Dessert · Family Recipes · For Entertaining · Holiday · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Coconut Cream Pie

If you ask my dad what his favorite dessert is, this is the answer: Aunt Ruth’s coconut cream pie! A favorite at family gatherings as well. Recipe as follows:

Aunt Ruth’s Coconut Cream Pie

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Cups Milk, Scalded
3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut
1 baked 9 inch pie shell
3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
Caked coconut for the topping


In a pan over high heat: mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt – stirring in the scalded milk slowly. Keep everything boiling, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Let it cook for about 2 minutes.

Add a few tablespoons at a time of the hot mixture unto the egg yolks to temper, then once tempered add the rest of the hot mixture. Cook 1 minute over low heat stirring constantly, and add the butter. Cool slightly, stir in the vanilla and coconut. Pour into pie crust shell and cool.

Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually beating in the sugar. Spread over cooked filling, sealing the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle with coconut. Brown in moderate oven (375 degrees) for about 10 minutes.

Dinner · Family Recipes · Hot · Recipe · Sides · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Halsted Street Spaghetti

My Grandma C wrote down this recipe in 2010 (so says the notecard). I’m writing down the recipe as is…. but would probably use mozzarella cheese instead of american for this 🙂  Definitely more of an American recipe than an Italian one too. Given the name Halsted St, this is from Chicago… but not sure if this was served in their restaurant or not.  I’ll have to ask!

Halsted Street Spaghetti Bake

Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


1 lb spaghetti, cooked and rinsed in cold water
2 cans of tomatoes with juice
2 chopped green peppers
2 chopped onions
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
(1 cup?) Grated or sliced American cheese
(1 cup?) Milk


Boil a large pot of salted water, add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain and since the spaghetti in cold water.

Begin by doing a small dice on the onion and pepper. Saute the peppers and onions in the butter, about 10 minutes until soft. Mix all ingredients in a bowl: spaghetti, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and pepper. Fill ingredients in a 9×13 inch pan. Add milk when you can see it in the pan (but not too much… you can always add more if its dry). Top with grated or sliced cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and spaghetti is hot (guessing 10-15 minutes?)


Cold · Family Recipes · Favorite · For Entertaining · Gluten Free · Holiday · Lunch · Recipe · Salad · Sides · Vegan · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Cucumber Salad

This has always been one of my favorite summer dishes growing up!  So many great memories of my dad making a big bowl while we ate with the windows open in the kitchen.  And to this day, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing it to my fiance and friends (who also love it).  Its sweet and tangy, super light and delicious, and a great way to use extra cucumbers from the garden and the store.  The great thing about this recipe too is that is stores really well and leftovers always taste better.  I actually like to make this a day or two ahead of time, so all the flavors marinate in the cucs.

Our dill plant has given us a crazy abundance of dill this season, so this is one of our favorite ways to use it.  I like to combine all the ingredients in a mason jar (for easy shaking and storing) but you can use a big bowl if you’d like too.

Not really sure of the origins of this recipe: it was hand-written in an old cookbook we have.  I now like to add a few sliced onions and garlic for flavor… but original recipe as follows:

Cucumber Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes (refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible)


1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 rice wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh shopped herbs (we use dill!)
4 small cucumbers (roughly 1 lb) (recipe says preferably Kirbys)


Peel and thinly slice the cucumbers. Place them in a quart wide-mouth mason jar.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the jar and shake shake shake!

You can also add thinly sliced onions and garlic, so if you’re feeling a little spicy shake ’em up too.

Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if you can.



Cold · Dinner · Family Recipes · Gluten Free · Holiday · Hot · Recipe · Sides · Soup · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Watercress Soup

This came from the good ol’ Aunt Ruth’s cookbook, which are also recipes from my family supper club Murphy’s I believe. I loooove watercress in soups (mostly miso!) but this recipe is a keeper because watercress is the star.

Also, when the recipe calls for whipped cream, I’m going with sour cream for the below.  Not today’s ‘whipped cream’ from a canister 🙂

Aunt Ruth’s Watercress Soup

Prep time:
Cook time:

Servings: 8


1 bunch watercress
3 leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 potatoes cooked and grated
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups stock
1 cup of milk
1 cup half and half cream
1 tablespoon salt
Whipped cream for garnish (Or Sour cream instead)



Salute leeks and onions in butter. Add the grated potatoes and the stock. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Boil watercress in salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain and put in a blender with leek and onion mixture. Add milk and half-and-half. Serve hot or cold with a dollop of whipped cream on each cup.

Dinner · Family Recipes · Favorite · For Entertaining · Holiday · Hot · Recipe · Sides · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Au Gratin Potatoes

Another recipe from my grandparent’s supper club Murphy’s. And wow…. thats a lot of cheese 🙂 As someone who adds extra veggies to everything I’m cooking to make it healthier, I winced a little when I re-read this. But let me tell you: THIS IS DELICIOUS! This is still a family favorite for us, my dad will make a huge pan for ‘special occasions.’ I believe I had it last when Brett came to the cottage for the first time and met my dad and brother. We pulled out all the stops 🙂

Also, judging from the recipe, this makes a TON of servings (it was a restaurant recipe, so they probably made this daily).  It can be halved or quartered… or eighthed 🙂

Au Gratin Potatoes

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time:


8lb potatoes
1 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 gallon milk
3 lbs american cheese, grated
1 lb parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon paprika


Boil potatoes, skin and cool. Once cool grate the potatoes with a regular cheese grater. In a pan over medium heat: melt butter, add flour and blend slowly. And 1/2 of the milk and all of the cheese. When cheese is melted add salt and remaining milk. Add grated potatoes until a medium custard consistency. Put in individual casserole dishes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and paprika on top. Bake in hot over or broiler until bubbly all over.

Family Recipes · For Entertaining · Gluten Free · Holiday · Hot · Recipe

Family Recipe: Shrimp De Jange

And here is another one from the Family Recipe vault: Shrimp de Jange.  I looked up the origins of this dish, and apparently this was created and popularized in Chicago in the 60s- so this fits the timeline perfectly. This was one of the most popular recipes from my grandparent’s restaurant/Supper Club.

My dad made this last summer when Brett and I were at the cottage for the 4th of July – and I remember it being a big hit!

Shrimp De Jange
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 mintues


For the shrimp:

2 lbs shrimp

1 tsp paprika

1 cup sherry wine

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

For the Topping:

1 lb butter, softened

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup dry bread crumbs (Can sub gluten-free!)

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/2c parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp fresh garlic (or garlic salt)

1/2 tsp seasoning salt


For The Topping:

Soften the butter, and mix all ingredients together.  Pat into a block and refrigerate or freeze.

For The Shrimp:

Cook shrimp according to the packaging, de-vein/de-tail all.  Place them in a oven safe baking dish which has been lightly coated in butter so the shrimp don’t stick.  But the topping over the shrimp, and spread evenly across the dish.  Pour the sherry wine over the shrimp and topping.  Add parmesan cheese and paprika to the top.  Bake at 350 degrees until the dish is hot and bubbly (20 minutes)

Cold · Dressing · Family Recipes · For Entertaining · Gluten Free · Holiday · Recipe · Salad · Vegetarian

Family Recipe: Creamy Garlic Dressing


Another amazing salad dressing recipe from my grandparent’s Supper Club/restaurant in Chicago!  While it is a bit heavier than Aunt’s Ruth’s Amaaaaazing Salad Dressing, it has the ability to transform any salad into something you literally cannot stop eating.  While the original dressing is below, I will probably add a lot more fresh garlic to the dressing next time because a) its called GARLIC dressing, and b) we are insane garlic lovers over here!

Creamy Salad Dressing
Time to Make: 5 minutes

2 cups sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2tsp accent seasoning (*See Note Below!) / Fresh ground pepper

2 large cloves of fresh garlic

Thin with Milk


To make the dressing, combine all ingredients into a large quart sized mason jar.  Mash or press the garlic in a garlic press…. and voila!  If the dressing feels a bit thick, add milk to the consistency you like.  Store in refrigerator, and eat at leisure.

*Accent Seasoning – Apparently this is loaded with MSG…. so feel free to omit, use fresh pepper instead.  I’m just copying the family recipe, don’t shoot the messenger 🙂