Calling All SDMB Cooks: Your favorite, special recipes

OK, I admit it, I’m a cooking freak. I just blew half my Christmas bonus on cookbooks last night (one Middle Eastern, one Spanish, and one La Brea Bakery one with some unusual and yummy-looking stuff in it! They gave us Marshall Field’s gift cards, but I was feeling uninspired, until I discovered they have a book department in the basement!) I love to read cookbooks, both for ideas, and as a surrogate form of exotic travel…hey, it’s a helluva lot cheaper to buy a Middle East cookbook than a plane ticket to Armenia (although I hope to do that someday, too).

So now that I’ve fed my cookbook addiction, I’m still hungry for more…so if you love to cook, or even if you don’t, but are in possession of a favorite recipe, preferably something that is either a treasured family heirloom or something a little unusual, post ‘em here! I’ll share one, which isn’t a family heirloom, but which came from a former co-worker whose family has made it for generations. I made it once for Thanksgiving, and now it’s back every year by popular demand…it’s worth buying a bottle of bourbon just for this recipe, if you don’t already have one in the house.

Derby Pie

1/4 cup butter
1 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c. white corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (I prefer walnuts; not as sweet, 'cause this pie is pretty sweet already)
2 T bourbon (don’t leave this out! It’s worth buying a bottle if you don’t have some)
1 8" unbaked pie crust

Cream butter, then add sugar slowly. Add beaten eggs, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Add chocolate chips, nuts, and bourbon; stir well. Pour into pie crust and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes. Serve warm, with whipped cream if desired (I think the whipped cream is overkill).

Beer Pie The Maxim (or Stuff?) creation.

I’m going from memory here (I’m at work-no access) but it goes something like this.

1/2 a Guiness beer
a bag of hershey’s chocolate chips
a jar of marshmellow paste.
1 pie crust.

You put the beer on the stove and the chips in a bowl. After the beer is hot, you poor it on the chips and add the marshmellows. You mix the three ingedients and poor it in the pie crust, which you then put in the fridge.

The result is sheer indulgence.
I’m actually not sure if this is correct-I’m going off of memory and my memory isn’t a good one. If someone knows the proper way to cook it, please post it.

Pot Noodle Sandwiches.


1 Pot Noodle
1 Crusty French Stick/Baguette

Make the Pot Noodle the usual way - but use only three quarters of the suggested water. This prevents the “filling” being too runny.

Split the French Stick down the middle - but not all the way through.

Pour in the Pot Noodle.

Allow it a little time for the excess water to soak into the bread.

Eat and enjoy…

Manhattan Pasta Salad (from memory, I’m at work)

1 pkg of rotini pasta
1 red onion
1 stick of hard salami (1/2 pound?)
1 green pepper
1 small can of sliced olives
1 bottle of oil-free Italian dressing

Cook pasta until just al dente. Drain and let cool.

Slice the red onion thinly. Dice the green pepper. Drain the olives. Cut up the salami into small pieces (not quite a dice). The idea is to have lots of shapes.

Combine pasta, onion, green pepper, salami and olives in a large bowl and mix with dressing. Salt & pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.


I’m about ready to roast another prime rib. Last time, I roasted a two-kilo chunk-o-deadcow and it took me four days to eat it (even after giving some away). With Yorkshire pudding, of course! But roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is so easy to make it doesn’t really warrant posting a recipe here.

Same with roast turkey.

How about bacon (or sausage) gravy?
6 rashers of bacon
Salt and Pepper

Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan. Add flour into the bacon grease. Stir until smooth. Add milk. Crumble the bacon and add to the gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over gentle heat, stirring frequently until thickened.

Capellini alfredo con funghi (or con pollo)
Slice and cook a portobello mushroom (or chicken breast) in olive oil and garlic. Gently heat equal amounts of heavy cream, freshly-shredded parmasian cheese, and butter until thickened. Be careful not to let the cheese clump. Toss with angel hair pasta and serve immediately.

Cut top off ripe tomato. (also works with green ones)
Dig out seeds with spoon.
Mix large curd cottage cheese (or ricotta if you desire) with Bleu, blend till creamy.
Fill tomato seed areas with mixture.
Slice chilled tomatoes and sprinkle with olive oil and/or giardinera.
Hide from family members if required.

**garius, ** what the heck is a pot noodle?

And as long as we’re on the subject, does anyone know a good spot to find British-to-American cooking terminology translations? I bought a couple of cookbooks in England in March, and it’s driving me bonkers.

This might help

Cup-o-Noodle. Or ramen.

Oh wait! In the pasta salad recipe, I forgot the Parmesan cheese! Freshly shredded please, not the stuff that comes in the can!

Eva Luna
I love that pie! My Mom’s been baking it for years. Only be warned that the name Derby Pie has been copyrighted by the Kerns. They get a bit snippy when anyone else uses it. Mom calls hers Winners Circle pie.

Anyhoo, I’m not at home so have no access to my recipe collection, but I do remember this great corn pudding that I made for Christmas dinner. I got the recipe from a coworker and everyone loved it, plus it’s very easy.

1 box Jiffy brand corn muffin mix (it’s a small box, don’t know the volume)
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole corn kernels, drained
8 ounces sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together, pour into a baking dish and bake at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour or until set and lightly browned on top.

If you get stuck, just email me. Since moving to the UK, I’ve had to re-adjust all my recipes too. Hope you found some yummy recipes :slight_smile:

Eggs and Chorizos Breakfast

2 eggs
¼ bag of chorizos (that spicy Mexican sausage)
4 jalapeño slices
1 dab of butter
3 corn tortillas

Fold tortillas inside 2 paper towels & put inside microwave ready to heat.

Chop jalapeños. Stick jalapeños in buttered skillet. Let them sauté for a few minutes, that’s important, unless you want raw-tasting jalapeños, which is not pleasant. Toss in the chorizos. Cook until crumbly.

Then take eggs, beat them, pour a little bit of water in them, and make scrambled eggs.

When eggs are almost done, hit 20-25 seconds on the microwave to heat tortillas.

Give eggs a last few good stirs to finish cooking. Divide scrambled eggs among however many tortillas & wrap.

I call it, “Ken’s Good Stuff” 'cause “Ken” taught me the recipe, and it’s “good stuff”.

One package of boneless chicken breast.
One can of Cream of Mushroom/Celery/Chicken/etc. (any ‘cream of’ soup will do)
One bag of frozen vegetables.

Prep and cooking:
[li]Heat a coverable skillet or frying pan.[/li][li]Thoroughly thaw, wash, and clean your boneless chicken breast. Set aside. . .[/li][li]After skillet or coverable frying pan is hot, place chicken in pan, and brown on both sides (10 - 15 minutes max!)[/li][li]After chicken is browned, add condensed Cream of Mushroom soup with 1/2 can of water/milk, and bag of frozen vegetables.[/li][li]Let simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.[/li][li]Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy![/li][/list=1]

As you let the mixture simmer, the steam and heat cooks the vegetables and the remainder of uncooked chicken. The result is a nice chicken marsala, without the rice. Any frozen vegetables will work, and you don’t specifically have to use Cream of Mushroom soup. Experiment, and give things a try . . .

Again, I call it “Ken’s Good Stuff”.

I think I’ve posted these here before, but they go fast when I take them to a potluck. One of the guys at work would finish a jar of “that olive stuff” himself if he got the chance.

Split and slice equal parts green and black olives. (I use Sicilian and Greek to get the strong flavour. Trusi me on this!) Shred oregano and finely chop garlic, both to taste. (Lots of each!) Optionally, add sun-dried tomatoes and/or a finely-chopped hot pepper or a few pepper flakes. Mix and pack in a jar. Add enough good olive oil to cover. (Tilt the jar and pour slowly down the side to get air bubbles out.) Cover and leave on the counter overnight.

The next day, seed and coarsely chop Italian or salad tomatoes, thinly slice some onion, and chop garlic to taste. (Guess how much garlic!) Shred basil leaves. Mix, put in another jar (gently!), and drizzle some olive oil over it. (Not too much oil.)

To serve, put both jars out with spoons, along with a plate of crusty bread. The skinny baguettes make nice bite-size slices.

Here’s what I have in my MealMaster collection at home:

I got this recipe from before it went defunct. There’s a new but they don’t have too many recipes at the moment.

All right, this is as good a place as any to share this recipe I invented myself. I’m calling it Chicken Fricassee, but I’m not sure if it’s truly a fricassee, and I am sure it’s in violation of all kinds of proper cooking principles. Notwithstanding, here it is. I guarantee it’s completely delicious.

salt, pepper
bacon grease
white wine
cream or half & half
It really improves a lot of foods. It is totally worth it to keep wine around for cooking. Don’t ever use anything called “cooking wine”; use actual wine. I get those little Gallo half-pint bottles and mix-and-match different kinds in one fourpack-holder; they’re all the same price.

For me, one of these bottles will last for about 3 recipes, and if those meals take place within a span of 2 or 3 weeks, the wine stays good enough in the refrigerator after opening. Cooking for more than one, it should be less of a problem. DO NOT use wine if it has gone all the way over to vinegar; it will totally ruin your food.

If you never cook with wine or don’t have any, stock would be fine in this recipe, but in that case, add some lemon juice towards the end when the sauce is boiling down. Wine adds acidity that you want to replace if not using wine.

Use all legs-and-thighs, or all breasts. They take different amounts of time to cook. Or, take the breasts out early.

Use a non-stick skillet for this. Needs to have a lid or make a foil lid.

If you have any pre-ground pepper, just throw it away. Get a good pepper mill you like and use it on everything. It will turn your whole life around.


Heat butter and bacon grease over medium-high heat. Dry the chicken with paper towels.

When the fat is sizzling hot, put the chicken in. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned all over.

Pour out ALL the fat.

Add a fair bit of white wine and some water. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Cover.

For dark meat, this needs to be cooked an additional 40 minutes, or so, from this point. For breasts, perhaps 15 or 20 minutes more from this point.

Keep the liquid simmering but not boiling hard. Keep adding water and a little more wine as it boils off. You want to be able to boil it down later, so keep it pretty liquid now. Turn the chicken at least once.

When done, remove the chicken from the pan, and pour all the liquid into a bowl, scraping the pan clean. Place the chicken back in the pan, turn up the heat, and crisp it again. During this time, salt and pepper the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the pan, and pour the liquid back into the pan. Add a generous amount of cream or half & half. Add salt and pepper. Boil down over high heat until very thick. OFF HEAT, swirl in a little butter. Pour this sauce over the chicken, or just drink it and throw the chicken away, as Col. Saunders used to say.

Oh, boy, what to choose? What’s really near and dear to me are my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, but those are a bit involved for a thread like this. I guess I’ll go with my Proustian memory:

Cinnamon Refrigerator Cookies

1 c shortening or butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 1/2 c sifted flour
1 t soda
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 c chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Cream butter, adding sugars gradually until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Stir dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Add nuts. Roll into three logs, each about 1 1/2-2" thick & wrap with wax paper. Chill at least two hours. (For later use, drop the logs into a freezer bag - the dough will keep for months.)

Slice about 1/8-1/4" thick. Bake 350 deg. 7-10 min. Makes about 8 doz.
Backstory: This was one of my mom’s recipes, and she died when I was five. When I was about 12 my grandmother made them; the scent overwhelmed me with memory, not a particular memory, but just a presence, a sense of home. Utterly fantastic…

This is an old recipe but a great one. I’ve never found a similar, trendy “gratin etc.” recipe that remotely matches it. It’s also dead easy to make. I’ve just tossed in thorough directions, to encourage even the most nervous cook to try this.


  • 2 10 oz. pkgs frozen chopped spinach, cooked to pkg. directions and well drained (OR equivalent fresh spinach, handled the same)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup fine, soft breadcrumbs or coarse saltine cracker meal
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more, to taste)
  • OPTIONAL: 1-2 slices cooked bacon, sliced into 1" pieces[/ul]

Doin’ it

  1. Make a basic white sauce: melt butter in small saucepan over moderate heat; blend in flour, cayenne and salt. Cook over low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly, to remove the raw flour taste. Add milk and heat while stirring, about 3 minutes, until smooth and thickened.

  2. Assemble casserole: Generously butter a 6-cup casserole dish. Layer in the ingredients thusly:
    half the bread crumbs
    half the spinach
    spread-out slices of 1 hard cooked egg
    1/3 of the sauce
    1/3 of the cheese
    the rest of the spinach
    spread-out slices of the remaining egg
    1/3 of the sauce
    the rest of the cheese
    Top with:
    the remaining sauce
    the breadcrumbs
    bacon slices if you’re using 'em

  3. Bake uncovered in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 40-45 minutes until bubbly and delicious.

Even with the modest amounts of butter and egg, this is much less cloying or caloric than trendy imitations, drenched with cream (or cream cheese!) This is real home cooking, not a bloated imitation.


I’m a horrible cook and on a special diet, but I find cookbooks and food history fascinating.

I have a great cookbook from Cafe Pasqual’s in Santa Fe. There’s some yummy sounding recipes like Grilled Chimayo Chile-Rubbed Steak with Serrano Mayonnaise and Potato-Chive Cakes.

Eva Luna, two books you might enjoy are Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, a memoir from a New York Times restaurant critic; and Food in History by Reay Tannahill.

I guess the most unusual recipe I have (that I can cook) is bourek. My former Algerian SO taught me how to make a simplified version. I have some original recipes in French (from an Algerian cookbook), if anyone wants them.

Simple Bourek

Brown some ground beef (preferably halal) in olive oil, with some chopped onion and garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix in some chopped parsley and green olives. Wrap mixture in wonton wrappers and fry.