Richard’s Note: I was saddened to hear this week of the passing of Doyle Argo, for a kinder, gentler man I have never known. A couple years ago I sat down with him at his home and talked “cooking.” As a sort of tribute to him, I am offering the column again this week, and I know there are many of you who may not have seen it the first time. My sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
You’ve probably seen him around town, quietly going about his business. I see him mostly at the grocery store where we always chat about cooking. I’m talking about Doyle Argo, and if the truth be told, he’s probably cooked for and fed more people than anyone in Rhea County. Having lived and work in many parts of our country, Mr. Argo has many friends throughout the nation who have eaten his delicious food. I first met Mr. Argo back in the early Seventies when he was the food services manager at Bryan. He and Mildred Ross worked together, and they made the perfect team! We could always count on their food to be delicious and beautifully presented. Mealtime in the dining room was always an event that we looked forward to, and many people are surprised to learn that it was during those days that I was first introduced to broccoli—a favorite of mine to this day. Many people have a “Mr. Argo favorite,” and in the column today are three! When I asked Mr. Argo about working on an article, I was delighted when he agreed. As we chatted that afternoon, he shared with me many of his cooking experiences—everything from cooking for camps to colleges. He and Mildred Ross made an unbeatable team, and I am happy to share with you some of their recipes today.
Bryan Bars From Doyle Argo
2 & 1/2 cups sugar
4 & 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine
3 eggs well beaten
2 Tbs. vanilla
1 box vanilla wafers, crumbled coarse
1 yellow cake mix baked according to package directions, crumbled
6 oz. shredded coconut
10 oz. chopped pecans
Cream butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs and the vanilla Fold in cookie and cake crumbles, but do not overmix. Pour into a 9x 13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Gently mix in the coconut and pecans. Bake 350°, until lightly brown, about 20 minutes.
Frozen Banana Salad from Doyle Argo
Mr. Argo’s Note: For best taste, always use bananas that are ripe enough to be freckled with brown spots. Look for a slightly different version of this recipe later in the column.
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 & 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs. vanilla
1/4 cup whole milk
12 medium bananas sliced into ½ inch slices
2 (1 lb.) tubs whipped topping, thawed
Put first three ingredients in a bowl and whip until fluffy. Add lemon juice, vanilla and milk, and mix until well blended. Fold bananas into ingredients in mixing bowl, coating bananas really well to keep them from browning. Fold in the whipped topping until well mixed. Pour into a 9x13 pan and freeze overnight before serving.
Frozen Cranberry Salad From Doyle Argo
1 & 1/2 pounds fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 medium apples, chopped coarse
1 cup celery chopped fine
1 & 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 (1 lb.) tub whipped topping, thawed
1 cup broken pecan pieces
Mix all ingredients together. Put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Transfer to desired container for serving and freeze overnight.
Drop Sugar Cookies From Mildred Ross
1 cup oleo
1 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
Cream together the above. Add one teaspoon vanilla and two eggs. Sift together four cups flour, one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon soda, and one teaspoon cream of tartar. Mix together. Chill. Roll into balls and then into sugar. Flatten with a fork. Bake a 350° for about eight minutes.
Hash Brown Casserole From Mildred Ross
1 (2 lb.) pkg. of frozen hash browns
Saute small chopped onion in 1/2 stick butter
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz.) pkg. of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
Thaw potatoes and mix all of the above together and place in a 9x13 baking dish.
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1/2 stick melted margarine
Pour over the potato mixture. Drizzle butter over cereal. Bake at 300° for one hour and twenty minutes or at 350° for one hour.
Oreo Salad From Mildred Ross
1 large vanilla instant pudding
2 cups buttermilk
1 (8 oz.) Cool Whip
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 pkg. Oreos, broken up
Blend, with beater, the pudding and buttermilk until smooth. Add Cool Whip, add oranges. Just before serving, add Oreos. This recipe can easily be doubled.
Pretzel Salad From Mildred Ross
2 cups of crushed pretzels
3 Tbs. of sugar
1/4 cup melted margarine
Mix all the above and press into 9x13 pan. Bake at 400° for six minutes. Be careful not to burn. Mix softened eight ounces cream cheese with one cup sugar. Fold in two cups Cool Whip. Spread over cooled pretzel layer.
Dissolve six ounces strawberry or raspberry jello with two cups boiling water. Add two 10 ounce packages frozen strawberries. Stir until berries start to thaw. Chill until syrupy. Pour over cheese layer. Chill until firm.
Mildred Ross’s Frozen Banana Salad
Richard’s Note: This is basically the same recipe, but the proportions are slightly different.
8 oz. cream cheese
4 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
8 ripe bananas (mashed)
1 (16 oz.) whipped topping
2/3 cup nuts, chopped
Cream milk with cream cheese, add baking powder. Beat in sugar, lemon juice, bananas. Fold in whipped topping and nuts. Spread in pan. (A Tupperware container with a tight lid works well. Freeze. Remove for a while before serving. Can be stored in freezer for a good while. Recipe can be halved.
Pineapple Casserole From Mildred Ross
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained, reserved
1 Tbs. pineapple juice
1 cup mild grated cheddar cheese
18 to 20 Ritz crackers, crumbled
1/4 cup margarine, melted
Combine sugar and flour; add tidbits, cheese, and juice. Sprinkle with crumbled crackers. Pour melted margarine on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Easily doubled.
Hot Turkey (or Chicken) Casserole From Mildred Ross
2 cups cut-up turkey
1 cup uncooked rice
1 can cream chicken (undiluted)
1 minced onion
1 cup celery cut up
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
Cook rice. Saute celery, onions in margarine. Mix remaining ingredients. Put in a casserole dish.
Sprinkle on top:
1 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. If making ahead, store in fridge and do not add toppings until ready to bake. Then bake for 45 to 60 minutes.