Sharing my son's favorite recipes

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our son, Ross, will be leaving for college soon, and this will certainly be a big adjustment at our house, as it will be for all households where there will be a family member leaving to go away. We have been busy getting items together that he will need or want while enjoying dorm life. Over the past week I have made many of his favorite foods as one last farewell gesture for him.

Some of Ross' favorite foods include country fried steak, steamed crab legs, homemade French toast and so many other things that are just off the top of my head and there are no recipes written down. Maybe I should write something down for him for future reference.

I thought it would be fun today to share just a couple of his favorites that I do have recipes for and maybe they can become some of your favorites, too.

Nana's Christmas Morning Casserole

Ross loves the two kinds of breakfast casserole we have every Christmas morning at Nana and Pop's. One has bread on the bottom and sausage in the filling, but I am going to pass along to you the recipe for the casserole with hash browns on the bottom. The only change to the recipe when I make it is I use fresh mushrooms and saut? with the onion before adding it to the custard mixture. And of course, I make this all year long, but it just seems extra special when Nana makes it.

1 pound shredded hash brown potatoes

1 pound bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1 can mushrooms, drained

1 small onion, chopped

6 eggs, beaten

6 tablespoons milk

2 cups shredded American cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Place hash browns in bottom of a sprayed 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer crumbled bacon, mushrooms and onion. Beat eggs and milk together. Pour over the casserole. Top with cheeses. Store, covered, in refrigerator overnight. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Mom's Biscuits

Ross loves my mom's homemade biscuits smothered in sausage or dried beef gravy. I have to admit, I love them, too. These biscuits also make wonderful shortcake for strawberries or mixed berries, just increase the sugar a bit in the recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup shortening, Crisco preferred

Approximately 2/3 cup cold milk

Mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Cut in Crisco with a fork or pastry blender. Toss with a fork and add milk gradually, enough to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn out on a floured board and flour hand well. Press together and pat to flatten out to 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter or the top of a glass. Mom just takes her fork and cuts off pieces as she goes and shapes together. Place on a baking sheet, not quite touching but close. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. These biscuits are light and delicious.

Corn Casserole

Ross really likes corn casserole and when I make it I am always amazed at the quantity he can consume at one setting. Of course, when in season, it is best with fresh corn cut off the cob in place of the canned whole-kernel corn.

1 small to medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)

Dash or two of dry cayenne pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, divided

Saute onion in 1 tablespoon butter, or more as needed. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the onion, 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, cayenne pepper, sour cream, melted butter and 1 cup cheese. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

I got this recipe years ago and everyone really enjoys the combination of chocolate and peanut butter

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

6 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (7-ounce) carton marshmallow cream

1 cup peanut butter

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips, or 2 cups

3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Combine the first 7 ingredients, mixing by hand until well combines. Spread into a 9-by-13-inch pan with the bottom prayed. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool in pan. When cooled, spread marshmallow cream over top. Melt chocolate chips in a large bowl in the microwave, being very careful not to scorch or burn the chocolate. When melted, stir in peanut butter, then add Rice Krispies. Mix until well combined. Spread this mixture over the marshmallow layer.

Mushroom Chicken

This quick and easy chicken recipe is an attempt to satisfy Ross' insatiable love for mushrooms. He loves double mushroom pizza, and just about anything else with mushrooms.

2 tablespoon butter or reduced fat or regular margarine

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh bella mushrooms

2 tablespoon minced shallots

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon grated Parmesan and Romano cheese

Melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes. Remove veggies with slotted spoon. Add chicken to pan and cook 10 minutes on each side, or until tender. Transfer the chicken to platter and sprinkle with grated cheese. Top with mushroom mixture. Cook and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Have a great week and until next time, good luck to Ross and 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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