Favorite family recipes shared by readers

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


Graduation season is upon us. We have so many family members graduating this year from various academic settings, but first up is my niece, Laura. She will graduate from Southeast Missouri State University this Saturday with a degree in organ performance. It is amazing to me that her small, barely-100-pound frame can produce the volume and level of talent as she can when she plays those difficult Bach pieces. We are so very proud of her and all of our graduates.

I was going to share her favorite recipe with you, but like many college students, her favorite foods are pizza, tacos and sub sandwiches.

Instead of Laura's favorite food, I'll share a cool, refreshing punch recipe with you that everyone enjoys on a hot day or at a graduation party. You can use different gelatin flavors or use two of the same flavor. I like using two strawberry for extra strawberry flavor.

Graduation Party Punch

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 (3-ounce) package cherry gelatin

1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin

1 pint hot water

1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate

1 (12-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 1/2 pints cold water

1 (64-ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled

1 1/2 (2-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled

Mix sugar and gelatins together and dissolve in hot water. Reconstitute frozen juices following the directions on the juice cans. Add cold water, lemonade, orange juice and pineapple juice. Add ginger ale just before serving. Yields about 20 to 25 servings.

Recipe Swap is at its finest when there is mail to include in the column. It is fun hearing from you and what you have been cooking and all of the new recipes you are trying. So keep sending in recipes and ideas you want to share with others.

Beverly Wink of Jackson sent several recipes to share with you, and all of them are family favorites. She is from Iowa, and this potato recipe is from a cookbook she uses from back home in Iowa. She serves them every time her family gathers, and now her daughters-in-law take them places when they carry food in. Family food traditions in our area are rich.

Never Fail Potatoes

10 medium potatoes

Sharp Cheddar cheese

2 cups milk

1 stick margarine

1 teaspoon salt

Cook 10 medium potatoes with skins on; cool. Peel and refrigerate several hours. Grate on coarse grater. Place a layer of potatoes in a sprayed 9-by-13-inch baking pan, then a layer of sharp Cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Heat 2 cups milk, 1 stick margarine and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over potatoes. Bake 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Beverly added that these are easy and delicious. For quick and easy grating of the potatoes she uses her Salad Shooter. You can make this ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake.

This walnut cake recipe is from Beverly's vast Iowa recipe collection as well. Beverly's 82-year-old mother enjoys baking this cake.

Walnut Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped black walnuts or you can use 3/4 cup English walnuts and 1/2 cup black walnuts for flavor

4 egg whites, stiffly beaten but not dry

Caramel frosting, recipe follows

Cream sugar and margarine together. Add milk and dry ingredients. Stir in walnut. Fold in the 4 beaten egg whites. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees until done. Cool and frost with caramel frosting.

Caramel Frosting

3 tablespoons cream or whole milk

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

Place cream, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan; heat until well blended. Remove from heat and add 1 cup powdered sugar. Spread over cooled walnut cake or the cake of your choice.

This lemon poppy seed bread is also her mother's recipe. At Christmastime Beverly's mother puts together care packages from home and this lemon bread is always a part of the box. She said it is easy to prepare and pretty to serve. She bakes in disposable aluminum pans to give as gifts. It also freezes well.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

1 lemon cake mix

1 (3-ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup oil

4 eggs

Combine and beat 4 minutes. Fill greased pan(s) of your choice 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees until it tests done with a toothpick.

This casserole recipe is another of her family's favorites. The Chicken-in-a-Biscuit crackers give it a little extra flavor. You can also try the new garlic and butter Ritz crackers in this recipe, too.

Corn and Broccoli Casserole

1 box Chicken-in-a-Biscuit crackers

1/2 stick margarine, melted

1 can corn, drained

1 can cream style corn

1 can shoe peg white corn, drained

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

3/4 cup Velveeta cheese, cubed

Crush crackers; add margarine to make buttered crumbs. Combine all of the corn, broccoli and cheese. Add one-half of the cracker mixture to the corn mixture. Mix well. Place in a greased casserole dish. Cover with remaining crumbs. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot and bubbly.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake.

An unidentified reader from Cape Girardeau sent in a cookie recipe for you to try. The name alone is reason enough to give them a try.

Friendship Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup butterscotch chips

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter, shortening, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture along with oats. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets before removing to racks to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen large cookies.

Now, I have to admit, the recipe sent in calls for oatmeal. I question if it is supposed to be oatmeal or oats in the uncooked form. I really do think it is raw uncooked oats, and that is what I included in the recipe.

We have one request this week, and it is for pineapple bran muffins. Sherry Hoernig of Benton, Mo., would like your recipe if you have one. I looked on the Internet and found two, but were for institutional recipes and made 70 muffins each. So I will keep looking for her.

We are out of space so I will close and wish you a very good week and a fabulous weekend ahead. And as always, happy cooking!

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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