Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cream Tuna Delight

Casseroles have probably been a part of many a baby boomer's diet. I know I have made a few in my time.  Somewhat to my surprise, there aren't ton's of casseroles in My Grandma's Recipe boxes, but what isn't surprising is  that I would find a Tuna Casserole recipe somewhere in the mix. Seriously, who doesn't have a Tuna Casserole recipe in their recipe box or file?  As you will see, this is yet another simple recipe, with only 4 ingredients (not counting the bread crumb topping).  It seems impossible that I could mess this one up, but honestly, I actually managed to screw up a tuna casserole.  Yep, I can make a sausage log (see my previous post), but I can't make a tuna casserole.  Bubba rated this one a "4" on our 1 to 10 scale.  Honestly, he was being generous, because we threw this away immediately after dinner (I think it was still warm when the heavy blob hit the can).  Throwing away left overs isn't unheard of at our house, but throwing them away before making a stop over in the refridgerator is, and the Tuna Delight went straight from the table to the trash. Now, I am sure that my Grandma probably didn't throw many things away, remember, she wrote recipes on the backs of envelopes and used bridge tallies, so she probably wouldn't approve of my response to this casserole, but then again, I am thinking she probably knew exactly how to make this "delightful" tuna dish.  Probably of note...I doubt there are many food posts out there where someone admits to not being able to make a tuna casserole but we all know we've had a bad day in the kitchen a time or two :-)

Cream Tuna Delight
1 can white tuna - crumbled
1 small pkg. noodles - thin - cook in salted water and drain
1 can chicken soup
1 can small peas
Buttered crumbs on top. Bake 1/2 hr.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ice Box Cookies

As I continue to review My Grandma's Recipe Boxes for things to make/bake, I have realized that there are those recipes that are "no brainers" and then there are those that I have to work a little harder to read the hand writing or figure out "how" to put the ingredients listed on the card together.  Today, I decided I just wasn't up to major deciphering, so I looked for something of those "no brainers".  That led me to the cookie section, I mean how hard can cookies be? Right?  Well, there are some that are harder than others, but I remember my mom making these Ice Box Cookies  so I figured I knew I could figure out what to do.  They really are easy, and convenient, if you don't want to bake all the cookies at one time you just keep these wrapped up in wax paper and slice and bake as many as you want.  I found a couple "variations" as I rummaged through the boxes and I decided to make this version that uses ginger and cinnamon.  The other version uses basically the same ingredients only cloves are in place of the ginger and my sister reminded me that somewhere I should be able to find a chocolate version.  I will eventually make the other cookies as well and if I had thought about it sooner, I should have just made them both at the same time, would have been fun to compare the two.

Ice Box Cookies
1 C. sugar                      1 C. brown sugar
1 C. butter                     2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder     1 C. nuts
1/2 tsp. ginger               4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon          1 tsp. soda
Mix. Shape into 2 loaves.  Keep in ice box.  Cool 2 hours before using.  350 degrees, 8-10 minutes.

I creamed the butter and sugars, added the eggs and beat that some more, then added the spices, flour and soda and baking powder.  The loaves I made resulted in 2 "logs" about 2 inches in diameter.  I also messed up and used 1 tsp cinnamon, which was just fine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bar B Qued Beef

In my Grandma's Recipe Box, it is a lot easier to find sweets than it is main dishes.  This continues to feed my theory/belief that most of her recipes were acquired at some sort of social event.  As I flip through the boxes, I continue to search for "main" dishes, if for no other reason than we just can't simply eat all these sweets, but also, to continue to build upon my own cooking and photography skills.   Recently, as I was looking at the few "Meat" recipes Fyrne had in her box, I came across some very familiar hand writing on one of the recipe cards.  It is hand writing that for as long as I can remember I have wished I could replicate. I am not sure why I think like this, maybe it's because I see the hand writing as pretty and easy to read.  Or maybe the most important reason is simply, it is my mom's hand writing.  The recipe card includes another simple recipe for something anybody who eat's beef has to love. Bar B Qued Beef.  Now this recipe probably isn't something you would find in the recipe box of a Texas or Kansas City cook, but as a current Texas resident, I think that this is a good, easy BBQ recipe.  In fact Bubba gave this an 8 on our 1 to 10 rating scale.  As you'll see, this can work for a Brisket or a Chuck Roast.  I used a small Brisket cut and the only regret I had was that I didn't make more.  I decided to cut the slices thicker than you would with a brisket, more like a thick slice of roast beef, I would do the same again, but next time, I would also consider cutting it a little thinner.

Bar B Qued Beef
(Brisket & Chuck Roast) (5 1/2 lb roast)

At night - brush on 1 oz liquid smoke, add onion salt and garlic salt, and celery salt.  Refrigerate in foil over night.
In morning - add worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper and bake in 275 degree oven for 6 hrs. Open foil and add 1/2 bottle Barbecue sauce.  Bake uncovered for another 1/2 to 3/4 hrs.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares - It's that time of year!

In many places, including my home town, there's been frost on the pumpkin and it's early October.  Imagine that!  Now I love the fall and I love pumpkin "things", like pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, and as of today,  these "Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares" I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago, right about the time I heard there was going to be a pumpkin shortage.  Did any of you hear that?  I didn't quite panic, because much like my grandparents, I have a pantry, and sure enough, I had pumpkin, so all was right with the world and I could make this desert when the time was right. 

Today's posting isn't about the recipe for me.  Bubba and I have been taking pictures of food for a long time now.  In fact, I think "we" were doing this way before all these blogs started.  See, Bubba's mom and dad had this huge round table in the dining room of their house in Hawaii and whenever the family got together, the round table would be covered with plates and plates of food and we always took pictures of the table, ALWAYS!  Of course, our pictures were taken with our instant cameras and this was well before digital cameras were even heard of.  The pictures in all my previous posts have been taken much the same way, but today, I used my birthday present (a new camera) to take this photo...I have lots of learning to do, but I figure if I want one of my recipes to get published on a spot like or, I have to "get with it".  Ok, speaking of getting with's the recipe.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Squares
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter or oleo melted
1 egg
3 cups (1 1.b 14 oz) pumpkin pie filling
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup reserved cake mix
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. butter or oleo

Grease bottom only of 13" x 9" pan. Reserve 1 cup cake mix for topping. Combine remaining cake mix, butter and egg.  Press into pan.  Prepare filling by combining all ingredients until smooth.  Pour over crust.  For topping, combine all ingredients.  Sprinkle over filling.  Bake 350 for 45 to 50 minutes until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  If desired serve with whip topping.

I think this is the first recipe card that I have shown that is typed.  Those from my family that read this will know exactly which type writer was used to type this.  I can still picture that old type writer today, in fact, when I think about it, I can even recall the smell of the type writer ribbon.  It reminds me of my grandpa...I remember him being the "typer" in the family, so I suspect he may have typed this recipe  for my grandma.  He was great at doing those kinds of things for her!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recipe with no name - turns out to be cornbread

So I found this bridge tally sheet folded and torn and tucked away in with the "breads".  It's contents included a score of "they" 400 and "we" 530, so I guess "we" won!!.  On the other side was a list of ingredients and only the "baking" instructions.  I could, however, tell by the contents, that I would be making cornbread. In my lifetime, I haven't been exposed to lots of cornbread, and even though we have spent the last six years living in the southwest it hasn't become a part of our "regulars".  Texas is surely home to many cornbread recipes given our closeness to the southwest and the link to Native Americans who were cooking using ground corn before the Europeans explored what is now the United States.  Cornbread was also popular during the Civil War because it could be baked (as with this recipe) or fried, which is common in many southwestern recipes.  While Bubba and I ate this cornbread, I was reminded of the best  I had ever tasted, which was made by his auntie. Honestly, the recipe seems to be a family secret so I have no idea what made it so good, I just know I liked it).  This one really doesn't compare to my favorite, but it's simple and easy...not a bad combination (specially if you can put a little butter and honey with it).  By the way, Bubba gave the cornbread a 6.

No Name

1 egg slightly beaten
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 c. corn meal
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted shortening
2 tbsp sugar
Bake 30 minutes in moderate oven

There you have it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chocolate Sheet Cake

I found this recipe for Chocolate Sheet Cake tucked in with some of the ice cream recipes in my Grandma's Recipe Box. Until I actually made it, it didn't occur to me how logical this really was.  This cake is so moist and the cooked frosting is like layering creamy fudge on top. I can only imagine what it would taste like with some home made ice cream.  I guess I'll have to save that for another day. I actually don't remember that last time I had "sheet cake".  It was probably served where there was a crowd,  a "chili supper" for the boy scouts or some other "fund raiser".   Wikipedia says the following about sheet cake: " A sheet cake is a cake baked in a large, flat rectangular plan such as a sheet pan or a jelly roll pan.  These single-layer cakes are almost always frosted, and may be decorated on the flat surface on the top.  In the United States, these inexpensive cakes are commonly available in grocery stores, and are often served at office and birthday parties."
Here's the Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe from my Grandma's recipe box:
2 C. sugar                             1/4 c. cocoa
2 C. flour                               1 C. water
1/8 tsp salt                             2 eggs
1 stick oleo                            1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c cooking oil                    1/2 buttermilk
                                              1 tsp soda

In sauce pan mix oleo, oil & cocoa & water.  Bring to boil. Pour over sugar, flour & salt mixture. Beat well. Add soda dissolved in buttermilk. Beat well and pour into greased cooking sheet. Bake at 400 (375) for 20 (25) minutes.
Frosting: Melt 1 stick oleo, 4 tbsp cocoa, 6 tbsp milk.  Bring to boil, mix in powdered sugar and pour over.  Add instant coffee - if needed.

Couple of comments about the recipe above.  Oleo is a term used for oils, in the case of these old recipes I am assuming they used margarine (I typically use butter). If you notice, the directions don't mention anything about the eggs.  I beat them with the sugar and vanilla, added the chocolate mixture and then the flour.  Also the frosting doesn't give much of an idea about how much powdered guess is I added about 2 - 2 1/2 cups.  This was one of the more challenging recipe cards to read.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Curry Stew

As many weeks/weekends would have it, finding time to cook something can be a daunting task. I wish I was better at thinking ahead and making sure that we had something in the fridge for every night of the week, but I just don't seem to get it done.  Actually last weekend though, I did look ahead and decided to cook something Bubba could heat up after a night of fall baseball practice. It's been cooler and so the notion of Curry Stew didn't seem out of season.  It is one of his favorites, from his days at home in Hawaii and I do my best to replicate how his mom used to make it. There is no recipe that I am aware of, except for the instructions from the back of the S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (yep, I use a mix). How I go about this is all based on what Bubba has told me about how he remembers his mother making it. I make adjustments since not all the ingredients are available in Texas, so I guess I should call this "Texas Style Curry Stew".  I have never actually written a recipe, so let's see how this turns out. And you might have guessed already, this recipe didn't come from My Grandma's Recipe box, but she always wanted to visit Hawaii, and I think if she had, she might have put this in her recipe box, specially if Bubba's mom had made it for her. Based on the simplicity of the recipes in her boxes, this would have fit right in!

Curry Stew
1 - 1 1/2 lbs lean stew meat
1 box S&B Golden Curry (I like medium hot) - Usually find this in the asian section of your grocery store
Carrot, Celery, Onion, Potato all cut to preference (I cut the carrot and celery in smaller dice)
Fresh green beans (cut in to 1-2 inch bite size pieces)
Daikon (if you can find it - I say if you include this, it isn't "Texas Style")

Brown the stew meat in a small amount of olive oil.  Put all the vegetables, the meat, the curry and 2 1/2 cups water in the crockpot, cook for 6-8 hours on low. Just before serving you may want to add a little corn starch dissolved in a little water to thicken the curry.  Serve over rice.

Curry is a very popular dish in Hawaii, and is considered one of the most popular dishes in Japan as well.  You can buy curry from lunch wagons and oka zuya's (take out deli that serves "local" food- no sandwiches) throughout Hawaii. In reading about it's history, it is typically prepared with onions, carrots and potatoes. Daikon must be the Hawaii influence and the green beans must be "mom's" influence.  Curry was introduced to Japan during what is known as Meijii era (1869-1913), when India was under the administration of the British and the Imperial Japanese Navy adopted it from the British Navy. In some regions of Japan, beef curry is most popular, in other regions where there is strong Hindu and Islamic influence vegetarian, chicken and lamb curries are more popular.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Do you  remember the song? that I think about it, I do. In fact I can't get it out of my head (I think there is a song about that too..for another day).  Do you remember the spokesperson for Jell-O? (Jack Benny for one generation, Bill Cosby for another)  Ever have a favorite fIavor? Did you know that Jell-O's history goes back to the Victorian era and that it was considered a food for the "well to do"? Did you know that the owner of the patent for powdered gelatin was also the inventor of the first American steam-powered locomotive? (Who knew I would be talking about trains this much on a food blog?) Or that there is a museum dedicated to the history of Jell-O?  I decided that while I am cooking my way through my Grandma's recipe boxes, I would also take the time to learn what I could about some of the foods/dishes that I prepared, thus my ability to share this food trivia with you (much like the tater-tot trivia from a previous recipe)  I think I have mentioned before, Jell-O made many an appearance at my Grandma and Grandpa's house, so it's not hard to find a recipe, what is harder is deciding which one to start with.  Any way, to kick off the first of many jell-o recipes, I picked a simple one, Orange Tapioca Salad. I will admit, I purchased more Jell-O in one trip to the store than I have purchased in the last 10 years. There are still plenty of good flavors to chose from.  This recipe was a bit of a surprise, it tastes alot like a creamsicle and we were asking ourselves why it is called a salad.  Bubba was eating it for dessert (and he gave it a 9!).

Orange Tapioca Salad
1 pkg orange tapioca pudding jello or lemon (I did not find orange tapioca, so just used sugar-free plain tapioca)
1 pkg orange jello (3 oz) (I used sugar-free)
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (I used sugar-free)
Put in 2 cups of hot water - stir
Cook stirring constantly until clear, thick and bubbly.  Cool completely. (not sure why it says's orange and creamy)
Add 1 pkg or envelop dream whip (according to directions) (I used 2 cups of Fat-Free Coolwhip) 
Add 1-1/2 can of drained mandarin oranges.

This was good...we would make it again!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Here's what's cooking: Apple Crumble

Here's what's cooking Apple Crumble
Recipe from the kitchen of Georgia

Slice pan full of apples
1/2 cup sugar
Sprinkle over apples
1 cup brown sugar
scant 3/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
Mix and sprinkle over apples
Can add nuts if desired
350 degree oven - till done

Well it's October and fall has arrived in Texas.  Apples are abundant in the grocery store and equally as abundant in my refridgerator as I discovered this morning.  Having all these apples made my "recipe selection" easy today.  As you can see, I found yet another "simple" recipe from my Grandma's recipe box, there are only a few ingredients and even fewer details.  I am finding that the lack of detailed instructions are challenging for me.  When I cook I have a need to know things like exactly HOW MANY apples (I didn't use enough), should I peel the apples (I didn't), or HOW LONG should it bake and HOW do you DEFINE DONE?  Oh, and I didn't sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the apples before the other ingredients, I just mixed them all together...My Grandma would be disappointed that I didn't read directions better.  Despite all my issues, this Apple Crumble tastes just as you would expect, sweet and cinnamony (is that a word?)

I don't know who Georgia is, but my guess is she served this dessert somewhere and Fyrne just had to have it.  I didn't get a rating from Bubba today, maybe he'll make a comment later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tide, onions and's all in the box

I thought it would be good to take a break from the cooking and reflect on a few things I have found in the recipe boxes. See, these boxes are so much more than just metal boxes with recipes in them.  If you take the time and look beyond the recipes themselves, there’s lots more to see.  This is what makes this fun and you won’t find what I am finding in cookbooks or on-line recipe sites. For example, many of the recipes have been cut out of newspapers and magazines, so what is on the back can be as interesting as the recipe itself.  On the back of one recipe is a grocery store ad that includes Giant Tide for $1.19 for 3 lbs 1 oz.  If I could pay yesterday’s prices for today’s 8.8 lb box of Tide, it would cost me $3.42 versus the $15.99 I paid (on sale on Saturday). And then there’s the recipe card that doesn’t really have a recipe on it, it contains the following information we all need to know.  :)
            “Do you know that boiled onions then served with creamed sauce or onions served in any manner will free children from worms” 

And for my mom, who I know makes a great chocolate cake with butter frosting, here’s one for you from Grandma’s recipe box.

Easy Butter Frosting
Beat thoroughly, 6 tablespoons soft butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk or cream and ½ teaspoon vanilla.  Coloring may be added.  Will frost a 2 layer cake.

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