DI'S PICKLED SHRIMP

1 lb. cooked, peeled and deveined large shrimp

1 lemon

1/2 small onion, sliced thin

2 tbsp. vegetable oil or olive oil, optional

1/4 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

1/2 tsp. seasoning salt or plain salt

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. mustard seed

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

4 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. black pepper corns


Using a wide mouth quart canning jar or other large container with a tight fitting lid, thinly slice half the lemon and set aside; squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon into the jar and drop the squeezed lemon into the bottom of the jar. Add some of the onion slices and a bay leaf and a lemon slice, 1/4 of the shrimp and continue layering until all the lemon slices, onion, bay leaves and shrimp is used. 

Add the oil if using, Old Bay seasoning, seasoning salt or plain salt, minced garlic, sugar, mustard seed, crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper, parsley flakes, celery seed and black pepper corns. Pour vinegar over all and fill with cold water to cover the shrimp. Cover jar or container with lid and shake to distribute spices throughout the jar and refrigerate until chilled, up to 5 days, if they last that long. 

They're better after they marinate at least 24 hours. Recipe may be doubled, and you may use any size shrimp and tweak the recipe to suit your tastes.

WATERGATE SALAD

1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding mix 

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups thawed whipped topping

1 cup maraschino cherries

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Cover tightly and chill for 1 hour or until serving time. Keep refrigerated. Recipe may be doubled.

 


TRES LECHES CAKE (Three Milks Cake)

 1 Duncan Hines butter recipe golden cake mix

4 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter, not margarine, melted

1 quart heavy whipping cream, divided

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk such as Pet or Carnation

1 can sweetened condensed milk such as Eagle Brand

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350*.

 

Spray a 9x13 baking pan or glass dish with cooking oil spray. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl prepare cake batter using the boxed cake mix, melted butter, 4 eggs and 3/4 cup milk. Mix with electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until well combined and thickened. Pour into prepared pan and bake for time recommended on the box, or until a pick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake and cake springs back when touched. Don't over bake. Place on cooling rack.

While cake is baking, combine 2 cups of whipping cream, the evaporated milk and the sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl. Stir to mix well. As soon as you remove the cake to the cooling rack, slowly pour the milk mixture over the hot cake until all is used. The cake will absorb all the milk as it cools. 

Continue cooling on wire rack to room temperature, then prepare the whipped cream.

In a medium mixing bowl, using clean beaters, beat the remaining 2 cups of whipping cream until slightly thickened. Stop the mixer and add 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar. Start mixer on lowest speed until combined then increase speed and mix until the whipped cream is thickened to your taste. Spoon onto prepared, cooled cake and spread evenly. Cover with a well fitting lid or cover tightly with foil and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold and keep any leftovers refrigerated.

This is my granddaughter Emmy's favorite cake.

*Notes: You can use any cake mix for this, including white or even chocolate. I have made my own version of this with a white cake mix and added cream of coconut with the milk mixture that you pour over the cake, then added shredded coconut on top of the whipped cream topping. I'm sure many other combinations can be made by using a little imagination.

DI'S JAMBALAYA

 

3 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1 lb. sausage of your choice*

1/2 cup diced celery

1 cup diced cooked ham

1 cup diced raw chicken or duck breast

 

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste

1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry's 

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste 

1 tablespoon sugar

3 or 4 bay leaves

1 - 2 teaspoons of thyme, or to taste

1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic

1 1/2 cups raw white rice

3 1/2 cups water

1 lb. raw shrimp, thawed if from frozen, and peeled 


*Smoked sausage, Andouille, Boudin or any type you like can be used. Also you can add any type of meat or game that you like.*


Prepare sausage by removing casings if you like, then slice. In a large Dutch oven or pot, place oil, sliced sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, ham, chicken or duck meat or any other meat or game of your choice. Over medium high heat, stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes, until vegetables are translucent and sausage begins to brown a bit. Don't let the meats get too brown. 

Add remaining ingredients except the shrimp. Stir to combine thoroughly. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender. You may need to add a little more water if it starts getting too dry. 

When rice is just done, stir in the raw shrimp and cover. Bring back to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more seasoned salt, cayenne, black pepper and thyme if desired. 

Serve hot. Recipe may be increased if you have a pot large enough to hold it.



DI'S DEVILED EGGS

12 large eggs

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon yellow mustard, or to taste

black pepper to taste

2 - 3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise

paprika to sprinkle if desired

Place eggs in a large saucepan and just cover with water. Place on stove, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and leave on the burner, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove lid and set aside. Pour off hot water and run cold water over eggs, pouring off water several times. While eggs are still warm to the touch, pour off all water except for about 1 inch in the bottom of the pan, then toss in a handful or 2 of ice cubes. Place the lid back on the pan, grasp pot handle and lid firmly, and shake vigorously several times. You'll hear the eggs and ice colliding and cracking the shells. 

Now remove the lid and run more cold water over the eggs. They should be cracked and the shells should be very easy to finish removing now. Some may have slipped from their shells entirely.

Keep the cold water running over the eggs as you peel them, and by the time you finish peeling all the eggs they should be room temp or fairly close. 

Cut the eggs open lengthwise as shown in Jessica's photo above, and place the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Place the eggs on a platter or other serving dish. 

Mash the yolks with a potato masher or a fork, making sure all the lumps are mashed out and they have a fine consistency. Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper, mixing well. Add mayo until it reaches a consistency that pleases you. Start with low amounts, because you can always add more, but you don't want it so runny it won't stay in the eggs. 

Either spoon filling into each egg half, or you may place the filling in a zip-top bag and snip a small hole in one corner and squeeze to fill each egg. Sprinkle prepared eggs with paprika if desired.

Chill until serving time, and keep any leftovers refrigerated. Recipe may be increased as needed.
 

DI'S HAMBURGER POTATO STROGANOFF

1 - 2 lbs. ground beef

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 tablespoons dry onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules

2 1/2 cups milk

3 -5 medium potatoes

1 small can of mushrooms, optional

1 cup sour cream

Peel potatoes and slice into 1/8 inch rounds. Set aside.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven crumble and cook ground beef over medium high heat until beginning to brown. 

Sprinkle flour, onion flakes, black pepper and sugar over ground beef and stir till well combined. 

Stir in milk and beef bouillon. Stir constantly until mixture comes back to a boil and thickens, then stir in potatoes. 

Cover with a lid and let come back to a boil, then lower heat to medium low. Stir occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes or so. Add sour cream and mushrooms if using and combine thoroughly. Remove from heat and serve piping hot.


DI'S BEST EVER SOFT SUGAR COOKIES

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup real butter, softened to room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt 


FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup real butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

*Additional sugar to sprinkle on top if desired

 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350*


In a large mixing bowl, with a mixer or by hand, cream together 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 cup sugar a couple of minutes or until smooth. Add eggs, sour cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla and mix well. 

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and combine well. 

Measure about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie. Use your hands to roll each portion into a round ball and place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 2 or 3 inches apart. Lightly flatten each ball a bit with your fingers. *If using sugar to top the cookies instead of frosting them, sprinkle sugar on each one before baking.*

Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 11-12 minutes, then immediately remove from the oven. They will appear slightly under-baked but this is what you want. Do not over-bake. Carefully transfer the baked cookies to a cooling rack and repeat the process until all the cookies are baked and let all cool to room temperature before frosting.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING: 

In a medium mixing bowl using a mixer or by hand, beat the butter 30 seconds or so until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly, then add vanilla extract and milk, mixing until smooth and fluffy. Use a knife or spatula to slather the top of each cookie. Top with sprinkles or other decorations if desired. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container.

 

These soft cookies bear a strong resemblance to the teacakes my grandma made when I was young and are my daughter Jessica's favorite cookies ever ever ever (her words). Most of the time I don't top them with sugar or frosting. We eat them plain and they're plenty rich enough for us without the added sugar or frosting.

 

 

MARTHA'S MACARONI SALAD

16 oz. elbow macaroni or pasta of your choice

6 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 or 2 cans sweet peas, drained

cheese of your choice*

1 cup or more mayonnaise

black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons sugar, optional

3 tablespoons white vinegar, optional

 

*Shredded cheese, cubed cheese or torn slices may be used in any variety of your choosing. I used about 2 cups of shredded fiesta blend cheese this time.


Cook macaroni in salted water until tender. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water to stop cooking and bring to room temperature. Drain well. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and combine well. Cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate until serving time. Keep any leftovers refrigerated. 

 

The vinegar and sugar aren't included in the original recipe my sister Martha created, but I add it to mine sometimes for a little different flavor.