Last weekend I was in the mood to bake just for fun, and I decided to make some Tea Time Tassies from the Junior League cookbook that has long been a family staple: River Road Recipes. There are three volumes of RRR these days [I take that back, there are now four!]Â and the first two are what I grew up browsing through. When I moved out of the house after high school, Mom gifted me a set of I and II of my own.
The funny thing is, though, that while I wouldn’t feel at home without them, I almost never cook from them. Holidays are usually the only time I consistently grab them because holidays are the only time we cook “home food” like what is in these books. The first volume is from the 50s, the second from the 70s, and like a lot of fundraiser cookbooks, they have their fair share of questionable includes. But throw-backs are fun, and not just for Thursdays, so I thought, since I had it out anyway, why not cook from this book all week?
Monday started off with a Mexican Chef Salad that really did remind me of some of the food I grew up eating. I also found it highly amusing that Doritos were a legit part of my shopping list for this week.
Now, I opted for hominy as my bean substitute and used my own homemade taco seasoning mix. While the recipe brought me back to my childhood with its fairly simple flavors, I cannot for one minute deny the tastiness of the meal. I wouldn’t necessarily serve it for company, but I will remember how well Thousand Island dressing pairs with taco meat the next time I crave a taco salad.
Tuesday’s dinner didn’t come from RRR but it almost could have. I’d been craving a Sushi Rice Bowl and decided to marinate some chicken tenderloins in teriyaki sauce and call it a day. This batch of seasoned sushi rice featured steamed carrots, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and cucumber, plus avocado, sesame seeds, and strips of nori. Still one of my favorite go-to meals and very versatile for clearing out leftover veggies in the crisper.
Wednesday was an off night thanks to Mr. Duncan of the puppy puberty Duncans. He was being particularly insufferable so I opted to pick up Jimmy John’s for supper and call it a night.
No need to adjust your color settings, this meal really is that brown. You know, sometimes Todd and I will have a night where cook up a bunch of appetizers and have that for dinner. These nights are referred to as brown-food nights since most things are breaded, fried, or naturally tan in color.
Thursday was an unintentional brown-food night between the turnips (tinted from the Worcestershire Sauce) and the Swiss cheese and corn flakes-topped green beans. Despite the bland color, the turnips were a very good pairing for the pork chops, and something we’ll like do again in the fall. The green beans were interesting but probably will not appear on our table in the future.
A variation on a traditional beef stew, Friday’s Carbonnade de Boeuf was surprisingly tasty and filling.
I opted to leave the bacon in the pot and not play hokey-pokey with the beef and the dish certainly did not suffer. Since we also do not own a dutch oven (the hows and whys of which were discussed at length over the meal, in fact, and we both agree we would get good use out of one, I just haven’t been able to ever pull the trigger on the Le Cruset I’ve been lusting over for years) I let this simmer on the stove for maybe an hour. I also added a spare red bell pepper we had in the fridge and bought fresh parsley for this dish–I think the parsley and the quality of the beer used have a lot of bearing on how tasty the final dish is.
Since I’ve been working at my old job on Saturdays, I feel like I only get single-day weekends lately. This is to make up for all those 3-day weekends in May and June in the cosmic order of things, but still. Anticipating this, I’d planned a no-cook night for Saturday and we ended up at the local Chinese buffet.
We finished out the week with what just might be my favorite recipe so far. Chicken with artichoke hearts is something we done in several permutations over the years and was just as good in this iteration.
It’s the squash that was absolutely amazing and I’m already planning to have it on the holiday table for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did not boil the squash, that just sounded like a recipe for mush to me, and I think it was a good call. I also used the green part of a leek instead of onion rings and seasoned gluten-free breadcrumbs. I was concerned, at first, that it didn’t call for any salt and I was expecting it to be bland. Apparently the bacon and pepper-jack cheese were enough, though, because there was no lack of flavor nor was the pepper overpowering. Definitely a keeper recipe!
I’m very tempted to do this again for my next cooking week, and then I remembered this old set of recipe cards I have, the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library from 1971. There’s a good chance those recipe cards will be appearing here in the future and the chances of a jello mold being required are rapidly rising!