Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grandma Food

Somewhere along the way I've lost a recipe. It was one I clipped from the pages of Woman's Day that first year of marriage, 1970. Every week when I'd check out at Safeway, I'd reach for a Woman's Day or a Family Circle. They were our saving grace from a steady diet of spaghetti or tuna casserole! I picked up a Family Circle the other day and was surprised how thin it's got... and it costs $1.99 now. They were 20 cents when I was a newlywed... good thing too, because our budget for the week was $10.

In my neck of the woods, Chicken and Dumplings are one of those old-fashioned favorites that stirs up a lot of controversy-- the fluffy "dropped" versus the flat "rolled" variety. I grew up with the flat kind and never had a love affair with them until I found the recipe for the FLUFFY ones in Woman's Day. I was so enamored that I couldn't wait for my husband to taste them. He was a wise man even when he was young. He bragged about them, ate two bowlfuls and for the next two years I made them often. Then one day as we were finishing dinner, he said he loved his Grandmothers FLAT dumplings. My hackles went up, just for a second, but I definitely took umbrage to the fact that he loved her dumplings. After I got over that bump, I immediately started searching for a good recipe for the flat ones! Count yourself lucky if you've had a recipe passed down to you. Grandmas make the best ones so I went to a pro... my Sister-in-law's Mom!

Southern Chicken Dumplings~PRINT
Pauline Wallace~ she knows a thing or two about dumplings!
Chicken Broth:
1 whole chicken, pick one that's on the smaller side and it will be more tender
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 chopped onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
In a large soup pot cover the hen in water seasoned with salt and pepper.Add the celery and onion and stew the chicken covered until the meat is tender, about an hour. Remove chicken and set aside to cool. Strain broth through a colander to remove vegetables, discard veges. Pour broth back into pot and reheat to boiling while you make the dumplings.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons Crisco
1/2 cup milk
Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening, then add milk and mix. Allow dough to set about 15 minutes to let the baking powder do it's thing, namely a rise that will make the dumplings tender as a Mother's/Grandmother's Love!  Roll dough onto heavily floured surface to 1/8" thick. Cut into inch wide strips and cut into 2" lengths. Drop [floured] strips into boiling chicken broth and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Serves 6.
*Two secrets here, make sure you roll them thin, they will cook faster and you have less chance of them being "doughy." The second one is to dredge the strips again as you place them in the broth, the flour helps to thicken the broth. See why Grandma had the best dumplings???

There are cookbooks out there that are full of "Grandma Food."
One that I love, Being Dead is No Excuse by Gayden Metcalf and Charlotte Hays has  been called the official Southern Ladies guide to hosting the perfect funeral! Inside the covers are the tried and the trues, the dishes that comfort and heal.

Methodist Party Dish~Print
If you refuse to cook with corn flakes, skip this recipe. 
1 2-pound package hash browns
10 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 pint sour cream
1 can (10 3/4-ounces) cheddar cheese soup, not diluted
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups corn flakes
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the hash browns according to the package directions. Combine the cooked hash browns with the other ingredients and place in a buttered 13 x 9-inch casserole dish. Top the casserole with corn flakes and dot with butter. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden, crisp, and bubbly. After you've eaten your fill, ask your doctor to write a prescrition for Lipitor!

Virginia's Butter Beans~PRINT
This recipe comes from the late Virginia Owens, a St. James' parishioner - and the recipe is a Mississippi Delta funeral favorite.
2 (10 oz) boxes frozen butter beans, cooked and drained
6 slices bacon, crumbled
1/4 to 3/4 cup minced green onions
1/3 cup minced celery
1/3 cup bell pepper, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups drained canned tomatoes
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fry the bacon and then saute the minced vegetables in the bacon grease. Add the flour, tomatoes, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Add the cooked and drained butter beans. Adjust the seasonings, pour into casserole and top with crumbled bacon. Bake until bubbly. Serves eight to ten and freezes well.

Methodist Fried Chicken~PRINT
1 chicken, cut up.a nice, medium-size yard bird
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cups flour salt black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
fat for frying (Crisco, vegetable oil, or a combination. Crisco is a nice way of saying "lard.")
Lightly beat the eggs and blend with the milk. Combine the flour, salt, pepper (a generous amount), and baking powder in a doubled brown grocery bag.shake to mix. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg/milk mixture. Shake chicken, one piece at a time, in the bag of flour until well coated (at this point, some cooks prefer the double-dip method where they repeat the egg-wash-and-flour procedure).
Using a preseasoned black-iron skillet, heat enough oil to almost cover the chicken. When you drop the chicken in, the fat sizzles! Frying is an art. The real art involves the grease, which must not burn but cook at an even, medium-hot level. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the piece of chicken. Approximately 20 minutes. Serves three to four.
GRANDMA SECRETS: Do not crowd the chicken when frying. Turn only once, when golden brown on one side. Remove pieces from the skillet and drain them on a brown grocery bag that has been covered with a layer of paper towels.soaks up extra grease better than anything!

The Methodist Ladies' Chicken Lasagna Florentine~PRINT
6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 (10-ounce) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken, about 3 medium breasts
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
Butter pecan topping (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. Drain the spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels. Combine the spinach, chicken, cheddar cheese, onion, nutmeg, salt, pepper, soy sauce, soup, sour cream and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Stir well to blend. Arrange half the noodles in a lightly greased 11-by-7-by-1 1/2-inch baking dish. Spread half the chicken mixture over the noodles. Repeat this procedure with the remaining chicken mixture and noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Butter Pecan Topping. Bake, covered, for 55 to 60 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Serves eight.
Butter Pecan Topping:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped pecans
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add the pecans and cook for 3 minutes. Cool completely.

Martha Jane Howell's Pineapple Casserole~PRINT
2 cans (20 ounces) crushed pineapple
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup grated sharp cheese
Ritz crackers
1 stick real butter
Drain the pineapple. Grease a 2-quart oblong casserole dish and put the pineapple in the bottom. Sift the flour and sugar together, blend it with the cheese and then sprinkle on top of the pineapple. Cover with crushed Ritz crackers, a tube or a tube and a half will do nicely. Melt the butter and pour over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serves eight.

"Think of these teas as Methodist chardonnay. Methodists rarely drown their grief in anything stronger than flavored tea. Mint tea and almond tea are refreshing in the Delta summer and won't cause you to say things you regret later. The mint tea is a legacy of a long-gone minister."

Almond Tea~PRINT
4 cups strongly brewed tea
3/4 cup water
1 can (60 ounces) frozen lemonade, thawed
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract, a little goes a long way
Combine all ingredients. Stir it until the sugar is dissolved, and serve over ice. Makes about twelve cups.

Mint Tea~PRINT
16 cups water (1 gallon)
7 tea bags
7 sprigs fresh mint
Rind of 3 lemons
Juice of 7 lemons
2 cups sugar
Bring half the water to a boil. Add the tea bags, mint and lemon rinds. Steep for 12 minutes. Add the lemon juice and sugar to the remaining 8 cups of water. Mix with the tea and serve over ice. For funeral purposes, I wouldn't garnish each glass with mint, though that's a nice touch for less-somber occasions. Serve it from a glass pitcher.

Bing Cherry Salad with Coca-Cola~PRINT
You knew there was going to be a Jello salad in here, didn't you?
2 (3-ounce) boxes cherry gelatin
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black cherries, drained
2 cups juice, reserved from pineapple and cherries, heated
2 (8-ounce) bottles Coca-Cola
1 cup pecans
Dissolve the gelatin in the hot juice, then add the Coca-Cola and pour into a dish. When gelatin starts to congeal, stir in the pineapple, quartered cherries, and pecans. Chill until firm. Serves sixteen.
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  1. Love them all! Except the jello salad :-) What a great post, thank you!

  2. When we were first married, my husband said he loved chicken and dumplings and his grandmother's was his favorite..
    So natually, being the good new bride, I made a batch of the drop/puff kind and proudly put it in front of him..."What's this?" he said...hahaha, need I say more? Thanks for the 'real' dumpling recipe!

  3. Yumm! I will have to try these recipes out on my G.R.I.T.S. group at church. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your budget was bigger than ours, Joycee. TY for sharing these wonderful recipes.
    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~

  5. Chicken and dumplings are one of my favorite foods! I still prefer the drop dumplings, to the rolled, but will eat the rolled. I only make the dropped and the day hubby says he doesn't like them, he'll starve... for that day! LOL! I hate to cook, so anytime I do, he rarely complains and it a GOOD THING he doesn't, after all, kitchen utensils have more than one use!

  6. Curry Point Restaurant
    I often make this Almond Tea, Mint Tea it is just wonder your your morning..
    And i though that this Methodist Fried Chicken recipe can made best..i must try that..


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