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Jim's Family & Friends Signature Recipes


We have been requested to keep a section on our website for the signature recipes of our family and friends so as to share them openly and fairly. As you all know it becomes something close to sharing a "state secret" to get the recipe out of a person who has the "signature" dish which gets all the attention at a party or family affair. Our goal is to break open the "vaults" to share these secrets with you all. You must be aware that these recipes are favorites because nothing is spared when it comes to real ingredients (sugar, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, etc...). So dieters beware!

NOTE: After Jim's Pacemaker was placed and he was returning to full health, he decided to take up cooking again and decided to place back up on his website the Signature Recipes of his family and friends he had taken down years ago when he stopped cooking. As you will see in reviewing the recipes Jim will regain some of the weight he has lost due to his heart failure and recovery.

Attention Family and Friends: If you have favorite recipes to share with us send them in and we will post them on this section of Jim's Blog. We will use the recipes and give a short review of our tasting these Signature Recipes. SO COME ON and share you signature recipes!

Eleanor's (Connie's Mom) Ambrosia Salad


  • 4 cans big #2 Chunks of Pineapple
  • 3 cans mandarin oranges
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups baby marshmallows
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 1/2 pints sour cream
  • two cups of seedless grapes


Drain fruits, mix in all ingredients in order presented and put into refrigerator until the mixture jells. Serve cold. 

Gilda’s (Jim's Mom) Rum Cake “Magnifico!”



  • 1 Duncan Hines Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 cup of Pecan Halves
  • 1 Box 3 3/4 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ cup Cold Water
  • ½ cup Corn Oil
  • ½ cup Baccardi Rum


  • 1/4 lb. Butter
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Baccardi Rum


Cake: Preheat oven 325, Grease & flour 12 cup Bundt Cake Pan, sprinkle pecans over bottom of pan. In a bowl, slowly blend all wet ingredients, then add all dry ingredients, then on medium speed whip for five minutes-fold and stirring a lot. Pour batter in pan. Bake 1 hour-set on rack right side up to cool. Prick top of cake with fork so glaze will sink in-drizzle and brush glaze over cake.

Glaze: Melt butter, stir in water and sugar, and bring to boil. Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly, now stir in rum-then brush & drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

Gilda's (Jim's Mom) Toll House Cookies


  • 1 lb. Butter (or margarine)
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups White Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (large)
  • 4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 6 1/2 cups Flour (not sifted) 
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 2 large bags of chocolate chips


  • Heat oven to 375. 
  • Cream: butter, brown sugar, white sugar and then
  • Add: eggs, baking soda, vanilla, flour and then
  • Add: nuts and chocolate chips
  • Keep: dough in refrigerator for a short time to settle dough before baking
  • Place: small ball of dough for each cookie on greased cooking sheets
  • Cook: at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Gilda’s (Jim's Mom) Mississippi Mud Bars with Cocoa Glaze

Mud Bar Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs                                      
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1 cup butter – softened              
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar                               
  • Dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla                             
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (7oz.) Jar marshmallow crème (1¼ cup)

Directions for Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13" x 9” baking pan. In large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Add flour, cocoa and salt; beat until well blended. Fold in pecans.  Spread batter evenly in pan.  Bake 40-45 minutes.  Immediately place dollops of marshmallow crème on cake, spread until smooth.  Let cool on wire rack for at least one hour before frosting (or chill until set, about 30 minutes).

Cocoa Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup confectioner sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • minimum 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions for Glaze:  Mix confectioner sugar and cup cocoa, then stir in 3 tablespoons milk and one teaspoon vanilla until smooth. (Stir in additional milk, ½ teaspoon at a time until desired consistency).  To freeze; wrap well, label and date (store up to 3 months).  Topping decoration (optional); one tube green decorating icing, red cinnamon candies, make a wreath with green frosting and decorate with red candies.

Aunt GG's (Connie's Aunt) "S" Cookies


  • 2 lbs Flour (8 cups)
  • 1 lb Butter (or Margarine)
  • 1/2 lb Sugar (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 eggs


Mix in all ingredients and then refrigerate dough overnight or for at least a half of day. Roll out a small "s" shaped portion of dough on an ungreased cookie pan for each cookie. Bake at 375. Bake 8 minutes on top shelf and then 8 minutes on bottom self (total 16 minutes).

Aunt Rose's (Jim's Aunt) Pecan Sandies (Jim's Binge Triggers)


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla, water, blend and add flour. Mix well and add chopped nuts. Form into small rolls, about 1 1/2" long-Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in slow oven-300 degrees for about 20 minutes until delicately brown. While hot, roll in confectioner's sugar.

Aunt Rose's (Jim's Aunt) Frying Pan Cookies


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2 eggs


Combine in heavy skillet - cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture pulls away from the pan, about 5 minutes - -Cool 5 minutes.

Then add:

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • 1 cup rice krispies
  • shredded coconut


Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup chopped nuts. Carefully work in 1 cup corn flakes and 1 cup rice krispies. Wet hands with cold water and form mixture into balls. Roll in shredded coconut. Set on cookie sheet and flatten.

Aunt Ev's (Jim's Aunt) Pepper Steak


  • 1 lb Sirloin Steak
  • 1 Onion
  • 1/2 lb Mushrooms or small can of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 green peppers (yellow or red)
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes (Italian Style)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or (extra virgin)
  •  noodles or rice
  •  salt and black pepper (to taste)
  •  hot pepper liquid, few drops



In a large skillet, add oil and heat, then add thinly sliced sirloin and thinly sliced onion.  Sauté for a few minutes until meat is slightly brown. Then add mushrooms, garlic, beef broth, stewed tomatoes. Cook until meat  is tender. Then add thinly sliced peppers, cover and cook until done.  Thicken slightly if you prefer.  Pour over noodles or rice. Sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano cheese, and serve. 

Melissa's (Our Daughter) Beet Salad

BEET SALAD adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook


  • 5 to 6 beets (2-3 inches in diameter)
  • 2-3 tbs lemon juice
  • 8-10 prunes pitted and sliced
  • 2-3 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pinapples (fresh or canned in juice)
  • 8-10 apricots sliced



  • Preheat oven to 400 F. wrap beets in foil and bake until tender (40-45 minutes) Rinse under cold water as you rub off skins.  Trim the edges and grate (by hand or in a food processor).  transfer to a bowl.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Chill until serving.


Even if you are not a beet person, this recipe is great. Melissa reports that "I have adapted the original and made it even more scrumptious". 

Steven’s*(Our Son) Corn Pudding Supreme


  • 1 15 oz can whole kernel corn-drained
  • 1 15 oz can cream corn
  • 1 box of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix (you didn’t think it was all by scratch did you?)
  • 8 oz sour cream (the real thing not fat free- pour on the calories)
  • 2 eggs (not egg beaters-must have the real cholesterol)
  • 1/4 lb of butter-melted in microwave (not margarine-get real!)
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar (optional-if you want it to be fantastic with a nice crust on top)


Drain the whole kernel corn. Then mix all ingredients by hand in mixing bowl and put into a glass casserole dish and put uncovered into oven @ 350 and cook for one hour. It is done when you can put a knife into it and it comes out cleanly. Ideally should serve warm. Be ready to be humble and accept the raves. Oh yes, warn any dieters that this dish should be added to their plate-after all it is a vegetable.

*Originally our friend's Marleen Salo's but Steven has added his own touches (extra sugar) to win over the hearts of all of the cooks for whom he has made this dish.

Paulette's (Jim's Sister) Quick Chocolate Cheese Pie


  • Pre-made Graham Cracker Crumb Pie Crust
  • 1 package Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 1 3 oz. Cream Cheese package at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 2 tsp sugar


Into a blender put all ingredients. Blend them till smooth and then pour into pie crust. Put pie into refrigerator and let jell. Serve cold. Can serve with whipped cream if so desired.

Karen's (Connie's Sister) Peanut Butter Pie


  • 1 9" Chocolate Keebler Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1/3 cup of Peanut Butter
  • 4 oz. of Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. of Vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioner sugar
  • 8 oz Cool Whip



Cream peanut butter and cream cheese. Gradually add the milk until creamy. Also add the vanilla. Fold in Cool Whip, then put mix into pie crust and then freeze pie.

Lucille's (Jim's Sister) Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Cinnamon (mmmmm!)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Corn Oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups Grated Carrots-Packed in cups
  • 1 81/2 oz. can Crushed Pineapple-(Suggestion: Just use 1/2 can and drain)
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

Cake Directions:

  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Then:
  • Add sugar, corn oil and eggs and mix well. Finally:
  • Blend in carrots, pineapple, and nuts
  • Put into a greased 9x13 Pan Cake Pan
  • Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean
  • Cool cake and then frost

Cupcake Directions:

  • Follow mixing ingredients as with the cake
  • Use cups liners in cupcake pans
  • Fill each cup to 2/3 capacity
  • Bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes or until toothpick stuck in center of each cup comes out clean
  • Let the cupcakes cool and then frost each cupcake generously with the frosting listed below:

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese (Oh Yeh!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-pound Powdered Sugar

Frosting Directions:

  • Blend room temperature butter, room temperature cream cheese and vanilla. 
  • Add sifted powdered sugar gradually
  • Frost the cooled cake and enjoy!

Nina's (cousin) Dump Cake "Dump Everything In"

Ingredients and Directions:

  • Fill an empty (cake mix sprinkled) Angel Food Pan or Bundt Cake Pan with the following ingredients in order and in layers beginning with:
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 can drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 box Butter Pecan or any other Cake Mix which was sprinkled around the cake pan prior to putting in first ingredients.
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, or any nuts of choice
  • 2 sticks of butter, which are broken into little slices or bits and spread over the last layer top
  • Bake in oven at 350 for 1 hour
  • Serve warm or cold, scoop out with spoon
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream

Marleen's (Our friend) Favorite Baked Beans


  • 2 large cans of Bush's baked beans or any other good brand
  • 4 pieces of pre-fried bacon (loosely crumbled)
  • 1 large onion - cut in large pieces
  • 6 Tablespoons of Ketchup (more or less as desired)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Dark Brown Sugar (more or less as desired)
  • 1/2 Green Pepper - cut in medium size pieces


Open and drain two cans of beans in colander - do not rinse. Remove any fat chunks from beans. Place in large corning ware dish. Now add: all of the additional ingredients. Cook in microwave with cover on for 12 to 15 minutes at power level 8-9. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. This can be made several hours ahead of meal and then just heat to serve. Great as leftover the next day. And can be served cold.

Diane's (Our Friend) Cheese Squares

Ingredients for Crust:

  • 1 Box Duncan Hines Golden Cake Mix
  • 1 Stick butter softened to room temperature (not melted)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 egg

Directions for Crust:

Mix in all ingredients. Put into greased 9 x 13 pan. Press in to bottom of pan (mix should be crumbly prior to pressing into pan). Now prepare the topping.

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 Box (16 oz.) confectioner's sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese

Directions for Topping:

Blend in "topping" ingredients until smooth. Pour over top of the uncooked crust in pan. Put pan into center of oven. Bake 1 hour at 300. It is done when you can put a knife into it and it comes out cleanly.

Alice's (Our friend) Better than Sex Chocolate Cake


  • 1 package (2 layer size) German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 jar Mrs. Richardson's fudge sauce, or other brand
  • 1 container (8 ounces) whipped topping, such as Cool Whip
  • 2 Health toffee bars, crushed


Bake cake, according to package directions, in an oblong baking pan. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it with the end of a wooden spoon. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the cake. Cool 20 minutes. Spread fudge sauce (warm sauce slightly, with lid off, in the microwave) over cake.

Top with whipped topping, sprinkle with crushed Heath bars.

Savannah’s (Jim & Connie’s Friend) Banana Nut Muffins



  • 3-4 bananas (extra ripe - lots of brown freckles)
  • 1 ½ cup of flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ (or 1 cup optional) white sugar
  • ½ tsp (or a pinch) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) melted
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (semi-sweet optional)
  • ½ cup cut walnuts or pecans



Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients together in a separate smaller bowl, mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Then, mix all ingredients together in the large bowl and mix in chocolate chips. Bake @360 degrees for 18-24 minutes. Enjoy!