Category Archives: Meats

sweet potato sausage cakes

Sweet Potato Sausage Cakes

Recipe submitted by Mrs. SD. J. Bucher, Harman, W. Va.

1/2 pound fresh sausage

1 tsp salt

2 cups raw sweet potatoes, shredded

Shred raw sweet potatoes and mix with sausage and salt. Shape into 10 flat cakes.

Place in cold skillet and place over low heat. Fry slowly until brown and crisp on both sides.

Serves 5 to 6.


I really liked these! The first sausage I used was just some generic stuff from the grocery store……… and the cakes were ok……but I knew these could be great! So, I went to the market and got some Sicilian orange fennel sausages from the Turkey Lady, and it was a big difference! Slightly sweet, hearty and unique, these would be great with pancakes and syrup or in a salad like I had for lunch. Yum.

I did change up one thing; I made half of the cakes with cooked, mashed sweet potatoes and half with shredded raw sweet potatoes. I think I liked the mashed better, but both were good. Oh, and follow the directions to use a cold skillet….it helps the potatoes and sausage cook fully. Eat up!

meat loaf

Meat Loaf

Recipe submitted by Mrs J. R. Diller, Hesston, Kan.

1 1/2 pounds hamburger

1 cup soft bread crumbs

1 cup milk or tomato juice

1 medium onion, minced

1 or 2 eggs beaten

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

6 strips bacon

Soak bread crumbs in milk and add beaten egg.

Add meat, onion and seasoning. Form into a loaf (do not pack) and place in a baking dish; then put strips of bacon on top of loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Serves 6.


Another variation may be made by removing baked hamburger loaf from pan and placing it in a broiler pan. Spread with catsup and place under broiler for several minutes.

This variation submitted by Mrs Pearl Schmidt, Greensburg, Kan.


This was super good! It was probably in part by the awesome grass fed beef from Country Meadows Farms at Central Market. Also, there was bacon on top….. I mean really, how can that ever go bad?

I did change a few things; I added about 3 times the amount of salt and pepper called for as well as some garlic salt and an extra onion.

I doubled the recipe and used 2 eggs total. My bread crumbs were made from 14 grain bread from Rics Bread

Lastly, use the catsup, just do it, it makes it wonderful!

The birthday girl later told me she doesn’t even really like meat loaf…….she loved this!

Beef and Biscuit

Beef and Biscuit

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Isaac Good, East Earl, Pa.

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp shortening

2 Tbsp flour

1 cup milk or water

Brown meat, onion and pepper in hot fat. Season with salt and pepper.

Add flour and blend, then add liquid and cook until thick.

For biscuit dough:

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp shortening

3/4 cup milk

Roll biscuit dough 1/4 inch thick, brush with melted butter and spread with meat mixture.

Roll like jelly roll and cut in 1 1/4 inch slices. Place cut slices down in a greased baking pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 6-8.

Everybody loved this dish. It was just downright tasty….not that surprising since the women who submitted it is from East Earl, and that’s where I was raised.

For the hot fat I used lard, which I still think was a great purchase, and recommend trying. It probably cancelled out the lean ground beef I used but I think the taste was worth it.

I used milk rather than water for the liquid and the consistency was a bit like hamburger gravy (which everyone was pretty happy about).

So the recipe didn’t actually instruct you on how to make the biscuits (although any good Mennonite women should know how, so I am not surprised it was just assumed). The only thing I really know about biscuit making is not to over work the dough, so I just beat the shortening (lard) and milk together, then threw the rest of the ingredients in and gave the mixer a few seconds. I then got out the dough and handled it just enough to make sure everything would stay together. I think a little extra flour would have helped the roll stay together a bit better. That or letting the meat mixture cool more….it made the dough warm and hard to handle.

If you are a ketchup junkie, this is perfect food for you to go nuts with. I thought horseradish would be nice with the Beef and Biscuit, so I found a recipe that is normally served with meatloaf and made it to go with this dish. It was great. Here it is:

Horse-radish Dressing

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Ezra Long, Sterling, Ill.

!/4 cup thick cream

3 Tbsp grated horse-radish (if you live in Lancaster, go to Longs horse-radish stand at Central Market

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp vinegar

Mix vinegar and salt with grated horse-radish. Whip the cream stiff and add gradually to the horse-radish.

So yummy! Would be good with all sorts of meat dishes. Whip some up!

six layer dinner

Okay okay, this dish was not all bad. It was very hearty, something you would want to eat after working in the fields all day. In the words of Abbey, it was, “weirdly addicting”. Initially it was not very striking, but then you wanted to keep eating it…… kind of like box pasta and sauce. So here it is….

Six Layer Dinner

Submitted by Mrs. Velma Miller, Canton, Ohio; Mrs. Abner Musselman, Elmira, Ont., Can.

2 cups hamburger

2 cups sliced raw potatoes

2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup diced onion

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup diced green pepper

2 cups canned tomatoes

Place potatoes in bottom of greased casserole. Add celery, then hamburger, onions and pepper.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on each layer. Pour tomatoes over mixture in dish and garnish with green pepper rings.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.

Serves 6-8.


The only thing I really changed about this recipe was that I used shredded cabbage instead of potatoes. This dish was a great way to use up a variety of veggies that might soon go to waste…… Mennonite blood loves this thought! And really, that concept was probably why this dish was created. Makes me smile.

barbecued hamburger

Barbecued Hamburger

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Norman Loux, Souderton, Pa.

2 pounds hamburger

1 onion

1/2 cup catsup

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp vinegar

2 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

Fry onion and hamburger in 4 Tbsp hot fat until it has lost its raw, red color. Stir until smooth and then add all the other ingredients.

Simmer about 20 minutes and serve with hamburger rolls.

Serves 8.

Really, it’s like a sloppy joe and who doesn’t like them?? I like things with lots of kick and spice and I was paranoid that this was going to be bland. So I added about 3 times the amount of all the condiments (mustard, catsup, vinegar etc) I think I was right because everyone said it was really good. So there you have it.

Oh and I made Refrigerator Rolls (click for next post in series) again and they were a nice size and consistency for the BBQ. Roll recipe to follow.

When the moon hits your eye like a baked sausage pie

Sunday night was very festive, felt like a family reunion of sorts.  It was partly because of the large representation of children, and partly because it was so crazy noisy! Everyone was excited to see each other and I loved it. The guests included my friends Steve and Nicole and their two children, my friend Matt, my brother Shawn and sister in law Abby and their two children, my boyfriend Joel, my niece Trinity and my nephew Stirling. What a crew!

It was really fun to get comments on all the food and hear everyone catch up and get to know one another. When the guys left to go work on a scooter in Joel and Shawn’s motorcycle garage, it really felt like a Mennonite reunion with all the girls hanging out and cleaning up….actually, it was kinda perfect.And let’s not forget about the food….pretty darn tasty.

Refrigerator Rolls

Recipe submitted by Miriam Shaffer, Martinsburg, Pa; Mrs. Moses H. Yoder, Hartville, Ohio; Emma Witmer, Columbiana, Ohio.

2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening                                                          

1 tsp salt

2 yeast cakes (2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)

1/4 cup warm water

2 eggs beaten

8 cups flour

Mix together the sugar, salt, shortening and boiling water. Let cool. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and add to above cooled mixture. Add beaten eggs

Add 4 cups of flour and beat thoroughly. Add the remaining 4 cups of flour and beat. Do not knead.

Cover tightly and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Remove from refrigerator 1 1/2 hours before serving time and shape as desired.

This dough may be kept in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Bake at 400- 450 degrees until golden brown (15-20 minutes).


These rolls are soooo good. We only had 2 left.

I think the lard really helped in these rolls. Be warned however, when it is mixed in with the hot water, it smell like a wet dog. Really appetizing.

The dough almost killed my mixer. It was very stiff. I would say beat the first batch of flour in and then do the rest by hand. In the recipe there is no indication of how long you should let them rise, I just shaped them as soon as I got them out of the refrigerator and then left them rise for an hour and 15min. It seemed to be the perfect amount of time.

I made 16 larger rolls out of this batch. If you are going to do this then bake the full 20 minutes. If you make them smaller, more like 2 dozen, bake the 15 minutes. I pulled mine out a bit under baked and had to throw them back in.

Make these. You will love them.

Let’s talk for a second about lard. Yup, lard. So alot of recipes in the Mennonite Community Cookbook call for shortening or fat. Lard was commonly used years ago and I remember it vaguely from my childhood as white and gloppy. Hmmm, how good could it really taste? Plus I think it went out of vogue for some reason, something to do with saturated fats….and death. I have heard it briefly talked about as making a comeback, (not being hydrogenated

and all) and I decided to give it a whirl when I randomly saw it at the organic meat stand at market ( I think i might be hooked.

Baked Sausage Pie

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Huber, East Petersburg, Pa.

1 pound fresh sausage                                                            

4 cups diced cooked potatoes

2 onions, minced

½ cup celery

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 ½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Milk to cover mixture

Pastry for top a bottom crust (recipe to follow)

Line the bottom and sides of a flat baking dish with pasty.

Fill dish with alternating layers of fresh sausage and cooked, diced potatoes.

Add onion, celery, and seasoning. Cover mixture with hot milk and add crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Serves 6-8.


This dish tasted great but had a weird consistency. I think I added more milk than I should have. I would recommend putting in enough milk so you just so see it through the layer of onions and celery. Also chop the potatoes on the small side (I removed the skin).

The diners wanted more sausage; I say add 1 1/2 pounds instead of 1. And about the sausage, it should be removed from its casing but I made the mistake of flattening it into patty like shapes and then layering it. This technique turned the sausage into big sausage patties in the pie. No good. Mince it up instead and sprinkle it around.

Lastly, I used a 9×13 inch flat baking dish. Too big. I did not have enough pie dough to cover

the top. I recommend an 8×8 inch pan.

Pastry (for a 9-inch double crust pie)

21/4 cups flour

2/3 cup shortening

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup cold water

Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender or 2 knives. Do not over mix; these are sufficiently blended when particles are the size of peas.

Add water gradually, sprinkling 1 Tbsp at a time over mixture. Toss lightly with a fork until all particles of flour have been dampened. Use only enough water to hold mixture together when it is pressed between the fingers. It should not feel wet.

Roll dough into a ball, handling as little as possible.

Divide into 2 equal portions.

Roll out on a lightly floured board until dough is 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch larger then diameter of pie pan. (Or in the case of sausage pie, the dough is slightly larger than the size of your flat baking dish.)


So I haven’t made homemade pie crust in quite some time and never with lard so I was a bit on edge when I tried to make this dough. I think I dough sensed my stress and decided to be a bit difficult.

It did not hold together. So although I could roll out some of the dough, there was a lot of pressing and patching. More water was needed; use the whole 1/3 cup, if not a bit more.

The lard was stiffer than butter which made it harder to work with. But, it made the crust really good and flavorful.

So I say more water and smaller pan.  P.S above is my new fav rolling pin. Marked with measurements and with adjustable height. Love it.

Hot Slaw (1)

Recipe submitted by Anna Miller, Denbigh, Va.

1 quart shredded cabbage

1 tsp salt                                                  

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp mustard

1/2 cup sour cream

Melt butter in a saucepan and add shredded cabbage.

Stir until butter is well mixed through the cabbage. Add water and salt and cover tightly.

Cook for 10 minutes and then add the sugar and vinegar and mustard.

Simmer another minute and then add the sour cream.

Serves 4.


This was my favorite dish…I loved the texture and I loooved the taste. However, sour cream is very close to my heart so that might explain a few things.

One thing I would change is that while I was drinking a beer and chatting with my guests, I did not let the cabbage cook in the liquid long enough. Definitely let it cook the ten minutes or it will be too watery.

I used course ground Dijon mustard which I think added a delicious kick.

Also, I might add some pepper, other than that I thought this dish was killer. My boyfriend liked the taste but not the cut and texture because it got caught in his mustache. So if you have a beard, beware.

Raw Cabbage Pickle (Old)

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Amos K. Mast, Cochranville, Pa.

1 large head cabbage

1 1/2 Tbsp salt                                    

1 tsp celery or mustard seed

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup vinegar

Shred cabbage coarsely. Add salt and sugar and work it well into the cabbage.

Add vinegar and spice and let stand 12 hours before serving.


This dish was super easy and really good. It’s like simple, none dairy coleslaw. My mans favorite of the night, hands down. I ate it for lunch the next day, even better after sitting another 12 hours.

Ok.  So this was not on the menu but I had extra cabbage. You know the deal, waste not want not. So I used the extra and how delicious it was.

Because I made this spur of the moment, it only set for 8 hours. It was still really good, but let it sit for the full amount.

Also, I used celery seed, would love to see how it is with mustard seed.

Dampf Knepp or Caramel Dumplings

Recipe submitted by Mrs. Edgar Strite, Hagerstown, Md; Mrs. Betty Beck, Archbold, Ohio.

1 cup warm water

1 egg

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp shortening, melted

1 yeast cake (small) (2 tsp yeast)

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour


To make syrup, combine all below ingredients and boil for 5 minutes.

3 cups water

2 cups brown sugar                                                                    

1 Tbsp butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Beat egg and add sugar and salt. Combine yeast and egg mixture. Add flour and melted fat and work to a smooth soft dough.

Turn onto a floured board and knead for several minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and brush surface with melted shortening. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Divide dough into 6 parts; work into smooth round balls

and let rise until light.

Place on top of boiling syrup. Cover and cook slowly for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not remove lid.

Raisins may be added to syrup if desired. An old favorite of Grandmother’s day.

Serves 6.


This dish was…. Not good. I think it could have been operator error. The dough never really rose, and it was really really sticky. The kids loved it and rightly so, if you tasted it with your eyes shut, it was like a syrup drenched pancake.

I think it might have been saved if I had added all the flour. Add all the flour if you give it a try.

It just sounded so good……sigh.

Final Thoughts

I always think of church on a Sunday. No matter where I am, what I have been doing or how long it’s been since I have attended. It is rooted in me. So as I was starting to prepare my Sunday night meal ( on Sunday morning), church crept into my mind. Along with it came a touch of guilt and a pinch of relief.

As peeling, chopping and boiling commenced, I wondered what to do with these feelings. I began to reflect on church as a house of worship, and as I cooked through the afternoon, I decided that my actions, these simple acts of cooking were my acts of worship.

The rolls came out of the oven, the table was set, and as I watched my friends and family together, I was in my  own kind of church.