Rehearsal Dinner Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

Grandma Haines cooked, froze and carted up several gallons of her famous spaghetti sauce for Uncle John and Aunt Maureen’s wedding rehearsal dinner in Portland, Oregon.  The dinner was fantastic, and the sauce was definitely an act of love.

Serves 4 – 5

2 tablespoon olive oil

Optional – 6 Italian sausages

1 pound ground beef, 85% lean

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

½ cup celery

1 green pepper, chopped

2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

½ teaspoon pepper

2 small cans tomato paste

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 large can tomato sauce

½ cup water

3 bay leafs

½ tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon sugar

Serves 8 – 10

3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional – 12 Italian sausages

3 pound ground beef, 85% lean

2 large onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 cup celery

2 green pepper, chopped

1 Tablespoon salt (or to taste)

1 teaspoon pepper

2 large cans tomato paste

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)

2 large can tomato sauce

1 cup water

6 bay leafs

1 tablespoon oregano (or more to taste)

2 tablespoon sugar

Add half the olive oil to a hot dutch oven. Brown Italian sausages (if using) remove from pan and cut sausages in half. Sweat onions, celery, green pepper until soft and starting to brown. Add beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned.  Make a well in the middle of the meat. Add the remaining olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and tomato paste.  Sauté until tomato paste is browned and fragrant.

Add tomato sauce, water, bay leaf, oregano, and sugar.  Add back in the halved sausages. Simmer for 2 hours.

Serve over spaghetti. Top with grated parmesan.


Beef Brisket with Grandma’s BBQ Sauce

Brisket with BBQ Sauce

This is a perfect “company is coming” dish that takes very little last minute preparation. If making Grandma’s cheesy potatoes, the potatoes can cook while the brisket is cooling.

Serves 5 – 6

5 pound beef brisket (Grandma trims fat to ¼ inch for a leaner dish)

Liquid Smoke

Garlic salt

Onion salt

Ground pepper

Celery salt

Brush brisket liberally with liquid smoke. Season with the garlic, onion, pepper, and celery salt. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Bake 5 hours at 275º .  Let cool and slice thin.

Grandma’s BBQ Sauce

Grandma's BBQ Sauce

2 cups catsup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (not dry)

4 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Turn off when sauce looks smooth.

Kahlua Bundt Cake


Originally a Grandma Haines special recipe, this cake is a favorite with the Correll family and has been featured at many a birthday party.

Serves 6 – 8
Preheat oven to 350º

Butter for coating the punt cake pan

1 package yellow cake mix
1 small vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Kahlua Glaze

2 cups powder sugar

2-3 Tablespoons Kahlua

Mix all ingredients together and stir until smooth. Pour into a generously buttered bundt pan. Bake for approximately 50-60 min. Cool for 1 hour. Mix powdered sugar and Kahlua glaze is pourable. Drizzle over cake and let harden.

Serve with ice cream.

Grape-Nut Pudding

Grapenut pudding

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the birthplace of Robert Francis Haines, aka Grandpa Haines. As a young boy, Grandpa would learn to eat New England classics (boiled meat dinner anyone?) that would make a Yankee proud.  Grape-Nut pudding was one of those dishes that Grandma makes for him on his birthday as an alternative to his much beloved blueberry pie.

Serves six

Preheat oven to 350º

1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal

4 cups (1 quart) whole milk

¾ cup sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon. vanilla

Sprinkling of ground nutmeg

Mix thoroughly and pour into an oven safe bowl or 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Bake 30 – 40 minutes until outside is firm, but middle jiggles slightly.  Let rest for 1 hour.

Serve with whipping cream

Cheddar Cheese Spread with Sherry


This is a great spread to serve with crackers and a good glass of wine.

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoon sherry

Cayenne pepper to taste.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients and chill for several hours.

Chicken in a Bisket Crackers

Grandma Haines and Chicken in a Biskit Crackers…

There is a shelf of wonder in Grandma’s kitchen. The high cabinet over the stove always contains an endless supply of chips and crackers. Granted, some of them are well past their freshness date. But keep digging – there will always be a fresh box in there somewhere.  And if you are lucky, you will find the best box of crackers ever….

Chicken in a Biskit crackers, by Nabisco… Grandma is the only person I know that serves these delectable crackers. An odd combination of salty, chicken ramen packet seasonings on a cracker, these are highly addictive treats that perfectly offset the richness of cheese.  A good glass of wine, this sherry cheese spread, and Chicken in a Biskit crackers… The perfect  four o’clock wine time. Now all you need to do is snag one of the rocking chairs on the top deck and enjoy  the great food and fantastic Southern California view.

Mostaccioli Salad

mostaccioli salad

Serves 6

1 pound mostaccioli noodles

12 slices bacon, cut into 1’ pieces

1 tsp garlic salt

½  cup sugar

5  carrots , shredded

3 large green peppers, diced

1 large onion, diced

2 ½ cups  Miracle Whip (not mayonnaise)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook noodles until al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain noodles, blanch with warm water. Set aside.

Fry bacon pieces until crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. In the bacon drippings, add all other ingredients and stir.

Mix noodles with dressings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon on top.  Serve at room temperature

Special Occasion Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

Ahh, Grandma’s fruit salad.  This dish is a constant at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, wedding and baby showers, and countless other special gatherings. Built by combining a variety of canned and fresh fruit, this is a great salad to make during winter months when fresh fruit isn’t at its best. During the rest of the year, other berries can be added to dress it up.

Serves 6

Any combination of canned/fresh fruit will do.

1 – 15 oz can fruit cocktail (or peaches or pears)

1 – 15 oz can pineapple chunks

1 – 15 oz can peach slices

1 – 15 oz can Mandarin orange slices

1 small package Jell-O Cook and Serve Vanilla Pudding (not instant)

1 tablespoon butter

2 bananas

1-2 cups seedless grapes (any kind)

Drain canned fruit and save the juices  to make the pudding. You should have 2 cups liquid (add orange juice or other fruit juice if you do not have 2 cups).

Combine juice, butter and pudding  mix. Follow cooking instructions and cook until the pudding thickens and becomes slightly opaque.

Refrigerate sauce and fruit separately until ready to serve. When ready to serve, drain fruit again and add banana cut into chunks and grapes. Pour sauce over, stir and serve.

7 Layer Salad

layered salad

This is a perfect summer make ahead dish that Grandma Haines puts together before heading off to run errands (yard work with Grandpa, Alter Guild at Hephatha, LWML meetings, Thursday morning Bible study, Republican Women – Grandma has a servant’s heart).

Serves 4 – 6

1 head lettuce, shredded (iceberg or romaine works well)

5 stalks celery, diced

1 medium red onion, diced

½ large green pepper, diced,

1 package frozen green peas, thawed and separated


2 cups mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup Romano Cheese, shredded


2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

2 tomatoes, diced

8 slices bacon, crumbled


Place lettuce, celery, red onion, green peppers, then peas in layers in a deep bowl.

Spread mayonnaise completely over the top to seal in the greens. Sprinkle sugar and Romano cheese over the top.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving add hard-boiled eggs,  tomatoes, and crumbled bacon

Toss and serve

Potato Casserole


These are the best, cheesy, crunchy, wonderful potatoes in the world.  Grandma Haines would make these when family came for dinner and she was serving ham or beef.

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 350º

2 ½ pounds fresh or frozen, thawed hash brown potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup cream of chicken soup

¼ cup butter, melted

1-1/2  cups sour cream

½  teaspoon pepper

3 green onions, chopped (green and whites)

1 cup grated cheese (divided)

½ cup corn flakes.

Toss potatoes with salt in a large microwaveable bowl. Cover and microwave 5 minutes or until potatoes are softened.

Mix melted butter and soup with potatoes. Add, pepper, sour cream, onions and half the cheese. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 45 -50 minutes. Remove foil, then sprinkle with remaining cheese and cornflakes.  Broil for 5 minutes.

Brisket with homemade BBQ Sauce, Pantry coleslaw and these potatoes makes for a fantastic “company is coming” dinner. Take a hint from Grandma and finish this meal off with her chocolate surprise cake and vanilla ice cream.

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken wings

Serves 4

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup sugar

¼ cup sake (Grammy White variation – Sherry)

1 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 chicken in pieces, thighs and wings work best (or 3 pounds chicken wings).

Place all ingredients (except chicken) in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens.  Add chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat of medium and continue to cook 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove pieces and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil long enough to set glaze. CAUTION – THIS BURNS EASILY AND BECOMES “HAINES TOAST” quickly.

Remember the rules of Haines Toast – the chef eats the burned pieces unless Grandma or Uncle Neil is present.