Charlotte Hill of New Liberty community says her worst cooking experience occurred the first week of February in 1976. She and husband, Jamie, married January 30 and she was so proud of the breakfast she cooked him because she knew he loved gravy and biscuits. He let her know it was, “O.K., but not like Mama’s.” He also suggested she ask his mother how she cooked gravy. Charlotte now has over 33 years of practice and admits she “still can’t cook gravy like Betty Hill!” Breakfast is still her husband’s favorite meal of the day, which begins at 4:30 a.m., claiming his 18-wheeler will not crank without it.
Charlotte loves to cook for her family--son Spencer and wife, Katie, and daughter, Shana and husband, Johnny Kakales, and two granddaughters, Charleigh Beth and Mary Alex. They, and sometimes her sisters, Judy Birmingham and Donna Longest, and their families join the Hills for lunch every Sunday. She says never goes to bed before midnight on Saturday getting the family dinner underway.
When her mother, Ruth Barnett, started back to work Charlotte was about 12 and she would start supper when she got off the school bus and have it ready when they got home. She usually fixed garden fresh vegetables, cornbread, and deer meat. The niece of the late Frances Weeks, Charlotte also enjoys making Christmas candy for family and friends. Christmas breakfast is the meal her family prefers, complete with chocolate gravy. Charleigh Beth likes to help her make biscuits and cut them out with a star shaped cutter.
After just coming through her 11th tax season at Carnaggio Accounting, during which Jamie learned to use the microwave to warm leftovers, Charlotte is sharing some quick and easy recipes for busy, working cooks.
Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Cake
1 spice cake mix
1 16 oz. can pumpkin or sweet potatoes
1/4 cup softened butter
Cream cheese frosting
1/3 cup or more (to your liking) caramel ice cream topping
Pecan halves for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three (9”) round cake pans. Combine cake mix, pumpkin or potatoes, eggs and butter in bowl; beat two minutes. Divide batter among three pans. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool five minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans and cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Pour caramel ice cream topping over top of cake and garnish with pecan halves. (If you use store bough cream cheese frosting, it will take 1 1/2 tubs, 16 oz. each.)
Mashed Potato Casserole
3 1/2-4 lbs. (about 10 medium) potatoes, peeled
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)
Cooked bacon and/or grated cheese for topping
In a large pot, cook potatoes until tender but not mushy. Drain well. Mash potatoes (do not use electric mixer.) Blend in cream cheese and butter until melted. Mix in onions, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Put in buttered casserole dish and top with crumbled bacon (and/or) grated cheese. Bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes.
Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
(Make crust and refrigerate)
Crust: In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt 1/3 cup butter and 1-6 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips. Remove from heat, stir in 2 1/2 cups Rice?Krispies cereal until completely coated. Press on bottom and up sides of buttered 9” pie plate. Chill 30 minutes before filling.
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1-14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Chocolate fudge ice cream topping
In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy; gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk then peanut butter until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream. Put in chocolate crunch crust (recipe below) and drizzle chocolate ice cream topping over pie. Freeze until firm, about four hours.
Chocolate Cake Pudding
Topping:?1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
(Mix together and set aside)
Cake: 1 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in 9x10” baking pan and cool. Mix together sugar, flour and cocoa. Stir in milk, cooled butter and vanilla. Mix well. Spread batter in pan used to melt butter. Sprinkle topping mix over batter. Do not stir. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water over topping.?Do not stir. Bake in 350° oven 45 minutes. Serve with ice cream for hot fudge cake.
Ice Cream Cake
Ice cream sandwiches
Caramel ice cream topping
Chopped Heath or Score candy bars
Layer in cake pan in order listed above. Put in freezer until ready to serve. Needs to be frozen firm before cutting.
2 lbs. plain flour
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
Mix well and put in refrigerator overnight. Knead on floured board. You can roll into 3/4” balls and place three in each greased muffin cup or roll into biscuit size balls and place on cookie sheet about 2” apart. Let rise until double in size, 2-4 hours. Bake at 400° until light brown.
If you don’t have overnight to wait, try this: Dissolve 1 package yeast and 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. Cut 2 Tbsp. shortening into 2 1/2 cups self rising fluor. Add 1/2 cups sweet milk, 1 beaten egg and yeast mixture. Mix to form soft dough. Knead on well floured board. Roll into balls (3/4”). Put in greased muffin cups, brush with melted butter. Cover with towel and let rise 2-4 hours at room temperature. Bake on 400° until light brown (10 minutes).
1 plain white cake mix
1 cup whole milk
1 stick melted butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9” cake pans and dust with flour. Put cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low one minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat two more minutes on medium. Place in prepared pans and place in oven side by side. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Place pans on wire racks to cool 10 minutes, then remove cake from pans and place right side up on racks until completely cool. Frost with quick and easy caramel frosting:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dak brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place butter and brown sugars in medium size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until mixture comes to boil. Add milk, stir, and bring back to boil. Remove from heat and add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. (Best if beat with wooden spoon, but I use mixer.) Use immediately (while warm) or frosting will harden. If it does, place back on low heat, add a few drops of milk if needed, and stir until it softens. (This is much simpler to make than caramelizing granulated sugar in a skillet and just as delicious.)