Church ladies, every church has them and they are truly a blessing from above - many of them still remind you of "The Waltons" Baldwin sisters - prim, nicely dressed and very genteel (without "the recipe," hopefully). Some will be in the latest designer fashions and others in jeans and tees. Having attended mostly small, Southern churches all my life, first as a parishioner and later as a minister’s wife, I have been privileged to know many of these ladies, even occasionally being one myself. An astute minister will swiftly learn that the church ladies really run the church and I commend my husband on being a fast learner. They come in all shapes and sizes, old and young. Other than church dinners, you may not pay a lot of attention to them until something tragic befalls your family and they appear: casseroles, fried chicken, BBQ and desserts in hand. They will sit with you, cry with you, water your plants and walk your dogs until you can once again take care of them yourself.
Coconut Sour Cream Cake
Loving, giving, faithful and courageous, they are also the best cooks on this Earth. I love each and every one of these wonderful women from every church I have ever attended, but one church stands out in particular - East End United Methodist Church in Decatur. I would put those ladies up against any cooks anywhere. I gained about 30 pounds while we were there. I am just now getting the weight off. The ladies (and a gentleman) have given me permission to use some of their collected recipes.
Mary Delph is an associate editor with AFC Cooperative Farming News.
3 large or 4 small chicken breasts
½ cup sweet pickles
½ cup green grapes, quartered and cut in half
½ cup cheese, shredded
1 can of Mandarin oranges (drained and chopped)
½ cup (or enough to moisten the mixture) mayonnaise
Dash of pepper
Juice from ½ lemon
Mix all together except lemon. Squeeze lemon over mixture.
ORA LEE'S PINK SALAD
2 small (or 1 large) boxes strawberry gelatin
1 carton cottage cheese
1 (8-ounce carton) whipped topping
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 cup pecans, crushed (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together and chill.
Ora Lee Wade
COCA-COLA FRIED CHICKEN
1 cut-up chicken or equal chicken parts
1 cup ketchup
8 ounces Coca-Cola
Remove skin from chicken.
Place chicken in a skillet. Mix coke and ketchup. Pour over the chicken. Bring everything to a boil. Lower to simmer until chicken is tender. Makes wonderful BBQ!
1 box Stovetop cornbread stuffing
Boiled, seasoned chicken, cut up
¼ cup onion, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
½ stick butter, melted
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
1 cup broth from boiling the chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cheese, shredded
Mix everything except the soup and cheese into a baking dish. You may refrigerate this overnight if you wish. Top the mixture with soup and then cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
Note from Mary: I use chicken bouillon cubes (one per cup of water used to boil the chicken) for seasoning the chicken while it boils.
1½ pounds ground beef or chuck
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cans Bush’s Baked Beans
2 cans navy beans
1 cup brown sugar
Big squirt of mustard
6 strips bacon, fried and broken up
Brown the ground beef and onions. Add beans and their juice. Stir in brown sugar, bacon pieces and mustard.
Mrs. Jeanette Williams
1½ pounds yellow summer squash
1 cup sour cream
1 small jar pimentos
4 small carrots, grated
1 package herb bread stuffing
1 can cream of chicken soup or mush- room soup
2 small onions, chopped fine
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
Cook the squash in salted water. Drain and mash. Add remaining ingredients. Mix butter with stuffing mix. Line a baking dish with stuffing mix and put the remainder of the stuffing mix on top of the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.
In loving memory of Mrs. Coleen Brown
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 cup sugar
½ cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup of milk
Mix together all ingredients and put in a casserole dish.
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup nuts, chopped
Mix all ingredients and sprinkle over the uncooked sweet potato mixture. Bake 23 minutes at 350°.
Mrs. Jean Legg
|MARCELLE'S STRAWBERRY DESSERT
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
1 pound box frozen sliced strawberries, partially thawed
1 (12-ounce can) crushed pineapple, with juice
3 or more large bananas, chopped
1 (12-ounce) container of whipped topping
1 cup pecans, optional
Cream cream cheese and sugar together. Mix with remaining ingredients. Freeze.
Mrs. Dorothy Bullard
EASY PUNCH BOWL CAKE
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 (16-ounce) bag marshmallows
1 (16-ounce) bag coconut
1 (16-ounce) container whipped topping
Chocolate syrup (optional)
Nuts, chopped (optional)
Prepare cake according to box directions. Make 2 layers and cool. Slice each layer in half, making a total of 4 layers. In sauce pan, melt marshmallows and sugar in milk. Mix in coconut. Place first cake layer on a cake plate and top with coconut mixture. Alternate cake layer and coconut mixture until all four layers are on cake plate. Top with whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and add nuts.
Mrs. Wanda Cottongin
COCONUT SOUR CREAM CAKE
1 box yellow cake mix
1small box instant vanilla pudding mix
½ cup cooking oil
1 cup water
Sift mixes together. Add eggs, oil and water. Mix thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased cake pans and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
12 ounces fresh or frozen coconut (MUST be frozen or fresh-NOT canned)
Mix well and spread between layers.
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
12 ounces fresh or frozen coconut (again not canned)
When you are ready to serve the cake, cook sugar and water until you can spin a 6-8” string. While the syrup is cooking, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until mixture is stiff. Add the cooked syrup to this mixture and cool. Ice the cake and top with coconut.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup cooking oil
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups carrots, grated
Mix all the ingredients and pour into a greased and floured pan. Bake 50 minutes at 350°. Turn out and cool on racks.
½ stick butter
1 (6-ounce) package cream cheese
1 pound sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Ice the cake. Sprinkle the cake with nuts if desired and refrigerate.
(This is my personal favorite to take to events when I am being a church lady.)
CHEESE AND SAUSAGE BALLS
1 heaping cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 pound hot sausage
2 cups Bisquick
Tabasco sauce to taste
Have all the ingredients at room temperature before starting. Combine all ingredients and shape into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
Rev. Steve McCurry (former pastor of East End)
(No, he is not one of the church ladies, but he said if I didn’t use one of his recipes he would be mad at me.)
Church ladies (and gentlemen) everywhere, we salute you. For the people you have touched with your love, you are angels walking this earth.