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  • Monday, August 17, 2009

    Cooking With Linda Ryan

    My mom grew weary of us asking over and over again for her family recipes, so she bought all three of us girls a “My Favorite Recipes” fill-in-the-blank recipe book and gave us each the same 7 recipes. Her hope was that we would add our own recipes to the books and eventually have a complete collection.

    She only gave us a few of the recipes we had clamored for, but left out many others. I tried to get her to give up the rest, thus saving me the trouble of having to come up with any of my own.

    I must admit, however, when life got in the way, I lost interest in pursuing Mom for the recipes. Unfortunately my recipe book sat neglected in the kitchen. Recipes were never added, either from me or my mom. Occasionally I would dig it out, when Thanksgiving rolled around, to make sure I hadn’t forgotten any of the key ingredients to mom’s simple stuffing recipe.

    It is now many years later since I received the “My Favorite Recipes” book, and although Mom is still with us, she can no longer pass along her recipes. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 3 years ago. Lost is the recipe for her healing chicken soup—the only thing that made my son feel better when he was sick. Also lost is her famous Christmas fudge recipe.

    In the last years before her disease became evident, she had stopped making the Christmas fudge as well as the chicken soup, unless my son made a “special request for the latter.

    The doctor told us, based on her brain scans, she had been suffering far longer, and the damage was greater than we had realized. She felt that Mom must have been compensating for quite some time. I’m sure it had become increasingly harder and harder for her to meet those “special requests.” Who knows how long it took her in the privacy of her kitchen to create her culinary masterpieces as her mind waned, but love prevailed and she never disappointed my son. Not until 3 years ago, when it became too much to do most of the ordinary tasks of life.

    All of her recipes have gone the way of many other special life memories. She can no longer remember what ingredients to use, how to prepare them, or even how to write them on a page.

    Today that cookbook with those seven original recipes has meaning and value beyond what I could have imagined. I wish I had appreciated it more.

    Though I am grateful that we still have Mom with us, she will never be the same mom or grandmother. She still brings joy and laughter, she is still my inspiration and best friend.

    So may you enjoy these seven simple recipes given by a loving mother to her daughters. And when you do, please remember, never take for granted the time you have with your loved ones and the special beauty they bring to your life.



    Orange Fruit Dream Salad (need to check copyright on this name…there is an Orange Fruit Dream copyright for an ice cream…not sure if it applies since this is a type of jello salad)


    1 Pkg. Orange JELLO
    1 Container of Orange Yogurt (no fruit on the bottom)
    1 Small can crushed pineapple
    1 Small can mandarin oranges
    1 Small carton of Cool Whip

    Make Jell-O, refrigerate until set. Break up with fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix together.



    Meat Loaf


    1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
    2 eggs
    about 10-12 saltines, crumbled
    ½ c. chopped onion
    1/3 c. chopped celery
    Few chopped celery leaves
    2/3 small can tomato sauce

    Combine all ingredients & 1/3 can of tomato sauce. Pack firmly in meat loaf pan. Pour remaining tomato sauce on top. Bake at 350 about one hour.


    Pot Roast


    1 chuck roast (with or without bone)
    steak sauce (A-1)
    garlic salt
    onion salt

    (For gravy, shake flour and cold water in jar & add to boiling pan drippings – about 1 cup. Add small amount of “Kitchen Bouquet” to color & season)

    Brown roast on both sides on top of stove. Sprinkle with seasonings & A-1 sauce. Cook slowly (325) about 1 ½ hours for 4 lbs roast. Add water to cover vegetables (not too much), then add vegetables & cook about 1 hr longer



    Dressing for Turkey


    liver from turkey
    celery leaves
    2 eggs 1 t. poultry seasoning
    ½ t. sage
    Fresh bread

    Remove crusts from bread, cube & brown in butter in frying pan. Chop liver, onion, celery & celery leaves as finely as possible. Add eggs. Mix with bread cubes and add seasoning.



    Deep Fried Cod


    Pkg fresh or frozen cod fillets
    2 t. Baking powder
    salt & pepper
    oil for frying

    Remove all, if any, bones from fish. Mix flour & baking powder & add water to make batter about the same consistency as for pancakes. Deep fry in oil at 350 or 375 about five minutes



    Scalloped Potatoes


    4-5 potatoes, pared & sliced thinly
    cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
    margerine (misspelling left in)
    salt & pepper

    Place 1/3 of potatoes in casserole, top with 1/3 c. grated cheese, sprinkle with flour & seasonings & dot with butter patties. Continue with other two layers same way. Pour in enough milk to cover about ½ of potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 1 hour in covered casserole. (Good with Pork Chops or Ham.)


    Foreign Foods



    tortilla chips
    cheddar cheese
    Jack cheese
    Can green Ortega chiles
    (mild salsa or jar of chili sauce)

    Arrange chips on baking pan. Grate cheeses & sprinkle on chips. Put Ortega chile slice on each chip. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted. Dip in salsa if desired. (You can also add fried chorizo, hamburger, etc.)