Mom's Comfort Food
Every Texas town has at least one eating establishment that loves to brag about its down-home cooking. I've seen a few that lay claim to cuisine "even better than Mom used to make." In some cases, they may be right but, in my humble (and totally unprejudiced) opinion, my mom had a few tricks of her own up her sleeve.
Mix the tomato soup and water in pressure cooker and heat, uncovered, until the soup starts simmering. Carefully place the meatballs close together in soup mixture. Close cover securely. Place Pressure Regulator on vent pipe and cook 10 minutes with Pressure Regulator rocking slowly. Gently move cooker to an adjacent cool burner and let pressure drop completely before opening. Makes approximately 12 meat balls.
Note: If you're watching your fat intake and prefer your meat as lean as possible, refrigerate leftover porcupines in a bowl overnight. The fat will come to the top and you can easily remove it.
I have no idea where the next recipe came from. Mom often searched through cookbooks and magazines for ideas, besides collecting favorites from friends and relatives. I'm not sure how many servings this makes but, unless you're feeding a crowd, you're sure to have some leftovers. Serve this with a salad and you're all set.
Stir in undiluted mushroom soup.
Place hot noodles in two 2-quart casseroles. Toss with butter until it melts and coats noodles.
Stir in meat mixture until well mixed. Stir in corn. Cover with foil. Bake in 350°F oven 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Back in those long-ago days when most women didn't work outside the home, there was more time for cooking. Our house – and all of my friends' houses – had cookie jars that moms kept filled with several different kinds of cookies. We loved these.
Shape dough into balls or fingers. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 325°F about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and cool cookies slightly. Roll in confectioners' sugar. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Most of us have at least one dish we're known for. Maybe yours is chili, or a special casserole. Mom's was this cake. You might wonder why a cake made with prunes would be such a hit. All I know is that no family gathering was complete without my mom's Prune Nut Cake. And I doubt that she would have gotten in any relative's front door without it.
Dottie's Prune Nut Cake
In another bowl, sift flour four times with cinnamon, allspice, and salt to make sure spices are thoroughly blended. Add to butter mixture. Add nuts, prunes (plus reserved prune juice. If you used precooked prunes, use 3 tablespoons water), and vanilla extract. Mix ingredients. Bake in two 8-inch greased and floured cake pans.
Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes (don't overbake). Test with wooden toothpick. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before frosting.
Thanks for all the great meals, Mom. And Happy Mother's Day to all.
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