Friday Favorites – Dani’s Favorite Family Recipes

hands kneading dough in recipe
hands kneading dough in recipe

Welcome to our newest series. In “Friday Favorites,” our team will share a handful of favorite items. These can range from clothes to beauty products to recipes to books and anything in between.

The kitchen has always been the center of our home. I remember from a young age rolling biscuit dough out with my Nanny; there are so many recipes I wish I could have learned from her before she was gone. I collect recipes now and love when a new one comes my way that my family enjoys. When you have picky eaters in your home, it is not hard to fall into a rut of making the same things over and over again. Can we say boring?

I have a goal this year to try 50 new recipes. I hope to find some new family favorites for my picky boys. Here are a few of our favorite recipes collected over the years. They are recipes I consider to be some kitchen must haves.

banana nut bread family recipe

Banana Nut Bread

Personally, I am not a fan of banana flavored foods. But I do love a quick and easy breakfast idea. A warmed slice of banana nut bread with a glass of milk or orange juice, and I have little boys who finally ate something healthier than a Poptart for breakfast! 

Santa Fe Soup

This recipe unfortunately found its way to me after my Paw Paw’s funeral. A sweet neighbor of my Grandma’s brought a whole crockpot full of this deliciousness over one cold afternoon, and we just had to have the recipe. Grandma got the recipe from her neighbor and mailed me a copy later.

Another unfortunate thing about this recipe: I am the only person in my house who enjoys it! Luckily it freezes well. One crockpot full of this soup can make quite a few lunches tucked away for when I’m in the mood for something warm on a cold day. It can be topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, or jalapeños if you like and served with tortilla chips to scoop it.  

chicken tortilla soup recipe
chicken tacos with a wood sign behind the plate

Chicken Tacos

Tacos might be the perfect food. Can you say YUM?

This is one of my most recent recipe finds and my go to recipe for when I take a meal to a family (which in Dani language means I’ve yet to find a way to screw it up). It makes more than enough to share with another family or freeze for later. This recipe came to our family when we were on a meal train after our middle son was in the children’s hospital for almost a week. I immediately begged Danielle Breedlove, a fellow military spouse, for her recipe and she happily obliged!

If you live near an HEB grocery store and want to take the WOW factor up a notch on these delicious tacos, try them with the homemade tortillas they keep warm in the store. Our family likes them with soft, crunchy, or nacho cheese shells. If I’m being honest, we’ll take them anyway we can get them! 

Gigi’s Lemon Pound Cake

I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner in Texas for an apartment full of people we barely knew. After this meal,I realized my husband was missing something. He was looking for a piece of home and his grandma. I had made the required pumpkin pie but knew nothing of Gigi’s pound cake, a dessert he sorely missed.

A few days later, I worked up the nerve to call his Gigi. I politely asked if she would share the recipe with me for David. I fully expected this proper Southern lady that intimidated me thoroughly to tell that it was only passed down in the family. To my surprise, she mailed me the index card recipe the next week (and I still have it).

The recipe is very simple unlike the recipes for pound cake I remember my Nanny making. It annoys my husband when I refer to it as “cheating” pound cake. This cake is a piece of my husband’s childhood, and I love that I have Gigi’s handwritten recipe to treasure.

gigi's lemon pound cake
muffins on a glass cake stand

My Kitchen Must Haves…

While my picky children try their best to destroy my creativity in the cooking department with their list of ” I don’t like this,” there are a few things I feel that I would be lost without having in my kitchen. 


I have three crockpots of various sizes. THREE! I love that I can drop the kids off at school, throw dinner in the crockpot, and not have to rush through my evening to have dinner ready by a certain time. I currently have this crockpot in my saved Amazon cart because my largest one is about to fully crack after 13+ years of use.

Pyrex Dishes

I LOVE Pyrex dishes, especially with lids, because I hate hand washing. Metal pans have always warped, rusted, or gotten a weird haze on them in the dishwasher. Gross and no thank you! I use my Pyrex dishes to bake in and also to store leftovers. Unlike plastic containers, they don’t end up with food stains melted into them from microwave use. 

Bundt Cake Pan

My one metal pan exception is my bundt cake pan. All cakes, whether the recipe says it’s supposed to be layered or not, can go in that bundt cake pan. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. I am not above using a shortcut in the kitchen if it doesn’t affect the recipe, and this one is mine.

Food Chopper

My food chopper is used regularly for everything. I use it for walnuts for banana nut bread; pecans for sweet potato casserole; pickles for slaw; spaghetti to make it easier on messy eaters; and yes, even to finely shred the chicken breast for our favorite chicken tacos. The best multi-purpose tool in my kitchen.

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