Readers remember their favorite recipes that Mom used to make

No matter how old you are, there is always that one special dish that keeps us tied to Mom's apron strings.
No matter how old you are, there is always that one special dish that keeps us tied to Mom's apron strings.

No matter how old you are, there is always that one special dish that keeps us tied to Mom's apron strings.

These are the dishes that immediately turn back decades of time to childhood memories of special-occasion dinners and holiday gatherings. They might be a comfort food Mom fixed when you were sick or had a bad day, or just a special treat, a surprise to show how much she loved her family.

"I was fortunate to have collaborated with my mother years ago in creating a family cookbook for a gift for her to give to family and friends one Christmas," says Joe Jumper, owner of The Clay Pot in Riverview. "The cookbook includes many of Mother's favorite recipes from her onion rings and fried squash to her zucchini bread. It's truly a family treasure and each time I cook something from her cookbook it reminds me of her."

The cookbook turned out to be a gift that kept on giving. Jumper says that, at his mother's memorial service five years ago, the family made copies of the cookbook and gave one to each guest who attended.

Jumper was among Facebook readers who responded when asked what was their favorite Mom-made dish that they still make today because it reminds them of her. With Mother's Day coming up on May 8, it seemed reasonable to assume that thoughts of Mom and her meals would be fresh on the minds of many. They were.

Comfort foods were high among reader reminiscences.

"Meatballs and rice," said East Brainerd resident Beth Walker Mason. "Although she gave my sister and me her recipe, it has never tasted as good as Momma's."

"Chicken salad," replied Carol Carter, a local attorney.

"Fried silver queen corn in the summers," said Chattanoogan Linda Spencer.

"Homemade chili sauce and also her spaghetti sauce" was the choice of Ellijay, Ga., resident Elaine Sharp Mason.

"Squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, cocktail cheese biscuits and cornbread dressing," said retired educator Sandy Norris Smith of East Ridge.

Holiday dishes were another popular choice.

"Frozen Black Cherry Salad, it brings back so many happy memories for me," said former Chattanoogan Christa Joy Chase.

Now a music teacher in the Cobb County school system outside Atlanta, she lives in Mableton, Ga. Her parents, Norman and Eva Mae Chase, were Brainerd residents for several decades before moving to Smyrna, Ga., to be near their daughter.

"Eva Mae was famous for her frozen salad recipes, and the family looked forward to them, especially at holidays," Chase said. "Even though she doesn't cook anymore, I try to carry on her tradition with Sweet Cherry Frozen Salad."

And sometimes it wasn't just the dish, but Mom's special touches when she served it.

"Pound cake from scratch," recalled Phyllis Nicholson, daughter of the late Hazel Mason Edmonds, "served with fresh strawberries and real whipping cream. Yum!"

Sweet Cherry Frozen Salad

1 16-ounce can dark, sweet cherries, pitted

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple

1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges

1 8-ounce cream cheese (may substitute lite cream cheese)

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Drain all fruit. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Blend sour cream, sugar and salt into fluffy cream cheese. Fold in drained fruit.

Pour salad into loaf pan and freeze at least six hours. Serves 12.

- Christa Joy Chase

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Praline Icing

Pound Cake

1 1/2 cup softened butter

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until combined well. Gradually stir flour and salt into butter mixture, beating at low speed until just blended after each addition.

Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick stuck in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Praline Icing

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, cubed

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

In large saucepan, bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Pour over top of pound cake, sprinkle with pecans.

- Phyllis Nicholson

photo Meatballs in Red Wine Sauce with Rice

Momma's Meatballs and Rice

Meatballs

3/4 pound ground beef

1/2 cup oats

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix ingredients together, then form into meatballs and brown lightly in pan.

Sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 cup water

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 green bell pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons sugar

Mix ingredients in saucepan, simmer, then add browned meatballs. Serve over rice.

Note: Browned meatballs and sauce ingredients may be put in crockpot on low heat for 4 to 6 hours.

- Beth Walker Mason

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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