Sweet and Sour Cherries

Although this “trousseau” recipe is specifically for cherries, I use the basic recipe to make a delicious dressing for any kind of fruit or fruit salad.

Sweet and Sour Cherries

1 pint sour cream
½ cup sugar (I use Demerara)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups drained canned sweet cherries

Combine sour cream, sugar, and almond extract. Fold in cherries. Chill and serve in compotes.

If you need a dessert in an emergency, it’s hard to get much easier or quicker than this!

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Manicotti-Style Tortillas

The recipe card on which this is typed indicates that it came from Good Housekeeping. Although there are numerous recipes online for “Mexican Manicotti” (most with Tex-Mex ingredients, including, in some cases, corn tortillas), the recipe for “Lazy Boy Manicotti” is probably the most similar to this one. This recipe is a little more labor-intensive than some of the other recipes I’ve shared but not nearly as much trouble as stuffing actual manicotti pasta, and, because it is cooked in the microwave, it’s relatively quick to prepare. It was one of my daughter’s favorite dishes when she was growing up, and when her college dining hall staff asked parents to submit recipes, this is the one I sent (though I’m sure it was never made).

Manicotti-Style Tortillas

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon oregano
⅓ cup water
1 pint ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
8 6 to 8inch flour tortillas

In a 4-cup measure, stir tomato sauce, oregano, and water. Into 13″ ×9″ baking dish, pour 1 cup sauce. In bowl, stir ricotta cheese, 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, and egg.

In microwave oven, arrange tortillas, separated by damp paper towels, and cook on HI for 1½–2 minutes.

Spread tortillas with ricotta mixture and roll up. Arrange in baking dish and top with remaining sauce. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook on HI 7–8 minutes, rotating dish once. During last 2 minutes, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Makes 8 servings, about 322 calories.

My Notes

  1. For the tomato sauce, oregano, and water, I substitute a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce. I usually use Ragú Chunky, either Mama’s Special Garden Sauce or Super Vegetable Primavera.
  2. Instead of microwaving all the tortillas at once (and wasting paper towels), I do them one at a time, for about 15–20 seconds, spreading and rolling each as I go. This does make it a little more difficult to make the filling come out even, however.
  3. I add fresh or dried chives, parsley, basil, bell pepper, green onions (or anything else green I have on hand) to the cheese mixture. It adds color and spice.
  4. If your microwave oven won’t accommodate a 13″ ×9″ baking dish (mine is nearly 40 years old and is huge, though without a turntable), you could try using a square casserole dish. If, as is likely these days, your oven has a turntable, you may have to disable it.
  5. When serving, I usually don’t try to serve one whole filled tortilla per person. Instead, I cut two in half and serve the two halves, which provides a squarish serving, easier to pick up with a pancake turner.
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Honey Pumpkin Pie

This is another “trousseau” recipe, found in the loose-leaf recipe notebook I created before I was married. I will say at the outset that it is a ridiculously impractical recipe because it calls for a quantity of evaporated milk that is more than a 5-ounce can but less than a 12-ounce one. Fortunately, my husband can use the leftover milk in his tea, and I continue to make this recipe a couple of times a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) because it’s “traditional.” There are recipes online that have the same name, but none is identical. Interestingly, I have not found another pumpkin pie recipe that includes nutmeg.

Honey Pumpkin Pie

⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup strained honey
2 cups cooked or canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs

Mix sugar, salt, and spices. Stir in honey and pumpkin. Heat milk and add with eggs. Beat well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; lower heat to 375° for 35 minutes.

For what it’s worth, this is an easy recipe to double; my daughter has even been known to make four of these at once. I love it because mixing requires no more than a whisk, and I traditionally make our Christmas pie(s) while listening to the NPR broadcast of the “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” from King’s College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve.

A few notes:

  1. I have no idea of the purpose of heating the milk; my mother suggested perhaps this was to give the eggs a head start on setting. I usually do it in the microwave in a glass measure with a microwave thermometer, till just before it comes to a boil.
  2. Although I usually grate my own nutmeg (and the quantity is thus approximate), I’m no purist: I use a prefab Pillsbury pie crust. The pan shown is one of a pair I inherited from my mother; they make a pretty crust really easy!
  3. I’ve made this with both Carnation and store-brand evaporated milk, both high-test and low-fat (maybe even fat-free), and I’ve never had a result that was less than delicious.
  4. I serve it with a spritz of Reddi-Wip and really prefer the consistency of the filling when it’s chilled, but I hate to refrigerate the pie immediately because the crust gets a bit soggy. Of course, if you serve it all at once, to a crowd, that is not an issue!

Obviously, the distinctive feature of this pie is in the name. I can’t swear that the honey makes it any better than a pie made from the recipe on the Libby’s can, but I love it, and it’s a family tradition.

The past few years, the honey I’ve used has made it more distinctive than usual. My father was an enthusiastic supporter of libertarian and conservative causes, and one of these was Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute. Apparently Dad was a significant donor, and every Christmas he received a pint jar of “Morton’s Virginia Honey.” I don’t now recall whether I received my supply one jar at a time after Mother’s death in 2002 or (more likely) inherited the entire stash upon Dad’s death in 2007, but I once had half a dozen jars dated 2001–2006. I’ve been working my way backward and am now using the 2001 one. It is of course well known that honey does not spoil (in fact, it is a preservative), and, unlike store-bought honey, this honey never crystallizes. It turns black as tar and perhaps a little bitter, but that just gives the pie more character, and it remains easy to pour and measure. I’ll actually be sorry when I use up this last jar.

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Deviled Hamburgers

Here’s another selection from my trousseau cookbook (or maybe I should more accurately call it my “hope chest” cookbook—whatever). My recollection (which may well be wrong) was that I got this from my grandfather, Kieffer Vaughan. There is an almost identical recipe at food.com, but since it omits horseradish and claims only four servings, I’ll post this one anyway.

Deviled Hamburgers

1 lb. lean ground beef
⅓ cup chili sauce
1½ teaspoons prepared mustard
1½ teaspoons prepared horseradish
1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
8 hamburger buns or sandwich rolls
Melted butter

Combine all ingredients except buns and butter. Spread on bottom halves of buns. Brush with melted butter. Broil 5–7 inches from heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Warm tops of buns and add to cooked hamburgers. Makes eight servings.

I haven’t made this recipe in a long time, and I really should, as I well remember how delectable it was.

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Hamburger Stroganoff

Since I seem to be on a roll with recipes, I’ll offer another from my trousseau cookbook. Although there is no dearth of recipes for “Hamburger Stroganoff” or “Ground Beef Stroganoff” online, none is exactly like this (most call for less butter), so I offer it as a richer alternative. Makes four servings.

Hamburger Stroganoff

¼ cup (half stick) butter
½ cup minced onion
1 clove garlic
1 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoons flour
Pepper and paprika
1 (4-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 (10½-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup sour cream

Sauté onion and garlic in butter till golden. Add ground beef and brown well. Stir in flour. Add remaining ingredients except sour cream and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream and serve over rice or buttered noodles.

The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt, but, unless you’ve bought low-sodium soup, this will make the dish too salty. Pepper and paprika are of course “to taste,” but since I’m hopeless at cooking by tasting, I just add a generous dash of each. My husband and I usually have this over rice and actually prefer it to Beef Stroganoff. Steamed broccoli makes a good side.

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Deviled Green Beans

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for “Deviled Green Beans,” which I serve as a side to (among many other things) my hot dog casserole. It’s another hand-me-down recipe, but, unlike “Seafarers’ Rafts,” it doesn’t appear in the loose-leaf recipe book I assembled before I got married; it’s copied in my handwriting on a folded recipe card from Current, but attributed to “Mother.” I’ll give the original recipe first, with the caveat that I don’t use this exact recipe at all any more.

Deviled Green Beans

1 16-ounce can (2 cups) cut green beans
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash salt
Dash pepper

2 tbsp. cornflake crumbs

Drain liquid from beans into saucepan. Bring to boil; cook liquid till reduced to about one third. Add beans and heat through; drain. In small saucepan, melt butter, stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour over hot beans; stir gently. Sprinkle with cornflake crumbs.

I will say at the outset that I am confident I never sprinkled these with cornflake crumbs. And I seriously doubt that I bothered to reduce the canning liquid more than once—way too much trouble! Nowadays, I don’t use saucepans at all because I make this in the microwave. In order to get a quantity that will provide leftovers, I use the “family size” (28-ounce) can instead. That of course changes the amounts of the other ingredients, but I don’t measure them, so I probably never make the sauce the same way twice, but it’s almost impossible to ruin this dish.

I drain the beans (discarding the canning liquid) and put them in a 1½-quart microwaveable casserole (Corning Ware, with a glass lid). I then add to a microwaveable measuring cup “some” butter (usually 2–3 tablespoons), a healthy squeeze of mustard and a generous dollop of Worcestershire sauce, and several dashes of salt and pepper. I microwave this at low heat until the butter is melted, whisk it together, pour it over the beans, and stir. Then I microwave the covered beans on HI for 3–5 minutes.

Note that there are several recipes with this name online. None seems to be exactly like the one above, though this one is close.

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Another Recipe Favorite

I usually make this recipe in tandem with “Seafarers’ Rafts” because I hate to buy a whole bell pepper for just the small amount that this recipe calls for, and the Seafarers’ Rafts take care of the rest. Unlike the Seafarers’ Rafts recipe, whose origin is lost to the mists of time, this one has a very definite source: I clipped it from an issue of Southern Living (probably sometime in the 1980s) and taped it onto a 3″ × 5″ card. It was submitted by Mrs. B. N. Brown of Germantown, Tennessee. She titled it “Layered Frankfurter Casserole,” but we tend to call it “Hot Dog Casserole.” Google could not find anything similar under either name, so I hope Mrs. Brown will not mind my sharing it.

Layered Frankfurter Casserole

¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 (11-ounce) can Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1½ cups hot cooked rice
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 cup (¼ pound) shredded Cheddar cheese
5 frankfurters, cut into ½-inch slices
½ cup commercial barbecue sauce

Stir salt and pepper into soup. Layer rice, onion, green pepper, soup, and cheese in a greased 1½-quart casserole; arrange frankfurter slices evenly over cheese layer, and pour barbecue sauce on top. Bake casserole at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 4 servings.

Although I ordinarily get Nathan’s kosher franks for hot dogs, any kind of wieners will do for this casserole. The amount required is half a pound, so if you get the bun-length or jumbo kind that come eight to a package, you would use four instead of five. I usually follow the directions on this casserole, though one time I found I was out of barbecue sauce, so I substituted cocktail sauce, which made an interesting change, though not one we have intentionally repeated!

The one drawback to this recipe is that it does use only half a package of wieners; if you try to use the rest for hot dogs, then you end up with extra buns. So I generally put the remainder of the package in the freezer for another round. Oscar Mayer wieners make this easy by packaging each half separately.

I traditionally serve this casserole with “Deviled Green Beans,” another hand-me-down recipe, which I’ll post tomorrow.

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