Comfort food from Mom’s recipe box

Will Kreznick

Regardless of ages, whether they are still with us or not, this is a good time to remember her, however you choose. My guess is that when you think of her, there are memories that stand out, and probably some would be what she cooked or baked. Likely those memories […]

Regardless of ages, whether they are still with us or not, this is a good time to remember her, however you choose. My guess is that when you think of her, there are memories that stand out, and probably some would be what she cooked or baked. Likely those memories also come with a story. With that in mind, we asked several PB co-workers what some of their favorites from their moms were.

Trust me, they are winners. I made two, and added them to my recipe file — the banana bread and the macaroni and cheese. Man, were they good!

Thanks to the moms — and in one case, a grandmother — who made these possible.

Anne Halliwell, 507 editor

507 Editor Anne Halliwell submitted this favorite from her mother, Kathryn Halliwell. This is a very rich, very creamy, and very delicious version of macaroni and cheese. It was originally from “The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook II.” Mac and cheese is a universal favorite, and this recipe is one of the reasons why.

507 Editor Anne Halliwell's mother's macaroni and cheese. (Contributed photo)

507 Editor Anne Halliwell’s mother’s macaroni and cheese. (Contributed photo)

Mac and Cheese

1 7-ounce package elbow macaroni

6 tablespoons butter, divided

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups milk

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into small pieces

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Set aside. Boil macaroni until tender. Drain and set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in saucepan over low/medium heat. Stir in flour, and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Add cream cheese, two cups of the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Stir over low heat until cheeses are melted and mixture is smooth.

Add macaroni to the cheese mixture, and transfer to greased pan. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheddar over the top. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir into bread crumbs. Spread on top of the cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: This recipe can be divided into two 8-by-8-inch pans, and one portion can be frozen or shared with friends.

Randi Kallas, news editor

News Editor Randi Kallas shared this: “My grandmother was an excellent baker and lived with us, so we got all the benefits. As I was leaving the nest, Mom and I were setting up a recipe box for me. She bookmarked Grandma’s banana bread recipe, adding that this was the only banana bread recipe I would ever need. Mom was right. I’ve had others, none nearly as good. The recipe card, discolored and stained, is the most used card in my recipe box.”

News Editor Randi Kallas' grandmother's banana bread recipe has gotten lots of use over the years. (Contributed photo)

News Editor Randi Kallas’ grandmother’s banana bread recipe has gotten lots of use over the years. (Contributed photo)

Grandma’s Banana Bread

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup bananas, mashed

1/2 cup commercial sour cream

1 teaspoon soda

2 cups flour

Chopped walnuts (optional)

In a bowl, mix all ingredients together with a mixer. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in greased loaf pans. (Kallas adds that her grandmother grew up on a farm in the early 1900s and emphasized it had to be commercial sour cream, not cream that had gone sour.)

Jordan Shearer, education reporter

Jordan Shearer, the PB education reporter, shared this, a dish his family has every Christmas Eve. “My folks learned how to make this when they were missionaries in East Africa. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.”

Crockpot Curry

Place 1 good-sized chuck roast in a crockpot. Add a can of Rotel (a brand of canned tomatoes and green chili). Then chop 1 onion, 7 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger. Add to crockpot. Add half a teaspoon cinnamon, half a teaspoon of mustard seeds, a teaspoon of black pepper, 2 tablespoons curry powder, half a teaspoon powdered ginger. Then add a teaspoon of salt (or more to taste), a teaspoon of turmeric, a quarter- teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, followed by a teaspoon of both garlic and onion powder. Finally, add three bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of water.

Roast 6-8 hours. Remove meat from crockpot and shred. Thicken the gravy with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a little water. Put meat back into the gravy. Serve over rice and add toppings, just one or several, or as Jordan writes, “use the whole darn list.”

Toppings: Tomato, bananas, coconut, green onions, pineapples, raisins, peanuts

Meredith Williams, features editor

And now for our Maine native and features editor, Meredith Williams: “You know it’s Sunday morning at my parents’ house when you smell pancakes on the griddle and hear the crinkle of the Maine Sunday Telegram. My mom has made these wheat germ blueberry pancakes for as long as I remember, and she insists they be served with real (preferably Maine) maple syrup!”

Features Editor Meredith Williams' parents make blueberry pancakes every Sunday. (Contributed photo)

Features Editor Meredith Williams’ parents make blueberry pancakes every Sunday. (Contributed photo)

Blueberry Wheat Germ Pancakes

Mix together:

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup powdered milk

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Add and stir:

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons oil

Gently fold in 1-2 cups blueberries. Cook in an electric fry pan. Serve with real maple syrup.

Holly Ebel, food columnist

I had to get in on this, too. While my mom had a Ph.D. in art history and taught, she also found time to be very creative in the kitchen. Every year, she canned bushels of tomatoes and fruits, and made jars and jars of jams out of fruits and berries.

As a young girl, I was reading “Little Women,” and I read that the March family was taking popovers to a sick neighbor. I didn’t know what popovers were and asked her. The next morning, she served them for breakfast. From then on, whenever there was a special occasion, like a birthday, Mom made popovers as our special breakfast treat. All these years later, they are still a favorite of mine.

Little Women Popovers

1 cup half-and-half, room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature

Shake of salt

1 cup flour

Using softened butter, generously grease a popover pan or a muffin tin. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, either with a hand mixer or stand mixer — even a blender gets the job done. When oven reaches the temperature, put the popover pan in the oven for about 2-3 minutes to get hot.

Take out and pour batter into the popover pan cups, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 375 and bake 15-20 minutes minutes more. KEEP OVEN DOOR CLOSED.

Serve with butter and jam. (Batter can be made the night before and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.)

Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to [email protected]

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