Flavored with tradition

Lewis O. Powell IV

September 11, 2013

Sandra Schweizer and her husband made a mean spaghetti and meatballs.

“My husband learned how to make wonderful spaghetti sauce. I made rather tasty meatballs,” she said. On Saturday night they would make spaghetti and meatballs to be served for a traditional Sunday dinner.

“We used to enjoy this time together. We would play popular sings and sometimes dance around the kitchen.” She insists that “a kitchen should always be big enough for dancing.”

This tradition joined perfectly with the traditional Italian cooking she was taught by her mother and Aunt Florence. “My grandparents came to America from Italy,” she notes and many of her recipes came from them. In addition, “many of the Italian dishes that I learned to make were popular in the area of my home town where many Italian immigrants settled when they came to America.”

When it comes to making pasta sauce, Schweizer again bows to tradition and uses her mother’s old, heavy aluminum pot. “That pot must be 80 years old; however it makes the best spaghetti sauce and the sauce never stick to the bottom of the pot,” she remarks.

Schweizer was born and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio in the northeast part of the state on Lake Erie. She graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in elementary education and taught school for much of her life. She was teaching in South Euclid, Ohio when she met her husband who was an employee of Bethlehem Steel.

In retirement, Sandra and her husband decided to move to the LaGrange area to be near their daughter, Mary, a Milliken employee, and her family. Their son, Robert, later moved here with his family. He’s now the athletic director at Troup High School. Another son, Allen, works for the government in Quantico, Virginia and their youngest daughter, Sue, is an educator in Solon, Ohio.

She has been blessed with a number of grandchildren who she proudly watches play sports. She regularly travels to South Carolina and to Ohio to cheer on her grandchildren.

Her church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, also receives a large share of her time. “I am a member of the Legion of Mary and the Council of Catholic Women (CCW),” she states. Continuing, she points out that the CCW is preparing to hold their annual yard sale this Saturday.

The yard sale is one of the Council’s major fundraising efforts and this year, “we have loads of stuff,” she says. She notes that the CCW has collected so many items for the sale that the church’s parish hall is almost filled. The sale will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon in the St. Peter’s Parish Hall off of Lafayette Parkway.


Italian Wedding Soup

Amounts depend on how many will be served and how well seasoned you like your soup.

Bone-in Chicken breasts

Carrots, chopped

Celery, chopped

Onion, chopped

1 Package Lipton onion soup

Black pepper

Sweet basil



1 can chicken broth

Miniature meatballs (recipe included)

Pizza Verde (recipe included)

Place chicken breasts in a pot of water. Simmer until chicken is cooked and the meat falling off the bone. Strain through a colander and return broth to the stove. While the chicken cools, add all other ingredients, except for meatballs to the broth and simmer. After the chicken is cooled, separate out the bones and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken to the broth. Meatballs should be added in about a half hour before serving.

Miniature Meatballs

2 lbs. ground chuck

1 lbs. ground pork

1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

1 small onion finely chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. sweet basil

1 tbsp. parsley

1 tsp. each oregano and black pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and form into small balls, about the size of a cherry tomato. Bake on a large, greased sheet pan for 10 minutes, then turn meatballs over and bake for another 10 minutes until meat is brown. Drain meatballs on a paper towel. These may be made ahead and frozen.

Pizza Verde

These are small croutons that are put into individual soup bowls with the soup poured over them. They do not fall apart as a regular bread crouton would.

12 eggs

6 tbsp. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. black pepper

1 3/4 cups flour

1 cup parsley (fresh or dried)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and heavily flour a 10X15 jelly-roll pan. Separate and beat separately all the eggs until the yellow is frothy and the white stands in peaks. Fold eggs together. Mix ingredients together in a mixer on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Spread the mixture evenly in the jelly-roll pan and place in oven. Check with a toothpick every 10 minutes until done (do not overcook). Once the pizza is cooked, turn the pan over on a cutting board. Pizza should fall right out. Cut the pizza into small cubes. These may be made ahead and frozen.

Homemade Italian Pizza

For dough:

Dissolve 2 packages of yeast and 2 tbsp. sugar in a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.

5 lbs. bag of flour

3 tbsp. of salt

1 stick of butter

1-2 cups lukewarm water

Mix the flour, salt and butter then add the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.

Gradually add the water while kneading the dough. Continue kneading the dough until it is soft and a bit sticky. Do not get it too wet.

Gather the dough into a ball and place in a large, greased pan. Cover the dough and keep warm. Dough will take 3-4 hours to rise.

Cover sheet pans with Crisco (it keeps the dough from shrinking). Take a handful of dough and stretch it to fit the pan. Cover all the pans until all the dough is used. Number of pizzas will depend on how thick you intend crust to be. Allow dough to rise in the pan.

For tomato sauce:

1 large can tomato sauce

1 large can of tomato paste

Minced garlic

Sweet basil


Mix together and spread on pizza dough. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cover sauce generously with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese and then add your choice of toppings. Cover pizza with shredded mozzarella cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Place one pizza in the oven on the bottom rack. After 10 minutes, check the bottom of the pizza. If it is brown, move pizza to the top rack to cook for another 10 minutes. Do not burn the mozzarella. Another pizza may be placed on the bottom rack to begin the cooking process.