"Food from Home" Recipe Contest Submissions from UMaine Extension Staff

icon graphic for Food from Home Recipe Contest 2021

‘Food from Home’ is a new recipe contest, open to all UMaine Extension staff, looking for recipes of favorite homemade foods with roots in family heritage or personal connection. This contest is also about ‘food without borders’. No matter where home is or was, whether a multigenerational homeplace or a place that simply feels like home, that is the inspiration for food from home.

According to the Publisher: “The Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook celebrates Maine’s rich culinary traditions — old and new — exploring indigenous foodways, hearty Yankee cuisine, community cookbook classics, and favorite dishes of new Mainers.”

View All Other “Food from Home” Recipes Submitted

Guidelines for Recipe Submissions:

This recipe contest was open to all Extension employees. Recipe guidelines included:

  • No alcohol can be used as an ingredient.
  • Food safety is practiced (for example, no raw fish or eggs used in a dish that is meant to be eaten uncooked).
  • Considerations for heart-healthy ingredients or alternatives are appreciated.
  • Each recipe submitted will be reviewed and vetted by members of the Extension Food Team.
  • After reviews are completed, the winning recipe will be randomly chosen using an online random selection tool.

Recipe submissions were reviewed by our food team:

  • Kate Yerxa, MS, BS, Associate Extension Professor, EFNEP Coordinator
  • Kathy Savoie, MS, RD, UMaine Extension Professor

And the Winning Recipe is Lynne Holland’s Plum Dumplings!

Plum Dumplings recipe card overset on an image of prune plumbs background
Winning Recipe: Lynne Holland’s Plum Dumplings — Recipe Card Photo, Lynne Holland. Plum Background Photo, Pixabay (Pixel2013)

The winning recipe was chosen using an online random selection tool, after all submissions were reviewed by members of our food team, and will be submitted for inclusion in the second edition of the Maine Community Cookbook. Publication of the cookbook is expected in 2022.

Plum Dumplings
Lynne Holland

well-worn recipe card with recipe for plum dumplings
Plum Dumplings Recipe Card — Photo, Lynne Holland.

About this recipe: This is my grandmother’s recipe and she was from the area that is now known as Slovenia but she spoke German.  This dish is popular this time of year from Italy, throughout Eastern Europe, and into Germany.

Serves: 6

Prep Time (approximate): 25 minutes active


  • 2 cups hot mashed potatoes
  • 2 to 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • two slightly beaten eggs
  • 24 purple prune plums
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs, browned in butter


  1. Cut potatoes into flour with two knives.
  2. Add salt and cut in butter.
  3. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. Roll dough into a rectangle until it is ¼ inch thick and cut into 24 three-inch squares.
  5. Wash and pit plums (can be made with apricots) put scant half tablespoon of sugar where the pit was.
  6. Put plum in the center of the square and pinch edges together to cover the fruit.
  7. Drop into salted boiling water and cover. Let boil for 10 minutes.
  8. Dumplings will be floating when done.
  9. Roll each dumpling in browned, buttered breadcrumbs and pan-fry. Serve hot.

UMaine Extension Staff "Food from Home" Recipe Contest Submissions:

Fiddlehead Lobster Quiche
Cindy Eves-Thomas

fiddlehead lobster quiche
Photo by Cindy Eves-ThomasFiddlehead Lobster Quiche

About this recipe: This recipe uses two Maine favorites: lobster and fiddleheads. I created this recipe for those (rare) occasions when I have leftover lobster and fiddleheads. It’s become a favorite supper or breakfast dish for family and guests.

Serves: 6-8

Prep Time (approximate): 15 minutes

Bake Time: 50 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350º F


  • 1¼ cup Maine lobster meat, cooked and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1¼ cup cooked fiddleheads
  • 1½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ cup light cream or half-and-half
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 uncooked 9-inch pie crust


  1. Fill pie crust with lobster meat, shredded cheese, and fiddleheads.
  2. Whisk eggs, light cream, and pepper together until well blended.
  3. Pour egg mixture over the lobster, cheese, and fiddleheads in the pie crust.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the quiche is set.
  5. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Lemon Chess Pie
Dana Rickman

Lemon Chess Pie
Photo by Dana RickmanLemon Chess Pie

About this recipe: This recipe combines two of my favorite things — lemon, and southern cooking. Even with my southern born-and-bred heritage I never cared for fried foods, heavy sauces or vegetables cooked half to death. What I did like was the abundance of fresh food and vibrant flavors — figs, muscadines, watermelon, tomatoes, fresh shelling peas, and greens of all kinds. Fresh lemon was often featured as a side to many dishes, in drinks, and in desserts. The flavor was just right in the heat and humidity. This pie is so simple to make and bursts with lemon flavor. If you like your lemon a little tamer, just cut down on the amount of lemon zest in the recipe.

You’ll notice I use a pre-made pie crust here. I’ve never been able to make a decent crust, flaky and tender, and there are several perfectly acceptable ones for buying now, including gluten-free. I leave it to the expert bakers out there who want to make their own crusts to have their own recipes.

Serves: 8

Prep Time (approximate): 20-30 minutes, not including time for the crust to cool completely

Bake Time: 6-7 minutes for the crust; 50-55 minutes for pie

Oven Temperature: 425º F for the crust; 350º F for pie


  • ½ (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • pie weights or dried beans
  • aluminum foil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted (butter, not margarine)
  • ¼ cup milk, whole, or buttermilk
  • 1 generous tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten


  1. Bake Pie Crust: Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
  2. Line pastry with aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool completely.
  4. Make Pie: Stir together sugar, cornmeal, flour, salt, melted butter, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice until blended.
  5. Add lightly beaten eggs and stir well. Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
  6. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes, shielding edges with aluminum foil or pie crust shield after 10 minutes or so to prevent over-browning.
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or sweetened, flaked coconut if desired.
  8. Variation: Add 2-3 tablespoons of toasted coconut to the filling before pouring into crust.

Mam’s Crêpes
Alex Gayton

plate of crepes with sliced bananas for breakfast
Photo by Alex GaytonMam’s Crêpes

About this recipe: My grandparents are French Canadian and crêpes are one of the breakfast foods we grew up with and love! So here’s the simple recipe straight from the source.

We always used maple syrup as our filling of choice and ate slices of fruit on the side, but you can make crêpes sweet or savory. Many people like to top crêpes with their favorite fruit or try out creative stuffed crepe ideas! This recipe is also easy to multiply because the main ingredients are a 1:1:1 ratio, our family always has to make at least a triple batch because we love having leftovers.

Serves: ~ 5

Prep Time (approximate): 20 minutes


  • 1 cup milk (or your favorite non-dairy alternative)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (can use wheat or alternative)
  • 1 whole egg (or can use egg replacer)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat large pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl, if the batter is too thick add additional milk. Note: crêpe batter should be thinner than pancake batter.
  3. Ladle batter onto the large oiled pan, tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter is in a thin layer.
  4. Cook ~2 minutes, until bottom is light brown. Flip and cook on the other side.

Zucchini Bread
Sheila Norman

loaf of Zucchini bread on a plate with two zucchini squash on the side
Photo by Sheila NormanZucchini Bread

About This Recipe: This recipe has been handed down from my grandmother, and we don’t know where she got it. It is a family favorite. We freeze several 2-cup packages of grated zucchini each fall, ready to be defrosted and turned into bread. (I received a blue ribbon at the Piscataquis Valley Fair with this recipe.)

Prep Time (approximate): 20 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Oven Temperature: 350º F


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Beat eggs until light and foamy,
  2. Add sugar, vegetable oil, grated zucchini, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add dry ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Divide batter in two greased bread pans.
  5. Bake at 350º F for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the middle of a loaf comes out clean.
  6. Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool.

No-Brainer Stuffed Bread
Richard Brzozowski

About this recipe: I learned of this quick and easy recipe from a farm couple in Oxford County. We had just driven a flock of 70 Katahdin hair sheep to summer pasture having walked about 4 miles on country roads with the majestic White Mountains in the distance. When we returned to the farmhouse, the bread was placed in the oven. It was served with a homemade soup. It was a delicious way to wrap up a morning of farm work and to be fortified and ready for tasks planned for the afternoon.

Serves: 4

Prep Time (approximate): 10 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350º F


  • pizza dough (purchased or prepared)
  • one tab of butter (to coat baking sheet)
  • cooked meat or deli meat of your choice (up to 2 cups or 3 or more slices)
  • your choice of cheese (up to 1 cup of shredded cheese or 4 slices)
  • fresh parsley (1 small handful)
  • fresh basil (1 small handful)
  • minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 chopped medium-sized onion (optional)
  • 1 cup of chopped green pepper
  • salt and pepper as preferred


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Roll out prepared pizza dough with a rolling pin on a clean, floured surface into a rectangular shape (approximately 12″ by 18″).
  3. Coat baking sheet surface with butter.
  4. Lay cooked meat along the long side of the dough.
  5. Lay cheese slices or sprinkle grated cheese on top of the meat.
  6. Sprinkle loose parsley and basil (and minced garlic if using) on top of the cheese evenly.
  7. Sprinkle chopped onion evenly over other ingredients.
  8. Sprinkle chopped green pepper evenly over other ingredients.
  9. Add salt or pepper to taste as preferred.
  10. With floured hands, roll the dough with ingredients inside over and over to form a long cylindrical shape.
  11. Pinch the ends of the roll to prevent cheese from oozing out during baking.
  12. Lay stuffed dough (in a straight line or curved to fit) onto the buttered baking sheet.
  13. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 20 minutes.
  14. Remove stuffed bread from the oven and slice into 2″ segments.

Serve warm and listen for oohs and ahhs. This stuffed bread goes nicely with a soup.

Great Aunt Betty’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Leilani Carlson

About this recipe: This is a quick recipe to throw together in the morning, and ready to bring to any meeting or gathering where you need to share a little extra sweetness. It’s my ‘go-to’ recipe for a guaranteed delicious outcome. TIP: Frozen bananas are the key. It makes me feel better to save all those seemingly worthless overly ripe, and questionably brown bananas by tossing them in the freezer. To save time, the batter can be mixed and stored overnight in the refrigerator and baked the next day.

Serves: 10-12

Prep Time (approximate): 15 minutes

Bake Time: 55 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350º F


  • 1/3 cup salted butter, room temp, or warmed
  • 1 cup white sugar (or a little less)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup tap water
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, frozen and thawed for recipe
  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more or less, you choose)


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Mix butter and sugar well by hand with a whisk.
  3. Mix in eggs.
  4. Mix in water and thawed bananas.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients all at once.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into 2 greased glass bread pans.
  8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is firm to the touch.

Apfel Kuchen
Cindy Rogers

apple cake square with streusel on a plate
Photo by Cindy RogersApfel Kuchen

About this recipe: My mother emigrated to Maine from Germany in 1948 and brought this recipe with her, passed down from her mother. She remembered it from her childhood in Czechoslovakia, made with apples or plums. It takes time, but is so worth the effort! For me, this is the best thing to make with fall apples at least once a year. Great for breakfast or a not-too-sweet snack.

Serves: 12

Prep Time (approximate): 1-2 hours, plus 2½ hours wait time

Bake Time: 35-45 minutes

Oven Temperature: 375º F


  • ½ cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm milk (110-115°F)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening or softened butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • apples, 2-3 large or 6-8 small
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour


  1. In a small bowl whisk water and yeast; let proof for 5 minutes, then add milk and whisk to combine.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer or by hand, cream shortening (or butter) and the first ½ cup sugar. Add salt, egg, nutmeg, and yeast mixture, beating to combine; it won’t be smooth.
  3. Add 1 cup of flour, beating well. Continue to add flour ½ cup at a time until a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed, and dough just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover the dough in the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours. The dough should double in volume.
  5. When risen, punch down the dough and turn it out on a well-floured surface. Knead just for a minute or two, and form into a ball.
  6. With work surface, rolling pin, and dough floured, roll dough to roughly fit a lightly greased 11x14x1-inch sheet pan, pulling and tucking in the pan as needed.
  7. Peel, core, and slice apples into thin wedges. Arrange apples on top of the dough in slightly overlapping rows, right to the edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  8. Streusel: In a small bowl with your hands, rub the ¼ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, and ½ cup flour together to form ½-inch crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
  9. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for about ½ hour, just to puff a bit.
  10. Bake at 375°F for 35-45 minutes, or until streusel and dough edges are golden brown and crisp. Cut into 12 squares (or smaller ones); serve warm or cool.

Grammie’s BBQ Beans
Alisha Targonski

About this recipe: These are the beans that remind me of my childhood summers. They were enjoyed when we went ‘downta camp’, my family living in Aroostook County, while the rest of my family went ‘upta camp’. Our family’s camp, located on Ambejejus Lake, was our destination every summer to spend with cousins or bring friends to the lake. Grammie and Grampy, Helen and Bob Bouchard of East Millinocket, were our very patient and loving hosts, always ready for a big family meal and to watch their beloved Red Sox and Rays play baseball.

Serves: Makes approximately 2.5 quarts; serving size heaping ½ cup

Prep Time (approximate): 30 minutes plus 1.54 hours cooking time if using a slow cooker

Bake Time: 30 minutes if not using a slow cooker

Oven Temperature: 375º F


  • 2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil or 4 oz. Bacon, diced (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped small
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped small
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle chili sauce (usually found in the ketchup section)
  • 2 tbsp. regular or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2–6 oz. water (optional)


  1. In an oven-safe pot with lid, brown bacon, then remove from pan. Bacon is optional and the beans will taste nearly the same without meat.
  2. In drippings, or 2 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil, saute the onion and green pepper until tender.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the beans.
  4. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in beans and add water as needed.
  5. Bake covered at 375 F for 30 minutes.

  • If using a slow cooker (preferred), follow all of the above steps in the cooker. 
  • Set the slow cooker to ‘low’ and cook for 4 hours, or set to ‘high’ for 1.5 hours (beans cooked for a shorter amount of time are better the next day).  Since the ingredients are already cooked, it depends on how much time you have to bring the flavors together. Whichever method you choose will lead to the same delicious destination.