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211 posts categorized "25) What would Don Draper do? Retro recipes from my past to your present!"

01/25/2024

~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~

The Reuben sandwich. I crave one once or twice a year. And when I do, I don't waste time baking homemade rye bread, slow-cooking corned beef, long-simmering sauerkraut, or, whisking salad dressing. I don't try to save time by ordering delivery or take out either -- I don't live anywhere close to a NY-style deli that can begin to make this sandwich the way I like it. I take the 10-minute drive to the grocery store, pick up the ingredients and pass through the express checkout. Store-bought everything is fine. In about 45-minutes, including the drive time, I am eating...... View full recipe for "~ Deli Corned Beef on Swirl with Sauerkraut & Swiss ~"

01/10/2024

~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~

Everyone loves a home-baked sweet or savory pie or quiche, but, for those times when you are out of time, or, just don't want to take the time, from appetizers to entrées to desserts, making a puff pastry braid using store-bought puff pastry is a valuable skill to have. As long as you play by the rules, they bake up perfectly 100% of the time. What are the rules? I'm glad you asked. My three basic rules/guidelines for filling a pastry braid: 1) With the exception of the obvious (any liquid or liquid concoction that pours or flows), any solid...... View full recipe for "~ Filling, Braiding & Baking Store-Bought Puff Pastry ~"

01/05/2024

~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~

Imagine eating a freshly-baked, still-warm chocolate croissant at your favorite coffee shop. Just thinking about one of those divinely decadent indulgences makes me happy. Now imagine it super-sized, more than enough to feed four, with sweet cherries and crunchy almonds added to it too. Need I say more? Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, and, if you're looking to surprise the chocolate lover in your life with something truly sweet, stash the ingredients on this list in your pantry and freezer, then, start counting the days to February 14th. Tick, tock. From appetizers to entrées to desserts......... View full recipe for "~Swiss Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Puff Pastry Braid~"

12/30/2023

~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~

We all have our favorite breakfast and brunch casserole recipes -- I'd be lost without mine. They taste great, they're typically relatively easy and budget-friendly to prepare, and some can even be made ahead (mornings are hard enough as it is), but, let's be honest: casseroles aren't elegant. They're low-key, family-style, comfort food -- the blue jeans of the food world. Newsflash: Occasionally, it's necessary to dress up for a special occasion -- and that extends to the food. If I told you I have a small repertoire of AM meals that make a stunning presentation, taste as good as...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Sausage, Apple & Cheddar Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/25/2023

~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~

Circa 1980-1985 -- better known as the cloudberry jam period of my life. One of my husband's business associates (a man from Norway temporarily working here in Happy Valley) introduced us to a Norwegian specialty: small squares of grilled bread cheese topped with cloudberry jam. It was served as an appetizer at a cocktail hosted by Rolf and his Swedish wife. I fell in love with this cheesy treat immediately -- and said so. When I reciprocated the invitation, I was gifted a jar of the jam, a small brick of bread cheese, plus, a tin of stroopwaffes as a...... View full recipe for "~ Cloudberry Jam, Brie, Almond & Puff Pastry Braid ~"

12/20/2023

~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~

Amongst the foodie cravings I get, chocolate isn't in my top ten. That said, I confess to a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars. There's just something about the combination of mellow milk chocolate and salty peanuts or peanut butter that I find hard to resist. I love it enough to keep a bag of mini-Reese's cups and a bag of snack-sized peanut-butter Snickers bars in my freezer. A bite-sized nibble of either one and I am a happy woman. Two things transpired this week: I replenished my supply of mini-Reese's cups via Amazon. My candy delivery...... View full recipe for "~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~"

12/15/2023

~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~

Chinese-American fare. It's a favorite in our house. About once a week, we either order take-out or delivery from our two favorite places, or, I take the time to make some. Each of us has our favorite menu item -- the one that we crave and can't wait to plunge our chopsticks into. For me, it's chow mein or lo mein -- two of China's most iconic dishes. "What exactly is the difference between the two?" When I got asked that very question last night, I decided to transcribe the discussion into a blog post today -- while it's still...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~"

12/05/2023

~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~

Let's discuss it over a salad at lunch. There's no counting how many times I've said those words. One thing is for certain, I said them and I meant them, because: a classically-made chef salad is my favorite item to order on a lunch menu. Let's be clear -- I don't diet and don't believe in dieting unless it's for real-deal medical reasons. Eating real and well, anything I want, in moderation + avoiding the drive-thru, has always worked for me. My opinion of trend-setting self-imposed diets is one you don't want to hear -- you can't handle the truth....... View full recipe for "~ My Favorite Big Salad: A Hoagie Chef Sans Bread ~"

11/25/2023

~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~

Simply known as "the hot brown", or "Louisville hot brown", this Kentucky sandwich is a culinary legend. Invented in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, unlike many other famous sandwiches, this one was no accident. It was specifically created, from some carefully-selected, well-thought out ingredients, to please his hungry late-night crowd. It was a sort-of spin-off of the British Welsh rarebit and Scotch woodcock (a fondue-like cheese sauce "on toast"). We're not talking deli-turkey & store-bought cheese sauces. The original, now classic, hot brown was an open-faced sandwich consisting of oven-roasted sliced turkey on white...... View full recipe for "~ The Classic Kentucky Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich ~"

11/15/2023

~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~

While watching a late-night episode of "Locked Up" on some obscure channel last night -- yes, channel surfing is a favorite sport of mine -- I learned an interesting fact about those super-curly square-block instant ramen noodles: They are the #1 selling item in prison commissaries. That didn't surprise me as much as the reason: Prisoners buy them for the seasoning packets, not the noodles. It seems that prison cafeteria food is so lacking in salt, those packets get sprinkled on or stirred into almost everything. Get in my my soup! I learn something new every day (or night). In...... View full recipe for "~ Confessions from an Instant Ramen Noodle Junkie ~"

10/30/2023

~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~

Almost all famous sandwiches got their iconic status thanks to the working class people -- Cuba's Cubano is one such sandwich. In the early 20th Century, vendors who were stationed inside the workplaces, sold hot meat and cheese sandwiches to the workers. When these workers made their way to the USA, usually to regions in Southern Florida, they, like all immigrants, brought their recipes and traditions with them -- that included their institutional but beloved Cuban sandwich. A bit about the Cubano: Like all sandwiches, it starts with the bread. Cuban bread is light and crusty -- alot like a...... View full recipe for "~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~"

08/15/2023

~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~

These appetizers were one of our Happy Valley tailgate traditions. I fondly remember one of our members, Joan Reilly, making them for our early AM pre-tailgate tailgates -- prior to leaving for the stadium. She and her husband Joe lived close to Beaver Stadium, and, it was not unusual for us to meet, as a group, on the cul-de-sac in front of their house, to wait for our friend with the RV to arrive from Harrisburg. While we were all chatting and sipping Stan's Bloody Mary's, Joan would pass around a baking sheet full of her cheesy English-muffin-based crabmeat canapés....... View full recipe for "~ Old English Cheese Spread & Crabmeat Canapés ~"

08/10/2023

~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~

When I was a little kid, pimento cheese spread was a staple in our refrigerator -- right next to the Old English cheese spread. I had absolutely no idea it was Southern. I thought it was Kraft. To this day, if someone puts a jar on of the store-bought stuff on the table next to a box of Ritz crackers, I'm more than happy to sit down and dig right in. Slather it between two slices of white bread and make me a pimento-cheese grilled-cheese sandwich and I'll follow you anywhere. Known as "the caviar of the South, or, "Southern...... View full recipe for "~ Southern Comfort: Classic Pimento Cheese Spread ~"

06/30/2023

~ Seriously Simple & Sweet: Fresh All Strawberry Pie ~

When it comes to freshly-picked, home-grown strawberries, past eating them out-of-hand, as a strawberry dessert lover, I'm a purest at heart. Today's recipe is a perfect example. I'd rather bake a smaller-sized pie that's loaded with lots of strawberries, than add another ingredient to them (because I don't have enough strawberries) to fill a bigger pie dish. Note: I have nothing (zero) against the quintessential strawberry-rhubarb pie concoction (we grow rhubarb in our garden too), I just prefer to indulge in a slice of pie containing all of one or all of the other. Period. My memories of fresh strawberry...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Simple & Sweet: Fresh All Strawberry Pie ~"

06/25/2023

~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~

Chocolate pie. The kind our grandmothers made before they had too-many-to-mention options for high-quality, super-expensive brands of chocolate, cocoa powder and extracts imported from all over the world. Two generations ago, when a mom wanted to surprise her family with a chocolate pie for dessert, she simply opened her pantry door, and, without hesitation, reached for a can of Hershey's cocoa powder and/or a few squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate. She cooked the pie filling on the stovetop, poured it into a baked pie shell, chilled the pie in the "icebox" and served it with freshly-whipped cream on top. Those...... View full recipe for "~How to: Make a Better Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie~"

06/20/2023

~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~

What's the difference between pie filling and pudding? That was the first question I should have wanted to find an answer to when I wanted to make my first chocolate pie. Why? Because it wasn't exactly a success. I was about sixteen and wanted to surprise my mom with a chocolate pie for her birthday. I filled a store-bought pie shell with mom's recipe for chocolate pudding and put it in the refrigerator. Topped with whipped cream, it looked lovely, and it was indeed edible enough (very tasty actually), but, it was, as you'd imagine, a mess to serve. What...... View full recipe for "~ In a Pie Shell: A Pie Filling is Thicker than Pudding ~"

06/15/2023

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~

Exotically fragrant, vanilla is said to be the world's most popular flavor (and is the second most expensive next to saffron). One would be hard pressed to find an American kitchen pantry that doesn't contain at least one bottle of pure vanilla extract and/or a whole vanilla bean or two. Why? Something wonderful happens when any form of pure vanilla gets added to all sorts of sweet or savory dishes. My very vanilla pudding recipe is a spin-off of my grandmother's vanilla pudding recipe, and, it is the base recipe and starting point for all three of my favorite pudding...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Very Vanilla Pudding ~"

06/10/2023

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~

When I was raising three boys in the '70's and '80's, chocolate was, hands down, their favorite pudding flavor. Just like today, grocery store shelves were full of convenient pudding options (boxes and boxes of instant and quick-cooking pudding, and, ready-to-eat lunch-box-size pudding cups). While I was often tempted to succumb to their wishes and buy those boxes, I resisted. I grew up eating homemade, creamy, dreamy, rich real-deal pudding -- my memories prevented it. As for the pudding cups, I admit, I allowed them, on occasion, as a school lunchbox treat. Don't succumb to boxes of instant or quick-cooking...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding ~"

06/05/2023

~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~

My three favorite flavors of pudding are butterscotch, chocolate and vanilla (in that order). They're all creamy and dreamy, but something wonderful happens when brown sugar and butter team up to make real-deal butterscotch. Homemade pudding (from scratch, not a box), was something my grandmother made often -- just for me. I'm in my early 60's, that was back in the latter 50's, and: there is no letting go of homemade pudding memories. Whether it was butterscotch, chocolate or vanilla, she'd always leave me an ample sample, in the bottom of her enamelware saucepan and on the wooden spoon, because:...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Make Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Pudding ~"

12/15/2022

~ My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

Teriyaki sticky-chicken wings and teriyaki steak or chicken chicken skewers have been two of my family's and tailgate-family's favorite game-day appetizers for decades. Because of everyones love for the tantalizing flavor of teriyaki sauce, I came up with a couple ways to put teriyaki flavor in my family's main-dish meal rotation too. My recipes for teriyaki-style slow-cooker baby-back spare-ribs and easy teriyaki-glazed rock Cornish game hens pleased everyone -- the husband, the kids, and, more importantly me because both are so easy to make. The Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved...... View full recipe for "~ My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~"

11/30/2022

~ Easy Barbecue-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

Do you love slightly-sticky, finger-licking good barbecued chicken but find it a kinda unruly mess to serve? I know I find it a kinda unruly mess to serve. When I make it outdoors on the grill, cleaning the sticky grill grids is a task I can live without. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a way to please everyone's preference for breast-, thigh-, leg- or wing- meat without overbuying. Then, one day, I got it in my head make barbecued chicken indoors using the Rock Cornish game hen, instead of chicken parts. Who doesn't love a mini-chicken all to themself?...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Barbecue-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~"

11/25/2022

~ Easy Cranberry-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

With the Thanksgiving holiday just a few short days away, if you or someone you know is in search of an easy-yet-elegant alternative to roasting a large, cumbersome turkey, you really should consider the Cornish game hen. Once cooked, the Cornish hen is known for its tender meat which loves to absorb flavors from creative marinades or spice rubs -- and my super-easy, sweet-and-savory cranberry glaze is perfect for both the Thanksgiving or Christmas festivities.. The Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved name for a particular variety of broiler chicken. Connecticut...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Cranberry-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~"

11/20/2022

~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen ~

Whether you are new to cooking and looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a small group of people with or a seasoned-pro looking for something easy yet elegant to impress a few quests with, you really should consider Cornish game hens. There's more. If you are a hungry single person in search of an easy, made-from-scratch entree, you really should consider a Cornish game hen. When I was a young chick (a new bride about 45 years ago), Cornish game hens were trendy and commonly served -- everyone, kids and adults alike, loves a succulent, personal-sized mini-chicken. I...... View full recipe for "~ Elegantly Easy -- The Roasted Cornish Game Hen ~"

09/30/2022

~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~

Tuna or chicken salad is nothing fancy -- and it's ertainly not gourmet. Just a quick and easy-to-make lunch made from ingredients you most-likely have on hand in your pantry -- and it'll keep you smiling all afternoon too. Why? Because besides being loaded with fat-free protein (from tuna packed in water or the meat from leftover chicken breasts, plus hard-cooked eggs), it's filling and packed-full of flavor (from all the wonderful spices in your favorite "lite" Italian dressing). There's more. It's light -- a refreshing respite from calorie-packed carbohydrates. We Americans have been eating tuna salad for over a...... View full recipe for "~ History of Canned Tuna and Tuna Salad in America ~"

08/18/2022

~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~

It's said to have been created by an unknown French cook in Los Angeles in 1954 and was intended to mimic the taste of French onion soup. The recipe became such a popular addition to the fare served in martini-drinking social circles, it got printed in a local newspaper. Shortly after, in 1955, the Lipton company promoted it on the TV show "Arthur Godfry's Talent Scouts", touting it as "Lipton California Dip", and followed that up with ad campaigns in supermarkets and on television. In 1959, the recipe was added to the Lipton instant onion soup package, where it remains...... View full recipe for "~ Four Fab Recipes Using Lipton Onion Soup Mix ~"

08/15/2022

~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~

Lipton's Classic French Onion Dip. It's made from one packet of Lipton's boxed French Onion Soup Mix stirred into one 16-ounce container of sour cream This beloved all-American flavor-infused concoction is meant as a dip for potato chips and vegetables -- it deserves to be served with a sense of pride. The packed contains a mix of dehydrated onion, onion powder and other herbs and seasonings, which can be used to flavor burgers, meatloaf and roasted potatoes too. From California Dip in 1954 to French Onion Dip in 1960 -- Lipton cornered the market on it. It's said to have...... View full recipe for "~ The Lipton 1954 Classic French Onion Dip Recipe ~"

06/23/2022

~ Crème Caramel -- The Ultimate Custard Dessert ~

Crème caramel is a sophisticated dessert that is eaten around the world, but, was made famous in the later part of the 20th century in French restaurants. It is a silky-smooth custard that is gently baked/steamed in a caramel-coated mold or in individual porcelain ramekins. When slightly warm or room temperature the delicate custard is turned out onto its serving plate. It emerges elegantly-glazed and exquisitely-sauced with the caramel from the bottom of the mold. In the French language, the word crème means custard. In French, crème means custard. It's worth mentioning that making crème caramel in individual-sized ramekin is...... View full recipe for "~ Crème Caramel -- The Ultimate Custard Dessert ~"

05/17/2022

~Retro Casseroles: àla King, Divan, Tetrazzini & Tuna~

Now retro, chicken àla king, chicken divan, chicken tetrazzini and tuna-noodle casserole are four of my favorite vintage recipes. When one writes a cooking blog long enough, one learns that sharing vintage recipes is as important as sharing trending, innovative new ones. Experience has taught, "what's old is always new to someone", and cooks of all experience levels appreciate learning about it. Experience has also taught: "what's old has often been lost to someone", as many times, these retro classics, which evoke fond memories, have been lost (grandma never taught it, shared it, or worse, never wrote it down), or,...... View full recipe for "~Retro Casseroles: àla King, Divan, Tetrazzini & Tuna~"

05/14/2022

~ The Retro History of All-American Tuna Casserole ~

Tuna Noodle Casserole is a classic 1950's retro main-dish casserole dinner. Casseroles became popular post WWII, and experienced their heyday in American home kitchens during the 1950's and into the 1960s (because the ingredients were inexpensive and readily-available at any supermarket). The typical tuna casserole was made from a can of tuna, a can of vegetables, a package of egg noodles and a can of condensed cream-of-mushroom soup. For the most part, the ingredients were quickly stirred together, right in the casserole dish, and were topped with with a crunchy layer of breadcrumbs, corn flakes or canned onions, and sometimes...... View full recipe for "~ The Retro History of All-American Tuna Casserole ~"

05/11/2022

~ The Retro History of All-American Chicken à la King ~

You'd be surprised, perhaps not, how many folks think the same mixture that goes into pot pie, is the same mixture that gets used to make à la king. It is not. If the mixture it is similar to anything, it would be that contained in other all-American creations like chicken or turkey Divan, chicken or turkey Tetrazzini, and even tuna noodle casserole. Read on to find out the difference: À la king vs. pot pie -- À la king is not pot pie & vice versa. In its purest form, à la king is a refined, American restaurant dish...... View full recipe for "~ The Retro History of All-American Chicken à la King ~"

05/08/2022

~The Retro History of All-American Chicken Tetrazzini~

Experience has taught, "what's old is always new to someone", and cooks of all experience levels appreciate learning about it. Experience has also taught: "what's old has often been lost to someone", as many times, these retro classics, which evoke fond memories, have sadly, been lost (grandma never taught it, shared it, or worse, never wrote it down), or tossed (instead of being handed down from generation to generation). Tetrazzini, which is prepared in separate stages on the stovetop then finish-baked in the oven, is one such vintage recipe. Tetrazzini is named after Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini. A bit...... View full recipe for "~The Retro History of All-American Chicken Tetrazzini~"

05/05/2022

~The Retro History of Divine Divan Chicken Casserole~

When I moved into my first apartment in 1974, Chicken Divan was the second meal I cooked -- lasagna was my first. I didn't choose it randomly, it was a dish I loved to eat when I was growing up. It was on page 306 of my bright red Betty Crocker's Cookbook. "Betty" and the The Joy of Cooking were the only cookbooks I owned at the time and both served me, and continue to serve me, well. Both contained wonderful recipes for my Divine Divan -- Betty Crocker's recipe was a bit less complicated, but, it was scratch-made (no...... View full recipe for "~The Retro History of Divine Divan Chicken Casserole~"

04/05/2022

~The Story Behind City Chicken -- aka Mock Chicken~

What looks like a chicken leg and tastes like chicken but isn't made from chicken? City chicken. So, if it's not made from chicken, what is city chicken made from? Coarse-ground pork and/or veal. Still confused? You're not alone -- nowadays, many folks, even those who love to cook, have no idea what this intriguing, vintage, working-class main-dish is, or, the important part it played in our American culinary history. Behind almost every recipe, there is a good story: Dating back as early as the early 1900s, by the 1930s and '40s and into the '50s everyone knew what city...... View full recipe for "~The Story Behind City Chicken -- aka Mock Chicken~"

03/18/2022

~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~

While no one agrees on who made or sold the first pizza bagel, in 1985, Stanley Garcaynski and Bob Mosher invented Bagel Bites using custom-made mini-bagels. They adapted the recipe from the back of a package of Lender's bagels, and that little schtick made these two a lot of money really fast. They began by marketing their edible pub-grub invention to local restaurants, bars and hotels, and, after almost instant success, within six short years, they sold the company and brand name "Bagel Bites" to Heinz (owner of Ore-Ida) in 1991. The American dream come true. The 90s -- they...... View full recipe for "~ Bagel-Bites Mini-Bagel Sausage & Mushroom Pizza~"

03/15/2022

~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the 90s -- the decade of Bagel Bites, aka mini-bagel pizzas. They were the trendy after school snack of the era. For the most part, I emerged from this unscathed, meaning: I escaped the worst of it -- my kids were in their 20s by 1996. That said, I remember these freezer-to-toaster-oven treats for one reason: the uber-annoying theme song of the Bagel Bites commercials -- "Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza is on a bagel, you can eat...... View full recipe for "~Bagel Bites Mini-Bagel Mini-Pepperoni Snack Pizza~"

03/12/2022

~The History of Deviled in Deviled Eggs & Other Food~

Everyone knows what deviled eggs are, most folks know what deviled ham and deviled crab is, and, what's up with devil's food cake? I always say that behind every recipe there is a story or a history, and, foods referred to as "deviled" are no exception. While the origin of deviled eggs or any other deviled delight can't be pinned down to one person or one location, one thing food historians know for sure is: the name emerged in the 18th century and evolved over time. The word deviled first appeared in print in 1786 and was used to describe...... View full recipe for "~The History of Deviled in Deviled Eggs & Other Food~"

03/09/2022

~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~

Pickled eggs can be made several ways, but the ones I love and the ones my family always made were the Pennsylvania Deutsch version, which are sometimes referred to as pickled-beet eggs or red-beat eggs. My mom and grandmother served them but once a year as a side-dish on our Easter feast table, but, in local Pennsylvania Deutsch communities, pickled eggs were and still are a very popular tavern food -- they can be found marinating in large jars on bar tops next to beer taps all over Pennsylvania. It takes about five days for hard-cooked eggs to pickle, so,...... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Pickled-&-Piped Deviled-Pickled Eggs~"

02/23/2022

~ The Story Behind Our Retro Sloppy Joe Sandwich ~

In a nutshell, this one really is all in the name -- the Sloppy Joe sandwich. The colorful name alone should clue the participant in for what they are about to experience, and, it's a messy one. After all, they didn't name it the neat-Nick sandwich. The hamburger-type bun gets heaped with a loose, spoonable ground-beef and onion concoction then a tomato-based sauce gets stirred in, making it possible for the contents to drip out of the bun during consumption (or should I say impossible for the contents to stay in the sandwich during consumption). Some folks skirt around this...... View full recipe for "~ The Story Behind Our Retro Sloppy Joe Sandwich ~"

02/20/2022

~Snowy-Day Sloppy-Joe Grilled-Cheese Sandwiches~

While I adore my sloppy Joes served in the traditional manner, spooned generously onto a soft, white all-American hamburger roll, it's more than ok to get creative with ways to use the filling other than the iconic sandwich. To name a few: sloppy-Joe cheese dogs, sloppy-Joe mac 'n cheese, sloppy-Joe nachos, sloppy-Joe pizza, and, my personal favorite, sloppy-Joe grilled-cheese sandwiches. Because the sweet-and-savory sloppy-Joe ground-beef mixture is a natural when paired with melted cheese, the end justifies the means in the case of all of them. The All-American sloppy Joe sandwich -- it was one of the most popular comfort...... View full recipe for "~Snowy-Day Sloppy-Joe Grilled-Cheese Sandwiches~"

02/17/2022

~ Snowy-Day Ground-Beef Sloppy-Joe Sandwiches ~

The All-American sloppy Joe sandwich -- one of the most popular comfort foods of the 1950s. Moms across America were making them for their families, they made their way into school lunchrooms, and, they showed up at parties, picnics and potlucks. Whether you love 'em or you don't, one bite of this now-retro sloppy-mess of a ground-beef and savory tomato-sauced sandwich is certain to conjure up a childhood memory or three. As for me, I loved them, and my mom made them just the way I liked them -- using celery instead of the more commonly used green bell pepper,...... View full recipe for "~ Snowy-Day Ground-Beef Sloppy-Joe Sandwiches ~"

12/09/2021

~ Cinnamon-Orange Choco-Walnut Brownie Cookies ~

Made using a box of store-bought brownie mix, if you're a chocolate lover and you've never tried chocolate brownie cookies, you are missing out on something good -- something very, very good. They're just the right ratio of crispy-on-the-outside to chewy-in-the-inside, and, they're loaded with ooey-gooey chocolate chips and crunchy toasted walnuts too. In the case of my recipe, they're flavored with cinnamon and orange, which is the perfect compliment to all the chocolatey goodness. There's more. These really are best made using a store-bought brownie mix -- homemade recipes vary too much from cook to cook -- the mix...... View full recipe for "~ Cinnamon-Orange Choco-Walnut Brownie Cookies ~"

11/30/2021

~ Boston Cream Pie -- Why this Cake is called a Pie ~

Boston Cream Pie, a feel-good dessert that won the hearts of Americans over a century ago. The crazy thing is, it's a cake, not a pie -- not even close to a pie. That said, this retro cake, sandwiched between a layer of pastry cream and topped with chocolate, is one of my favorite cake desserts. Don't ask me why -- ok ask me why -- I find myself making Boston Cream Pie in the dead cold of Winter. That's because my mom always made it for the Thanksgiving holiday, as a cake dessert to accompany her pies (and please...... View full recipe for "~ Boston Cream Pie -- Why this Cake is called a Pie ~"

10/18/2021

~ The Story of Humble, Homey All-American Meatloaf ~

The fabulous '50's may be gone forever, but they are certainly not forgotten. Remember the stainless steel diner in your hometown that served up a thick slice of mouthwatering meatloaf smothered in a smooth and rich pan gravy alongside a big scoop of fluffy mashed potatoes? Remember meatloaf day in your school cafeteria with stewed tomatoes and macaroni and cheese? Remember the Swanson frozen meatloaf dinner slathered with a thick brown gravy and French fries? I remember them all, but, mostly, I remember my mom's "special" meatloaf. "Meatloaf." Say the word aloud in the company of family or friends, even...... View full recipe for "~ The Story of Humble, Homey All-American Meatloaf ~"

02/28/2021

~ Mom's No-Nonsense Elbow Macaroni & Egg Salad ~

Mom's macaroni salad. This, now retro, 1950's era recipe is nothing fancy, nothing special, and, certainly not gourmet. It's simply old-fashioned, pull-a-chair-up-to-the-kitchen-table lip-smacking goodness. There's more, if one keeps this easy--to-make, creamy-crunchy picnic-and-potluck side-dish staple in their refrigerator, it only takes one scoop from the bowl to a plate to turn anything, from a lunchtime sandwich to a dinnertime pork chop, into a delightful meal. A bowl of no-nonsense, easy-to-make old-fashioned goodness: 3/4 cup high-quality mayonnaise 2 tablespoons ballpark-style yellow mustard 4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper 6...... View full recipe for "~ Mom's No-Nonsense Elbow Macaroni & Egg Salad ~"

07/20/2020

~My Aunt's Apple-Pie Pork-Chop & Stuffing Casserole~

The sweet and savory act of combining porcine and apples is classic. Every whole roasted pig that I've ever seen had an apple in its mouth. I honestly can't remember where I read it or heard this, but, my recollection is: this centuries old custom had to do with pigs being fattened by feeding them apples, so, this was considered a show of respect for the animal, representing it eating apples in life and into eternity (hogs were typically slaughtered in the Fall and apples were in season). All I know for certain is pork and apples go hand-in-hand, it's...... View full recipe for "~My Aunt's Apple-Pie Pork-Chop & Stuffing Casserole~"

07/09/2020

~ Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe ~

Sour cream cookies have been a favorite in households for decades -- mine included. They are the perfect little not-too-sweet cookie. They're soft, a bit chewy and need no adornment or intervention. They only require a few on-hand ingredients (unless you're out of sour cream) and take moments to mix. They're good hot, warm, at room temp, and, they keep for days in the cookie jar. I can't think of a better use for a cup of sour cream, shortening and two eggs. I have two recipes for sour cream cookies (see Cook's note below), and both or great. The...... View full recipe for "~ Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe ~"

07/07/2020

~ McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~

Nineteen Seventy-Four. I was nineteen years young, a new bride, and, living in our first apartment here in downtown Happy Valley. I was the secretary to the Vice-President of Lending for our towns premier bank. I drove a hot, little lime-green Fiat, got my first miniature poodle and named him Caesar, and, I loved to cook. Life was good (and it still is). While times change and people change, a good recipe does not -- it just gets better and better with age. This is one such recipe, and, these cookies evoke these and more memories every time I bake...... View full recipe for "~ McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~"

06/09/2020

~ Hellmann's Original Eight-Ingredient Potato Salad ~

Want to make a country-style potato salad just like your grandmother used to make? The kind that allows the potato to be the star of the show? Of course you do or you wouldn't be Googling around the internet looking for a basic, vintage recipe reminiscent of kinder, gentler, traditional times -- a recipe absent of a long-list fancy-schmancy ingredients (no special heirloom potatoes, no gourmet vinegars, no crazy-hot sauces, no silly spices, no asinine add-ins), that, while exciting-to-the-palate for the first few bites, just grow old in your mouth while muddlling up the flavor of the perfectly-cooked spuds. If...... View full recipe for "~ Hellmann's Original Eight-Ingredient Potato Salad ~"

04/15/2020

~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~

When I was a kid, my mom invented a beefy Rice-a-Roni dinner that kept my brother and I from bugging her to buy us an occasional, to quote mom, "over-priced, over-rated TV dinner" -- which, to us kids of the era, were nothing more than a trendy novelty. As they say on the Rice-a-Roni website: Prepare for a stampede to the dinner table when you serve our delicious rice and vermicelli blended with the savory flavors of onions, carrots, beef broth and garlic. It's true. Mom would carefully shape hamburger patties, prepared meatloaf-style (meaning mixed with a binder, some milk,...... View full recipe for "~ Oh-My-Goodness-Good Retro Rice-a-Burger-Roni ~"

04/02/2020

~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~

Chicken-noodle soup is the quintessential comfort food. While nourishing the body, chicken-noodle soup channels the mind back to kinder, gentler, childhood times. When I was growing up, I don't remember eating canned chicken-noodle soup. Mom always had one-quart containers of homemade chicken soup in the freezer. When it was gone, she made more. That was that, haha, no canned chicken-noodle soup for me. While stocking my pantry with a few chicken-y staples (four boxes of chicken stock, two jars of granulated chicken bouillon, and, two double-size bags of wide egg noodles), my mind wandered to mom's chicken noodle casserole. Mom's...... View full recipe for "~Oodles of Tender Chicken & Egg Noodle Casserole~"