For those of you who know me well, you know I’m not a fan of actually cooking or baking. I will happily eat someone else’s culinary efforts, but I’m typically the person who gets off of the couch daily to wander into the kitchen, scrounge through the freezer and see what I can throw together at the last minute for a meal.

I would give anything to go back in time to have a homecooked meal, sitting down with my mom and two of her sisters, Martha and Dorthy — “The Smith Sisters” — at the kitchen table with a browned roast and boiled meal of potatoes, carrots and onions. Pass the ketchup, please.

Not surprising, I own no officially published cookbooks. The only one that has graced my kitchen over the past 27 years is a homemade booklet of recipes I made after borrowing them from my mom and her sisters. In 1991, I compiled their top recipes without letting them know I was making a small booklet to distribute to the immediate family, each page laminated and held together with a metal ring. A surprise for the ladies.

All of that being said, I am the last person who would be expected to share recipes with friends, let alone The Crescent-News readers.

But hey, here we go. I admit I have only attempted a handful of them myself, even tweaking one to at least make it remotely taste like mom’s recipe, even though I followed the instructions to the letter.

Despite that, I swear these are wonderful dishes and desserts. Give them a shot. All credit goes to Marian Derringer, Martha Baldwin and Dorthy Smith. The strawberry pie was made each April as my birthday “pie.” So give me a call mid-April when you make it and I will come over to taste test it for you.

Strawberry Pie

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

3.5 Tb. cornstarch

3 Tb. Karo syrup

pinch of salt

red food coloring

3 Tb. strawberry Jello

Mix those ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook until thick and clear. Cool and pour over cut strawberries already in the pie crust. Chill and top with Reddi Wip or Cool Whip.

Spanish Rice

15 oz. can of Hunts diced basil, garlic and oregano tomatoes

1 pound of ground chuck

1/2 cup of white rice

onion to taste

1 cup of water

1/2 tsp. of chili powder

1/2 tsp. of sugar

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

Season and brown the ground chuck and onion (with salt and pepper also). Mix rice, water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and stir. Cook rice on simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on. Mix cooked rice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, meat, chili powder and sugar in the pan. Put in a baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown at 375 degrees. This is great on a baked potato.

Fresh Peach Pie

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

3 Tb. of corn starch

2 Tb. white Karo syrup

Cook ingredients until thick and then add a box of peach Jello. Fill a baked pie shell with fresh sliced peaches. Pour the cooked syrup over the peaches. Chill and serve with Reddi Wip or Cool Whip.


And while you’re in the mood to cook, enter your recipes in the upcoming Crescent-News Recipe Challenge. The deadline for entry is Sept. 23. The live tasting event is slated for Nov. 6. A full meal will be served of all five first-place winning entries.

All entries must be original. Recipes will be judged on taste, uniqueness, texture and ease of preparation. There will be $900 in cash prizes awarded, with the grand prize being $300. Winning recipes will appear in the C-N Recipe Edition on Nov. 14.

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