Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 19, 2012

Church Lady Casserole Challenge: Lazy Brides Dish

A few fellow retro recipe enthusiasts decided to hold a virtual potluck, swapping recipes from our extensive collections. The theme, “church cookbooks,” meant we’d be getting home-tested recipes that community members felt were worthy of sharing with their neighbors. And, through luck of the draw, I got “Lazy Brides Dish,” from the 1958 “Out of Alaska’s Kitchens,” Collected And Compiled by Alaska Crippled Children’s Association.

I liked the name — heck, I’ll confess to being a lazy bride occasionally. I might even confess to being a lazy bride often, if we’re going to concentrate specifically on how much time I spend in the kitchen regularly. I especially like being lazy if I can still get a decent meal out of it, which is just a win-win scenario. Heck, one of my most popular potluck recipes is something called “dump cake,” which consists of dumping a can of cherry pie filling with a can of pineapple, mixing, then dumping on a box of yellow cake mix and dumping on some pats of butter (are you seeing where the name comes from?) and baking the whole mess. And Lazy Bride’s Dish just looked like that — dump things in a pan, bake, eat!

But then I really read through it… particularly the ingredient list.


1 can tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can lima beans
1 can mushrooms
1 can spaghetti with tomato sauce
1/2 lb. bacon diced and browned
1/2 lb. boiled ham diced
2 tbls. flour mixed with juice of tomatoes
Salt and pepper

Mix and bake half an hour at 350 degrees.

Oh dear.

What I actually found funniest about this was that, in addition to my gut reaction of “that looks un-tasty,” the list of ingredients struck me as pretty cumbersome. If I’m allegedly a lazy bride, do I really spend a lot of time fussing at the grocery store, or do I just buy 10 cans of spaghetti?

And now I have to dice and brown bacon. The cookbook authors and I may have different standards for “lazy.”

I guess it’s possible to find pre-diced ham, so maybe I was just making work for myself by dicing a ham steak.

The, um, sauce… Well, let’s just say whisking flour and tomato juice make a nice, goopy pink sauce.

The meats, sauce, and (well-drained) vegetables were then all dumped together in a large casserole dish. I have to admit, it’s really colorful. I also have to admit, I think those lima beans are laughing at me.

It emerged from the oven looking exactly like it did before being put in the oven. (And that tomato-flour sauce didn’t thicken it, not one little bit…)

I was surprised that this was edible.

I was shocked to find it enjoyable.

Even Middle Son, who claims to hate mushrooms and corn, cleaned his plate of everything except the lima beans. This child hates anything that isn’t bacon, and he ate this (carefully picking out every last bit of “real food” from around and under the lima beans). I frankly have no idea why it tasted good — although my best guess is that we bought some fairly high-quality canned vegetables, which made a big difference. But it was a well-balanced meal, and ended up being filling. Unlike many leftovers, which languish in the nether regions of the fridge until well-covered in mold, the extra servings of Lazy Bride’s Dish had vanished within two days. It was even better after being rewarmed.

I might have to be lazy more often.

The Lazy Bride’s Dish was sent to me by Ruth of Mid-Century Menu, who had to cook up some Sausage Apple Rice Casserole. See what other dishes came to our potluck: at 1972: The Retro WW Experiment, Caker Cooking, and Cock-a-Doodle Casserole at Dinner is Served 1972.



  1. […] Recipe Attempts: Lazy Bride’s Dish (recipe chosen by […]

  2. Nice!!! I am glad to hear that it was good because it looks horrible!!! I have been dying to test this, and I am so glad your family was up for it. Thanks, guys! 🙂

    • Yeah, lima beans and canned spaghetti were really scaring me… I don’t know why it worked out!

  3. I hate Spaghetti-Os. I’m shocked that you liked this!

    • I hate spaghetti-o’s too! IT’S SO WEIRD.

  4. EVERYTHING is better with bacon! I agree, frying bacon is messy and labor intensive! I fry a lot at one time, drain, wrap n’ freeze to use when needed. (I’m afraid of spaghetti-os, though.) If I had a lot of hungry mouths to feed, this would be worth a try, I think it looks really good.

    • Sadly, a half-pound of bacon isn’t very much once cooked…

  5. *gobsmacked silence*
    No, REALLY? That was GOOD???
    Well… crap. I might have to try some version of this (the lima beans… uh… well, we’ll negotiate on those. Maybe some white beans?).

    • Nobody was more shocked than me that it was good. Except perhaps Buzz!

  6. I hope you had a big piece of Dump Cake after this. Talk about the perfect way to finish off the meal.

  7. The night we made and ate this, an old college friend was actually getting married in Hawaii. So I thought we should dedicate this “bride dish” to her.

  8. I love all the ingredients separately. But mixed together they seem like a vomit inducer? Leave to Ruth to come up with a winner like this one. Nice job!!!

  9. Sounds horrid, but bacon makes everything better. Now I will have to try it.

  10. I wonder if this was originally called “desperate bride’s dish” – one day someone emptied all of the cans in their cupboard and surprisingly it worked out.

  11. Love it! This really does look revolting but I know from my own experiments sometimes strange combinations can actually work out to be delicious. And I learn so much from the cooking blogosphere. You call them spaghetti-o’s? Here in England we call them spaghetti hoops. And although I aint married, I may well be a lazy bride here in London tonight and buy some spaghetti hoops (not eaten since the 1970s) and have them on toast. Spaghetti on toast – not sure why this works either – pasta and bread? loving your blog – Jenny from x

  12. […] few weeks ago, as part of the Church Lady Casserole Challenge, we picked out a recipe for Retro Ruth to make, from the “Garden of Eatin’” […]

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