Alabama Recipes: Mama’s Best
Most everyone has a favorite comfort food. I would define my favorite comfort foods as being simple dishes that provide me with a nostalgic or sentimental feeling. I can say, hands down, my favorite comfort food is my Mama’s dressing. What makes it special, and comforting to me, is that my Mama made it, and it hasn’t changed since the first time I tasted it. Don’t forget to tell your mother how much she means to you.
Upcoming recipe themes and deadlines are:
June Dad’s favorite dish April 15
July Sandwiches May 15
August Cool drinks June 15
Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College
where she studied history and French but she also has a
passion for great food.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cook of the month:
Sandy Esco, Dixie EC
Family Tradition Cornbake Casserole
- 1 pound ground sirloin or venison
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pack pasta (broken into 2-inch pieces and cooked al dente) or 1 small package elbow macaroni
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix (reserve 2 teaspoons of powder)
- Garlic salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cheddar cheese
- 10 slices bread roughly chopped
- 1 stick butter
Brown sirloin with onion and mushrooms then drain. Combine meat with pasta, mushroom soup, sour cream, ranch powder, garlic salt and pepper. Place in a greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons ranch powder with butter and garlic salt to taste. Pour over breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
This recipe is an old family standby that has evolved over the years. Originally my mother-in-law made it with ground chuck, onion, elbow macaroni, soup, sour cream, corn and breadcrumbs. My oldest son added the mushrooms; one day out of necessity I used leftover angel hair pasta instead of macaroni; my husband added the ranch seasoning and uses venison. Over the years it has become a family standby, most often requested for birthdays. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and freezes wonderfully — great to have on hand for a quick meal for family or friend who needs a comforting meal brought over on short notice.
- 1-2 salmon filets cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 lemons, cut into thin rounds
- Olive oil
Combine oregano, cumin, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes in bowl. Set aside. Using bamboo skewers soaked in water for about 1 hour, alternate salmon and lemon rounds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with seasoning mixture. Place on grill for 5-6 minutes each side. Quick and yummy method: You can also keep the salmon filet whole and lightly slice every inch or so. Put lemon slice in each crevice and put olive oil and seasoning on top. Broil on high for about 8 minutes, keep oven cracked and make sure you watch so it does not burn. This is very good served with julienned zucchini and squash lightly sautéed in a pan and topped with almond slices and Parmesan cheese.
Kim McCrary, Baldwin EMC
- 5 cups cooked chicken, diced
- 1 jar (4 ounces) chopped pimiento, drained
- 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cans mushroom soup
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 8-ounce package spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups); reserve 3/4 cup cheese for the top of the casserole
- Cook the onion and bell pepper with the spaghetti according to spaghetti’s package directions. Drain. While the spaghetti is still hot, stir in all the other ingredients. Place in 9-inch by 13-inch casserole and top with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, around 30-40 minutes. Serves 10. This is a favorite of my family. The grandchildren request it by name.
Jane Kendrick, Coosa Valley EC
Mama’s Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
- 4 medium split chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 5 cups self-rising flour
- 11/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
Wash chicken breasts and place in a boiler. Add butter, salt and pepper. Fill the boiler half full with water and boil 2 for hours. Make sure to keep water level at half full by adding water when needed. After chicken is finished cooking, remove it and debone. After deboning, place chicken back in boiler. In the last 15 minutes of boiling the chicken, add one can of cream of chicken soup and let simmer.
The dumplings: Pour 5 cups of flour in a large bowl. Make a crater in the center of the flour. Pour milk and vegetable oil in center. Take a fork and stir, scraping some flour into the mixture until it becomes gooey. Scoop out with hand and place on floured surface. Knead and add flour until dough becomes stiff. Next, take a floured rolling pin and roll dough out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. With a knife, cut strips of dough about an inch wide. Increase the heat under the boiler, and when it begins to boil take strips of dough and break pieces and drop into the boiler. Fold in dough with a wooden spoon. When dumplings thicken, lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes more. Makes four to five servings.
Cherry Coleman, Black Warrior EMC
Roasted Sweet Potato Lasagna
- 1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 11/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 5 sweet potatoes (chopped and roasted ahead of time)
- 6 cups marinara sauce
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (8 ounces)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper. Add the spinach and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mozzarella, Parmesan and basil. Spread a third of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Put a layer of lasagna noodles on top. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then spread a third of the roasted sweet potatoes over that. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded cheese mixture. Repeat to make two more layers. End with shredded cheese mixture on top. Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC
Mama Cake “Green Envelope”
- 2 1/4 cups plain flour (or about 51/2 handfuls)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 11/2 cups sugar (or about 3 handfuls)
- 1/2 cup shortening, only use Crisco (this is about a handful)
- 1 cup buttermilk (you need to use your cup for this or until it’s a medium consistency.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 unbeaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar (or about 2 handfuls)
- 3/4 cup milk (use your cup)
- Dash salt
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
In Mom’s own words as only she can tell it. It’s called “Green Envelope” because she wrote the recipe for me on a green envelope. Combine sugar and shortening. Beat until combined, then add eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Combine flour, soda and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 2 round layers. For icing combine sugar, milk, salt and cocoa. Boil for 3 minutes and not a second longer. You can use a toothpick and make small holes on cake. Then pour warm icing on top of first layer, place second layer on top of first and pour remaining icing. Good with a drop of ice cream on top.
Donna Feazell, Marshall DeKalb EC