Recipe Swap: Recipes straight from Aunt Celeste

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Uncle Waldo Powell Jr. died last week, and I was able to take my parents to the services in Michigan City, Ind. It was good to be with family again and visit with my Aunt Celeste. We did a lot of reminiscing about childhood memories of my uncle and all of the wonderful memories we had growing up with him and his wife. My aunt is a wonderful cook and especially a fantastic pie baker. Her fresh peach pies were the best ever! I decided to share a few of her recipes with you today knowing how much my uncle and her children loved her cooking.

Grandma Powell's Spaghetti

This recipe was written down by my cousin Dawn, who has perfected her grandmother's spaghetti recipe. When we would go for a visit she always had her spaghetti and it always tasted so good when we arrived to their house.

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

Minced garlic, to taste, optional

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 can stewed or crushed tomatoes

Dash ketchup

1 small can tomato sauce

Italian seasoning, to taste

Brown sugar, to taste

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Add all tomato products when meat is no longer pink. Season to taste with Italian seasoning and brown sugar. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

Aunt Celeste's Pastie Pies

For the dough:

6 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups lard or shortening

1 cup water

Sift flour and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in shortening. Sprinkle over mixture a small amount of the water, mix lightly with a fork after each addition. Add only enough water to hold pastry together. Divide dough into two portions. Shape into balls. Set aside.

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds flank or round steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, marinate in soy sauce

4 medium potatoes, cubed

1 cup finely chopped onion

3/4 cup finely chopped carrots

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon Accent enhancer


Combine meat, potatoes, onion, carrot, salt, pepper and Accent. Roll dough out to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out dough in 5- or 6-inch rounds, using a bowl or saucer as a guide. Spoon an equal amount of filling onto one half of each round. Seal edges by moistening half the round with water. Fold the other half over the filling. Press edges together with a fork. Cut a slit in top of each pastry to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 350 degrees about one hour or until pastry is lightly browned. Makes about 15 pies. Serve with ketchup.

Aunt Celeste's Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 squares chocolate (4 ounces), melted

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar

Mix oil, chocolate and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours or overnight. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioners sugar. Roll in sugar, shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes. Do not overbake. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Robert Redford Dessert

My aunt and uncle's neighbor brought over this dessert and it was so cool and good after we returned to the house. I have had this many times before referred to as a four-layer dessert, and you can use any flavor pudding you would like.

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup pecans

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 (8-ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 small packages instant chocolate pudding

4 cups milk

Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 cup pecans. Pat in a 9-by-13-inch greased and floured pan, preferably glass. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes only. Cool crust before adding layers. After crust is cool, mix 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 cup thawed whipped topping. Spread over crust. Mix 2 packages instant chocolate pudding with milk, according to package directions. Spread over the layer of cream cheese and whipped topping. Top with remaining whipped topping. Spread on as a top layer. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

My cousin John Powell and his wife Anne included this recipe in our family cookbook years ago, and it is so good and easy to prepare. It was one of their favorite Christmas cookies.

32 Kraft caramels

5 tablespoons milk

1 cup flour

1 cup quick cook rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup margarine, melted

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Combine milk with caramels and allow to melt. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and melted margarine. Press half of the flour mixture into a 9-by-9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Spread the melted caramel over all. Top with the remaining flour mixture, sprinkle. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Chill one to two hours before serving. This recipe can be doubled using a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

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

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