Donna Mitchell’s All-American Mitchell family favorite foods

Happy Fourth of July! Your caring RS secretary (me, Melanie) brings you:  Donna Mitchell’s “all-American Mitchell family favorite foods” in honor of the holiday.  Our awesome primary president says, “The menu won’t necessarily be totally coordinated, but the parts will all taste good! “



Vegetable Dip
1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 grated carrot
1/2 to 1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 to 1/3 green pepper, minced (I only like raw green pepper in small quantities)
about 1 tablespoon onion, minced fine, or 1 to 3 green onions, minced

Blend cream cheese and milk in electric mixer until smooth. Shred the cheese and carrot in a food processor if you want, but don’t use it to mix up everything together or the texture will be weird. Chop the veggies by hand or with a hand chopper so they don’t get mangled (Yes, this is the voice of experience talking.) Add cheese and veggies to cream cheese mixture and mix well.

At room temperature (right after you make it), you can dip potato chips. Once it’s cold, you can scoop it up with pretzels, crackers or veggie sticks (carrots, celery) or spread it with a knife.

Pickled Mushrooms (Best made ahead several hours or the night before)
2/3 cup tarragon vinegar or white vinegar with 1 tsp tarragon added
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
dash Tabasco sauce
1 Tbls sugar
1 medium onion, cut in thin rings
2 Tbls water
12-ounce can whole mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 tsp basil

In plastic bowl with a tight lid (Tupperware works well), mix all ingredients except onions and mushrooms. Add them, shake vigorously with a tight hold on the lid, then store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Transfer without liquid to a serving bowl (slotted spoon) and have the toothpicks close by.


Banana Crush (I like to have some on hand in the freezer for unexpected celebrations. Must be made ahead.)
4 cups sugar or sugar substitute
6 cups water
2-1/2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 crushed bananas
4 cups pineapple juice
4 quarts ginger ale, 7-Up, Sprite, etc.

In large pot, dissolve sugar in heated water. Liquify bananas in blender with some of the juices. Mix in all other ingredients except soda; freeze in quart containers (about six). When ready to serve, heat in microwave until slightly softened (slush), but not so much that it turns back to liquid. Mix with equal parts soda; stir well. You can do this in individual glasses, but it’s easier to put in a pitcher. Note: Be sure to rinse well before putting glasses in dishwasher or the residue will be baked on.


Corn Chowder
(As a child I always preferred this to my mother’s clam chowder with its tasteless little rubbery bits. I’m over that and often eat clam chowder of my own free will, but I still enjoy this chowder.)
2-4 slices diced bacon
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups cubed raw potatoes
1 cup boiling water or corn liquid if using canned corn
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 10-ounce pkg frozen whole kernel corn or 1 can corn, drained (Use liquid above in place of water.)
2 cups milk
1 can evaporated milk

Fry bacon until crisp. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes, water or corn liquid, salt and pepper. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes. Add corn, cover and cook gently about 5 minutes or until vegetable is tender. Add milk and heat thoroughtly.


Pot Roast in Foil (Not fancy, but super simple and easy to start ahead of time)
4 pounds beef chuck pot roast (boneless rump, top round or bottom round)
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (about 1-1/2 ounces)

Place 18″x30″ piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil in 9″x13″ baking pan; place meat on foil. Spread cream of mushroom soup on top of beef; sprinkle evenly with dry onion soup mix. Fold over foil and seal securely (but expect some leakage anyway). Cook at 300 degrees for 4 hours. If there’s a bone, the meat falls off it.

Chicken Divan (for a Small Crowd) Makes lots of dirty dishes, but worth the trouble.
2 lbs boneless,skinless chicken breasts, browned, simmered and shredded
2 10-ounce bags frozen broccoli, cooked slightly and drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder (or more to taste)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I usually double this because we love cheese)
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Place slightly cooked broccoli into baking dish; top with cooked chicken. In medium bowl, combine soup, lemon juice, mayonnaise and curry powder; pour over chicken. Top chicken mixture with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.


Mashed Potatoes with Garlic or Egg Noodles (Easy way out)
Wing it.

Twice-Baked Potatoes
(Very filling and quite a bit of work. Faster if you have help stuffing the potatoes. Great if there’s not much else on the menu.)
4 baking potatoes
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbls butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half, hot
1/2 tsp salt
dash black pepper
dash nutmeg
dash paprika
4 slices bacon
2 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbls grated sharp cheddar cheeses

Wash the potatoes; pat dry. Prick each potato with a fork in a few places. Bake potatoes on a rack at 400 for about one hour or until potatoes are done. Cut a thin slice from top of each potato. Scoop out the pulp into a bowl. Mash the potato pulp with the hot milk until fluffy. Beat in the butter and the green onion. Add seasonings. Fry the bacon until crisp. Crumble and add to potato mixture. Spoon potato mixture into shells. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until potatoes are piping hot and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.


Lime Party Salad (Good enough to be desert)
1/4 pound marshmallows (about 16 large or 2-1/4 cup minis)
1 cup milk
1 small pkg lime gelatin
1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese (or 2 three-ounce pkgs) (Let it sit out a little to get softer.)
1 can (20 ounces or 2-1/2 cups undrained crushed pineapple
1 cup whipping cream, whipped (I usually substitute Dream Whip, which is easier to keep on hand)
2/3 cup mayonnaise

First whip the whipping cream/Dream Whip and transfer to a small bowl to free up the mixing bowl. Melt marshmallows and milk in top of double boiler or in microwave. If using microwave, do several short bursts and watch carefully. This overflows easilly and can be a big mess!

Put gelatin in mixing bowl; pour very hot mixture over it. Let the mixer run until the gelatin is dissolved, scraping sides and bottom periodically. Cut cream cheese into small cubes and drop into mixing bowl. Let mixer run until cubes are mostly absorbed into mix. Add mayonnaise and pineapple. Stir whipped cream in by hand or use lowest speed on electric mixer. Pour/spoon into a ring mold and chill until firm. To unmold, spray or partially submerge bottom in hot water (briefly!).


Grasshopper Pie (Rich, smooth minty green; not a bug in sight)
24 cream-filled chocolate cookies (Oreo’s, Hydrox), finely crushed
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 cups heavy cream, whipped and set aside in a different bowl
1 jar marshmallow creme
1/4 cup milk
a few drops peppermint extract
a few drops green food coloring

Combine cookie crumbs and margarine. Press into 9″ springform pan or large pie plate (not standard).

Place marshmallow creme in mixing bowl. Gradually add milk, extract and food coloring, mixing until well blended. Fold in whipped cream and pour into pan or pie plate. Freeze until firm. Take out about 5 minutes before serving; use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut. This is best served at home or not too far away since it softens quickly.

Because this is almost the same color as Lime Party Salad, I once decided to color it pink instead of green to avoid boring visual repetition. My children enjoyed eating the pie but convinced me that it was too disconcerting to alter the color.

On another occasion I decided to dress it up with chocolate leaves. I melted a little semi-sweet or milk chocolate and used a small, clean new paintbrush to coat the underside of several mint leaves (much more definition on the bottom surface than on the top). Place mint leaves (green side down/chocolate side up) on wax paper on plate or cookie sheet and cool in refrigerator until firm. Carefully peel off and discard the green leaves; place the chocolate leaves artfully on the firm pie.Time-consuming, but it looked great. My mother-in-law wouldn’t eat them because she thought the mint leaves were hidden inside the chocolate. All the more for the rest of us!

I hope this isn’t an overwhelming overload of food information, but that someone will find something that will become one of their favorites too.



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