A Man After My Own Heart

 

Well, he was –  until I realized that I don’t think he likes girls.  Or anybody, really.  I think his one and only love is Macaroni & Cheese.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

When I was flat broke and living downtown by myself, I used to be too poor for the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.  I remember I used to have to buy the TownHouse brand, which really tasted like crap compared to the one-and-only blue box.  But, the TownHouse was like 35 cents per box while the Kraft was like 75 cents,  and when you’re literally buying a weeks worth of groceries with $10 it makes a difference.

Also, what up with people who make their Kraft Macaroni & Cheese all soupy?  Follow the goddamn directions – it’s only a 1/4 cup of milk!  It’s not fucking soup – it’s Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner!  They paid a boatload of Macaroni & Cheese scientists a bunch of money to come up with the perfect butter & milk ratio for their powdered bliss, and the least you could do is follow the recipe on the box, okay? And, while I’m on the subject – don’t buy the stupid shapes and stuff.  Scooby Doo?  Dinosaurs?  SpongeBob SquarePants?  No, no and no.  Only the original elbow Mac & Cheese is the correct Mac & Cheese.  Got it?

I wonder if this dweeb has a TownHouse brand box?  And, does he eat all this Macaroni & Cheese? If I did, I would weigh about 500 lbs.

 Yes, I’m jealous.

Happy 75th Birthday to the Bloody Mary

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Wow – today is the 75th birthday of the Bloody Mary – the drink that makes it okay to down booze in the morning!  Hooray for the Bloody Mary!

According to the experts, the Bloody Mary was invented by a Frenchman, Ferdinand Petiot in 1933 in Manhattan.  Today is Official Bloody Mary day in New York, and TGI Fridays will roll back Bloody Mary prices to 1933 prices – 99 cents.   The cocktail was originally called the ‘Red Snapper’ because the term bloody was considered harsh for a drink in the 1930s. When Tabasco sauce was added to the drink the name ‘Bloody Mary’ became a household word. In the 1960s it became popular to serve the cocktail with celery due to a guest at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago.

Normally I hate it when I see people order Bloody Mary drinks any time after noon, but I’ll make an exception for today only. So, get out there people and have your Bloody Mary in honor of this brunch staple. 

Bloody Mary recipe courtesy of the New York School of Bartending:

  • 1 oz. to 1 1/2 oz.vodka in a Highball glass filled with ice.
  • Fill glass with tomato juice
  • 1 dash celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco
  • 2-4 dashes of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice

Garnish with celery stalk.

May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired. Garnish with a celery stalk; a skewer of olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables; or even meat or fish (salami,shrimp, beef_jerky, etc.) and cheese. Occasionally, pickled asparagus spears or pickled beans are also used.

Or just pour a bunch of vodka in a glass and add the best pre-made mix in the world, Chicago’s own Zing Zang.

Viva the Bloody!

Macaroni & Cheese with Tomato

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I don’t know what it is with me and macaroni and cheese.  I swear, if for some reason I was told I could only have one last meal it wouldn’t be lobster or steak – it would be a big bowl of macaroni and cheese.  It doesn’t matter to me what kind.  Anything from the custard-y type to the baked type to the béchamel type to the old blue box is fine with me.  There is nothing better than that combo of heart attack on a plate.

I made this last week as a side dish to Caribbean BBQ Ribs and it was all I could do not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.  Next time you want something decadent, different and easy – this one’s a winner.   I won’t talk about nutritional info – no need to spoil the party.

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (whole milk preferred, although I did use 1%)
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced thin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Pour in pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
     
  2. In large bowl, combine macaroni, soup, milk, cheese and 6 tablespoons butter. Pour into 9×13 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and dot with remaining butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Add sliced tomatoes over top in decorative pattern and broil on high for a few minutes until tomatoes are slightly brown.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Mother’s Day Menu from 1956


 

For Mother’s Day Supper a few weekends ago, I decided to honor my Mother-in-Law by making everything out of the 1956 Better Crocker Picture Cookbook.  She is the Honorary Queen of 50s Cooking, as she still uses the same recipes today as she did when my husband was a kid in the 50s.  Her recipes are all awesome and she kind of started my fascination with vintage recipes and cookbooks.

Here was the Menu:

  • Sandwich Loaf
  • Chicken Salad and Cranberry Chicken Salad with Toasted Bread Cups
  • Roast Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce
  • Parker House Rolls
  • Ring O’ Plenty with Creamed Vegetables
  • Macaroni & Cheese Loaf (this was mainly for the kids)
  • My Mom’s Waldorf Salad (can’t see in the picture)
  • Spinach Salad with Piquant Dressing
Also, my sister in law got in the spirit and asked me to pick a cake out of the book and she’d make it.  So, we also had Bonnie Butter Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.

The thing I noticed about all of these old recipes is the love of mayonnaise, mayonnaise and more mayonnaise.  Everything had either tons of mayo, tons of celery or hard boiled eggs – or all three!  (I went through two packages of celery alone.)  How did everyone stay so thin back then eating all this stuff and we’re so fat today?  (I’m back to the High Fructose Corn Syrup Theory.)

Anyway, if anyone wants any of the recipes, put it in the comments.  Don’t let the bad photography fool you – everything tasted great – especially the cake.

And no, I didn’t even attempt the famed Liver Sausage Pineapple or any of the assorted disgusting Gelatin Molds.  I’m not a sadist.

Mama’s Meatloaf (For Real)

Yes, this is my Mother’s actual Meatloaf recipe.  Again, I thought that this was an old family recipe handed down for generations, until I found it in the 1964 Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two Cookbook.  I love this meatloaf.  But, it’s not traditional meatloaf at all – it’s very sweet and does not slice but rather crumbles all over your plate.  Since this is what I grew up on, all other traditional meatloaves mean nothing to me.  This is the one I crave.  

Also, our table never looked like this.  We never had a plate of squash and daisies as a side dish.  We certainly didn’t drink coffee with dinner.  We used to drink out of McDonald’s Collector Glasses.  (Grimace was my favorite.)

Here is the recipe – try it – it’s yummy.

MOM’S MEATLOAF (via Betty Crocker)

1/2 lb. Ground Beef
1/4 lb. Ground Pork
1 ½ slices Wonder Bread, torn in pieces
½ cup Milk
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbs. Minced Onion
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
¼ tsp. Dry Mustard
¼ tsp. Celery Salt
¼ tsp. Garlic Salt
1 ½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Ketchup

Heat oven to 350°.  Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  Shape into two loaves in a shallow baking pan.  Spread ketchup over top.  Bake one hour.
 

Superbowl Munchies: Party Rye Toasts

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These are always a favorite, especially for a football game.  They’re an oldie, but a goodie.  And the best part is, you can easily double or triple the recipe days in advance and just keep it in the fridge and make the toasts as you need them.  What could be easier?

PARTY RYE TOASTS:

1 Package of Cocktail Rye Bread
  1 C. Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 TBS. Mayonnaise
1/2 C. Finely Chopped Black Olives
2 TBS. Finely Chopped Scallion

Mix cheese, olives, scallion and mayo in a medium bowl until just at spreading consistency. Spread on rye bread and bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts.  Then, broil until cheese is brown and bubbly.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Best Sausage Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

It’s been forever since I posted a real recipe here. I got too involved in all my frightening vintage recipes. To make up for it, I am posting one of my favorite new recipes for stuffed mushrooms. These are so easy and really, really good. I had them for a party this summer and everyone raved, even though I burned them a little. So, just imagine how good they’ll be if you don’t burn them!

SAUSAGE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

12 fresh large mushrooms
1/2 pound sage pork sausage
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon chili powder
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove and chop mushroom stems.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Mix in chopped mushroom stems, 1 tablespoon butter, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cream.

Dip mushroom caps in 1/4 cup melted butter, and stuff generously with sausage mixture. Arrange stuffed mushrooms in a baking dish. Sprinkle with chili powder and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Don’t burn them.

Enjoy.

Best Grilled Hamburger Recipe Ever

I found this recipe in an Martha Stewart cooking magazine a few years ago and have used it ever since. Everyone raves about these hamburgers and asks for the recipe and are shocked when it is so simple. Here is the recipe with a couple of hints to make the best hamburger ever. I promise you’ll love them.

Ground Chuck
Dijon Mustard
Worcestershire Sauce
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Good Quality Kaiser Rolls

For every pound of ground chuck, mix in 1 TBS Dijon Mustard and 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Form into patties, cook on grill until desired doneness. Use good quality buns – it makes a big difference. Top with your favorite condiments. Works great with ground turkey too.

“Lumberjack” Macaroni

This is one of my all-time favorite vintage recipes that I have never made. It always intrigues me – not only because of how incredibly unhealthy it is – but because in many Better Crocker Picture Cookbook editions (the undisputed Queen of the old cookbooks in my opinion) include this recipe with the following ditty:

“Mr James Ford Bell, founder of General Mills, world-traveler and epicure, made this dish himself in our test kitchen!”

Now, maybe I sound like a food snob here, but I hardly would drag this recipe out of my repertoire if I was a self-proclaimed “world traveler” and “epicure.” But then again, this is from 1961. I’m sorry there is no picture for this one. I promise to make it one day and take a photo just so we can all see what it looks like. I have to admit, it sounds kind of good!

LUMBERJACK MACARONI

Hot Boiled Macaroni (8 oz uncooked)
2 Cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
5 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 C. Chili Sauce
Salt and Pepper
3/4 C. Piping Hot Melted Butter

Spread Macaroni out on large hot platter. Sprinkle with cheese, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Pour hot meleted butter over all. Mix with two forks until sauce is creamy. Serve at once on hot plates. Serves 6.

I am so glad that they didn’t care about Nutritional Information back then – I can’t even imagine the fat and calories in this dish. Also, when did we stop calling it “macaroni” and start calling it “pasta?” I like macaroni better.

If someone makes this, please let me know how it is!

3-in-1 Hamburger Mix – Betty Crocker Favorite

 

I used to love my mom’s cooking.  I grew up in the 70s which was a 3 square meals a day era – and dinner always had a meat, a starch, a vegetable, rolls and salad.  One of my favorite things my mom used to make was a 3-in-1 hamburger mix that can make chili, sloppy joes, or my favorite, the cheese-broiled bbq sandwich.  I always thought my mom made these recipes up, or had them stored away in her olive green recipe box because they were handed down from her mother, and her mother’s mother for generations of us gals.  Imagine my suprise when this recipe, and about 20 other things we ate all the time showed up in one cookbook – Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two, 1964. I do remember my mom having this book – I think she got it as a wedding gift, but I had no idea our entire dinnertime repertoire was from this tiny cookbook.

Anyway, this recipe is one of my all-time favorites, and be sure to try at least one of them, as they are all good in that non-sophisticated 60s type of way.

THREE-IN-ONE HAMBURGER MIX

1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tbsp. butter
2lb. ground beef
2/3 c. catsup (hee hee)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. chopped celery
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. MSG (cleverly called Accent Seasoning now)
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Saute onion in butter.  Add beef and brown lightly.  Drain off excess fat.  Add rest of ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Cool for use in other recipes below.  Makes 4 cups.

EASY CHILI
(This is what I thought chili was forever – it is not hot – it is very sweet.  It tastes nothing like any other chili I’ve had, but I still love it.)

1 1/3 cups 3-in-1 Hamburger Mix
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, including liquid
3/4 cup tomato juice
3 tsp. chili powder

Heat hamburger slowly in sauce pan.  Add rest of ingredients; heat through.  Makes 2 generous servings.

SLOPPY JOES
Heat 1 1/3 cups of  3-in-1 hamburger mix slowly in skillet.  Use as filling for hot buttered hamburger buns.  Makes 4 sloppy joes.

CHEESE BROILED BBQ (my favorite!)
Heat 1 1/3 cups 3-in-1 Hamburger Mix.  Butter 8 english muffin halves lightly – toast in oven or broiler until browned.  Top each half with some of the beef mixture and one slice of American cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese bubbles and is lightly browned.