Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 21, 2014

Baked Beans Aloha

So for this week’s retro dish, I was feeling lazy. I asked Buzz to “take a look through my bookmarks and find something that looks easy and edible.”

He Googled around and came up with something… well, I guess it does look easy



4 cups (2 1-lb. cans) baked beans
1 12-oz. can luncheon meat, cut in cubes
1 1/3 cups (13 1/2-oz. can) drained pineapple chunks
3/4 cup Kraft Barbecue Sauce

Combine ingredients in 2-quart casserole. Bake at 350°, 1 hour. 6 to 8 servings

Uh, ok. Spam and pineapple are both fairly reminiscent of Hawaii… so maybe this will work?

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 14, 2014

Peas Juliette

Forsooth, what light through yonder blogosphere breaks? It is the east, and Peas Juliette is the sun!




1 No. 303 can (1 lb. 1 oz. size) Del Monte Brand Early Garden Peas
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
3 cups hot cooked rice
1 can (6-1/2 oz. size) Del Monte Chunk Style Light Tuna, drained and flaked
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Drain peas, reserving liquid. Sauté onion in butter or margarine till tender. Add cornstarch dissolved in liquid from peas. Cook, stirring constantly, till thickened. Add peas and pimiento heat. Combine hot rice, tuna, and cheese. Season to taste. Pack into 1-qt. ring or other simple mold; turn out on hot serving dish. Serve with hot peas mixture, as shown. 4-6 servings.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 7, 2014

Macaroni Mohave

This dish apparently comes to us from the Mohave Desert. I’ve been pronouncing the name of the recipe as “Moe have” ever since I first saw it — as in, “Moe, have some more macaroni casserole, please.”


(Apparently, the spelling “Mohave” is actually the preferred one for the indigenous ethnic group. However, I doubt that the people at A & P were aware of that terminological subtlety.)


Macaroni Mohave

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Ann Page Elbow Macaroni
1 tbsp. fat
2 tsps. salt
Dash Ann Page Pepper
1/2 lb. ground beef of 1 cup ground leftover beef
2 onions, sliced
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 tsps. Ann Page Chili Powder Seasoning
1/2 cup grated American Cheese
1 tsp. Ann Page Paprika

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Add salt and pepper to meat, saute with onion in fat until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and chili seasoning. Top with grated cheese. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in hot oven, 400 F., for about 25 minutes. 5 servings.

We made this dish when we were actually in a bit of a hurry. It didn’t look like it would take very long, and indeed it didn’t. Sometimes Ann Page’s home economies were pretty well engineered.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 31, 2014

“Easy-Mix” Peanut Butter Muffins

We felt like something “easy” this week, and that’s what this recipe advertises. The muffins in the picture look golden brown and tasty. However, the basic recipe almost looked too easy, so we decided to try one of the variants. We all love peanut butter, especially in baked goods, so it’s going to be peanut butter muffins.



2 cups sifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 egg, well-beaten
1-1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup MAZOLA Cooking Oil

Mix and sift first four ingredients into a bowl. Make a well and add remaining ingredients. Stir only enough to dampen flour; batter should be lumpy. Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake in hot oven (400°F.) 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12.

Peanut Butter Muffins: Cut 1/2 cup peanut butter into mixed and sifted dry ingredients.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 24, 2014

Grape-Nuts Puff Pudding

This is apparently “one of the six most popular recipes in Grape-Nuts’ 60-year history,” which simply makes me curious about what the other five are. (Or what the less-popular recipes were like, come to think of it!)



1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, well beaten
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Grape-Nuts
1 cup milk
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Cream lemon rind and butter together until well blended; add sugar gradually and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add lemon juice, flour, cereal, and milk, mixing well. (Mixture will look curdled, but this will not affect finished product.) Fold in egg whites. Turn into greased baking dish and place in pan of hot water. Bake in slow oven (325°F) 1 hour and 15 minutes. When done, pudding has a cake-like layer on top with custard below. Serve warm or cold with plain or whipped cream. Serves 6.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 17, 2014


Something I rather like about retro recipes is how often their creators tried to come up with catchy, creative new names for dishes. Take this one, which is mushroom vegetable rice with a cute new name courtesy of the Riceland Rice company:



1 pound mushrooms
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Few sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Riceland Rice, uncooked
1 cup water

Slice the mushrooms into a skillet. Add the onion, green pepper, parsley, tomatoes, tomato paste, oil, butter or margarine, salt and pepper. Place on low heat; in about 10 minutes add the Riceland Rice and water. Cook 20 minutes in all. Add hot water, a little at a time as needed, if the mixture becomes too dry; but when the rice is tender, the liquid should be completely absorbed. (Watch carefully to keep from burning. If a lid is put on the skillet during part of the cooking time, the rice cooks more quickly and is less likely to stick.) This recipe makes 4 services of one of the most delicious and popular of all rice dishes… world-famous Pillafi.

You’ve probably never heard of pillafi, and neither has Google — but “pilafi,” commonly known as pilaf in the United States, would definitely qualify as world-famous.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 10, 2014

Hamburgers (the juiciest!)

When I think “hamburger,” it’s pretty rare that the next thing that comes to mind is “oatmeal.” In fact, I think it’s safe to say that has never happened to me.

Quaker Oats would like to change that and even has a recipe to try to convince me.


IT’S FUN tossing the burger ingredients into a bowl and mixing ‘em up: 1 1/2 lb. ground beef, 3/4 cup uncooked Quaker Oats, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 cup tomato juice. Shape into 8 burgers, broil 5 to 8 minutes on each side till they’re a beautiful brown.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 3, 2014

Tuna and Mushroom Spaghetti Dinner

Some parents look for sneaky ways to put vegetables in food to trick their kids into eating them. I, on the other hand, look for sneaky retro recipes that resemble modern ones to trick my kids into eating them. So when I ran across this, which just looks like plain old spaghetti but actually has tuna fish and corn mixed in, how could I possibly not make it?



1 pkg. Chef Boy-ar-dee Complete Spaghetti Dinner with Mushroom Sauce
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 can tuna
1/3 cup canned corn
2 tablespoons canned corn liquid
2 tablespoons sliced black olives

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain well. Toss spaghetti with butter, parsley and canned grated cheese (from dinner). Pack into 1-quart ring mold. Bake 10 minutes in 425° oven. Meanwhile, mix spaghetti sauce with mushrooms together with remaining ingredients. Heat thoroughly. Unmold spaghetti on large platter and top with hot tuna sauce. Serves 4.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | February 24, 2014

Fruit Filled Chocolate Bars

We have a tendency to make a lot more meal-based retro recipes than desserts — it’s easier to set aside an evening meal every week and do something silly from the mid-century, but remembering to make a dessert from scratch (instead of, say, buying ice cream) is a bigger hurdle somehow. This week, we managed to do it.


4 squares Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or other shortening
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, unbeaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine chocolate and milk in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water until blended and thickened, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and continue cooking 5 minutes. Cool.

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cream butter thoroughly, add 1 cup brown sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Stir in chocolate mixture, milk, and vanilla. Add flour all at once and mix well. Chill overnight or until firm enough to roll. Divide dough in six equal parts. Roll each portion of dough 1/8 inch thick on slightly floured board, into rectangular sheet 4 1/2 x 12 inches. Spread 1/3 cup filling in 1 1/2-inch strip down center of dough. Fold dough over filling, brush edges with milk, and seal. Place seam-side down on ungreased baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake in moderate oven (350° F.) 20 minutes, or until done. Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then cut diagonally in bars, 1 inch wide. Makes 5 1/2 dozen bars.

PINEAPPLE COCONUT FILLING. Mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, a dash of salt, and 2 tablespoons canned pineapple juice in top of double boiler. Add 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, well drained. Place over boiling water and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2/3 cup flaked coconut. Cool. Makes 1 cup.

(Additional filling ideas are available from a variety of sources — Baker’s Chocolate advertised this a lot, apparently.)

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | February 17, 2014

Potato Cutlets


I wasn’t having a great food week. I found weevils in an almost-new bag of flour, mold on some bacon, and black spots inside a potato. I don’t like wasting food, but I’ve got the luxury of being able to discard ingredients if they’re unsafe — or even just suspicious.

In an apparent effort to feel as guilty about this as possible, I found myself skimming through old Ministry of Food rationing recommendations from World War II Britain. Weevil-filled flour and moldy bacon were probably highly sought after back then… now I feel downright spoiled and ungrateful!

The “Potato Plan” sounds pretty practical, although I’d have to adapt a little bit.

Serve potatoes for breakfast three days a week. I don’t think I manage potatoes for breakfast three days a month.

Make your main dish a potato dish one day a week — potato dishes can be delicious and satisfying. I certainly agree they’re delicious and satisfying. I manage maybe one a fortnight, though.

Refuse second helpings of other food until you’ve had more potatoes. My kids would love this one. “We can’t eat our green beans until you give us more mashed potatoes! THE GOVERNMENT SAID SO.” (It helps that my mashed potatoes are amazing.)

Serve potatoes in other ways than ‘plain boiled’. Now this one I can manage easily. I don’t think I’ve ever made ‘plain boiled’ potatoes in my life. Yeesh.

So I’m about 50% of the way towards successful Potato Plan compliance. Let’s try these Potato Cutlets and see if we can motivate ourselves to get with it a little bit more.

They give you the energy to start the day and they are easy to prepare the evening before. Scrub 1-1/2 lb. potatoes and scrape 1/2 lb. carrots, boil together till tender. When cooked, peel potatoes and mash with carrots. Add 3 tablespoonfuls flour, 1 teaspoonful chutney, chopped bacon rinds, or parsley. Then shape into cutlets. Next morning fry on both sides until brown in a very little fat.

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