Retro Recipes 4: That 70s Chef

Continuing the trek through culinary time, instead of our backwards progression (regression?) I decided to hop back up to the early 70s and use these recipes cards that I remember flipping through as a child. They are The Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library, circa 1971. Let’s dig in!

Simple Supper, Special Dessert
Simple Supper, Special Dessert

Monday was Labor Day but Todd had just grilled steaks Sunday night, so I didn’t feel any need to grill again. Instead, I used the suggestions from one of their menu cards and combined the Smokies version of the mac and cheese with the Polka-Dotted Mac and Cheese from the Kids’ section of the card library. It doesn’t hold a candle to my usual mac and cheese, but it was fun. The big hit was the Little Pumpkin Custards, though, so good, so simple, and so great a way to usher in the unofficial start to fall!

Pizza Potatoes
Pizza Potatoes

On Tuesday I made a one-pot dish called Pizza Potatoes that used canned tomatoes, boxed scalloped potatoes, cheese, and pepperoni. I think it would have been much better if I’d sliced my own potatoes and made a quick sauce for them, but it was worth it for the experience. It’s definitely something I’d consider making again, with that change, because it was very tasty otherwise. A quick salad was all it needed, so it was good for the first day back at work after a long weekend.

Tuna Ring with Cheese Sauce
Tuna Ring with Cheese Sauce

On Wednesday I took advantage of Todd working late to spend some time making this Tuna Ring with Cheese Sauce. Sure, I was a touch aprehensive about the recipe in general, but we like warm tuna fish dishes, so it was only a tiny gamble. I also tried out a new-to-me gluten-free pizza dough mix by Pamela’s and we were very pleased with the crust. Probably one of the best gluten-free ones we’ve had, and I’ll definitely be ordering more of the mix (I just started ordering from iHerb and already I’m liking what I chose so far). The cheese sauce is a light blue cheese sauce and it was surprisingly good.

Banana Spice Cookies
Banana Spice Cookies

Again, with the luxury of time on my hands, I also made these Banana Spice Cookies from the Come for Coffee card section. I wasn’t sure about the lemon buttercream at first, but it paired surprisingly well. Desserts twice in one week? This was a lot more common back in the day, and these cookies were great to pack a couple for lunch or even for breakfast over the weekend (yes, they lasted that long).

Pork Chop Scallop with Creamy Coleslaw
Pork Chop Scallop with Creamy Coleslaw

According to the back of the recipe card, in addition to the Pork Chop Scallop, Green Beans, and Creamy Coleslaw, this meal also called for dill pickles, applesauce, and Old-fashioned Oatmeal Cookies. That would be quite the plate! Again, I used the boxed scalloped potatoes and they were a bit better in this recipe thanks to the milk, but it still would have been better fresh and wouldn’t have taken any longer on the stove.

Cheese-Egg Bake and Raspberry Ring with Creamy Fruit
Cheese-Egg Bake and Raspberry Ring with Creamy Fruit

While Thursday’s supper simmered on the stove, I got a much-needed jump start on Friday’s menu by hard-boiling the eggs for the Cheese-Egg Bake and putting together the Raspberry Ring with Creamy Fruit. And it’s good thing I did, too! Friday morning showed the raspberry ring was not anywhere close to solid, so I put it in the freezer for the day. I’m not sure if it was just a fluke (jell-o molds can be tricky things) or if I made a rookie mistake, but the icy raspberry ring turned out to be a big hit with Todd so I’m glad I persevered. And that the ring mold I ordered sepecifically for this recipe wasn’t wasted (no local stores had them, go figure, so Amazon Prime to the rescue!)

Chicken Fricasee with Dumplings
Chicken Fricasee with Dumplings

Aka my favorite Cracker Barrel meal, Chicken Fricasee with Dumplings and glazed carrots are my go-to order at this regular road trip stop. Usually when I made chicken and dumplings it’s more like a hearty chicken soup with the dumplings on top, This was more chicken gravy than soup, but we weren’t complaining.

This is probably a good time to mention that a lot of this week’s recipes called for cream of something soup and I’m not generally a fan of that as an ingredient. Any time you need a substitution for that, it’s simple enough to make a white sauce and flavor it appropriately. For cream of mushroom soup I add a dash of soy sauce to give it the savory, umami flavor without the high-FODMAP mushrooms (and Todd’s not a mushroom fan, so this is a two-for-one-solution). For cream of chicken, add some chicken stock or chicken base or bullion to the roux; cream of celery, add some celery salt. It’s really that simple. And for the chicken fricassee, you start by browning the floured chicken pieces in fat and then drain the fat and add the soup. Instead of wasting ingredients, I used the fat in the pan to make the roux, along with the leftover dredging flour (which generally cannot be reused because it came in contact with raw chicken).

New England Boiled Dinner
New England Boiled Dinner

For our Sunday dinner I opted for the classic New England Boiled Dinner, of which I’ve heard a lot about but never actually tried or made myself. Yeah. The upside is that I got to use my new cast-iron dutch oven. The meal wasn’t bad, of course, but it was a little on the bland side. The leftovers didn’t go to waste–I saved the excess cabbage and veggies for when we need quick soup additions and the 6 cups of broth for Todd to use later this week.

And, yes, I also made one more dessert. The Velvet Crumb Cake was a simple cake with a broiled coconut topping and, again, as gluten-free cakes go this one–made with gluten-free Bisquick–is pretty tender and tasty. It’s from the Come for Coffee section, so I’m totally justified in bringing it with me for breakfast this week, right?

We’ve got one more week in the 70s to come because I pulled double the cards I needed for a single week. Oh, and did you notice that I didn’t have a single take-out or leftovers night this week–it’s probably the first time in months that that’s happened!

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