Retro Suburban Cuisine

Direct from the Knight family cookbook!

pineapple appetizers

Patio Fare:

Mama Doyle's Cornbread Dressing

A traditional Southern Thanksgiving dressing recipe handed down from my great grandmother, Mama Doyle. Serves: 4-6 Preparation time: 20 mins. (assembly), Cooking time: approx 30-45 minutes, difficulty: Easy - for beginners.

  • Cornbread, 2 packages baked
  • 8 canned biscuits, baked
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 Tbs. sage
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • chicken broth (about 2 cans)
  • boiled eggs, sliced (optional)
  • Bake the cornbread and biscuits the day before. Saute onion and celery in the butter. Crumble the cornbread and biscuits, then add all ingredients together. Mix with chicken broth until mixture is thoroughly moistened and smooth. Bake in a 375 degree oven until dressing begins to brown around the edges (45 minutes to 1 hour). A butter knife should come out clean when inserted into the middle. Garnish with sliced boiled eggs. Some traditional recipes have chopped boiled eggs in the dressing, but we leave them out.

    Sausage & Cheese Strata

    • 1 1/2 lbs. sausage, cooked & drained
    • 12 slices bread, cubed
    • 3 cups milk
    • 9 eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

    Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased 11"x14" pan. Cover & refrigerate overnight. Uncover & bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes a great brunch entree.

    Swiss Steak

    • 1 1/2 lbs. round steak
    • 1/4 cups flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 3 Tbs. oil
    • 1 16 oz. can tomatoes
    • 1 lg. onion, sliced
    • 1 stalk celery, sliced

    Trim excess fat from meat & cut into serving pieces. Combine flour, salt & pepper. Pound flour into both sides of meat with edge of saucer or mallet. Heat oil in skillet. Add meat & brown slowly on both sides. Add all remaining indredients. Heat until liquid is boiling, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover & simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Serve with rice or noodles if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Mock Chicken Sour Cream Enchiladas

    No doubt a suburban take on the "ethnic" food trends that became popular in the 60's.
    • 2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
    • 1/2 cup green chilies, sliced or chopped
    • 1/2 lg. cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1-8 oz. carton sour cream
    • 8 corn tortillas
    • 1 lg. onion, chopped
    • 2 Tbs. cooking oil
    • 1-16 oz. can solid pack chicken, or 1 cup diced cooked chicken

    Heat soup, sour cream & chiles together in saucepan. Do not boil. Reserve 1 cup for later use. Heat cooking oil & fry each tortilla briefly until soft. Spread 3 Tbs. of soup mixture on bottom of greased 9"x13" baking dish. Spoon one Tbs. of soup mixture into center of tortilla. Sprinkle onion & cheese over mixture. Fold tortilla into a roll & place seam side down in dish. Continue until all tortillas are used. Spoon reserved soup mixture over top. Add remaining onions & cheese to top. Heat in 350 degree oven until heated through & cheese is melted. Diced chicken may be added to soup & cheese mixture if desired.

    Fanciful Fruit Pizza

    Adds color to any patio setting!
    • 1 roll refrigerated sugar Slice 'n Bake cookies
    • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 Tbs. water
    • Strawberry slices
    • Banana slices (dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning)
    • Green grapes, halved
    • 1/4 cup apricot jam
    • Fresh or canned sliced peaches, drained
    • Fresh or canned apricots, drained & halved

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease pizza pan or 15"x10" jelly roll pan. Slice well chilled cookie dough into 1/8" slices, slightly overlapping, in bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Combine cream cheese, sugar & vanilla until smooth. Spread cheese mixture evenly over cookie crust. Arrange fruit in colorful circles over cream cheese. Combine jam & water & heat slightly to thin. Cool. Dribble over top of fruit. Chill. Cut into wedges to serve. Refrigerate leftovers. Note: any variety of fruit & jam may be used. This is a colorful, fanciful dessert, but it is very easy & quick to make. Serves 10 to 12.

    3 Day Barbeque Brisket

    • 5 lb. brisket
    • 1 bottle Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 bottle of liquid smoke
    • 1 bottle BBQ sauce (homemade is best)

    I'm a proponent of old style slow smoking using hardwood, but I can only remember this type of brisket growing up. If you grew up in the Patio Culture (unless maybe you're from the deep South or central Texas), you probably remember this too. Trim excess fat from brisket.
    Day 1: place brisket in heavy duty foil. Pour 1 bottle Worcestershire sauce & 1 bottle of liquid smoke over the brisket. Wrap tightly & refrigerate.
    Day 2: pour over excess Worcestershire sauce & liquid smoke. Remove to cutting board & slice thickly. Place back in foil & pour BBQ sauce over the meat. Wrap tightly & refrigerate.
    Day 3: Bake at low heat (250 degrees) for several hours or until meat is done.

    Meat Loaf

    • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. sage
    • 3 Tbs. brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1 tsp. dry mustard

    Mix all ingredients except the sauce together & form into a log. Top with the sauce mixture and bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes.

    9 Day Cole Slaw

    I have no idea why it's called that. Maybe it had great shelf life in case the Ruskies dropped the Big One. The oil & vinegar nature of this recipe is also a mystery since I grew up in the Southwest where, like in the South, mayonaise based coleslaws are king. I'm sure it keeps better in the heat!

    Fondue Pot
    • 1 small cabbage, shredded
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 6 green onions, chopped
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 1 1/2 Tbs. celery seed
    • 1/3 cup salad oil
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • salt & pepper to taste

    Combine vinegar, sugar & oil, mix thoroughly. Toss with cabbage, celery seed, onion & bell pepper. Refrigerate several hours before serving for better taste. The recipe may be kept several days if refrigerated. Makes 1 qt. or more.

    Caesar Salad

    • 2 very large heads romaine lettuce
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2-3 cloves garlic (crushed, reserving 1/2 whole clove)
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 heaping Tbs. Dijon mustard
    • Juice from 1/2 large lemon
    • 1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • Homemade croutons (below)

    Wash & dry romaine, tear into pieces & chill. In a large salad bowl, rub with reserved 1/2 whole garlic clove. In bottom of bowl, beat egg yolk. Add oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, crushed garlic & lots of salt & pepper. Beat well. Add Romaine lettuce pieces, parmesan cheese & homemade croutons. Toss & serve with warn, crusty bread.

    Homemade Croutons

    • 1 loaf of day old french bread
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • Garlic powder
    • Pepper
    • Paprika
    • Butter

    Cut loaf lengthwise into 3 or 4 layers so that each layer is approx. 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Butter both sides, one side if crust is on the other. Top with oregano, basil, garlic powder, pepper & paprika. Cut into 1" cubes. Bake at 350 degrees tossing often in oven until golden brown. Cool. Keep leftover in Ziploc bag.

    Salmon Patties

    • 1 can salmon
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder

    Drain liquid from salmon & reserve 1/4 cup. Stir egg & flour into drained salmon. Put baking powder into salmon liquid & let foam. Pour over salmon & stir. Fry immediately by dropping spoonfuls into hot oil.

    Hobo Supper

    Also known as Scout Supper, this recipe was a Troop 6/Camp Grayson tradition. Prepare the following ingredients:

    • Potatoes, peeled and sliced
    • Onions, peeled and sliced
    • Carrots, peeled and sliced
    • Ground beef, enough to make one thick patty
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Place the ground beef patty on one end of a large sheet of strong aluminum foil (about 2 ft. long). Layer the vegetables on top of the patty. Salt & pepper to taste. Fold the other end of the foil over the food and seal the whole thing up around the edges by folding. Place this pouch of food over hot coals for about 5 minutes, then turn and cook 5 more (use some common sense here, if you smell the thing burning pull it out). Pull the pouch out of the coals when done and slit open the top. Eat it right out of the foil!

    Mamaw's Macaroni & Cheese

    • One lg. bag of macaroni, cooked
    • 1 1/2 lbs. shredded cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 1/4 cup butter

    My grandmother was a school cafeteria worker and this is the recipe they used. School cafeteria food back then was prepared on-site, was fresh, and for the most part, good. There was nothing like the smell of freshly baked rolls wafting throughout the hallways of Crutchfield Elementary all morning to get a kid eager to go to lunch! This early acclimation to institutional food served me well through later grades, and also during my military service. Heat milk, add cheese & melt. Pour over cooked macaroni. Cook in oven until top begins to turn brown. Hummm, cheesy!

    Vegetable Medley Casserole

    This is actually a modern casserole but it captures the spirit of suburban cuisine.

    • 1 16 oz. bag frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) thawed and drained
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1 jar chopped pimento
    • 1 can french fried onion rings

    Mix all ingredients together except half the cheese and onion rings. Use them on top of the vegetable mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Baked Beans

    • 2 cans of pork and beans
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. mustard
    • 2 strips bacon
    • 1/4 cup molasses, optional
    • 1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce, optional

    Mix beans with the ketchup, sugar, onion and mustard. Top with strips of bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Jello Vegetable Salad

    • 1 pkg. lemon Jello
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • Dash of pepper
    • 2 Tbs. vinegar
    • 2 Tsp. grated onion
    • 1/2 cup diced celery
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked vegetable (your choice)

    Prepare Jello as directed & add salt, pepper, vinegar and onion. When slightly thickened, fold in celery and cooked vegetables (cabbage and carrots recommended). Chill until set.

    Orange Salad

    • 1 sm. can Mandarin oranges
    • 1 sm. can crushed pineapple
    • 1 8 oz. pkg. sour cream
    • 1 sm. pkg. orange Jello
    • 2 cups mini marshmallows
    • 1 sm. container of Cool Whip

    Stir dry orange Jello into sour cream, then add drained oranges. Stir in pineapple and add marshmallows and Cool Whip.

    Cheese Dip

    This patio appetizer was called "Cheese Dip" before it became fashionable to be called "Chile Con Queso". My first vivid recollection of eating this was at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Colbert, Oklahoma.

    • 1 lb. (about 1/2 box) of Velveeta cheese
    • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes (or other brands such as Hunt's tomatoes with chilies if you live up north)
    • 1/4 cup milk

    Cube the cheese and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add the Ro-tel tomatoes and milk. Microwave a few minutes (how'd we do it in the sixties?) until the mixture become fluid stirring a few times. When well mixed serve hot with plenty of tortilla chips or Fritos.

    "Ai-nies" Fudge

    Simple yet delicious! A kid couldn't wait for it to cool and harden and often many fingers dredged through the fudge while it was soft. Named after my aunt Lellie known as "Ai-nie"

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup cocoa
    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 cup pecans (optional)

    Mix first 3 ingredients. Boil on stove until soft ball forms after testing in some cold water. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecans if desired. Beat until creamy. Pour out on buttered platter. Cool and slice into squares.

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