By Cathy White, author of Precious Beyond Rubies

With the warm sun shining on my face and the smell of flowers in the air, I find myself reminiscing a great deal about springtime as a child. Including the amazing foods prepared by the talented women in my family. After Sunday Church services, especially on Easter, a feast was prepared: homemade rolls, deviled eggs, congealed salad, country ham, tons of fresh garden veggies, and desserts galore.

After we were stuffed with the tastes of the season, my cousins and I played for hours on the farm among the green grass and buttercups. These simpler days will be forever cherished.

In honor of this special time of year, I want to share a few of my favorite family recipes. Because these recipes were born in the homes of old fashioned Southern cooks, some of the measurements (especially spices) are not exact and should be adjusted by the cooks tastes and preferences.

016Fantastic Salad (congealed orange salad)

2 small boxes Orange Jell-O

1 (16oz) carton of cottage cheese

1 large tube of Cool Whip

½ cup pecans, chopped

1 can Mandarin oranges, drained

Sprinkle of Sugar, optional

1 large can crushed pineapple, drained

  • Place Cool Whip in a large bowl and sprinkle with dry Jell-O.
  • Slowly mix in other ingredients (be careful not to deflate Jell-O).
  • Spoon into serving dish.



Turnip Salad

Turnip Greens, fresh (about 2 lbs.)

Salt, Pepper, a little Sugar, and Hot Pepper (optional)

Meat of your choice (usually Ham Hocks, Bacon, or Salt Pork)

  • Wash mess of turnip greens (roughly 2 lbs.) thoroughly (you will probably need to change water several times).
  • Put salad in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
  • Boil until tender; drain water.
  • Cut salad into small pieces.
  • Return salad to pot, add water, and bring to a boil again.
  • While Salad is boiling, place meat (usually Ham Hocks, Bacon, or Salt Pork) in separate pot. Cook covered with water about 30 minutes.
  • Drain turnip salad again and add to pot with meat. If needed, add enough water to slightly cover meat and salad.
  • Season with salt, pepper, a little sugar, and hot pepper (optional). If desired, you can also add a dash of oil to meat and salad.
  • Continue to cook until water is absorbed. Enjoy. My family likes to add a smidge of vinegar on their greens.



Chicken Salad

Chicken Breast, large package (3-5lbs)

Celery, washed and large strings removed – (amount depends on how much your family likes celery)

Mayonnaise (if you want it to taste fabulous, use Duke’s brand)

Salt, Pepper, Celery Seed, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder

  • Cook chicken in pressure cooker until tender, let cool.
  • Chop into small pieces (for faster results, cut chicken across grain).
  • Chop several stalks of celery into very fine pieces.
  • Add celery to cooled chicken.
  • Add mayonnaise, start with a half cup and continue to add until your desired consistency is reached.
  • Mix in salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Chill before serving.



Lemon Meringue Pie

Graham Cracker Pie Crust, 8 inch

2 Eggs

1 (14oz) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

4 tablespoon Sugar

½ cup Lemon Juice

¼ teaspoon Cream of Tarter

  • Pour sweetened condensed milk into mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add lemon juice to milk.
  • Separate egg yolks from whites (save whites for meringue)
  • Add egg yolks until well blended and thickened.
  • Pour filling into pie shell.
  • Add cream of tartar to egg whites.
  • Beating together until stiff and glossy.
  • Gently pile on top of pie filling.
  • Bake at 325F until lightly brown. Be careful not to burn.
  • Store in fridge.