Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hungarian Goulash and a Happy Accident

Sometimes good things can happen when we really don't mean for them to happen.

I was testing another historic recipe for Rosie's Riveting Recipes, my updated version of Anna's Kitchen, my WWII ration recipe cookbook.  The other day I came across this one for Hungarian Goulash. For whatever reason, it sounded perfect on that particular day, so I started preparing it, according to the original recipe. Then I decided to include the tomatoes, but decided to use a canned of diced tomatoes instead of fresh.  Popped open the can, dumped them in, and then discovered I had added Italian style tomatoes.  Well, no harm done.  In fact that extra flavor gave the recipe some extra zing. So, even though it's not listed as an "official" ingredient, try it with a can of Italian flavored tomatoes.  You'll love it.




2 lbs beef chuck, neck or flank meat
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or drippings
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water   
1/8 teaspoon caraway seed (if desired)
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic

Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Let onion brown in butter, then add meat and let it brown lightly.  Add caraway seed, marjoram, salt, chopped garlic and enough paprika to create a noticeable red color. Add 1 cup water, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Whole potatoes may be added to the goulash 1/2 hour before done. Some goulash recipes call for the addition of tomatoes. Strained tomatoes may be substituted for water in this recipe. Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Divan

I'm not a big fan of frozen dinners, but I do recall, back when I was in high school, my mother used to buy Stoffer's Chicken Divan, and it was pretty good.  Don't know if they still make that one or not, but I've been tweaking a couple of Campbell's Soup recipes to come up with my own version, and I think I've come pretty close.  It's easy to prepare, and it's pretty tasty.  And, best of all, it uses ingredients most of us probably already have.  Enjoy.


(inspired by Campbell's Soup recipes)

2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli (thawed)
2 cups cooked noodles
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese blend
1 small can fresh mushrooms (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Chop broccoli, (if using fresh), and prepare noodles according to package directions.  Clean chicken breasts thoroughly and cut into small cubes. Saute in a skillet until they are cooked all the way though.  Remove from heat.

In a 2-quart casserole dish stir milk, melted butter, and cream of mushroom soup.  Add pepper and canned mushrooms, if desired. Add broccoli, cooked noodles and cooked chicken, mix well. Top with generous layer of grated cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in 350°oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top layer is brown and sauce is bubbling.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Historic Recipe--Crown Roast of Back Ribs

The back rib.  The ugly cousin of the short rib.  But with a little creativity you can make them delicious.  This historic recipe was originally included in Anna's Kitchen, the WWII ration recipe cookbook I published back in 2005, and it will be included in the new historic cookbook I'm working on, Rosie's Riveting Recipes.

I admit this recipe did sound daunting to me at first, then a friend told me that instead of sewing the ribs together, you can simply attach them with wooden toothpicks or skewers.  That was easy, and the results were positively yummy. 




1½ lbs. back ribs
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasonings

Rub back ribs with salt. Mix remaining ingredients to form dressing. Sew ends of ribs together to resemble a crown. Place stuffing inside of ribs and bake in 350º F oven for 2-3 hours or until tender. Makes 4 servings.

Modern adaptation: Ribs can be tacked together with wooden toothpicks or toothpicks or skewers. (Do not use plastic.) After cooking, allow the ribs to rest before removing the toothpicks. Three pieces of bread, with crusts removed, and cut into cubes, can be also be used to make the dressing. You can also try adding chopped celery, nuts, or mushrooms.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs--Classic Timeless Cuisine

One of the first recipes I asked my mother for after I left home was her spaghetti sauce recipe.  It had quite a history.  She got it many years earlier from a neighbor, who in turn got it from an Italian immigrant.  Or so the story went.

Now, I have good news and bad news.

Somewhere in my life's travels I lost the recipe.

The good news, I have tweaked it over the years, and have committed it to memory.

I decided to try a variation this time around.  Instead of meat sauce, I decided to try it with meatballs.  The result--a classic, timeless dish that is both economical and delicious.


1 medium white or yellow onion -- chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic -- chopped or pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cans (15 oz) chopped tomatoes
4 or 5 cans, (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) -- optional
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons basil
3 tablespoons parsley
1 tablespoon rosemary or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil in a large stockpot until the onions are soft and the garlic is slightly browned.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste.  If a thicker sauce is desired add another can or two of tomato paste.  For a thinner sauce add a can of tomato sauce.  Blend tomato mixture thoroughly.  Add sugar and seasonings, and bring to a slight boil.  Reduce heat to the lowest setting.  Allow sauce to simmer, stirring periodically, for approximately 3 to 4 hours.  Do not allow the sauce to scorch on the bottom of pan.  If necessary, turn heat off, briefly, and allow the sauce to cool slightly, then turn the heat back on to the lowest setting.


1 pound ground beef
1 pound sweet or mild Italian sausage
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, if desired
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Remove sausage from casings, if necessary, and place it, along with the ground beef, in a large mixing bowl.  Add egg, bread crumbs and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly, either kneading by hand or with a large spoon, until all ingredients are well blended.  Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and set them on a plate until all of the meat mixture has been rolled.  Gently place meatballs, one or two at a time, in a large spoon, and lower them into the sauce mixture.  If necessary, gently stir the sauce, being careful not to break the meatballs.  Simmer sauce on low for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours, again periodically stirring to keep the sauce from scorching. 

Prepare spaghetti, linguine, or your favorite pasta according to the package directions.  Serve with garlic bread.  Leftover sauce can be frozen.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Historic Recipe--Fruit Honey Cobblers

My mother makes yummy fruit cobblers, and she likes to serve them for breakfast as well as dessert.  Somehow or other I have managed to misplace her cobbler recipe, so I'll have to remember to ask her for it the next time I call her. In the meantime, while I was busy testing recipes for my upcoming historic cookbook, Rosie's Riveting Recipes, I came across this gem.  It was originally published in my first historic cookbook, Anna's Kitchen, and it will most definitely be included in the new book.  It's easy to prepare, and it will work with either canned or fresh peaches.  It will also leave your kitchen smelling absolutely divine.




¼ cup honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 No. 2½ can peaches, drained, or 6 fresh peaches, pared and sliced

Combine honey, cinnamon, and butter. Add peaches. Place individual baking dishes or custard cups. Use the following crust for topping:

1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder, (or ¾ teaspoon double-acting)*
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup milk

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, salt, and sugar; sift together twice. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk; stir until all flour is dampened. Drop dough on prepared fruit; spread evenly to edge. Bake in hot oven (425º F) for about 20 minutes, or until crust is nicely browned. Serve warm, with cream or hard sauce. 

Note: Pitted cherries, apricot halves, or plums may be substituted for peaches.

Modern adaptation: A number 2½ can equals approximately 3½ cups. If using canned peaches two 15-ounce cans would be suitable for this recipe. Leftover peaches, if any, can be saved and used as a garnish. If custard cups are not available this recipe can also be prepared in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

*Most modern baking powders are double-acting.
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