There are just some recipes that warm your heart, and for me they are a few great ones that my mom used to make for us. Were they healthy? Let's just say they warmed my heart, made my mouth water, and gave me great memories to pass on to my kids and grandkids. She would make her family comfort foods and since I am half Greek, these foods are completely on the other spectrum of foods I loved growing up. So in honor of Mother’s Day, why not make your mom one of the recipes she used to make for you? A few I really miss but don’t make very often are her rhubarb pie and party chicken. Now this isn’t quite my mom’s pie recipe, but when she was around we both agree it is really close! As a child I remember helping my mom gather rhubarb from our backyard garden or from my aunt’s garden and making it into a delicious pie. As the years went by, every spring she would reminisce about how much she loved rhubarb, especially rhubarb pie. So on one of the last Mother’s Days we had together, I made her one. It wasn’t her old recipe but an updated version. Of course, it wasn’t as good a Mom’s pie, but maybe with practice I can come close. Another is her party chicken – she would make it every time we would visit her on Hilton Head Island. It’s easy to make and yes, “to die for.” It was also my brother’s favorite! Please make your mom the recipe you always begged her to make for you. I promise you will make her day! For now, “Please Join My Table” and enjoy favorites from my mother’s kitchen.
You can start with this yummy, cold appetizer sandwich. Mom always loved crab and this is one that reminds me of her. You can cut it into smaller pieces and serve it as an appetizer.
Mom’s Crab Avocado Sandwich For One
1/4 small avocado
2 ounces cooked lump crab meat (if buying in a jar/can, drain juices)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (or cilantro), divided
Juice from 1/2 small lime (approximately 2 teaspoons)
1 small green onion, thinly sliced, green and whites separated
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large slice whole grain rustic bread, toasted
1/3 of a seedless English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork until smooth. In another small bowl, combine crab, 2 teaspoons tarragon, lime juice, onion whites, pinch of salt and pepper. Spread avocado evenly over toast, top with crab mixture, cucumber, remaining tarragon, green onion, sprinkle of paprika, pinch of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Cut in half and serve immediately.
Jean’s Party Chicken
(Always made for my brother David “The King” Kariotis) but that’s another story!
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound bacon
1 jar Armour dried beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 ounces sour cream
DIRECTIONS: Grease a large casserole dish with butter or a non-stick spray (I use a coconut oil spray). Wrap chicken with the bacon. Layer 2/3 of the beef in the dish. Place the bacon-wrapped chicken over the beef. .Top with remaining beef. In a medium bowl, mix together the mushroom soup and sour cream. Pour the mixture over the chicken dish and bake uncovered at 200 degrees for three 3 hours. The last 10 minutes, turn up the oven to 350 degrees to brown the top of the casserole.
Grandma Jean’s Rhubarb Pie
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups cane sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh orange rind, grated
2 tablespoons Triple Sec (can be omitted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 9-inch Pillsbury prepared pie crusts (one package) or homemade
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except butter. Pour into a prepared, pastry-lined, 9-inch pie pan that can withstand 450 degrees (I use a metal pan). Dot crust with butter. Cover with second pastry crust. Brush top crust with water and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 50 minutes. If necessary, cover crust if it starts to get too brown.