Center Grove residents share homemade family recipes

Compiled by Nancy Price

Looking for some homemade recipes to share with your family and friends over the holidays? Several Center Grove residents submitted their favorite family recipes for caramels, carrot puff, New Orleans Rice, Spinach Souffle, Sugar Cookie Bars and Sweet Potato Casserole for our annual holiday guide. Thank you to Lynn Combs, Mary Kay Anthony, Scott Hines, Maggie Hutton and Kelly Heffner for submitting these recipes. They all sound delicious! Happy Holidays to all.


By Lynn Combs, Center Grove

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cream or canned milk (condensed sweetened milk)
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix sugar, salt, Karo, butter and ½ cup milk in saucepan. Bring to roiling boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add remainder of milk, slowly stirring constantly while being careful not to diminish boiling. When candy forms hard ball (about 250 degrees) remove from heat, add vanilla, stir and pour into buttered 9-inch square pan. Cool. Turn out on a cookie sheet or a bread board. Cut into squares and wrap into plastic wrap. Yield: 2 pounds.

Carrot Puff

By Mary Kay Anthony, Center Grove

  • 1-pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (can use package small ready-to-eat carrots)
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (can also use less, if desired, or 2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish. Place carrots in medium-size saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Drain. Place melted butter (cooled), eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla in blender.  Add carrots a little at a time and puree the mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. (Note: This may be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking or reheating.)

New Orleans Rice

Scott Hines, Center Grove

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 can beef broth soup
  • 1 can onion soup
  • I can mushrooms (not drained)
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients together in a 1.5 or 2-quart covered casserole dish. Bake for 70 minutes.

Spinach Soufflé

By Mary Kay Anthony, Center Grove

  • 10-ounce package frozen spinach
  • Two tablespoons sweet cream butter
  • ¼ pound shredded American cheese
  • ¼-pound shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups ( 1 pound) cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain well. Stir in butter and set aside. In a 3-quart bowl, combine cheeses, flour and seasonings. Mix well. Add lightly beaten eggs; stir until well combined. Stir in buttered spinach. Pour into a prepared 8-inch baking dish (or a quart-and-a-half) baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 55 to 65 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

Sugar Cookie Bars

By Maggie Hutton, Center Grove

  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • holiday sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. In large bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, almond extract and eggs. In separate bowl sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Carefully beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture about half at a time. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and with lightly greased hands press into pan to form even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until top is set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool bars completely, leaving in pan as they cool.


Beat butter until soft, then mix in cream cheese. Add in salt and vanilla extract. With mixer on low speed beat in powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, until desired sweetness and thickness is reached. Frost cooled cookie bars, then sprinkle with holiday sprinkles.

Sweet Potato Casserole

By Kelly Heffner, Center Grove

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Juice of half an orange

Pecan topping

  • ¾ cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Bring large pot of water to boil and preheat oven to 350 F. While water comes to boil, peel and dice sweet potatoes into large chunks. Add sweet potato chunks to water. Boil until tender – about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes, then dump back in large pot with all other ingredients. Using a hand mixer, blend until potatoes reach desired consistency and flavor. (You may like to add a little more coconut milk, spices, or syrup based on your taste.) In small bowl, combine all topping ingredients until pecans are well coated. Dump sweet potatoes into oven-safe dish and top with pecans. Bake in preheated oven until topping is browned – about 15 minutes. Serve warm.