BARBARA MCCLELLAN

Barbara McClellan

It’s fall! (Well, sort of. If we forget the calendar and remember the days we considered fall the day after Labor Day when school started, after having been closed since Memorial Day.)

Those were the days before school closed for a week at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, days for various legal holidays and a week for spring break. Honestly, we still go the same number of days, for the most part, it’s just that the days off (for students) are spread out through the school year, making the school calendar bring us back in the middle of August.

I love fall almost best of all seasons (well, maybe along with spring), but when the first little cold snap comes it really seems like the time when we should start thinking more about cooking hearty, filling foods. And in case you haven’t noticed, those days are not here yet.

Several weeks or months (maybe years) ago, my “sister-friend” Jeanie Folzenlogen called and asked if I had a recipe that included cottage cheese and tuna and was seasoned with dry ranch dressing. She was sure I had run a recipe like this in the column at one time. I looked through a few column notebooks and in all three cookbooks I have written.

Well, I could not find one like that, but it did make a little tickle in the back of my mind that I make a summer salad with cottage cheese, chopped raw veggies and dry ranch dressing. Jeanie was positive that there had been one with tuna. Of course, she was right, and I found it. The date on the column, Sept. 3, 1975. Jeanie has been a faithful reader for lots of years. It is still a good dish for hot fake-fall days. I give credit to Jo Ruth Maness for the recipe.

Jo Ruth’s Cheesy Tuna Salad

Ingredients

1 carton (16 ounces) small curd cottage cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 package dry Ranch Dressing mix

5 1/2 ounces can tuna, drained (This is the small can that used to be 6 1/2 ounces)

Steps

Mix all ingredients, chill well, and serve on a lettuce leaf, if desired.

The next is a cookie recipe from a nameless person, but I got it in Florida one summer when our children were young. They were mortified that I would ask a complete stranger anywhere, anytime, anyplace for a recipe. They finally got used to it. It just became a part of life for them, I guess.

Florida Crispy Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup shortening

1 cup granulate sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup crushed potato chips

Steps

Cream sugars and shortening with electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Gently add nuts and crushed potato chips. Mix thoroughly. Drop by scant teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with fork dipped in water. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies. Keep in tightly sealed container after cooling.

This finding of “lost” recipes reminds me of the tried and trued situation of finding lost things. When you are looking desperately for lost item 1, it can be a hopeless cause, until you are looking for lost item 2. Guess what you will find? Yep, that pesky thing you looked everywhere for. It will be right in the place that you have searched, but it apparently just stayed hidden until you were looking for something else (which you probably did not find).

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— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her at bayrm12@gmail.com or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.