Amish Haystack Dinner

From Mary Ellis, Author of A Widow’s Hope

This is often used by Old Order Amish for fundraising events or other community suppers, and is served “salad bar” style. A guest donates whatever they can afford per plate at the end of the line. You start at the beginning of the line and build your “haystack” with the items you enjoy, in the quantities you can handle.

From bottom to top:

1. crushed Ritz crackers

2. sloppy-joe seasoned meat

3. shredded cheese

4. chopped onions

5. diced tomatoes

6. chopped peppers

7. shredded lettuce

8. peas

9. your choice: melted cheese sauce OR sweet & sour salad dressing

10. optional: Doritos chips either for scooping or crushed for topping

11. optional: sour cream

This dinner is usually served with dinner rolls/butter and with ice cream topped with chocolate syrup for dessert.

Cherry Pie

From Jerry Eicher, author of the Adams County Trilogy

Pastry For Two-Crust Pie

2/3 cup plus 2 T. shortening or 2/3 cup lard

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup ice water

Mix flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour and salt mixture until particles are the size of peas. Sprinkle in water a little at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl. Divide pastry into halves. Shape into flattened round and place on floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and flour rolling pin. Roll pastry out about half as large as you want it and turn it over sprinkling a little more flour on top and bottom. Roll out large enough for a pie plate. Fold in half and place in pie plate, unfold and press firmly against bottom and side.

Wheat design for top of pie.

For Cherry Pie

1 can cherry pie filling

¼ tsp. almond extract

1 T butter

Mix almond extract into cherry pie filling. Pour into crust. Cut butter into 3 slices and place on top of filling.

Roll out rest of pastry same as above only this time before placing it on top of pie, cut design of choice into it and dip fingers in water and wet pastry around rim of pie plate. Place pastry with design on top and press down around rim. Cut off excess pastry. Press pastry together in some design around rim. Wet top pastry with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375-400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Bake until crust is browned and filling is bubbly.

Fried Venison

From Jerry Eicher, author of the Adams County Trilogy

2 pounds venison tenderloin

½ cup soy sauce

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

vegetable oil

Cut tenderloin into eight steak. Combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter, and liquid smoke. Add steaks. Marinate for 2 hours. In a shallow bowl, combine egg and buttermilk. In another bowl, combine flour and seasoned salt. Drain steak, discarding marinade. Dip steaks in buttermilk mixture, then roll in flour mixture. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook steaks in oil for 12-14 minutes, turning occasionally.

You can add your own touch by cutting the venison into 1 inch slices and marinating them for most of one day, outside of refrigeration.


1 ½ lbs. ground pork

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. sage

1 cup cornmeal

Oil for cooking

Syrup for topping (optional)

Early in the day: In large saucepan break up 1 ½ lbs. ground pork into small pieces. Add 4 cups water, stir and separate well. Heat to boiling, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes. Remove meat from stock, reserve 3 cups stock and add to it 1 tsp. salt and a generous ½ tsp. sage.

Combine 1 cup cornmeal with 1 cup cold water. (You can make part of this liquid milk, which will make the scrapple brown better when fried.) Add this cornmeal/water mixture gradually to the hot stock; bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir in cooked ground pork. Pour into a load pan (9 ½ x 5 x 3”) and chill well for 24 hours.

Slice ¼” to ½” thick. Fry pieces in hot oil quickly, turning only once. Allow room in the pan to turn.

Serve hot, either plain or with syrup.

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup unbleached white flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 tblsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly

These pancakes are started the night before. In a mixing bowl combing the rolled oats and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, in another mixing bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the melted butter and mix together. Next, add the oatmeal/buttermilk mixture and mix well. Quickly blend in the flour mixture; you will need to stir with a wooden spoon at this point because the mixture will be very thick. If it appears too dry, you can add a few more tablespoons of buttermilk.

Fry the pancakes in a small amount of vegetable oil using a heaping tablespoon for each pancake. Pat the batter out somewhat as they will puff up when they are turned over to the second side.

Serve them hot from the griddle with butter and maple syrup.

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Potato Rivell Soup

3 pounds potatoes

½ cup onions

2 Tbsp butter

About 1-1½ cups milk, for milk/water mixture

1 cup flour

½ tsp. salt

1 egg

salt/pepper to tast

Peel and cube about 3 pounds of potatoes, and cut ½ cup of onions. Put them in a large kettle with water to barely cover and a pinch of salt and cook until the potatoes are done. Do not drain water. Take a potato masher and mash the potatoes in the water until they are roughly mashed. There will still be small lumps.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste. Next add about 2 cups more liquid—you need to use a combination of milk and water because the milk gives the soup a creamy richness. Bring the soup to a gentle bubbling simmer.

Next, take a cup of flour and add ½ tsp. salt and mix well. Break an egg into the flour mixture and mix together until there are lumps about the size of grapes. This is a fairly messy process so feel free to use your hands to mix. Drop these rivvels into the soup and, stirring occasionally, cook them until done, about 10 minutes or so depending on the size of the rivvels. While cooking the dumplings, you can add more liquid if it looks like the soup is getting too thick.

Adjust seasoning, ladel into bowls, and enjoy!

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Buttermilk Pie

1 unbaked pie shell

½ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

3 tblsp. flour

3 eggs, beaten well

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla

tiny pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add flour, eggs, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix together until very well blended. Pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and bake for 1 hour or until top is golden brown.

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Stewed Tomato and Dumplings

¼ cup butter

½ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice (can also use two 14½-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, with juice)

2 tsp. brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried basil

¼ black pepper


1 cup flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tblsp. butter

1 egg, beaten

6 tblsp. milk

1 tblsp. minced fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onion and celery about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, and the seasonings, and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for several minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt for the dumplings. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the egg, milk, and parsley and blend lightly. Do not overmix. Drop dumplings by tablespoonfuls on top of the simmering tomato mixture. Cover tightly and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Do not lift the cover during the cooking period.

Serve in bowls, topped with butter if desired.

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Homemade Graham “Nuts” Cereal

3 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 cups buttermilk

2 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour out onto an oiled 12” x 16” flat, low-sided baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes or until the batter is firm, medium-brown in color, and has begun to shrink away slightly from the sides of the pan.

With a metal spatula, completely loosen the hot patty and allow to cool on a rack for several hours.

Preheat oven to 275° F. Break patty into chunks and put through a meat grinder or a food processor until coarse crumbs are formed. Divide crumbs between two 12” x 16” pans. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool, then store in airtight containers. Serve as a cold cereal with milk.

Thanks to Georgia Varozza for sharing this recipe!

Glazed Ham Balls

1 lb. ham, finely ground
1½ lb. pork, finely ground
2 eggs, well beaten
2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
1 c. milk
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. dry mustard
½ c. vinegar
½ c. water

Mix the ham and pork together; add the eggs, breadcrumbs, and milk. Form into 18 2-inch balls (or make them smaller if used as appetizers). Place the ham balls in a shallow baking dish. Mix together the brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and water and pour over the meat balls. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for an hour or longer, basting every 15 minutes, until done.