Fancy ingredients and complicated procedures are considered by some as the determining factors for how wonderful a recipe tastes. The harder to locate the proper ingredients and the more difficult the preparation and cooking method, the better it’s supposed to be. However, those of us raised on our mother’s or grandmother’s made-from-scratch dishes, plus a few church socials and family reunions, know better.

Fancy ingredients and complicated procedures are considered by some as the determining factors for how wonderful a recipe tastes. The harder to locate the proper ingredients and the more difficult the preparation and cooking method, the better it’s supposed to be. However, those of us raised on our mother’s or grandmother’s made-from-scratch dishes, plus a few church socials and family reunions, know better.

Past generations were masters at the art of "homecooking." They could throw together a half dozen or so basic ingredients and turn out a mouthwatering masterpiece without breaking a sweat. Fortunately for us, they’ve passed these timeless recipes down to future generations, often via simple cookbooks put together by churches and organizations. One such cookbook was recently produced right here in Texomaland by the senior volunteers at the Texoma Senior Corps, a part of the Texoma Area Agency on Aging. It’s homecooking from folks right here at home!

The handy, spiral-bound book has 63 pages dedicated to recipes ranging from appetizers and beverages to complete meals and is ideal for beginners to seasoned homecooking pros. Additional pages give nutritional information and information on eating and living healthier.

The book is available for purchase at just $10, the proceeds of which go into the local Foster Grandparent and Retired and Senior Volunteer Programs. For more information, call the Senior Corps, a branch of the Texoma Council of Governments, at 903-813-3562.

Below are a few of the great recipes in the book, along with person who shared the recipe. Try one or two as a new addition to your Thanksgiving and holiday food fare!

Cranberry Sauce Extxraordinaire

Submitted by Sharon Fugett

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1 (12 oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries

1 orange, peeled, cored and diced

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 pear, peeled, cored and diced

1 cup chopped, dried mixed fruit

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir in cranberries, pureed orange, apple and pear, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Use as a condiment to your turkey and dressing or pour it over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Submitted by Dale Rideout

2 cups crushed pretzels

3/4 cup butter, melted

3 Tbsp. white sugar

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 (3 oz.) pkgs. strawberry Jell-O

2 cups boiling water

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen strawberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together pretzels, butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar. Mix well and press mixture into bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until set. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in whipped topping and spread mixture onto cooled crust. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Submitted by Linda Ayers

2 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 cup shortening

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1/4 cup milk

Sift flour, sigar, salt and baking powder together. Cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Stir in sweet potatoes. Add milk gradually to form a soft dough. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead lightly. Roll or pat out in 1/2-inch thickness, then cut biscuits out with biscuit cutter. Place on greased sheet and bake at 475 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Seven-Up Biscuits

Submitted by Trish Jennings

1/2 stick melted butter

2 cups Bisquick

2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup 7-Up soda

Pour melted butter in bottom of 9-inch square pan. (Also delicious cooked in cast iron skillet.) Mix remaining ingredients. Roll out dough and cut. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Cheese, Smoked Sausage and Potato Casserole

Submitted by Ruthie Wyatt

3 cups potatoes, peeled, boiled and cubed (approximately 1 lb.)

1 lb. skinless, smoked sausage

4 Tbsp. butter

4 Tbsp. flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. paprika

1/2 lb. Velveet cheese, diced

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cut skinless, smoked sausage in half, lengthwise, and then chop in to 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in pan for about 15 minutes, turning frequently to slightly brown. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes in 2-quart casserole dish. Add cooked meat and gently toss. Mix butter, four, milk, salt, pepper and Velveeta and heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Pour cheese mixture over meat and potatoes. Sprinkle shredded cheese and paprika on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown on top.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Submitted by Georgia Richardson

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. broccoli cuts

2 whole, boiled, deboned chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 tsp. curry powder

salt to taste

1 cup grated cheese

1 small pkg. regular potato chips

Steam broccoli. Cover bottom of 9 X 13-inch casserole dish with broccoli. Place deboned chunks of cooked chicken over broccoli. Mix soup, lemon juice, mayo, curry powder and salt together. Do not add water. Pour mixture over chicken and broccoli. Spread grated cheese over mixture. Generously spread crushed chips over cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Carrot Salad

Submitted by Mary Hamilton

2 lb. raw carrots, sliced

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 purple onion, thinly sliced

3/4 cup vinegar

3/4 cup salad oil

1 cup sugar

1 (10 oz.) can tomato soup

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dry mustard

Cook carrots until tender, drain and add peppers and onions. Mix vinegar, oil, sugar, soup, salt and mustard. Heat this mixture and pour over carrots, peppers and onions. Let mixture marinate at least 12 hours or overnight. If needed, you can substitute 3 (15 oz.) cans of prepared carrots. Serves 12.

Apricot Buttermilk Jell-O Salad

Submitted by Marian Murray

1 (6 oz.) pkg. apricot Jell-O

1 small can crushed pineapple with juice

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping

Dissolve gelatin in pineapple on stove top. Let cool. Add buttermilk and refrigerate for at least one half hour. Add apricots and pecans. Fold in whipped topping and pour into 9 X 13 pan. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve.

Avocado Soup

Submitted by Sandra Goldston

1 cup pureed avocado

1 cup sour cream

1 (10 oz.) can chicken broth

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. orange curacao

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

lime slices for garnish

Combine avocado, sour cream and chicken broth. Mix in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Serve cold. Garnish with lime slices.

Corn Dip

Submitted by Sandra Johnston

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 (16 oz.) can corn, drained

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chipotle (canned) chopped

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and serve

Praline Strips

Submitted by Mae Clayton

24 whole graham crackers

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup pecans, chopped

Arrange crackers on ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan. Place butter and sugar in saucepan. Heat to boiling point on high heat and boil for 2 minutes on low. Stir in pecans. Spoon and spread over crackers. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cut each cracker in half while still warm.

Pineapple Coconut Pie

Submitted by Jeannie Davis

1-1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

3 eggs, beaten

1 stick butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup coconut

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Mix sugar, flour, eggs, butter and vanilla. Heat in saucepan or microwave until butter melts. Add coconut and pineapple to mixture. Pour all into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.