Favorite Recipes for Families

Local Celebs, Leaders Share Their Favorite Family Recipes

The holidays are quickly approaching, and traditionally, it is a time when families come together to share in the bounty of gratefulness and share a giant meal of favorite foods.

If you are lacking inspiration this year of what dishes to serve at your family feast, we turned to local notables and leaders for their best recipes! Enjoy!


Cut up the hen and cover with water in a large pot. Salt and cook slowly for about three hours, uncovered, until tender. Remove from the pot before adding dumplings.

DUMPLINGS: Use a pot.

4 cups of flour Shortening (size of a walnut)

1 teaspoon 1 ¼ cups of water (to make a soft, stiff dough)

Cut flour, salt, and shortening together with a blender or fork. Add water and mix with hands until stiff but soft enough to roll out flat. Split rollings into two times. Roll out on heavily floured wax paper or pastry cloth until about ¼’’ thick. Cut into pieces and drop, a few at a time, into boiling chicken broth.

Turn heat down and cook 15 minutes after all dumplings are in broth. Do not stir the dumplings as soon as you put them in; wait until they are really hot. Stir to keep them from sticking together. 

Add ½ can of Milnot or Pet evaporated milk and stir well.

MOM'S OYSTER STUFFING by OKC Lifestyle Editor Heide Brandes

"Oyster stuffing is my all-time favorite holiday dish. My mother made the best oyster stuffing each Thanksgiving and Christmas, and each year I try to make it in memory of my mom," said Heide.


  • olive oil

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • at least 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic (I like more)

  • 3 cups cubed day-old bread

  • 2 cups oysters with their liquor

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  • 2 tablespoons parsley

  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350º F and grease a medium baking dish. In a large skillet heat, sautee the onion, green pepper and celery in olive oil for about two minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Lower the heat and gently stir in bread cubes, oysters and their liquor, and broth until moistened. Add green onions, parsley, Creole seasoning, and (optional) hot pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing into a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes longer, until golden brown and crispy on top.

DESSERT - MEXICAN CHOCOLATE CAKE by Amber Sharples, executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council

"This is perfect with coffee and/or whipped cream. It is a unique dessert to offer as an alternative or in combination with classics such as pumpkin pie," said Amber.


  • 1 ½ c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 1 c. cold water
  • ¼ c. canola oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Mexican vanilla


  • 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ c. unsweetened cocoa
  • 6 tbs. water
  • 10 small strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8” pan with cooking spray. Combine all dry ingredients and stir to completely mix. Add all wet ingredients and stir until fully combined. Pour into pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. After 30 minutes or more when cooled off, cover cake with glaze, leaving some glaze to dip strawberries and place on top of the cake. Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper or chili powder on top of cake.

DESSERT - PECAN PIE by Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

"We love the holidays at our house, but there is never a holiday where my Mom didn’t come in bringing her Pecan Pie, a gift of her southern roots," said Watkins

Mom’s Pecan Pie

  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Unbaked pie shell

Mix first 3 ingredients. Beat in eggs, milk, vanilla and butter. Stir in nuts and pour into shell. Bake in moderate oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cool and serve.

DESSERT - Strawberry Cake by Natalie Shirley, President & CEO of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

“Cooking is about bringing family and friends together to share something special. My dear friend Susan Wiggins shared this recipe with me, and it has become a favorite of my six children. My children, their families and I have lunch together on Sundays. I think they love having lunch with me; I know they love this strawberry cake," said Natalie.

Strawberry Cake

1 package white or strawberry cake mix

1 package strawberry jello

2 T flour

½ cup water

¾ cup Wesson oil

4 eggs

¾ cup frozen strawberries (Drain the juice off and save for icing)

Mix all ingredients (add strawberries last)

Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees, if not done cook 5 minutes more

Strawberry Icing

¼ cup butter

1 package powdered sugar

Juice from strawberries

Melt butter, add sugar and juice.

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