Taco Soup

My mother gave me this recipe that a friend of hers had shared. I changed their recipe a little because I think the ranch dressing mix that they added made it too salty. Also, they said to drain all of the canned beans & vegetables, then add water – this seemed ridiculous to me, so I don’t do it.

Servings: 4-6

1 lb ground beef, cooked
15 oz can corn, undrained
2 – 15 oz cans pinto beans, undrained
15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz green chiles, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
Cheddar or Jack cheese, grated
sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Dump all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
  3. Serve topped with grated cheese and sour cream or yogurt.
  • I keep containers of precooked ground beef in my freezer. I use it still frozen – it will be ready by the time everything is heats.  If you don’t have this, you can cook the meat in the saucepan before adding everything else.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.

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Cheesy Herbed Frankfurters

I found this recipe and Creamy Onion Frankfurters in a magazine in the late 1970s, but neither recipe says where I got them.

Servings: 2-3

2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried sage
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried marjoram
3 large frankfurters (about 7″ long)
1 baguette, about 21″ long

  1. Mix cheese & herbs.
  2. Cook frankfurters as desired (broil, grill, boil). Cut each almost in half lengthwise.
  3. Cut baguette into 3 pieces.  Cut each piece almost in half lengthwise.
  4. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture into the sliced baguette.
  5. Top with frankfurters, opening out flat.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and heat in 375℉ oven until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Creamy Onion Frankfurters

I found this recipe and Cheesy Herbed Frankfurters in a magazine in the late 1970s, but neither recipe says where I got them.

Servings: 2-3

¼ cup butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅛ tsp dried basil
⅛ tsp dried thyme
⅛ tsp dried rosemary
⅛ tsp dried tarragon
¼ cup sour cream
3 large frankfurters (about 7″ long)
1 baguette, about 21″ long

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat.
  2. Add onions, garlic and herbs. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are limp and golden, about for minutes.
  4. Blend in sour cream until heated through.
  5. Cook frankfurters as desired (broil, grill, boil).
  6. Cut baguette into 3 pieces.  Cut each piece almost in half lengthwise. Toast lightly.
  7. Place frankfurters in baguettes and top with creamy onion mixture.
  • You can substitute yogurt for the sour cream.

Streamlined Lasagna

This is the recipe that my mother made when I was growing up. It is not authentic in many ways, but it is delicious comfort food using ingredients that were readily available in a grocery store in the 1970s.

Servings: 6

1 Tbsp oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, sliced
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
8 oz lasagne noodles ( 8 slices)
4 oz Swiss cheese, sliced thin
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
parsley, chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onion until tender.
  2. Add ground beef, cook until browned.
  3. Mash garlic with salt and add to meat with pepper, oregano, parsley, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. If making ahead, refrigerate sauce until ready to assemble.
  5. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  6. Cook lasagne noodles until al dente. Drain & cover with cold water.
  7. Spread of sauce in a 9×13 pan. Top with half each of lasagne noodles, Swiss cheese (reserve 1 slice) & cottage cheese.
  8. Repeat, ending with remaining sauce and reserved cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute mozzarella for the Swiss cheese and ricotta for the cottage cheese for a more authentic dish.

Fettuccine with Peas, Mushrooms & Ham

SOURCE

Servings: 4

5 Tbsp butter
6 green onions
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
4 oz ham, chopped
1 cup Parmesan
1 lb fettuccine, cooked
salt & pepper, to taste
10 oz frozen peas

  1. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add green onions and saute until soft.
  3. Add mushrooms, increase heat to high and cook until mushrooms are slightly browned.
  4. Add cream and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in peas and cook until almost tender, about 30 seconds.
  6. Reduce heat to low. Stir in ham, Parmesan and fettuccine. Toss until heated through and sauce clings to pasta.
  7. Salt & pepper to taste.
  • You can substitute other pasta such as tortellini or ravioli for the fettuccine.

Mary’s G-o-o-o-d Stuff

I got this recipe from a recipe exchange that I belonged to in the late 2000s, but unfortunately I did not make a note of who submitted the recipe. If you know where this recipe came from, please let me know.

Servings: 6

2 Tbsp water
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz green chile, chopped
2 cups water
8 oz uncooked short pasta (shells, rotini, farfalle, penne, etc.)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup sour cream

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp water in a large skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add sausage, cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove cover and let water evaporate, browning sausage lightly. Drain off fat.
  3. Add onion & garlic and cook 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add tomatoes, chiles and water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add pasta and spices. Return to a boil, turn heat to low.
  6. Cover and cook until pasta is al dente. Mixture should be loose, but not too soupy.
  7. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream.
  • I use bulk Italian sausage. If you use links you will need to remove the casings.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • You can substitute 2 – 10 oz cans diced tomatoes with chiles (e.g., Ro-Tel) for the canned tomatoes and the chiles.
  • You can substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream.

Goulash Soup

Adapted from The Ground Beef Cookbook by Joanne Waring Lindeman. I reduced the amount of meat and changed the seasoning.

Servings: 6

1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup potatoes*, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
½ cup celery, chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes*, undrained
1 ½ cups water
1 cup rice*
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese*, grated

  1. Saute beef and onion in a hot large pot until browned. Drain fat.
  2. Add veggies and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until rice and veggies are tender.
  4. Serve topped with cheese.
  • The potatoes and rice are not cooked before adding them to the pot.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces.  You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • Parmesan cheese is also very good on this soup.

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Ramen with Beef and Vegetables

Adapted from The Ground Beef Cookbook by Joanne Waring Lindeman. I reduced the amount of meat and omitted the salt.
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Servings: 4

1/2 pound ground beef
3-4 green onions, sliced
1 cup chopped vegetables (spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, peas, or any other veggies you like)
2 – 3 oz packages ramen noodles
soy sauce

  1. Saute beef in a hot skillet until browned. Drain fat.
  2. Add onions and veggies. Cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Prepare ramen according to package instructions, but DO NOT add seasoning packet. Drain.
  4. Add beef and veggies. Cook until all liquid evaporates.
  5. Serve with soy sauce.
  • NOTES

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Chop, Dice or Mince?

My grandmother taught me that chop, dice and mince have specific meanings, but I see and hear so many cooks using them interchangeably – small chop, finely chopped, large dice… So, what do these terms mean?

  • Coarsely Chopped / Large Chop / Rough Chop
    • about 3/4″ pieces
    • mostly used when further processing will be done later
  • Chopped / Medium Chop
    • about 1/2″ pieces
    • most commonly used
  • Diced / Finely Chopped / Small Chop
    • about 1/4″ pieces
    • used when you do not want to bite into a large piece of what you are chopping
  • Minced
    • as small as I can get it – usually about 1/16″ or less
    • used for garlic and other strongly flavored foods such as ginger

Remember, when you are using onions and especially garlic, that the smaller you chop them the more pronounced the flavor. For more information about this see Whole, Crushed or Minced Garlic: What’s the Difference?

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Brazilian Lemonade

We first tried this wonderfully different lemonade at La Parilla restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas. It is slightly creamy and very refreshing.

juice from 4 lemons
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Serve over ice.