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Mar 15, 2011 10:29 AM

Do you have a recipe that works so well that you have no interest in trying another?

There are several baked goods that I make that always come out perfectly and are always loved by those I serve them to. I have no interest in trying another recipe for pecan tassies, and sticky toffee pudding, for example. I love the recipes I have and can't imagine one better. Yesterday, when I was making lemon meringue pie, I was tempted to try another recipe other than the one I usually make, and at the last minute, I went with the tried and true. It's funny because I am completely open to trying many different kinds of recipes. Do you have a recipe for something that you feel is the best in its class and that you go back to time and time again despite many available other recipes.

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  1. My meatballs. No CH'er or TV chef is going to convince me to change how I make them. Not ever! They are distinctly mine.

    10 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Ha, ha! I feel that way about MY meatballs too -- and my sauce!

      1. re: roxlet

        My sauce isn't perfected yet. I mean, it's tasty, but not really special, so to speak. Any tips?

      2. re: monavano

        I would love to hear the recipe for this :)... been looking for some great meatball recipes

          1. re: darrentran87

            My meatballs are supremely simple and wonderfully delicious. For each pound of meat (I usually do 85-90% lean) finely chop one clove of garlic and about 10 good sized leaves of Italian parsley. Add one egg, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese, and enough unseasoned breadcrumbs to keep the whole thing together. Start with 1/4 cup and see how that works -- they shouldn't be wet. Form into meatballs, but don't squeeze them to death, and fry in a little olive oil. That's it, easy as can be

            1. re: roxlet

              I heard a really good tip on Chef At Home once regarding the "breadcrumb theory" and how they dry out the meat mixture. Contrary to popular belief, it's the egg that binds not the breadcrumb. If you want your meatballs extra moist, try soaking some plain white bread in some milk and add that to the mixture. Tried and true.

              1. re: levanty

                I have never used a panade in making my meatballs, though I know some do. I guess that I am stuck with making them the way my mother did.

                1. re: levanty

                  when i was a kid, and my mom made cabbage and meatballs, she used rice in the meatballs, no bread crumbs...

              1. My chocolate layer cake. It's from an old Better Homes & Gardens Pies and Cakes cookbook, and it's called "Mother's Best Fudge Cake." I think my husband would leave me if I tried another recipe! He requests (demands?) this cake every year for his birthday and for his Veterans' Day meal. The icing is just as special as the cake, although I learned years ago not to mention to anyone that the secret to its creaminess is the egg yolk. I had a guest or two freak out over that, but I've made this recipe for decades and we've never had any ill effects.

                14 Replies
                1. re: marisold

                  Would you be willing to share this? I am still trying to find that perfect chocolate frosting and I love chocolate cake. Pretty please? :)

                  Oops just saw the frosting recipe below. Can you still post the cake recipe?

                  1. re: marisold

                    marisold, would you mind posting the recipe for your chocolate cake? I would love to have a recipe like that in my repertoire. Thanks!

                    1. re: marisold

                      @ marisold...would you please share your chocolate layer cake recipe??

                      1. re: aminaomer

                        oh yes, please do! I just got a request for a chocolate cake for sunday's BBQ - i had been looking forward to making breadcrumb's suggested chocolate pudding - that will have to wait for another day - and probably sooner than later as I started salivating while making the shopping list for the pudding!

                      2. re: marisold

                        I'm really confused. I just made this recipe and the cake layers are much lighter than I would have expected for a cake with "fudge" in the name...the batter was the color of chocolate milk and the cakes are sort of the color of really dark (but not burnt) toast. I am a very careful and precise baker and I triple-checked the amounts, but I measured everything correctly. Is this the color it's supposed to be? I don't mind so long as it TASTES fudgy...?

                        1. re: Psyche1226

                          It could be because its an older recipe. I've got one here for Nut Tree's original fudge cake; it came out about as you described, with a light chocolate flavor. When I saw that the cake was going to turn out so light--I added a little cinnamon and some cardamon to change the direction. It went over bigger than the chocolate one generally does.

                          Good luck!

                          1. re: Charlotte313

                            Could be; I just don't understand how anyone could call it fudgy, unless fudge was only mildly chocolatey in the 60's... :D Also, marisold described it as a "deep chocolate cake" and said that the lighter chocolate frosting went well with it for that very reason...

                            1. re: Psyche1226

                              It's really only since Maida Heatter's first book in the 70's that chocolate desserts became super chocolaty. It was a relatively expensive ingredient.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Yes...I understand this. However that still does not explain why the original poster, making the cake in the present, still refers to it as a deep chocolate cake.

                        2. re: marisold

                          Would you be kind enough to share your recipe for "mother's best fudge cake" recipe. I tried online and wasn't sure which one you were referring to.

                          1. re: Seema96

                            MOTHER'S BEST FUDGE CAKE
                            ("Better Homes and Gardens" Pies & Cakes Cookbook, 1966)
                            2/3 c. sugar
                            1/2 c. milk
                            1 slightly beaten egg
                            3 (1 oz.) sq. unsweetened
                            1/2 c. shortening
                            1 c. sugar
                            1 tsp. vanilla
                            2 eggs
                            2 c. sifted cake flour
                            1 tsp. soda
                            1/2 tsp. salt
                            1 c. milk

                            In saucepan, combine sugar, milk, egg and unsweetened

                            Cook and stir over medium heat until chocolate
                            melts and mixture comes just to boiling. Cool.

                            Gradually, add 1 cup sugar to shortening, creaming until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add remaining eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each.

                            Sift together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture alternately with 1 cup milk, beating just until smooth after each addition. Blend in the cooled chocolate mixture

                            Bake in 2 greased and lightly floured 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.

                            Cool; frost and fill with chocolate frosting. Decorate with chocolate curls.

                            1. re: BlackAnemone

                              This sounds very good. Look how much less sugar there is in it than would be the case with a cake recipe today.

                          2. re: marisold

                            I have a chocolate cake recipe that I once used for cupcakes, and paired them with an egg yolk butter cream. Everyone raved, especially about the icing, and I was afraid to mention the egg yolk, too. Is the frosting from Fannie Farmer? The only time I'm cautious about it is if I know pregnant women are going to eat the cake. It really is extra delicious.

                          3. Hi all,

                            My Fudgey Brownies. Hershey's Easy-Does-It recipe. From an ad in a 1982 women's magazine.

                            Marisold - is that frosting, by chance, Chocolate Satin Frosting? If it is, definitely a winner. Absolutely delicious!


                            6 Replies
                            1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                              In the BH&G cookbook it's just called "chocolate frosting"--it only has one 1-oz. square of unsweetened chocolate, so it's a wonderful contrast to the deep chocolate cake. The addition of the egg yolk makes it sooooooo light and creamy!

                              1. re: marisold

                                That frosting sounds so unusual. Would you mind sharing?

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Cream 6 tablespoons softened butter with half a box of powdered sugar. Add one egg yolk, a one-ounce square of unsweetened chocolate that you've melted and cooled a bit, and a teaspoon and a half of vanilla extract. (I usually add just a bit of almond extract, too.) Add the rest of the box of powdered sugar along with enough cream or half and half to make it spreadable. This will frost a two-layer cake.

                                  1. re: marisold

                                    That sounds great!

                                    Not too much chocolate in it. The one I mentioned has 3 1/2 squares to 3 cups sugar.


                                    1. re: marisold

                                      How much is in a box of powdered sugar? It comes in different size bags where I live, not boxes.

                                      1. re: FrenchSoda

                                        a box is usually a US pound - 16 ounces (imperial)

                              2. My focaccia recipe, altho' I do tweak it from time to time.

                                1. My no-fail, best-ever, crisp on the edges and soft in the middle peanut butter cookies.
                                  My sweet and sour meatballs.
                                  My Halushka. I would not, could not change it.
                                  My Kreplach.
                                  My Challah, which is really my gramma's.
                                  My incredibly easy trash curry which tastes authentic and is delicious. Okay, that one I play with a lot but the base recipe is the same.

                                  42 Replies
                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Oh, I've been looking for a PB cookie like that, care to share?

                                    1. re: ChrisKC

                                      Of course you can have the recipe! Why else are we here?
                                      1/2 c. butter or margarine (IMO margarine provides a better result here)
                                      1/2 c. peanut butter
                                      1/2 c. white sugar
                                      3/4 c. brown sugar
                                      1 egg
                                      1 t. vanilla
                                      1&1/4 c. ap flour
                                      1/2 t. salt - 1 t. if pb is unsalted variety
                                      1/2 t. baking powder
                                      1/2 t. baking soda
                                      I actually use my food processor for these, but of course a bowl works just as well. Oven 350.
                                      Cream margarine and pb, cream in sugars. Add egg and vanilla; blend well. Add
                                      flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and blend well. Refrigerate one hour. Roll into one-inch balls; roll balls in sugar and flatten onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 10 minutes; don't overbake.
                                      Like I said, these make a delicious, crispy edged cookie. Some people like a denser texture, although I swear by these, but in the event that you prefer a "sandier" cookie:
                                      Oven 350
                                      Thoroughly cream 1 c. peanut butter with 1 c. granulated sugar. Blend in one egg. Mixture will be a little oily-looking and crumbly. Make balls; flatten onto foil-lined cookie sheets and bake about 6 minutes, maybe 7. These are best when they look underdone.
                                      But as I said, the first recipe gets my top recommend. I hope you enjoy it.

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        Thank you, I may even try these this weekend.

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          You think the crappy reduced fat Skippy M bought in a moment of madness would work in these?

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            You know, I think it prolly would; and I'd add a tablespoonful of molasses or golden syrup for a little depth and moisture in that case. And I think you should, too! : )

                                            1. re: mamachef

                                              WTH not! Must do (just wish it'd use up the whole dang jar).

                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                I'd add a tablespoonful of molasses or golden syrup
                                                my PB cookies wouldn't be complete without molasses!

                                            2. re: mamachef

                                              i love peanut butter cookies! thanks for sharing, miss mamachef!

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Oh, you are so welcome! I hope you like them, they come together in no time flat and even I can't wreck 'em. ; )

                                              2. re: mamachef

                                                I did make these this weekend and I loved the texture. The sandy ones are what I was used to and I wanted something different. They had a very nice but tender chew to them. I did use butter because that;s what I had. Thanks again, this is my new pb cookie recipe!

                                                1. re: ChrisKC

                                                  I am so glad you enjoyed them Chris! I make a batch just about every single weekend.

                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                  They sound delicious! All of those ingredients are in my cupboard - trying them this week - thanks so much for sharing @mamachef!

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    mamachef, these are amazing! Absolutely the best PB cookie I have ever had. I love how the edges are so crisp but the middle is nice and chewy. I've had a hard time making these in the past (I dunno, seemed too dry and sandy), but I kept trying because they're hubby's favorite. His coworkers bring him ones from the bakery because mine weren't right! So, thank you again. I can see myself making these every weekend also.

                                                3. re: mamachef

                                                  I would also like to see that PB cookie recipe. Very much. I used to love the Better Homes & Gardens recipe, but my tastes must have changed.

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    mamachef - I'd love to try the s/s meatballs and do you serve as an app or entree?

                                                    1. re: flfoodie2

                                                      I am so sorry it took me so long to get back to you; it's been a busy couple of days. It's fairly late Fri. and I'm going to hit the hay, but I am one helluvan early riser so I'll meet you in the morning with the recipe - which by the way, I have served both ways, but we prefer as an entree.

                                                      1. re: flfoodie2

                                                        Hi flfoodie2: famous last words. Some days I rise earlier than others. Ok, so these; I start them in the morning and let them either sit in the sauce all day and then re-heat, or just dump into the crockpot to let them simmer on slow once they're browned and in the sauce. Make the sauce first and have it at a simmer. Please read to end of recipe before starting re: thickening.
                                                        1 onion, half sliced and half small dice, divided
                                                        1 green pepper, ditto, divided
                                                        2 large cloves garlic, minced and divided
                                                        1 tb. oil, any kind
                                                        1 can diced tomatoes in juice
                                                        1 can best-quality tomato sauce
                                                        1/2 c. dark brown sugar (though any sugar will work, but if you use white add a tb. molasses)
                                                        1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh preferred (cider vinegar will work also; lemon juice is better.)
                                                        1/2 t. salt, good grind pepper
                                                        healthy dash each: ginger, allspice, cloves
                                                        Saute the veg, reserving diced for use in meatballs. Mix rest of sauce ingredients; bring to a slow boil and then to a simmer in v. large saucepan or baking dish.
                                                        1&1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
                                                        sauteed vegies (reserved diced onion, garlic and pepper)
                                                        1/2 t. salt
                                                        1/2 c. breadcrumbs, oatmeal, crushed crackers: whatever binder you have on hand
                                                        2 eggs
                                                        1/4 c. ketchup
                                                        1/2 c. flour on plate
                                                        2 t. oil
                                                        Gently mix meatball ingredients - you should get about 20 decent-sized from this quantity. Roll them in flour and brown them very well in med. hot oil. This gives a better flavor and prevents them from falling apart in the sauce, although it doesn't prevent absorption of sauce. When meatballs are brown you can:
                                                        Put them in the sauce and simmer, stovetop, for up to 6 hours, veryveryveryvery low heat.
                                                        Put them in a 350 oven for 2-3 hours
                                                        Put them in a 200 oven for 8-9 hours
                                                        Put them into a low crockpot all day
                                                        Put them into a high crockpot 4-5 hours
                                                        Taste for salt/pepper and sweet/sour ratio. When this needs thickening, I usually crush in a few gingersnap cookies for flavor and thickening; you can also add a handful of raisins to the sauce which is very nice. We like this best with egg noodles or spaetzle, buttered w/ dill weed, and a pretty plain green vegie, although when my husband's not around I can get away with serving this with steamed shredded cabbage dressed with a little vinegar, caraway, and sour cream. Yum on a plate. The longer you cook them, that much better they'll be. Also fantastic frozen, or chilled and reheated; one of those "next day" dishes.I hope you like it.

                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                          Love your various cooking modes and timing. You got it going on, seriously.

                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                            mamachef..thanks so much for the great detailed recipe, looking forward to making it!

                                                            1. re: flfoodie2


                                                              I can't wait to try your meatballs. Thank you for the very detailed recipe, I have been searching for a go-to meatball recipe, I am hoping this one will be it.

                                                        2. re: mamachef

                                                          Mamachef-How about your halushak recipe please?

                                                          1. re: SIMIHOUND

                                                            Of course, SIMI! And Happy Purim, and first Official Day of Spring to you!
                                                            1 med. head white cabbage, cored and shredded very finely
                                                            3/4 lb. butter (margarine if Kashrut is of concern), divided
                                                            2 lg. white onions, thinly sliced
                                                            kosher salt, fresh-ground black pepper
                                                            1 lb. med. egg noodles, fresh if possible
                                                            2 c. sour cream, smetana, or IMO; yogurt works too but for this, the richer the better
                                                            Poppyseeds, lightly toasted in small skillet and set aside
                                                            In huge skillet, melt half the butter and saute onions until just soft. Add cabbage to skillet and cook over med-low heat for roughly 45 minutes, until almost meltingly soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook egg noodles until just toothy in boiling salted water; drain well, and add to skillet. Turn heat up; add more butter as necessary and saute until light brown. Toss with sour cream; top with poppyseeds or toasted breadcrumbs. Serves 6-8 generously and is best with a lean braise of some type, or roasted chicken.

                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                              mamachef - thank you for the fond memory throwback to my Hungarian grandmother - I have copied your recipe and look forward to trying it.

                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                Thanks. I am drooling already. When I get around to making this I will respond back.

                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                  Oh, I make a dish like this with just cabbage, butter and rice noodles. But poppy seeds, onions sour cream and breadcrumbs would make this all the more addicting. Soon on the menu, I'm sure.

                                                                  Once I start running again in the morning, I mean. Which is *soon*. ;)

                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                    a little running inspiration for you:

                                                                    in the meantime, you could just cut back on the butter & use low-fat sour cream or yogurt ;)

                                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                      "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow......" - which is REALLY when I'm going to start exercising routinely. You betcha!

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        So funny you said that, I've had that song stuck in my head ever since this rainy weather rolled in. You know, the rainy weather that makes a run seem like a bad idea, and every pasta dish that involves cream and cheese seem like a fantastic one?

                                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                                  Mamachef, I'd love to know your recipes for challah and kreplach. Thanks!

                                                                  1. re: jns7

                                                                    Here's the Kreplach, jns7: Challah to follow shortly. Hope you enjoy. If you're running late you can purchase pre-made Won Ton wrappers if you want, for the kreplach pasta.
                                                                    2 eggs
                                                                    1/2 t. salt
                                                                    1 T. oil
                                                                    3/4 to 1 c. flour, sifted
                                                                    1 c. finely minced cooked chicken
                                                                    2T. chopped Fresh parsley
                                                                    1/2 T. minced fresh ginger
                                                                    1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
                                                                    1 T. melted butter or margarine
                                                                    1/2 t. salt
                                                                    pinch ground pepper
                                                                    4 c. good chicken stock, preferably w/ vegetables cooked in it and strained.
                                                                    Combine eggs with salt and oil. Gradually add enough flour to make firm dough. Set aside. Combine chicken and 1 T. chopped parsley. Add onion, butter, salt, pepper and ginger. Roll out dough to 1/16" thick and cut into 2-inch squares. Place meat filling in center of each square. Fold each square in half diagonally, and use a fork to crimp edges. Leave pasta to dry on a floured cloth for an hour. Bring stock to boil in lg. saucepan. Add filled pasta and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes. Serve soup garnished with remaining chopped parsley.
                                                                    1/2 t. salt

                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                      I can't wait to try this. I've always been a bit intimidated by the notion of making kreplach, but now that I've looked at your recipe it doesn't seem so scary after all. I'm looking forward to your challah recipe, too.

                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                        Hmmm. Ravioli by any other name... Sounds delicious, mamachef!!

                                                                      2. re: mamachef

                                                                        I'd love to see your challah recipe. I'm just starting to bake my own bread and I love challah. Thank you!

                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                          Mamachef, I would love to have your trash curry recipe, if you can stand to post another one. Maybe you need to write your own cookbook!

                                                                          1. re: Kiyah

                                                                            Hi Kiyah, no problem. Food is love, it's here to be shared. :)

                                                                            Trash Curry (Aka Hara Curry, by my kids) to serve 2-3 (big appetites)

                                                                            Start steaming 2 c. raw rice - I'm assuming short-grain and allowing 20 minutes.


                                                                            1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed 1-2"

                                                                            1 Tb. high-quality curry powder, divided

                                                                            3/4 t. salt

                                                                            1/2 t. pepper

                                                                            1/2 chopped onion, any kind

                                                                            1 T. oil, whatever kind

                                                                            1 Can coconut milk, unsweetened, well stirred (13 1/2 ozs. - Chaokachi's a good brand)

                                                                            2 T. tomato paste

                                                                            1 bag baby spinach

                                                                            1 cup chopped tomato

                                                                            While rice steams, sprinkle the chicken with 2 t. curry, salt and pepper. In a large skillet, saute chicken and onion in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in coco milk and tomato paste and remaining curry powder, and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes until thickened. Add spinach and tomato; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve with rice. If you've kicked ass and have the time and the ingredients, chop some cilantro and wedge some limes to serve alongside with hot sauce. Or don't. It's still delicious.

                                                                            This dish can be played with in so many ways. If it sounds like too much coconut, you can sub in half chicken broth. I have frequently added smashed garlic and minced fresh ginger, and sauteed bell peppers and a hot chile with the onions and chicken, and I've used prawns in place of the chicken, setting them aside when done and letting liquid reduce, then re-adding to just heat. I've also used browned chicken thighs, and simmered longer. There are myriad garnishes. But the reason I love this recipe is that we really love curry, and on a busy night when everyone's starving, this so fits the bill without having to grind spices, go out, or go insane from wanting it.

                                                                            I also like to serve this with a tangy raita.

                                                                            Hope you like.

                                                                          2. re: mamachef

                                                                            Sadly, I don't know what halushka, kreplach and challah is/are (challah is a bread, right?).......



                                                                            1. re: DonnaMarieNJ

                                                                              Halushka is a saute'ed green cabbage and noodles dish common to central Europe. Kreplach are small dumplings filled with ground meat, potatoes and veggies and served in chicken broth or chicken soup. Those foods are all staples of delis.

                                                                              You're correct that challah is a eggy and slightly sweet bread usually baked on Friday afternoon for the Jewish holiday day of Saturday.

                                                                            2. re: mamachef

                                                                              Mama chef: Is challah hard to make? do you think I should do a test run before the night I wanna serve it?

                                                                              1. re: drewb123

                                                                                I'm not mama chef, but I'd say that if you have baked bread before, challah shouldn't be too hard to make. One thing thatni wouldnwatch out for is the bread browning too quickly since most recipes for challah contain a fair amount of sugar. Other than that, it's an egg bread that someone who has baked bread before shouldn't have much trouble with.

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  i will never forget ..... i was a newlywed - many moons ago - and was so excited to have our dearest friends over for dinner - and for some reason I attempted to make a challah - it was so dense that if i had dropped it, the joke still till today, is that it would have broke a toe!

                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                    Too much eggs and butter and not enough yeast to lift those ingredients would definitely give you a toe breaker!