Jailhouse Food

Mom's Chicken and Dumplings | Stewed Tomatoes | Creamed New Potatoes and Peas | Meat Loaf | White Bread | Jam Shortbread Cookies

Mom's Chicken and Dumplings


1 quart water
2-3 carrots (peeled and sliced)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 stalks celery (sliced)
1 stewing hen (4-5 pounds) cut up
1 cup milk
1/3 cup flour

Heat water to boiling : add salt, carrots, onion, celery and chicken. Cover and simmer (DO NOT BOIL) about 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken from broth and keep warm. Strain and measure broth and add enough water to make 3 cups. Return broth to pan and heat. Put flour and milk in Kerr jar with lid and shake until smooth. Add to the broth, stirring to keep smooth.

Add chicken to gravy.


Sift together 2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. (Sometimes I add snipped chives.) Cut in 1/4 Crisco. With a fork, mix 1 cup milk to make soft dough. Be careful to stir as little as possible. Drop by spoonfuls onto hot chicken pieces and simmer about 10 minutes. Then cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve at once.

Stewed Tomatoes

Wash, skin and quarter 5-6 large ripe tomatoes.

Add a little onion and some celery.

Place them in a heavy skillet over slow heat. Stir occasionally to keep them from scorching. After about 20 minutes season them with salt, a little sugar and some butter. After about 5 minutes you may add 1/2-3/4 cup (depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes) bread (crumbs, small pieces or cubes).

Creamed New Potatoes and Peas

12-15 small new potatoes.

Scrub potatoes and put in saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook until tender (20 minutes or so). The last 10 minutes toss in about a cup and one half of fresh peas. Drain. Quarter potatoes.

Add white sauce and serve.

White Sauce
2 tablespoons butter

Melt over low heat.

Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons flour. Blend over low heat using a fork.

Add 1 cup milk. Stir until thickened. Season to taste.

Meat Loaf

Housewives quickly learned to stretch their meat allotment. This amount of ground beef could be used by itself as a meal, or made into meat loaf, and could be a dinner with leftovers for sandwiches. 2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 slices bacon (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Pack into loaf pan. If using bacon, lay across the meat loaf. If not using bacon, make a glaze using ketchup and brown sugar and add during last 15-20 minutes. Bake in moderate oven (350) about 1 hour.

White Bread

Potato Yeast

2 baking potatoes, peeled and sliced.
4 cups water
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast

Put the potatoes in the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender and drain, reserving the water. Put the potatoes through a fine sieve. Add the water back into the potatoes and stir. Let cool to about 90 degrees. Mix rest of ingredients and add to the potato liquid. Stir until smooth. Store, covered, in a warm place until frothy (6-7 hours). It can be used now, or stored about 2-1/2 weeks in the refrigerator. If storing, stir down and cover.

1 cup potato yeast starter, room temperature
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour

Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt. Stir just until butter melts. Add to the potato yeast and beat in about 2 cups of flour. Cover with tea towel and let sit in warm place until spongy (about 1 hour).

Beat Starter and add 3-3 1/2 cups flour. Turn out on a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes.

Shape into two loaves. Pans should be lightly greased.

Cover and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour). Do not stint on rising time.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven about 45 minutes. Loaves can be glazed with a little milk/egg wash before baking and again when they begin to brown.

Jam Shortbread Cookies

1 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-2/3 cup sifted flour
2 teaspoons creme of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Cream shortening and sugars; beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Chill about an hour. On a well floured bread board, roll half the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with 2 inch cutter. Place 1/2 teaspoon jam in center of each round. Roll out other half of dough. Cut with cutter. Top filled rounds with plain rounds. Seal edges. Bake on ungreased cooky sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

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