Our moms’ favourites

Cynthia Stone
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It was a given when I was a girl that your mom would teach you to cook, and when you grew up, you would make the same dishes in pretty much the same way.

Families have changed and food and cooking have, also, but we can still make Mother’s Day a time to share old favourites. Today’s recipes are retro all the way.

Dilly Meatloaf

We always looked forward to the nights when this was on our family table. It was usually served with mashed potatoes and probably green beans and carrots, or whatever other vegetables were in season out of the garden.

I have to come clean … this can’t be exactly my mom’s recipe because I change a dish just about every time I make it. I do know there was not much fresh garlic in our kitchen when I was very young, only powdered, and fresh is definitely better in this. I’ll own up to one other thing, there was no ground pork around here 50 years ago. An all-beef loaf is delicious but the pork gives a softer, more unctuous texture — you choose. This version is delicious and makes me feel nostalgic and that’s good enough.

Serve six with this loaf but if you have fewer mouths to feed meatloaf sandwiches the day after are wonderful.

2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces

1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp. dill pickle juice

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large dill pickle, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1/2 lb. lean ground pork (or use all beef)


1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup each yellow mustard and green


1 dill pickle, finely chopped

Combine bread, milk and pickle juice in a large mixing bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes then mash it up with a fork or your fingers to make a paste. Add egg, onion, dill pickle, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly.

Add the beef and pork and mix gently with your hands. Press into a loaf pan and bake at 350 F about 30 minutes.

Combine sauce ingredients and microwave until hot. Spoon about half on top of the meatloaf. Return to oven for 30 minutes longer, or until juices run clear. A meat thermometer is always a good idea. Remove the meatloaf when it hits 160 F and let it sit for 10 minutes. Discard any fat in the pan and serve sliced with remaining sauce on the side.

Beef Stroganoff

I have no idea how we would have acquired this recipe but we ate it at our house as long ago as I can remember. It’s unlikely we had anything but beef bouillon cubes, and canned mushrooms were more common than fresh, so this one is updated a little. The real secret is in cooking the beef long enough to make it meltingly tender.

This amount serves four.

1-1/2 lbs. braising steak

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 large yellow onion, finely sliced

3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. sweet or hot paprika

1-1/2 cups beef broth

1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, amount to taste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sour cream (full fat only)

1 bag large egg noodles, or as many servings as you need, cooked according to package instructions

Dry steak with paper towels and cut into one-inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt and divide into three small batches — it will make the next step easier. Brown in a large frying pan in vegetable oil. Remove and set aside.

Add butter to pan. Fry onions and mushrooms until golden brown — the mushrooms will release their moisture and it must evaporate to get the best browning. Stir in garlic and paprika and cook another minute or two, until fragrant. Return beef to pan and add broth. Cover and simmer over low heat about 1-1/2 hours, until meat is very tender. Stir in black pepper — a little nip is a good thing in this dish.

Whisk flour into sour cream then whisk mixture into hot simmering liquid in pan. Cook only until smooth and thick. Serve at once over egg noodles.

Baked Macaroni and Tomatoes

This one is just for my mother, although I don’t mind if you like it, too. It probably should be served as a side dish but we often had it for lunch when we came home from school. This amount makes eight light servings but my mom could put a real hole in the pan, at least in the old days when she was punching a hard day cooking, cleaning and chasing kids.

1 large onion, diced

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes

1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. sugar

1 lb. macaroni

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

Fry onion in oil in a Dutch oven until soft and starting to brown. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar and simmer 10 minutes. Prepare macaroni according to package instructions for al dente. Drain thoroughly and stir into tomato mixture. Top with bits of butter and bake uncovered at 350 F about 20 minutes or until bubbling hot.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone’s mom.

Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher

in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her

c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s,

NL, A1E 4N1.

Organizations: The Telegram

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  • Pk
    May 10, 2014 - 07:31