Until my grandmother became ill with pancreatic cancer, Sundays meant Sunday School and church in the morning, dinner at my grandparents, and then youth group in the evening. I loved my grandmother’s cooking and feel that she is my true cooking inspiration. As far as I know, she only owned two cookbooks. One was “The Modern Cookbook” that had strapping tape holding the binding together by the time I inherited it after my grandfather passed away. The other was a flip-top-two-ring-bound cookbook that her missionary circle had put together to raise money. The cover is made of sturdy fabric-covered cardboard with magazine photos pasted to the inside of the covers.
When I read the recipes in this cookbook–filled with names I remember from my childhood–I am struck by how my grandmother was basically an intuitive cook. Other recipes have exact measurements. My grandmother’s contributions to the cookbook have “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” quality about them.
This recipe is perfect for Sundays. Put it into a slow oven before leaving for church. Two hours later, it is ready to pulled out and enjoyed. Add some green beans with almonds, a green salad (with ranch dressing*), and a relish dish of green onions, radishes, olives, and pickles as side dishes and you’ve got an easy Sunday dinner a la Lois O. Mears.
Grandma’s Recipe for Chicken on Sunday
1 box Minute Rice
1 can celery soup
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 c. milk
1 envelope dry onion soup
1 frying chicken
1 box instant rice (one that serves about 6-8 servings)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope dry onion soup (like Lipton’s or Knorr’s)
1 whole chicken, cut up or enough chicken parts for 8 people
Grease large baking pan, 8 x 13,” and sprinkle the contents of 1 box of Minute Rice over the bottom. Heat the celery and mushroom soups with the milk until well blended, then pour over the rice. Lay the pieces of chicken over the soup and sprinkle with the dry onion soup mix. Seal pan with foil and bake in 325* oven for 2 hours.
*When we were children, we loved my grandmother’s salad dressing. I mean, we all loved it and would put it on our potatoes in addition to having it on the salad and using it as a dip. She told us that it was made from a secret recipe and so we started calling it “Grandma’s Secret Sauce.” Many years later, we discovered that Grandma’s Secret Sauce was really made from a dry mix of Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. I must say, though, that my version of the ranch dressing is still not nearly is good as “Grandma’s Secret Sauce.”
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