Side Dishes, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Onion Roasted Potatoes (AKA Case-Hardened Potatoes)

My apologies for not having a photo of the finished recipe. We photographed as we cooked and ate through these recipes the past year, but toward the end of our time at Mom’s house, it was not an organized effort to match photo to recipe we were capturing, as we were taking more care of the mother than the project.

Many thanks to Trudi for your support for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This one’s for you!

If you, too, would like to support my fundraising efforts for the Walk on October 1, you can donate to my page here.


Onion Roasted Potatoes “AKA Case Hardened Potatoes”

Preheat oven to 450°F

One envelope onion soup mix
Half cup olive or vegetable oil
Quarter cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Quarter teaspoon pepper
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, cut into quarters


Blend ingredients (except potatoes) in a roasting pan.
Add potatoes, turn to coat thoroughly.
Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
Makes about eight servings.
Notes: Original recipe says 60 minutes. This is crossed out, replaced with 35, as you can see in the photograph of LaVerne’s copy in her recipe journal, seen above.


This recipe also works quite well in a cast iron skillet. It is one of those recipes that makes everyone in each family generation smile, I think, whenever we mention it. There was a time when LaVerne bought Lipton’s onion soup mix by the case. We make our own blend with bouillon granules, garlic powder, ground black pepper and dehydrated onion now.

What is a recipe that makes you smile?


Side Dishes, Vegetables

Dad’s Guacamole Dip

This wouldn’t technically be called guacamole, I don’t believe, with its many extra ingredients. However, it is a delicious dip, creamy and smooth. It accompanies other food well, as we discovered when I made it to go with dinner recently, but Mike made it purely as a snack to enjoy on chips. He shared the recipe with me, handwritten on a sheet of plain paper.

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I can’t currently find it, but thankfully Mom had this version taped inside a cupboard door in her kitchen so I could post this while I frantically search for the treasure of his handwritten version.

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Guacamole Dip
1 large ripe avocado, cubed
1 8 inch stalk celery, cut into 1” pieces
1/4 small onion
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 small hot green pepper (optional)

Put all ingredients into Osterizer container. Cover and process at level one until smooth.

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** Notes

For Mom’s sake, we omitted the hot green pepper this time, but usually I’d add it. It still has plenty of great flavor without.

We used Frank’s Hot Sauce in place of the Tabasco. Use your favorite.

For those of you too young to know, an Osterizer is just a brand of blender. Use anything you like to blend it. A food processor works well, too.

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What’s your favorite creamy dip?

Side Dishes, Vegetables

Coleslaw Dressing

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Until I met this coleslaw, I wasn’t a fan. They were always too sweet or too goopy…

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This one is crisp and carries a bit of a bite. The dressing can be made ahead and that does give the flavors time to blend. It’s mixed with the cabbage right before serving and that makes it the best!

Coleslaw Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped onion
Blend well and chill. Mix with one shredded cabbage just before serving.

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As always, it’s really fun to make these dishes with Mom, especially at her house (note the nifty salt cellar in the picture above. It has always been a part of her kitchen).

We often make a half recipe of this dressing for a half cabbage, which suits our smaller crew just right. A whole cabbage makes a lot of coleslaw.

If you want it to look funny, use red cabbage. I love the taste (just a tad different), but it does look a bit strange.

Do you have a favorite make-ahead dressing or sauce?

Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

Creamy Cucumber Sauce (AKA Dilly Sauce)

For many years, there was never a piece of salmon served in the Stein household without this sauce to accompany it. We put other things on our fish now, but when we made this recipe, I remembered why it was so right with a succulent, fresh filet. On the other hand, why bother with fish to put it on when you can just eat it all up with a spoon?

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Creamy Cucumber Sauce (AKA Dilly Sauce)
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 cup finely diced cucumber
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon dill weed

Use plain salt if you aren’t a seasoned salt person. Also use a high quality sour cream since it’s the base of the sauce, and a good mayo does wonders too.

It’s really good if you make it a little while ahead. Thirty minutes is a nice amount of time for the flavors to meld. Left over for the next day, however, the juice in the cucumber can separate out and make the whole thing a bit watery. You won’t often have much left over. If it does separate, just stir it well and serve immediately.

As I mentioned, you can just gobble this stuff up with a spoon.

Extra cucumber never hurt anything in this sauce.

Sometimes there was fresh dill available and that is mighty tasty in it too.

We broke the rules recreating it here, because we served it with some grilled shrimp and a fish other than salmon. Also heavenly.

Side Dishes, Vegetables

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

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Here’s the cookbook that still resides on Mom’s counter. It’s missing the title pages and the tape that reattached the last page of the index, but the duck tape repairs on the spine still hold.

It’s been a part of the Stein kitchen as long as the boys can remember, and it’s filled with treasures and memory.

Mom didn’t ever share a recipe for this, but it started with a classic white sauce and a high quality cheddar, so this is the one from the Good Housekeeping Cook Book.

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I always marvel at how simple this really is.

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Stirring and stirring is the  key to smooth white sauce – while adding the milk slowly.

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Medium White Sauce (cream sauce)

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons flour (some people prefer to reduce flour to 1-1/2 T)

Speck pepper

1/2 tesaspoon salt

Dash paprika

1 cup milk, or part milk and part light cream

1. In double boiler (or in saucepan over low heat), melt butter; add flour, pepper, salt, paprika; stir until blended, smooth.

2. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

3. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Makes one cup.

To make cheese sauce, add 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese and dash cayenne pepper. *

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Our cauliflower was cooked in chunks. Not nearly as lovely as that whole globe.

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This original recipe calls for mustard powder here but I never remember that being used in the Stein kitchen. In my memory, maybe my own Mother’s addition of cayenne makes its way in here, but I’m fairly certain it was a part of LaVerne’s sauce, too.

A double boiler was never used, just a good heavy saucepan.

Always use a high quality cheddar. In the Stein’s house, it was invariably Tillamook.

My husband and I couldn’t agree on how the cauliflower was cooked, though it was always whole. Was it boiled or steamed? It was always lovely in the serving dish, that warm pale yellow cheese sauce flowing down the sides of the head of cauliflower.

He doesn’t remember this, but as I recall, his Mom made cheese sauce for broccoli sometimes, too. When our daughter disdained all vegetables except raw ones, she would eat cooked broccoli this way with pleasure. All the various Steins can correct me if I’m wrong…

Do you remember a sauce that made everything better?

Side Dishes, Vegetables

Green Beans

This is how green beans were always prepared at the Stein house. It’s another dish I learned by helping LaVerne in the kitchen. There was never a written recipe, so it’s recorded how we’ve remembered it. Of course, these were usually beans out of Dad’s garden, and there were lots and lots of those. The recipe applied to their canned quart jars of beans as well as the fresh ones, though, and the cooking time was adjusted to account for the form of the produce used.

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Green Beans

1 pound of fresh green beans, washed and snapped

1/2 medium onion, diced

3-4 slices of bacon, diced

Water to cover beans

Dice and then saute 3-4 slices of bacon. Drain if needed, leaving enough fat to saute the onions. Cook these two ingredients together until the onions begin to soften.

Add washed and snapped green beans and saute until the beans begin to change color to bright green. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot with about an inch of liquid and bring to a boil.

Turn down and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 20 minutes for fresh mature beans. Cooking time will vary depending on size of beans.


We use enough bacon to impart flavor to the beans but not so much that they’re greasy. The bacon we used this time turned out to be very lean and we didn’t drain it. I added no salt to this recipe, but I’m thinking some was added during cooking. LaVerne’s salt box comes to mind.

The Stein green bean recipe did not depend on measured amounts of vegetable, but whatever came out of the garden, so adjust your quantities of onion and bacon to taste. This method works well with frozen green beans, too.

If the home-canned beans were used, the juice from the jar was the only liquid.

What is your favorite three-ingredient recipe?

Side Dishes, Vegetables

Carrots and Peas

There wasn’t a written-down recipe for this. I learned it by osmosis from being in Mom’s kitchen. It was a commonly served vegetable accompaniment to almost any meal in the Stein household (the amounts here are as adapted for our small family), and is the only way I’ve ever really liked carrots cooked except as part of another dish.

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Carrots and Peas

1 pound carrots

1 cup frozen peas

2 tsp butter

1 cube chicken bouillon

1/2 cup water

Peel and slice a pound of carrots. Saute in 2 teaspoons of butter in a pan with a lid (a saucepan or saute pan works equally well) until carrots are glistening and butter begins to take on an orange color in the bottom of the pan.

Dissolve bouillon cube in half cup hot water and pour over carrots. Cover and cook until carrots are beginning to soften (about 10 minutes).

Add peas. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, until carrots are cooked to desired tenderness, and peas are hot through.

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Is there a vegetable you only like served a certain way?