Canal Zone & Panama Recipes
"Beh 'appie, don worrie---'dez foods be gud!"

The Canal Zone was a very special place in the world, and I would like to preserve some of these unique "zonian" recipes.
Screened porches--the smell of foods cooking, drifting their wonderful scents outdoors. Dinnertime, when those streetlights came on, there was always something great to look forward to for dinner. We had our random banana snacks, right off of the stalk of bananas hanging in our basements. Or a ripe mango right from the tree. Most of our fresh vegetables, came from the Chinese Gardens, and the Commissary was the place to get the rest of our food needs. The Mecha rolls bought in Panama, made a meal perfect.

"Delicious Fried Plantain"


Cut plantain into lengthwise strips.
Fry in pan, medium heat with vegetable oil, until strips are lightly browned.
Put cooked plantain strips onto platter with paper towel to "drain".
Sprinkle plantain lightly with sugar.

*This receipe was donated by Snow Frost, (BHS66). It is from Ann Marti's kitchen in the Canal Zone. It was a family favorite. Mom never made enough of it as far as Ted, Doug, and Jo were concerned. It went well with any meal. This recipe is guaranteed to bring only good memories of the Canal Zone.

"Tivoli" Roquefort Salad Dressing

1 lb. of Roquefort cheese
1 pint of sour cream
1 pint mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 onion (grated)

**This recipe was donated by Lila Pullen. The delicious recipe is from the "Tivol Hotel" in the Canal Zone. A really delicious recipe, and brings back good memories.

"Johnny Mazetti"

1 can of black olives (sliced)
3 pkgs. colby or cheddar cheese
1 large can of whole tomatoes
1 small jar of green olives
1/2 stalk of celery (sliced small)
3 lbs.hamburger
4 pkgs. wide noodles
4 large onions (diced)
1 small can of mushrooms, or use fresh mushrooms
several jars of your favorite tomato sauces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees..
sauce (with onions, cilery, garlic) (BR)green olives
grated cheeses
sauteed mushrooms
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.

***This recipe is from Ann Marti's kitchen. The recipe freezes well, and gets more delicious each time it is reheated---and, you can NEVER make too much!

"Coconut Cream Cheese Balls"

1 can of coconut flakes, or make fresh coconuts flakes from the "real" thing
1 package of cream cheese

Shape softened cream cheese into "small" balls and roll them in coconut flakes.
Serve chilled on toothpicks as an appetizer.

**This recipe was donated by Lila Pullen (my grandmother). A really delicious recipe that's great for parties.

"Banana Dressing"

2 sliced bananas
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix the above ingredients in a blender.

**This recipe was donated by Lila Pullen. It is great for serving as a dressing on top of fruit salad or even on pancakes.

Snow's "Mock" Serviche

1 or 2 large cans of tuna packed in water
1 large onion (minced)
bottled lemon juice
fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
hot pepper flakes, or fresh hot peppers of your choice
soy sauce
saltine crackers (preferably "Zesta brand)

Drain the canned tuna thoroughly.
Put tuna into a deep tupperware bowl, and flake it well with a fork.
Add the minced onion.
Add enough lemon juice to thoroughly cover the tuna mixture--a lot, because the tuna will absorb most of the juice.
Add salt, hot pepper flakes (or the fresh hot peppers you chose to use), along with about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
Cover, and let marinate overnight--or at least a few hours.
Serve, like a dip, but use a spoon to put mixture onto your cracker.

***Recipe donated by Snow Frost (Jo Marti), (BHS66). This great "mock" service, can be made as hot as you desire. The longer it marinates, the better it gets.

A really great memory I have is from when I went to a cast party on closing night from the musical Sound of Music. Most of the people at the party at this very expensive hotel in Panama, were from the States. They were really turned off with the idea of eating raw fish, so, I was able to have all the Serviche I could have ever wanted---in a huge punch bowl. It was made so delicious, and now that is a memory I truly enjoy. Because of this experience, I created this recipe so "other" people could enjoy a similar taste, but without the raw fish idea. I hope that you enjoy it!

"Tropical Itch"

juice of 1/2 lime
dash of bitters (Angostura)
1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz rum (dark Jamican)
dash orange curacao
passion fruit juice
1 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151 proof rum

Fill large Collins glass with shaved ice.
Squeeze 1/2 lime.
Add dash of angostura bitters, bourbon Jamaican rum and orange curacao.
Fill with more shaved ice.
Float Lemon Hart 151 proof rum.
Garnish with 18" straw, wedge of pineapple, and a cherry

***Recipe donated by Andrea Zimmerman, (BHS79).

These great drinks were enjoyed at the Hilton Hotel while listening to that great Organ play.

"Baked Bananas"

bananas (not ripe--just barely turning yellow)
lemon juice
maple syrup

Peel bananas, slice lenthwise.
Slather with butter.
Put in nice baking dish.
Squeeze lemon juice over bananas, and cover with maple syrup.
Bake at high heat, watching carefully!

***Recipe donated by L.C. Rainier. This is one very easy dish that I always serve with Arroz con Pollo. Since we seldom get plantain here, I use bananas--but not ripe--just barely turning yellow. A teacher friend, Annie Laurie Halvosa, taught me this.

"Johnny Mosetti"

1 pound ground beef
3 T. fat
1 lb. green peppers
1 stalk celery
2 tins mushrooms
1 lb. onion, quartered or sliced
1 can tomato paste
1 can Arturo sauce
1 bottle stuffed olives, sliced or whole
1/2 lb. grated Parmesan cheese
2 pkg. wide egg noodles

Brown meat in fat, then add the rest of the ingredients and bake in a slow oven one hour.
Serves 12 to 16.

***Recipe from Gladys R. Graham, and donated by Dave Furlong.

That's how Gladys R. Graham spelled it, but she added that it "goes by several near-sounding names". She noted (in 1947) that it "is said to have originated in the last ten or eleven years." She adds "it is a marvelous one-dish casserole meal for large gatherings and is extremely popular wherever it appears."

Dave says this recipe is very close to American Chop Suey, a traditional New England dish made with elbow macaroni. Enjoy.

"Johnny Mazzetti"

1 1/2 lb ground beef
2 lb. ground pork
6 chopped onions
6 garlic cloves
2 cups sliced sweet peppers
5 cups chopped celery
2 large cans tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans tomato soup
3 cups mushrooms with liquid
2 cups sliced stuffed olives
2 cans pimientos, chopped
1 bunch chopped parsley
5 cups grated American cheese
1 1/2 lb wide egg noodles
4 tbs. oil
1 tbs.ground pepper
3 bay leaves salt to taste

Fry beef and pork in oil in a large skillet. When it has cooked awhile, add garlic cloves, thinly sliced onions, and peppers. Fry a little and then add remaining ingredients, except noodles and cheese and simmer a while.
Cook noodles in boiling water and drain. Grease a large pan. Add the meat mixture to the noodles and place in pan in layers, sprinkling the grated cheese on the layers, and on top. Bake in slow oven, 275 degrees for two hours.

***Recipe donated by Virginia Hirons.

From the Canal Construction Days:
A gastronomic highlight of the construcion-day era was "Johnny Mazzetti," a dish so popular for so long that it is considered by some to be a Canal Zone invention. Included here is an old family recipe for the hearty dish--compliments of Ann Suescum, past president and present adviser of the Canal Zone Medical Wives, who earlier this summer was instrumental in recreating a social event in a construcion-day atmosphere at the Governor's house, complete with dinner and fashion of those hisoric days.

Microwave Brownies

1 stick margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBS. milk
3/4 cup unsifted flour
1/4 TPS. salt
4 TBS. cocoa
1 egg
1 TPS. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Place butter and cocoa in a 6x10" glass dish.
Microwave on high setting about 1 minute or until butter melts.
Add sugar.
MIX until smooth.
Add baking powder, salt, and nuts.
Cover top corners of square dish with foil triangles to prevent over cooking in the corners.
Microwave on HIGH setting 5 1/2 to 6 minutes or until top is no longer wet.
Rotate dish one half turn every minute and one-half if your microwave does not have a turntable.
Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Note: TBS=Tablespoon....TPS=Teaspoon

**This recipe was donated by Perry Truxton. These brownies are real good and fast if you have un-expected guests pop over.

"Grandma Young's Lemon Pie"

First, The Mix can be either Jello or Royal Lemon Pie Mix; MUST BE THE KIND THAT YOU COOK. NO INSTANT.

Combine pie mix with one cup sugar (minus 1 tablespoon sugar)
Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Add 3 lightly beaten egg yolks.
Add, gradually, 2 1/4 cups water and blend well.
Cook over VERY LOW HEAT in heavy pan or in TOP of double boiler over rapidly boiling water.
Remove from heat; add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon butter and blend well.
Beat 3 egg whiles until stiff and FOLD into pie mixture.
Cool slightly before pouring into a 9-inch pie shell.
Top with whipped cream (Best), or Dream Whip when thoroughly cooled or just before serving.


2 cups flour sifted with 2 teaspoons baking powder & 1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup CRISCO
5 Tablespoons COLD WATER

Blend well with fork or pastry blender until mixture looks like corn meal, form into a ball.
Touching the batter as little as possible, place ball onto plastic wrap, put in bowl, and cover bowl with plastic wrap and place into fridge for at least one-hour.
Take out of fridge after one-hour and roll out until it is of a size to cover a 9-inch pie dish.
**The secret is to handle the dough as little as possible.
Dough can be left in fridge for more than one-hour BUT NEVER LESS the dough must be cold. If these instructions are followed you will have a crust that melts in your mouth.

**This recipe was donated by Perry Truxton. This is my favorite lemon pie recipe. It is one that was handed down in my Mother's family for at least 6 generations. There has been some changes made to take into account the availability of lemon pie mix. Before the advent of store bought mixes the filling was made from scratch which takes a long time to do and not all of the ingredients are readily available today.

"Johny Mazetti"

1 pound ground beef, lean
1 pound Onion chopped
3 medium Green Pepper chopped
1 large stalk Celery chopped
1 pound Egg noodles cooked
1 cup mushroom
6 ounces olives sliced
2 cloves Garlic "or" however much you want
1 can (10.75oz) Tomato soup, canned
2 cans of Arturo Sauce
8 ounces Cheddar cheese grated

Cook the first 4 ingredients separately, drain fat off of ground beef and then combine.
Mix together the soup, arturo sauce, mushroom, olives, garlic & egg noodles & then add to first mixture.
Regrigerate for at least 12 hours, best if left overnite.
Pour into large casserole dish-Add grated cheese, and bake for 1 hour.

PER SERVING: 476.8 Calories, 21.7g Total Fat, 9.4 g Saturated Fat, 101.1 mg Cholesterol, 780.0 mg Sodium, 49.3 g Total Carbohydrate, 4.3 g Dietary Fiber, 22.3 g Protein, 222.6 mg Calcium. 11 WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

**This recipe was donated by Jolene Spraggins.

"Patsy's Surprise Meatloaf"

It is prepared the same way as normal meatloaf, but with one difference. You hard boil three (or four eggs)... then when making the ground beef into a loaf you add the hard boiled eggs, taking off the shells of the eggs (before adding to the meat). Then smooth out the loaf... and bake as you would regularly do. When you slice the meatloaf.. when serving... surprise... hard boiled eggs... in many of the slices...

**This recipe was donated by Mike Laurenzi (CHS86).
Here is a food from Panama... that I liked... and still remember. I don't know the exact recipe... but here is what it is.. :)
Patsy was our maid. She didn't have to cook for us, but she did...and she made many "Fancy Meatloafs" for use...which we later called it "Patsy's Surprise"...after her...:)

"Jim's Pineapple/Pecan/Cherry/Mango Upside-down Cake"

I used good ole Duncan Hines Pineapple upside down cake mix following the directions on package but used about 1/4 cup more butter and about 1/2 cup more brown sugar. Spelled out HAPPY 50+ with the pecan halves, then used the new DOLE stars and moon shaped pineapple chunks, then quartered marachino cherries and sprinkled that all over then covered that with mango slices and put the cake batter on.........wowwy wow wow wow! I will never make another plain pineapple upside down cake!!!!! It was better than I thought it would be -- try it. You'll like it!

**This recipe was donated by Jim E. Phelan.

"Arroz Con Pollo"

2-1/2 pounds chicken breast--with skin and bones(about 5 half breasts)
3-4 Tablespoons oil for browning chicken
(I like to use half olive oil and half margarine or butter)
1 can whole tomatoes
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder (more or less to your taste)
1/2 Teaspoon dry oregano
3-4 stems fresh culantro (if you like it)
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Cups uncooked rice
Boiling water to equal 4 cups
1 Tablespoon capers
1 small can or 1 cup frozen peas
1/2 Cup pimento stuffed green olives sliced


1. In large covered skillet or Dutch oven, lightly brown the chicken in the oil. Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
2. Drain the tomatoes, saving the juice for later. Crush the tomatoes (with a fork - DON'T cut them up). Cover the chicken with the crushed tomatoes, culantro and oregano. Simmer on low/med heat for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked. 3. Allow chicken to cool to the touch; skin and bone the chicken (discard the skin/bones); cut up into bite size pieces; save the cooking liquid.
4. In lightly oiled fry pan, toast the rice to a light golden brown.
5. Put the chicken and rice in a covered roaster or casserole. Combine the cooking liquid, the reserved tomato juice and enough boiling water to equal 4 cups. Pour over chicken and rice; mix well; add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Cover and cook in preheated 350 degree over for 45-50 minutes -- until most of the liquid has been absorbed and rice is cooked.
7. Stir in the capers, olives and peas. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes more until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is done.

NOTE: At times I prepare steps 1-3 and refrigerate the chicken and liquids in separate bowls and finish later in the day or the next day.

**This recipe was donated by Wink Green.

***Do you have a Canal Zone or Panama recipe that you'd like to donate to this page? Please email me with a receipe you'd like to share....thanks, Snow


Copyright 1999-2009 Snow W. Frost
All rights reserved.
Reproduction without permission is strictly forbidden.