Family traditions… aren’t they wonderful?! They give the family unit yet another little bond, an extra piece of security, and over all, family traditions help to build the family’s identity and make them who they are!

I am grateful for parents who have encouraged us to enjoy our family idiosyncrasies, and out of those, have created traditions for us, as well as passed on traditions that their parents established. If you know us very well, you know that we are foody. Winking smile Meal times are tremendously important… and, well, we just enjoy the variations and excitement life offers in the form of palatable delicacies. Smile Thus, many of our traditions are in that form… food!! Here are two of our favorite recipes that have become holiday traditions over the years:

Dad’s Breakfast Casserole


1 lb. hamburger, cooked and drained

1/2 c. chopped green onions

1 can (4 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 c. (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 c. pancake mix

12 eggs

1 c. milk

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

In a greased 3-qt. baking dish, layer meat, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese. In a large bowl, whisk the pancake mix, eggs, milk, oregano, salt, and pepper; pour over cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 45-50 min. or until top is set and lightly browned. Let stand for 10 min. before serving.

Neely Team opinions: Best when served with piping-hot grits and shredded cheddar cheese. Smile Also, some prefer to delete the mushrooms.

Chef’s notes: Can be made ahead and frozen. Take out of freezer the night before, and then bake in the morning, leaving covered for all but the last 15-20 min.


Fabulous Fruit Bowl


2 c. water

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. lemon or lime juice

1/2 tsp. salt

3 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and chopped bite-size

3 kiwi, peeled and sliced

2 grapefruit, peeled, sectioned, and chopped bite-size

2 large apples, cubed

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 lb. green grapes

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar, lime juice, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Combine fruit in large bowl; add dressing and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Neely Team opinions: We aren’t that fond of grapefruit, Smile so we use one can of canned grapefruit in syrup (but drained) instead of 2 fresh ones.

Chef’s notes: The salad doesn’t have to have the extra 1 hour chill if the dressing has been refrigerated for a day or so and is cold. Can also substitute fresh pineapple for canned.