Missionary Menus That Aren’t Quite Like Mom’s

by Laird Roberts

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    If they have to cook it themselves, dinner for missionaries so used to Mom’s good cooking can be a trying experience. Those two missionary companions are on tight schedules (with only an hour or less to cook, eat, and clean up), and they have even tighter budgets. Add the time and money pressure together with the fact that, for most of them, boiling an egg is a culinary feat, and voila—a very unique style of cookery.

    Youthful and filled with the enthusiasm that they are world famous for, missionaries are known to have delved into the corners and the nooks of grocery shelves for that special buy and to have questioned every investigator, member, nonmember, and fellow missionary to come up with the perfect dinner plan. It must be easy, good, cheap, reheatable, and if at all possible, one-pan.

    And many have achieved this ideal. For convenience, economy, and just plain good eating, it’s hard to beat some missionary recipes. Some are the products of necessity; others were acquired from worried mothers. Included in this article are several favorites like: Spring Fever Sandwich, Cupboard-Clean-Out Cake, Be-Good-to-Your-Companion Cookies, and Just-before-the-Check-Comes Casserole.

    Spring Fever Sandwich

    You will need:

    2 slices of bread per sandwich

    2 or 3 radishes

    3 or 4 slices of cucumber

    Salt and pepper

    3 or 4 leaves of lettuce

    1/2 tablespoon of mayonnaise or butter per sandwich

    Cut radishes and cucumbers into thin slices. Spread each slice of bread with mayonnaise or butter. Place slices of radishes and cucumber on one slice of bread, salt and pepper, add lettuce, and close the sandwich with the second slice of bread. Now enjoy eating.

    Cupboard-Clean-Out Cake

    1 cup granulated sugar

    1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    Set this mixture aside. Now mix together:

    1 cup salad oil

    2 eggs

    Now the good part: you will need 1 1/4 cups of leftover anything—tomatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, pears, casserole, potatoes, sauerkraut, peas—any vegetable or fruit will do. Chop the leftovers into small bits—puree if possible.

    Now blend all of your ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Add nuts if you want to. Bake in a 9-inch pan at 350° F for 35 minutes. Glaze the cake while still hot with a mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water.

    Just-before-the-Check-Comes Casserole

    1 12-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

    1 12-ounce can lima beans, drained

    1/2 cup tomato sauce or catsup

    1 small onion, chopped

    Dash of salt and pepper

    1 cup cheese, shredded

    2 frankfurters

    Mix all ingredients but franks. Put this mixture in a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Slice the franks and place them in a star shape on top of the beans. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until beans are bubbly and franks are brown. This dish serves 4 to 6 people. Your leftovers will keep in the refrigerator about one week and are delicious reheated.

    Be-Good-to-Your-Companion Cookies


    1/4 cup butter or margarine

    3/4 cup brown sugar

    1 egg


    1/2 cup nuts

    2 candy bars (candy bars with chocolate, coconut, or almonds are best)

    Now mix all the ingredients together with—

    1 1/2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    Drop a teaspoon of dough every 2 inches on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

    Catfish Stew

    1 pound catfish (any fish can be used)

    1/2 pound cheese

    1 onion, diced

    1 12-ounce bottle catsup

    Dash of garlic powder

    1 bay leaf

    Cut the fish in two, lengthwise. Salt and pepper the fish, then place one layer of it in a baking pan. Place a layer of cheese and diced onions on the fish, another layer of fish on top of the onions, then add another layer of cheese and diced onions. Bake at 350° F for 10 minutes. Thin the catsup with 1 cup of water and add the garlic and bay leaf. Now pour this mixture on the partially cooked fish. Finish baking until the fish is flaky—about 30 minutes.

    Bread Pudding

    3 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

    1/4 pound butter or margarine

    1/2 loaf stale bread (about 10 slices)

    1 cup sugar

    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    Water or milk

    Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook at medium heat. Water or milk are added while cooking until the right consistency is reached. A caramel sauce can be poured over it, but it is also great by itself. Cook the pudding until the apples are soft when pierced with a fork.

    Dan’s Delight

    1 medium can stewed tomatoes

    1 onion, diced

    1 small can mushrooms

    1 pound hamburger

    Flour tortillas

    Put all the ingredients, except the hamburger and the tortillas, into a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until it is thick. While that is cooking, fry the hamburger until thoroughly browned, then drain the grease from the hamburger. Use the grease in the frying pan to heat a flour tortilla. Spoon the other ingredients on top of tortillas. Add cheese and hot sauce if you like. Roll it up and eat it.

    Lemon Bread

    1/2 cup shortening or margarine

    1 cup sugar

    2 eggs

    1/2 cup milk

    1 1/2 cups flour

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    Rind of 1 lemon, grated

    Juice of 1 lemon

    1/2 cup sugar

    Mix the ingredients, except for the juice and the 1/2 cup sugar, in the order given, then pour into a loaf pan. Put this into an oven preheated to 300° F and bake until done. (Stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf; if it is done, the toothpick will come out clean.) Mix the juice of 1 lemon with 1/2 cup sugar and pour over the bread while it is still hot.

    Brisbine Italian Chili

    1/2 pound hamburger

    1 onion, diced

    2 27-ounce cans red kidney beans

    2 16-ounce cans tomato sauce

    3 teaspoons Italian spice

    Brown the hamburger and onion in a frying pan. Pour the grease off the hamburger and onion and mix the kidney beans and the tomato sauce right in the pan. Sprinkle the mixture with the Italian spice, then simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

    Rootbeer Pancakes

    1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

    3 teaspoons baking powder

    1 tablespoon sugar

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 beaten egg

    1/2 cup milk

    1 tablespoon salad oil

    1/2 cup rootbeer

    Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the egg, milk, salad oil, and rootbeer and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir enough to mix well. Bake on a hot griddle on one side until bubbles appear, then flip the pancake over and lightly brown the other side. Makes about a dozen dollar-size pancakes or about eight 4-inch pancakes.

    Photos by Laird Roberts

    Missionary companions can be cheered with a little repast of candy cookies

    A fresh vegetable sandwich would allow a missionary to write home and admit what he had for supper last night

    Stirring up a batch of lemon bread stirs up sweet-tart smells in a preparation-day kitchen

    There’s no reason missionary meals need to be drab. With a little imagination and some help from quick recipe books, any missionary who can boil water can be a chef of elegant cuisine; Mix the lemon batter thoroughly. If the window is open, the next door neighbors might catch the aroma and come visiting—you may find some unexpected contacts; Use a regular bread loaf pan for the lemon bread. But if you don’t have one, any shape pan that holds the batter will do

    Even the lemon rind is used in the delicious lemon bread

    The finished product is absolutely irresistible—lemon bread a-la-missionary is a recipe even Mom might want