These are some of my favorite recipes, many of which are mentioned or discussed in my blog. Some day when I grow up I want to write a cookbook…
Elva’s Fabulous Green Salad
Part of the key to this salad is the lettuce. Forget iceberg. You want tender Boston lettuce (or other soft or spring lettuce). Buy at least two small heads of it and rinse it thoroughly. Either dry it carefully with paper towels, or put it in a salad spinner. We have a salad spinner and it does a great job.
2-4 cloves fresh garlic
Juice of one lime or enough to make a tart dressing.Taste and add more if needed.
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced.
½ cup Olive oil
½ cup good feta cheese, crumbled
Chop the garlic cloves fine, or use a garlic press. In a glass dish, place the mashed garlic; sprinkle with salt; mash the salt into the garlic using a fork or back of a spoon. (This releases the good flavor). Add the olive oil and lime juice. Beat with a fork or whisk. Add sliced mushrooms. Put it aside for an hour or so if you have time. Don't chill it. Meantime, wash the lettuce and put it in the fridge, or spin it and refrigerate it.
When you are almost ready to eat, tear the lettuce into bite size pieces, add the lettuce leaves and the mushrooms to the dressing. Toss everything well, from the bottom. Sprinkle the feta over the top.Don’t put any other dressing on it.
OPTIONAL: Can add : sliced scallions or cherry tomatoes.
GREEN BEAN SALAD
3-4 cans green beans [or use fresh]
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
fresh dill or dill weed [McCormick's]
ranch dressing [Hidden Valley original]
Drain the beans well, or cook them and drain them if you're doing fresh beans. Should be about 4 cups of beans. Peel and core the seeds out of the cucumber, then dice it up. Peel and dice up the onion. Put everything in a large bowl that can easily be refrigerated. Add the dill - LOTS of it. Add some onion powder and salt, to taste. Toss with ranch dressing - please only use Hidden Valley Ranch original recipe dressing, it's the best. Tossing and mixing ingredients is key here. There should be plenty of dill flavor in every bite.
1 stick butter [real butter, not margarine]
1 cup Crisco
3 cups sugar
Cream the butter/Crisco/sugar a long time. Really let the mixer cream it until it's like buttah, y'all.
Add in 5 large eggs, one at a time, just beating them in carefully, but not overbeating.
Set out 3 cups of cake flour in one bowl on the counter, and a 1 cup of sour cream. In the sour cream, mix in 1/4 tsp. baking soda. Alternate mixing in the sour cream and the flour, beating well after each addition but not overbeating, until everything is incorporated.
Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla, and one teaspoon almond flavoring.
Bake at 350 about 90 minutes. Check it after 80 minutes, if you don't know if your oven runs hot or cool. No oven is perfect.
SOME COMMON MISTAKES:
Use real butter and real sour cream. Don't try to go low fat. Use real vanilla extract and real almond extract. The fake, or "imitation" kinds are not as good. Be sure and grease and flour your pan well. I use a bundt pan that's nearly as old as me, and just give it a spray of Baker's Secret.
A good pound cake will actually be better the second day, as long as you keep it in a good cake carrier.
Pork and Stuffing Casserole
Take a small pork roast and generously salt and pepper it, and cook it in a
pan in the oven, with plenty of water in the bottom and tightly wrapped in
foil, for 6-8 hours, at 200 degrees, depending on the size.
Shred the roast when it has cooled a bit.
Take a package of Stovetop Stuffing mix and fix it according to the directions, except use chicken broth instead of water.
Put the shredded pork on the bottom of a casserole dish. Take stuffing and mix it with the pork.
Mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup of sour cream. Add pepper, season salt, garlic powder, or whatever seasonings you like. Spread that over the top of the stuffing, and bake the dish uncovered for about 20-30 minutes at 350. If you have the energy and want to be fancy, take a sleeve of Ritz crackers and crumble it up and saute it in some butter and garlic, then spread that topping on the top.
The entire casserole takes all of about 20 minutes to make. Easy easy...
That's all the news on this weird day...
Apricot Brandy Pound Cake
3 cups sugar ½ t. rum flavoring
2 sticks butter 1 t. orange flavoring
6 eggs 1/4 t. almond flavoring
3 cups plain flour, sifted 1 t. vanilla flavoring
1/4 t. soda ½ t. salt
½ cup apricot brandy 1 cup [8 oz.] sour cream
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add other ingredients in order as above; except when adding flour alternately with sour cream. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes in two well greased and floured pans at 325". [Note: this will also make one large bundt pan cake; increase baking time by 10 minutes and check]
This receipt was given to me by a lady I worked with years ago in Knoxville, and she got it from her grandmother, so it's probably quite old. The flavorings and brandy make it really yummy.
Brownies [adapted from The Joy of Cooking, Rombauer, 1948]
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate 2 cups sugar
½ cup butter 4 eggs
1/4 t. salt 1 t. vanilla
1 cup plain flour 1 cup nuts (optional)
½ t. almond flavoring 1 t. instant coffee (liquid)
Melt butter and chocolate slowly in a double boiler, or in the microwave. If using a microwave, use a glass bowl with a wet paper towel on top. Don’t melt the chocolate completely, but when it’s about half melted pull out the bowl and stir it for a couple of minutes, and it will melt. Mix together all other ingredients until smooth. Fold in chocolate. In a 9x13 pan, place a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Pour in mixture and shake pan a little to make sure it’s evenly distributed over the paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
After you remove the pan, it’s fun to melt a large Symphony bar on top and spread it out, or with plain Hershey’s chocolate bars, and spread it out after it has melted. It’s easiest to use a plastic knife to cut these.
1 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon baking powder [this keeps it from being heavy]
1/4 cup sherry or red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms [optional]
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons onion powder
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 large or 2 smalls eggs
1 piece loaf bread or 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Put your ground beef in a mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients listed above. Wash your hands and mush everything together by hand. Add some water. Is it soggy? Really REALLY soggy? I bet not. Add more tap water. Put more soy sauce, too. Now, get out a 9x13 pan, or a smaller pan, because this is how you will cook it. You need to have so much water that the meat mixture barely holds together. Form it into a rectangular shape. Cook it at 350 for about 20-40 minutes. You can put some ketchup or a couple of pieces of bacon on the top but you don't have to, if there is enough water. It depends on how big you make your rectangle as to how long it will take to cook. You can always pull it out and cut it with a knife.
Now, I am going to make meatballs tonight. I will just heat up some oil in my big skillet, form the meat into big meatballs, and cook it for about 20 minutes, or until I am sure the meatballs are cooked through.I may throw in a jar of Classico and some more red wine, and have spaghetti with meatballs. Michael loves that.
Chicken Taco Soup
1 package chicken filets
1 packet Taco Seasoning mix
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 entire red onion
2-4 bell peppers
2-4 cups tomato sauce, plus chicken broth, if more liquid is needed
salt and pepper
Canola oil [1/4 - 1/2 cup, depending on your skillet]
Dice the entire onion and saute it in the canola oil. While that's going on, dice your peppers. Add them to the onions/canola oil mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dump the corn and beans into your crock pot. Add the entire packet of Taco seasoning mix. (I also added some cayenne pepper and onion powder.) Cook onions/peppers 10-20 minutes, until onion and peppers are soft. Add them to the crock pot. Take out your chicken and wash it and dice it up. Brown it in the skillet. Add it to the crock pot. Stir everything well. Add a lot of squeezes of fresh lime.Cook 4-6 hours on low.
Serve topped with sour cream.
Easy Herbed Chicken and Dumplings
4 cans Campbells Herbed Cream of Chicken Soup
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons fresh or dried rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh or dried sage
1/4 cup white wine
3-5 cups water
2-3 large tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
First, you want to poach the chicken breasts in water and the sage, rosemary, salt & pepper. Make sure there is plenty of water in the pan and put it on medium until it starts simmering. Cut it down to low and let it go another 10-20 minutes. (This fills the house with a heavenly aroma!) While you do that, take the flour tortillas and cut them into smallish pieces - these are the dumplings. Next, pull out the chicken and put it on a chopping board. Take your white wine, butter, soup, and put them all in the water remaining in the pan, and whisk until smooth. Add milk if you like, but it's not necessary if you have enough water. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Drop the tortilla pieces into the bubbling broth, a few at a time, stirring a lot so they don't clump together. In a couple of minutes they will be dumplings. Dump the chopped chicken back in the pot and re-heat. Serve in bowls like soup.
This is a great favorite of all the Thompson clan. My cousin Frann named this “Cheese Gobble” because it gets eaten up so fast!
16 oz. Sharp cheddar cheese, grated 1 tsp. Garlic salt
1 large onion, chopped 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 large jar pimentos ½ cup mayonnaise
Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix until smooth. May need to add more mayonnaise to make it more spreadable. Season to your taste. May use more Tabasco or fresh garlic. Pack in small containers and allow to ripen overnight in the refrigerator.
To serve, bring back to room temperature. Good with crackers, sliced apples (dipped in lemon juice), or Fritos. Microwaves nicely, too.
Hot Crab Dip
I don’t think we ever had a big dinner party that Mom didn’t make this and put it in the chafing dish to keep warm. After everyone left, if there was any left over – there was never much left – I would stand there and eat it up with a spoon.
2 cans (6 ½ oz) crab meat 4 eggs, boiled & chopped
3 cups soft bread crumbs 3 T. chopped parsley
2 T. chopped green peppers 3 T. chopped green onions
3 T. lemon juice Salt & pepper, garlic powder
Parmesan cheese Onion powder (to taste)
1 can mushroom soup 2 cups half & half
2 t. prepared mustard 1 cup mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients, except only use half the bread crumbs and omit Parmesan. Pour into a 2 ½ qt. casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan. (Can make it the day before and refrigerate)
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Keep warm (can use chafing dish). Serve with toast points.
ELVA'S FABULOUS QUICHE
1 cup milk
2 cups grated cheese [doesn't have to be swiss]
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup shrimp or crabmeat
salt, pepper, onion powder [to taste]
Lawrey's seasoned salt
Tabasco [1-5 drops, depending on your taste buds]
Mix all the ingredients together. Don't overbeat the eggs. Get a piecrust from the box [I always buy ready made] and put it in your 9' pie pan. Pour in your quiche. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then cut down the oven to 325 for 30 minutes.
You can add in chopped onion or peppers, or almost anything. It's a very forgiving recipe, though I wouldn't add more than half a cup of anything.
Serve with a salad or veggie and it's a FAST and tasty dinner.
CHICKEN JULIA [inspired by reading Julia Child’s memoir]
Take 5 portions of chicken and wash and salt them. Put them in the crock pot, covered in chicken broth [however much it takes to cover], 1 stick of real butter, one cup dry sherry or white wine, 1 tsp. Onion powder, and 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, and cook on low 3 hours. Add in 1 ½ cups rice and cover. Add a salad, and it’s a 1 dish meal.
Apple Dip [great for parties]
8 oz. Cream cheese
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ pkg. Bits o’brickle toffee pieces
3-4 Granny Smith apples
Take out the cream cheese to soften. Wash and slice apples. Set slices in pineapple juice [dip each piece in juice and set it aside, so the apples won’t darken] and refrigerate. Mix together all other ingredients and put in a bowl. Just before the party, arrange the slices around the bowl of dip.
Elva's Fruit Salad
Mix: 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and juice of 1/2 lime until sugar is dissolved, and taste - it should be quite tart so add more lime juice if you need. Next, fold in 1 cup miniature marshmallows, and 1 lg. can mandarin oranges, drained, 1 tall can pineapple tidbits, drained, then 2 cups washed, seedless grapes. Fold fruit into the cream mix. Cover and chill til ready to serve.
Just before serving , fold in 1 cup toasted walnuts, lightly salted.
4 chicken filets
original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
2 cups crushed potato chips or panko crumbs
Take your chicken and wash it carefully. In a shallow dish, place the chicken, and salt and pepper it on both sides. Cover it with Ranch dressing and let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Dip each piece in potato chip crumbs and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, a little more if they are thick pieces.
It's also good to make a dipping sauce out of Ranch dressing and grated parmesan. Yum.
Chesapeake House Fish Stew
3 lb. Flounder filet [I used Tilapia]
1 cup chopped onions
½ lb. Bacon
1 8 oz. Can tomato paste
1 bottle catsup [14 oz.] or tomato sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce [or more, if you want]
1 tablespoon Celery salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon. Remove bacon from pan and brown onions in the drippings. [Note: if you don’t want bacon fat, brown the onions in olive oil.] In a separate pot, put 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Pour onions and drippings into water. Add fish, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt. Cook fish until completely done. Add catsup and tomato paste. Simmer for 2 hours. Serve over rice. [see comment nex page]
I ate this at the Chesapeake House restaurant in Myrtle Beach and loved it so much I asked for the recipe. To my shock, they handed me a Xeroxed sheet with the recipe pre printed. THAT’S a popular soup!
Easy Breakfast Casserole
6 slices white bread, trimmed and cubed
6 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. Sausage, cooked and drained
1 tsp. Dry mustard
salt and pepper
2 cups whole milk
Butter casserole or Pyrex dish heavily. Line with bread cubes. Mix all other ingredients; pour over cubes, cover tightly and let stand overnight in fridge.
Bake 350 for 45 minutes.
We like to make this on holidays like Christmas, and/or when we have houseguests. Then you just make coffee and pull out juice, and breakfast is done.
Elva's Cornbread Dressing
Set oven to 425 degrees
2 cups WHITE LILY SELF-Rising Buttermilk Cornmeal Mix
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 c oil
Pour into 8" or 10" iron skillet or baking pan. Bake 20 or 30 minutes until firm and light
Crumble warm cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Add 8 or 10 pieces dry, white loaf bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces.
In a blender or food processor, finely chop 5 or 6 medium onions and 6-8 celery
stalks (sliced across to prevent "stringing ".) Place this mixture in a glass
container. Cover with chicken broth and nuke about 5 minutes or until almost
tender. Pour this over the bread mix. Mix this together, THEN TASTE IT. Probably needs salt and lots of pepper, and a tablespoon or two of onion powder.
ADD: 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 2 Tablespoons flour, 4 or 5 beaten eggs. MIX. Add enough chicken broth to make a moist mix, the consistency of thick soup.
Pour into a greased pan and bake at 375 degrees until barely firm – 30 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the pan.
Can double easily for 9x13 inch pan. This is absolutely the best dressing in THE WORLD!
3-4 firm tilapia filets about the size of your hand
crushed Ritz crackers
4 Tbl. Mayonnaise
¼ cup olive oil
onion powder to taste
black pepper to taste
2 Tbl. Parmesan cheese
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste
Take about 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers and crush them in your hands into a small flat bowl or normal-sized plate. Add in the onion powder, black pepper, seasoned salt, and parmesan. Mix well with a spoon. Can add a little cayenne pepper if you’re adventurous.
In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise and olive oil. Heat in the microwave for 30-50 seconds to melt the mayo a little bit. Mix them together.
In a large skillet, put in 1-2 Tbl. Olive oil or whatever oil you like.
Take the fish and coat it well with the mayonnaise/oil mixture, then coat it with the cracker crumbs. Put the filets on a plate for about 15 minutes, to give them breading time to adhere to the fish. When the skillet is medium hot, put your filets in. Turn after 5 minutes. Brown 5 more minutes or until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and/or tartar sauce.
Note: The night we made this I also served grits with lots of cheddar cheese and garlic salt, and sautéed asparagus with lemon and butter.
STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM [easy version]
1 large carton strawberries
vanilla yogurt [about 3/4 cup]
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
Wash and slice strawberries. Mix everything else, and add in berries. Chill.
This recipe came about because I always buy strawberries and they don't get eaten at once, and they don't keep well in the fridge and have to be tossed out. The sour cream/lime juice/sugar combination can be mixed with any fruit. If you want to get fancy you could toast some walnuts or pecans and throw them on top.
This is hands down the best way to cook a hamburger on the stove. Get a skillet and lightly salt the bottom. Make your burger patty the size you want, and put it on the pre-heated skillet When that size is light brown, flip it over. With your thumb, make a little indentation in the meat. Take an ice cube and put it on there. Turn the heat down. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan to keep the meat moist. When the ice cube is completely melted, the meat is done ,and very juicy. We like to put lots of soy sauce and onion powder and black pepper on burgers. Yummy!
SPICED PUMPKIN BREAD
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.
I didn’t come up with this recipe. However, I have made it many times and it’s always a huge hit. Plus, you get a vegetable!
SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI CAKES
3 medium zucchini
3 medium yellow squash
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup minced Vidalia onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 jar store-bought marinara sauce
Grate zucchini and squash with a fine grater. Press between paper towels to remove excess moisture.
In a medium bowl, combine grated zucchini and squash and next 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 2-inch patties, pressing together firmly.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook squash and zucchini cakes 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
Place onto serving platter and serve with marinara sauce.
This is really Paula Deen’s recipe, but oh so yummy!
We do a lot of homemade Vegetable Beef soup. It's easier than you might think. We use as a base Classico spaghetti sauce, which comes in a jar. Brown a lb. of ground sirloin, add the Classico, plus some water or tomato juice to thin it. Drop in a can of black beans, a can of corn, whatever other canned veggies you like. Heat on low for an hour or two. About 15 minutes before serving, heat it back up and drop in some uncooked pasta, and cook until tender. We like to jazz it up with extra garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, etc. My kids LOVE this.
Bud's Chicken - Take a package of chicken pieces. Wash them and salt each piece. Set it in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Take a large carton of half n' half or whipping cream, and a cup of fresh parmesan cheese, and set aside. Get out the chicken breasts. You can either dredge them in flour and brown them in butter, then put in a shallow baking dish, or not. I've done it that way, or just put them in the dish unbrowned. Either way is fine. Pour the cream over the chicken. Add some fresh mushrooms, if you like. Top it with the parmesan. Bake at 350 for an hour, covered.
Eggroll Cabbage - At the store, get a bag of shredded cabbage, like you use for coleslaw. Heat some oil in a skillet. Chop an onion and cook it until browned [or not, it's optional] Dump in the whole bag of cabbage. Cook and stir, adding 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce, onion powder, fresh pepper, etc. Pull out when it's the desired crispness. Great low fat side dish. My kids love it.
Pork Roast - Get any kind of pork roast, and cover it with salt, pepper,onion powder, and whatever other seasonings you like. Put it in a baking pan, uncovered, and bake at 250 for 4 hours. Pull it out, it will be fork tender, I guarantee. You can then pour some barbeque sauce or bought teriyaki sauce over it, or not. It's great with the cabbage recipe above.
Then there's the tried and true homemade pizza recipe: get a package [or two] of English muffins. Split them in half, and cover with the canned tomato sauce of your choice [we love Classico], plus pepperoni, mozzarella, and whatever other pizza toppings you choose. Run under the broiler of the oven for 5-8 minutes, checking it frequently.
This is the best Corned Beef ever - buy a corned beef at the grocery store. They come in the meat department, in a bag, with a little packet of spices. Place the corned beef in a slow cooker. Cover it with a bottle of cheap fruity red wine,and the spice packet contents, plus 4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled, and about 1/2 cup of soy sauce. Simmer on low for 5-8 hours, depending on the size of the beef.
Dee's Special Hearty Chowder
2 cans Progresso clam chowder
1 can cooked, small white potatoes [chop these]
1 can minced clams [drain well]
Lawry's Seasoning Salt [to taste, but I use lots]
onion powder [to taste]
2-4 tbls. butter, depending on your cholesterol count
Put all this in a pot and heat it up. Serve with hot garlic toast, which is just regular toast with some garlic salt sprinkled on it. Add a salad, and you've got a full meal. Ta da. Mike ate 3 bowls...