Thirteen family recipes to remedy your homesickness

Nothing’s better than food made with love.

Mami Rice — Gabriella Sodini, freshman at Case Western Reserve University My mom doesn’t cook very often because of work, but this rice was always a staple in our house. It reminds me of my Hispanic roots and the nights I would spend with my family, talking and spending time together long after we finished eating.

  • 4–5 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Chop carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Set garlic aside. Saute carrots, onion and celery in olive oil in a medium pot. Saute until onions are clear. Add in garlic and saute for another minute. Add in a can of tomatoes (or liquefy tomatoes in a blender to use instead), rice and water. Bring to boil, lower heat to very low and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes. Be sure to thoroughly stir all ingredients while simmering and before covering.

Kolaczkis — Dolores Hudzinski, Chicago resident

Growing up in a Polish household, these traditional cookies were always a treat. One time, my mom made a batch and left them cooling on the counter. We came back in to eat them, and it turned out that my dog had eaten the entire tray. I have so many memories of hanging around the kitchen while my mom prepared these. I have passed down the recipe to my daughter and my granddaughters, and I hope they do the same.

  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 jar of jelly or jam, apricot or raspberry usually, but whatever you prefer

Beat softened cream cheese and butter with electric mixer. Add egg yolks, then flour. Divide in half, make two discs and refrigerate until firm. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on well-floured surface and cut out rounds. Place on a cookie sheet and top with a spoonful of jelly or jam in the center. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes.

Taco Soup — Korl Cusick, freshman

Whenever it snows or someone in my family is sick, my grandma always makes taco soup. I get so excited because it’s one of my favorite meals. Taco soup night means sitting down at the table and having deep discussions and talking about family history. I love it. It warms you up immediately, and it’s just spicy enough to make your nose run.

  • 1 pound ground meat, browned
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 package dried Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes
  • 3 cans of any beans you like, do not drain
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can water, optional

Brown meat and onion until the onion looks transparent. Add the taco seasoning and dried Ranch packet along with the beans. Fill one of the bean cans with water and add that as well. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes. Can be served with tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado or shredded cheese.

Momma’s Migas — Kyra Raine Guerrero, freshman

Migas were my first introduction to my Mexican heritage. This is a staple recipe for desayuno, or breakfast, in Mexico. I'm so glad my mom shared it with me in Texas. It's simple, quick to make and always reminds me of desayuno con mi madre.

  • 4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/2-inch strips, then cut into 2-inch rectangles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons diced bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons diced tomato
  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno
  • 4 ounces queso quesadilla, or other white Mexican melting cheese, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, fry corn tortillas in hot canola oil until crispy. Drain. Remove the oil from heat, and cut tortillas into bite-sized pieces. In butter, saute bell peppers, onion and jalapeno until soft. Add tomatoes. Add cheese and cook until it begins to melt. Beat eggs well and season with some salt and pepper. Add eggs to sauteed vegetables. Add tortilla chips. Scramble until eggs are done.

Schweineschnitzel — Austin Howard, freshman

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour combined with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

Place the pork chops between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them until they are just 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the flour mixture, egg and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Dip the chops in the flour, the egg and the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Be careful not to press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Gently shake off the excess crumbs. Don't let the schnitzel sit in the coating or they will not be as crispy once fried — fry immediately. Make sure the cooking oil is hot enough at this point, about 330 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the schnitzel for about 2–3 minutes on both sides until a deep golden brown. Transfer briefly to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil. Serve immediately with slices of fresh lemon and parsley sprigs or with your choice of sauce.

I like it so much because it is just one of the few cultural foods that my mom cooks that represents our family and where we come from. That makes it more special.

Welcome Home Chocolate Bars — Steven Colaianni, freshman

My mom always sends these to me in care packages. It's probably her favorite thing to make for me and my brother, and it always reminds me of home. The thing I get homesick about most often is the food my mom and dad would make, so it's always nice to have these when I come home.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 13-by-9 inch baking pan, melt butter in the oven. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Top with remaining ingredients and press down firmly. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Wait for it to cool, then cut into bars.

Grandma Dela’s Chocolate Chip Cookies — Abagail Guinn, freshman

This recipe comes from my great-grandmother and has been passed down through four generations. It’s always been my favorite recipe for cookies, and I can recall baking them with my mom anytime we had snow days. I can’t wait to share this recipe with my family in the future.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Beat butter until soft. Add both cups of sugar and the eggs and beat until creamy. Add vanilla. Sift dry ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly add to mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Place cookie dough on greased cookie sheet in tablespoon size balls. Bake for 12–14 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lomo Saltado — Eduardo Medina Rodriguez, professor

Peruvian food has been classified as the fusion cuisine of the world. The reason being is because Peruvian dishes are a combination of Creole, indigenous, European and Asian ingredients. Among Peruvian recipes, Lomo Saltado is the most representative internationally.

I first tried Lomo Saltado in a Peruvian restaurant in Manhattan. Later, I visited Peru and tried the original recipe in a restaurant in Lima, the capital. Now, every time I have the opportunity to eat Peruvian food, I ask for it. It is amazing for me to experience how people from around the world find the taste of Lomo Saltado very appealing.

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ají Amarillo, or yellow hot pepper paste
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cut into ½ inch strips
  • Adobo all-purpose seasoning with pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into ¼ inch strips
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 bag, or 28 ounces, french fried potatoes, cooked according to package
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups cooked Canilla extra long-grain rice

In a small bowl, stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and hot yellow pepper paste. Set it aside. Season beef with Adobo. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until oil bubbles. Add beef and cook until dark golden brown on all sides, or about three minutes. Set it aside. Heat remaining oil in the skillet. Add onions; cook until crisp-tender, about five minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Transfer beef to pan and pour in reserved vinegar mixture. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any particles stuck to bottom. Stir in cooked potatoes and tomatoes until coated in sauce. Transfer beef and potato mixture to a plate then sprinkle with parsley. Serve with warm rice.

The No-Name Cake — Charlie Durham, freshman

First of all, the cake is like coffee cake meets red velvet, which is a match made in heaven. This cake is really important because my grandma used to make it for me every year for my birthday back when I lived in North Carolina. When my family moved out west, my dad would make it for me. Now that she is passed away, we have it every year to celebrate her life and how much she meant to us.

Cake:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee plus 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:

  • 4 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the cake, cream butter and sugar, then add eggs. Add salt, cocoa, vanilla and coffee with hot water. Stir baking soda into buttermilk and add alternately with flour. Bake in three 9-inch greased and floured pans at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30–35 minutes.

Cook flour and milk until thick. Watch closely to prevent scorching. Cool thoroughly. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat like whipped cream. Add other ingredients and continue to beat for 30 minutes if time allows.

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans — MC Cross, freshman

We always have this in my house, whether it’s in the fridge or on the stove. I even have a can of beans and some rice in my dorm, just in case I feel like making some. It’s a staple in our culture. It’s essential.

Rice:

  • 4 cups medium grain or jasmine white rice
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1–2 teaspoons sea salt

Beans:

  • 2 cans of any beans with the liquid
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sofrito, in a jar or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon Recaito, in a jar or frozen
  • 2 packets Sazón bouillon
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce, optional for color
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the rice, pour the water, olive oil and salt in a large pot, or calderón, and stir. Pour in the rice and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, cover the pot and lower the heat to medium so it will simmer. Simmer for 20–30 minutes and turn off the heat. Allow the entrapped steam to continue to cook the rice for another five minutes. Uncover the rice and "fluff" it by using a large spoon to mix it up.

In a medium saucepan, saute the chopped onion, pepper and garlic until they sizzle. Add the Sofrito, Recaito and the packets of Sazón. Stir and add the two cans of beans. I usually rinse out the remaining contents of each can with a small amount of water and pour it in as well. Add the tomato sauce, if you're using it, and stir well. Allow the beans to come to a boil and then lower the heat to medium. Do not cover. The beans should cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes, just until they are warmed through and the sauce is the thickness you desire.

When both the rice and the beans are ready, enjoy! ¡Buen provecho!

Frijoles — Daniela Hoyos Escobar, freshman

I chose this recipe because it is one of my favorite Colombian meals! It's a classic if you ask anyone who is Colombian. It's delicious and mixes a lot of my favorite foods, like beans, rice and plantains. Every time I eat it, it reminds me of my home and my family.

  • 2 pounds large red beans
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • Water to cover the beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound bacon, optional
  • Bean seasoning, optional
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
  • 2 green plantains, diced
  • Salt and cumin to taste

Rinse the beans and let them soak in water for at least a day before the preparation so they can soften. Don’t throw away the water; you’ll need it to cook later. The next day, add the beans in a pressure cooker with the rest of the ingredients and cook for about one hour. If you use a traditional pot, cook for at least three hours at low temperature. Remove from the heat and serve. Irish Soda Bread — Sean Kulinski, freshman at Purdue

4 cups all-purpose flour 4 tablespoons white sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup margarine, softened 1 cup buttermilk 1 egg 1/4 cup butter, melted 3 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, raisins and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and the egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk, then brush the loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

I love this recipe because it always reminds me of St. Patrick’s Day. Living in Chicago. I grew up eating this while celebrating with my cousins every year. Now, whenever I go home, I ask my mom to make it. Store-bought soda bread is good, but it’s just not the same. When I have this recipe, it brings me back to all the great memories I have of my family and I dressed in green and eating corned beef.

Spinach-Stuffed Shells — Tanner Gwyn, freshman

When I was younger I played baseball, and on the weekends, I would have tournaments the coud take up entire afternoons. I would come home exhausted, but the one thing that would pick me up was my mom’s stuffed pasta shells. That’s why this recipe is so special to me. Whenever I eat it, it reminds me of my childhood and my mom.

  • 24 large pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound spinach
  • 750 grams ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded

Cook pasta shells in boiling water for one minute less than the package recommends. Drain shells in a colander and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until it’s completely wilted. Allow spinach to cool and then finely chop it. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add spinach and stir until combined. Pour a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish or baking dish. Stuff shells with cheese filling and arrange shells in the dish. Cover shells with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Freeze for up to three months. To cook, thaw the shells overnight in the refrigerator and bake them, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until they’re heated through.

Edited by Katie Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com

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