parmesan dressing

Parmesan Dressing RecipeA Tale of Two Dishes

When I first picked this recipe from Mom’s cookbook, I thought I’d be making a creamy salad dressing chock-full of grated parmesan.

I was so very wrong!

A few minutes into the prep for this recipe and I knew to set my salad aside.

I was making dressing. Or was it stuffing?

Turns out I wasn’t sure the differences of either.

I grew up loving me some Stove Top Stuffing. Not that my Mom “Betty” regularly made it – I did. My love for stuffing started and swelled during my college years and since I’ve polished off more than a few boxes of the stuff like it was a main course … and a dessert.

A Foodie War Rages On

After a little bit of online research I was left even more conflicted about the differences between dressing and stuffing.

Some posts I found noted that the only difference was whether you prepared and served the dish from inside a bird (hence stuffing) vs. from the side of the bird (or dressing).

Another post said it was due to differences in dialect as in the south dressing was a more “genteel” way of referring to stuffing. Reading this made me feel like I time-warped back into a scene from Gone With The Wind.

Others posts pointed to stuffing being super moist and dressing more like a special combination of sticky-pillowy soft with a hint of crisp – this is the style I am used to.

Stuffing vs. Dressing - What's the Difference?All I know is based on this Butterball survey, the various regions of the country do have differences in preference. No wonder my confusion! As a Texan, I live in a region where the popularity of “stuffing” vs. “dressing” is an arm-wrestle more evenly matched than anywhere else in the nation! Heck, even in this Paul Deen video, the Southern Queen of Comfort Food herself uses the terms interchangeably… yet her end result looks more like porridge than what I’m used to. Heck, y’all, if Rachael Ray was weighing-in here, she’d probably call this dish “druffing,” as she’s known for inventing words that are a made-up mish-mash of food itself!

So, what does your family call it?

I simply call it “get in my belly!” And just like the war over chili with or without beans, I’ll leave it to you to make and enjoy the very best of your favorite recipes!

foodie tips

  A word about parsley … While I’m fairly certain that in the good ol’ days any reference to parsley implied the curly-leaf kind, today I’m a lover of Italian flat-leaf parsley because I find it less “grassy” and “scratchy” on my palate. The good news is you can pick whichever variety you like!

  Step 3 below is optional, but I tried the dressing before and after and preferred the dressing with a slight toasting.

i. ingredients

1 large | white onion, chopped
4 tablespoons | vegetable oil
3 cups | soft bread crumbs
½ cup | parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup | fresh parsley, chopped (Italian flat leaf suggested)
2 tablespoons | hot water
Parmesan Dressing Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions.

2. Add the onions to all the other ingredients and mix well.

3. This step is extra (from me)… I transferred my dressing into a 350°F preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes to toast it up a bit. I added a bit more freshly grated parmesan on top to give it a little punch.

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Parmesan Dressing Recipe

Parmesan Dressing Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Parmesan Dressing Recipe Card

A few more vintage Stove Top commercials from me to you!

NPR Kitchen Set~ ~ ~

Stove Top Stuffing: Creepy, Remarkable, or Somewhere in Between?!

Listen to this NPR spot about the origin of Stove Top Stuffing and its creator, Ruth Siems.

After listening to this I gained a greater appreciation for the culinary convenience of Stove Top Stuffing as well as the time-tested art of conventional stuffing!

~ ~ ~


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.


savory meatballs

Savory Meatballs Recipe From Betty's Cook NookAnniversaries of the Heart

In May: This blog celebrated 5 sensationally savory years of enjoying cooking and sharing my Mom “Betty’s” recipes.

This Summer: My foodie partner in crime and I celebrated rather large birthdays, both turning 40! Um, yeah, 40!

Tomorrow: Joe and I celebrate our 12th Manniverary™. Those of you who placed bets … time to settle up! I accept cash or debit cards. Especially cash. 

This Week: My parents Betty and Louis would be celebrating 60 years in marriage on August 27th. Hats off!

Flashback 1976. I remember the moment when my Mom gave my Dad a fancy gold watch for Christmas. It was the first time I saw my Dad break into tears and it was at that moment when the bell went off in my head, ringing to the tune of “Hey, dummy, this must be true love!” Dad was so overwhelmed with his new watch and Mom had cleverly kept the secret all along. Way to go, Mom! #props

Time Flies. Yes, Really!

I remember sitting many a day in math class at MacArthur High literally counting the seconds until the school bell would ring. I would stare at my watch and wonder why the second hand took its slow-sweet time advancing to the next second, the next 5 minute mark, and so on.

These days I look at my watch and I swear it’s beating faster than ever! My eyes wish the second hand would slow down and take it easy so I could catch up and savor what just happened. With the likes of toll roads, Amazon Prime Now and lightening fast download speeds, we truly live in a New York minute – where patience has grown rice paper thin and immediacy scores expected brownie points. Did somebody say brownie?

So this anniversary weekend I asked Joe to pick out the next recipe from Mom’s cookbook for us to try; it’s this simple dish that my native Italian friends would likely laugh at because it calls for frozen peas and minute rice. But hey, we’re in a 1970s state of mind. And that’s how we roll at Betty’s Cook Nook.

Enjoy every. Single.. Minute… Of…. It!

Wait! Did somebody say roll?

foodie tips ~

❤  Ingredients. Per the original recipe below, by “onion” I’m 99.99% certain “white onion” is implied. Also, for soft bread crumbs Progresso is the way to go in my family – plain, Italian Style or Parmesan.

Let's Make Meatballs!

  Let’s make a meatballs (said with an Italian accent)! To make meatballs of uniform size I used a medium-sized cookie scooper that I scored at Bed Bath and Beyond. Great balls of firethat was lightening fast!

  The recipe doesn’t suggest any side dishes, so I will. Flashing back to the 1970s we would likely accompanied these meatballs with a tossed salad. And some bread. Oh yeah, never forget the bread. My meatball dish was dressed with a savory side of garlic bread from my neighborhood HEB.

i. ingredients

1 pound | ground beef
¼ cup | onion, minced
2 tablespoons | soft bread crumbs
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | salad oil
1 can | Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
1 cup | water
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
½ teaspoon | salt
1 ⅓ cups | Minute Rice

A Savory Meatballs Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
ii. what to do

1. Combine ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, and ½ teaspoon salt; shape into about 20 meatballs.

2. Brown meatballs in salad oil in a skillet. Turn the meatballs here and there so they don’t brown irregularly.

3. Add the soup, water, peas, and the last ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and stir in the rice.

4. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Yields 4 servings

~ Patrick

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

Savory Meatballs Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This is a scan of my Mom’s original recipe clipping.
This is the back of the same clipping as the “Turkey Stove Top” recipe already I’ve published.
You gotta check that one out – it was rather tasty!

 

 

 

 

 


meat loaf medley

a meat loaf medley recipe from betty's cook nookI Would Do Anything For Loaf

Some of the best recipes are filed away solely in memory. As awesome as this is, it can mean that unless one coverts the recipes to paper or blog before the recipe creator passes, their cherished recipes can pass right along with them.

This is the case with some of my Mom’s and virtually all of my Maternal Grandmother’s recipes! Lucky for me my Mom curated two cookbooks so I have a few hundred recipes for my tastebuds to feast upon (you, too, if you fully experience this blog). The only recipes I have from my Dad are the cherished few that he taught us in person and I don’t have any of my Paternal Grandparent’s (or beyond) recipes. I hope this blog will put a digital stake (steak) in the ground and break my family’s culinary recklessness as I archive many of the recipes fueling my childhood. So far, I’ve published more than 130 recipes … and I have a healthy appetite to keep ’em rollin’!

So given the ease in which some foodies “just remember” how to create in the kitchen, I was not at all surprised that this recipe simply calls for us to literally “make a meat loaf mixture” … yet there is no detail for how to do so! Yeah, I don’t know how to do that! Joe found and adapted an easy-to-make meat loaf recipe so I included the details below if you need a little help making your meat loaf. Feel free to substitute this loaf recipe with your very own favorite; this dish is extremely forgiving – Hello, it’s graced with instant mashed potatoes!

I found this recipe clinging on for dear life near the bottom of this chicken breasts au vin recipe that we recently made so consider these posts a tasty “twofer” for your tummy! This recipe ran in print without a name, so I lovingly named it “meat loaf medley” because it made me chortle a little when the name came to mind. The world “chortle” also makes me chortle! :)

foodie tips ~

  The discerning foodie eye will likely notice that I doubled the servings of mashed potatoes for the top of the meat loaf medley. Eight servings tasted even better – no paper-thin smears of the fluffy stuff for me! Nah, I just won’t do that. Neither would the original Meat Loaf.

  To toast the cheese on top of the meat loaf to a golden brown, as shown, place it under your oven’s broiler for a couple of minutes.

  Most Moms have a favored meat loaf recipe. If you don’t already know hers beyond the heart, I encourage you to get your Mom (or Grandmother) to give you the recipe details so you can safely secure and share it with foodies to come!

i. ingredients

for the meatloaf:

1 pound | lean ground beef
¾ cup | whole milk
1 tablespoon | worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons | fresh sage, chopped
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | dry mustard
¼ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
2 cloves | garlic, minced
1 bunch | scallions, chopped
½ cup | dry bread crumbs
½ cup | ketchup or barbecue sauce

for everything else:Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

8 servings | smashed potato buds (we used Idahoan buttery homestyle)
2 handfuls | your favorite shredded yellow cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc.)

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Combine all meat loaf ingredients except the ketchup in a large bowl, and mix well. Place the meat loaf mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan and spread the ketchup or barbecue sauce over the top of the loaf.

2. Bake uncovered for about an hour, until no pink remains in the center of the meat loaf (the internal temperature should be ~160 degrees).

3. Just before the meat loaf is done, make the mashed potatoes according to the package instructions and set aside. If you want to add some butter, I won’t tell! Make sure and use Falfurrias brand butter because that’s what my Grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) always used.

meat loaf casserole with cheese recipe

4. Remove the loaf from the oven and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for a couple of minutes, until the cheese is all melted and toasty good.

meat loaf medley casserole from betty's cook nook

5. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes and serve. We enjoyed ours by the spoonful.

Yields 4 – 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

 

Chicken Breasts Au Vin Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe

 

In case you missed the multiple plugs to Meat Loaf (the musical one), here’s one more treat you might “loaf” just as much as this dish!

meat loaf and potatoes recipe

Just one more helping!


beef polenta pie

A Beef Polenta Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Pie To Try

Mom clipped this recipe from the April 1976 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I was just cough-cough-9-years-old-cough-#omg-gasp at the time. In the original recipe scan below you can read the story about how this recipe was chosen for the “He Cooks” section of the magazine.

While my first attempt at this recipe didn’t present as beautifully as I had hoped, it was surprisingly tasty. Mastering my Nikon DSLR is a constant work in progress so I’ll plan on another photo session when I make this tasty dish again.

foodie tips ~

  Looking for polenta in the ingredient list? You won’t find it there labeled as such, but cornmeal is often used to make the Italian dish, so there you have it! Besides, eating “Beef Cornmeal Pie” just doesn’t sound as tasty. To learn more about the differences (or not) between polenta and cornmeal visit this nice article I discovered.

  Me gusto processed American cheese. We used Velveeta slices for the polenta pie topper then later revisited the article and saw the stacked pyramid shape (below) which had more foodie flair than our cheese-flung approach. I think next time I make this I will grate cheddar or mozzarella to better coat the top of the pie.

  If you don’t want to make the “peppy sauce” below, you can substitute it with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce. Here’s one of mine. We preferred doubling the peppy sauce recipe to yield 2 cups of sauce. I guess I’m a saucy kinda guy.

i. ingredients

½ pound | ground beef
5 ounces (about 2 cups) | fresh mushrooms, chopped
¾ cup | green pepper, chopped
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, minced
| cage free egg, beaten
¾ cup | soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | dried oregano, crushed
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
few drops | bottled hot pepper sauce
¾ cup | cornmeal
¾ teaspoon | salt
2 cups | water
3 slices | processed American cheese

for the peppy tomato sauce topping:
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
⅛ teaspoon | garlic salt
⅛ teaspoon | celery salt
dash | worcestershire sauce

How To Make Beef Polenta Pieii. what to do

1. Make the beef mixture: In a 10-inch skillet, cook the ground beef, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and the garlic until beef is browned and the veggies are tender. Remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, oregano, pepper and the hot pepper sauce. Combine this mixture with the meat mixture. Turn into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

2. Make the cornmeal mixture: In a medium saucepan combine the cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon salt and the water. Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thick and bubbly. Spread this mixture atop the meat mixture that’s been waiting for you in the pie plate. Cover with foil then bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the pie and top it with the cheese. Return the pie to the oven until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

3. Make the peppy tomato sauce (if not using your own sauce substitute): Combine the tomato sauce, garlic salt, celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce. Heat through. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

4. To serve: Cut your polenta pie into your desired wedge and top with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings

~ Patrick

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

Here’s a scan of Mom’s recipe clipping (note the time worn folds in the paper). This recipe has a great intro story I hope you read. Note: The recipe’s author, Stephen Braitman, is wearing a button that I’m pretty sure reads “I’m An Advocate For Women”. Right on, Stephen! :)

A Beef Polenta Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


baked swiss cauliflower

A Baked Swiss Cauliflower Recipe From Bettys Cook Nook
Move Over, Green Bean Casserole…

…there’s a hot, new dish in town and it’s this Baked Swiss Cauliflower recipe!

Before reading the ingredients for this dish I had serious self doubt about how many spoonfuls of this stuff would make it past my proverbial piehole. One plate later and I was ready for a refill.

And  s t r e t c h  pants!

Beth Calkins of Nashville, Tennessee – I don’t know anything about your life outside this recipe but it must have been a kinder, gentler place where sweet, sweet swiss cauliflower rained from the heavens!

Lucky for me my Mom could read between the lines; she knew that anything with cheese and butter becomes a fast, fond feeding moment destined to be recreated.

Ding! Ding! Ding! This just in – come Thanksgiving 2014 this Baked Swiss Cauliflower recipe has secured a guaranteed place at our Thanksgiving table.

Foodie Tips ~

  New to Betty’s Cook Nook? “Butter” is shorthand for “Falfurrias Brand Butter.” It’s what my Grandmother “Nanny” loved near and dear, so it’s naturally the only butter allowed past the threshold.

  Don’t discard the 3 egg whites (below)! I made an egg white omelette the morning after I made this dish and I became a better person because of it. Whoops. Did I say better? I meant butterand cheese! They both made my egg white omelette their new BFF, along with some chopped green onions. Just sayin’.

i. ingredients

| large head of cauliflower
½ cup | bread crumbs
2 ¾ cups | swiss cheese, shredded
1 ½ cups | half and half
| egg yolks, beaten
¼ teaspoon | ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon | salt
¼ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
¼ cup | melted falfurrias brand butter

Baked Swiss Cauliflower Flowerets

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Wash the cauliflower and discard the green leaves. Break cauliflower into flowerets and place in a medium-sized pot.

2. Cook, covered, 10 minutes in a small amount of boiling salted water. Drain.

Baked Swiss Cauliflower Cheese

3. Place the cooked cauliflower in a buttered 1 ½-quart shallow baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients – except the butter – and pour over the cauliflower. Drizzle the melter butter over top.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Yields about 6 servings.

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe!

A Baked Swiss Cauliflower Recipe


chicken noodle casserole

mom's chicken noodle casseroleA Fast & Hearty Meal

My grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) and I were the best of friends when I was growing up.

We spent a lot of time laughing and being silly.

I’d have sleep-overs at Nanny’s on the weekend and we’d walk from the Barcelona Apartments at 33 Brees Boulevard around the corner to Winn’s Five And Dime store in the Sunset Ridge shopping center. I was toy huntin’.

Nanny had a special cardboard box of toys tucked in her closet just for my visits. While the toys provided much needed entertainment in a time before computers and cable or satellite TV, my favorite time during my visits was when Nanny would cook.

For Sunday breakfast, she’d make waffles; not an “Eggo” popped in the toaster, but homemade waffles dripping with butter and syrup! For her special dish, she’d make chicken noodle soup with real chicken she’d carefully boil off the bone. She’d fill the soup with her wonderfully wide egg noodles and serve. My taste buds would go into outer space! Love me some savory.

While this chicken noodle casserole won’t appear on today’s cooking shows targeted to the fancy foodie (um, it calls for *canned* chicken), it’s very hearty and quick to make. It’s a dish inspired from chicken noodle soup so who doesn’t love that?

Soup’s On

i. ingredients

1 can | cream of chicken soup
⅓ cup | milk
1 cup (5 oz. can) | boned chicken
1 cup | cooked noodles (al dente)
1 cup | green beans, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon | fresh minced onion
to top | buttered bread crumbs

ii. what to do

1. In a 1½ quart casserole, blend soup with milk, add chicken, noodles, green beans and onion. Gently mix all ingredients. Top with bread crumbs.

2. Cover casserole and place in refrigerator early in the day.

3. When ready to heat, preheat oven to 400°F.

4. Bake casserole about 25 minutes, let rest a few minutes and serve!

Makes: 4 servings.

Foodie Tips ~

 Per Mom; “Fix in the morning ~ heat it up at nite.”

 This recipe can easily be doubled (the more the merrier).

 I measured 1 cup of uncooked elbow pasta then cooked it al dente (vs. cooking the pasta first and measuring off 1 cup).

 Use Falfurrias brand butter ~ it was Nanny’s butter of choice!

 Not a canned chicken fan? You can substitute it with cooked chicken.

a scan of mom's chicken noodle casserole recipe