Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 1, 2009

Ground Beef Grand Style

I have a fair number of bookmarks of retro recipes I want to try, often from other retro-ish blogs I read. While searching through them for this week’s cooking adventure, I found this:

Jellied Turkey Salad

Sorry, readers. I’ve done one vintage meat-and-gelatin dish, and that was more than enough, even if it is the most popular post I’ve ever written. (The jellied frankfurter nightmare also called for hard-boiled eggs, though. I’d wonder if this was a trend in jellied meat salad, except that would mean I have to think about jellied meat salad, and I don’t really want to.) So enjoy the deceptively attractive picture, because this is all you’ll ever see. (Thanks, Mad Vortex.)

Small version of recipe
So instead, our first retro recipe of the new year will be Ground Beef Grand Style. (Good eating! Easy fixing!) A typical recipe-disguised-as-advertisement, it insists you use Philadelphia Cream Cheese (which is still available) and Ballard biscuit dough (which is not — well, not exactly; was bought up by Pilsbury in 1951, but the biscuits were still apparently sold under the Ballard label for some time, since this recipe is from 1963).

1 can Ballard OvenReady Biscuits
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup catsup
1/3 cup sliced stuffed olives, if desired

Brown ground beef and onions, drain.

Combine softened cream cheese, soup, milk. Add salt, catsup, olives, ground beef. Pour into 2-quart casserole. Bake at 375°, 10 minutes.

Place Biscuits around edge of casserole; if desired, top with olive slices. Bake at 375°, 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

While fetching the camera to document this attempt, my daughter stopped to take about twenty pictures of things around the house. This is one of our cats. I think I will start an exhibition, “Random household objects and occupants, out of focus and overexposed.”


SOMEBODY brought home olives that were not stuffed, and instead were “Southwestern Olives with Herbs and Napa Valley Chardonnay”. (La-de-dah! CHARDONNAY!) The Southwestern appelation is from the jalapeños that were pickled along with the olives (and, for some weird reason, carrot slices), which gave the olives a peppery tang — they were spicier than the pickled jalapeño peppers. The Chardonnay did nothing except increase the price, but that didn’t matter because these were 50% off on closeout.

Spicy Olives

We mixed all the ingredients together with the Super Wonderful Fantabulous Mixer. Daughter poured things in. The cream cheese, milk, and mushroom soup make a very rich, creamy base for the other ingredients.

Mixing stuff together

I’m not really sure why this has to be baked for 10 minutes to begin with, because it added nothing (except perhaps warmth) to the cheese-meat-olive mixute. Oh, and see that little glass bowl full of brown liquid there, next to the casserole dish? That’s the collected fat from 1.5 pounds of ground beef. Now I remember why I frequently use ground turkey (or veggie-based meat substitute)…

Adding biscuits partway through cooking

Except for a little running over at the edges, the casserole baked up nicely. Since we didn’t have the appropriately pimentoed olives, I am including an artist’s rendition of the dish so you know what it would have looked like. (It’s surprisingly lifelike.)

Baked Casserole, with pimentos painted in

The main difference between reality (above) and advertisement (below) is that the meat-cheese mixture doesn’t appear to have been baked in the advertisement image. I guess it does look better all creamy and pale than it does baked.

What the ad says it should look like

But more important than artistic rendering is the flavor. (This make probably 8-10 servings, rather than the 5-6 listed in the original advertisement.) And what is the overall opinion of Ground Beef Grand Style?

one-half serving of Ground Beef Grand Style


It was pretty good for the first few bites. But overall, it’s salty (do NOT add the 1 teaspoon salt), and not very flavorful. It turns out the Southwestern Olives purchase was serendipitous — at least there was SOME taste from those jalapeños. There’s too much cream cheese and not enough vegetable/meat bits. The biscuits, sitting on gooey cream cheese while cooking, were still raw on the bottom.

By the time we made it through one serving, neither Buzz nor I wanted more. Toddler Son refused to eat even a biscuit (unusually sensible of him), and showed his disapproval by throwing food on the floor. Preschooler Daughter, however, insisted it was delicious and cleaned her plate… which rather makes me wonder just what sort of crap they feed her at preschool.

Aside from bland gooey underwhelming flavor, the name is just dumb. Alternative ideas:

  • Cheesy Hamburger Biscuit Pie
  • Cholesterol Pie
  • Ground Beef Scumpy Style
  • Ground Beef Drowned In Goo
  • Did The Cat Barf On My Plate Or Did You Make Ground Beef Grand Style Again

Oh well. We had fun, lots of laughs, and didn’t throw up afterwards, which is really what we hope for in these recipes. (Finding a good one is just a bonus.)

Recipe is via, which accurately labels itself as a blog of “charming vintage recipes.”



  1. I vote for “Did The Cat Barf On My Plate Or Did You Make Ground Beef Grand Style Again,” though I might modify it slightly to read “Did You Just Put a Doughy Christmas Wreath on Top of a Cat-Barf Puddle and Bake It?” The Photoshopped pimentos give it an especially festive look.

    Thanks for putting your digestive tract on the line for our amusement once again, Erica.

  2. Erica, I always enjoy your recipe attempts. This meat pie looks and sounds delish. Keep trying. Happy New Year!

  3. While we were eating, cleanser mused aloud whether people’s expectations for food were really that low in the 1950s and 1960s. I reminded her of the classic joke about kids not liking the casseroles their mothers made. Calvin and Hobbes did it once with a cheeseburger casserole. Calvin’s mother, and my own, liked to point out that there was nothing in the dish that the kid didn’t like. That never worked on me, past about age seven, when I countered that one could easily mix together two or more delicious foods and get garbage. (Would you want to eat a mixture of crumbled raisin bread, ground beef, and lemon sorbet?) The prevalence of the joke, and the overall prevalence of casseroles in the cooking of the era, leads me to believe that people really did have much lower expectations for their food. Like the not infrequent muffed dishes on Iron Chef, this was entirely edible but wholly without appeal and was probably quite typical of 1963 cooking.

  4. This kind of reminds me while Julia Child is widely acknowledged as the person who brought FLAVOR to American quisine. :-\

  5. It actually looks and sounds good. What’s wrong with me???

  6. Seems sad that “didn’t throw up afterwards” is the basis for a successful dish. I do hope you’re eating good, modern food more often than this mush!

    • Yes, the vast majority of our meals are much more normal and tasty 🙂 We only have time (and sometimes courage) to try risky retro cuisine every couple of weeks!

  7. WOW! I googled this recipe this morning and there it is. It was a hoot to see the actual magazine page that I tore out of BHG or Good H. in 1963ish. I was fresh out of high school and in my own apt. and I made this one night. I actually liked it and over the years I think about it all the time. Yesterday I decided to look it up and make it since I can’t stop thinking about it. Thanks so much for printing the actual article. I had fun walking down memory lane today.

  8. I would call it Golden Coronet Bake. I think it sounds tasty, but since I don’t eat meat, I would just mince up some portabello mushrooms and some pecans, and replace the Cream Of Sodium soup with some laughing Cow cheese, some ricotta, and some Greek Yogurt and/or sour cream

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