Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Kayla’s Pumpkin Pie 12/28/2013

Filed under: Desserts,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Oven,Winter — kdearmas @ 10:23 PM

The original is here. This version includes Kayla’s modifications that have made her pumpkin pie the envy of all! It’s also better made the day before, cooled and put in the frig. If your spices are old, double up on the spices to avoid it turning out a bit bland.


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Kahlua
  • unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  • Whipped cream (optional) (I have no idea who thinks whipped cream is optional)


Preheat oven to 425° F


  • Sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.
  • Beat eggs in large bowl.
  • In the large bowl with the eggs, stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture.
  • Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.


  • In preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (per Kayla: “That knife should come out clean as a whistle!”.
  • Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  • Top with whipped cream before serving (again, who thinks whipped cream is optional?!?)

Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce 10/19/2013

Filed under: Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Main Course,Stove Top — kdearmas @ 10:17 PM
Tags: , ,

My mom cooked almost every single night. She was/is a really a good cook and thank god she did or I don’t know if I would have the habit of cooking as much as I do. Not everything was gourmet nor did it need to be. But I’ve evolved several of her standard recipes over time.

Thing is, back then, we didn’t have to obsess over high fructose corn syrup, gargantuan amounts of sugar and sodium, and god-knows-what-else was in our food. My mom could take ground beef and spaghetti sauce, season it up, pour over pasta, and it was a really good meal! A decade later it didn’t taste the same.

What did my mom do?

Ground beef, spaghetti sauce, all kinds of Italian seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, parsley, stuff like that).

What do I do now?

Ingredients (I’ve provided the minimum, though really it’s to your preference how meat or veggy; thick or thin you like your pasta sauce to be):

  • 4 Hot Italian sausages (pork or chicken sausage will work fine); you can cut them or just squeeze them out of their casings (I prefer the latter)
  • 2 cans canned tomatoes (so much better if you can yourself otherwise use organic canned tomatoes)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • Sautéed sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, and chopped green and red peppers (about half a pepper of each); you really need the green and the sweeter red pepper though you can substitute orange or yellow for the red. There really is no substitute for the green.
  • ½ large onion
  • 2-4 garlic cloves per your taste for garlic (I love garlic so use 4)
  • 1 cerrano pepper, chopped finely (you don’t want to bite into a big piece of this pepper)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Liberal use of Italian seasonings including oregano, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning mix
  • Other seasonings such as a bit of turmeric, thyme, and marjoram


  • Brown the sausage first, then add the mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic. Mash it all together to break up the sausage.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and let simmer until lightly boiling (do not over boil)
  • Add the brown sugar and do not let carmelize
  • Add the tomato paste to thicken to your preference.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add more canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, or water (though I think water thins it too much)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Simmer until thick to your preference
  • Serve over pasta* with crusty bread (if you eat bread) and a side salad (my favorite salad dressing recipe to come)

*Any kind of pasta will do though I prefer capellini or fusilli.


Smashed Tarragon Potatoes

In every household, current or past, there are staple sides. Those things you make without a recipe and almost without thinking as a complement to the main dish. Isn’t fancy and is rarely hard. Think about it, you know you have several. Or at least your mother did.

In our house growing up, one of those sides was parsley potatoes. Very simple: quarter red potatoes; boil; drain; mix with butter, parsley, salt, and pepper. Presto you have a side to steak, seafood, whatever. I loved those as a kid. I love potatoes (which are now my carb god send now that I have to severely restrict wheat).

So in college, in one of my first apartments with a real kitchen, I was making steak and wanted to make the parsley potatoes. It’s so simple there’s no way I needed to call my mom to get the recipe. So I cut the potatoes, boiled them, and drained them. Then as I was mixing in the butter I realized I had no parsley (dried, no one did fresh herbs back then). Hrrrmmm.

So I grabbed that which was green and seemed similar to parsley and dumped it in the potatoes. It was tarragon. And no, I put no more thought into it then it was green like parsley.


And so parsley potatoes have ever since been tarragon potatoes and I’ve wowed many a dinner guest in my house with them.

You don’t mash them, but in the course of mixing in the butter and tarragon they get a bit smashed.

Brussels Sprout Hash & Smashed Potatoes

Of late, as I’ve been incorporating more local/seasonal greens in the fare, I started mixing in hashed Brussels sprouts and/or baked kale (recipes to come). For the Brussels sprouts, Just make the potatoes as described above then slice/dice up some Brussels sprouts and sauté in butter or oil with salt/pepper or seasoning of choice (I prefer Colonel Lee’s). Then mix them up with the potatoes (tarragon and all).

Smashed Potatoes w/ Baked Kale

Make the potatoes (with or without the Brussels sprouts though I like them with) and throw some crumbled baked Kale into the potatoes.


Yellow Squash Casserole 12/28/2009

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Brunch/Breakfast,Kayla DeArmas,Oven,Sides — dearmasa @ 6:00 AM


  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 35 buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Place squash and onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in a small amount of water. Cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and cheese. Stir half of the cracker mixture into the cooked squash and onions. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and milk, then add to squash mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cracker mixture, and dot with 2 tablespoons butter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Jell-O Cookies 11/19/2009

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Desserts,Kayla DeArmas — dearmasa @ 9:13 AM


3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup jello (red or green)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt



Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Cream together butter, sugar, and jello.

Add eggs and lemon extract. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients, mix well.

Load dough into cookie press and press onto un-greased sheet pan. If cookies are red, decorate with green jello. If green, decorate with red.

Bake 6-8 minutes until golden brown on the edges.

Makes 2 dozen.



  • I use a standing mixer with the paddle attachment to make the dough.
  • The current cookie press I’m using is called “Perfect Cookie” cookie press (as seen on TV).
  • If you want the green cookies to be a darker shade of green, include green sugar in the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar – I add about 1/2″ to the bottom of the 1/2 cup and top off with regular sugar.


Thanks to “Just Helen” for the recipe modification:


Fruitcake Cookies

Filed under: Desserts,Kayla DeArmas — dearmasa @ 9:13 AM

Do not be afraid of the name – these cookies are delicious!!


1 cup citron

1 cup chopped candied fruit

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb. white raisins

1 cup cooking sherry

1 tbs. buttermilk

2/3 cup butter

1 ½ cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

Soak chopped fruit overnight in sherry in the yellow bowl, covered with a dishcloth. Next day, in a separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Beat well with hand mixer. Sift all dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture with a spoon. Fold in buttermilk and vanilla. Combine nuts with fruit, and fold into batter. Drop spoonfuls onto an ungreased, foil covered baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes. Makes 12 dozen.


Hershey Bar Cake

Filed under: Desserts,Kayla DeArmas — dearmasa @ 9:12 AM

1/2 lb. butter or oleomargarine

2 c. sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

8 plain Hershey bars melted in a double boiler with 2 tbs. of water

2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour

1 c. buttermilk

1/4 tsp. soda

1/2 c. chopped nuts

powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add and beat eggs one at a time into the mixture. Add the vanilla and salt and melted Hershey bars. Add the flour and buttermilk mixed with the soda alternately. Fold in the nuts. Bake in a greased angel food pan for 1 3/4 hours at 325F. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when done, in place of icing. This will keep indefinitely and no icing is necessary.