My Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd are fantastic cooks. They live in Aurora, IL and I always look forward to visiting them; not just because I have a great time spending time with them and my cousins and grandparents, but also because I know I will be enjoying wonderful home cooked food. They are the one and the same Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd of "Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd's Chopped Salad" and "Barley Greek Salad".
My parents and I visited last September and enjoyed several days of good food and great company. Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd have a really cool house and backyard with a pool, a big vegetable garden, and a chicken coop for their sizeable flock. I liked checking the hen house for eggs and feeding the chickens. Since it was late in the seasons, some of the tomatoes in the garden were rotting and you could throw them to the chickens and they would attack. Or you could toss them leftover bread and you'd think they had never eaten before by the way they jumped on the food. We spent the rest of the days doing all the things there are to do in Aurora like going to White Castle, feeling sick for several hours after eating White Castle, admiring the endless fields of corn and visiting the biggest cheese isle in a grocery store you will ever see at Woodman's grocery store (it was HUGE!!!!).
The best part of the trip were the evenings when everyone was home from work/school and the neighbors came over (my grandparents) and we chatted and drank Midwestern beer while Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd made dinner. They made great food every night and my favorite thing were these Strawberry Club Sandwiches. They are a great twist on a classic sandwich and especially tasty during the spring-time. The recipe comes from Rachel Ray and originally makes triple decker sandwiches but Auntie Ellyn and Uncle Todd made regular-decker sandwiches and I like them best that way. (And to respect Hank's wishes, none of the leftover chicken was fed to the chickens or else they would unknowingly become chicken cannibals.)
Three years ago: Paprika Shrimp Pasta