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Mom’s Favorites

  The arrival of fall and Mom’s recipes seem a perfect combination to me. Memories of my own mother’s kitchen as the weather turned crisp are among my favorites. And my mother and I are constantly amazed at how many of you we meet at book signings who tell us how much you love her favorite recipes featured in my cookbook, Kentucky’s Best-50 Years of Great Recipes. I’m sharing several of her favorites with you this month. 

  No one ever turned up his or her nose when meat loaf was served at my house. My mother’s meat loaf is moist and tasty and makes for great sandwiches with Dijon mustard the following day. Sauerkraut and Neffles (an old German dish with tiny dumplings) signal cooler weather often at my house. And what better time for a delicious baked dessert? One reader in Berea recently told me that her husband scraped the last crumb from the Baked Fudge Pudding dish when she made it. It’s the best time of year for these favorite hearty dishes. Thanks for your great letters, your comments, and coming out to meet us when we travel this terrific state!

JEAN’S MEATLOAF

2 pounds ground chuck

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 heaping Tablespoons flour

2 slices bread

Enough milk to saturate bread

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 cup ketchup

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Crumble bread in a small bowl. Pour milk over top and allow to saturate completely. Mix all ingredients together and form two loaves in large baking dish. Mix 1/3 cup ketchup with 2 Tablespoons water and pour around loaves in baking dish. Rub top of meat loaves with remaining ketchup and bake, covered tightly with foil, for 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. 

JEAN’S LAYERED SAUERKRAUT AND NEFFLES (Tiny Dumplings)

2 quarts boiling water

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons oil or melted shortening

1 egg, slightly beaten

3/4 cup cold water

4 strips bacon

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 bag fresh sauerkraut

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Add oil, egg, and cold water. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonful into boiling water. Cook, uncovered, approximately 15 minutes over medium heat. Drain and set aside. 

Fry bacon until crisp in heavy skillet. Remove, drain, and crumble when cooled. Sauté onions in bacon fat until clear. In another saucepan heat sauerkraut thoroughly. 

In a 9×13 glass dish, layer 1/2 of sauerkraut, 1/2 of dumplings, 1/2 of crumbled bacon, and end with 1/2 of onions. Repeat layer and serve hot. 

CRACKLIN’ CORN BREAD

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1-1/2 cups milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup cracklings (crisp bits left

in meat fat after it is rendered), or fry

4-6 strips of bacon until crisp

Preheat oven to 400°. Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine beaten egg, milk, and cracklings or crumbled bacon. Combine with dry ingredients. Beat well and pour into a hot, greased iron skillet. Bake in 400° oven until golden brown. 

BAKED FUDGE PUDDING

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

2 Tablespoons cocoa

1 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of salt

Whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 300°. In a large bowl beat eggs with sugar, flour, and cocoa. Mix well. Add butter, pecans, vanilla, and salt. Pour into 6 ramekins (individual baking dishes), or into 1 large baking dish if you wish. Set dishes in larger pan and pour about 1-1/2 inches of hot water into larger pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Refrigerate for several hours and serve with whipped cream.

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