Karen Boughton and her mother Jean.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and yes, I’m still in South Carolina on the beautiful 12-mile island, Hilton Head. For those of you who have been following my story, I am still rehabilitating from a fall I took the first week we arrived (early March). I have graduated from four days a week of in-house therapy to one day a week and am now hobbling along half the time with a cane and the other half with my deluxe-edition rolling walker. This is a state-of-the-art model complete with hand brakes, a seat with a lift-up secret compartment for lip balm, etc. and a bonus … a cup holder. Hello, 5 o’clock cocktails! The silver lining is that where I am here in S.C. was my mother’s empty-nester forever home; I always enjoy being here and reminisce about all the fun times we had visiting here and of course, while here, even using a walker, I enjoy making her tried-and-true comfort foods. She was not like some moms who wouldn’t share recipes; my mom was always willing to share a recipe when asked. If you have a recipe from your mom that you want to share, let me know. I’d love to try it! In the meantime, “Please Join Our Table” as we make over (with her permission, of course) one of my mom’s not-so-secret recipes! 

My Mom’s Original Banana Pudding

She always said this was so easy and delicious with Nabisco Nilla Wafers, Jell-O instant pudding and fresh banana slices. In the 1940s, Nabisco added its official banana pudding recipe on their Nilla Wafers box where it can still be found today!

1 cup cold whole milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) Jell-O Vanilla-Flavor Instant Pudding
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
30 vanilla wafers (reserve a few for decorating the sides or top)
6 bananas, sliced
1 tub (16 ounces) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed and divided in half

In a mixing bowl, beat pudding mix, sugar, vanilla and milk with a whisk for about two minutes. Let it rest to thicken, about five minutes. Add 1/2 the tub of Cool Whip. Stir just until combined well. Layer bottom and sides of a 2-quart glass casserole dish with vanilla wafers. Top with 3 sliced bananas. Layer on 1/2 of the pudding mixture then the remaining vanilla wafers. Top with the remaining banana slices, then the remaining pudding. Top it all with the remaining Cool Whip. Chill and serve! Note: You can garnish with additional vanilla wafers and more banana slices. 

Karen’s “Mother, May I?” Banana Pudding (Updated 2007) 

I was given this recipe in 2007. My mom and I combined her 1950s version with this one. Then jump forward to this week, 2020; I saw on YouTube … Paula Dean making the same recipe without the vanilla extract and using Pepperidge Farm’s Chessman cookies. Oh, and making her own whipped cream … LOL. She called it “Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding.”

1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature* 
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 5-ounce package instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12-16 ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed 
1 1/2 11-ounce boxes Nabisco Vanilla Wafers or 3 bags of Pepperidge Farms Chessman cookies 
7 big bananas, peeled and sliced

Note: Set aside enough cookies to top the dish.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add in sweetened condensed milk, then fold in the whipped topping. Set aside. In another bowl using a hand mixer on low speed, mix the pudding mix, milk and vanilla extract. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Set out a 9x13 baking dish and place 1/3 of the cookies in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Next add a layer of bananas. Then pour 1/3 of the pudding mixture on top (enough to cover all the bananas).  Continue with two more layers. Finally top it with the cookies you set aside. Place them nice and neat covering the entire top of the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. 

*Note: This is where mom and I edited her recipe, Mom originally had 3 cups of whole milk and no cream cheese and we added the extra vanilla extract!

Everyone goes bananas over this recipe! Happy Mother’s Day … Enjoy!

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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