4 large baking potatoes
1 cup sour cream
6 cups milk
2/3 cup butter
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
¾ tsp. salt

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp. pepper

Bake potatoes at 350° for 65-75 minutes or until tender. Cool completely; peel and cube. In a large Dutch oven, make a roux with the flour, butter, salt and pepper. Stir or whisk until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream. Add potatoes and green onion. Garnish each serving with bacon and shredded cheese. Makes about 10 servings. Leftover potatoes may be used instead of baking potatoes especially for this.


2 sticks margarine
1 jar blackberry jam
3 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar
2 ½ cups self-rising flour
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. baking soda mixed into 1 cup buttermilk

Combine in a medium size bowl:

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
¼ cup self-rising flour (do not omit the flour)
1 cup raisins

Cream the margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add the jam and mix well. Add the flour and milk a little at time until all is used. Mix well; fold in the nut mixture and mix well. Pour into 3 greased and floured round cake pans and bake at 325° to 350° until cake springs back in the center and pulls away from the sides of the pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. (I sometimes bake this in 2 9-inch round pans and use the rest of
the batter for cupcakes or a small loaf.)

Glaze for the Jam Cake:

1 cup sugar
1 cup canned milk
½ cup light syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Boil for 5-10 minutes until as thick as you like, stirring to keep from scorching. Cool, then pour over each layer. Decorate the top with nut halves as desired.

For the Cook family, this is a family tradition. I can’t remember a Christmas that Mom didn’t make at least 1 jam cake, and usually several, for family and to give away to friends. I always got to help pick out nuts, and I usually got to mix the nuts, raisins and coconut with the flour. This is better if made a week or more ahead and tightly
wrapped in foil. I like a lot of glaze on it, too, so it will soak in and help keep it moist. There are a lot of childhood memories baked in each of these cakes. I know Ducky, Sue, Cecil and our other sister, zztop, will agree with me.


1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ cups cold water
1 (4-serving size) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
36 vanilla wafers
3-4 medium bananas, sliced and dipped in lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and water. Add the pudding mix and beat well. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream. Spoon 1 cup of the pudding mixture into a 3-quart glass serving bowl. Top with1/3 each of the wafers, bananas and pudding. Repeat layering twice, ending with pudding. Chill. Garnish as desired. Serve. Refrigerate leftovers.


2 sticks butter, softened (1/2 lb.)
2 cups plain flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ tsp. salt

*NOTE: I have used ½ butter flavored shortening and ½ butter and it is still good. Be sure you use only real butter, not margarine, or it won’t be fit to eat. Also, you may add a little more or less powdered sugar if you like the shortbread sweeter or less sweet, to your taste. This dough doesn’t rise much at all, so roll it out to the thickness you
want the finished cookie to be. This is a very soft dough, but if you mess up, just mash it back together and re-roll it. Also, add the scraps from each rolling into the unused dough and re-roll with the new dough. It is almost impossible to mess it up. It does stick to the rolling pin, so watch for that. Don’t use too much flour as you roll it out or it will be tough. I’ve found the easiest way to move it from the bread board to the cookie sheet is to use a cake frosting spatula or a large bladed knife, like a butcher knife or a chef’s knife. I hope I haven’t made this seem more complicated than it really is, I’m just trying to share some of my experience with it. Good luck, I hope they turn out great for you.

Preheat oven to 350°. With an electric mixer, cream the softened butter, then gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating well. Mix the flour and salt together, and add to the butter mixture with a spoon, then mix with your hands until well combined. Roll out about ¼ of the dough on a floured board until is about ¼ inch thick. Cut with a sharp knife or a pizza cutter into rectangles or any shape desired and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I use the new non-stick foil.) Prick each coo
kie with a fork and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Time may vary quite a bit because of humidity, different ovens, and moisture content of the butter. You just have to keep checking until you can judge about how long each batch will take. Makes about 24 1x2-inch bars.


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 tbsp. ice water

With a pastry blender or 2 knives, blend the flour, salt and flour together until it resembles small peas or crumbs. Add the ice water, reserving about a teaspoon, until it comes together and forms a ball. If it still has dry spots, add the remaining water. Another teaspoon or so of ice water may be added, a drop or two at time, if needed.
When it forms a ball, place on a floured board, gently knead a few times and form into a smooth, flattened ball. The secret to good pie crust and biscuits is to work the dough as little as necessary. Working the dough toughens it. With a floured rolling pin, roll out to an even thickness, turning occasionally as needed to be sure it doesn’t stick. It should be rolled until it is about 1 inch bigger diameter than your pie pan. Fold in half and gently transfer to your pie pan. Center in your pan, and cut off the excess dough even with the edges of the pan.

Use in any recipe calling for an un-baked pie crust, or to bake for a pre-baked crust, line the bottom of the crust with dry beans just to cover the bottom of the crust, or a pie chain, and bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes, watching closely for burning. Cool and use as directed for any recipe calling for a baked pie shell. Double, triple, etc, as needed to make the desired number of crusts. This is the recipe off the can of a famous shortening.


6 large lemons
1 cup sugar
½ cup water

Grate 1 teaspoon of the yellow zest from one of the lemons. Squeeze ¾ cup juice from the lemons. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and boil until reduced to about ¾ of a cup, 3-4 minutes. Add juice and zest to the syrup and refrigerate in a tightly sealed container. To make lemonade: Add 3 tablespoons syrup to 1 cup water and pour over ice. Adjust proportions to taste. Delicious, especially when it’s HOT!


1 3-lb. frying chicken, cut up, or 4 large chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 medium bag nacho ch
eese tortilla chips
1 lb. loaf pasteurized process cheese
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, hot or mild, your choice

Boil the chicken until tender; let cool and bone, discarding fat, skin and gristle. Pull apart into bite-size pieces. Mix soups and diced tomatoes and green chilies in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. In a greased 13x9x2 casserole dish, layer in this order: half the meat, half the chips, half the soup mixture, and half the cheese, sliced. Repeat for the rest of the ingredients, ending with soup mixture over all. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned.

It may be necessary to cover loosely with foil toward the end of the baking time to keep the chips and cheese that are not covered by the soup mixture from getting too brown. Half to one cup of reserved chicken broth may be added if too dry. This is one of my very favorit
e casseroles, and I know it’s been in my family for at least 30 years. This used to be a Sunday dinner favorite. Mmm mmm, good.


2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups peanut butter
½ cup milk
1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

In a saucepan, bring sugar and milk to a boil; boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanut butter and marshmallow crème. Mix well, then quickly pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan or dish. Chill until set. Cut into squares. Yields 3-4 dozen pieces.


2 stacks of round buttery crackers, crushed
1 can cream of celery soup
2 sticks butter or margarine
8 oz. sour cream
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
4 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup

Melt butter or margarine; add cracker crumbs and poppy seeds. Mix well. In another bowl, stir together soups, sour cream and chicken. Place half of crumb mixture in a greased casserole. Pour soup mixture over crumbs in casserole, then top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.


1 lb. box saltine crackers
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 pkg. dry buttermilk ranch dressing mix
2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper, or to taste

Open crackers and divide between 2 half-gallon size resealable storage bags. Mix oil, cayenne, and dressing mix thoroughly. Pour half over each bag of crackers. Seal and turn to coat crackers. Keep for 14 hours before eating, turning often to distribute seasonings among crackers. Delicious, and for those who like them milder or hotter, adjust pepper to your own personal taste. Just about all our bunch loves these.


BooMama said...

The blackberry jam cake? OH YES MA'AM - I will definitely be making that. And I so love that you say the shortbread "won't be fit to eat" without real butter. That's another expression my mama loves.

Good grief I'm hungry now.

Summer said...

Hey Diane,

I just saw you have a recipe page--woo hoo! Your pictures on your main page make my mouth water!

Where in Arkansas are you? This past weekend I went to Fairfield Bay near Shirley AR with a friend of mine--visiting her family.


kansasrose said...

MMMMMMM...this is GOOOOOOOD home cookin' like I grew up with. When I was little I had a neighbor lady named Louetta and she was a Southern cook through and through....some of these same recipes she made...she made a blackberry cobbler to die for! And homemade vanilla ice cream to top. Do you have any recipes using okra? I love okra. That blackberry jam cake I am printing up! I love all these.