Our Moms’ Best Recipes

In honor of Mother’s Day, we each made some recipes that really remind us of our moms. Most aren’t the fanciest recipes, but they are the simple dishes we grew up with and every time we eat them, we think of our moms. Whether you get to be with your mom this year or not, cooking dishes that remind you of her is such a wonderful way to reconnect and think back to your childhood.

Alexys:

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the awesome moms and mother figures out there! I am so happy to be spending Mother’s Day at home this year. My mom and I would usually go out to eat and do some shopping, but it was even more lovely to spend a quiet day at home, getting to hang out and reminisce while cooking and baking together! 

Mom’s Southern Lasagna:

This is most definitely not the healthiest of meals, by any means, but it is very much delicious!  I will put some healthier and/or homemade alternatives to some of the ingredients, if you prefer to use those instead. 

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground meat of choice (bison, beef, turkey, pork, and chicken will all work, you can also make this with shredded chicken or whatever kind of meat you have)
  • Half of a white onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 1oz packets of taco seasoning 
  • Some liquid for deglazing (water or broth will work)
  • 2 cans rotel
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 package of shredded cheese, preferably cheddar but anything that melts well
  • One package of soft tortillas (we used a 10 count)
  • Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce

*Homemade Alternatives:

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a baking pan with cooking oil. Cut tortillas into half (or strips, if using bigger tortillas), set aside.

Start by browning meat and onion together in a pan. Add the taco seasoning about half way through cooking the meat. Once meat is cooked and you start to see some brown bits on the bottom of the pan, add in just enough water (or broth) to cover the bottom of the pan and let come to a simmer before scraping and stirring in all the brown bits (this is called deglazing). Once some of the liquid evaporates, add in rotel, milk, cream of mushroom, and refried beans. Let it come to a simmer, then add in cream cheese and stir until well incorporated. Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Once done, add a thin layer of your meat mixture into the bottom of the baking pan to prevent sticking, put a layer of tortillas, then a layer of cheese. Continue alternating layers until your pan is full or you run out of your meat mixture. Top with a final layer of cheese and a drizzle of your favorite hot sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking until the cheese is bubbling. Let slightly cool before serving!  

Strawberry Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing:

My mom really likes to make strawberry cake with a strawberry buttercream icing, but we weren’t able to find all of the ingredients to make it and we were missing a few ingredients to make it from scratch, so we made a few swaps and it worked out really well! I will add some recipes if you have the ingredients or would prefer to make it from scratch.  

Ingredients, with vanilla cake mix: 

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (or 1 box of strawberry cake mix)
  • 1 cup of fresh or thawed frozen strawberries, washed and chopped into smallish pieces
  • Extra strawberries to use for topping (optional)

From scratch option

We followed the directions on the box, except because we wanted to add some fresh strawberries, we only used half of the water in the recipe (the cake mix we used called for 1 cup of water so we used 1/2 cup). We figured since we were adding the strawberries that they would create some moisture while baking. They turned out wonderfully moist! 

Directions, if using vanilla cake mix:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Put liners into a cupcake pan and set aside.  Follow directions on the box, using half the water, then add in 1 cup of chopped fresh or thawed frozen strawberries to the cake mixture and stir in. Pour mixture into cupcake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done. Let cool for about an hour, then top with icing and enjoy!

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • Softened unsalted butter
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk
  • Food coloring (optional)

Here is the recipe we used. Easy to make and super yummy! I just wish I had doubled the recipe, so I would recommend doing that to make sure you have enough to ice all of the cupcakes. I also don’t normally use an electric mixer, but I did end up using it for this recipe because it made the process a bit easier. You could do it by hand as well, if you prefer or don’t have an electric mixer.  

Directions:

Follow the linked recipe. We added in a few drops of red food coloring and it gave the buttercream a nice pink hue. Once you finish making the icing, scoop into a gallon zip lock bag and put in the fridge until ready to use. Once cupcakes are cooled and ready to be iced, cut the tip of one side of the ziplock bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top with a fresh strawberry and/or some sprinkles. 

Bethany:

Enchiladas always make me think of my mom and grandma. My grandma is Mexican so she and her family can make some really amazing authentic Mexican food. My mom makes an enchilada recipe that is reminiscent of my grandma’s, but to save time she uses store bought tortillas and sauces instead of making everything from scratch. When I was a teenager and had friends over, her enchiladas were among their top picks if she made dinner for all of us. I can remember times when she would make them for me to take to school if we were having a class party and everyone would rave about how great they were. They are not only popular among people outside of my family, to this day we have enchiladas at most family gatherings. They are pretty messy to make but perfect to make when you’re feeding a lot of people or if you want to have plenty of leftovers. 

Enchilada Recipe

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 package of medium size tortillas
  • 28 oz red enchilada sauce
  • 1 package shredded cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a large pan brown the beef and add taco seasoning according to the directions on the packet.
  3. While the beef is cooking pour the enchilada sauce into a shallow dish and dip each tortilla in the sauce to coat both sides.
  4. Heat a separate pan over medium heat and vegetable oil. Once the pan and oil are hot lightly fry each tortilla allowing to sit for 3 seconds on each side then stack on a clean plate to begin assembly. 
  5. Add about ½ cup of beef to each tortilla then top with cheese and roll.
  6. Place side by side in a large baking dish and top with additional cheese.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Coconut Cream Pie

In my opinion my mom’s baking is the best. I could probably list at least a dozen of her recipes but I decided to narrow it down to her most popular one, coconut cream pie. Like her enchiladas, her coconut cream pies seem to be famous in our small town. One even sold for over $200 at a bake sale fundraiser. 

Pie crust 

  • 1 ⅓ c sifted flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c crisco
  • 3 tbls water 

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, add crisco and water and combine using a fork or pastry cutter. Place mixture in a pie pan and pat down. Poke a few holes in crust with a fork, and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until brown. 

Pie filling 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 egg yolks, save egg whites for meringue
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut, plus more for decorating

Combine sugar, flour, milk and salt into a pan, and continuously stir over medium high heat until thick then remove, about 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl beat 3 egg yolks then add 3 tablespoons of the pudding mixture you just made to egg yolks to temper. Combine egg yolk mixture and remaining pudding in pan on the stove, then add butter and vanilla extract and mix. Add shredded coconut or more to desired thickness. Reduce heat to low and stir consistently for about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and cooked. Turn off heat and prep the meringue.

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Now set oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form. Pour pie filling over pie crust, then spread meringue over pie filling sealing to the edge of the pastry. Sprinkle coconut on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue is golden. 

Taryn:

There are several distinct dishes that remind me of my mom. Like many moms her age, she didn’t cook a lot from scratch. She turned canned salmon and saltine crackers into salmon cakes. She jazzed up my ramen noodles with lots of seasonings (and sometimes cheese?) as an after-school snack. I wasn’t a picky eater and my mom embraced that. I think she took a break after my very picky, very vocal brother moved out and I got served simple dishes. All of her dishes are very comforting. I don’t really cook like my mom used to, but I do always have something in my pantry to whip up quickly when I’m hungry but not quite ready for a large meal. 

My mom is known for a lot of holiday recipes, but there are two everyday recipes that make me think of her. Loaded potato soup and biscuits and gravy. 

Loaded Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 can of chicken stock. If you don’t want to do chicken stock, replace with more milk
  • 1 small block of Velveeta cheese. Or other melty cheese, even sour cream or cream cheese would work, but Velveeta is the best for this recipe.
  • Salt, pepper, and fresh or dried parsley to taste
  • 4 pieces of bacon or a few tablespoons of Bacon Bits. I grew up eating this with bacon bits and the crunch is really nice
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup of shred cheese, preferably cheddar

Instructions:

In a large pot or Dutch over medium heat, melt butter then add onions and cook for a few minutes until onions begin to look pale. Add milk and chicken stock and heat until liquid begins to simmer. Add potatoes and season with a teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Simmer potatoes for about 15-20 minutes until fork-soft. While potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon if you are not using bacon bits and dice the green onion and cube the Velveeta cheese. Bacon will be preferably very crispy. Once potatoes are cooked, use a potato masher or back of a large fork, and go around the pot once to smash some of the potatoes. You still want most whole, but smashing some will give them nice edges and thicken the soup. If the soup seems too thick (it should be thick, but not white gravy thick), add a little more milk. Stir and add in Velveeta then turn off heat. Once cheese is melted, taste for flavor and add in more salt and pepper, and parsley as you want.

Serve in a bowl with green onions, bacon, cheese and cracked pepper on top.

Biscuits and Gravy

My mom swears her recipe tastes better because of bacon grease, so we would almost always have bacon as a side with our biscuits and gravy, plus a fried egg. If you don’t have bacon, this recipe will still taste great. I’ve made it both ways. Sausage surprisingly doesn’t give off a lot of fat to cook with, hence the large amount of butter and bacon fat. The first time I made this recipe on my own I was really nervous it would be difficult, but it came together with no issue.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), or 3/4 of a stick and 2 tablespoon of bacon grease
  • 3-5 tablespoons of flour
  • 3-4 cups of milk, preferably whole but any unsweetened milk or milk substitute will do
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 biscuits, you can pick between homemade, canned, or frozen

Instructions:

Begin to heat oven and cook biscuits according to your recipe or instructions. In a large pan set at medium heat, cook sausage, breaking up some parts finely while keeping some in chunks. Once sausage in browned, add butter (and bacon fat) until melted, then add flour a tablespoon at a time. The flour will absorb into the sausage. Continue until you notice a layer of flour on sausage. It shouldn’t be white, but more of a paste. Then add milk, starting with 3 cups. Stir consistently and bring to a simmer. If gravy is too thick, slowly add the remaining cup. The milk should take between 5-10 minutes to incorporate with sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper. The gravy should be well-seasoned. Serve over biscuits, with sides like bacon and eggs. Gravy will hold up in the fridge for a few days, but you may need to add water or milk to thin before serving again.

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