Proven palate pleasing recipes

Posted on 21 July 2010

Marlene Free has agreed to share some of her favorite recipes. Collected over the years, each one has a story behind it.

Mock Champagne Punch

This recipe came from Carol Chandler, a senior home management student of Marlene’s at UGA in 1965.
“As we planned our formal dinner parties, we were searching for a good punch recipe that did not have an alcoholic content. This student came up with an alternative. I often use it today,” said Marlene, who added, “It does taste a lot like champagne.”
Serves: 18
3 cups sugar
3 cups water
3 cups grapefruit juice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3 quarts ginger ale, chilled
Boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Cool. Stir in fruit juices. At serving time lightly stir in ginger ale. The juice mixture may be made ahead and frozen.

Wild Rice Casserole with Sausage

This favorite casserole was first found by Marlene in a cookbook compiled and published by home economics instructors nationwide. It was submitted by Anne Nelson, an instructor at Jeb Stuart High School in Falls Church, Va.
Marlene used to serve it to the supply officers who put in to port in the Philippines.
“After they had been at sea for 30 to 40 days at a time we would invite them to come for a home-cooked meal. They always loved this casserole,” said Marlene.
Years later, while living in Virginia, Marlene had the opportunity to meet Anne Nelson and even worked on curriculum projects with her.
Serves 8 to 10
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cups wild rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon each of oregano, thyme, marjoram
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Couple drops Tabasco Sauce
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted (1 cup may be used)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté sausage, drain. Reserve drippings. Sauté onions and mushrooms in reserved sausage drippings. Cook rice in boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes; drain. Mix flour with cream until smooth. Add chicken broth; cook until thickened. Add seasonings. Combine all ingredients together and pour into a buttered 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly hot. Remove from oven and sprinkle toasted almonds over top of casserole.

Beef and Onions Braised in Beer

This recipe dates back to 1968 and was obtained from Nancy Coons, wife of the executive officer at the Navy Supply School in Athens, while Dean was in the Navy Supply Corps School.
“It is just the best,” said Marlene, who adds, “The beer really tenderizes the meat.”

Serves: 6
3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons backing grease or olive oil
6 cups (1 1/2 pounds) sliced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef stock
2 – 3 cups beer or enough to cover meat
6 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sauté beef in oil. Layer beef, onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large casserole dish. Pour beef stock and beer over layers. Stir in brown sugar. Add herb bouquet (parsley, bay leaf and thyme). Cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove herb bouquet. Drain liquid into frying pan, and skim off fat. Combine together cornstarch and vinegar and stir into liquid. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes to thicken to gravy consistently. Pour over meat mixture. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

Almond wafers

Marlene has had this recipe since 1979. Although she does not know the source of it, she has had many students enter this cookie in baking contests and they have always been winners. She often uses it for entertaining.
Place in heavy skillet:
2/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon milk
Heat over moderate heat, stirring constantly until butter melts. Drop 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of mixture at a time on greased and floured cooking sheet 4 to 6 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Remove from pan to flat surface one at a time and roll on handle of wooden spoon. If mixture cools to quickly, return to oven and warm several minutes. Store in airtight container. Three to 4 dozen. Note: Never cool on paper. May need to add more flour, depending on humidity.
Good filled with whipped cream. End of cookie can be dipped in melted chocolate. Great with fruit and stirred custard or fruit and ice cream.

Frozen cranberry salad

This recipe was found in a 1963 cookbook compiled by a group of home economics teachers.
It is described by Marlene as an all-time favorite of her husband and son, Daren.
“They eat it like dessert,” she explains.
Serves 10
1 16-ounce cranberry relish
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peak stage
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup roasted pecans, chopped
Mash cranberry sauce with a fork; add lemon juice and blend well. Spoon into a salad mold and chill in freezer until lightly set. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over chilled cranberry mixture. Freeze. When ready to serve unmold, cut into serving portions and place on a lettuce cup.
Can be made four to six weeks in advance. Cover well prior to freezing.

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