toasted sandwiches

Treat Time Toaster Toasted Caprese Sandwich Recipe

This is perhaps the post with the most unique blend of happenstance and foodie passion here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Tucked in the very back of Mom’s cookbook is a tiny accordion-folded recipe booklet called “How to use your Treat-Time Toaster.” You can enjoy a scan of it below.

I had thumbed passed this booklet many times before but in late January 2017 I finally took my curiosity online to try and find out what a “Treat-Time Toaster” might actually be.

In just a few clicks I found myself at eBay where I discovered these toasters were in fact vintage grilled sandwich makers. These were the same things I remember being in our kitchen at Trailend Drive – Mom used them to fashion some of the coolest grilled cheese sandwiches ever!

Treat Time Toaster Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

After quickly checking with my older brothers about the whereabouts of our toasters, I sadly realized they were long, long gone.

Gone, too, was the company who made them – NuRod, Inc., based out of Monrovia California. So since I couldn’t score one of my own new Treat-Time Toasters, I found a set of two vintage toasters that I scored on eBay for about $30, including shipping.

A few days later a bountiful box arrived at my home and boy, was I excited! Soon my kitchen would be turning out delicious sandwich snacks. The possibilities were endless, thanks to the recipe booklet that contained 13 ideas for transforming mere bread into a myriad of mouthwatering delights filled with awe-inspiring ingredients like cocktail Vintage Flying Saucersausages, bologna, baked beans, raisin bread, marmalade, fried eggs and more.

Are you salivating yet?

The Treat-Time Toaster looked part flying saucer and part clamshell. Placing the toaster over campfire or stove in mere seconds you can create panini, grilled sandwiches, pocket sandwiches … anything your mind and appetite can conjure!

The toaster churns out culinary delights that remind me of those from the raclette tabletop grill, which has been a favorite kitchen accessory of mine for many years.

Treat Time Toaster Ad June 1965 Popular Science

snack attack

The adman in me appreciated reading the recipe booklet that appears to have been written by Donna Reade, who was Director of Consumer Service at Nu-Rod. I cracked a few smiles when I read passages like “You’ll find family and friends runnin’ back for more,” “Not only delicious but filling” and “M-M-M-boy!

The folks at Nu-Rod also knew a little something about target marketing back in the early 1960s. I found evidence of ads for their Treat-Time Sandwich Maker in Popular Science, Boys’ Life, Mobile Home Journal, and V.F.W. Journal.

where did it all go wrong?

So if the Treat-Time Toaster is so awesome, why did it disappear from America’s kitchens almost as fast as it arrived?!

Based on my online research Nu-Rod was in existence from 1960-1970 and then their digital footprint is no more. Perhaps they were intent on connecting the Treat-Time Toaster with men more so than women? Or perhaps the name “Treat-Time Toaster” was too innovative at the time.

Whatever the case all I know is I’m glad I’ve reconnected my appetite with this fond foodie kitchen gizmo.

foodie tips

  While supplies last you can likely find vintage Treat-Time Toasters on Ebay or similar machines like these on the web. I ordered two so that I didn’t have to share my toaster with anyone else! Hey, twice the fun!

  The ingredients list below is for the most basic – and delicious – grilled cheese sandwich. But don’t let your imagination and appetite stop here – try any of the original recipes in the Treat-Time Toaster recipe book (below)… or you let your imagination go wild. My top three favorite sandwiches are grilled cheese, PB&J, and our own creation – a grilled caprese sandwich (shown above), crafted from mozzarella, fresh basil leaves from the garden and a few slices of red tomato.

ButterKrust Bread Fresh From The Bag

i. ingredients (per serving)

2 slices | white bread (or artisan bread if you’re feeling très gourmet)
schmears | falfurrias brand butter
assorted | ingredients for your sandwich (melting cheese, crisp bacon, sliced tomato, etc.)
no-stick cooking spray or butter | to grease your toaster
(optional) to serve | your favorite condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, honey, etc.)

Treat-Time Toaster Cookbook

Click the image for a close-up view of some of the original Treat-Time recipes!

ii. what to do

1. Butter the outside of two slices of bread and set aside. Hey, if you’re feeling adventurous you can also butter the inside, if butter complements your chosen ingredients.

2. Top one inside with your chosen ingredients, making sure to keep things mingling toward the center of the bread.

3. Butter or spray both insides of your Treat-Time Toaster to prevent sticking.Treat Time Toaster Punch It Out

4. Center and place your buttered sandwich onto the toaster and close the toaster. Squeeze tight and remove the excess bread. Latch the handle.Treat Time Toaster on da Grill

5. Hold/Place the Treat-Time Toaster over campfire or medium-fired kitchen stovetop for 1-2 minutes on each side. I used my toaster inside over a gas range. I experimented a few times to find the right combination of flame and time to deliver the perfect oozy, gooey, buttery treat.

Treat Time Toaster Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Serve warm with your favorite sides!

~ Patrick

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

ButterKrust Bakery San Antonio Texas

The ButterKrust bakery way back then… I love the art deco lines!


A word about bread…

One of my favorite childhood memories happened when our elementary school (go, Northwood Unicorns) made an outing to San Antonio’s ButterKrust Bakery that graciously rested alongside 2251 Broadway Street.

I’m confident my love of carbs was born that day. In fact, every time I drove past the bakery (passenger or driver), the window somehow found itself miraculously resting so I could enjoy the waft of butter and bread while the wind whipped through my hair. Never underestimate the power of bread!

But gosh, I hope the power of ButterKrust bread outlives me, no thanks to their new owner’s shameful and shoddy company website, which looks circa 1995. More ButterKrust bakery history here.

Yup. I scored this vintage spot for you!

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minestrone

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Souper Trouper

This isn’t our first time at the minestrone rodeo! In 2012 we made this minestrone recipe and Mom must have surely loved this soup because I think I’ve found 3 different minestrone soup recipes in her cookbook.

While the formal definition of minestrone calls for a thick soup with bits of pasta, this recipe – sans the pasta – is just as tasty as our first find, which included dittalini. With Italian origins, this tasty soup warms you up on a cold day! It’s good all by itself or partnered with some fresh baked bread and a salad. For those who don’t know me, a side of wine is a given. :)

foodie tips

  I used red cabbage for a pop a’ color.

  I was concerned at first sight by the mass quantity of soup. But when I later did the math I realized it’s perfect for a party of eight. Or 4 days of 2 bowls each.  :/~  You can also bag and freeze leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time.

  “Navy beans” are referred to by many a name. Haricot. Pearl Haricot. Pea Bean. This high fiber bean isn’t navy blue in color – rather white – and prized for its cholesterol-lowering health benefits plus its ability to retain an oval shape after being cooked tender. Navy beans received their nickname after being a popular staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.
Why Are They Called Navy Beans?

i. ingredients

2 cups | navy beans
4 quarts | cold water
| beef bouillon cubes (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons | vegetable oil
1 ½ cups | onion, chopped
2 cups | celery, sliced
2 cloves | garlic, minced
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 pound can | tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 teaspoon | basil, crumbled (or a few fresh leaves, torn by hand)
½ teaspoon | oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons | salt (we prefer kosher salt or grey sea salt)
¼ teaspoon | pepper, freshly cracked
1 cup (3 medium) | carrots, thinly sliced
4 cups (4 small) | unpeeled zucchini, sliced
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
10 ounce package | frozen cut green beans
¼ head (2 cups) | cabbage, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, grated

Use Red Cabbage For Minestrone Soup... For A Pop Of Color!ii. what to do

1. Wash the navy beans. Place beans, water and bouillon (or broth) in a large pot. Bring slowly to boil and simmer, covered 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are soft. While the beans soften now’s a good time for a little wine rest break! #LongDay

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans and broth.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4. To serve, sprinkle each serving with the grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

Yields: About 8-9 servings (~2 cups each, in size). Nutritional info is below in the original recipe scan!

~ Patrick

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

 

How To Make Minestrone Soup

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Betty’s Original Minestrone Soup Recipe


eggplant parmigiana

An Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Aubergine Supreme

Found on the same page of Mom’s cookbook as this savory pepper steak recipe is this eggplant parmigiana recipe.

We Americans often shorten words down to make them easier to pronounce:

    • When referring to cheese, “Parmigiana” (Italian origin) is shortened to simply “Parmesan”. But somehow saying “parmigiana” just makes anything made with it sound fancier … and tastier.
    • “Aubergine” (British English) is known as “Eggplant” this side of the big pond <– I’m pointing to Texas. I’d rather refer to my walls being the color of aubergine than eggplant. Any day, hands down.
    • Shaking My HeadWhen in Italy “Rome” is “Roma,” “Naples” is “Napoli” and “Florence” is Firenze.” On my first trip to Italy in 2006 I had a full on adult melt-down in the Naples train station when I thought we couldn’t purchase a ticket to Florence … only to discover a few minutes later that Firenze and Florence were the same city. Finger to forehead! Still shaking my head to this day.

While I’ve spent much of my recent adult life researching and traveling Italy, I look for ways to incorporate the Italian romance language into my everyday life as often as I can, so while the use of “eggplant parmigiana” would appear to be on the decline according to Google Ngram Viewer, I can assure you this dish will be making a repeat appearance in my kitchen … and more importantly in my belly. :)

This dish hails from southern Italy’s regions of Campania and Sicily. Layers of cheese and tomato sauce? Count me IN!

foodie tips ~

❤  While the debate over whether to salt (sweat) or not salt your eggplant rolls on, this recipe doesn’t call for it. Once your eggplant is layered between tomato and cheese, even the discriminating pallet shouldn’t notice any eggplant bitterness.

❤  Love eggplant? Check out more of Mom’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook using the nav at left!

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | unsalted butter (Falfurrias brand butter, per Betty’s Mom “Nanny” – she is my grandmother)
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, crushed
1 pound | ground beef chuck
1 can (~1 pound 1 ounce) | Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
6 ounce can | tomato paste
2 teaspoons | dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon | dried basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | pepper
1 cup | water
1 tablespoon | brown sugar
1 large | eggplant (about 1 pound in size)
| cage free eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon | water
½ cup | dried bread crumbs
1 ¼ cups | parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup | salad oil (vegetable oil)
8 ounces | mozzarella cheese, grated

ii. what to do

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté the onion, garlic and beef chuck until the meat is no longer red (about 5 minutes).

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

3. Let’s get the oven preheating to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and set aside.

4. Wash the eggplant and leave the peel on. Cut the eggplant crosswise into slices about ½” thick and set aside.

5. In a pie plate, combine the eggs and 1 tablespoon more water; mix well.

6. Are you ready to bread? On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the bread crumbs with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix well. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and coat well. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly.

7. In a new pan sauté the eggplant slices a few at a time in 1 tablespoon of hot oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Add more oil as needed.

8. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining parmesan cheese. Top each slice with half of the mozzarella cheese; cover with half of the tomato sauce.

9. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Cover with the rest of the parmesan, and the tomato sauce.

10. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Arrange the remaining mozzarella over the top; bake 20 minute longer, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original recipe clipping.


barbequed shrimp

barbequed shrimp recipe from betty's cook nook
Checking The Box

As I sit to write this post I think to myself “How well do I really know things about shrimp?”

Turns out not very well!

Why? Well, as a child of 8 who had an unforgettable unpleasant experience with oysters, I’ve since found seafood literally quite fishy, meaning I typically run from it. Batter it up, fry it, and top it with some fresh squeezed lemon or tartar sauce and I’ll come running back. While crab, grilled salmon, Luby’s fried fish, lobster mac and cheese, even some ceviche are right at home in my belly, my list of “no thank yous” include shrimp cocktail, seafood salad, and the likes of anything resembling octopus and squid. Don’t even get me started about a fish served with a head and a glaring, glazed eye. N.O.

So in the end my knowledge of seafood is what I’d call a short story. Two ships that passed in the night. An un-love affair.

A Fish By Any Other Name

When I established this cooking blog I wanted to organize it identically to how Mom organized the sections in her cookbook. Despite my goal there have been recipes that break convention and this recipe is one of them; the only possible two categories this recipe would likely fit under is “appetizers” or “meats poultry and fish.” So I thought: “Check meats poultry and fish!”

Not. So. Fast.

I turned to Google and started researching to find out what, really, is a shrimp?! I came across posts that:

  • Criticized shrimp as being “bottom feeders” that are high in cholesterol
  • Praised shrimp for being a healthy alternative to meat and poultry
  • Described shrimp as being more closely related to spiders, grasshoppers and crabs than to fish
  • And one post that skewered shrimp for exacerbating climate change. Wow, really?

In the end a shrimp is factually a 10-legged crustacean. And since saying “I’m eating crustacean tonight!” sounds plain ol’ #awkward, most people just settle on referring to shrimp as seafood. So there we go … *POOF* … I just created a seafood category box at right!

Shrimping On The Barbie

Before we dive into Mom and Dad’s shrimp recipe below, let’s watch a memorable throwback with this 1980s commercial featuring Paul Hogan who is better remembered as Crocodile Dundee. The phrase “slip another shrimp on the barbie?” It came from this: * Caution: the “shrimp” on the barbie at the end of this commercial is monstrously ginormous. But maybe it’s a prawn? And is a prawn a shrimp? Oh, that’s a foodie research story best served for another day. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t watch the above video with closed captioning tuned on … unless you want a good laugh.

  You probably know who had the bright idea to cloak his shrimp in bacon in the picture above. That’s right!

  Do not overcook this shrimp, per Mom’s note below!

i. ingredientsbarbequed shrimp on the grill

1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | salt
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon | dried basil leaves
2 cloves | garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon | catsup
1 teaspoon | pepper
1 tablespoon | wine vinegar
2 pounds | shrimp, shelled and deveined

ii. what to do

1. Combine the first eight ingredients above to make your marinade. Pour over the shrimp and cover. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

2. Thread shrimp on skewers and place on the barbie. Grill 3 minutes over coals, basting with the marinade.

barbequed shrimp on the grill from betty's cook nook

3. Turn and grill 5 minutes more, basting several times.

Mom said my Dad always got raves from guests for this dish. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Mom and Dad's Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe

Mom and Dad’s Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe


burger pizza

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook NookLet’s Eatsa The Pizza

As a self-proclaimed pizza junky my at-home pizza-like objects often take a variety of forms involving Boboli crust, a nice slice of bread topped with Joe’s Red Sauce or this home grown recipe for Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheese Bread. No matter the form the cheesy, savory taste of pizza is always a delight, morning or night.

It wasn’t until my first trip to Italy that I discovered I actually prefer thin crust pizza topped with a few simple ingredients. Sorry, cheese-stuffed crust, deep-dish gooey pie!

This burger pizza recipe surprised both Joe and I – we agreed it was a bit like the home grown Boboli pizza of the 1970s. But before we dive into how to make a slice of this burger topped piggy pie let’s enjoy a little story.

Burgertime … In The Beginning

Following our family’s Pong and Atari 2600 digital scores, in walked ColecoVision. My Mom “Betty” and I spent many mind-numbing moments playing our hearts away in front of the likes of Dig Dig, Frogger, and BurgerTime. Let’s have a brief look at some of the BurgerTime action:

Wow. Chef eating pickles, eggs, hot dogs brought to life in cutting edge ROM graphics. Exciting, huh? Hah! More than 30 years later I still have my Coleco game console including my BurgerTime cartridge, which shows my inner love of food-related fancies. Anyone game for a BurgerTime playoff?

foodie tips ~

  We didn’t see instructions for how to prepare 1 cup of biscuit mix so we got as close as we could – we used 1 cup Bisquick brand mix plus ¼ cup whole milk to mix. Also, we added a tad more biscuit mix to dust our pastry/cutting board.

  Out of Bisquick? Try this substitute for 1 cup of Bisquick mix: 1 cup flour + 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder +½ teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon of shortening. Mix it all up and voilà!

  Mom’s recipe doesn’t specify this but we browned our ground chuck before topping and baking the pizza.

 I thought to use fresh herbs but I was corrected. “Dried is what would have been used,” Joe said. I agreed.

i. ingredients

1 cup | packaged biscuit mix (most commonly known in the 1970s as bisquick)
¼ cup | whole milk (if following the foodie tip above)
to coat dough | wesson oil
½ pound | ground chuck, browned (see foodie tip above)
to taste | salt, pepper and garlic salt
½ teaspoon | oregano or basil (we used oregano but I love me some basil)
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 tablespoon | parsley, chopped
¼ pound | swiss cheese, cut into 1-inch strips

ii. what to do

1. Prepare dough according to package directions (or my above foodie tip).

How To Make Burger Pizza

2. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece to fit the bottom and sides of the pie pans. Place in pan and brush with the oil.

Let's Layer Our Burger Pizza

3. Put half of the remaining ingredients on each of the pies in the following order: crumble the ground chuck evenly over the dough, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano or basil. Cover with tomato sauce and parsley. Arrange the swiss cheese strips on top, like a spoke of a wheel.

4. Bake in a 400°F preheated oven about 20 minutes or until brown and cheese has melted.

Yields: 2 delicious pizzas

~ Patrick

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

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Burger Pizza Recipe


betty’s main course minestrone

mom's minestrone soup

Bacontime

It donned on me as I started cooking the first ingredient for this dish ~ bacon ~ that most of our family has lived with a microwave in the kitchen, than without.

Gulp. I’m old!

While the microwave’s origins go back as early as the 1930s, by the late 1970s, the prices made them more affordable. By 1986, only 25% of Americans had a microwave meaning us Kikers were early adopters of magic!

Aside from microwave popcorn, and scrambled eggs, bacon was something that the microwave could heat fast n’ good, turning Mom into a time-saving magician.

This recipe doesn’t call for microwaving the bacon, but either way you’ll find every spoonful of the salty stuff a special surprise.

the makin's for minestone

Let’s Eat

i. ingredients

3 slices | bacon, finely chopped
1 cup | onion, chopped
½ cup | celery, chopped
2 large cloves | garlic, minced
1 teaspoon | basil leaves
1 can | campbell’s beef broth
1 can | campbell’s bean with bacon soup
1½ soup cans | water
1 can (16 ounces) | stewed tomatoes, undrained
½ cup | uncooked ditalini pasta
½ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | cabbage, cut into long, thin shreds
1 cup | zucchini, cubed

ditalini pastaii. what to do

1. In a large saucepan, brown bacon and cook onion and celery with garlic and basil until tender.

2. Stir into soup the water, tomatoes, ditalini and salt. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat.

3. Simmer 15 minutes.

4. Add cabbage and zucchini. Cook 10 minutes more or until done, stirring occasionally.

Yields: 8 cups.


Foodie Tips ~

 Why not partner a bowl of this soup with some tasty bread?
 This recipe can easily be doubled for larger food gatherings.

Foodie Note ~

When I found this recipe, it didn’t have a name. I went online and found out that this was indeed a minestrone soup recipe. I later found a couple other minestrone recipes in Mom’s cookbook so I know it was one of her favorites. 

mom's minestrone recipe


italian dressing

Love Italy?what's this? italian dressing! shake it up and it'll tickle your taste buds.

I’m freshly back from a two week adventure to Italy*, so there’s nothing more relevant to make this week than Italian dressing.

Italian dressing isn’t just for mere lettuce; you can use it to top sliced tomatoes, or marinate meats or potatoes before cooking.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get shaking!

* Think I’m kidding about an amazing trip to Italy? Mouse over then click the pic below!

i. ingredients

1/2 cup | EVOO
2 tablespoons | red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon | fresh basil, chopped (dried basil only if you must)
¼ teaspoon | fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon | gray sea salt
to taste | freshly ground black pepper

If serving dressing atop sliced tomato:

also add | LOTS of green onion tops, sliced
also add | parsley

ii. what to doA view of Lake Como from my rental's balcony view of Varenna, Italy. Read more about Lake Como at my site ForTheLoveOfItaly.com

1. Prepare all ingredients and place in a dressing jar.

2. Shake, shake, shake!

3. Enjoy the dressing fresh or refrigerate it up to a week or two.

Foodie Tips ~

  I doubled the recipe. The more, the better.

  Try using a garlic press if you’re too tired to finely chop.

  You can also add some grated aged romano cheese to the dressing for an awesomely cheesy taste.

  If using as a marinade, add chopped green onion tops and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes … then grill.

  Try the tomato recipe on the recipe card if you want a tasty option for the dressing.

the original italian dressing recipe cardthe original italian dressing recipe card written by mom... the recipe is from mary stephenson's kitchen

Who is “Mary Stephenson”?

We Kikers lived at 2927 Trailend Drive and Mary was the mother of the family living next door to us.

Mary was a fabulous foodie friend of ours and you’ll see a few recipes from Mary’s kitchen here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Our two families spent many shared dinners and laughs together so I was happy to find some of Mary’s recipes tucked in Mom’s cookbook since the Stephensons were a magnificent and memorable part of my wonder years.