Some traditional family recipes

Donna's Stuffed Duck Pecan Ball Cookies
Snow Pudding - Gelatin Chocolate Almond Raspberry Cookies
Snow Pudding - Custard Meatloaf
Deeply Decadent Mud Pudding Garlic Roasted Rack of Lamb
Vegetable Lasagna A really good chili
blueberry chia pudding not yet

Snow Pudding - Gelatin

My mother and great aunt Marie have made Snow Pudding every Christmas for many years. The original recipe for Snow Pudding was developed long before we had refrigerators or microwaves or even stoves that kept a constant temperature. Snow Pudding is delicious and light and is good in the summer as well as at Christmas.

Make the gelatin and custard separately. Pour the custard over the gelatin at time of serving.


2 tablespoons gelatin powder soaked in 1/2 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 egg whites in a cold bowl in a cool place

Dissolve gelatin into boiling water
add sugar and lemon juice. Mix evenly.
set aside in a cool place and allow to cool     A LONG TIME !
Occasionally stir and when it is thick enough to hold the mark of a spoon it is ready.
Get the egg whites from their cool place. Beat them with COLD beaters until they are stiff.
Beat the gelatin until it is frothy.
Pour in egg whites and beat some more.
Pour in mold and refrigerate overnight.

Snow Pudding - Custard

The most fun of this recipe is the part where we separate the eggs. We actually start out with 6 whole eggs. Separate whichever way is fun for you. The whites and the yolks go on their separate ways (the whites are continually chilled, the yolks get cooked in a double boiler) and they end up back together again in your mouth in a delicious combination.


6 egg yolks
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspon of salt
4 cups of scalded milk (lowfat is good)
For those in my generation who have no idea how to scald milk (or any generation for that matter) put it in a microwave. Set it on high for 2 minutes. Then mix it, and do another 2 minutes. Keep doing this until the milk is just about to boil.
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat eggs enough to blend yolks.
Add sugar, salt and vanilla.
Add mild gradually, stirring constantly.
Cook and stir in a double boiler over hot - NOT boiling - water.
Do this until mixture coats a spoon.
Refrigerate overnight.

Pecan Ball Cookies

1/2 pound butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups pecans chopped medium fine
confectioner's sugar

Soften butter at room tempurature
Cream butter with vanilla until smooth
Combine sugar, flour and pecans
Blend with the Butter
Roll into little balls
Bake on a cookie sheet (not greased)
at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
Sift confectioner's sugar and make two piles
roll cookies in sugar when they come out of the oven

Chocolate Almond Raspberry Cookies

When I was a teenager, I worked in a bakery called Danish Bakers. They had a desert called Japanese Jellyroll, which consisted of dense chocolate and vanilla almond cake, rolled with raspberry jelly. These were good and very popular. From this I learned that the combination of chocolate, almonds and raspberry is very very good. As in, "Proof that God Loves us" good.

However, the recipe was a big secret. So, one Christmas, my mom helped me to adapt the pecan ball recipe to make Chocolate Almond Raspberry Cookies.

1/4 pound butter
1/4 pound dark, semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups almonds chopped medium fine
Raspberry Jelly - Polaners All Fruit is good

Soften butter at room tempurature
Melt chocolate chips in Microwave. Cook for 30 seconds at medium, then stir. Do this until chocolate is creamy.
Cream butter and chocolate with almond extract until smooth.
Combine sugar, flour and almonds.
Blend with the Butter/Chocolate
Roll into little balls.
The balls should stick together. If they don't, add more butter and chocolate.
Flatten each ball into the palm of your hand. Poke an indentation in it.
Bake on a cookie sheet (not greased)
at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
Allow cookies to cool. When they are cooled, put raspberry jelly into indentation.

Deeply Decadent Mud Pudding

This recipe comes from my very cool colleague Susan. She presents it in a clean plastic flower pot, with a fake plastic flower in it. The recipient wonders why s/he is being given a fake plant, until s/he realizes that the dirt is actually crushed oreos.

2 large packages of OREOs - original
2 large packages instant vanilla pudding (or 3 small packages)
1 quart milk
2 x 8oz packages cream cheese
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 large (10 oz) tub Cool Whip
(optional: 4 packages of Heathbar, cracked up to smaller pieces. or for kids, gummy worms.)

Crush OREOs, so some of the pieces are still quarter size, and set aside.
[I use a large open zip lock bag and just bang it with a rolling pin.]
In a medium size bowl, mix pudding and milk.
In a large bowl, mix cream cream cheese and sugar.
Add the pudding to the cream cheese mixture.
Add Cool Whip. Mix.
In a flower pot or storable container, alternating layers of cookies and pudding
(and optionally Heathbar or gummy worms.)
[After each layer of pudding, I put a paper towel over the top of the bowl, to prevent crumbs from popping out, and bang the bowl on the counter to settle the layers.]

The last layer should be fine crumbs of OREOs to make it look like dirt.


1 pound very lean ground beef (you can substitute, for part of it, veal, lamb, turkey or pork)
2 eggs
1/2 package of seasoned breadcrumbs
ketchup (not too much)
mustard (ditto)
Salt and Pepper (same)
onion finely chopped
garlic, 2 segments pulverized
grated cheese
Worsterchir sauce or steak sauce

mix together all ingredients except the cheese.
roll out flat and sprinkle on the cheese
roll into a round thing
put into a meatloaf pan
bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour

Is also very good made with veal, thyme and swiss cheese

Garlic Roasted Rack of Lamb

1 rack of lamb (6 chops)
Olive Oil Spray
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Remove fat from lamb. Spray lamb with Olive Oil.
Press crushed garlic into meaty side of rack.
Cover a baking tray with foil and place lamb, bone side down, on tray.
Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast lamb 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Combine bread crumbs and rosemary and add salt and pepper.
Spray bread crumbs with olive oil to moisten slightly.
Spread bread crumb mixture over meaty section of lamb.

Return to oven and roast 5 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium.

Donna's Duck Recipe

This is my mom's duck recipe; she used to make this for my dad, and it is quite good.

2 average-sized (5-6 lb) ducks will easily feed four people. Multiply as necessary.


2 Average sized ducks, defrosted
7oz bag of Arnolds seasoned stuffing mix - Product Info
Package of Uncle Bens Wild and Long Grain Rice mix - Product Info
2 large oranges, or 3 medium oranges
2 large apples, or 3 medium apples
5 long stalks of celery, rough bottoms removed, some leaves can remain.
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 can frozen condensed orange juice, defrosted but not mixed with water.
seasoning salt
wooden or metal skewers used to truss up stuffed poultry. If you are inexperienced at trussing up poultry, you might want string.
Baster - Important
roasting pan, with rack for raising up duck


CLEAN DUCK – rinse duck. remove and unwrap innards. Wash innards until water runs clear (no more blood).
There will be lots of excess fat. This can be discarded.

Place innards in a pot, cover with water, put on stove. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until they are cooked through.

SAVE the water! aka Duck Innard Juice

set the innards aside to cool

COOK RICE according to directions on box. EXCEPT replace half the water with the Duck Innard Juice.

Chop oranges, apples and celery to half inch squares.

Sautee the pecans, apples and celery until slightly brown.

Open stuffing mix and place into a very large bowl. The directions will indicate a certain amount of water
Figure out about 2/3 of that amount. Mix half regular water with half Duck Innard Juice to get to that 2/3 amount.
Mix together the fluid and the stuffing.

Separate the innards. There will be neck, liver and heart. You want to include heart, but not the liver or neck.
Chop up the hearts into small 1/4 inch cubes.

(You can give the neck and livers to your cat, who has been watching this entire process hungrily. The meat needs to be peeled from the neck which is a rater labor-intensive process. The liver needs to be chopped.)

Mix together ingredients for stuffing. (all of above except ducks themselves and OJ.) The stuffing should only be a bit moist. The croutons should be still half crunchy.

Stuff ducks, but not tightly. Stuffing will expand. Stuff both ends.

Use the skewers to attach the skin, so the stuffing stays inside. Use the string to truss the duck.

If you have leftover stuffing, you can put it in a baking dish and bake it as well.

Rub the outside of the ducks with seasoning salt and pepper. Prick the skin with a knife

Put ducks into an aluminum pan, but raised up. You can use one of those pans with bumps, but a meat rack is better.

Put into oven and cook according to directions on wrapper.

While cooking, prick the skin every 20 minutes or so, to release the fat. Baste with OJ.

Suck out the excess fat, and put it into discardable cans. If you are extremely ambitious, you can mix it with bird seed, to make suet.

Follow instructions for time and temperature. Once it is done, it will need to sit for about 20 minutes, covered.

Share and Enjoy!!

Vegetable Lasagna

The very best time to make this is in July, August and September, when these vegetables are at their peak. I purchase them at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market, which is awesome.

Note that this is not a gooey, mushy lasagna. It is chewier and lighter. It's good in late summer.

I have trouble with proportions, as I always seem to get more vegetables than I can handle. Proportions below are my best guess; please use your judgement.

The most time-consuming part is the chopping. If you have one of those food prosessors that quickly makes slices, that's fine. However, I do not recommend using the regular spinning blade - you don't want to make mush.

I use aluminum pans from my local market, which have their own aluminum lids. These are only good for one use or so.

2 aluminum pans with lids. Pans are approximately 12" x 10" x 3", and are considered a 1/2 size steam pan.
2 boxes lasagna pasta - No Boil - each sheet should be about 3" wide and 8" long. You need 24 sheets. I use the kind that doesn't need to be boiled. For one thing, it's easier. For a second, it makes the lasagna chewier.
2 small cans of tomato paste.
Part Skim ricotta cheese - 15 oz container
Romano Cheese - about 8 oz
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese - about 8 oz
Olive Oil
Turkey Sausage OR Pork Sausage - 1 lb - OPTIONAL
1 medium eggplant - fresh
2 peppers, red or green
1 medium white onion
mushrooms, about a cup chopped - portobello are good, as are regular white mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 medium tomatoes - the fresher the better
Zuchini or summer squash - 2 medium.
fresh oregano - several sprigs
fresh basil - many leaves

Peel eggplant and chop into 1/2" cubes. Place into a colander and sprinkle with salt. Place colander into a bowl to collect any juice. There won't be much. Occasionally mix.

Chop tomatoes into 1/2" cubes. Place into a separate colander and sprinkle with salt. Place colander into a bowl to collect any juice. Occasionally mix.
(Save the juice that is in the bowl. Drink it. It is delicious.)

Chop white onion and garlic together.

Chop mushrooms - 1/2" cubes

Chop Zuchini/Squash into 1/2" slices

Chop peppers - 1/2" cubes

Heat a pan to high, put in some Olive Oil, and then cook Sausage.

Use the oil from the sausage to cook the onions and garlic. If you don't include sausage, just cook the onions and garlic in Olive Oil.

Pick the leaves from the oregano. Don't include stems.

Pick the leaves from the basil. Don't include the stems.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. Pour some olive oil into the pans, and spread throughout the inside with a paper towel.

Place three sheets of lasagna in the bottom of each pan. Maybe break off the corners so that you can spread the noodles in the bottom of the pans.

Evenly spread the Zuchini/squash as the next layer.

Next spread the eggplant.

Next a layer of pasta.

spread the ricotta cheese evenly next.

tomatoes next.

peppers next


3rd layer of pasta

onions, garlic and sausage



4th layer of pasta.

spread a can of tomato paste onto each assembly. Spread evenly.

Generously grate romano cheese on top of tomato paste.

Pull apart Mozzarella and spread on top.

cover pan with lid, but don't seal it shut. You don't want the top layer to burn, but you want the steam to escape.

Bake for 30 minutes.

remove lids and bake for additional 20 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving. As in all similar dishes, this will taste much better the day after it is cooked.

A really good chili

Chop and sauté 2 onions and 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil
when soft, add spices:
4 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
2/3 teaspoon spoonful of cardamom
dash of "chili powder"
dash of cayenne pepper
sauté with about one jalapeño (remove some seeds---to your taste)
If desired, at the same time in a different pan, cook a pound of ground beef, until completely cooked.
the chili pan should contain a fragrant "paste"
after a couple of minutes
add 2 cans of black beans (can substitute other kinds), with juice
and 2 cans of kidney beans
add one large can of stewed whole tomatoes (break up with spoon), with juice
let simmer a while...
add beef
towards the end, add 2 chopped green peppers.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

1 & 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 cup coconut yogurt
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
dates softened in water
sunflower seeds
In a blender mix cocomilk, coconut yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, blueberries, dates
put into a container in the fridge
Into individual containers place almonds, coconut and sunflower seeds
put together when ready to use