jim’s canadian cheese soup

Canadian Cheese Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook NookAn Ol’ Time Family Favorite

The very first “Jim’s” opened back in 1963 at the corner of Broadway and Loop 410 in San Antonio. This location was my Dad’s absolute favorite to meet up for a standing breakfast with a large group of colleagues. When it was a lucky weekend day Dad would let me tag along. Here the staff knew him like the best of family.

Jim's No 1 Restaurant Broadway at Loop 410 Circa 1963

Circa 1963 ~ Jim’s Restaurant (No. 1)

My friend Dan said his Dad created this cheese soup for Jim’s Restaurants, which I remember being a favored thing right up there with the pet rock and the skateboard. This soup was a pre-appetizer staple that I liked more than the greener alternative – the salad. Um, no. When I asked my friend why his Dad named it “Canadian Cheese Soup” he said it was because “the name sounded good.”

Flash forward several decades to today and the recipe is still on Jim’s menu so it’s quite exciting to be able to enjoy it at home now that I’m not within walking distance of my childhood Jim’s.

My research for this recipe helped teach me the difference between a mirepoix, a roux, and the foodie “holy trinity” (deets below) so hats off to this silky, delicious, cheesy soup!

Foodie Tips

  I’ve adjusted the recipe ingredients below based on my friend’s inside scoop – cutting back on the milk, adding Tobasco, and using Velveeta instead of the triple play of cheeses I found in another copycat recipe which was: Cheese Whiz (16 ounces), Swiss (2 ounces), and cheddar cheeses (2 ounces).

  You can adjust the flour and milk as you see fit to arrive at your preferred consistency.

  I wasn’t sure what “chicken base” was, thinking it might be chicken stock or chicken broth. Turns out there is such a thing as chicken base – I found this “Better Than Bouillon” at my local market and it sure was flavorful, living up to its name.
Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

  Refrigerate leftovers for an impromptu treat for when you’re in a hurry – you may find that adding a bit more milk will help return the silky, smooth consistency.

i. Time

Veggie prep: About 10 minutes.
Total prep: About 45 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

6 cups | water
5 stalks | celery, finely diced
¼ medium | onion, finely diced
3 medium | carrots, finely diced
4 tablespoons | low salt chicken base
2 sticks | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
1 cup | flour
20 ounces | Velveeta, cubed
2 ½ cups | milk
tiny bit | Tobasco
to garnish | oyster crackers (optional)

iii. What to do

1. In a stockpot over high heat bring the water to a boil.

Canadian Cheese Soup Ingredients
2. Let’s make “mirepoix!” To the water add celery, onion, carrots, and chicken base. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the celery is tender but firm. Note: About 15 minutes into the simmering start Step 3 (if you like the quick route)!

3. Next up? The roux: In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and mix constantly with a whisk until things are smooth and free of lumps. Cook your roux 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent scorching.

4. Reduce heat under the soup (not the roux) to medium-low, add the prepared roux and continue to whisk until everything is smooth and thick, 4-5 minutes.

How to make Jim's Canadian Cheese Soup

5. Add the Velveeta and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, making sure to whisk occasionally.

6. Heat the milk in the microwave (or double boiler). Slowly add the milk to the soup mixture, whisking all the way. You can add a little more – or less – milk to reach your desired consistency.

To Serve: Spoon into bowls and top with a few shakes of Tabasco. After enjoying my first bowl I added a few oyster crackers for crunch and 5-7 fresh pinched oregano leaves to add a pop of herby flavor.

Yields 12-16 servings!Jim's Restaurant Logo

~ Patrick

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

Relevant, Additional Foodie Info: 

Is Velveeta Cheese Actually Cheese?

The History of Cheez Whiz

My Own “Cheesy Love Affair” With Velveeta

Kitchen Tip: Mirepoix vs. The Holy Trinity

More Vintage Jim’s Pics

More About Mirepoix:


holiday bean salad

Holiday Bean Salad Recipe

Flanked by turkey and stuffing this bean salad brightened my Christmas Day plate!

I’m not sure “beans” come top of mind when thinking of the holidays but when the word “holiday” is in the name, we had to make this salad for Christmas Day feasting.

But before we dive into this hearty dish, let’s chat a little more about beans. Whether it’s bean dip, refried beans, chili with beans, baked beans, pork and beans, or pinto beans — I think we can all agree that beans are a part of everyday living.

My Dad loved the movie Blazing Saddles and let’s look at a slice from the movie that has direct ties to beans and making music, so to speak. I can still hear my Dad laughing!

Distinct parts of my family have a fondness for, shall we call it, “bathroom humor!” I can remember shortly after my college graduation scoring this amazing Santa who has more skills than a (breaking) wind symphony!

foodie tip

  While we were in a scurry preparing the holiday festivities we forgot to enjoy this salad from lettuce cups. Doh! The note below says to decorate the tops of the salad with tiny star-shaped pimientos. Save yourself some frustration and use some tiny cookie cutters to do the work for you!

i. ingredients

1 package | italian salad dressing mix
4 packages | whole or cut green beans, frozen
2 packages | ford hook lima beans
| green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup | celery, thinly sliced
¼ cup | pimiento strips
to serve | lettuce cups

ii. what to do

1. Prepare the Italian salad dressing and set it aside to marry.

2. Cook the green beans and the limas according to package directions. When both types of beans are done, cool, drain, and set them aside.

Holiday Bean Salad Recipe

3. In a large bowl add the beans, limas, onions, celery, pimiento strips and 1 cup of the prepared salad dressing. Gently toss everything together then chill 2 – 3 hours in the fridge, occasionally turning in the dressing to help things marinate.

How To Make Holiday Bean Salad

4. You can serve the bean salad solo but the original recipe (below) calls for the bean salad to be served in lettuce cups with cutout stars of pimiento.

Yields 10-12 servings. Time to dig in!Holiday Patrick

~ Patrick

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

PS ~ Enjoy these vintage classics below!

Holiday Bean Salad Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Holiday Bean Salad Recipe PLUS A Few Extra Recipes From Santa To You!


minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup RecipeMy Mainstay, Minestrone

This is the third minestrone recipe I’ve discovered in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook so there’s no doubt this was one of her favorites. This soup’s signature ingredients of beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes will not disappoint. Plus, there’s pasta and cheese!

I’m glad to be reminded that this dish hails from Italy. And not just Italy but ancient Italy (think BC, folks!).

I’ve kidded a few times here at Betty’s Cook Nook that my family must have had poor roots as many of the recipes we ate growing up are considered peasant foods. This is one of them; minestrone belongs to a style of cooking known in Italy as “cucina povera” (literally “poor kitchen”). All I have to say is bring it on — I love my peasant foods as they are hearty and the very origins of comfort foods rely upon them! True story: I once made and devoured an instant mashed potato on sliced white bread sandwich proving my forever love for carby sustenance.

HEB Organics Elbows Macaroni

Macaroni For Me … Macaroni For You!

As a lover and former resident of Italy, one thing I’ve learned is that Italians do not rush in the kitchen. They really don’t rush outside the kitchen, either, unless it’s from behind the wheel of a fast sports car or when horse racing at revered events like Siena’s Palio.

In similar fashion, please don’t hurry this recipe — let the ingredients mingle and get to know one another. While cooking time takes about an hour and a half it’s well worth the wait. You’ll be treated to wonderful smells from your lively kitchen and rewarded with a savory soup that has withstood the test — and taste — of time.

Eating In Cortona Italy

foodie tips

  Back in the day “oil” likely meant Crisco vegetable oil. Since this dish has Italian roots we used olive oil — a kitchen staple. As fan of a great olive oil, for several years I’ve fostered an Italian olive tree living on a farm gracing the hills outside Montalcino, Tuscany. Each year after the Il Palazzone harvest my eyes grow as wide as dinner plates when 3 bottles of pure gold arrive at my door. That’s amore!

  Make sure and check out Mom’s other two minestrone recipes here and here. I’m not sure which version I like best as each has its own merit. In a pinch you could make the one that makes best use of the ingredients you have in your kitchen.

  Wacky about minestrone? Wiki’s got you covered with more interesting facts about this zesty soup!

Minestone Ingredients

i. ingredients

½ cup | olive oil
1 clove | garlic, minced
2 cups | onion, chopped
1 cup | celery, chopped
4 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
6 ounce can | tomato paste
10 ½ ounce can (~1 ½ cups) | beef or vegetable broth
9 cups | water
1 cup | cabbage, coarsely chopped
| carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | freshly cracked pepper
⅛ teaspoon | sage
1 pound can | kidney beans
1 cup | green beans or peas (we used beans)
1 cup | elbow macaroni
to taste | grated parmesan cheese

ii. what to do

1. In a large pot heat the oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and parsley and cook until soft, about 7-9 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato paste and the next 7 ingredients (the broth, water, cabbage, carrots, salt, pepper and sage). Mix well and bring to a boil.

4. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer slowly 1 hour.

5. Add the kidney and green beans (or peas) and the macaroni. Cook 10-15 minutes more or until the macaroni is tender.

6. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. That’s right — grated cheese makes the world go ’round!

Yields 8 servings. Keeps well in the refrigerator and reheats nicely!

~ Patrick

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

Minestrone Recipe Card

Here’s A Scan Of Mom’s Actual Recipe Card

How To Make Minestrone Soup

 

 


bootsie’s salad

Bootsie's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook Almost four years after making Mom’s Layered Salad recipe, Bootsie’s Salad kicked its way into my life.

I don’t know who ‘Bootsie’ was, but celery, red onion, and tomato were a flavorful twist on the layered salad. So what, exactly, are the similarities and differences between Bootsie’s and Mom’s salads? I conducted a little side-by-side comparisons and the results are in!

Bootsies Salad versus Moms Salad

I think the results are clear – both salads have a lot to offer. In fact most anything fresh that finds its way into a salad bowl tastes great. Which is why next time I’m making a mega-layered salad comprised of all these ingredients! :)

foodie tips

  I thought it was odd that both recipes called for sugar. I didn’t really notice it, which means it probably got married-up with the mayonnaise (or sour cream). If you’re watching your weight you can eliminate the sugar and use low fat mayo along with other substitutions. Remember – this recipe is from flashback 1970s so pretty much anything went into the belly!

  This would pair well with anything from the grill – chicken, pork and beef come to mind.

  In case you missed the callout above here’s the link over to Mom’s Layered Salad here on Betty’s Cook Nook.

i. ingredients (listed in layered order)

1 layer | lettuce, blotted dry
1 layer | celery, diced
1 layer | red onion, sliced (we diced)
2 packages | frozen peas, cooked, drained, and cooled
globs | mayonnaise
to taste | salt and pepper
¼ cup | sugar
7-9 slices | crisp, crumbled bacon
| tomato, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, freshly grated

ii. what to do

1. Prepare the peas and set them aside.

2. Layer the ingredients into a bowl that will fit into your fridge:

  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Mayo (drop it by globs over the top of the peas)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sugar

3. Cover the salad bowl with foil (or wrap) and place it into the fridge or crisper to allow things to marinate, about 3-5 hours.

4. At some point before you’re ready to unveil the salad prepare your bacon and set it aside.

Bootsies Salad Recipe

5. When ready to serve, remove the salad from the fridge and garnish with the crumbled bacon, tomato, and the parmesan cheese.

Yields 4-8 servings, depending on the size of your appetite and whether this is being served as a main entree or a side!

~ Patrick

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

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Bootsie’s Salad Recipe Card

Bootsie's Salad Original Recipe Scan

While Bootsie’s Salad Recipe doesn’t call for any additional dressing poured on top (you’ve already made it with the mayonnaise), let’s have a look at some vintage salad dressings commercials that might make you smile wider than a salad bowl.

Sous Chef Note: Let’s take a brief time machine stop into the 1980s with this Salad Shooter commercial. I was working at Foley’s in the (gulp) housewares department and this commercial was on a loop which means in a typical 8 hour shift I would have been exposed to this jingle almost 1,000 times. And some wonder why I hand slice/grate – the jingle is tattooed on my brain!

Sous Chef Note: Oh Edith, Ralph doesn’t love your salad – he loves your salad dressing – all of it! You just poured about 2 cups of dressing on his “side” salad. Just give him the pitcher and a straw. Voilà! LOL

Sous Chef Note: “What’s happening to salad that’s never happened before?” It’s getting smaller! I’m going to need seven servings of this Seven Seas salad – apparently my appetite is bigger than this teacup saucer-sized salad plate!


crunchy tuna salad

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe
It’s Time for a Chow Mein Chow Down 

One of the interesting things about being a self-proclaimed nostalgic food blogger is when I run across food items that are no longer available. Looking for something that isn’t there can turn me into an angry shopper at times but I often find a workaround, like when I made my own madrilène for what I thought was going to be a simple bowl of cold avocado soup.

In just a single lifetime serving sizes have become larger and in tandem food is sold in larger sized containers. Supersize Me. As is the case with this recipe, “Tasteez Fried Chow Mein” is no more. I can’t even find a trace of it performing one of my usually successful Google image searches! So that means it was likely gone way pre-pre-Internet.

Like many of my other posts, I will give you a taste of what it was like back in the good ol’ days with some vintage chow mein commercials, albeit from other brands like La Choy, which seems to have survived the taste test of time. After you’re done with the recipe, scroll down below where I’ve curated some of my favorite videos from YouTube. 享受! (that’s “enjoy” in Chinese).

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

foodie tips

❤  I wasn’t very familiar with what “dry onions” were. Maybe something was lost in translation so I used Spice Islands Dry Minced Onions, which was all I could find at my neighborhood store. I think I got this correct!

❤  A word about parsley: While my Mom “Betty” would likely have used curly-leaf parsley, I’ve learned through the years that it’s a little too tickly for my tongue. I’m usually hugging tight to the Italian flat-leaf parsley because I don’t find it wrestling my tastebuds on the way down.

i. ingredients
1 cup | tuna
½ cup | celery, chopped
¼ cup | dry onions, chopped
handful | lettuce, chopped
¼ cup | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | french dressing
1 cup | la choy fried chow mein noodles, lightly crushed
to present/serve | lettuce leaf (optional)
to garnish | parsley, chopped

ii. what to do

1. Mix tuna, celery, dry onions, and lettuce.

2. Stir in the mayo and the French dressing.

3. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but here is where you could chill your tuna salad (totally optional). When ready to serve add the chow mein to the salad mixture and stir to coat.

4. Arrange the tuna salad on your lettuce leaf and garnish with parsley.

Yields 4-6 appetizer-sized servings.

~ Patrick

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

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

A scan of Mom’s Crunchy Tuna Salad recipe.
This recipe is on a waxy kinda paper – likely a cutting from the Tasteez chow mein package itself!

Now on to the vintage videos!

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

YUM YUM YUM – Crunchy Tuna Salad’s In Da House

 


macaroni chicken salad

Macaroni Chicken Salad Recipe
take an old friend for a new spin

Mmm MMM! I love me some macaroni and cheese!

In college I could eat an entire box of the stuff in one sitting. I still can. I’d stir in a little sour cream just to make things creamier, as if that was a missing thing.

This recipe takes the tried and true mac ‘n cheese staple and dresses it up with a bit of protein and some veggie bits to make a special dish that will tickle the tastebuds.

foodie tips

❤  I’m sure the folks at Kraft would love to know that in my entire life I don’t recall if I’ve ever had any other boxed mac and cheese but theirs. There’s something to be said for a loyal stomach! I’ve made mac and cheese from scratch a few times – here’s one of my favorites if you want to enjoy hatch-chicken mac ‘n cheese. It’s out of this world.

Evil Bell Pepper

Could it be evil lives inside peppers? On my next slice I’ll definitely have an *extra* knife handy. Just in case.

❤  My dear friend Heather 1,000% percent loathes bell peppers. I don’t quite get her hatred for the lil’ green things. She said the flavor is wretched and it makes her burp.

I went online and discovered there is a following a folks who are convinced that “pepper faces” are evil. Hmm… they could be onto something. This one’s for you, Heather!

If by chance you fall into the “no-thank-you” green pepper camp, try substituting a can of Hatch peppers – fresh if you can. The smoky heat will warm your heart. And I know Heather loves hatch peppers so all should be good there.

❤  House divided: Joe and I argued whether this dish was better hot or cold. Since I’m the one writing the blog post, I kindly suggest you try it warm first; then chill any leftovers and see if you like the chilled version. Note: There won’t be any leftovers! :) Looks like I win again!Macaroni Chicken Salad Ingredients

i. ingredients

1 package | macaroni and cheese dinner
1 cup | cooked chicken, diced
| hard-boiled cage free eggs, chopped
½ cup | green pepper, chopped
½ cup | green peas, cooked
¼ cup | celery, chopped
¼ cup | radishes, sliced
3 tablespoons | onion, chopped
⅓ cup | salad dressing or mayonnaise

ii. what to do

1. Make your mac ‘n cheese dinner according to the package directions. Please don’t overcook it! Soggy pasta is right up there with wet blankets and warm beer. No thank you!

2. Transfer the mac ‘n cheese to a large bowl and combine in the next seven ingredients.

3. Stir in the salad dressing and toss gently. Consume immediately or chill, if you must. :)

Yields 6-8 servings according to the original recipe… or 1-2 servings, if you enjoy bountiful mounds of food, like me.

~ Patrick

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

A macaroni chicken salad recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s macaroni-chicken salad recipe

 

At 5 cents a servings I’ll eat $2 worth, please. It’s the least I can do! The least.

Here in the 2nd commercial a wife is really bummed her husband is coming home for lunch. Sheesh! Maybe he should check the Mac n’ Cheese to make sure it’s not generously sprinkled with Rat Kill! 

Here we see the Mom’s family is just too busy to stop to eat dinner together. Sounds like it’s 15 minutes for dinner to be ready… and 20 minutes of spankings for all! And there’s plenty more servings of spankings to go ’round!


shrimp remoulade

A Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nooklet’s applaud this remoulade

Prior to making this recipe, I didn’t know much about shrimp remoulade.

  • I couldn’t spell “remoulade” correctly.
  • Roots to France? No wonder I couldn’t spell it!
  • As a younger Patrick if a shrimp-like object was placed before me I would have run for the hills, arms in air. So making this recipe *and eating* the end result involved a bending of my typical seafood predispositions; I have found certain select seafood fare that I enjoy, although don’t tell that to my Tex-Mex and Italian foodie favorites.

foodie tips

❤  Shrimp tip! While stores may not be consistent in how they classify shrimp, when you’re at the seafood counter, there’s a method to the madness for how many shrimp typically come per pound (this is indicative of their size). Resources that will be helpful include the Certi-Fresh website, which gives great detail plus the Certi-Fresh Shrimp Sizing Guide you can print, and keep with your cookbooks (score!)… and the Farm to Table guide that provides some detail on larger-sized shrimp. Now you’ll be able to decipher shrimp-like code like PUD, P&D, U/15, and 61/70!

❤  While shrimp remoulade is technically an appetizer, you can enjoy it with a variety of sidekicks. I can squarely picture my Mom “Betty” eating these marinated shrimp straight off a Nabisco saltine cracker. Other accents can include a bed of tender greens, jasmine rice, toasted crostini or simply by fork (I’m guilty of by fork – it was that good).

i. ingredients

½ cup + 2 tablespoons | salad oil
¼ cup | mustard
3 tablespoons | vinegar
1 teaspoon | salt
¼ teaspoon | tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons | paprika
1  | egg, hard cooked, separated into yolk and white and chopped
½ cup | celery, minced
2 tablespoons | onion, grated
2 tablespoons | fresh parsley, snipped
2 tablespoons | green pepper, minced
1 pound | shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked (P&D&C)

A Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Beat the oil, mustard, vinegar, salt, Tabasco, paprika, and egg yolk with a rotary beater until thick.

2. Fold in the celery, onion, parsley, green pepper, and chopped egg white.

3. Stir in the cleaned and cooked shrimp.

4. Cover and chill in the fridge, stirring occasionally. I let my shrimp and remoulade mingle for about an hour.

Shrimply delicious!

Yields up to 4 servings, depending on the size of the shrimp and how you’re serving it (appetizer or main course).

~ Patrick

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

Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original Shrimp Remoulade recipe!

 

Let’s enjoy some vintage cracker commercials!

Who knows how many sleeves of crackers I’ve polished off in my lifetime. Now we can enjoy a nod to crackers throughout the years!