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50 Heritage Dinners Your Family Will Love

There's something undeniably special about recipes that have been passed down through the generations. They've been tested, tasted and tweaked time and again until they're perfect. These home cooks have generously shared the recipes beloved by their families, so take advantage and make one or all of them for your own household!

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Nana's Italian Roulade

My great-aunt from Sicily taught my mother how to stuff and bake a steak in a jelly-roll style. It’s unique and really special in our family. —Roseanne McDonald, Days Creek, Oregon
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! Kids always go for the rich cheese flavor, but I’ve never met an adult who didn’t love it just as much. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Cabbage and Beef Soup

When I was a little girl, I helped my parents work the fields of their small farm. Lunchtime was always a treat when Mother picked fresh vegetables from the garden and simmered them in her big soup pot. We loved making this delicious recipe. —Ethel Ledbetter, Canton, North Carolina
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Grandma's Swedish Meatballs

My mother made these hearty meatballs when we were growing up, and now my kids love them, too. My daughter likes to help shake the meatballs in flour. —Karin Ness, Big Lake, Minnesota
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Pork Shepherd's Pie

Of all the shepherd's pie recipes I've tried through the years, this version is my favorite. Although I live alone, I enjoy cooking and baking for friends and family. —Mary Arthurs, Etobicoke, Ontario
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Hearty Beans and Rice

Filling, fast-fixing and fabulous flavor make this hefty dish sure to become a family favorite. —Barbara Musgrove, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
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Mom's Meat Loaf

Mom made the best meatloaf, and now I do, too. When I first met my husband, he didn't care for homemade meatloaf, but this won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
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Grandma's Rice Dish

My grandmother often made this casserole when I was young. I forgot about it until one day I found myself adding the same ingredients to leftover rice. The memories came flooding back. —Lorna Moore, Glendora, California
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Spinach Turkey Meatballs

Our children call these "Gramby Meatballs" because the recipe came from my dear mother-in-law. It's a great way to make spinach palatable. I usually make a triple batch, bake them all and freeze the extras for a quick meal later. —Mimi Blanco, Bronxville, New York
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Grandma's Cajun Chicken & Spaghetti

I’m originally from Louisiana, where my grandma spoke Cajun French as she taught me her spicy chicken spaghetti. —Brenda Melancon, McComb, Mississippi
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Stout & Honey Beef Roast

Here's a heartwarming meal that's ideal for chilly days and hectic nights. Honey, beer and seasonings make the sauce different and oh, so good. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Classic Beef Wellingtons

Perfect for holidays, this beef Wellington recipe is also impressively easy. Find ready-made puff pastry sheets in the frozen food section. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Wine-Braised Chicken with Pearl Onions

This is a family favorite handed down from my grandmother in London. She made it for every family gathering. It was always the first food to go on the table and the first one to disappear. —Wayne Barnes, Montgomery, Alabama
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Grandma's Pea Soup

My grandma's pea soup recipe was a family favorite. What makes it different from any other pea soups I have tried is the addition of whole peas, spaetzle-like "dumplings" and sausage. Try it once and you'll be hooked. —Carole Talcott, Dahinda, Illinois
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Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza

My grandma made the tastiest snacks for us when we stayed the night at her farm. Her wonderful pizza, hot from the oven, was covered with cheese and had fragrant herbs in the crust. Now this pizza is frequently a meal for my husband and me and our family. —Michele Madden, Washington Court House, Ohio
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Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

As a child, I learned from my grandmother how to make these chicken-fried steaks. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are older, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York
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Mom's Italian Beef Sandwiches

My mom made the best Italian beef. I’ve added to it over the years, but it’s still her recipe. She made these sandwiches for family reunions, and there were never leftovers. —Mary McVey, Colfax, North Carolina
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Chicken Zucchini Casserole

A co-worker shared this chicken zucchini casserole recipe that was originally her grandmother's. When I make it, I use pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store and fresh zucchini my neighbor gives me from his garden. —Bev Dutro, Dayton, Ohio
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Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham

This pineapple ham glaze is straightforward and simple—just what you're looking for in a holiday main dish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Beef Short Ribs in Burgundy Sauce

As an Army general, my stepdad got this beef short ribs recipe from his aide, who said it was his mother's best Sunday meal. It’s a mouthwatering family favorite. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Breadstick Pizza

Not only do refrigerated breadsticks lend a fun twist to pizza, but they make this dish a weeknight staple at my house. Feeding kids? Slice pieces into small strips and let the kids dip each strip into marinara sauce. They’ll love it! —Mary Hankins, Kansas City, Missouri
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Bacon-Colby Lasagna

My grandmother added bacon to her cheesy lasagna—something she borrowed from carbonara-style pasta. I learned so much by her side. —Cathy McCartney, Davenport, Iowa
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Lamb Stew

My grandmother used to make this stew as a special Sunday meal. It's an unforgettable treat from Ireland. —Vickie Desourdy, Washington, North Carolina
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Sauerkraut Casserole

Mom brewed her own sauerkraut and, of course, the cabbage was from our big farm garden! Blending the kraut with spicy sausage and apples was Mom's favorite way to fix it, and I still love this country dish. —Rosemary Pryor, Pasadena, Maryland
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Grandma Schwartz's Rouladen

This was one of my Grandma Schwartz's recipes. Grandpa Schwartz was a German butcher and this was one of his (and our) favorite meals. It's an extra-special beef entree when served with mashed potatoes made with butter and sour cream. —Lynda Sharai, Summer Lake, Oregon
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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Grandma's Seafood Chowder

My grandmother makes this every year for Christmas morning—the only time we ever had it. Why wait, when you can enjoy this satisfying chowder anytime? It's also delicious topped with biscuits! —Melissa Obernesser, Utica, New York
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Big John's Chili-Rubbed Ribs

When my family thinks of summer grilling, it's ribs all the way. Our Asian-inspired recipe is a welcome change from the usual barbecue-sauce versions. —Ginger Sullivan, Cutler Bay, Florida
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Mom's Roast Beef

Everyone loves slices of this fork-tender roast beef with its savory gravy. The well-seasoned roast is Mom's specialty. People always ask about the secret ingredients. Now you have the delicious recipe for our favorite meat dish! —Linda Gaido, New Brighton, Pennsylvania
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Greek-Style Lemon-Garlic Chicken

I love celebrating my Greek heritage with this super simple and scrumptious Sunday dinner idea. Prep time is a breeze and the ingredient list is relatively short for such a flavorful one-dish meal. Each time I make this I'm transported back to my ya-ya, who gave me the special honor of squeezing the lemons! —Lisa Renshaw, Kansas City, Missouri
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Pirate Pasta Shells

Grandfather loved pirate stories and good pasta. When we make his stuffed shells, it reminds us of his favorite tropical places and adventures. —Kathy Noll, Laureldale, Pennsylvania
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Lemony Turkey Rice Soup

While growing up in Texas, I spent a lot of time helping my grandma cook. Lemon and cilantro add a deliciously different twist to turkey soup. —Margarita Cuellar, East Chicago, Indiana
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Linguine with Ham & Swiss Cheese

My grandmother used to make this for parties and potlucks. It was loved by all back then, and it still is today. The classic combination of pasta, ham, cheese and a creamy sauce makes it irresistible. —Mary Savor, Woodburn, Indiana
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Favorite Corned Beef and Cabbage

It may be the most famous dish to eat on St. Patrick's Day, but this Irish-American corned beef recipe is a favorite at our table all year long. This is how to make corned beef and cabbage. —Evelyn Kenney, Trenton, New Jersey
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Great-Grandma's Italian Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Creamy Beef & Potatoes

One of my husband's favorite childhood memories was eating his Grandma Barney's Tater Tot Casserole. One day I prepared it using potatoes O'Brien instead. Now I always make it this way. — Heather Matthews, Keller, Texas
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Dad's Lemony Grilled Chicken

Lemon juice, onions and garlic add tangy flavor to chicken when firing up the grill. —Mike Schulz, Tawas City, Michigan
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Mom's Celery Seed Brisket

Warning: Keep a close eye on this tangy pot of goodness. Because it’s been fine-tuned to perfection, it tends to vanish at gatherings. —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho
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Honey Hoisin Chicken & Potatoes

When I was a little, Tutu (my grandma) cooked up this blend of Asian and American flavors. The potatoes are delicious drizzled with pan juices. —Janet Yee, Phoenix, Arizona
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Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Gumbo goes back to 1700s Louisiana; today's version is just as hearty using andouille sausage. Serve with cornbread or crusty French bread. —Billy Hensley, Mount Carmel, Tennessee
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Spaghetti with Bacon

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota
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Sunday Best Stuffed Pork Chops

We’re farmers and ranchers who love to cook in a Dutch oven. Dish up these chops from the oven, and pass the salad, potatoes and steamed broccoli. —Lorraine Smith, Carpenter, Wyoming
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Cabbage Roll Skillet

Have a happy helping of this quicker take on something our grandmothers would make. We serve it over brown rice. It also freezes well. —Susan Chickness, Pictou County, Nova Scotia
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Tourtieres

Some time ago, a co-worker brought a meat pie to lunch. The aroma was familiar—after one taste, I was amazed to discover it was the same pie my grandmother used to serve when I was a youngster! She shared the recipe, and I have been enjoying it ever since. —Rita Winterberger, Huson, Montana
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Mom's Garlic Pork Roast

Mom cooked for 11 children, so her menus usually featured basic, simple foods. But on New Year's Day, she always treated us to this special pork roast. All of us kids agree this was our mom's best meal! — Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Hungarian Goulash

Talk about your heirloom recipes! My grandmother made this Hungarian goulash recipe for my mother when she was a child, and then Mom made it for us to enjoy. Paprika and caraway add wonderful flavor, and sour cream gives it a creamy richness. It’s simply scrumptious! —Marcia Doyle, Pompano, Florida
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Mom's Paella

I enjoy cooking ethnic foods, especially those that call for lots of rice. Like my mom, I often prepare this dish for special Sunday get-togethers. Traditional paella uses saffron, but turmeric is a budget-friendly alternative. —Ena Quiggle, Goodhue, Minnesota
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Momma’s Turkey Stew with Dumplings

I love my slow cooker, especially during the holidays. My mother used to make this turkey stew every year with our Thanksgiving leftovers. The recipe is simple and really celebrates the natural flavors of good, simple ingredients. To this day, it is one of my favorite meals. —Stephanie Rabbitt-Schapp, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Daddy's Sunday Roast

Daddy was a close friend of the local butcher, Mr. Mason, who always saved the preferred cut for his best customer! To please Daddy, that roast had to be big enough so he could count on leftovers for cold beef sandwiches the following week. —Mary Lewis, Memphis, Tennessee

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.