Ask the grumpies: favorite recipes

Debbie M asks

What’s your favorite recipe and why?


Oh gee, one doesn’t have a favorite recipe, I don’t think.  And the things I make over and over again I don’t use recipes for.  So me saying spaghetti with meat sauce … well, that doesn’t really come with a recipe.  (Slice an onion, saute it.  Add garlic.  Add ground beef.  Stir.  Throw in a jar of spaghetti sauce if there’s any in the pantry.  If not, throw in whatever canned tomato product you have and some amount of basil/oregano/garlic salt/italian seasoning/etc.  Add tomato paste if it needs thickening.  Cook until the right consistency.  Serve over spaghetti.)  Why spaghetti?  Because it’s delicious and easy to make on a weeknight and has all the necessary food groups– meat, tomato sauce, onions, and pasta.

Now, DH has a favorite recipe– his grandmother’s rolls.  These come with a long history, but basically his grandma made them for every family function and nobody else makes them the same way.  DH’s aunt finally videotaped and measured every step to get a recipe for the family so the rolls would still be around even after DH’s grandma left.  The resulting recipe is close but still not quite the same.  DH made many batches of rolls trying to figure out what small changes needed to be made to get it just right.  And he finally succeeded.

DH’s grandma’s rolls:

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 cup scalded cooled milk (no longer need to scald)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 package yeast
5 1/2 cups flour or enough so it won’t be sticky.

Beat yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar, and oil. Add milk. Stir in flour. Knead. Place in greased container. Let rise 1-2 hours. Knead again. Make into buns. If sticky, roll in flour. Dunk buns individually in oil and place in greased pan. Let rise one hour. Bake 30 min at 350 F. When done, rub with oleo.

DH’s notes: Second knead is light. Skimp on oil for dunking. Makes 12 buns.

Of course, now we make our own hybrid with whole-wheat flour (which doesn’t rise as high if you substitute more than one cup) and butter instead of “oleo”. And he often makes 16 small buns instead of 12 ginormous ones.

Why is this is favorite recipe?  Because it tastes like love, but doesn’t quite have the sugar load of her cinnamon rolls or her strawberry jam (which are also great, but very sweet).  And they’re longer lasting than her noodles which really have to be eaten fresh.

#2 also doesn’t have a favorite recipe, but when pressed admits to anything over pasta.  Why?  Because it is delicious.

Grumpy Nation, share your favorite recipes and reasonings!

35 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: favorite recipes”

  1. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    We are big spaghetti eaters too- the kids will eat it without complaining and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Sometimes I make the adult spaghetti with spaghetti squash. That is the only time my husband will willingly eat 4 or 5 cups of squash in one sitting.

  2. Liz Says:

    I like a mix of brown rice, lentils, and beans served warm with (cold) raw diced red onion and carrot, and a dollop of chipotle mayonnaise (mayo, minced chipotle in adobo, squeeze of lime). I like the mix of textures, temperatures, and flavors; it’s a great refrigerator lunch option that can be prepared at the beginning of the week and eaten every day; it’s super filling; and it’s not pasta. (I would eat way too much pasta if I let myself, like I did in college….)

  3. Debbie M Says:

    I’m glad you liked one of my questions, though it did seem hard to answer. Sorry about that!

    Congratulations on figuring out the roll recipe! That must have been exciting! How do you dunk the rolls in oil? Lightly? All my guesses seem problematic. What does it mean to rub with oleo (or butter)? Are you brushing a stick of butter across it while it’s hot?

    I make the same spaghetti sauce except that it always has a three-ounce can of tomato paste in it. And sometimes I sub textured vegetable protein for half the meat.

    My favorite recipe is probably my banana chocolate chip pancake recipe because it’s delicious and it has always worked no matter how much I try to wreck it (like I never beat the egg whites separately anymore, I substitute various dairy products for the sour cream and milk, I can leave out the bananas or sub sweet potatoes, and I can leave out the chocolate chips and it’s always still yummy). Plus everyone who’s tasted them has claimed they liked them (I’m pretty sure my friends are truthful, but I’m just the sort who wouldn’t know). And they don’t need syrup or powdered sugar. I’ll try to find that recipe and post it here. Or a link to it.

    The thing I make most often is chocolate milk, which is chocolate syrup and milk. The chocolate syrup is 1 cup cocoa, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, mixed and boiled for one minute. (You can boil it a little longer to make it more like hot fudge sauce.) But I also often make grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese omelets.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I believe we have answered *all* of your questions at this point!

      Update: I lied! Your next question is going up 2/6 in the absence of time-sensitive ask the grumpies questions in the mean time.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ha! Thanks! I tried to think up easy-to-answer questions which I would enjoy hearing the answers to!

    • Mrs PoP Says:

      Banana pancakes (sans chocolate) immediately came to mind! In fact they were dinner last night.

      But really, I don’t have a favorite recipe or food. I go through moods where different things sound better or worse but no one thing is always tops.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      um, the oil dunk is just messy.

      At the end, they’re hot and you rub over the top with a stick of butter (or “oleo” in the original recipe), so a little harder than a brush.

    • Debbie M Says:

      Here’s my pancake recipe as I usually make it. It’s a little weird because I prefer to use only one mixing bowl. I generally double this recipe.


      2 bananas
      1 egg
      1/2 cup fat-free yogurt (or any yogurt or sour cream)
      1 cup skim milk (or any milk)
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I’m using grapeseed oil these days)
      1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
      2 teaspoons baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      1/2 cup chocolate chips

      Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl. Add the egg to the bowl next to the bananas and beat the egg. Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and mix it all together well.

      Add the flour in a small pile on top of the liquid. Carefully sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon on top of the flour. Mix the dry ingredients as well as you can without digging into the liquid part. You can tell when it’s fairly well mixed by when the cinnamon is distributed.

      Preheat an electric skillet (or non-stick pan) to medium heat and smear butter on it.

      Meanwhile, mix the dry and liquid ingredients together, then add the chocolate chips and mix again.

      Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop batter onto pan. Cook until edges get bubbly. Flip, cook until golden brown, remove. Serve warm, or whenever.

  4. bogart Says:

    Oh gosh. Well this is really good, really easy, and I am not (would not be, haven’t tested this) welcome at certain family functions if I didn’t bring it along: chocolate mousse

    Whip 1 pint cream until it forms stiff peaks
    Melt 1 12-oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips in double-boiler

    Mix the above together. Add 1/4 cup coffee (the beverage, not the grounds!) and 2 tablespoons rum or some other spirit of your choice. Put in bowl you plan to serve from and put in fridge for 2-3 hours. Eat.

    None of the above need to be particularly good quality ingredients in order for the final product to taste great, though you have to keep an eye on the chips particularly if they are cheapish or they can sort of congeal into a chocolate blend containing clumps *after* melting. But if this happens you can serve the stuff anyway, it just provides a different texture, still tastes good.

    You can vary the above by — putting it in pretty individual serving bowls or flutes / pouring into a homemade or store bought pie crust (I use graham cracker) and calling it a pie / layering in or topping with sliced strawberries or mandarin oranges or whipped cream / sprinkling with chocolate or other flakes or chips or candies / or nuts.

  5. Sandyl FirstgenAmerican Says:

    Well as long as we’re talking spaghetti, people always rave about my red sauce and it’s SO easy. Starts much the same way as yours, saute an onion and some garlic. You can make it with or without meat, and put whatever italian spices you like, but my secret ingredient is a jar or two of roasted red peppers that have been pureed in the food processor. I used to use raw peppers in my sauce but the canned roasted red peppers pureed tastes a lot better than the raw ones (less bitter) and they’re readily available on my shelf. A tablespoon of sugar also makes it taste less acidy.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh my. I hate it when sugar is in spaghetti sauce. Also, I believe that San Marzano tomatoes are key. Now I’m all hungry. I’ll have to whip something up….

      • Rented life Says:

        No sugar in the sauce here either! We won’t buy any with sugar and if I make it (rare) there’s no sugar. And moms homemade recipe that she cans doesn’t have sugar either.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My DH and I used to have completely orthogonal spaghetti sauce preferences, and we figured out it was the sugar. Since living with me this long he no longer likes sugar in his either. (Though cooked spaghetti sauce made with raw tomatoes sometimes still needs sugar because it can be extra acidic… that’s a to-taste thing.)

      • Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

        San Marzanos are the fucken Bomb!

  6. delagar Says:

    My very favorite thing to make is potato soup, because I can make enough to eat for a week, and it is so comforting to eat. But I am about the only one in the family who truly *likes* to eat it.

    The very favorite thing I make which my family likes to eat is latkes. These are so labor intensive that I only make them once or twice a year. Oh, and pancakes. I make a killer pancake. Also very labor intensive, though.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I love potato soup, especially roast potato soup. But I shouldn’t eat potatoes so I haven’t made it in a long time. I used to make it in grad school for the undergraduate students we were in charge of because it’s cheap and yummy and homey.

  7. Katherine Says:

    I LOVE the NYTimes recipe for mujadara. It’s warm and delicious and well-seasoned and comforting and doesn’t make too many pans you have to wash after dinner.

    I also really like vegan “tuna” salad made from chickpeas, vegenaise, nutritional yeast, diced celery, diced dill pickles, green onion, and soy sauce. It tastes super good on my husband’s home-baked sourdough bread.

    Pancakes are a Saturday morning ritual for us. I started with my MIL’s recipe for oatmeal buttermilk pancakes that she got years ago from Cooking Light magazine when her boys were little. I veganized it with soymilk and white vinegar for the buttermilk and ground flax for the egg. Now I make it using white whole wheat flour, and I also adjusted the amount of liquids to make it work better for me. I always put chocolate chips and pecan bits in them.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Huh, we had that for dinner a few nights ago (the mujadara), but it was from the New Laurel’s Kitchen and just called “lentils and spinach”– but it’s almost the same recipe.

  8. Rented life Says:

    My dad’s homemade chocolate ice cream is my favorite. Lately husband has been enjoying my lasagna. Some of my favorite cookie recipes are from the Betty Crocker cookie book (molasses crinkles and chocolate crinkles). I have favorite recipes for certain things–desserts, apps etc, but not one all out favorite.

  9. J Liedl Says:

    We have several different favourites. There’s the recipe for scones that I nabbed from a grad school friend. I adore these even though I can’t have them anymore (*cough* not Primal *cough).

    I’m currently whipping up a batch of banana/almost butter muffins that are the most delectable little treats you ever imagined. *happy sigh* 2 bananas (mashed), 1 c of nut butter, 2 eggs, 1/2t baking soda, 1t apple cider vinegar, 1t vanilla, 2T maple syrup. Mix the first three together, then add the rest. Pour in muffin cups, garnish with chopped nuts or chocolate chips as desired, bake for 15 minutes at 400F.

    I just finished up a batch of homemade breakfast sausage which we use for lunches — 2t each of salt, mustard, sage, pepper and paprika, 2lbs of ground pork – melt a pat of butter in the frying pan, form pork and spices into patties (about 1.5-2″ across) and fry patties at medium heat for four minutes on each side, then drain. (I’ve crafted a completely different spice palate for using ground turkey which is also jim-dandy.)

  10. physpostdoc Says:

    I grew up on Indian food since I was raised in Delhi. I love the sambhar (which is a flavorful vegetable infused lentil soup) eaten with rice or crepes called dosas. Plus the aroma, while cooking it, reminds me of my home!

  11. Practical Parsimony Says:

    Spaghetti like my mother made it was my first thought. I make it exactly like my mother did with about 12 or more ingredients. She wrote it out for me about 40-years ago.

    Then, Mediterranean Pasta is next–the basil is yummy. A friend gave me this. I could eat this so many nights in row. It is a chicken dish which is great since chicken is one of my favorite foods.

    Homemade chocolate fudge from my mother’s recipe–pre-candy thermometer times.

  12. Revanche Says:

    Brown sugar crock pot ribs (5 minutes to prep, 4-6 hours to cook & magic deliciousness ensues) and my stone soups. Usually have some kind of meat (chicken or turkey), a handful of veggies, barley and/or pasta, and whatever spices taste right. Oh and lentil soup. I love lentil soup!

  13. Ask the grumpies: Preparing for death | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] severe.  His aunt did something similar for his other grandma before she died and finally got the actual recipes for her famous homemade food rather than the slightly wrong versions of the recipes she would give to people when […]

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