Recipes

Recipes for the Generations: A Texas Cooking Tradition

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Photos by DiAne Gates

Our 15-year-old grandson stayed with us during Spring Break, and I found out public schools have reinstated what us old folks called “Home Economics”. Yep, they’re teaching the kiddos to cook and many other useful life trades—calling this class in Texas, “Family Consumer Science”. Hooray! Finally, a high school grad who won’t starve when he leaves home.

Noah wanted to test his new-found skills on some hand-me-down recipes from his Mimi and great grandmother, Nana. He cooked dinner—all by himself – for Papa and me. And now I’ll brag, he conquered a recipe that took me years to perfect—cream gravy. From scratch. Not a packaged mix. And his oven fried chicken and mashed potatoes were lip-smackin’ luscious!

I know his Nana, Great Aunt Tommie, his mom Michelle, and Grandma Marge (all of whom were caterers or fantastic cooks, hmm, must be in the gene pool), are looking down from Heaven singing, “Glory be! Look at my boy.”  Someday (in the far distant future) Noah’s gonna make some lucky girl a great husband.

So all you grandmas and papas, dust off and drag out those family recipes, and next time your old-enough-to-cook grandchild visits, give ‘em your apron and be their assistant.

Definitely an evening to remember.

Oven Fried Chicken

Recipes for the Generations: A Texas Cooking Tradition

INSTRUCTIONS:

Marinate fresh chicken tenders in a southwest salad dressing or dressing of your choice for several hours.

Mix two or three cups of Panko breadcrumbs with 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. Add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.

Dredge tenders in Panko mix and press crumbs into meat. Place on greased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or spray with Pam Cooking Spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Recipes for the Generations: A Texas Cooking Tradition

INGREDIENTS:

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed

6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and rough cut

1 teaspoon salt

Place chopped potatoes, garlic, and salt in large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil till fork tender, but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in sieve and return potatoes and garlic to pot.

1 stick real butter

1 teaspoon salt

Coarse ground black pepper to taste (we like lots of pepper)

1/2 cup of sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

Whip above ingredients with electric hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. If mixture is too thick, add ¼ cup of milk. Top with a generous pat of butter. Yummy! And if there are any leftovers, potato pancakes would be on the menu at our house next meal.

Homemade Peppercorn Cream Gravy

Recipes for the Generations: A Texas Cooking Tradition

INGREDIENTS:

1 stick real butter

1/3 cup of flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 to 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS:

A large iron skillet makes the best rue, which is what you call the cooked flour/butter mixture.  Melt butter over medium high heat and sprinkle flour over melted butter. This is a constant care preparation. No opportunity to step away from the stove. Stir with a whisk until smooth and lightly browned. Pour one-half cup of milk into flour mix, stirring continually. Lower the heat and add another half cup of milk, still stirring and cooking the mixture.  For a thinner gravy add small amounts of milk, cooking between each addition, until you achieve the desired consistency.

If you like onions or garlic in this mixture, sauté them in separate skillet and add as a final ingredient to your perfect peppercorn cream gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes and/or as a dipping sauce for the yummy chicken.