Posted by: Erica Retrochef | October 5, 2015

Why there’s no cake today

You guys, I’m sorry.

I was going to post this cool chocolate cake recipe. Cake, filling, and frosting all from scratch. Delicious.

I baked the cake part Saturday, and then I couldn’t get it out of the pans.



I was tired and angry. I decided to try again Sunday. (Hey, still plenty of time to cook, taste, and blog!)

And then we got a 200 year rainfall event.


This is one of the roads leading out of my neighborhood.


This is the other road leading out of my neighborhood. (And my dog.)

And I was thinking to myself, hey, no problem. I can still cook.

But then they shut off the water. Which is realistically good, because the water mains are all in terrible shape and everything is contaminated. However, I can’t wash my dishes. And this cake takes, like, four bowls and all sorts of whisking and utensils.

So the good news is, we’re totally fine. We’re on a hill, our house is dry, we have emergency supplies to get us through and plenty of peanut butter for sandwiches. We are much better off than many of our neighbors, both nearby and across the state (and indeed along the East Coast, but my Facebook and news feeds are a bit biased right now).

The bad news is, there’s no cake.

Yeah, it’s not that bad.

Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 28, 2015

Crown Fillets

Our daughter, currently 11, recently announced that she was becoming a vegetarian. After much discussion about protein and balanced diets, realizing that her distaste for most beans was going to make that switch very difficult, she decided pescatarianism would be a better idea.

That leaves me with a new challenge. I grew up not liking seafood, largely due to my mother’s ideas about what “good fish” was (expensive and oddly named, usually) combined with her inexpert cooking methods. But now, I’ve got to increase the average fishiness of our menus.

And you know me — some of those menus are going to be retro. Thank goodness for this Lent-oriented idea from Heinz 57.


by Mrs. Larry L. Mudge, Detroit, Michigan

Melt 1/3 cup butter or margarine in saucepan. Blend in 3 Tbs. flour. Stir in 1/2 cup Heinz Hot Dog Relish, 2 tsp. rich, tangy Heinz 57 Sauce, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 min. Place 1 1/2 lb. halibut steak (or any fish fillets) on broiler pan. Spread sauce on fish. Broil 6 to 8 inches from heat for 12 min. or until fish flakes easily. (Makes 4-6 servings.) P.S. These delicious Crown Fillets go great with frozen French fried potatoes prepared according to package instructions.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 21, 2015

Potato Chip Fried Chicken

This week we had a hankering for fried chicken, but it’s one of those things that is a challenge to make at home. I don’t have a deep fryer, and trying to pan fry with enough oil has almost inevitably ended with burnt chicken.

But there’s always oven “frying” as an option, even back in the retro cookbooks!


Southern Oven-Fried Chicken

1 4-ounce package potato chips (2 cups crushed)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash pepper
1 2-1/2- to 3-pound ready-to-cook frying chicken, disjointed
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

Combine crushed chips and seasonings. Dip chicken in melted butter; roll in chip mixture. Place pieces, skin side up, so they do not touch in greased shallow pan or jelly-roll pan. Bake in moderate oven (375°) 1 hour, or till tender (do not turn). Makes 4 servings.

Mrs. Robert Regg, Jr., Hendersonville, Tennessee

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 14, 2015

Vegetable Surprise Baskets

Something that you very rarely see in modern recipes is menu suggestions. If you look up how to cook an entree for your upcoming party, you aren’t also told to have on the table “cantaloupe & orange sections, sweet potatoes and apples, piquant beet & onion salad, chocolate cake, coffee, milk” alongside your Vegetable Surprise Baskets.

You don’t see many recipes named Vegetable Surprise Baskets, either…


2 1/2 cups green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 frankfurters, cut in 1/4-inch slices
3 cups medium white sauce
32 slices white bread
1 egg white
2/3 cup milk

Cook beans and celery in small amount of salted water. After 10 minutes add sliced frankfurters and cook till vegetables are tender. Add drained mixture to white sauce. Heat thoroughly. Serve in baskets made as follows: With large cookie cutter, cut bread into rounds. With smaller cookie cutter, remove centers from 24 rounds. Place 3 rings on each of the 8 rounds. Brush tops and sides with egg white and milk beaten together. Place on greased cookie sheet, brown in hot oven, 400°F., for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Fill with creamed vegetables. Serve immediately.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 7, 2015

Blitz Torte

I was looking for a quirky and interesting cake for my birthday this week. I came across this.


Blitz Torte (meaning “lightning cake”) looks really interesting. While I do have German ancestors, none of them were particularly notable cooks (at least not for a few generations), and so this is really the first I’ve heard of it. So let’s give this a try…


Follow package directions for Duncan Hines Yellow Cake, except in Step 2 add 4 egg yolks instead of 2 whole eggs. Spread batter in 2 greased and floured 9-in. round or 8-in. square layer cake pans. Spread this meringue over batter: Beat 4 egg whites with few grains salt until frothy. Gradually beat in 2/3 cup sugar.

Over meringue sprinkle 2 Tablesp. sugar and 1/4 cup shaved blanched almonds. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 mins. Cool in pans 15 min. Remove from pans. Cool on rack meringue-side up.

To serve, cover meringue-side of one layer with a package of frozen red raspberries or strawberries, partially thawed and drained. Over berries spread 1 cup whipping cream whipped stiff with 2 Tablesp. sugar. (Save some whipped cream and a few berries to decorate the top.) Cover with other layer, meringue-side up. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 17, 2015

Swinger Sloppy Joes


It’s funny.

Whenever I suggest having Sloppy Joes for regular dinner, Buzz isn’t interested. Like many people, he’s got memories of very mediocre cafeteria food.

But when Retro Recipe night came up, and it was his turn to look through all our bookmarked recipes, he decided this was the way to go.

Grandma’s Sloppy Joes
(Barbecued Beef Sandwiches)

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsps. Grandma’s Unsulphured Molasses
2 tbsps. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. Tabasco
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup catchup

Sprinkle beef with salt. Brown beef in skillet, breaking up with fork. Blend together molasses and mustard; stir in remaining ingredients. Add to beef; heat to serving temperature. Serve on toasted hamburger rolls. Makes 4 servings.

Want to get things going Saturday night?

Are you ready to swing?

Are you ready to watch molasses “pep up” Sloppy Joes?

(If the answer to all of these is “no,” then why am I still planning on making these?)

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 10, 2015

Half-n-half Fruit Cobbler

We got some leftover and rather bruised peaches last week at the farmers’ market. This is the best part about shopping regularly with the same vendor: after some time, they’ll start giving you discounts or throwing in free food. And so we had an unexpected need to make a peach cobbler.


Half Peach ‘n Half Plum Blueberry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 425°. Make STIR-N-ROLL Pastry Topping (recipe below).

Place in square pan, 8x8x2-in., or in 1-1/2-qt. casserole 2 cups quartered, pared fresh peaches and 2 cups quartered fresh plums. Mix together and sprinkle over fruit 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp. GOLD MEDAL Flour. Dot with 2 tbsp. butter. Lift paper and pastry by top corners; they will cling together.

Place Pastry Topping (paper side up) over filling. Carefully peel off paper. Fold edge of crust under and flute just inside edge of pan. Snip 3 or 4 small slits near center.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes in hot oven (425°). Serve warm with cream. Serves 6 to 8.

Stir-N-Roll Pastry Topping

Mix together 1-1/3 cups sifted GOLD MEDAL Flour, 1 tsp. salt. Pour into one measuring cup (but don’t stir together) 1/3 cup cooking oil, such as Wesson, and 3 tbsp. cold whole milk. Then pour all at once into flour.

Stir until mixed. Press with hands into smooth ball. Flatten slightly.

Place between 2 sheets of waxed paper (12-in. square). Roll out gently until about 1-in. from edge of paper on all sides. (Waxed paper will not slip while rolling pastry if table top under paper is slightly damp.)

Peel off top paper. If dough tears, mend without moistening by pressing edges together… or by pressing a scrap of pastry lightly over tear.

Helpful Hint: Place a cooky sheet under pan while baking.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | August 3, 2015

Sausage Noodle Bake

Did you have a nice summer break? We did too! But school’s about to start up and so we’re back from vacations and back to the blogging.


Let’s jump right in with this not-very-colorful casserole from PET Milk.

One of the things that immediately caught my eye about it is that it almost exactly matches my typical style: ingredients photo at the top, blather in the middle, and assembled photo at the end!


1. Have ready 3 cups cooked, drained Noodles (cook 2 3/4 cups). Turn on oven and set at 350 (moderate).

2. Brown 1 lb. bulk Pork Sausage and 1/4 cup finely cut Onion in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Drain off drippings.

3. Mix 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1/2 lb. grated Process American Cheese (about 1 cup), 2/3 cup PET Evaporated Milk (1 small can), 1/2 teasp. Salt, 1/2 teasp. Oregano and 1/4 teasp. Pepper in a 3-quart bowl.

4. Stir in meat mixture and noodles. Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish.

5. Top with a mixture of 1 cup Bite-size Shredded Corn Biscuits, 2 Tablesp. melted Butter or Margarine, 1/4 teasp. Garlic Salt and 1/4 teasp. Paprika. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot. Serves 4 to 6.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 8, 2015

Pieathalon! Steak & Mushroom Pie

2ndannual Welcome to the 2nd Annual Pieathalon! This year, even more retro bloggers have traded pie recipes, and now you get to enjoy the results.

The Retro Recipe household got to try Steak and Mushroom Pie, contributed to the Pieathalon by Battenburgbelle. It’s from the 1955 edition of A Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium. recipe

Steak and Mushroom Pie Follow the directions given on page 40 for Rabbit Pie, but use 1 1/2 lb. beefsteak and 4 oz. mushrooms for filling.

Steak and Mushroom Pie is a short recipe, but let’s refer to the recipe for rabbit pie…


Rabbit Pie 1/2 lb. flaky pastry 1 small rabbit Seasoned flour 1 hard-boiled egg 1-2 rashers bacon Forcemeat balls (p. 78) Chopped parsley Stock or water Egg to glaze 1. Make pastry. Dip rabbit joints in seasoned flour (mix 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 tbsp. flour). 2. Put rabbit, chopped egg, cut-up bacon, forcemeat and parsley in dish, and half-fill with liquid. 3. Put a strip of pastry round dampened rim of dish, moisten strip, cover, and flake the edges. 4. Scallop edges boldly, make a slit for steam to escape, decorate, and glaze with beaten egg.

Oh, I see, it bounces me to yet another recipe…


Forcemeat Stuffing and Balls

4 oz. breadcrumbs 2 oz. suet 1-2 oz. bacon or ham (optional) 2 tsps. chopped parsley Rind of 1/2 a lemon 1/4 tsp mixed herbs Salt and pepper Beaten egg 1. Make the breadcrumbs by rubbing stale bread on a wire sieve; discard crusts. 2. Chop the suet, if necessary, also bacon or ham, if used, and the parsley. Grate the lemon rind. 3. Mix all the ingredients together with a little beaten egg, until the stuffing will bind well. 4. Forcemeat balls should be neatly shaped, rolled in a little flour and fried or baked till brown.

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Posted by: Erica Retrochef | May 25, 2015

Bacon & Olive Rolls

Welcome to picnic season, retro recipe readers!

If you’re thinking of bringing something unique to whatever family reunion or other outdoor gathering you’ve got coming up, think about Bacon & Olive Rolls.

1/2 lb thinly sliced bacon
4 dozen stuffed spanish olives
1 dozen hot rolls

Roll a thin strip of bacon around 2 olives. Place on the end of a sharp stick and broil over the campfire. Serve in hot rolls. If prepared at home, secure bacon around olives with toothpicks and broil.

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