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Elegant Chicken

25 Jan

This is another of her “cook it until they’re sick of it” chicken recipes. This one I make every now and then for my family, because really, how can you go wrong with chicken and rice? One word of warning, though – the rice can easily be undercooked, so test it before you serve it.

1 1/4 cups uncooked rice (instant works well, too – use 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1/2 cup sherry wine
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 stick of margarine or butter, melted
4 whole chicken breasts
3 oz sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
paprika to taste

Place rice in bottom of oblong dish. Mix soups with a single can of water, margarine, and sherry. Take 1 1/2 cup of the mixture (or 2 1/2 cups for instant rice) and mix with the rice in the casserole dish. Place chicken breasts over rice, pour the rest of the soup mixture over the chicken and rice. Sprinkle with paprika, almonds, and parmesan. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, or until done.

Chicken Divan

25 Jan

My Grandmother got this recipe from a lady who went to our congregation. She made it so often for my sister that my sister got sick of it. Grammy was like that – once she found a dish that company liked, she made it every time they came over. I don’t get to make this one much – no one in my family but me likes curry and broccoli. But this is an excellent, excellent dish.

2 packages frozen broccoli (14 oz total), or one large head of fresh broccoli
2 cups cooked chicken (three breasts)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (*)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup bread crumbs (*)
2-3 tbsp melted butter or margarine

Cook broccoli to desired tenderness. Arrange on greased casserole dish, place chicken on top. Combine soups, mayo, lemon juice and curry. Mix and pour over broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle on cheese. Combine bread crumbs and melted butter, sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

(*) For Gluten Free, omit the bread crumbs and use a gluten-free cream soup.

Home Made Kahlua

25 Jan

I don’t know if she ever made this recipe or not (I was too young to consume it if she did, anyway). I thought it should be added to this entry simply because of the fact that I found about ten hand-written copies of it stuck in the binder.

4 cups sugar
3 cups water
3/4 cup instant coffee
1 quart 100 proof vodka
2 tbsp. Hershey’s chocolate syrup
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and water in a large pot, bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes. Put instant coffee in a small saucepan and add just enough boiling water to dissolve the coffee. Add dissolved coffee to sugar and water mixture, stir. Add chocolate syrup. Let cool. Add vodka and vanilla. Good instantly (heh, heaven forbid we should have to wait for the booze!), no fermenting necessary. Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

Pumpkin Bread

25 Jan

My Grandmother would make two batches of this each year – one batch right before Thanksgiving, and one right before Christmas. She’d wrap the individual loaves in tinfoil, and label who they were going to in permanent marker on a piece of masking tape. She’d keep one loaf for us, and I’d eat it for breakfast (and mid-morning snack, and afternoon snack, and after dinner) with a spreading of cream cheese.

2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2/3 cup cold water
3 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda

Sift together flour, soda, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs until thick and light colored. Add pumpkin, oil and water – mix until blended. Turn mixture into flour mixture, mix by hand until smooth. Fold in walnuts. Portion batter into three small loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool slightly in pan. Turn onto cooling rack. Wrap in aluminum foil and wait one day (I don’t know why, that’s what it says!).

Maine Baked Beans

25 Jan

This recipe needs no preamble. This is a staple dish in any Maine household. This recipe works well in a crock pot, too – just mix all the ingredients together, dump ’em in, and cook on low all day.

2 lbs kidney beans
1 lb salt pork (or more, up to 2 lbs if you love it)
1 tsp. salt
3/4+ cup molasses
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups water
2 sweet onions

Soak kidney beans in a cold water bath overnight. In the morning, put one onion, cut into large chunks, into each of the pots (2 bean pots, or 2 large baking dishes, or what have you). Put 1/2 lb of salt pork (“salt pork makes the beans!”), cut into chunks, into each pot. Drain the beans, and evenly divide them into the pots (leave enough room to add liquid for the cooking process). Mix salt, molasses, dry mustard, and brown sugar into 2 cups of water. Pour half of the mixture into each pot, and stir (I tend to double this mixture to make the beans extra saucy).

Put a cookie sheet under the bean pots as it may boil over into your oven. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cook for three hours or until beans are tender – monitor cooking process continually and add additional water and molasses to the pots as needed.

Apple Cake

25 Jan

I’ve served this for family gatherings a couple of times. It’s great with your morning coffee, or for dessert with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. This was a staple comfort food at Grandma’s house.

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp nutmeg (optional)

3 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or other)

Mix sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and optional cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix until blended. Fold in chopped apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Zucchini Relish

25 Jan

This is a VERY prominent fixture in my childhood memories. This stuff is FANTASTIC. My grandmother would make it once a year, jarring enough to last us until the next fall. She’s spend hours in the basement (where it was cool), grinding away at her hand grinder, going through huge amounts of zucchini. There was always plenty – the garden usually exploded with them. That’s what I like about Maine – you cast down the seeds, and barely need to tend to anything before you have an explosion of veggies.

I’d put this on my hamburgers and hot dogs, and on my “nice” ham and cheese sandwiches. My grandmother would mix it into her potato salad. Aw, man, this stuff is SO GOOD, I’ll have to make it sometime. But I’ll have to get a grinder.

12 cups ground zucchini
4 cups ground onions
1 red pepper, ground
1 green pepper, ground
5 tbsp salt

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
6 cups sugar

3/4 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground tumeric
1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix ground veggies with salt and sit over night in an enamel kettle (big ol’ pot with a lid). In a.m., rinse with cold water. Mix the cider vinegar with the water, add to sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour over veggies. Make a paste of the corn starch, dry mustard, ground nutmeg, ground tumeric, celery seed, and black pepper – adding just enough water for a paste consistency. Add to the veggies. Stir well.

Bring the pot to a boil, cook and stir over moderate heat for 30 minutes. Can in jars at once.

Here is some information on canning jars, the hot packing method used here, and the boiling water bath canning procedure. Also, About.com has a whole section dedicated to canning.