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 350F.

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’!

 


quiche lorraine

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
Quiche Masterpiece

I love when I get a little history lesson along with a recipe. It’s like two treats in one! Found along with this recipe my Mom clipped from The San Antonio Express-News in 1970 the article tells an interesting story about this recipe’s creator, Ester MacMillan.

Ester helped introduce quiche to foodies near and far after it arrived at the 1968 World’s Fair dubbed “HemisFair” that was held in San Antonio. What a sight that must have been when the Tower of the Americas – an observation tower more than 600 feet tall complete with a spinning 360° top – debuted at the expo! You can read more about Ester and her story about the origin of quiche via the original recipe scan I scored from my Mom’s cookbook below. A postcard from HemisFair 1968, San Antonio, Texas

As a child I remember my Mom, “Betty,” talking about Quiche Lorraine and a few decades later (ahem, just a few) this was the first time I made it. I absolutely loved it! I found the recipe extremely forgiving, meaning you can adapt it to your liking by adjusting the ingredients you introduce into the custard.

Perfect for a brunch-time gathering or  a couch-side treat this recipe scored a well-deserved spot in “The Best Of The Best Recipes” category (at right) … as well as my heart.

I’ve discovered more than one quiche recipe in Mom’s cookbook so I’ll be trying other versions soon and will share them here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

foodie tips

  “Blind baking.” I had never heard of it before until my friend and colleague Suzanne told me about it when I commented that I longed for a crispier quiche crust. Essentially all you do is pre-bake the crust a few minutes before filling it; doing so will help give it more “fluff.” I’ll give blind baking a try on the next making of this dish. And there will be a next time.

  I may have “accidentally” used a teeny bit more meat than the recipe suggests. In fact, Ester called for bacon or ham. A lover of both, I used bacon and ham. #Carnivore. This recipe presumes you will follow suit and use both. I scored some peppered ham at my local HEB and I loved the extra peppery kick.

  After reading the recipe below if you want to learn more about NIOSA and score some of the festival’s recipes, click this link and enjoy!

Quiche Lorraine Ingredients

i. ingredients

9 inch | pie crust
¼ pound | bacon or ham (or both)
1 ½ cup | gruyere or aged cheddar, grated (I used gruyere)
| cage free eggs
1 cup | cream, half and half or undiluted evaporated milk
½ teaspoon | salt
dash | white pepper
dash | nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon | dried onion
dash | cayenne pepper

ii. what to do

0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. That was easy, right?

1. Line a 9-inch pie pan or fluted quiche pan with pie crust. If you choose, blind bake the doughy crust (per above) and set aside.

2. Cook until crisp the bacon – and or – lightly brown the ham. Set the dynamic duo aside to cool off a bit.A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

3. Place your grated cheese (yum, cheese!) in the bottom of your pastry-lined pie pan. Over that, sprinkle your meats.

4. In a medium-sized bowl beat the eggs. Add the cream and the four seasonings and beat a little longer until everything is well-mingled. Pour this egg mixture over the cheese-meat medley.A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden and custard is set. Remove from oven and cool a bit to lukewarm and serve.

Yield: About 8 servings. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

 

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s recipe for Quiche Lorraine. Click to read the interesting story!

Watch this interesting video series about HemisFair 1968! I learned much about my hometown city!


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.” :)


squash casserole

Squash Casserole Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to the music teachers of my life. Bill Brady (drums at MacArthur High), Cliff Robertson (piano), and Miss Nance (beginning band, drums, at Garner Middle School).

Thank you for the talent and confidence you gifted me; I lean on both every day!

~      ~

The Magnificent Seven

This dish comes to Mom’s cookbook courtesy of our 1970s next door neighbor Mary Stephenson.

Mary and my Mom were the best of foodie friends; when I was a younger Patrick trading marbles they were trading recipes and sharing stories about the greatest of foods for family and friends. You can find more of Mary’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook by searching for “Stephenson” in the search bar at right. I probably have more of Mary’s recipes than any other of Mom’s friends. And I’m all the better for it!

This recipe combines 7 key ingredients in 7 simple steps to make one savory, buttery casserole that makes me want to yodel from the hilltops. ← Click this link if you think I’m kidding. I’m highly confident that this dish would have made an appearance at the best-dressed Thanksgiving table. Give it a taste and you’ll see!

foodie tip ~

❤  Cooking terms decoded: Per below, “squash” had to be yellow squash, “onion” would be a white onion, “sharp cheese” would be sharp cheddar cheese, and oleo is margarine (I had to look that one up!) … but in this family we only stick with butter. Falfurrias brand butter, to be precise. Betty’s Mom (my grandmother), “Nanny” insisted on it and that is a tradition that has stuck with me through the years.

Being fooled by the term olio has me remembering a battle between the butters, so to speak. If you are too young to remember the war between butter and margarine you’ve gotta enjoy this vintage TV commercial from the 1970s where we see what happens when you fool with Mother Nature.

I’m not sure if Mother Nature needs to see the doctor or what but she seems to have “ChiffonWare” bowls of margarine confused with daisies confused with butter. Just sayin’.

PS ~ I love you Mother Nature!
Squash Casserole Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

2 pounds | squash, chopped
1 | medium onion, chopped
¼ stick | oleo (unsalted butter)
to season | a little salt and pepper
1 cup | crackers, crumbled
| cage free eggs, well beaten
1 cup | sharp cheese, grated
¼ cup | mayonnaise

for the delightful topping:
3 tablespoons | oleo (3 tablespoons? now we’re talking!)
¼ cup | crackers, crumbled

ii. what to do

1. Boil the onion and squash until tender. Drain the water then mash ’em both together.

2. Season with the butter, some salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and of course the mayo. My lips have been waiting for the mayo.

3. Add the eggs, crackers crumbs and cheese. My hips have been waiting for the cheese.

4. About now I’d rev-up the oven to 350°F.

5. To make your casserole topping, melt the additional 3 tablespoons of oleo in a skillet. Add ¼ cup of more cracker crumbs and coat them well in the butter.

6. Transfer the squash mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with your buttery, crumbly topping.

7. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest but best served warm.

Yields 8 servings

A Squash Casserole Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Card

Still Hungry For More Senseless Lore?

You’ve stumbled into the right cyber-place!

While “The Magnificent Seven” is a phrase I’ve heard of pretty much my entire life. I realized today I really didn’t know where it truly originated.

A couple of clicks later and I learned “The Magnificent Seven” was actually a film from 1960.

Picture 7 gunslingers comprised of a star-studded cast including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and James Coburn.

A few seconds into the trailer and I instantly recognized an all-too familiar tune I played over and over in band at Garner Middle School. Even more interesting is that I read that in 2013 the movie was inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, making this a must watch movie.

How ironic all this is. And how “sweeter” this dish is to my heart!

Cheers to 7!

~ Patrick

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

Confident

Just in case you missed it above…


italian zucchini casserole

An Italian Zucchini Casserole Recipe

The Best Of Days

One of the happiest of days growing up was “birthday day.”

We were lucky in that I can’t remember a single birthday when the Kiker boys of three were given a store-made birthday cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought cakes … I just love the fact that Mom always made us our own “wish cakes.”

A wish cake was truly something just for us. A chocolate cake with trains. A circus-inspired cake. Or an Angel Food cake topped with chocolate frosting and sliced almonds, if you’re my brother Roger.

So when my birthday rolled around this year, I didn’t make cake. I just let my fingers find our next recipe in Mom’s cookbook. That’s all it took ~ this Italian Zucchini Casserole recipe.

If you love bacon, you’ll find its flavor woven throughout this dish … and that makes this a recipe worth celebrating!

foodie tips ~

  If you’re serving this as a side it’ll yield 10-12 servings. But if you eat like me, it will yield 6 servings.
  We used ciabatta bread vs. sliced bread. It was great!

i. ingredients

7-8 medium | zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
8 slices | bacon
1 large | white onion, chopped
1 large | garlic clove, crushed
4 slices | bread, torn
2 cups | cheddar cheese, shredded/grated
15 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 teaspoon | italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon | freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup | freshly grated parmesan cheese

ii. what to do

1. Cook zucchini in a small amount of boiling water for about 5-8 minutes; drain well and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and let the strips rest on paper towels. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

3. Sauté onion and garlic in the drippings until tender; drain.

4. Combine onion mixture, zucchini, bacon and remaining ingredients EXCEPT the parm cheese; mix well.

5. Pour into a lightly-greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish.

6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until your eyes say “it’s done.”

Yields: 10-12 Servings (side dish) or 6 Servings (main course)

A scan of Mom's Italian Zucchini Casserole recipe from 1985.


green chilies casserole

green chilies cassrole

A Great Side Or Main Dish

How can you create anything but success with a recipe that calls for an entire pound of cheese?

This is a tasty dish that’s easy to prepare and even easier to eat. It’s great as an entrée or main dish depending on the size of the helping and what time of day you’re eating it.

This Casserole? Olé! Olé!

i. ingredients

2 4 ounce cans | whole green chilies
½ pound | cheddar cheese, grated
| cage free eggs
1 tablespoon | flour
12 ounce canevaporated milk
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
to garnish | tortilla chips, crumbled

ii. what to dolining the chilies in the bottom of the casserole dish

0. Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Split the green chilies and remove the seeds (if any).

2. Butter the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ casserole dish and layer the chilies in the bottom. Cover the chilies with the cheddar cheese and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized bowl beat the eggs, flour and evaporated milk. Pour the mixture over the chilies and cheese and place the casserole in the oven for 30 minutes.

the cheddar cheese swimming in milk4. Remove the casserole from the oven and top it with the monterrey jack cheese. Pour on the tomato sauce. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes to rest. Cut, plate and enjoy!

Serves: 4-6

foodie tips ~

  Although the original recipe didn’t call for it, after my first helping I decided that a little crunch would be a nice contrast. So I crumbled some tortilla chips onto my plate before serving.

  Something tells me a dollop of sour cream would be good on top of a slice of this casserole. That “something” is my belly talking to me and I’ll try it when I heat-up the leftovers. (Simmer down, belly).

~ ~ ~

Who is “Mary Stephenson?”

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

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

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.

a scan of the original green chilies casserole recipe