Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Tuna Potato Casserole

I believe this is one of the first recipes that Ellen sent to me in a letter. At the time, I occasionally made a tuna noodle casserole, but not very often. Over the years I have stopped eating tuna for two reasons: 1) The mercury content of canned tuna, and 2) my taste buds changed and I just don't like it anymore. I do not eat seafood of any kind.
This is an easy recipe for those of you who do enjoy tuna once in awhile, and who are looking for a new way to serve it. I do know that all the recipes that Aunt Ellen sent to me were ones she and Dick enjoyed eating. And I do so appreciate that Ellen took the time to hand write out recipes on recipe cards for me to enjoy with my family. They are now the only heirloom I have of hers.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Tuna Potato Casserole
                                                  Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1 can (7 oz) tuna*
3 medium potatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1 can (10 3/4 oz) mushroom soup, undiluted*
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp real butter

Drain tuna well and flake; set aside.
Slice potatoes very thin and arrange potatoes, tuna, onion alternately in a well-greased 1 1/2
quart  casserole dish, beginning and ending with potatoes.
Blend soup and milk, pour over casserole.
Bake at 375 for 1 hour.

*Tuna no longer comes in 7 oz cans, but in 6 oz cans.
*You can use homemade soup, but omit 1/2 cup milk if you do.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Dried Beef Casserole

I was never sure that this was something that Bob would eat, though I do think some of the kids would have possibly liked this. I have a similar recipe I used to make occasionally that used corned beef in a can, uncooked noodles, and cream of chicken soup. I will post that recipe at a later date.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Dried Beef Casserole
                                                  Preheat oven 350 degrees
1 cup macaroni, uncooked
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted*
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese*
3 Tbls chopped onion
4-5 oz dried beef, rinsed and cut into small pieces*
2 boiled eggs, peeled and diced

Cook macaroni in salted water till done.
Blend together soup and milk, then mix into macaroni.
Stir in other ingredients and blend well.
Pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Cook at 350 till hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4-6.

*You could make your own mushroom soup and use without added milk.
*Any cheese can be used.
*Dried beef comes in pouches or a jar. If you use the dried beef from
  refrigerated case, then you would not have to rinse.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Hamburger Casserole

My home-canned stewed tomatoes
I never made this as I knew it was not something Bob would have eaten as he is not a huge fan of casseroles, but I also am not a fan of tomato soup from cans. However, this would be a good and easy recipe for those of you who do like to make items from tomato soup. I have had a very similar recipe made with tomato sauce and it was quite good.
I do know this is a recipe that Ellen made once in awhile for her and Dick to enjoy. On the top of the recipe card she had written 'Very good', and so I must believe she was right!

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Hamburger Casserole
                                                      Preheat oven 350 degrees
2 large potatoes, sliced thin
2-3 carrots, sliced thin
1 cup peas (frozen or fresh)
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
1/4 cup ketchup
1 (10 3/4 oz) can tomato soup*
1 soup can water

Place layers of vegetables in order given into a large casserole pan.
Place cooked ground beef over top.
Mix ketchup, soup, and water together, then pour over top of casserole.
Bake at 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, till vegetables are soft and casserole is hot and bubbly.
Do not allow to go dry; add more water, if needed.

*You can use tomato sauce instead of soup.
*You could also add a can of diced tomatoes, such as home-canned stewed tomatoes to casserole.
*You could also add mushrooms, green pepper, and some garlic to this.


Aunt Ellen Trueax's Tropical Dream Cake

At the risk of sounding prudish, I didn't really like the name of this recipe as my aunt had it written out on her card (which I still have). I've had a couple of other recipes that were way different from this one, but which had the same moniker, and so I changed the name of the recipe to something more innocuous. In searching for a similar recipe, I came across an almost identical recipe from Kraft, the only difference was the flavor of the pudding mix and there were no bananas. I will add the alteration in the tips section below, otherwise, it is almost the same recipe. The Kraft recipe name was almost identical to what I'd dubbed this recipe! I was not trying to infringe, but the name just seemed right.
This cake is delicious and refreshing. It is also very rich! I will most definitely have to make it for the next time I get together with my in-laws as I think they would love this. My mother-in-law would love this for certain, but since she is celiac she won't be able to eat any, which is a shame.
This has a very tropical and creamy texture that is sure to please.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Tropical Dream Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding in the mix*
1 cup sugar
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix*
3-4 bananas*
1 (8oz) Cool Whip, thawed*
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Bake according to directions on box in a 13"x9" pan.
While cake is baking, combine sugar and pineapple in a 2 quart pan; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Pour hot mixture over cake; cool completely.
Prepare pudding mix as directed on box, then pour evenly over cooled cake.
Slice bananas lengthwise and lay on pudding mix.
Cover top with Cool Whip, the sprinkle on coconut and then pecans.
Chill overnight before serving.
Makes 24 servings.
Refrigerate any leftovers.

*You can make your own yellow cake from scratch, just make sure it is a moist cake.
*You can substitute lemon flavor for the vanilla.
*The Kraft recipe uses the small size box of pudding mix~so make your choice.
*You can also make your own pudding, if so desired, but make ahead of time so it will be cooled.
*To help keep bananas from browning, dip bananas in some lemon juice or pineapple juice after
*I do not know of a healthier version of whipped topping, at this time.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Peanut Butter Bread

I know I should have made this for the kids when they were small, but I am not a huge fan of peanut butter as some are, but just the same, I plan to make this for the holidays this year and see what we've been missing! Maybe I will be sorry I hadn't made this sooner.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Peanut Butter Bread
                                                  oven 350 degrees
2 cups unbleached flour*
2 tsp baking powder*
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Combine flour, baking powder and sugar. Cut in peanut butter with a fork. Add beaten egg and milk. Stir to moisten. Pour into a well-greased 9"x5"x3" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, till toothpick comes out clean. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack. Turn right side up and cool completely. Once cooled, wrap tight and allow to sit 8 hours or overnight before slicing. You can serve this will your favorite jam and milk for a snack.

*You can use half unbleached flour and half whole wheat flour.
*Use an aluminum-free baking powder.


Aunt Ellen Trueax's Pineapple Nut Bread


I forgot I had some of Aunt Ellen's recipes she'd sent me over the years or I would have added these before mine. Ellen was married to grandma Matheson's brother, Dick. Ellen was from near Dayton, Ohio, and she and Dick lived in/around Dayton for years before retiring to Seminole, Florida. Dick died in July 1997, and Ellen died last year (2011).
Dick had been in WWII, enjoyed doing crafts, and they were childless, by choice. Other than this, I don't know what either one did for a living, where they attended church, though I do believe I remember Ellen telling me she went to a Methodist church, or much else about who they were. I know my dad could fill in many blanks, if I but ask him, and perhaps I will and then add those memories to some other recipes I will post. I might have 5-6 recipes she sent me over the years.
I never met either one until one day in 1992 when grandpa called me up and told me they were at his house, and would I like to come over to meet them. I loaded kids in the truck and drove the 20 minutes from the farmhouse to grandpa's and got to meet some very nice people! Cousin Mike was also there as he'd come over when grandpa had called him.
Though they were my great aunt and uncle, I barely knew either one. After I got to meet them, I kept in contact with Ellen by mail a few times per year. She'd write and sometimes send a recipe or two. In February of 1997, dad, Kym, Alice and I traveled to Florida to see my other brother and sister. My brother lived in Largo at the time, which is a suburb of Tampa. Dick and Ellen being in Seminole, were also in a suburb of Tampa, and so we stopped over to visit with them. What sweet and kind people they were! I am so glad I got to know them, though ever so briefly
Though Ellen sent me a few recipes over the years, this is the only one I've tried, and it's been quite a few years since I made it. I remember it was moist, but perhaps not something that appealed to everyone. I am not saying this is bad, but I think you must really like pineapple. Again, it's been so many years ago since I've tried this that my memory is failing me on it.
I think perhaps I will make some of this for Christmas this year in honor of my aunt Ellen. It will make nice gifts, something a little out of the ordinary, and I will think about her as I make it.

Aunt Ellen Trueax's Pineapple Nut Bread

2 cups unbleached flour*
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup milk*
1/3 cup real butter, melted and cooled some
1 cup (8 oz can) undrained crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional*
                                                                      Oven 350 degrees
Sift flour, baking powder, and sugar; set aside.
Mix eggs with milk, then add cooled butter.
Add pineapple and nuts to egg mixture, then stir in flour mixture, stirring just enough to moisten.
Pour into a well-greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or till tests clean with a
toothpick. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, invert onto wire rack and put right side up, then allow to cool completely. Wrap well and let sit to ripen for 8 hours or overnight before slicing. Best if cut when 1-2 days old. This will freeze well for up to 2 months. Makes 1 loaf.

The following would be delicious on this bread or other quick breads! I did not get this from Ellen, but came across this years ago and had it on zucchini bread, which was good! You can sub the ginger out with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg, if you don't like ginger.

Pineapple cream cheese:

4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
4 oz. crushed pineapple in juice
1 tsp. dried ginger

Combine all ingredients, serve with pineapple bread or other quick breads. Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator. Pull out about 30 minutes before you want to use in order to allow the cheese to warm some for a better flavor.

*You could use half unbleached flour and half whole wheat flour.
*I've often thought to use pineapple juice instead of milk.
*You can use walnuts, pecans, or macadamia nuts, which would give this a more Hawaiian feel.
*You could add a 1/2 cup of flaked coconut to this bread for a more tropical taste.