Birthday Dinner & Cake for the Win

Many a Pryde family birthday dinner has had homemade macaroni and cheese as the entree, and nearly every one featured Mom’s sponge cake for dessert. Daniel’s birthday this month was no exception.

Beth and Mom developed the macaroni and cheese recipe for a 4-H project when Beth was in elementary school, and it ended up winning Beth awards and was an entry in “The 1991 King County 4-H Favorite Foods Cookbook”.

Mom’s sponge cake is her adaptation of Betty Crocker’s Fluffy Sponge Cake.

We hope you enjoy this double feature!

Beth’s Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2 quarts water
2 tblsp. margarine
2 tblsp. flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 pound ready to eat sausage, diced

  1. Cook macaroni in water according to package directions and drain.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Prepare cheese sauce in a saucepan. Melt margarine over low heat. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add milk, stir until blended. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add shredded cheese. Stir constantly over low heat, until cheese is melted and smooth.
  4. Combine macaroni, cheese sauce, salt, pepper, and sausage. Pour in a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Dot with margarine. Sprinkle with paprika.
  5. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover. Bake 15 minutes longer.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Over the years, we’ve modified the recipe as we’ve seen fit, changing up the cheese to include combinations of Monterrey Jack, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, Italian cheese blend, you name it. Sometimes we use paprika, sometimes we use Creole seasoning, sometimes we do without any seasoning on top of the macaroni. Feel free to adapt this to your tastes and whims!

Becky’s Birthday Sponge Cake


To clarify Mom’s handwritten note, she would first measure the 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove 3 tablespoons from it before adding the rest of the dry ingredients. She replaced the 3 tablespoons flour with 3 tablespoons cornstarch.

Two things she always emphasized to her children and her 4-H Foods members were measuring all ingredients prior to mixing and, while separating eggs, pouring the whites into one bowl and the yolks into another immediately after each egg is cracked in order to avoid any yolk getting into the whites.

Rather than top the cake with whipped cream, sour cream, or icing, over the years the Pryde family latched onto Mom’s strawberry topping which she made fresh every spring and freezer canned to last the rest of the year. There was plenty left in the freezer from April 2017, and so more than the macaroni and cheese or the cake which she would always prepare, having her topping with our slices made Daniel’s birthday celebration poignant.




Top photo is of Daniel Pryde on top of his grandfather’s retired farm equipment.

Spring 2016.


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