Grandma Phylliss’s formulas: Go-to fall recipes


A slice of sweet potato pie is served on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Morgan Luster

The season of fall generates an unbeatable sense of nostalgia as the leaves cascade and the air turns crisp. Besides the changing weather, cooking with Grandma Phyllis was always the best part of the season. Here are some of her heavenly recipes that I hope you fall in love with.

Before preparing every meal, my grandmother feels that it is most important to pray, as it is her way of giving thanks and blessing the food. After her prayer, no matter the recipe, each one is made with love and care.

Beginning with the basics, spicy tuna salad is a great start for any novice cook. This dish is a mixture of two tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, a half onion, three hard boiled eggs chopped, two cans of albacore tuna, one cup of Miracle Whip and a tablespoon of hot giardiniera to give it that kick. Mix the ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Serve with crackers once it’s chilled.

When I first started cooking, this recipe was the first one my grandmother taught me, and I have been making it ever since. Although this dish can be made at any time of the year, it can definitely be a hit this season.

As a child, I despised sweet potato pie. I couldn’t fathom how a vegetable could be the main ingredient of a dessert. Nevertheless, as my taste buds matured, this dessert became one of my favorites. My grandmother’s “Oh, So Sweet Potato Pie” causes a commotion at every family gathering.

Starting with an already prepared deep dish pie shell, this pie consists of three sweet potatoes, microwaved until tender and mashed, a stick of butter, three quarters of a cup of sugar, three eggs, one can of evaporated milk, one half teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and a pinch of salt to heighten the flavor.

First, beat the sweet potato with a mixer to eliminate strings. Then, cream butter into the sweet potato mix and add the sugar. Mix one egg at a time into the batter, then mix evaporated milk until well blended. Divide the batter into two of the deep dish pie shells and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Next is the delicious “Under the Seafood Gumbo,” which is one “shell” of a dish. This consists of shrimp, crab, mussels and lobster made with a tomato base.

This gumbo is also made with a roux, which is a flour and oil mixture that browns in a skillet. According to my grandmother, the roux is what makes or breaks a gumbo. Even though this dish is a hit from the beginning, I’m confident that you will enjoy it even more the next day.

To enjoy grandma’s gumbo, sauté one chopped onion, two chopped stalks of celery, one half of a green pepper and three smashed garlic cloves in three

tablespoons of vegetable oil and set aside. Next, you’ll make the roux. You’ll use two tablespoons of flour and oil and cook on high until it creates a caramel color. Add a 32 ounce container of chicken broth and two bottles of clam juice. Simmer this for 20 minutes and then add a 16 ounce bag of frozen okra. Simmer for 15 more minutes. Now, add your favorite seafood and cook until the sea- food is opaque. Serve over boiled rice.

A classic pound cake calls for a simple recipe, making it the perfect dessert for any gathering. You can dress this dessert with any flavoring you like, like almond, lemon or even pumpkin extract to get into the fall season.

To make this pound cake, mix three sticks of room temperature butter and six eggs until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Add the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, mix three cups sugar, three cups flour, a quarter teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture into the batter and mix well. Then, add eight ounces of sour cream and the rest of the dry mixture into the batter and mix well. Add a teaspoon each of almond extract and vanilla extract. Pour the bat- ter into a greased bundt cake pan and bake for 60 to 80 minutes at 325 degrees.

My grandmother’s scrumptious corn muffins, which include whole kernel corn, are the final fall recipe. What makes these muffins so unique is that sour cream is added to the mixture. This ensures that with every bite, these muffins are guaranteed to melt in your mouth. My grandmother would make these every year for my birthday. As I stuffed my mouth with these corn-filled muffins, each one I consumed reminded me of her warmth and tenderness.

To make this recipe, mix one and a half cups of yellow corn- meal, three quarters of a cup of flour, a half teaspoon of salt, three teaspoons of baking powder, two eggs, three quarters of a cup of milk, three teaspoons of sugar, one can of whole kernel corn and half of a small container of sour cream. After mixing these ingredients, pour into a greased 12 muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

Being away from home can be taxing for college students. However, making some favorite recipes is one way to maintain a piece of home.