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The 5 Most Beloved Recipes From Your Mom's Kitchen

You're going to want to make these classics tonight!

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Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)
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Flipping through my mother's old recipes, I'm filled with nostalgia. I remember dinners from my childhood of chicken noodle casseroles, tuna melts and colorful gelatin molds. I know this is not the diet food of today. Though, hey, once in a while it is okay to splurge and remember the good old days.

Here’s how to make a few old-fashioned dishes inspired by the 1960s that are a wonderful throwback to simpler times in your mother's kitchen.

And, as the Campbell’s Soup slogan that was written in the 1930s said: These are all “Mmm! Mmm! Good!”

Chicken Ala King

Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)

My mother used to whip up this delicious dish for the nights she went out with Dad and left the kids home with a babysitter. We looked forward to those nights, and if we were lucky, our sitter would allow us to eat on TV trays so we could watch The Twilight Zone while eating dinner.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter (or more if needed)

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup onion, diced

1 can low-fat cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup low-fat milk

2 cups cooked, diced chicken

Pinch of paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

*Optional: 2 tablespoons pimentos, diced

*Rice or pasta to serve with the dish

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat and sauté all the vegetables (except peas) for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add soup, milk, chicken and seasonings. Cook 4 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peas and pimentos and cook an additional 5-7 minutes until heated through. Serve over warm rice or noodles.

Southern Collard Greens

Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)

One of my husband's favorite childhood meals was the ladies' auxiliary lunch served in the church basement after Sunday services. He claims they made the best biscuits and collard greens he's ever had. I eliminated some of the fat content in this recipe by substituting liquid smoke for the bacon flavor. However, if you miss the bacon, you can skip the olive oil, fry some bacon and sauté the veggies in the bacon drippings.

Serves 4

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bunch collard greens (washed thoroughly, stems removed and leaves chopped)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons lemon juice

*Optional: 1/4 cup white wine

1/4 teaspoon all-natural liquid smoke

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional: hot sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until lightly browned — about 3-4 minutes. Add collard greens and red pepper flakes, cooking for 2-3 minutes until leaves are slightly wilted. Add broth, lemon juice, wine, liquid smoke and paprika. Stir and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover the pan. Cook 35-45 minutes until greens are very tender. Strain the excess liquid, then stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce if desired.

Mom's Meatloaf

Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)

Homemade meatloaf is the ultimate, classic dish that never disappoints — especially when served with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. Mom's recipe makes the moistest meatloaf I've ever had, and now it's one of those meals my family often requests for a retro comfort meal.

Serves 6

4 slices bread, cubed

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup green pepper, diced fine

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced fine

2 tablespoons parsley

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Dash of garlic seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 can tomato soup

*Optional: 3-4 strips of raw bacon

Preheat oven to 350. Mix bread cubes with milk and egg in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Knead the meat, veggies, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper into the bread mixture until thoroughly blended. Place mixture into a greased bread loaf pan and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the tomato sauce and soup, and then pour over the meat. Spread raw bacon evenly over the top and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is thoroughly cooked.

Aunt Sandy's Cranberry JELL-O "Salad"

Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)

My aunt brought her trademark cranberry salad to the family table no matter what holiday dinner it was. The original recipe calls for one cup of sugar, but we've replaced it with the healthier option of apple juice, and it's still scrumptious!

Makes 12 Servings

1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

1 12-ounce frozen apple juice concentrate (made from 100 percent fruit), thawed

2 (3 ounces each) packages of sugar-free raspberry or strawberry JELL-O

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 small can of mandarin orange slices, drained

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

*Optional: 1 cup celery, diced

Pour cranberries and apple concentrate into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes — until cranberries have popped. Quickly stir in the JELL-O (while the juice is hot) until it dissolves. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into. 2-quart ring mold coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until completely firm. Unmold on a platter and serve.

Shrimp Puffs

Photographs by Danielle Sykes (Food Stylist: Sheila Jarnes; Prop Stylist: Suzanne Lee)

Shrimp became a popular party appetizer in the early 1960s and was usually served with cocktail sauce on the side. The more adventurous cooks created shrimp recipes that looked elegant on a serving platter while elevating the seafood flavor with simple, creamy ingredients. Fortunately, this recipe makes hearty servings because one bite is never enough!

Makes 20 mini shrimp cups

1 can 7 1/2-ounce refrigerated biscuits

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 scallion, diced fine

1/2 cup mayo (use low-fat, fat-free or soy-based for fewer calories)

1/2 pound baby shrimp, cooked and peeled

1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped (plus extra for the topping)

Salt and pepper to taste

*Optional: 1 medium-sized celery stalk, diced fine

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Cut each biscuit in half, then place each half in a muffin cup, pressing the dough up the sides of the cup. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Divide the filling evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and puffy. Garnish with extra chopped dill if desired.

We hope that one or more of these dishes will land on your family’s table this Mother’s Day. And, you, too will take a nostalgic walk down memory lane and think of your own mom in the kitchen, wearing her red-checked apron.

What's the best recipe your mom passed down to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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