Hand Me Down Recipes

What recipes are you handing down to your children?

IMG_7781See our March post at Kidville: Voice from the Ville – Old Family Recipes



The End

Every summer we take a trip to Montauk with our cousins. It has become a family tradition that we look forward to all year. We pack the minivan to capacity and head out on NY-27 to the End, as Montauk is often referred to. Once we finally arrive at our dive motel, the kids’ scream “Montauk!” and the fun begins.

Most people would define vacation as a time devoted to rest and relaxation. But our kids never seem to get that memo. Strangely, their energy level seems to increase exponentially as the days goes by.

One minute they want to be at the beach, the next it is the pool, followed by a trip for ice cream, fishing, or miniature golf. Then back to the beach, which makes them hungry again so back to the room for a snack. Each of these trips requires no less than a shower, a bathroom break, and a change of clothes. If you have ever read the popular children’s book, ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…’, then you get the idea.



Our vacation wraps up with our big family potluck dinner. Personally this is one of my favorite nights. Some menu items this year were Robyn’s famous meatballs, Chris’s sausage & peppers, and our turkey chili. In years past our Aunt Harriet would make a huge pot of clam chowder to start off the meal. I am making my own version this week, heavy on the veggies, with a little bacon thrown in for good measure.

Corn Clam Chowder


5 slices bacon, diced

1 Tbsp butter

1 cup onion, finely diced

1 cup celery, finely diced

1 cup carrots, finely diced

Juice from 10oz. can minced clams, clams reserved

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup potato, cubed

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 cups whole or 2% milk

1 cup fresh or frozen corn



Cook bacon in a large saucepan until crisp.


Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels and set aside. Add butter, onions, celery, and carrots to the bacon drippings. Sauté vegetables until softened, about 20-25 minutes.


Add clam juice, chicken broth, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.


In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and milk. Add reserved clams and milk mixture to the soup and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often, until thickened and bubbling, about 8-10 minutes. Add corn in the last two minutes of cooking.

Garnish with bacon bits and serve with crusty bread for dipping.



And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (big brother): “My tastebuds don’t think it’s yummy”

Liam (little brother): “EEEWWW – what is THAT?”

Dylan (little brother): “It’s so disgusting! Mommy, why did you cook this for dinner?”

Funny, I don’t remember my Aunt Harriet getting that reaction!

Family Fun Night

Our local beach has a wonderful tradition; every Friday they host a Family Fun Night. Each week there is a theme with a special menu built around it. It is not five star dining but they really make an effort to cook authentic dishes. In addition to the food they also set up a Tiki Bar.  (I think I can speak for most people that this is the real draw!)

This past Friday the theme was Family Fiesta, before that was Fisherman’s Catch, Tapas night and American BBQ. They even had a Hawaiian Luau, complete with a pig roast. Sadly we missed that one. Upcoming events include: Mardi Gras, Italian night, and the end of year Clam Bake, a huge favorite.

They call it Family Fun night but it is really more of a Happy Hour (kids welcome) for the Moms & Dads. It is a great way for the working parents to connect with the stay-at-home parents after a long workweek on both sides. Since the beach is small most everyone is a familiar face. And the best feature of our beach is a six-foot fence so kids can’t escape! It is nice to be able to let the boys run around and they are thrilled to have their little bit of freedom.

The beach has extended hours Friday nights and most kids (and some parents) get to stay up way past bedtimes. But after dinner and the obligatory ice cream we usually don’t make it much past 8pm. Once we start to see the beginnings of a meltdown it’s our signal to pack up our brood and head home for bath and bedtime. The boys always give us a hard time about leaving but we remind them that there is always next Friday…

For Tapas night, there was a dish on the menu called Albondigas.  Sounded very exotic, turns out it means meatballs, which is right up our alley. Traditionally, they are served in a soup with similar ingredients to Matzo Ball Soup so I thought the boys might like this one.

Albondigas Soup (adapted from recipe of Chelsie Kenyon)


1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 cup rice (uncooked)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin, divided

4 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided

2 quarts chicken broth

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 white onions, diced

3 large carrots, or 12-15 small carrots, chopped

2 cups baby spinach, fresh

Handful fresh cilantro leaves

2 tsp oregano



In a large bowl mix ground beef, pork, salt, 1 tsp cumin, 2 cloves garlic until well blended. Do not overwork. Form small meatballs, about 1” in diameter.



Bring chicken broth to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and add in meatballs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients.


Simmer for two hours, until vegetables have softened and rice in meatballs has cooked through.



And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6):  “This soup is so yummy but don’t be sad Mommy, I like Grandma’s          carrots better”

Liam (age 4): “I ate a carrot!”

Dylan (age 4): “These meatballs keep rolling off my spoon!”

Even with the runaway meatballs, I considered this a very successful meal.