sausage stroganoff finale

A Sausage Stroganoff Recipe from Bettys Cook NookHit Me Baby One More Time

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts – we’re on for another taste bud adventure compliments of this sausage stroganoff recipe!

This isn’t the first time I’ve waxed on about stroganoff (it’s the fourth time to be precise) but it may be the last. Sadly I think this is the final stroganoff recipe in my Mom’s cookbook. As the last Betty’s Cook Nook meal of the year this dish marked the perfect culinary dismount to a wacky and wild 2020!

So What Makes This Recipe A Classic? 

Well, a couple of things. For starters I’m 99% confident this recipe hails from an early 1980s Southern Living magazine clipping; I recognize the recipe’s font (see the original clipping below)!

Secondly I incorporated a hidden weapon ingredient which you can learn more about below: the Wendish noodle is a blast from the past and it has a special connection to this recipe and the people of Texas. Incoming story below!

Tip: If you just prefer the recipe please fast-scroll to the Foodie Tips section below. If you want to enjoy a random family story about early Texas in the 1800s, please grab your favorite beverage and read on!Texas Wendish Heritage Society Wendish Noodles

A Little Bit About Dime Box

It all started harmlessly with a random pic my Cousin Alison texted of a likely relative “Adolph Hannes” who surely lived in the greater Dime Box, Texas area. Dime Box is the birthplace of my Maternal Grandmother “Nanny” who was ironically also one of my bestest of friends when I was a kid. Dime Box isn’t a big city – in fact even today it’s an unincorporated community of about 1,100 residents. But for the European immigrants who claimed it as home, they found Dime Box a small but magnificent place that rests on the eastern Texas prairie offering big sky views and wide open spaces that could cultivate new beginnings.

A Dram by Henry Kruemcke and Adolph HannesAfter a few online queries I learned Adolph’s picture was from a 1961 book “Texas Wends – Their First Half Century,” authored by Lillie Moerbe Caldwell.

Texas Wends tells the magnificent story of how in 1854 the Wendish people of Lusatia (east Germany and southern Poland) fled to Texas in search of religious and political freedom. After 3 months at sea on the Ben Nevis clipper ship they disembarked in the port city of Galveston and ventured by wagon and foot to Serbin, Texas which is just a few minutes drive from Dime Box and 69 miles from where I live today. The story of the Wends is wild and wondrous and sadly 1 in 8 of the 588 crammed ship voyagers lost their lives on their journey to Texas. I had hoped to connect the Wends to my nuclear family (was I Wendish?) but after receiving the book I quickly combed through the Ben Nevis’ ship manifest only to find no surnames that I recognized. Regardless, Adolph’s picture proved my family was friends of the Wends!

There on page 80 of Texas Wends was a picture of Adolph Hannes that became a remarkable key to a chapter in my life that has connected the past with the present! Adolph shared a surname with my grandmother “Nanny’s” husband Harry Hannes and there in the pic Adolph was enjoying a “dram” with his friend Henry Kruemcke. I quickly and luckily discovered a hardbound copy of the book on eBay and it’s now in my library. I did some Ancestry.com research and discovered that Adolph is my Grand Uncle! #MicDrop

Texas Wendish Heritage Museum, Serbin, TexasInto The Car We Went

Soon after geeking out on our family lineage Cousin Alison and I decided to travel to Dime Box and nearby Serbin to inspect a few things. We visited the Hannes-Old Dime Box cemetery where we saw several headstones bearing our family’s surnames (Hannes and Hejtmancik). It was surreal being in the very origin of our Texas roots! A 20-minute ride from Dime Box landed us just outside Giddings in Serbin. We visited the Texas Wendish Heritage Museum, its next door historic painted St. Paul Church and while taking in the historic sights we learned about black wedding dresses, the art of decorating Wendish Easter Eggs and low and behold we scored the glorious egg noodles that are made on site and that I used in this recipe!

We’ve made two trips back thus far and are planning a third. We’ll return to the Dime Box Heritage Society Museum where we gratefully discovered family photos and artifacts with ease. And of course no trip would be complete without paying our respects at the Heritage Museum where I plan to reunite the Texas Wends book to the Memorial Library of its author, Lillie Moerbe Caldwell.

So there you have it – how a little noodle has great big ties to this recipe and newly-discovered great chapters of my family history! I never underestimate the power of food.

Foodie Tips

❤  The Wendish noodles are about 3 inches in length and have an al dente (“to the tooth”) texture that I love. No soggy noodles here! Don’t live near Serbin, Texas? No worries – you can score your noodles online!

❤  I cooked the Wendish noodles separately according to the package instructions then poured the stroganoff on top to serve. On my next go of this recipe I think I’ll add the uncooked noodles and let them simmer in the stroganoff per the original recipe instructions below – they will likely absorb more of the tasty stroganoff flavor.

❤  Fan of the stroganoff? Luckily there are a few more you can try out here on Betty’s Cook Nook. Click and scroll down!

i. Time

Total prep: About 45-60 minutes.

Sausage Stroganoff Ingredientsii. Ingredients

1 pound  bulk pork sausage
1 cup  white onion, finely chopped
1 cup  green pepper, finely chopped
16 ounce can  diced organic canned tomatoes (Kirkland)
8 ounces  sour cream
1 cup  water
1 tablespoon  sugar
2 teaspoons  kosher salt
2 teaspoons  chili powder
8 ounces  egg noodles (Wendish noodles if you can)

Texas Wendish Noodlesiii. What To Do

1. In a skillet over medium heat combine sausage, onion and green pepper and stir until the sausage is brown and the onion is tender. Drain off the pan drippings.

Sautéing Sausage StroganoffHow To Make Sausage Stroganoff2. In a separate bowl combine the tomatoes, sour cream, water, sugar and seasonings. Stir this mixture into the sausage mixture.

Simmering Sausage Stroganoff3. Gently stir in the noodles. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Stir occasionally.

Yield: 4-6 servings

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Sausage Stroganoff Recipe Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Stroganoff Recipe Clipping

One more time: This video may not qualify as an antique or vintage… but it’s certainly retro!


playboy chili

Playboy Chili with FritosPlayboy Magazine: I Read It For The Recipes

In a bygone era when I was far too young to know what Playboy Magazine was, someone in the family scored this chili recipe. Mom hand wrote the original recipe (the scan is below) so the magazine owner must have dictated it to her. I nominate my Dad or my older brother Tim.

So after returning home after a long September Saturday of shopping for new Halloween graveyard additions, Joe and I decided that despite it being 90 degrees there was no better way to kick-off fall in Texas than with a bowl of chili. So into Mom’s cookbook my fingers strolled until they landed on this ol’ recipe. There’s no telling when this chili was last made but I can tell from the yellowed, stained paper that this recipe was used more than a few times.

While this Playboy Chili recipe isn’t my tried, true and award-winning Kiker’s Kicker Pot Licker Chili, it packed a lotta punch.

Foodie Tips

❤  Some people just see a chili recipe. I see a recipe that’s a glorious gateway to the belly! You can put chili on more than just a spoon – try it on nachos, chili baked potatoes or what’s better than chili and eggs? Not much! I can picture my Dad enjoying chili and eggs right this very minute with eyes as wide as dinner plates and a smile bigger than Texas.

If you decide to make chili baked potatoes (I wildly recommend), don’t just microwave the potato – that’s far too easy. Take a delicious tip from this blue cheese bacon potato recipe – slather the potatoes with shortening, wrap ’em in foil, and bake ’em in the oven for about an hour. The end result? The softest, most delicious baked potato you’re likely to encounter! After all a baked potato is just that – otherwise we should call them nuked potatoes!

Playboy Chili Potato

Over The Lips… Past The Gums… Watch Out Belly Here It Comes!

❤  Important Lesson: Not since I learned why bagged grated cheese is inferior to freshly grated cheese (goodbye, wood pulp) have I realized that when making chili, plain ol’ ground beef is inferior to coarse ground beef. Why? I find that the typical ground beef often breaks down into more of a grainy mush than a hearty, bold consistency which is a chunky must when beef is the featured ingredient like when in a bowl of chili. Sadly my local grocery stores were out of coarse ground chili beef, so I resorted to the mundane. Note: You can ask your butcher to prepare it fresh for you.

❤  The typical sidekicks for the Kiker family bowl of chili include shredded cheddar cheese, Nabisco saltine crackers, corn bread, Fritos, sour cream and chopped green onions (to name a few).

Playboy Chili Spices

Let’s Spice Things Up

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

2 pounds  coarse ground chili beef
½ cup (or less)  olive oil
1 cup  white onion, minced (Mom would likely chop or dice)
1 tablespoon  fresh garlic, minced (I used 5 cloves)
1 large  green bell pepper, minced (or chopped/diced)
1 large  bay leaf (I used 2)
1 teaspoon  oregano
3 tablespoons  chili powder
1 teaspoon  cumin
¼ teaspoon  cayenne
½ teaspoon  fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon (or to taste)  kosher salt
1 tablespoon  paprika
½ teaspoon  red pepper flakes (aka crushed red pepper)
3 tablespoons  flour
1 ½ quart  beef stock
2 teaspoons  sugar
¼ cup (about 10)  cracker crumbs
1 cup  pinto beans, drained
to serve  your favorite sidekicks (see suggested ideas above)

Play Chili Spices and Bay Leaves

My Favorite Part… The Bay Leaves


iii. What To Do

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the meat in the olive oil.

2. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper, bay leaves, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, pepper, kosher salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Whew!

3. Stir things well and sauté, covered, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the flour; blend well. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.

Note: I noticed at this stage the chili was a little too oily for my liking which is why I think you can totally dial back on the olive oil (noted above).

5. Stir in the sugar, cracker crumbs and the drained beans. Simmer 10 minutes longer.

6. Serve with your favorite sides/toppings.

Leftovers store well in the fridge or they may be frozen for impromptu meals when that cold front blows in and you’re in a flurry for some chili.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Playboy Chili Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Playboy Chili Recipe

Ever since watching the 1989 hit When Harry Met Sally I can’t see the word “paprika” without thinking of the funny paprikash scene. “Paprikash” is a popular Hungarian paprika chicken dish. Enjoy the clip!

Chili Potato Recipe

Another View Of Le Chili Potato


pork chop limas

Pork Chop Limas RecipeA Lima Good Tima

When I least expect it I’m surprisingly rocked by one of my Mom “Betty’s” recipes. This one totally changed how ima gonna feel about limas from today going forward.

In my former me, I thought limas were right up there with split pea soup – green, gross … grody to the max! Had my Mom called them by their other given name – the butter bean – I would have dove mouth first into a large bowl of ’em. Superfan of butter here! #Bombdiggity

Decades later I decided to revisit my mental block for limas by making this recipe and you know what? It wasn’t all gag me with a spoon. If fact, I wanted a bigger spoon – I actually loved limas! Totally gnarly! Are you channeling some 80s lingo yet? If not, best saddle up to this vintage classic for a refresher, if you wanna be a cool kid again:

I’ve also included The Periodic Table Of 80s Slang down below to help you on your way!

Foodie Tips

❤  During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic we couldn’t easily find dry limas. Lame. But we could source frozen and they worked just fine. In fact they seriously reduced the prep time in a rad way by 2 hours. Legit!Lima Bean Retro Sticker

❤  Mom noted the caraway seeds as optional but I totally included them – their earthy unique taste makes dishes extra fresh and special.

❤  Wanna profess your love for limas beyond mealtime? I just ordered a lima bean T-shirt and sticker to keep things legit!

❤  While your chops ‘n limas are baking why not enjoy some vintage lima bean art?! I’ve peppered a few examples below for you to peruse and enjoy.

i. Time

Total prep: About 90 minutes (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

1 ½ cups  |  dry california limas (or frozen if dry is hard to find)
1 quart (4 cups)  water
½ teaspoon  |  salt
pork chops
to taste  salt
to taste  fresh cracked black pepper
white onion, sliced
1 can  cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
½ cup  |  milk
1 teaspoon  |  caraway seeds (optional)

A bowl of lima beans

iii. What To Do

1. Prep the limas!

  • If using dry limas: Rinse the limas with cold water. Put into pan with water and salt and bring things to a boil. Simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  • If using frozen limas: Bring 2 cups of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the frozen lima beans and return to a boil. Cook uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or to desired tenderness. Drain the limas and set aside.

Making Pork Chop Limas2. Prep the chops ‘n onions!

  • Our pork chops are usually from Costco and they are hella thick. So we usually trim them in half; they usually end up more tender.
  • Season the chops with salt and pepper. Brown them quickly in a skillet with a little fat/oil/butter (we used olive oil). Remove the chops.
  • In the same skillet brown the onion slices in a little fat/oil/butter.

Pork Chop Limas About To Go Into The Oven3. Bake those chops ‘n limas!

  • Turn (pour) the drained limas into a baking/casserole dish.
  • Arrange the chops and onions over the lima beans.
  • In a medium-sized bowl mix together the soup, milk, and caraway seeds then pour over the whole shebang.
  • You can refrigerate this dish until you’re ready to bake or roll forward by covering the casserole with foil and baking at 350°F for 45 minutes… then remove the foil and bake for 15 additional minutes. Plate up and enjoy!

Limas: Bad To The Bone

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Pork Chop Limas In Casserole

Pork Chop Limas Fresh From The Oven

 

Enjoy this vintage lima bean art!

Spam and Limas Recipe

“Ah” Inspiring? Or “AAaaacckkk!” Inspiring?!? LOL #SPAM

Pork Chop Limas Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Card

The Periodic Table Of 80s Slang


puffy tacos

The Art Of The Puffy Taco

My Homemade Birthday Puffies July 26, 2020

2 Treats In 1

If you’ve never eaten a puffy taco, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest culinary creations! Picture the usual taco shell but it’s filled with air (kinda like a blow fish) and about ¼” thick. The shell is not crunchy but when made properly arrives in-between a soft and crunchy taco and it’s made of corn flour. The taste is 100% authentic and delicious!

Growing up in San Antonio I thought puffy tacos were as common as burgers, hotdogs or soda pop. Almost since the very beginning in 1937 my family has scored our favorite Tex-Mex delights from Teka Molino which is still in operation. Whenever I visit my hometown of San Antonio I make sure and load-up on an a la carte plate filled with my favorite edibles: bean and cheese cups, guacamole cups, and of course puffy tacos.

It wasn’t until about 30 years later in life I found myself living in Round Rock (a mere 90 minutes away) and was surprised that our Tex-Mex waitress had never heard of a puffy taco. And no, they didn’t carry them.

Teka Molino Treats

A Pic Of Teka Molino Delights

Behold The Puffy

We accidentally fell into making the puffy tacos. We were making empanadas with masa and decided to give it a whirl. After watching the Hilah video below we realized after a couple of fails we could make the puffy tacos! They were way easier to make than holiday tamales of 2019, when I was sore for two days later from the 5-6 hours of labor. I will never see a tamale the same way again!

What’s even better my Cousin Jennifer told me that the usual beef mixture inside the puffy taco wasn’t just mere old taco meat but picadillo, so that recipe is here as well! My favorite part of the picadillo are the small potatoes that are married-up with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!

red tortilla press

Press On!

Foodie Tips

❤  No tortilla press? I found some tips for how you can press your own without a formal press. Here’s one approach that makes use of plastic cutting boards and in this YouTube video you can see what you’re doing while you press, thanks to a glass pie plate! Since our tortilla press was on extra backorder we used the pie plate method with Ziploc bags (vs. plastic wrap) and it worked like a charm.

❤  Don’t be discouraged if your first few tacos shells crack or don’t fold properly! You can use the imperfect tacos for masa chalupas, make an impromptu taco salad, dip them into queso, serve with fresh pico de gallo, etc.

❤  For the best taco filling this recipe goes hand-in-hand with this picadillo recipe. You can trust me on this one! #PinkySwear

❤  I’ve never seen a yellow (orange) Mexican cheese but that’s how Teka Molino serves theirs. So a mild cheddar would work or possibly grated Velveeta. If you want to try a white cheese, go Oaxaca or Monterey Jack.

❤  For the best creamy jalapeño dressing recipe (shown above) click here.

  Want to learn more about the history of the puffy taco? This video is my favorite!

  Using a small wire whisk we dipped the masa tortillas into the fryer and formed puffy cups! These are similar to the cups Teka Molino serves and super easy to make. AND EAT! Just load ’em up with beans n’ cheese, guacamole, picadillo… and you’re off to outer space!

Puffy Taco Cup

The Puffy Taco Cup Is My BFF

 i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes (excluding the makin’ of the picadillo). This dish is best consumed fresh. We enjoy ours progressive style, meaning we set up our taco bar and eat as we make.

ii. Ingredients

for the puffy:
2 cups  |  maseca brand corn flour
1 ½ cups  warm water
1 teaspoon  |  salt
to form  tortilla press (or see alternate pressing tips above)
to press  PAM Spray, plastic wrap, or a Ziploc bag with the sides trimmed away with scissors
to fill pot 2 inches deep  canola, peanut or vegetable oil (we found canola didn’t stink up the kitchen as much)
1  deep pot or pan for frying
thermometer (for testing the oil temperature)
1  large metal spider strainer or strainer spoon ladle
1  metal spatula

to dress your puffy:
lettuce, thinly sliced
mild yellow or white cheese, shredded
tomato (diced or sliced)
fresh pico de gallo (chopped tomato, onion, salt, lime juice, and cilantro)

Puffy Chalupa

Even Dressed As A Chalupa The Puff Makes All The Difference

iii. What To Do

A word of caution: Remember you’re frying in hot oil! Please keep kids and pets safely away from the range top in case of any wayward oil splatters.

1. Prepare the masa!

  • I have a feeling for best results make your masa fresh; don’t make the masa tortillas in advance and refrigerate them.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine 2 cups of the corn flour and the water.
  • Mix by hand until the dough is nice and soft. The dough should be moist but not stick to your hands. If the dough feels dry you can add a teaspoon or two of water and continue mixing until you’re happy. Don’t put too much water or else the puffy taco will get holes in it as it fries.
  • Hand roll the masa into the size of a golf ball.
  • Take one ball at a time and press it using your chosen pressing technique. You can press them all at once or press as you fry.

2. Puff those tacos!

  • We used a 2 quart cast iron pot filled with our chosen oil and the temperature gauge attached. The oil was heated precisely to 375°F. Make sure your range vent is on!
  • Insert one flattened tortilla into the oil and let it fry! Flip it over once after it has fully puffed (about 20 seconds). You’ll cook it no more than 60 seconds. After you flip the taco, form the signature fold by gently press and holding a metal spatula into the middle of the puff – this is where your toppings will eventually go. Be careful not to cut the taco in half! While forming the fold, keep the taco submerged under the oil to keep it cooking.
  • Using your strainer, lift the taco from the oil, lightly shake the puffy shell a few seconds and transfer it to a cooling rack that is sitting on top of a baking sheet (to catch any oil drippings). Let the taco rest with the inside of the taco fold facing down.
  • Ensure that the oil has returned to 375°F then continue making additional tacos until all the rolled masa balls are complete.
Puffy Taco Side View

Puffy Taco Shells Should Be Like An Al Dente Noodle – Soft To The Bite – Not 100% Crunchy Or Soggy

Puffy Taco Recipe

3. Dress those tacos!

  • This isn’t Taco Bell! So a properly dressed taco is what tastes Um Um, vs. OH. MY. GAWD! delicious! (we’re going for the latter).
  • Fill a taco with about a 1/4 cup of picadillo (or your chosen filling) then add your toppings.
  • While I could go crazy with an assortment of toppings, I prefer to enjoy my puffies how Teka Molino makes them – rather simple, so the picadillo doesn’t get lost with an avalanche of other toppings. My suggestion: lettuce, cheese then the tomato slice on top.

Perfection!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

How To Make Picadillo

Picadillo Is So Much Tastier Than Plain Ol’ Taco Meat (Sorry, Taco Meat)

Spicy Shrimp Puffy Tacos


picadillo, part ii

Picadillo Recipe From Bettys Cook NookThe Big Deal About Picadillo

In 2014 I posted this original picadillo recipe which remains a family favorite. This recipe makes a welcomed “second spin” on the original via my main squeeze: the puffy taco.

I routinely obsess about eating my favorite puffy tacos from my childhood chomping grounds of San Antonio’s Teka Molino where my Mom “Betty” grew up eating bean rolls for a nickel. She was barely 3 years old when “Tekas” opened in 1937!

This week while I was catching up with my Cousin Jennifer about newsworthy topics like puffy tacos she confirmed that the usual beef mixture inside the Teka puffy taco is in fact picadillo, which is anything but “just” ground beef! The flavors are unmistakably from south of the border and make a signature part of the best puffy tacos you’re likely to encounter.

My favorite part about picadillo are the small potatoes that are married with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Some describe picadillo as a ground beef hash and I’ve been known to eat it straight from the skillet with a spoon and a smile.

Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!

Foodie Tips

❤  Picadillo is one of those rare finds that makes exceptional leftovers. Enjoy it atop: 1) Nachos; 2) Warm, crusty bread; 3) Chalupas; 4) White or corn taco shells; 5) A baked potato; 6) Feeling adventurous? Make picadillo and baked eggs! To do so just reheat the picadillo in a skillet or microwave. Transfer the picadillo to a skillet and make a small well (indentation) for each cracked egg to rest in. Bake everything at 350°F for 13-15 minutes. You’ll want the egg yolks to finish a tad “runny,” – not hard boiled. This makes it a delicious way to start the day!

❤  In case you missed it don’t forget to enjoy this picadillo inside a puffy taco. Puffies aren’t necessarily easy to make the first time but after our second attempt I declared Joe a pro.

❤  Never heard of a puffy taco? Learn more about its history here!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes.

Picadillo and Baked Eggs

Picadillo and Baked Eggs. 100% delicious!

ii. Ingredients

1 tablespoon  |  oil (we prefer vegetable, canola or avocado)
1 pound  |  ground beef
½  |  onion, diced
½  |  green bell pepper, diced
1 medium  |  russet potato, chopped into ¼ – ½ inch squares
10-ounce can  |  diced tomatoes and chilies (a.k.a. RO*TEL), with the juice
8-ounce can  |  tomato sauce
2 tablespoons  |  taco seasoning
1 teaspoon  |  cumin
2 tablespoons   |  minced garlic
to taste  |  salt and pepper

Birthday Picadillo Close Up

My Birthday Picadillo, July 26, 2020

iii. What To Do

1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add the oil and ground beef, break-up the beef with a spoon or spatula for a couple of minutes while sautéing.

2. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and sauté another minute or two.

3. Add the potatoes and give things a stir.

4. Add the rest of the picadillo ingredients (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cumin, tomatoes and minced garlic).

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes. While things are simmering you can move to making your puffy tacos with this recipe or… when the picadillo is done, remove from heat, leaving covered to keep warm. You’ll know it’s done when the potatoes are soft, but not mushy.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Puffy Taco Recipe

If you’re reading this you must be interested in puffy tacos, pictured here with picadillo!


fried rice

The Best Fried Rice RecipeA Rice Surprise

This fried rice recipe didn’t seem much of a recipe at all.

There were just a few ingredients listed on Mom’s recipe card (below) and there were no measurements. Seriously?

Well I was shocked when Joe made the fried rice seemingly out of nowhere. It was absolutely the best fried rice I’ve ever had and he made it at home using my Mom “Betty’s” recipe as a guidepost!

After all these years… I’m glad there looks to be what is a dash of a soy sauce stain on Mom’s recipe card.

Foodie Tips

❤  This dish loves seemingly day old, dry seemingly unusable rice. This recipe will bring the rice back to life in a delicious way! Joe will make a fresh batch of rice in our Zojirushi rice maker then refrigerate it so it gets nice and dry.

❤  A bit about peas and carrots. We keep the frozen bagged stuff on hand at all times and these are super easy to add to the fried rice. Plus these add a nice pop of color!

❤  If you haven’t heard the term “soft scrambled eggs,” they’re just a little under cooked or taken “just to the shiny” and a bit wet look. To some, soft scrambled is the preferred way to eat them. In this recipe they’ll finish cooking in the rice.

❤  Winner Winner! Joe’s extra spin on this recipe included 3 cage free eggs and 1 tablespoon each of fresh minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. OMG.

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

|  cage free eggs
1 pound  |  meat (pork, chicken, beef)
2-3 tablespoons  |  vegetable oil
at least 2-3 cups  |  cooked, cold rice (we prefer white, basmati and jasmine rices) follow the package instructions
2-4 tablespoons  soy sauce
1-2 cups  peas and carrots (frozen or fresh), optional
lots o’  |  green onions, sliced
to taste  |  kosher salt
to taste  |  fresh cracked black pepper
optional  |  sesame seeds, toasted

Fried Rice Recipe

iii. What To Do

1. In a large pan over medium-low heat soft scramble the eggs and set them aside to rest.

2. In the same pan sauté the meat in oil. Joe used some thinly sliced pork and it was tender and delicious!

3. Add the the cooked rice. Stir/sauté everything until nice and brown.

4. Season with the soy sauce and continue stirring. Hungry yet?

5. Add the peas and carrots then the green onions.

6. Toss on some salt and a few fresh cracks of black pepper. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and you’re done!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Yum Yum Fried RiceFried Rice Recipe Bettys Cook Nook


kalua pork

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook NookPerfect Chow For A Luau

I probably overlooked this recipe due to my first hangover in college from an untimely overdose with Kahlúa.

But this recipe doesn’t incorporate the Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur; I discovered it’s actually spelled “kālua,” which refers to a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an underground pit oven called an “imu.” We won’t be digging any holes in the back yard for this recipe but I think you’ll find – sans the pit – that its got a delicious and warm flavor that will high five your tastebuds.

This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Hawaii held a special place in her heart; in Julie’s later years she would whisk her kids and grandkids to Hawaii for Christmas holiday. Also Hawaii fans, my Mom, “Betty,” and Dad Honeymooned in Hawaii in 1955 just 4 years after it became a U.S. state. So strap on your hula skirt, open-toed sandals, and top things off with a lei – we’re making kālua!

Foodie Tips

❤  Dry sherry vs. cooking sherry? Yeah, I still get confused. Here’s where you can get the 4-1-1 on sherry.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

❤  My Cousin Jennifer said Julie and the family often enjoyed this dish with taro rolls, which are funky purple moist rolls often served at Hawaiian Luaus. You can score a recipe for taro rolls here. Other great sides that Jennifer said complemented Julie’s meals were a salad, Sister Schubert’s yeast rolls, and mashed potatoes.

i. time

Allow extra time to marinate the pork. I let mine rest overnight but the recipe only calls for 2-3 hours. Total prep is about 6 hours. This is a slow-bake delight well worth the wait!

ii. Ingredients

5 pounds | center cut loin pork roast
¼ cup | soy sauce
2 tablespoons | dry or cooking sherry
large clove | garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon | ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon | thyme
⅔ cup | peach or apricot preserves
¼ cup | chili sauce (hot sauce)
8 ½ ounce can | water chestnuts, drained and sliced

iii. What to do

1. Place the pork in a gallon-sized baggie.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

2. Combine the soy sauce, sherry, garlic, cinnamon, and thyme and pour over the roast. Marinate the pork in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

3. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Kalua Pork Recipe

4. Remove the roast from the baggie, saving the marinade. Place the roast on a rack in a shallow baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes per pound (about 2.5 hours) or until a thermometer registers 170°F.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Why was I using a candy thermometer vs. a meat thermometer? Well, it’s what I had in the drawer. LOL

5. While the roast is still in the oven, in a small saucepan combine the reserved marinade, the preserves and the chili sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring often.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook6. Brush a little of the sauce over the pork and roast it 10 minutes longer.

7. To the remaining marinade add the water chestnuts and any juice that is left from the roasting pan. Heat this through and serve on the side along with the roast.

Serves: 6-8

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Kalua Pork Recipe Card

A Scan Of Julie’s Handwritten Recipe Card

Kalua Pork Recipe

Thank You, Jennifer!


chicken divan

Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook NookDivine Divan

This delicious recipe comes to my kitchen via my awesome Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Julie had the best taste in many things – art, decorating, food, and Cousins!

My Cousin Jennifer said Chicken Divan was a Sunday staple that they enjoyed quite regularly. So if you want to help create a few cherished family memories, chicken divan may be a wonderfully tasty starting place!

While the original recipe is not vintage per se it comes to our bellies via Paula Dean, so you know it’s gotta be good.

I hope you try this dish that’s been known as a classic American casserole since the 1960s. In fact, the dish has origins back much earlier to its birthplace as the signature dish of New York City’s Chatham Hotel.

“In English, the word “divan” came to mean sofa, from the council chamber’s benches. In France it meant a meeting place or great hall. It was this meaning that attracted the notice of the owners of the New York restaurant as they searched for a name that would imply continental elegance.” ~ GlutenSugarDairyFree.com

Foodie Tips

  Pull up a chair and let’s talk cheese. I try to refrain from buying bagged shredded cheese. For years I used it but as my hunger for knowing more about food intensified I realized I preferred freshly grated cheese vs. bagged cheese. I found it melted better and on closer inspection discovered bagged cheese has a coating on it that prevents clumping. Some posts I read said this dusty white coating was actually cellulose, which is made from wood pulp. I’m out.


  Is Parmesan Cheese the same thing as Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese? You might be surprised after reading this article! And this one, too. Hint: No shaker cheese for this recipe!
Shredded Chicken For Chicken Divan
  In a flurry to get this dish made? We used shredded chicken from our grocery and it shaved some serious time time off of the food prep clock.

i. Time

Total prep: About an hour.

ii. Ingredients

2 10-ounce packages | frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cups | shredded chicken, cooked
2 10¾-ounce cans | condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | sour cream
1 cup | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon | fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon | curry powder
to taste | kosher salt
to taste | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | dry white wine
½ cup | parmesan cheese, freshly grated
½ cup | soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons | unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
1-2 handfuls | gruyere or more sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional and highly suggested)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open one end of each box and microwave on full power for 2 minutes, or until thawed. Drain the broccoli into a strainer and add the shredded chicken and let rest.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and the wine. Whisk everything together to make a sauce. Transfer the broccoli-chicken mixture to the bowl with the sauce and gently mix things well using a spatula.

How To Make Chicken Divan

3. Place the mixture into an 11-inch x 7-inch casserole dish that’s been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat the Divan mixture down evenly and smooth with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl combine the parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle this over the top of the Divan mixture.

A Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes until bubbly. If desired, about halfway through baking remove from oven, top with cheese, and return to bake until toasty. Remove from oven let rest and serve!

Pairs well with a salad – enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Chicken Divan With Cheese


souper burger

Souper Burger Recipe | Betty's Cook NookTwo Treats In One

I’ve heard of putting lots of things in burgers, but never soup. Until now.

I’ve made, enjoyed, and posted quite a few soup recipes from my Mom, “Betty’s”, cookbook so there’s no doubting her love for the stuff. Whether they’re served cold, hot, thick or not – these sensationally savory bowls that epitomize “home” itself deliciously nourish the soul.

One of my childhood favorites is this cheese soup that was served at Jim’s Restaurant’s rooted in 1960s San Antonio. Jim’s was our go-to place for an outside meal, which was a rare treat in our home! There are still 15 Jim’s in San Antonio and 3 in my current hometown up the street in Austin so it’s nice to see that Jim’s has survived the test – and taste – of time.

The most popular soup at Jim’s is this Canadian Cheese Soup so I’m happy to add it to the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook! Make a bowl and you’ll see why!

Foodie Tips

  For my vegetable soup I chose Campbell’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup,shown below. Campbell’s has been a trusted friend of our family since before I was born.

  Mom would have likely served these burgers alongside a chilled salad. I would also suggest some of my favorite “less leafy” sidekicks: Blue Cheese Bacon Twice-Baked Potatoes, California Potato Salad – even these home favorite “Hatchbrowns!” My hips don’t lie.

i. Time

To prepare: About 15 – 20 minutes.

Campbell's Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

ii. Ingredients

1 pound | ground beef
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 can | vegetable soup
2 tablespoons | catsup
1 teaspoon | prepared mustard
dash | fresh cracked pepper
| hamburger buns
to schmear the buns | butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)

iii. What to do

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat brown the ground beef and onion. Stir to separate the meat.

Souper Burger Ingredients

2. Add the soup, catsup, mustard, and pepper; simmer about 5 minutes.

3. Butter your buns and toast them in an oven (or your favorite heating device).

4. Scoop and serve the souper burger mixture onto the hamburger buns and enjoy!

Yields 6 souper burgers!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Souper Burger Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Souper Burger Recipe | Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Souper Burger Recipe Card


special baked chicken

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

This special recipe is dedicated to Alison ~
her kindness reminds me to never underestimate
the power of a Cousin.

~      ~

This recipe crept into my life several decades after it was penned from a very lovable and surprising person. I didn’t discover the recipe among the hundreds of my Mom “Betty’s” other recipes — I found it in my mailbox!

While recently packing up her family’s belongings to move near my childhood home in San Antonio my Cousin Alison came across this recipe from her Grandmother Delores’ cookbook and was kind enough to send it to me along with a few other recipes that will be soon joining the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Alison knew what these recipes would mean to me!

The connection? Delores is my Mom “Betty’s” older — and only — Sister and this recipe is one of a precious few that have found its way to the Betty’s Cook Nook archive that was otherwise missing from my Mom’s cookbook. So Texas-sized props to my Cousin Alison!

A healthy appetite for family

When you’re a grown adult it’s not every day someone seemingly new arrives into your heart. Over the past few years Alison has shown me that even a part of my familiar family can have a surprising impact decades after we first knew each other. I love uncovering all the ways we are alike even when I’m not mining for things in common; a crescendo I hope has no end.

One such example is our thirst for our family genealogy. I heard from my family that Alison had great skills and interest for researching our past but it wasn’t until this month when I realized how true this was!

As a self-proclaimed internet researcher I pride myself on being able to find a lot of things online thru keyword and image searches. Heck, it was this post that helped me reunite with my Mom and her Sister’s childhood home here in Austin 80 years after it was built!

Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

The Horní Lideč Coat of Arms

Shortly after receiving the recipes, Alison and I were geeking out via fierce sms txt exchanges after dual-searching a missing part of our family’s history — my Grandmother “Nanny’s” father, “Joe,” Betty’s Grandfather. I literally knew nothing about him but Alison found out from Census records she accessed on Ancestry.com that Joe was an orphan who came to the U.S. when he was a mere 9 years old! Joe hailed from a tiny village named Horní Lideč in Moravia — a country that is now part of the Czech Republic — and wound up in the farm country of Dime Box, Texas, where my Mom was born… and close to where Alison and I went to college. Gig ‘Em! Alison and I are currently on the hunt for more clues for how we can better know this branch of our family tree.

A wild and wicked past

Not only did the resiliency of my Great Grandfather’s history fuel my curiosity and ignite my respect but Alison told me she discovered her several times great Grandmother was Martha Carrier, a Puritan accused, convicted, and hanged in 1692 for reportedly being a witch during the Salem Witch Trails! Pure craziness! 19 years after Martha’s death the Massachusetts government awarded her family 7 pounds and 6 shillings and reversed the conviction. So humbling!

Martha – along with 19 others are recognized at Salem’s Witch Trials Memorial. I’ve only been to Salem once — on a dark 1990s Halloween’s Eve no doubt. Should my feet adventure to this part of America again, I’ll make sure and visit the memorial site which honors the past by perpetuating the unwavering commitment to social justice.

So what does all this have to do with special baked chicken? Well, quite a lot! Had Alison not sent me the almost-forgotten recipe we likely wouldn’t have dove deep into our family’s roots … or found a dish I hope to meet and eat again! Along the way we shared, learned, laughed, *and gasped* at what we discovered.

The point of all of this is know your family. Not just your nuclear family but as much of where you’ve came from that you can discover! And food is a wonderful way to connect and share the best of family along the way.

On to the most special baked chicken recipe I know!

Foodie Tips

  Apparently sliced dried beef is super salty and we forgot to run water over it per the instructions. I’d suggest following this step!

Special Baked Chicken Dried Beef  Lover of the dried beef, are you? Well, you’re not alone. While one of my Nieces hates dried beef (a.k.a. chipped beef) with a passion she does hold a high regard for its historical significance. Check out this other BCN recipe where we explore another way to fashion dried beef into a, ahem, culinary delicacy.

  Of special note: My Mom advised this recipe can be delayed in a “slower oven” if guests are late.

i. Ingredients

3 ounce package | sliced dried beef
3 large | chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved
6 slices | bacon
to sprinkle | fresh rosemary, chopped
1 can | mushroom soup
1 cup | sour cream

ii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Special Baked Chicken Chipped Beef

1. Run cold water over the dried beef. Dry then place the beef in a 12” x 8” x 2” baking dish.

2. Place the prepared chicken breasts on top of the beef.

Special Baked Chicken Bacon and Rosemary3. Top each breast with a slice of bacon then sprinkle with the fresh rosemary. Place in your oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

4. While the meats are cooking combine the mushroom soup and the sour cream. When “time’s up” on the chicken pour the sour cream mixture over the chicken and continue baking 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Baste here and there, making sure to not disrupt the layering of the chipped beef and the bacon.

Yields 4-6 servings.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Special Baked Chicken Recipe

A Copy Of Mom’s Recipe – As Penned By My Aunt Delores (Betty’s SIster).