Food & Drink

Honor mom with some family favorites on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a time for celebrating moms, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers, if so blessed.

Sunday may be bit

tersweet for some who wish that their mothers and grandmothers were still here, but as readers said last week, they treasure the memories and the good food these great women so lovingly prepared.

Moms, grands and greats have the opportunity to make those same memories for new generations. The best way to do that is to let the kids and grandkids in the kitchen rather than shooing them away. They learn by watching. Even if they are preschoolers, there are tasks they can do, like washing carrots or tearing lettuce for salads or getting messy with cookie dough.

For teens or tweens, let them find and pull up a recipe on their cell phones or find one that they might like to make for Mom's Day. It's certainly one way to teach healthy eating and to continue family kitchen traditions. Kitchen memories are some of the fondest ones.

Readers are still sharing their favorite ones today, just in time for Mother's Day. I'll share an oldie but goodie, banana nut cake, that stirs my memory bank.

"One of my most favorite foods from childhood was okra and tomatoes," Carrol Fletcher of Gulfport, Miss., said. "We had this often in the summertime when fresh okra, fresh tomatoes and the Vidalia onions were available.

"You can use frozen okra and canned tomatoes, but that does not remind me of Mom's," she said.

OKRA AND TOMATOES

4 strips of bacon

1 pound fresh okra (cut in 1-inch pieces)

3 or 4 fresh tomatoes (depending on size), chopped

1 small Vidalia onion, chopped

Salt to taste

Lemon pepper to taste

Fry the bacon in a cast iron skillet until crisp. Remove bacon strips and fry the onion until soft. Add the chopped okra and chopped tomatoes. Cook until okra is soft and tomatoes are done. Add salt and lemon pepper.

Serve with bacon crumbled on top.

-- Submitted by Carrol Fletcher

"Here's an old-time standby recipe I used to make quite often when I had five starving kids and a husband to feed," Eunice Van Loon of Biloxi, Miss., said. "This is very good served with garlic bread and a salad."

BEEFY BEANS

Brown 1 pound of hamburger with a clove or two of finely chopped garlic. Stir in a chopped onion, 1 (16-ounce) can of stewed tomatoes,1/4 teaspoon oregano, 2 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans and1/4 cup molasses.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until onion is done.

-- Submitted by Eunice Van Loon

My granddaddy loved fresh banana cake, and because she loved him, Mammy, my grandmother, made the best banana cakes. She made hers as three-layer cakes with old-time meringue frosting and mashed bananas between the layers. I can see them now.

When our family and extended family had dessert, crumbs were all that was left. Everyone left the baking to Mammy, and I was the one who loved to help her in the kitchen.

While I do not have her exact recipe, I have one that is close. I choose to do mine in a 13-by-9-inch pan, which I think works best for family gatherings or potlucks.

Instead of the meringue icing, I use mashed bananas, powdered sugar and lemon juice. My husband and grandbaby love tasting the icing before it goes on the cake.

BANANA NUT CAKE

2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-2/3 cups sugar

1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)

2/3 cup buttermilk, divided

1- 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4)

2 eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-by2-inch pan well. I use the nonstick baking spray that contains flour.

Sift all dry ingredients together. Add shortening, 1/3 cup buttermilk and bananas; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the other 1/3 cup buttermilk and eggs; beat until well combined. Fold in pecans. Pour in pan and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan before icing.

ICING

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup mashed bananas

1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed)

Mix butter and bananas in mixing bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well. Add lemon juice until desired consistency. I like a thinner icing because the cake already is so moist and sweet.

Chicken spaghetti found

A reader asked for a chicken spaghetti that had either Ro-Tel in it or something else that made it spicy.

Readers have responded. Nedra Baldwin of Biloxi shares two recipes, and an anonymous reader emailed me one from cooks.com.

"The chicken spaghetti recipe I got from "19 Kids and Counting," Baldwin said. "The Duggar girls were fixing a family favorite dish. The zesty chicken casserole was sent to me from one of my recipe pen pals from Nebraska."

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI

1 pound spaghetti, cooked

1 pound processed cheese product (such as Velveeta)

1 can tomatoes and diced green chilies (such as Ro-Tel)

2 cans cream of chicken soup

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

Combine cheese, undrained tomatoes and soups. Stir in cooked spaghetti and chopped, cooked chicken. Place in a 2-quart casserole and bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes until heated through.

-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin

SPICY CHICKEN CASSEROLE

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can tomatoes and diced green chilies (such as Ro-Tel), drained

1 can mushrooms, drained

1/2 cup diced green pepper

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

1 pound spaghetti, cooked

Place cooked pasta in bottom of casserole dish. Mix first 7 ingredients and spread over pasta. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

-- Submitted by Nedra Baldwin

CHICKEN AND SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

1 whole chicken, boiled (or 4 to 6 breasts)

1 large onion, chopped

1 stick butter

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 pound hot Mexican processed cheese product (such as Velveeta) (or regular if don't want hot)

1 bell pepper, chopped

5 stalks celery, chopped

1 jar pimentos

1 can tomatoes and diced green chilies (such as Ro-Tel)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 (12 ounce) package thin spaghetti

Boil 1 large chicken. Save broth to cook spaghetti in (12-ounce package). Dice chicken when cool. In large skillet, using 1 stick butter, sauté 1 large onion (diced), 1 bell pepper (diced), and 5 celery stalks. Add 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1 can tomatoes and diced green chilies, and 1 small jar pimento.

In microwave, melt 1 pound cheese product and 1 can cream of chicken soup. Add all together. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.

-- Submitted by anonymous reader from cooks.com

Sweet potatoes, apples

Bernice Strickland of Bradenton asked for readers' help in finding a recipe for a casserole made with sliced sweet potatoes and apples. Pattie Necaise of Ocean Springs, Miss., has one that Strickland might like. Readers, if you have others, please send them to me.

"This one doesn't have the apple juice like the recipe your reader requested, but it is the closest I have, and it is a good side dish," Necaise said.

APPLE/SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

2 apples sliced (peeled and cored)

2 to 3 sweet potatoes sliced and boiled until tender and drained or 2 (17-ounce) cans yams, drained

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar (I prefer dark brown sugar)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Up to 2 cups miniature marshmallows (optional)

Toss apples with nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar. Layer in a 2-quart casserole with sweet potato slices. Dot top with margarine and bake (covered) in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with marshmallows and return to oven. Broil until marshmallows are lightly browned.

-- Submitted by Pattie Necaise

Another recipe found

"Hope this is the recipe that Lula E. Griffis is looking for," Jim Nowacki said.

Griffis asked for a corn pudding recipe after she lost hers.

GRANDMA'S CORN PUDDING

5 eggs

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn

2 (14.75 ounce) cans cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add melted butter, sugar and milk. Whisk in cornstarch. Stir in corn and creamed corn. Blend well. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.

Bake for 1 hour.

-- Submitted by Jim Nowacki from allrecipes.com

I wish all my readers who are mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers a blessed Mother's Day. Enjoy and let the guys do the cooking.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and takes requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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