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

Now on to the vintage videos!

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

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

 

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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!


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


spaghettini bolognese

A Spaghettini Bolognese Recipe From Betty's Cook NookCrazy For This Bolognese

I’m confident this is the first of Mom’s recipes I found cut out with Pinking Shears (see the pic below).

Mom was an expert artist, although she would never consider herself as such [insert a Betty-blush here]. Mom’s artistic mediums spanned food, paper, wood, plants and cloth, where her pinking shears were one of her essential tools.

Mom loved sewing so much she found a way to include a sewing closet into her and Dad’s bedroom so there’s no doubting her passion for handmade clothes. Mom made many of her dresses, my band uniforms – she even sewed printed labels bearing my name into my clothes. I wish I still had the hand-painted denim shirt she made me based on my wish – a red barn complete with a scattering of farm animals painted in her “Oh, Betty” style.

I love it when I can find evidence of when Mom’s recipes came into existence. This one was from the May 1975 issue of Family Circle. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. My partner Joe said this sauce was better than his sauce. That really says a lot since his Red Sauce recipe is my favorite.

foodie tips ~

  Spaghettini? We had to look it up. And we briefly lived in Italy. It’s thin spaghetti. How to pronounce “bolognese?” This dish hails from Bologna, Italy, so it’s pronounced with four syllables – not three. Like boh-loh-NYEH-zeh. If you’re doubting your Italian pronunciation you can simply refer to it as a ragù, making sure to pepper your pronunciation with some hearty Italian hand gesturing.

  Pump up the jam. I added more carrot, celery and garlic. More cowbell? Well, that’s an ingredient for another special recipe.

  Why not serve this dish with some sidekicks? Some pepperoni-cheese bread and a side salad would hit the spot. It’s called a side salad so there’s more room for the bread. :~)

i. ingredients

¼ pound (about 1½ cups) | mushrooms, sliced
| carrot, sliced
1 clove | garlic, crushed or minced
½ cup | onion, chopped
½ cup | celery, chopped
½ cup | green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons | wesson oil*
¾ pound | Italian sausage, casings removed and broken-up with a spoon
2 15-ounce cans | Hunt’s tomato sauce
½ cup | water
¼ cup | dry red wine (not optional)
1 teaspoon | sugar
¼ teaspoon | Italian herb seasoning

* We argued over this one. I wanted to use olive oil and Joe said “stick to the recipe the first time,” my very own cardinal rule. Joe won. But I still snuck-in more carrot, celery and fresh garlic since I wasn’t changing an ingredient. Besides, who gets all excited over one carrot, celery stalk or garlic clove?! Not me, that’s who!

ii. what to do

1. In a medium pan or Dutch oven, sauté the mushrooms, carrot, garlic, onion, celery and green pepper in the oil.

2. Add the sausage and cook until it’s no longer pink. Drain the fat (or not) … we don’t judge.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4. About 25 minutes into the simmer you can prepare your spaghettini by preparing your pasta according to the instructions.

5. Serve the bolognese over hot, cooked thin pasta.

Yields 5+ servings.

~ Patrick

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

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

A scan of Mom's Spaghettini Bolognese recipe ... as clipped from the May 1975 issue of Family Circle Magazine.

A scan of Mom’s Spaghettini Bolognese recipe … as clipped from the May 1975 issue of Family Circle Magazine.


sauerkraut bend’s potato salad

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookTime For A Potato Fiesta

Give your typical cold egg and mayonnaise potato salad versions a rest and get ready for a tongue-tingling-tangy version with German roots. This potato salad recipe is unlike any other I’ve tasted! It’s not a bad thing, it’s just tastefully unique.

Before we dive into this dish let’s enjoy a special story behind it.

Sauer-what? 

When I found this recipe in Mom’s cookbook I expected it to be a dish from a restaurant named Sauerkraut Bend. Reading a bit closer, I saw a well-known word to me “NIOSA” –  an acronym for Night In Old San Antonio – a four-day celebration held during the city’s larger two-week long Fiesta. Two weeks of citywide partying!

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

Fiesta San Antonio Picture Credit: Pinterest User: Scarlettpayne99

The NIOSA festival dates back to 1937 and it’s held in La Villita (Spanish for “tiny village”), a small art community nestled along the San Antonio River and very close to The Alamo. NIOSA is synonymous with cascarones, crepe paper flowers, live music, thousands of happy dancing folks of all ages and loads of food and libation. If social media hashtags were around when the festival was founded I would have used #bestofdays.

Mom and Dad attended NIOSA from the time before I could walk on my own two legs until my teenage years when we worked side by side in a pretzel booth with her dear friend Bristol, an important lady to our family and this cooking blog. While I sadly don’t see the giant pretzels listed on the NIOSA menu for 2015, I’m happy to learn the festival still serves the super-crispy-cinnamon-sugary “Buñuelos” and savory Peruvian “Anticuchos.” (I also found the Anticuchos recipe in Mom’s cookbook and it’s coming very soon here at Betty’s Cook Nook).

After a few clicks on Google I surprisingly learned the origin of Sauerkraut Bend. It was one of the 15 cultural areas comprising the NIOSA festival. Sauerkraut Bend was nicknamed after a neighborhood located in San Antonio’s King William District that was founded by German immigrants flocking to Texas in the 1840s in search of a better tomorrow. The ties between this recipe, my German roots, the now historic district where a great family friend moved and NIOSA were literally fast-tracking in the overactive windmills of my mind. Turns out the pretzel booth I volunteered in as a child was located in NIOSA’s Sauerkraut Bend pavilion and I had no idea until I researched for this post (I think way back then I called the area “Germantown”).

It’s so amazing the connections a simple recipe written on an index card can ignite!

I then remembered the connection to a funny picture I saw in our family photo archive. I dug it back up – here’s Bristol and my brother Roger (behind her) having a great time in the ol’ pretzel booth in 1976!

Here's a picture ofHere's a picture of Bristol and my brother Roger at NIOSA in 1976. Note the pretzel in the right hand corner!

I’m not quite sure how my Mom scored this recipe. Perhaps she smooth-talked it from a fellow volunteer friend who also worked in Sauerkraut Bend or maybe it was printed in the San Antonio Express News. Either way, I’m so glad I found it and I’m happy to share it forward to you now. Mom would want it this way.

I could go on and on (and you know I could) about this story and why I love nostalgic food blogging but I’m sure you all have better things to do, like eat. So let’s bring on the Potato Fiesta!

Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad Makes A Perfect Side Dish For Most Grilled Dishes

foodie tips ~

  Five pounds of potatoes? That will feed a small army! We cut the recipe in half and this yielded about 6-8 servings. The type of potato wasn’t specified but we used gold.

  One stalk of celery to five pounds potatoes? I’m not pointing fingers, but I am making note of it.

  If you have an eye for potatoes like I do (get it?) you’ll have to try my Mom’s California Potato Recipe which to this day remains one of my top favorites EVER.

i. ingredients

5 pounds | potatoes
5 strips | diced bacon
⅔ cup | sugar
2 cups | vinegar
2 cups | pickles, chopped (we used Texas’ own Best Maid Dill Pickles)
| green onions, chopped
1 stalk | chopped celery
½ cup | parsley, chopped
to taste | salt and pepper

ii. what to do

1. Boil the potatoes, drain and let cool a bit. Peel and discard the skin and cut the potato into pieces.

2. Fry the bacon, reserving the drippings. To bacon and drippings add the sugar and vinegar. Heat and stir until well blended.

3. Pour the bacon mixture over the potatoes.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. The recipe doesn’t specify, but a little research at Wiki mentions that a vinegar-based potato salad like this one likely came from southern Germany and was served warm. I enjoyed mine at room temperature, but either way I’m sure it’s tastefully satisfying.

Yield: A lot of potato salad!

Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!

A Scan Of Mom's Recipe For Sauerkraut Bend's Potato Salad

What’s the Big “Dill?”
Here’s a Texas Country Reporter video you might like to watch about Texas made Best Maid Dill Pickles!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

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


tomato bisque

A Tomato Bisque Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Christmas Spectacular
(Part I)

Our home at 2927 Trailend was decked out in the holiday best every year.

Our family’s signature was a white-light-wrapped Texas mesquite tree in the front yard. Neighbors expected us to don the tree with the shiny lights and so we did. Hundreds of them. Indoors … garland, ribbons and a crackling fire helped trim the season in the best of ways.

Over 40 Christmases later I stumbled upon a recipe folded and tucked deep inside Mom’s cookbook from an old Southern Living Magazine article headlined “Serve Supper After the Trimming,” which made me snicker. Supper? Um, DINNER! I offer my headline option: “Dinner, Decorate and Discotheque!” ;)

I later realized I had unintentionally ignored this hidden recipe for too many months, but this year it piqued my interest when I actually read past the vintage photo on the time-worn page – it contained two different menu ideas that were “quick to prepare and simple to serve.”

In a new era of microwavable meals and drive-thru food on the go, I don’t know if this would still be considered “quick,” but Joe and I found the holiday flight of recipes surprisingly tasty and worthy of a repeat eat. My chosen line-up? This Tomato Bisque recipe followed by Stroganoff Steak Sandwiches, Holiday Cake and Apple Cider – all coming this holiday season here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

However you celebrate the holidays, the deliciousness of food will make it all the greater!

tasting notes ~

  If you have old recipes like this one, make sure to take note of the details. A simple search of the photographer’s name “Jerome Drown” landed me to this online article with an interesting story of who he was; a Southern Living photographer, nature lover and conservationist with an awesome mid century modern home in Atlanta.

  If you’ve read the original recipe (below) you’ll see we’ve been “gypped” of the Apple Cider recipe. Apparently I could have made a few bucks as a proofreader in a former life. No worries – I’ll find a suitable replacement for the Apple Cider. In the meantime …

i. ingredients

2 (10 ¾ ounce) cans | chicken broth
1 ⅓ cups | canned tomatoes
1 cup | celery, chopped
2 teaspoons | onion, chopped
1 cup | carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon | salt, divided into halves
6 tablespoons | falfurrias brand butter, divided
¼ cup | all-purpose flour
2 ⅔ cups | half-and-half, scalded
2 large | tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons | sugar
¼ teaspoon | soda
to taste | paprika

ii. what to do

1. Combine broth, canned tomatoes, celery, onion , carrots and ½ teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth and discard the veggies (sorry, veggies – you served us well)!

2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan then gradually stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring and stirring until thickened. Remove the mixture from heat then stir in the reserved broth from Step 1 (above). Set aside and keep warm.

How To Make Tomato Bisque Soup3. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the fresh tomato and sauté 2-4 minutes. Stir in the sugar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and soda. Add to the broth mixture, stirring well. Garnish with paprika and serve!

Yield: About 6-8 servings

Here’s a scan of the original recipe!

Southern Living Magazine December 1978