One year sometime in my pre-teen years, I took all of my Mom’s conglomeration of recipes and wrote them all out on index cards and put them in a book for her birthday (this was before the advent of the USEFUL home computer. We had one, but the printer was still dot matrix with continuous feed paper, and I don’t think we had a Word Processing program, so hand written it was). I told her that I wanted a copy of it when I got married. I don’t remember ever saying anything else about it, but I remembered vividly my desire for that cookbook. It represented so much of what my family was. The week before my wedding, I thought that Mom had forgotten, because I had yet to see a copy of the family cookbook. A couple of days before the big day, she took me to Nabeel’s for lunch. She gave me a present – the cookbook. But it was better than the handwritten one. She had stayed up late for nights and nights typing up recipes, inserting family photos, putting together bible verses and quotes about marriage, and writing stories to go along with the recipes. And to top it all off, she really didn’t know how to do all of that on the computer until she had to teach herself painstakingly those many nights after I had gone to bed. I opened up to the front page, and she had scripture that she said God had shown her as passages for Chris and my marriage – excerpts from Deuteronomy 8. I had not ever told her until that moment, but Chris had read that passage to me many times and had told me that it was the scripture that represented our future life together. It gave me chills! That cookbook is most definitely one of my most treasured possessions.

I just finished typing up 17 of our favorite family recipes from our cookbook to submit for a cookbook that our Women’s Ministry is putting together, and thought that I would share them with my fellow bloggers. These are some of my absolute favoritest (is that a word?) recipes. Some are original recipes created by my Mom or I (the ones with our names under them). A lot of these are Greek dishes, which represents so much family heritage to me. Plus, I love Greek food more than any other nationality!! I hope at some point in the future, you get to make one or two of these and enjoy them!! Also, I would love, love, LOVE it if you would comment back and post your favorite recipe!! I know its a lot of trouble to go dig out the recipe book and type it out, but I promise that I WILL cook it if you do!!!

Orange Julius

This is what I crave when I have a sore throat.

6 oz. Frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. Milk
1 c. Water
1/2 c. Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
15 or more ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Shrimp Dip

9 lbs. Shrimp, cooked and shelled (I recommend getting the big bag of pre-cooked, pre-shelled shrimp from Sam’s)
4 lg. Cream Cheese, softened
3 bottles Chili Sauce
1 sm. can Tomato Paste
1 jar Horseradish
6 tbsp. Lemon juice

Mix all ingredients but shrimp together, then add shrimp. Chill.
This can be frozen. It obviously makes enough for a large crowd. It can be used as a dip with crackers, or is wonderful as a salad dressing.

Soupa Avgolemono (Greek Soup)
Sara Zannis
Comfort soup at it’s finest!!!!

Chicken – Dark meat
2 Eggs
1 Lemon, juiced

Chicken – cook in water. When done, take chicken out. Add salt and rice and cook until rice is tender. While rice is cooking, debone chicken, Add chicken back to soup. When rice is tender, add egg and lemon sauce and serve immediately.

Egg and Lemon Sauce: Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add yolks and beat. Juice lemon into cup, then add hot broth from rice and chicken to juice. Slowly add to egg while still mixing. Add a little more hot broth and then stir egg mixture into soup and serve.
Delicious when served with feta cheese, Kalamata Olives, and Pita bread with Tzatziki Sauce.

Potato Soup
Rachel Callahan

5 lbs. Regular potatoes, skinned
2 Onions
4 Beef Buillion Cubes
Salt and Pepper

Boil together in just enough water to cover ingredients


Add milk and cheese to desired taste and consistency

Table garnishes:
Sour Cream

Sausage Swirl

4 c. Plain Flour
1/4 c, Sugar
2 tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2/3 c. Vegetable Oil
2 lbs. Sausage

Mix all ingredients except for sausage and milk. Add milk to make a stiff dough. Roll dough very thinly and spread sausage onto dough. Roll into a log and chill. Slice (making a swirl/pinwheel design) and put under broiler until slightly browned, then flip and broil until the other side slighly browned. This doesn’t take very long!! Roll may be frozen before sliced and baked.

(Greek Spinach and Feta Triangles)

1 Onion, finely diced
Olive Oil

Brown onion in oil.

1 10 oz. package of Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed

Add and cook until all moisture is gone.

1 c. Bread crynbs
Salt, Pepper, oregano to taste


4 Eggs
1 lb. Feta Cheese
1 carton Cottage Cheese

Mix together, then add to above mixture

1 pkg. Phyllo
Butter, Melted

Phyllo will dry out quickly. Lay phyllo on wax paper and cover with another sheet of wax paper. Then cover that with a dampened dish cloth. Then take out one sheet at a time with which to work with, and recover the remaining sheets.

Cut each sheet of phyllo into 4 sections (you can use 1 strip per wrap or stack 2 strips per wrap). Brush butter onto each section or strip. Put 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. of mixture near one corner of a strip. Take that corner and fold it over mixture to other side of strip, forming a triangle. Then take the point that was formed at bottom of strip and fold it straight up, keeping the triangle shape. Continue this pattern until the strip is completed. Brush the whole triangle with butter and place in pan. Continue this routine until all mixture is used. Bake at 350* until outside is browned and crispy.

Chicken Pot Pie
This was my Grandmother’s recipe, but I changed up the crust recipe quite a bit.

Biscuit Crust:
3 c. Self-Rising Flour
1 Stick Butter
1 c. Milk (can use 2%, whole, or buttermilk)

Cut butter into flour until it is fine crumbs. Add milk and stir. Knead several times. Divide into two halves. Press out one into the bottom of a large corningware or glass dish. Roll out other half to go on top.

Cooked chicken, deboned, and chopped (dark meat is very good with this recipe)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
A little Chicken Broth
Can of Corn, drained
Can of Peas, drained
4 Chopped Boiled Eggs
Generous Salt and Pepper

Mix together, then pour into crust lined dish. Roll out top crust, lay on top and tuck edges of top crust between dish and bottom crust. Then with fingers, press around edge to seal. Bake at 400* until crust is golden brown.

Hirino, Spanaki Me Selino Avgolemono
(Pork and Spinach with Egg and Lemon Sauce)
DELICOUS Greek Recipe!!

2 1/2 lbs. Lean Pork, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1″ cubes (Or you can use lamb if you are really feeling Greek)
Salt and Pepper
6 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 c. Finely chopped Onions
3 c. Water
1 tsp. Cornstarch, dissolved into 2 tbsp. Water
10 oz. Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
2 Eggs
1 Lemon

Pat meat dry completely, season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet over high heat until a light haze forms above it. Brown meat, turning the cubes frequently and regulating the heat so that they color deeply and evenly on all sides. Transfer meat to plate and set aside. Add onions to oil, stirring frequently. Cook for 5 minutes, or until they are soft and transparent, but not brown. Pour in water and bring to a boil over high heat. Return the meat, turning it about with a spoon to coat it evenly with the onion mixture. Reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes or until done. Add spinach. Add cornstarch to above and cook until thickened. Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the whites until soft peaks form. Add the yolks and mix. Squeeze lemon juice into cup and remove seeds. Add some hot liquid from the pan to juice and then slowly add the juice to the eggs while the mixer is running. Add more hot liquid slowly until temperature is up in the egg mixture. Turn heat off under pan and add egg mixture to pan. Gently stir in. Serve over yellow rice.

Meat Casserole
Rachel Callahan
(a Chris favorite! A TOTAL boy casserole. And I like it too.)

1 lg. Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
1 lb. Ground beef, browned
16 oz. Cocktail Smokies, cut into thirds
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
16 Oz. Sour Cream

Saute vegetables in butter. Mix vegetables, meats, soups, and sour cream together and put in large baking dish. Top with cheese. Cook at 450* for 15-20 minutes.

Tea Cakes

(A great recipe when you find out that you have to bring a snack somewhere and you don’t have time to go to the store – all of these ingredients are general staples!)

1 3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Butter
1/2 c. Oil

Cream together.

2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
Add, mix thoroughly.

3 c. Self-Rising Flour

Add gradually. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, until they look done but BEFORE they get brown at all (this ensures maximum softness – if you like crunchy cookies, cook until just barely brown).

This is also a great recipe to add food coloring to, or to roll out and cut into shapes.

White Chocolate Cheesecake squares
Rachel Callahan

1/2 c. Butter, softened
2/3 c. packed Brown Sugar
2 c. all-purpose Flour
2 c. Finely chopped Pecans
3 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 c. Sugar
3 tsp. Vanilla
3 Eggs
2 c. White Chocolate Chips
1 c. Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Cream butter and brown sugar together. Add flour and 1/2 of the pecans. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Press into lightly greased large glass baking dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, mixing on medium speed until well-blended. Add egg, mixing well. Sprinkle half of the pecans and two kinds of chocolate chips over crust. Put cream cheese mixture on top of that. Sprinkle remaining pecans and chocolate chips on top of cream cheese mixture.

Bake for 25-35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.

Chocolate Cake
This is a legendary family recipe. My mom got it from a friend of hers when she and Dad lived in England (Air Force). It is like no other.

2 c. Sugar
2 c. Flour (self-rising)

Mix in mixing bowl and set aside.

2 sticks butter or margarine
4 tbsp. Cocoa
1 c. Water

Put in sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add to flour and sugar, mix well.

2 Eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk or regular milk
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla

Add and mix well. This will be a thin batter. Pour into greased 9×12 pan. Bake at 325* for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Fudge Icing:
1 stick Butter or Margarine
4 tbsp. Cocoa
4 tbsp. buttermilk or regular milk

Mix in pan that held cake mix. Bring to a boil. Remove from Heat.

1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. chopped Pecans (optional)

Add to above mixture. Pour onto warm cake.

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. Chocolate Wafer Crumbs
2 tbsp. Sugar
1/4 c. Butter, melted
1/4 c. Semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. Heavy cream
3 (8 oz.) Pkgs Cream Cheese, softened
1 c. Sugar
1/3 c. Cocoa
3 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. Heavy Cream
1 tsp. Vanilla

1. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the sides of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350* for 10 Min. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325*.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat; add cream and mix well. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Stir in vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set.
4. For topping, melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in cream and vanilla; mix well. Spread over filling; refrigerate overnight. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream if desired.

– I am usually lazy and use a pre-made chocolate crust – just be sure and get the large size.
– For Easter, I used white chocolate chips for the topping only; I dyed it four pastel colors and decorated the top of the cheesecake like an Easter Egg.

Greek Hamburgers
Rachel Callahan

Mix Nabeel’s Greek Dressing and Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning into hamburger meat and cook. They are delicious! Top with Sara Zannis’ Tzatziki Sauce Recipe for Extra Added Deliciousness!!

Greek Cucumber Sauce (Tzatziki Sauce)
Sara Zannis

This stuff is heaven on earth. It might be my favorite food.

5-6 Green Onions
2-3 Cucumbers, deseeded

put in blender, puree and drain in colander

2 tsp. minced garlic
3 tsp. dill
Lemon Pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
1 c. Sour Cream

Mix together with the drained cucumbers. Let sit overnight or for several hours to let flavors blend.

Serve with Pita Bread or on Gyros.

Greek Fish Fry
Rachel Callahan

Dry Batter:
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning
Lemon Pepper Salt

Wet Batter:
3 Eggs
Lemon Juice

Dip into dry mix, then wet mix, then dry mix, pressing batter into the fish.

Greek Roasted Potatoes
Rachel Callahan

3 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes
16 oz. Ken’s Greek Dressing
8 oz. of Seasoned Feta Cheese (crumbled)
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning
Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Cut potatoes into small squares. Put into glass pan. Drain oil from Greek Dressing (set aside), and pour half of the remaining dressing onto the potatoes. Pour half of Feta Cheese on potatoes. Sprinkle Greek seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning heavily onto potatoes. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Bake covered at 375* until potatoes are soft (may take 30-50 minutes). Add remaining dressing and feta cheese and season if necessary. If potatoes are overly dry, add some of the oil from the dressing. Bake 8 more minutes.

9 thoughts on “Favorite Family Recipes

  1. Nice-looking recipes, Rachel. If you want to put together a nice family cookbook, you might take a look at my software at (I blog about family cookbooks all the time.) The software handles all the formatting and organizing, so you can focus on the recipes.


  2. But my favorite recipes I learned from you are not on there….the yummy fudge and the pork chops!

  3. oh yay! I am SO glad you have published your mom’s tzaziki (?) sauce! I have always wanted that recipe! :)
    my receipes will be published in the cookboook for WM as well…

  4. I made Orange Julius’ tonight. Jeremy had NEVER had one…whoa! So, so good! Yum, baby like :-)

  5. I made Orange Julius’ tonight. Jeremy had NEVER had one…whoa! So, so good! Yum, baby like :-)

  6. I made Orange Julius’ tonight. Jeremy had NEVER had one…whoa! So, so good! Yum, baby like :-)

  7. I made Orange Julius’ tonight. Jeremy had NEVER had one…whoa! So, so good! Yum, baby like :-)

  8. Do you ever make pita bread? The only pita around here in colorado is the dry and crumbly stuff they sell in King Soopers, Walmart and Safeway. ICK.

    1. I don’t, and I don’t know how to – since we live in a Greek-Immigrant-influenced city, it’s not something I’ve ever had to explore.

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