There’s no doubt 2020 has been an unsettling year for our country. The uncertainty of COVID-19 has kept many of us away from those we love most. And yet, it is times like these that we crave the comfort and company of friends and family the most. Studies show what most of us have known all our lives, that certain foods stir nostalgic remembrances especially from one’s childhood. By recreating those special dishes, we help close the gap and, for a moment, feel closer to those we can’t be with.
That became the theme of this year’s Doing More Today holiday recipe submissions. It wasn’t so much the dishes that that stood out as the memories they conjure.
Pamela McCloud is so insistent on making her grandmother’s signature Coke Salad that when her grandmother passed away, it was only natural she inherited the green glass bowl her grandmother always made the Jell-O salad in.
Pam Canale’s Arizona Chairman’s Club Guacamole made its debut when her branch went to the Chairman’s Club for their 2018 results. It’s so delicious, Pam keeps on making it and sharing it. Samantha Mallett snatched her Corn Dip recipe after tasting it at a Christmas party. Now it’s her recipe to share. And Ashley Kathriner’s Easy Chicken was a dish she threw together to get her daughter to eat broccoli. “We just ended up liking it,” she says.
If you’re in the mood for some Hallmark-style holiday spirit, however, you won’t want to miss the story behind Terri Bell’s Sweet Potato Soufflé recipe.
Whether you’re looking for a new recipe for your dinner table or are in the mood for some holiday spirit, check out these Regions associates’ family favorite recipes and the heart-warming tales that make them special.
Arizona Chairman’s Club Guacamole
I actually got the recipe while I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, celebrating my branch’s Chairman’s Club ranking. My sister and I grew up in the restaurant business, so we chose the Mexican food version because it’s one type of food we like but don’t know much about. The guacamole we made was absolutely delicious. –Pam Canale
- 6 mashed ripe avocados
- 6 ounces seedless diced tomatoes
- 2 ounces diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
Mix together. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Simple but delicious.
I went to a Christmas party once and tried this Corn Dip and fell in love. I got the recipe and then took it to my family Christmas. I am now asked to bring it for any gathering. It goes great with any dish and has now become a recipe I pass along to everyone. –Samantha Mallett
- 2 cans of Mexicorn
- 2 bunches green onions, chopped
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup mayo
- ½ cup diced jalapeños
- 1 small jar of diced pimentos
- 12 ounces shredded cheese
- 1 tablespoons accent
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
Drain the Mexicorn. Dump it in the bowl you want to serve in. Chop your green onions and add them in your bowl. Add the rest of your ingredients and mix together evenly. Put in fridge to chill before serving. Eat with chips. Makes a great side dish or even starter.
This is my favorite easy chicken recipe and normally I have all this stuff already on hand. It is a quick under $10 recipe. Just something that I made up to try and get my daughter to eat broccoli. We just ended up liking it. I don’t make it very often any more but I do make it occasionally for parties with family. They seem to like it. –Ashley Kathriner
- 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 package of Kors Broccoli Cheddar Rice
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 bag of frozen broccoli
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I like mild cheddar but you can use sharp)
Preheat oven to 350. In a pot add one tablespoon of your favorite oil or butter. Let it melt and add the cut-up chicken pieces. Cook until no longer pink in the center.
In another pot follow the directions for the Kors Broccoli Cheddar Rice. At this time also place the broccoli in the microwave according to the directions on the package.
After everything is done with the chicken, rice, and broccoli, put all three into one pot. Add the cream of chicken soup and 1/3 cup of water.
In a baking dish (doesn’t matter what kind) place a layer of the chicken rice mixture. Add 1 cup of the shredded cheddar. Add another layer of chicken rice mixture and top with the last cup of shredded cheddar. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve and enjoy.
This recipe was my grandmother’s that she had forever. I totally loved when she made it each year. She had an old green glass bowl that she always served it in. When she passed away, my aunt gave me the bowl because I was the only one that would make the Coke salad. I still make it in the green bowl at least a couple times a year. –Pamela McCloud
- 1 small box cherry Jell-O
- 1 small box strawberry Jell-O
- 1 can crushed pineapple
- 1 can red Bing pitted cherries, chopped
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut up
- 2 cups Coke
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Drain the pineapple and cherry. Set aside solids and add juices into a pan. Bring the juices to a boil. Then remove from heat and add the strawberry and cherry Jell-O, mix well. Pour in a bowl and place in refrigerator until it starts to congeal. Remove from refrigerator and transfer to a big bowl. Add reserved cherries and pineapple, cream cheese, pecans and Coke. Place in serving dish and refrigerate until set. Best when made a day ahead. Goes great with turkey or ham.
Sweet Potato Souffle
The Sweet Potato Souffle recipe was handed down to me by my Nana who died in October 2008. Every big family celebration as long as I can remember included this dish. One special memory was in 1975 when we lived in New Hampshire. My Mom was expecting my younger brother, who was due to arrive on Christmas Day. My grandparents flew up to spend a few weeks with us over the holidays and to help with the new baby. The day of their flight, New England was hit by a blizzard which dumped 50 inches of snow over two days. Their flight landed in Hartford, Connecticut, and they were taken by bus to Boston. My Dad worked at the airport in Boston and when he went to meet them, he found my Grandmother sitting there with 5 pounds of sweet potatoes in her tote bag that she’d brought from Atlanta. Dad laughed and she responded that she wasn’t sure she could get them in New Hampshire and she “had” to make the souffle for Christmas dinner. When I moved out on my own in 1983, she gave me the recipe, written in her handwriting. It’s safely stored in my recipe book and is a family treasure. I think of her every time I make the dish. –Terri T. Bell
- 3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes; strings removed (approx. 4 large potatoes)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs slightly beaten
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cold butter
- ½ cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients well and pour into a buttered baking dish. Using your hand, blend ingredients for the topping. Sprinkle on top of potatoes and bake at 350 for 20-30 mins, until topping is browned and potatoes are well heated. Can easily be prepared in advance and baked the day of your event. Reheats well.