clam puffs

Clam Puffs Recipe From Betty's Cook NookYou had me at “cream puffs.” You lost me at “clam.”

The fact that anything made with clams has not crept its way into my foodie hall of fame is because I’m a selective (um, “picky”) seafood eater. So sometimes I miss out on the sea fun because I suspiciously stereotype and elevate food options to DEFCON 1 when shrimp, octopus, oysters and the like are on my radar. Basically if it’s cold and fishy, I’m likely out. Except for the highly rated ceviche sampler I had at Stephen Pyles downtown Dallas hotspot that now is closed. Boo.

This recipe daunted me because of *clam* PLUS I had never made a puff before – cream or otherwise. Surprisingly these puffs were remarkably easy to make and I look forward to a little more puff magic to come. In the end I couldn’t help but notice how similar they were in size and shape to my childhood favorite Dunkin’ Munchkins. Glazed, powdered, filled or sprinkled, these sweet treats were born in the 1970s and are still alive and living life large today.

Foodie Tips

  When the recipe author Mary Stephenson (more about Mary below) wrote that these freeze beautifully she wasn’t kidding! We had leftover puffs and almost 2 months after they went into the freezer Joe enjoyed some when I was out of town for work and he said they were just as good as fresh. Shazam! Joe simply reheated them in our air fryer for 7 minutes at 400°F.

  Mary noted that you can substitute the clam with shrimp or crab. So you can enjoy “sea inspired puffs” 3 ways!

  I didn’t find clam broth at the store. But I did find clam juice which is apparently the same thing, so keep your eyes peeled for either.

  We halved this recipe. Sans hosting a party we would have been eating puffs for weeks!

A Whole Lotta Clam Puffs

i. Time

To prepare: About 20 minutes.
To bake: 35 minutes
To fill: About 20 minutes

Clam Puffs Recipe Ingredients

ii. Ingredients

for the puffs:
1 cup | clam broth
1 cup | water
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
1 cup | flour
| cage free eggs (4 for the puffs and 1 for the glaze)
1 teaspoon | more butter (to grease pan)
½ teaspoon | milk

for the filling:
3 6.5 ounce cans | minced clams, drained
8 ounces | cream cheese and chives (I only found chive and onion)
6-8 dashes | Tobasco brand red pepper sauce
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon | Lawry’s seasoned salt

iii. What to do

1. In a medium-sized pot heat the clam broth/juice and water and bring to a boil. Add the ½ cup butter and let it melt – it won’t take long!

2. Stir in the flour all at once and stir constantly until the dough “leaves the pan” and forms a ball. Note: the dough isn’t literally going to leave/leap or otherwise hurl itself out of the pan – you’re just looking for when it begins to stick to itself and become doughy enough to form. :)

How To Make Clam Puffs

3. Remove the pan from heat and add 4 eggs, one at a time (you’ll reserve the last egg for the puff glaze.

4. Place 1 teaspoon butter on a cookie sheet and smear to coat the pan. Form the dough by hand into about 50 balls (100-120 puff balls if you’re making the full recipe in which case you’ll need more than 1 cookie sheet). When we formed the balls we improvised by transferring the readied flour into a Ziploc bag, cutting a small corner from the bag, and piping it onto the cookie sheet.

5. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Clam Puffs Before The Oven

6. Make your egg-milk mixture by whisking together 1 egg and the milk. Brush the pre-baked puffs with the egg-milk mixture.

7. Bake the puffs at 400°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300°F and bake for 20-25 additional minutes.

8. While the puffs are baking let’s make the clam filling! In a medium bowl cream together the clams, cream cheese, tobasco, salt and pepper and set aside.

9. When the puffs are golden brown remove them from the oven and let them rest until they are cool to the fingers. Cut them in half with a knife and fill them with the clam filling (a little schmear with a knife will do just fine).

Yields 10-12 dozen as penned. Remember you can half this recipe!

Seafood Lover? I have a post coming soon with a great story about the Texas Coast that stems to my childhood. In the meantime check out the other Betty’s Cook Nook seafood recipes at right by clicking on yup – you guessed it – “seafood!”

~ Patrick

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

 

Who is “Mary Stephenson?”

We Kikers lived at 2927 Trailend Drive in San Antonio from the early 1960s until the mid 1980s. Mary was the Mother of the Stephenson 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.

Clam Puffs Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan of Mom’s Cream Puffs & Clam Recipe | Gifted and Penned by Mary

 

You didn’t think I’d close this post without some vintage Dunkin’ advertising, did you? Here we go!

Dunkin Munchkins Vintage Logo


spinach delight

Spinach Delight Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Debuting for Super Bowl 2018 along with Holy Guacamole, this Spinach Delight recipe proved just that – De. Light. Ful!

Growing up you could find me about as close to anything fashioned from spinach as you could my homework (think: Far Far Away). Now that I’m older I can see what all the fuss was about – this dish is creamy, savory, and the dressing-stuffing that tops this appetizer provides the perfect crisp to raise eyebrows and arms.

Foodie Tips

  Herb Dressing or Herb Stuffing? Joe and I discussed this one for a bit. I told him I believed my Mom “Betty” knew well the differences between dressing and stuffing and she clearly penned the recipe card below “dressing.” But when we went searching for the ingredients for this recipe all we could find was Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing.

You can read this post where I help debunk the differences between dressing and stuffing but I’m leaving this “dressing” in the ingredients list even though I think the Pepperidge Farm stuffing packaging caters to northerners, where their Connecticut headquarters is located. #ThisIsTexas So buy their stuffing but call it dressing. :) Heck, even Pepperidge Farm uses the terms interchangeably as you can see in their very own recipe!

Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

 This dip pairs remarkably well with tortilla chips, Fritos or better yet Fritos Scoops which will lend you a helping hand fostering bigger globs of the green good stuff from dish to belly. We also enjoyed our delightful dip smeared atop some homemade garlic-rubbed toast (see the mouthwatering “triple play” pic below).

i. Time

To prepare: About 15 minutes.
To bake: 30 minutes.
To enjoy:
Mere nanoseconds

ii. Ingredients

3 packages | frozen chopped spinach
1 stick | butter, softened (my Grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
8 ounce package| cream cheese, softened
⅓ package | pepperidge farm herb dressing (see stuffing tip above)
to serve | your favorite chips or veggies (optional)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. While the oven’s preheating cook the spinach (boil it?) and drain well. Set aside.

2. Blend together half of the softened butter and all of the cream cheese. Add in the spinach and mix everything well. Place this mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.

3. Roll the dressing to fine crumbs and sprinkle it over the spinach mixture. Dot the top of the dressing with the remaining ½ stick of butter.

4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest about 5 minutes.

Serve warm with your chosen accessory (tortilla chips, Fritos, Fritos Scoops, garlic bread, etc.). Or just enjoy it with a spoon!

~ Patrick

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

Spinach Delight The Triple Play

Super Bowl Score: Shown here is my beloved “triple play” shot – Spinach Delight with hand-rubbed garlic bread, Lil’ Smokies resting in a BBQ and grape jellied sauce, and my homemade Queso and Fritos Scoops. It was hard to share. :) 

Spinach Delight Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Card (Circa 1970s)

Who is Mrs. Ira Lieberman?

Well clearly she was the inspiration behind this recipe per the credit Mom included on the recipe card above.

I did some online researching and believe I found her. Janet “Casey” Liberman was married to Ira Lieberman and both lived in San Antonio where I grew up.

Sadly both Ira and Casey have passed. I send my thanks to them for this recipe.


chicken supreme

Winner Winner Chicken DinnerWith a recipe calling for just a few ingredients, I was quite leery that this dish would delight the tastebuds. Turns out I was in for a chicken supreme surprise!

Chicken Supreme Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This is a surprisingly simple dish that pairs well with vegetables or potatoes. As a self-proclaimed carb monster you can likely guess what side I chose! I’m including *at no extra cost to you* the jalapeño mashers recipe I scored from H-E-B because these were really delicious and we’ll be making the mashers again soon. Details below!

For maximum enjoyment speed up the Mr. Bean video below to 8X original speed and let’s get on with the eating of the chicken!

foodie tips

  Dining for two? We reduced the portions below to and we were fully sa-tis-fied!

  Falfurrias butter? Yup! My Grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) insisted on it. Don’t disappoint my Nanny!

i. ingredients

| small boneless chicken breasts
½ stick | falfurrias brand unsalted butter
to taste | kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
| eggs, whites and yolks separated
¼ cup | parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, sliced
Chicken Supreme With Mushrooms Recipe

ii. what to do

1. Flatten the chicken breasts with a cleaver. Joe placed the breasts in cling film and pounded away. Remove the breasts from the film and season them with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat add ½ the butter then the chicken and sauté the breasts five minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside on a plate or platter.

Here's My Chicken Breast Sitting On The Side

This Is My Chicken Set Aside On A Plate. A Finely Plated Chicken, I Must Say!

3. In the same pan, sauté the fresh mushrooms with the remaining ¼ stick butter. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then set aside.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites by hand until stiff, but not dry. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Add the parmesan cheese to the egg yolks. Then gently fold in the egg whites.

5. Place the sautéed chicken breasts in a warmed casserole dish. Cover the breasts with the sautéed mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture on top.

6. Place your chicken supreme in a 450°F degree oven for 10 minutes until puffed and slightly brown.

Yields 2-3 servings, depending on the size of your chicken breasts!

~ Patrick

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

Chicken Supreme Original Recipe Scan

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe For Chicken Supreme – Could The Recipe Headline Indicate This Is From Susan Lucci’s Kitchen?

Jalapeno Mashers Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
BONUS RECIPE : Jalapeño Mashers

While this is not one of my Mom “Betty’s” recipes I think she would love it as much as I did. The cheesy jalapeño ‘kick’ pairs well with chicken supreme. So here goes:

| large potatoes (we used russets)
½ stick | butter
1 cup | heavy cream
½ teaspoon | salt (to taste)
½ cup | robert’s reserve jalapeño pepper dip
handful | cheese (optional)
handful | fresh jalapeño, diced

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil the potatoes in chicken stock or water until “fork tender.”

Mash the potatoes to desired consistency and add the butter and cream. Whip the potatoes with a mixer or spatula (we used a mixer). Add Roberts Reserve Jalapeño Dip and stir.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Garnish with finely diced fresh jalapeño! Enjoy!

Jalapeño Mashers Recipe

A Scan Of The Jalapeño Mashers Recipe I Scored At H-E-B Round Rock


cheese crackers

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
cheese, glorious cheese!

What would life be without the creamy, gooey deliciousness of cheese?

A ho-hum, dud of a day, that’s what! Grilled cheese sandwiches would be “just toast.” Macaroni and cheese would be macaroni without the sunshine [ insert sad face here ]. Pizza and lasagna? I shutter to think what the absence of mozzarella and ricotta would mean to these dishes!

Just thinking about cheese makes me want to strap on some dancing shoes, grab a top hat, and bust out a few bars and moves to this all-time favorite jingle that would light up eyes and the commercial breaks between television shows of the 1980s:

So the magic ingredient of these crackers is none other than CHEESE! I hope you enjoy this crispy, crunchy, cheddary treat that will brighten any gathering.

foodie tips

  I experimented with forming 1″ balls with my cookie dough scoop and the crackers were large and great. I realized I was blazing through the dough and reduced the size a bit by using a heaping ½ tablespoon of the dough. The end result was more of a bite-sized cracker, which means the more you can make, the more you can eat!

  Don’t be afraid to add the cayenne; it adds a subtle warm note to the cracker and makes everything seem all the better.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 ½ cups | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
½ cup | room temperature unsalted butter (my Grandmother insisted on falfurrias brand butter)
½ pounds (~2 cups) | sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and at room temperature

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Measure then sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the salt, chives and cayenne.
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
2. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the cheese. Add the flour mixture and mix everything well. The mixture will be coarse and grainy but should stick together in step 4 (below).
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
3. About this time preheat your oven to 350°F.

4. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them on a baking sheet. Flatten the balls to 1/4″ thickness by using the bottom of a glass or another flat-bottomed object. Prick the tops with a fork.A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Place your cookies into the oven for 12-15 minutes – do not burn!

Yields up to 5 dozen crackers, depending on the size of the cracker.

~ Patrick

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

Cheese Crackers Recipe

Hailing from December 1962, this is a scan of my Mom’s cheese cracker recipe. It found its way into her cookbook from Elizabeth Cain, who must have been one of her foodie friends.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


biscuits

A Biscuit Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Two Birds. One Biscuit.

I love it when you can enjoy two great things from one! Like:

  • Two tasty recipes that are born from one simple ingredient.
  • A history lesson served with a delicious slice of quiche lorraine.
  • And this biscuit recipe – a fast way to make some homemade biscuits that are infused with the taste of beer. Why just drink a beer when you can eat one, too! Read more about cooking with beer!

foodie tips

  If you don’t want a hint of sweet in your biscuits you can dial back on the sugar to 1 tablespoon… or none. But as Joe taught me… “It’s not nice to fool with Betty’s Cook Nook!” You can always adjust after you make *and try* a recipe the first time.

  Use your favorite flavor of beer. I used what I had in my refrigerator’s drink drawer which was Modelo Especial. My Mom “Betty” would have Pearl Light handy. And my Dad would be alongside to share a Budweiser with you. Thirsting for more beer? Enjoy some vintage beer commercials below!

  I brushed some melted Falfurrias butter on my biscuits and gave them a slight sprinkle of garlic salt. For a second round of biscuits I added a handful of cheddar cheese and they tasted great! The cheesy biscuit pic is below.

A Biscuit Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Cooking with your fur babies makes everything better. Shown here is my amazing Chesapeake Bay Retriever, “Lucca.”
He has his eyes on the prize!

i. ingredients

2 cups | bisquick
2 tablespoons | sugar
½ can | beer
optional: to serve | butter
optional: to serve | dash of garlic salt
optional: ½ – 1 cup | cheddar cheese, grated

How to make homemade biscuits

Using a cookie scoop makes biscuit-making a snap!

Homemade Biscuits Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original biscuit recipe!

ii. what to do

0. Preheat your oven to 450°F.

1. In a medium-sized bowl add the bisquick, sugar and beer. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until well combined.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a prepared cookie sheet.

I used a cookie dough scoop to keep things consistent in size. If you want your biscuits a little taller than they are wide you can also scoop the batter into a prepared muffin tin (sprayed with Pam baking spray)

3. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately alongside your favorite breakfast spread.

Yields: About 10 biscuits!

~ Patrick

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

 

Biscuits with Cheese

Everything’s betta’ with chedda’!

 


cheese straws

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook NookCheese? Yes, Please!

Candy cigarettes aside, the first straw-like food object I can remember from my childhood are Pixy Stix.

The brightly colored straws have origins to the 1940s and were filled with a sweet n’ sour powdery candy that jettisoned my energy levels into outer orbit! #OffDaCharts! If I cough-choked while inhaling the sugary straws, I knew I was having a good time.

A Vintage Pixy Stix Print AdFlash forward quite a few years: These cheese straws are a savory treat that were surprisingly delicious to me – they have a nice buttery-cheesy taste and a few seconds later I enjoyed the warm – not spicy – flavor dismount, compliments of the cayenne pepper.

Younger foodies will enjoy helping you make these straws – they’re perfect for your game day lineup or any day you’d like an extra-special pick-me-up beyond the usual potato or tortilla chips.

foodie tips

  Per the recipe card below… “Cookie press?” “Star plate?” Yeah, this is why this recipe wasn’t one of the early chosen ones I’ve made here at Betty’s Cook Nook – I had no clue what these items were! After some online research I realized a cookie press is a quite popular semi-automatic weapon for cooks! I ran to my nearest store and scored this new kitchen gadget which is a foodie essential for making these cheese straws.

Driving home I remembered that Mom had a cookie press, too! It was an all-metal version and it had lots of extra parts that were kept by its side. Funny how certain things can conjure up *almost* forgotten memories!

  These straws are delicate so handle with TLC. No worries – even if they break they still taste the same: AWESOME!

i. ingredients

1 teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
1 cup | sifted flour
½ teaspoon | baking powder
1 cup | cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup | butter (go big with unsalted Falfurrias Brand)
3 tablespoons | cold water
special kitchen utensil | a cookie press (see tip above)

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Sift together the red pepper, flour, and baking powder.

2. Cut in the cheese, butter and then add the water. Mix well.

3. Insert the cheesy dough into your cookie press and squeeze it into your desired length, then cut to free it from your foodie gun. Note: If you find that the dough is too thick to easily come out of the press you can remove it, add a little bit more water and reload.

4. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Yield: About 2 dozen straws

~ Patrick

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

 

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Cheese Straws Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

cheese-straws-recipe

Here’s A Scan Of Mom’s Original Cheese Straws Recipe.
I’m not certain who penned this recipe, but the handwriting looks like that of Betty’s Sister, “Delores.” :)


fudge

A fudge recipe from Betty's Cook Nook
Oh, Fudge: How Sweet It Is

This recipe is long overdue making its debut on Betty’s Cook Nook.

I was supposed to make this fudge during my big getaway to Italy in 2012-2013 but I wasn’t able to score all the ingredients while in Tuscany so the recipe sat here online without pictures or a story behind it … until now.

Out of all of my Mom’s recipes that I’ve been intimidated to make, I think it was this one takes 1st place because of the special note Mom included on the recipe: “Call Inez for help when making 1st time.” If Mom needed counsel the first time making this fudge, I was surely destined for a foodie fail – especially after my run-in with the red candy apple on a stick disaster from 2011.

Turns out I was right!

foodie tips

  Eureka! I learned something significant that you probably already know – the difference between condensed milk and evaporated milk! I always knew these as “milk in a can” but if you asked me the difference I would have said one is evaporated and one is not. Bad guess.

It turns out that both milks have the majority of water removed from them but condensed milk is sweetened milk (a.k.a. sweetened condensed milk or “SCM”) and evaporated milk is not. Since this recipe calls for sugar, I can create confidently knowing that “cold milk” (per the original recipe below) would have been shorthand for evaporated milk. My culinary cred just rose by +1!

I’m not sure why the recipe calls for the milk to be cold only to heat it up in step one, but hey, don’t mess with instructions, right?

  Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I enlisted the aid of my candy thermometer to try and prevent another culinary wreck. Turns out I would need the aid of the entire Justice League to try and save this mess.

I’m not sure what I made but I think it was a cross between a Texas praline, a chocolate crepe, and a brick (translation: FLAT and HARD). After two candy-coated foodie fails I think I’ll be trading in my Sur la Table candy thermometer for something more reliable. Maybe a digital candy thermometer!

Sur La Table Candy Thermometer

  I distinctly remember Mom making this fudge at the holidays when divinity, rum balls and ribbon candy made special appearances. While we had the fudge with chopped nuts, Mom made the fudge with pecan halves on top most often so that’s the way I made them (hint hint).

  Here in Texas “nuts” is an abbreviation for Texas Pecans. Y’all can trust me on this!

  On the next “go” of this recipe I’m going to try it in a deep glass dish then cut it into squares. Seems like many of the modern day recipes call for that technique and maybe I’ll be luckier in the end.

  Fudge Lover? Get in line! Here’s another fabulous fudgey find from Mom’s cookbook.

fudge recipe ingredients

i. ingredients

½ cup | cold canned milk (evaporated milk)
2 cups | sugar
½ cup | karo corn syrup
2 squares | chocolate
2 tablespoons | butter (go big with unsalted Falfurrias Brand)
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a handful or 2 | nuts (a.k.a. texas pecans), *halves* or chopped

ii. what to do

1. Put all of the ingredients (except the butter, vanilla and nuts) into a large pot.

how to make fudge

2. Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.

3. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, boiling for 3-4 minutes. Cook to the “soft ball” stage (about 235°F – 240°F).

4. Remove the mixture from heat and add the vanilla and butter.

5. Place the molten pot into a sink filled with water. Beat by hand until creamy.

6. Drop by spoonfuls (I think onto a glass or ceramic dish would work best). Top with your pecan halves (if using), let rest… then dig in! Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

your best fudge recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Fudge Recipe From Our Neighbor Inez

Who is “Inez Eversole”?

I grew up living in a house on a corner lot at 2927 Trailend in San Antonio. The house right behind us sat on a large piece of land that was one acre in size; ten houses were neighbors to a slice of this great space. The yard was meticulously beautiful with plush grass and large shade trees that made it look like a plantation dropped in the middle of San Antonio.

Inez and Herb Eversole were a wonderful older couple who lived in a charming 1951 stone house that sat right in the middle of the tiny world all its own. I’d climb our fence and peer over it to see what was going on with our backdoor friends. Mrs. Eversole was always kind to me and I’d often visit to have a chat about the goings on at school and home. Mr. Eversole had a riding lawnmower that I thought was just about the neatest thing I had ever seen.

Looking back I think Inez and Herb were our family’s adopted grandparents – not just because of their geo proximity – but because of their genuine awesomeness and willingness to help us out with time-tested tips and tasty dishes.

So there you have it – this is Inez’s very own fudge recipe! I have one or two other recipes from Herb and Inez in Mom’s cookbook and will gladly add them soon.

Cheers to you, Inez and Herb – Thanks for the sweet fudge recipe! And the great memories.