Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laura Asked...

Laura asked:  What is my favorite recipe?
First, I have to say that I LOVE Laura's blogger profile name:  Laura Lu.  Seriously, how cute is THAT?  I think I like it so much because my mommy used to call me Lissa Lu.  This sometimes morphed into LuLu, which my brothers exploited when they learned Boss Hogg's wife from The Dukes of Hazzard was named LuLu.  Sadly, when they started saying I had the same name as her I asked my mom to quit calling me that because LuLu on the Dukes was really overweight and I was chubby and I didn't like what my brothers were saying about that.  (Aaron, Jeremy--do you remember this?  I promise I'm over it now.)
Another thing I love about Laura is her new nickname that she talks about on facebook:  Big Mama.  'Cause Laura's got a big beautiful family!  Four lovely daughters and two handsome sons--whom she loves like CRAZY.
When I first met Laura, it was at our homeschool support group Mom's Nights.  She made me laugh harder than anyone I'd ever met before.

So, since she asked...
(Honestly, I'd answer if someone else asked, too, just to be clear.)

I have several "go to" recipes.

The first:

Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Ingredients:  peanut butter

To make:  smear (or slap, depending on Mom's mood) some peanut butter on the bread.

Variations:  one slice of bread
two slices of bread
if one slice, you can leave it flat or fold it in half
cut in triangles
cut in squares
add jelly

The second:
Ingredients:  cereal, milk

To make:  pour cereal in a bowl
pour milk on top of the cereal

Variations:  if we're out of milk, my children have been known to re-constitute an envelope of hot chocolate and pour that on top of the cereal
my kids' favorite variation is to spill a bunch of cereal on the counter or table while trying to be "really big" and pour things themselves.
another variation is to miss the bowl entirely while pouring the milk,
or pour too much so it spills over the side.

The third:
Papa Murphy's Pizza

Ok, seriously now, I'll share some others.

One of our favorites here is scalloped potatoes with ham.
I felt like I had "arrived" as a farm wife (and, dare I say, as a Lutheran) when I successfully made scalloped (or as some call them "scalped") potatoes.  It's really not that's a bit time consuming to cut all the potatoes, but when you have a crew to cook for, cooking takes time.  Simple fact.
I'll give you the recipe in it's orginal "small" version.  

Oh, and can I just say something first?  
Of course I can--it's my blog.
"Serving size" is just a tricky term.  When cooking for our family of 10, let's think about a serving size...some of the diners are little folks, some are teenage boys.  Teenage boys--and teenage FARM boys--give no heed to some pre-determined serving size.  HA!  They laugh in the face of some government nutritional expert who decided what a "serving" should be.  It's true--boys who work hard eat a lot.  A. Lot.  
I have to take a lot into consideration when I try to figure out whether to double, triple, or even quadruple a recipe.
For our crew, I triple the following recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes
(6 servings)
6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
3 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups milk

1 ham steak, cubed

1.  Heat oven to 350.  Grease bottom and sides of a 2 qt. casserole dish with shortening.  (you do really want to do an adequate job of preparing the pan; it will be hard to wash off if you don't.)
2.  Prepare potatoes, slicing thin and enough to measure 4 c.  (I just leave the skin on; it looks "earthy" that way and you don't have to go through the rigmarole of peeling all those spuds.)
3.  Melt 3 T. butter in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
4.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.
5.  Pour milk mixture over potatoes and cubed ham arranged in pan.
6.  Cover and bake 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

I've learned over the past few years that when you're cooking for a large family, you have to develop a "lunch lady" mentality.
This is how I prepare our hot ham-n-cheese sandwiches, in the same way that Palma, Sandra and Gladys made them when I was in school.

Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
sliced ham
sliced cheese
hamburger buns

1. place ham and cheese on bun
2. wrap in tinfoil
3. place all wrapped sandwiches on/in pan

The great thing is, you don't have to "cook" these--
just melt them.
I heat my oven to 350 or so while I'm preparing the sandwiches.
(and when I say "I'm preparing" what I really mean is "my kids are preparing"--just so we're clear.)
When we place the piled-high-pan of sandwiches 
in the hot oven, I turn the oven off.
Let them warm/melt for about 15-20 minutes.
These are oh-so-good.

Serving these also satisfies our phy ed requirement for the day.
How, you ask?
Well, see, the tinfoil wrappers get smashed into little balls
and all the children, from very young to very old 
(--*ahem* Dennis--)
think it great fun to see if they can
"make a basket" and hit the garbage can.
Sort of like a game of basketball and dinner,
all in one.

(Talking about this draws to mind the 
"physics experiment" Dennis lead
that involved spaghetti noodles and the ceiling fan.
The children still talk about that one.)


  1. you make me laugh too! love the recipe(s)...thanks! :D


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