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Main Content

Favorite Family Recipes

The best recipes are those passed along as family favorites

Photography by Mark Mosrie

Food styling by Whitney Kemp

As fall sports gear up, so do the festive tailgating parties and game-day get-togethers. Score your own touchdown by taking one of these tasty dishes from Out Here readers to your gathering. You’re certain to earn extra points.


Diana Johnson, of Lima, Ohio, knows how to turn plain pretzels into a seasoned, spicy snack.

½ cup oil

½ tsp. cayenne powder

½ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

1 packet dry ranch salad dressing/seasoning

1-lb. bag stick pretzels

  1.      Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2.      Mix oil, powders, seasoning, and ranch packet together.
  3.      Dump pretzels in bowl and pour sauce slowly over pretzels, stirring well.
  4.      Place on cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5.      Cool and place in an airtight container.


“As a lover of spinach and artichoke dip, I’m always looking for the next best way to serve it and eat it,” writes Marissa Saldana of Winter Haven, Fla. “Everyone gets their own personal bowl to tear apart and enjoy. Not only that, this recipe is super easy. Just throw everything in a pot and heat it up.”


1 10-12-oz. package spinach, thawed with liquid rung out

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 8-oz package cream cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1⁄3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp. red pepper flakes, crushed (optional)

¼ tsp. garlic powder or 1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

¼-½ cup milk

2 round bread loaves

Lemon wedges for serving (optional)


  1.      Create bread bowls by cutting about ½ inch off the top of each bread loaf and hollowing out the inside. Leave a thick shell of at least 1 inch.
  2.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3.      In a medium saucepan on low/medium heat, add all ingredients except milk. Heat until melted, stirring frequently.
  4.      Slowly add milk and stir until desired consistency is reached (more milk=thinner dip, less milk=thicker dip).
  5.      Pour dip evenly into bread bowls, top with extra mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese begins to get golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  6.      Remove from oven. Serve with lemon wedges, which complements the rich, creamy dip.


Makes 2 bread bowls or 5 cups.


“These are cake-like cookies,” writes Nancy A. Embury, of South Hadley, Mass. “They are very soft and moist and super yummy.”


1 cup canned or cooked fresh pumpkin

1 cup sugar

½ cup oil

1 egg

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. milk

1 cup chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)


  1.      Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg.
  2.      Stir in dry ingredients, along with dissolved baking soda. Mix well.
  3.      Stir in chocolate chips, vanilla, and chopped nuts.
  4.      Drop by teaspoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5.      Bake 375 degrees in oven for 10-12 minutes.


Makes 2 dozen.


“My dogs have enjoyed these for years,” writes Lee Ann Perez, of Ridge Spring, S.C.


1½ cups wheat flour

¼ cup dry milk

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 egg, slightly beaten

¾ cup chicken or beef broth

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. tarragon or basil

Dash pepper

Optional items:

  •        ¼ cup powdered cheese seasoning
  •        Liquid vitamin drops from pet store, per directions on label
  1.      Mix all ingredients until well blended.
  2.      Prepare cookie sheet by spraying with vegetable oil spray.
  3.      Bake one of two ways:

o   Drop by teaspoonful onto prepared cookie sheet. Flatten with fork, making crisscross design.

o   Roll onto floured board until about 1/8-inch thick and cut desired shape using any cookie cutter.

  1.      Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brown.
  2.      Turn oven off and allow biscuits to remain in oven until cool. This final step adds extra crunch.
  3.      Store in airtight container for up to 10 days.


“Venison meatballs are always a hit with the family and have been well received at potlucks,” writes Michelle Kocour, of Fairfield, Iowa.


1-2 lbs. ground venison

2 cups sour cream, divided

2 Tbsp. ketchup

1¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. garlic salt

½ tsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. oil

1 Tbsp. water

2 tsp. dill weed

Paprika to taste


  1.      Combine venison, ¼ cup sour cream, ketchup, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and oregano.
  2.      Shape into meatballs the size of walnuts.
  3.      Brown meatballs in hot oil. Pour off excess oil.
  4.      Add water, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  5.      Remove meatballs to a serving dish.
  6.      Combine remaining sour cream and dill in skillet in which meatballs were cooked.
  7.      Heat through and pour over meatballs.
  8.      Sprinkle with paprika and serve.


Makes 12-24 meatballs.


From the Out Here kitchen: Ground beef, chicken or turkey can be substituted for venison. ★