.

10-15 large stuffing mushrooms
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup Italian dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry mushrooms; remove stems from caps and set aside. Place mushroom caps in baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Finely chop mushroom stems and add them to the cheese mixture.

Using a fork, stuff each mushroom cap with filling, mounding up the filling 1/2 inch above mushroom edge. (Note that bread crumbs will make the filling rise a bit.)

Bake for 15 minutes. Broil 2 minutes longer until browned.

Grammy's Goulash

Not really goulash at all, but who cares? This quick dish is a perfect example of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato or vegetable juice
1 large can kidney beans
2-3 tablespoons spaghetti sauce seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces rigatoni or other tube pasta
Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet or pot, brown ground beef with the onions and garlic over medium heat; drain and return to pot.

Add tomatoes, juice, beans and seasonings; bring to boiling, then reduce heat to low and cook 15 to 20 minutes.

While beef mixture is simmering, cook pasta until al dente; drain and add to the beef mixture. Simmer 5 to 10 more minutes. Serve with lots of Parmesan cheese.