My Small Kitchen
My Small Kitchen

My Small Kitchen

with Betty Gilman and Kristi Gilman-Miller

On March 1st of last year, I lost my best friend and hilarious sidekick, my joy, my precious mom, Betty Gilman. This issue features a few of my mother’s recipes that I grew up with. Mom was never a gourmet cook by any means, but her heart and soul was in loving and caring for her family. After meeting my Dad in college, she chose wife, homemaker, and mother over the accounting career she was pursuing at the time. Keeping a home and preparing a meal for her family was not only a necessity, but an expression of love.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, she spent her early years in the Southwest and grew to love the vibrant colors of the landscape and the flavors of the traditional dishes of the southwest and Mexico. In her early Middle school years, the family relocated to Oregon. They bought a farm just outside the little town of Creswell where, as the oldest of three girls, she became my grandpa’s “right hand man” on the farm. My mom much preferred driving a tractor and feeding cows over sewing and cooking. That could explain why one of the only dishes she knew how to cook in the first year of her marriage was meatloaf. My sweet dad, after 63 years of marriage, having eaten more meatloaf than most folks would ever care to, never complained when a meatloaf was set on the table for dinner.

Some of my fondest childhood“ kitchen” memories would have to be; checking the front porch in the morning for the heavy glass milk and orange juice jugs the milk man had left in the wee hours, standing on a chair to reach the counter to help mom with baking (hoping I’ d get to lick the beaters), coming home from school to be greeted with a hug and kiss from mom and the comforting smell of coffee, a freshly baked goodie or maybe some mid-century casserole wafting in from the turquoise colored kitchen. Every night the family would gather around the table for dinner, and my dad would ask each of us kids about our day.

My mom was so much fun, and the most welcoming person you could ever hope to meet. She made every day a good day, and everyone she knew feel loved and special. As in many households, our kitchen was the gathering place. Many a large family celebration was held around our dining room table, where there was always an abundance of good food and lots of laughter. Anyone would feel at home sitting at our table.

I have not altered these recipes, to improve or to make them “healthier” by today’s standards. They have been tried, tested, shared, and fondly loved.

My Small Kitchen
Betty Lucile Tiedje Gilman 1930-2019

Tuscon Chili Rellenos
(A Christmas Eve tradition in my family.)
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
2 – 8 oz cans whole green chiles
½ lb montery jack cheese, shredded
½ lb shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz tomato sauce
Mix half and half, eggs, and flour. Alternate in layers chiles, cheese, and flour mixture. Top with tomato sauce. Bake 1hr and 10min at 350F uncovered.

Betty’s Meatloaf
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2/3 cup bread or cracker crumbs
1½ lbs ground beef
¼ cup onion, chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp dry mustard
Beat eggs in small bowl, then add milk and crumbs. Stir together with a fork and set aside. In medium bowl, combine ground beef, onion, salt, and pepper. Add crumb mixture, stir well. Pack meatloaf into greased loaf tin. Combine brown sugar, ketchup, nutmeg, and dry mustard. Spread over meatloaf and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Pork Chops and Rice
4-6 pork chops
3 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
3 cans beef consommé soup
1 can of water
salt and pepper to taste
Brown pork chops in skillet over medium heat. Spread long grain rice evenly over the base of a 9×13 casserole dish. Place browned pork chops on top of the rice, set sliced onion rings on top of the pork chops. Pour the cans of consommé over everything, add 1 can worth of water, and sprinkle salt and pepper over everything. Bake at 350F for 1 hr.

Betty’s “Heart Attack” Potatoes
1 pkg (2 lbs) frozen hash brown potatoes (thawed)
½ cup melted butter
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ cup onion, finely diced
1 can (11 oz) cream of chicken soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1½ cup sour cream
¼ cup melted butter
2 cups crushed cornflakes
Combine all casserole ingredients and mix well, pack into a 9×13 dish. Mix together cornflakes and melted butter and pour evenly over top of casserole. Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes.

Crock Pot Chili
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (16 oz) cans chili beans, drained
1 can jalepeño chili beans (like Nalley’s)
In a skillet on medium heat, break up beef with a fork and cook through, browning. Pour off excess fat and transfer to crock pot. Add in onion, salt, chili powder, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and beans. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.

Betty’s Famous Lasagna
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 lb can tomatoes
2 – 6 oz cans tomato paste
10 oz box lasagna noodles
3 cups cottage cheese
½ cup Parmesan
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp pepper
1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
Cook ground beef in skillet on medium heat
until browned. Add garlic, basil, salt, tomatoes, and
tomato paste. Let sauce simmer for fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile cook lasagna noodles as per package
instructions, being careful not to break them. Drain,
rinse under cold water, then set aside. In a separate
bowl combine cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley,
eggs and pepper. Set aside. In a 9×13 casserole dish,
layer, in this order:
½ the noodles
½ the cottage cheese mixture
½ sliced mozzarella
½ meat sauce
Make sure the last meat sauce layer at the very top covers the last layer of mozzarella. Bake the lasagna at 375F for 30 mins, cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Noodle Casserole
1 pkg egg noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can of evaporated milk
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp butter
3 cans white chicken meat
Parmesan cheese (powdered not grated)
Boil noodles according to package. While they are cooking, combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and warm through until evenly mixed and hot. Add in noodles to coat. Pour into 8×8 casserole dish, sprinkle top liberally with Parmesan cheese, and broil until top has browned, about 3 minutes.

Betty’s Baked Beans
6 slices bacon
2 cans (31 oz) Pork-n-Beans
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup molasses
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp liquid smoke or paprika
1 medium onion, quartered
Brown bacon, trim off fat, and crumble. Combine together with all remaining ingredients into an uncovered ceramic bean pot. Bake at 325F for 1½ hours.

Ultimate Beef Stroganoff
1½ lb round or sirloin steak
3 tbsp fat
1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 beef bouillon cubes, dissolved into 1¾ cup hot water
½ cup V8 juice
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper
4 tbsp flour
¼ cup cold water
½ tsp dill seed
½ cup sour cream
Trim fat from meat and cut meat into thin strips. Brown meat and sauté onions in hot fat. Add bouillon cubes and water, V8 juice, mushrooms, sugar, and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about an hour, or until tender. Remove meat from skillet. Blend 3 tbsp flour with cold water, creating a paste. Pour into sauce and stir until thickened. Stir together sour cream, dill seed, and 1 tbsp flour, and add to rest of gravy. Stir constantly over low heat until sauce bubbles. Add meat, keep warm until serving. Serve over egg noodles.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1 pt mayonnaise
1 pt sour cream
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp Accent seasoning (optional)
1 tsp paprika
juice of 2 lemons
4 to 5 oz of blue cheese
Blend and refrigerate.

Parsley Sauce (for Cooking Fresh Caught Trout)
Trout fillets:
2 tsps salt
dash pepper
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp mustard
¼ cup butter
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
Add 1 tsp salt and pepper to oil, mix together and rub mixture over fish. Broil about 4 minutes on each side, until well browned. Combine mustard, butter, parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, and garlic into a sauce. Spread ½ of sauce over fish and drop fish into a skillet over high heat. Cook until the trout flakes easily and the sauce is sizzling. Serve with remaining sauce.

Apple Pie
2 cups flour
¾ cup butter
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp water
6 large tart apples
1 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
dash of salt
2 tbsp butter
In a large mixing bowl, sift flour with ½ tsp salt. Using a fork or pastry knife, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Next add water, mixing until just blended. Do not overwork the dough, as it will become tough. Break the ball of dough in half, and roll one half on a floured board into a 1/8” thick circle. Roll the circle up over the rolling pin and drop down into a 9” pie pan. Follow the same procedure with the second ball to form the top.
In a small bowl, add sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Mix gently, set aside. Peel the apples and slice them into 3/8” slices. Put half the slices into the pastry-lined pie pan, then sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar mix over the top. Repeat with remaining apples and sugar. Chop the butter into tiny cubes and sprinkle over the top. Now put the top circle of pastry over the top of the apples. Fold the top pastry crust edge down and around the lower crust edge, pinching the two together. Using your thumbs and forefingers, “flute” the edge of the crust. With a fork, poke a few holes in the top crust to let off steam during baking. Bake at 375F for 50 minutes.

Betty’s Strawberry Pie
2 baskets fresh strawberries
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
2½ tbsp cornstarch (rounded)
Red food coloring (optional)
1 tbsp butter
Pre-bake 9” open-faced pie crust using ½ the crust recipe for the apple pie above. Set aside. Wash, stem, and halve strawberries into a medium saucepan. Gently crush berries with a potato masher. Stir in water, sugar, and cornstarch, mixing well. Bring pot to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to prevent burning. If desired, add two or three drops of red food coloring to make the color more vibrant. Cook berry mixture until thickened — the milky look of the cornstarch will clarify when it is fully cooked. Add butter and remove from heat. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and let cool.

Fudge Mounds
(Made for each of us kid’s gradeschool birthday party, Mom would frost a giant cookie and write the name of each child in the class on their own personal cookie.)
1½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (2 oz)
Preheat oven to 375F. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Add in brown sugar, shortening, vanilla, milk, egg, and melted chocolate and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Scrape batter off of sides and let stand for a few minutes. Drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes.
¼ cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cream
½ tsp vanilla
Heat butter till melted and brown, add in sugar, cream, and vanilla and blend until creamy and well mixed. Let cool and spread on with a butter knife.

Grandma Betty’s Fudge
1½ cup chocolate chips
1 stick margarine
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
10 large marshmallows (or 1½ cups mini marshmallows)
1 tsp water
2 cups sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk
Butter an 8×8 pan, set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine chocolate chips, margarine, walnuts, and vanilla. Next, melt marshmallows with 1 tsp water in a double boiler. In another pan, bring sugar and evaporated milk to a boil. Let boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour this and marshmallow mixture into the first mixing bowl. Beat at low speed until chocolate chips and margarine have melted and everything is well combined. Pour mixture into buttered pan and let cool. Cut into squares.

Betty’s Orange Frosting
(Mom made this frosting for the Angel Food Cake she made every year for my Dad’s birthday.)
4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup orange juice
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 cup + 1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients until well blended. Let cool and spread on with a butter knife.

Refrigerator Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cups chopped pecans
½ cup cocoa powder
Beat together shortening, butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn dough onto floured board and roll dough into a ball. Split the ball in half, rolling the two halves into logs 2” across and 8” long. Roll dough in plastic wrap — wrap and twist ends tightly. Dough can be refrigerated for 1 month or frozen for up to 3 months.
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut roll into ¼” slices. (It’s not necessary to thaw frozen dough before slicing.) Place slices 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 9-11 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Paintbrush Cookies
The kids favorite. These are a family tradition, made each holiday with themed cookie cutters.
½ cup shortening
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Combine shortening, butter, eggs, lemon, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until well combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Chill at least 1 hour.
1 egg yolk per two colors
1 tsp water per egg yolk
Determine how many colors you would like, and crack enough eggs for the desired amount of yolks. Separate whites and yolks. Mix water into yolks and beat lightly. Separate into small containers and color with food coloring until they reach the desired color. Put a clean paintbrush into each color. (Do not use paintbrushes that you have used for non-edible paints, buy clean/new paintbrushes for these cookies. Clean thoroughly between uses.)
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough to 1/4” thick on lightly floured board. Cut with cookie cutters and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Paint with egg yolk paints and then bake 6-8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the edges. Watch closely so they do not burn.