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What are simple, easy recipes do you remember from childhood?


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I took a cooking for kids class one summer through parks and rec. when I was six or seven.  We made mini pizzas with canned pillsbury biscuits (the small biscuits.) You stretch out the biscuit into a flat circle, top with a spoonful of canned spaghetti sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella and a slice or two of pepperoni.  Then bake. 

I was so proud of myself for cooking “homemade” pizza. I made it a few times with my kids, it’s not terrible! 

We also made cake mix cookies. I have fond memories of the strawberry flavored cake mix cookies with chocolate chips.
 

If eating graham crackers with leftover frosting is wrong, I don’t want to be right! 🤣. Homemade frosting makes it okay, right? No??

My mom taught me how to make nachos - this was a family favorite. Open a can of refried beans, spoon about half the can on to a plate - kind of mounded in the middle of the plate. Put a bunch or tortilla chips around the beans. Shred cheddar cheese all over all of it. Microwave for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts and the beans warm up. Serve with a jar of pace salsa!!  
 

Edited by WendyLady
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16 hours ago, Kareni said:

Take a bar of cream cheese, top with a jar of chutney, then serve with an assortment of good crackers. This is simple, easy, and tasty.

Regards,

Kareni

This also works with grape jelly or with cocktail sauce.  (But not with both together, LOL)

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12 hours ago, Starr said:

My first Gramma and Grandpa are coming for dinner meal was meatloaf, baked potato, baking powder biscuits  and the candle salad. haha. It must have been in a kids cookbook. Put a lettuce leaf on plate topped with a slice of canned pineapple and half of a banana standing up in the middle to look like a candle. We were about 9 or 10 years old.

I have that cookbook!  I made the igloo cake from it for DD’s birthday when she was 3ish.

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My dad used to make a couple dishes that we ate as bedtime snacks. They both seem kind of weird now! 

Milk Toast: Make toast, pull it into pieces, place in a bowl. Pour warm milk over it and eat with a spoon, like cereal. I googled this, and there are recipes for it that add sugar, cinnamon, or honey. Dad must have been a purist: just milk and toast.

Dried Beef on Toast (I'm sensing a pattern here): Make toast, pull it into pieces, place in a bowl. Take dried beef (very thin-sliced beef in can or package) and pull into pieces, place on toast. Pour flour-thickened warm milk over it and eat with a spoon.

Dad's parents were from Sweden, so I don't know if this is from their childhood, or if it's a midwest thing.  

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3 hours ago, gstharr said:

I don't recall ever going to a Chinese resturant growing up. But my mother's special meal was a can of LaChow chow mein pured over the canned noodles.  I liked it at the time.  Every now and then, I see it in a market and get tempted to try it for old times sake.  The sodium content scares me off. 

Nothing to do with family recipes, but it reminds me of huge regrets, lol. When I was a kid, my grandparents sold their tavern to a Chinese restaurant and continued to live upstairs. I had pretty much full access to tons of Chinese food. While it was Americanized, I’m talking sit-down restaurant, not a take out counter.  Huge menu.  They brought a full roasted duck upstairs every holiday, complete with head.  My palate at the time restricted me to egg drop soup, crunchy noodles, and shrimp toast.  What a dang waste!!!

To this day, I haven’t found another Chinese spot with the same type of crunchy noodles they stuffed me with.

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3 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Nothing to do with family recipes, but it reminds me of huge regrets, lol. When I was a kid, my grandparents sold their tavern to a Chinese restaurant and continued to live upstairs. I had pretty much full access to tons of Chinese food. While it was Americanized, I’m talking sit-down restaurant, not a take out counter.  Huge menu.  They brought a full roasted duck upstairs every holiday, complete with head.  My palate at the time restricted me to egg drop soup, crunchy noodles, and shrimp toast.  What a dang waste!!!

To this day, I haven’t found another Chinese spot with the same type of crunchy noodles they stuffed me with.

Were those crunchy noodles very thin or the diameter of spaghetti?

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4 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Were those crunchy noodles very thin or the diameter of spaghetti?

Nope, they were wide, long ones. My supermarket sells wide ones that we enjoy from time to time, but definitely not the same. They were much more bubbly and freshly fried. About an inch or so wide and relatively flat, warm, greasy bites of heaven. 🙂. The dry stuff just doesn’t cut it!

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3 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

Nope, they were wide, long ones. My supermarket sells wide ones that we enjoy from time to time, but definitely not the same. They were much more bubbly and freshly fried. About an inch or so wide and relatively flat, warm, greasy bites of heaven. 🙂. The dry stuff just doesn’t cut it!

No they don’t.  OK, that is fried chow fun, I think.  The chow fun I have had has 1/2 inch wide noodles, which are the widest ones I have ever experienced.  Usually these are rice flour noodles.  So if you go to a restaurant that doesn’t have these on the menu, you could ask for those, and they probably would have them, off the menu but available, because the noodles are dried so they are easy to store for a long time.  It’s pretty common for Chinese restaurants to have ‘off menu’ availability of things like that that are not super popular.

The chow mein noodles are about the diameter of spaghetti, or linguine, with either a steamed or fried treatment.  Again, usually wheat flour.  

However, there are also the very thin ones, that are usually fried, called Taiwan or Hong Kong or Singapore style chow mein, and those are rice noodles.  They are my favorite.  These are the same noodles that are used for pancit, the great Filipino dish.

 

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5 hours ago, Heartwood said:

My mom made Pizza Quicks. They were hamburger buns topped with pizza sauce, hamburger, and mozzarella cheese. She would cook them under the  broiler in the oven. I loved them. My husband and kids do not share that sentiment, ha ha. 

I made these for my kids before and my teen Foster son at the time LOVED them and said they were one of his favorite ever meals.

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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

To this day, I haven’t found another Chinese spot with the same type of crunchy noodles they stuffed me with.

(ETA: just read your other post so this is the wrong type as this is skinny noodles) https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/chinese-noodle-101-noodle-cake-seafood-sauce.html

Edited by Arcadia
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1 hour ago, Carrie12345 said:

Nope, they were wide, long ones. My supermarket sells wide ones that we enjoy from time to time, but definitely not the same. They were much more bubbly and freshly fried. About an inch or so wide and relatively flat, warm, greasy bites of heaven. 🙂. The dry stuff just doesn’t cut it!

 

56 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

No they don’t.  OK, that is fried chow fun, I think.  The chow fun I have had has 1/2 inch wide noodles, which are the widest ones I have ever experienced.  Usually these are rice flour noodles.  

 

Those might be handmade. Wider guo tiao noodles are harder to find in store.

https://kwgls.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/homemade-chinese-rice-noodleshor-fun-or-he-fen-or-guo-tiao-沙河粉,河粉或粿条)/

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The easiest recipe from childhood was dump leftover rice or noodles in wok, add whatever cut ingredients you can find in fridge and fry with whatever cooking oil is nearest to the stove. 

For a very lazy meal, instant noodles and frozen vegetables in a pot. Don’t put the seasoning pack in. 

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1 hour ago, Tiberia said:

Dad's parents were from Sweden, so I don't know if this is from their childhood, or if it's a midwest thing.  

My Illinois-bred grandmother made these (she called the second one "chipped beef on toast"), and she was all-English descent, so I vote Midwest thing.

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My mom cooked the dried beef and thickened milk separately and poured it over toast!  I love that meal......only my son will eat it with me.

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My Aunt Pat used to make a dip for holidays that we thought was the bomb: a container of cottage cheese, a jar of relish and a can of Deviled Ham, all mixed up in a bowl and served with Ruffles potato chips. My cousins and sisters and I would sit at the coffee table and inhale it, and then not be hungry for dinner.

I don't think I've eaten Deviled Ham in 30 years and now I am afraid!

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1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

So much dried beef on toast! Anyone else call it by its more “colorful” name?

 

My Illinois grandmother was an Episcopalian and wore gloves to drive. She would have died first.

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21 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Rice, milk and honey

It could have been an invention of my grandma

Cook some rice, leftovers from the main meal preferred. Poor on some  milk and drizzle on some honey. 

If it is cold left over rice from The day before you can warm up the milk 

Total flashback!

My mom made this for dessert when I was a boy.

She would always use leftover brown rice warmed up in milk with a light drizzle of honey.

Bill

 

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Leftover bread (considered god’s meal so no way to throw away) that was started to get old was usually mixed with onions and sautéed in some butter. If we had eggs, we would add eggs to it. 

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English muffins, smeared with a ton of cream cheese, popped under the broiler until browned. (You can do it in a toaster oven.)

I still make this if I happen to have cream cheese, which is rarely as the kids won't eat it.

Also, cinnamon roll dough from a can, ripped apart, rolled into balls around cream cheese, shoved into a baking tin and baked as usual. Pull-apart bits of delicious.

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We had creamed eggs. Béchamel sauce with sliced hard boiled eggs mixed in poured over toast. It's still one of my favorites, but dh isn't a fan of the after effects.😂

We also had baked bean sandwiches. Toast bread under the broiler. Top with baked beans from a can, a slice of tomato, slices of cooked bacon, and a slice of American cheese. Stick under the broiler until the cheese is soft and bubbly. My kids like this one a lot.

Mac n cheese from a box topped with ketchup. I still like it that way, but everyone else around me says "ewww!". Sometimes Mom would make a tomato sauce from diced tomatoes thickened probably with flour or corn starch. The tomatoes were ok, but the ketchup was the best!

Not something we ate, but Mom would make "glue" for us using flour and water for all of our projects. The "glue" never stuck very long.

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2 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

My Illinois grandmother was an Episcopalian and wore gloves to drive. She would have died first.

Grandpa sure loved to call it "shit on a shingle" as they called it in his WWII service......but he wouldn't let Grandma hear him say that in front of us kids 

 

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20 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

My mom always made homemade spaghetti, but sometimes when she was away, my dad would have to make dinner. He'd make his spaghetti recipe: boiled noodles + jarred sauce (Ragu, always). That's it..and we (kids) loved it SOOOO much. 

Ragu, always. 
 

This is STILL the only spaghetti sauce dh will eat. 

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Another one my mom made - donuts made from whoppem biscuits ( canned refrigerated biscuits, so called because after you peel the wrapper you whop ‘em on the edge of the counter to get them to open). Just cut a circle out of the middle with a tiny cookie cutter or lid from a cake sprinkles container, whatever, and fry in hot oil, then roll in sugar. I’ve made them for my kids a few times. Not as good as yeast donuts but so much faster.  

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21 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Leftover bread (considered god’s meal so no way to throw away) that was started to get old was usually mixed with onions and sautéed in some butter. If we had eggs, we would add eggs to it. 

This sounds like a very basic stuffing/dressing recipe!

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6 minutes ago, Emba said:

Another one my mom made - donuts made from whoppem biscuits ( canned refrigerated biscuits, so called because after you peel the wrapper you whop ‘em on the edge of the counter to get them to open). Just cut a circle out of the middle with a tiny cookie cutter or lid from a cake sprinkles container, whatever, and fry in hot oil, then roll in sugar. I’ve made them for my kids a few times. Not as good as yeast donuts but so much faster.  

We've never done this, but I've had a major craving for maple bars and found a recipe that uses the above technique. We'll be giving it a go next week!

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Did anyone ever make dump cakes?

Dump a can of crushed pineapple into a glass baking dish.  Then dump in a can of cherry pie filling. Sprinkle a boxed cake mix on top.  Top with a stick of butter, sliced thin. You can add nuts on top if you like.  Kiddo made one last night with me and eyed it suspiciously, but it's pretty good! lol

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On 10/8/2020 at 5:07 AM, gstharr said:

I don't recall ever going to a Chinese resturant growing up. But my mother's special meal was a can of LaChow chow mein pured over the canned noodles.  I liked it at the time.  Every now and then, I see it in a market and get tempted to try it for old times sake.  The sodium content scares me off. 

We had that canned "Chinese" food as well, only it was made by the rival "Chung King" company.

I found a vintage ad for Chung King make by the advertising genius Stan Freberg--not one of his best efforts (for what had to be his worst product). Terrible stuff. Deservedly out-of-business.

 

Bill

 

 

Edited by Spy Car
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20 hours ago, Wilrunner3 said:

 

Not something we ate, but Mom would make "glue" for us using flour and water for all of our projects. The "glue" never stuck very long.

Your flour glue comment reminded me of my bedroom as a child. My mom used a flour/water glue to stick up a fabric boarder around the top of my bedroom. (remember when every room had a boarder around the top? or was that just our house?)  It was the same fabric that she used to tie quilts for our beds - a bright yellow with sunflowers.  We lived in that house for about 18 years and I believe we left the boarder up when we moved. I'm actually quite impressed with the flour-glued boarder, but I've never tried flour glue for arts and crafts myself.  

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On 10/8/2020 at 10:12 AM, marbel said:

Yes, I remember that too. For many years that was my idea of Chinese food. I was well into adulthood and working when I discovered how wrong that was. A group of coworkers went out for lunch and I was dreading it, thinking it would be like the canned chow mein I'd grown up with.  Imagine my surprise when I saw how wrong I was. 

Yes! That’s my story, too!

 

I still love spaghetti with canned sauce on it and eat it quite often, thank you very much.  Or I put Hormel chili on the noodles.  Yum!

 

48 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Did anyone ever make dump cakes?

Dump a can of crushed pineapple into a glass baking dish.  Then dump in a can of cherry pie filling. Sprinkle a boxed cake mix on top.  Top with a stick of butter, sliced thin. You can add nuts on top if you like.  Kiddo made one last night with me and eyed it suspiciously, but it's pretty good! lol

I still make them and love them.

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My mom always used Ragu spaghetti sauce as well.  We don't each much pasta with red sauce anymore, though we do keep a few jars of sauce around. It's not worth it to me to make it; mostly it gets used for French bread pizzas or emergency dinners.  In any case, I don't use Ragu, but prefer the Classico brand, simply because the jar is an actual mason jar that fits a regular-sized mason jar lid. So it's like the sauce is a bonus.  (I know any glass jar with a lid can be saved/reused, but I like that it fits the mason jar lid which work better than the original jar lid.)

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56 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Did anyone ever make dump cakes?

Dump a can of crushed pineapple into a glass baking dish.  Then dump in a can of cherry pie filling. Sprinkle a boxed cake mix on top.  Top with a stick of butter, sliced thin. You can add nuts on top if you like.  Kiddo made one last night with me and eyed it suspiciously, but it's pretty good! lol

My dad used to make this. I think it was the only dessert he knew how to make lol.

1 hour ago, Emba said:

Another one my mom made - donuts made from whoppem biscuits ( canned refrigerated biscuits, so called because after you peel the wrapper you whop ‘em on the edge of the counter to get them to open). Just cut a circle out of the middle with a tiny cookie cutter or lid from a cake sprinkles container, whatever, and fry in hot oil, then roll in sugar. I’ve made them for my kids a few times. Not as good as yeast donuts but so much faster.  

We called them "camp donuts" because we always made them when we were camping on a camp stove in a cast iron skillet. We used cinnamon sugar to coat them. 

I remember having to take Home Ec. in junior high and while I don't remember the name of them, we made these gooey bun things by taking a large marshmallow, dipping it in melted butter, rolling it in cinnamon sugar and then wrapping it in a flattened out canned biscuit. Put each one in a muffin cup lined with a cupcake wrapper and bake until golden brown on top. (I think the temp was whatever temp the biscuits normally cook at) I remember thinking they were so good when I was a kid lol.

During my first marriage, we pretty much always had just one car so we had to get creative at lunch sometimes when I couldn't just jaunt out to the grocery store at any time. PB and J on a hamburger bun was one of my kids' favorites as was PB and J rollups which was just PB and J spread on a tortilla and rolled up taquito style.

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1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

Did anyone ever make dump cakes?

Dump a can of crushed pineapple into a glass baking dish.  Then dump in a can of cherry pie filling. Sprinkle a boxed cake mix on top.  Top with a stick of butter, sliced thin. You can add nuts on top if you like.  Kiddo made one last night with me and eyed it suspiciously, but it's pretty good! lol

I do this in the crock pot! Cherry pie filling. Top with butter and cake mix (crumbled together) and nuts. Cook 2 hours on high. Very yummy!

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I had someone tell me once that Ragu Traditional tasted exactly like her Italian grandma's homemade sauce. Can't say if that says something about Ragu or grandma, though. 🙂

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1 hour ago, Spy Car said:

We had that canned "Chinese" food as well, only it was made by the rival "Chung King" company.

I found a vintage ad for Chung King make by the advertising genius Stan Freberg--not one of his best efforts (for what had to be his worst product). Terrible stuff. Deservedly out-of-business.

 

Bill

 

 

Oh man does that bring back memories, lol. Of all the terrible meals my mother served, "snot on rice" was the one I dreaded the most. She served it with Minute Rice, too, so in addition to the nasty taste and texture, it was also totally devoid of any nutritional value. Some nights "going to bed without supper" was the better deal, lol.

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On 10/8/2020 at 9:00 AM, Carrie12345 said:

The top two things would not be found in my house today.

Flank steak (at least, I believe it was flank steak, but it seems weird as it’s quite expensive today) topped with ketchup and onions.  Served with mashed potatoes. I actually loved it, but dh has a whole “secret recipe” for cook outs and would die if I suggested ketchup.

 

Back in the day👵🏼, flank steak was a cheap and undesireable (the word hadn’t gotten out that you could slice it against the grain to avoid being chewy).  We had some great stir fry with flank steak, but now it’s considered a splurge due to the cost. Boo. 

On 10/8/2020 at 12:10 PM, Carrie12345 said:

 My palate at the time restricted me to egg drop soup, crunchy noodles, and shrimp toast.  What a dang waste!!!

To this day, I haven’t found another Chinese spot with the same type of crunchy noodles they stuffed me with.

I don’t think these are any particular dish but rather the side accompaniment to the soups that Chinese restaurants served (at least in the Midwest).  I think diners were expected to top their soup with them like one would break saltines into their soup to add a bit of crunch.  

I don’t know that they were actually noodles that were fried by rather wonton wrappers (Or some type of flattened dough) cut into small rectangles and fried.  

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On 10/7/2020 at 5:27 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

Rice, milk and honey

It could have been an invention of my grandma

Cook some rice, leftovers from the main meal preferred. Poor on some  milk and drizzle on some honey. 

If it is cold left over rice from The day before you can warm up the milk 

My dad's variation was a comfort food from his childhood and he told us how his grandma used to make it for him when he was little.  He put leftover white rice, milk, cinnamon and sugar and then warmed it all up.  I still eat it and my kids do too.

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We had Kraft mac and cheese made according to package and then added a can of cream of mushroom soup, drained canned tuna and cooked green peas.  I've adapted it to Annie's mac and cheese(my kids won't eat kraft), cream of chicken soup (I don't think this was even a thing when I was a child), canned chicken(cause no one in the house will eat fish myself included) and mixed veggies.

Another one was canned shrimp (drained), heated with milk, butter and black pepper.

pork chops cooked in golden mushroom soup over mashed potatoes (another one that still gets rave reviews my kids)

I'm sure there were others but really my main meal memories were roasted poultry (my dad raised poultry as a side job), naked boiled potatoes (aka peeled russet potatoes that 90% of the time were unsalted and naked because the kids all liked the peeling but we could never have potatoes with peelings because my dad didn't like them and mom wouldn't make them two ways) and a boiled (to death) veggie.  We had that meal at least 1-2 times a week for as long as I can remember until I got old enough to take over cooking (was my choice, I loved cooking and was much more adventurous than my mom).

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