Family Recipe Friday: Patriotic Picnic Platter

When my kids were little, we watched Sesame Street every day. And I subscribed to Sesame Street magazine. I wish I still had a complete issue around here to help me remember the kinds of articles and activities between the covers – many that we probably did together.

One thing I do remember is the “Kids in the Kitchen” section. Here’s a page I saved from the July/August 1989 issue. At the time, I had a three-year-old and a 6-month-old.

Recipe Sesame St Flag platter

The only food on this page that I ever served was the Patriotic Picnic Platter. And I made it year after year after year after year for the 4th of July.

Of course, when my kids were little, they didn’t like potato salad or tomatoes or cucumbers, so I came up with my own red and white foods to fill in the stripes. I have used strawberries, sliced hot dogs, red grapes, cauliflower, white cheese, and cherry tomatoes. I wonder what else? Oh – apples! They serve double duty. You can use them for white or red stripes. One thing that always remained the same was the upper left-hand corner filled with blueberries and topped with some miniature marshmallows. I use an open Tupperware sandwich container to keep the berries in a square. I prefer that everything be finger food, but use your imagination and let me know how your patriotic platter turns out.

1989.07.04 AngelaOh my. I just went looking for a picture from July 4, 1989 and I found one. I started to add the story behind it here, but it deserves a post all its own. Later!

 

Happy Independence Day!

Family Recipe Friday: Mom’s Tuna Casserole, Shepherd’s Pie and Jello

When my sister Karla was here taking care of me last month, I was treating my stomach with kid gloves after my stem cell transplant. It reminded me of being pregnant – when the mere thought of some foods could turn my stomach and I craved foods I normally didn’t eat that often. I could not eat chicken or any soups made with chicken broth, but I could eat cheeseburgers with abandon.

Comfort foods were appealing to me. When we were growing up, we ate tuna casserole fairly often. It’s something I still make on occasion, and so do my sisters. Mom always served tuna casserole with English peas and there was usually some kind of jello with fruit.

Long ago, I asked mom for the recipe for tuna casserole. You can imagine that she kind of laughed, because who would need a recipe? She obliged by giving me instructions while I wrote as quickly as I could.
Recipe - Tuna CasserolTUNA CASSEROLE

Butter bottom of baking dish. Break up a few crackers on bottom. (We used saltines.) Drain 1 can tuna. Layer with mushroom soup, then tuna, then all of pre-cooked noodles, tuna, and mushroom soup. Add more crackers, dab with butter and pour in milk up to about 1/2 inch from top of mixture. (I know I had to work to get specifics about the milk out of her – more than “add a little milk”.)
Can use rice instead of noodles.

Karla made tuna casserole for supper one night and since it must be served with peas, now she just adds the peas to the casserole. As we were eating, Karla asked if I remembered the casserole with mashed potatoes on top. Yes I did – Shepherd’s Pie – and since hamburger and mashed potatoes were acceptable to my leery stomach, she made that for us too.

We didn’t eat Shepherd’s Pie as often growing up, but it was one of my favorites. I’ve made it a few times as an adult, and I can’t help but like it still. My sister Kristie tells me she hated it as a kid. Of course, this is the easy canned everything variety, not quite like the real thing, but who cares if it tastes good to you?

EASY SHEPHERD’S PIE

Brown one pound of ground beef; drain, and season with salt and pepper. Stir together ground beef, 1 can cream of tomato soup, and 1 can cut green beans, drained. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through.

Karla also made Jello because the nurse said to add it to my diet to boost my fluid intake. We most remember Mom making lime Jello with added canned pears and orange Jello with orange add-ins: mandarin oranges, shredded carrots, or maybe canned peaches. There was the occasional red Jello with canned mixed fruit – not my favorite. I never did like canned mixed fruit – especially those green grapes.

 

Family Recipe Friday: Karla’s Pumpkin Spice Muffins

My sister Karla spent a week with me after I got out of the hospital from having a stem cell transplant. She took great care of me – she made these muffins! Easy and just what the doctor ordered. She even made a second batch and we were able to save a couple of small bags in the freezer for later. Unfortunately, they are all gone now. :(

Karla says she makes these a lot when she needs to bring something to a breakfast or church because they are easy and people like them. And she always eats a few cinnamon chips while making them because they are really good.

I almost forgot to ask her to take a picture.

Karla's muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Spice cake mix
3 eggs
can pumpkin
bag cinnamon chips

Mix all ingredients together and bake according to package directions. The muffins above are mini-muffins, so the bake time was a little shorter.

Easy peasy.