Mom's cookbook coverWhen the weather gets cold and I can’t walk outside, I get a little antsy. (Gene would tell you that this is a huge understatement and that there is family folklore about the trouble I get into when I’m bored and stuck inside!) So one of the activities that I often do is clean out closets and cabinets. There are forgotten treasures and artifacts in these places, just waiting to be found. You would think that by now I would have everything cleaned out and organized, but chemo brain has guaranteed me many years of discovery since I can never remember where I put anything.

With this most recent cold snap, I decided to clean out a seldom used cabinet. Inside, I was delighted to find an old recipe box that belonged to my aunt, then my mother, and then was given to me when I was a teenager. The box came to me empty, but I started filling it with recipes from my mother, my aunts, and my grandmother. Some of these recipes were type written on recipe cards, but many were in my grandmother’s or aunts’ handwriting. What a wonderful surprise to find these recipes!

I decided to share my find with some of my cousins who I haven’t seen in years, but I have connected to through FaceBook. Boy did my page light up with shared memories, laughs about all the “oleo” and “canned mushroom soup” recipes. My cousins asked if I had run across this or that recipe and we shared even more stories and recipes.

I can’t post this story without sharing at least one of those recipes, but I am torn between the “Strawberry Fluff” recipe or the “Devil’s Dinner” recipe, so I decided to share both.
Devil’s Dinner (Grandma Bowser)
1 Lb. Ground beef
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
1 pkg cornbread mix
1 can Mexican beans
1 can corn, drained (frozen may be used)
1 cup shredded cheese

Brown ground beef, onion until brown, stir in chili powder and green chilies. Mix cornbread as directed on box, pour half of the mixture in bottom of greased 9×12 baking dish. Spread half of the ground beef mixture over cornbread, layer with can of Mexican beans, then a layer of cheese, and then the rest of the ground beef mixture. Top with last half of cornbread mixture. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until browned, approx. 35-45 min. Let stand 5 min and cut into squares and serve.

Strawberry Fluff (Aunt Betty)
For the crumb topping, mix:
1 cup flour
1 stick melted oleo
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup nuts (pecans)
Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Spread half the crumbs in the bottom of a pyrex dish.

2 egg whites
2 – 10 oz packages frozen strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. “real” lemon juice

Beat above ingredients 20 minutes then fold in 1 cup Dream Whip. Spread into the pyrex dish that has crumbs in the bottom. Top with remaining crumbs. Freeze. Place at room temperature for five minutes, cut into squares and serve. Add more Dream Whip if you like.

(I was going to add “Garnish with a fresh strawberry slice, but who are we kidding? We never used the word “Garnish” when I was a teenager and the extra Dream Whip was mandatory!)