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:


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


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


lemon light drop cookies

Lemon Light Drop Cookies From Betty's Cook Nookthe power of lemon

Those who know me well know my love for lemons.

I’ve grown a few lemon trees from seed, I make my own limoncello, and anytime I incorporate the bright, citrusy flavor into food or drink, I’m reminded of its amazing power.

puttin’ on the spritz

After mastering the simple art of the drop cookie, I was ready to raise the bar by trying my hand with my cookie press, which I recently discovered due to this cheese straws recipe.

My Mom “Betty” had a metal cookie press that I remember well, but where do pressed cookies come from? I wasn’t too surprised to learn they originate from Germany… all the way back to the 16th century. Spritzgebäck or “Spritz” cookies are pressed butter cookies that are made by squirting dough through disks that make a variety of cool-shaped cookies. The cookie press is like a baker’s version of everyone’s favorite childhood toy – Play-Doh!

Lemon Light Drop Cookie RecipeHungry for more cookie history? You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the origins of cookies at this website.

foodie tips

  If using self-rising flour, decrease the soda to ¼ teaspoon and omit the baking powder and salt.

  The original recipe (below) makes about 70 2 ½” cookies. That’s right, 70! Since we weren’t having a party I decided to cut the recipe in half, which still yielded over 30 cookies.

  For the second half of my dough I experimented with my cookie press and was able to churn out some fun-shaped cookies*. Whether you try this or go the simple “drop” route, I wouldn’t suggest hand-rolling the dough into balls; these lost some of their charm and looked more like mini biscuits than cookies. So drop or cookie press all the way!

* Note: To get my cookie press to best form the dough, I chilled the dough-filled press in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen the dough. I clicked the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and voilà!

i. ingredients

to grease cookie sheet | shortening or cooking spray
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | shortening, at room temperature
1 tablespoon | lemon peel, freshly grated
| cage free eggs
1 cup | sour cream or lemon yogurt (I used sour cream, my childhood BFF)
1 teaspoon | lemon extract
3 ½ cups | Pillsbury brand all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons | baking powder
½ teaspoon | baking soda
½ teaspoon | salt
to sprinkle | sugar

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lemon Light Cookie Dough

1. Let’s make the dough! In a large bowl, cream the sugar, shortening, and lemon peel until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream (or yogurt) and lemon extract mix well. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup; level off. To the batter add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend well.

Lemon Light Cookies Going Into The Oven

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar before placing them into the oven.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a light golden brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Clipping

Here are some vintage Play-Doh commercials from me to you!


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.” :)


marion’s brownies

Marion's Brownie Recipe from Betty's Cook NookThe Real Deal

Back in a time before baking on the quick, folks made things from scratch.

Sure, it takes a little more time but you might just find that the food tastes better – especially since you’re in full control of what goes into your creation. And more importantly, what goes into your belly!

All Aboard The Chocolate Choo Choo

As one who loves chocolatey greatness, my earliest creations used Hershey chocolate powder mixed into a cold glass of milk. But it wasn’t until the likes of Messy Marvin kicked his way into my life when my sights on chocolate really took off. Before we dive into Marion’s recipe let’s have a peek at some of my favorite vintage chocolate TV spots from the 50s – 80s:

So what’s makes these brownies so good? Real chocolate made with TLC. Thanks for the tasty treat, Marion! If you make a batch of these, let me know how you liked them. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t forget to let the chocolate cool after melting.

  I like my brownies soft and chewy. So if you’re making me a batch, you know what to do!

  A cold glass of milk or some ice cream is brownie’s BFF. Just sayin’.

i. ingredients

¾ cup | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | baking powder
½ teaspoon | salt
1 cup | sugar
½ cup | shortening
| cage free eggs, unbeaten
1 teaspoon | vanilla
2 squares (2 ounces) | unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup | nuts. And in Texas “nuts” = pecans.

Marion's Brownie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. In a large bowl sift together the first 4 ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar).

2. Add the next 3 ingredients (the shortening, eggs, and vanilla). Beat for 1 minute, making sure to scrape the bowl to ensure a smooth blend.

3. Add the cooled and melted chocolate and the pecans. Beat for 30 seconds longer.

4. Pour the brownie mixture into a greased pan (about 8″ x 8″) and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes.

Cut brownies into squares while they are still warm. 

~ Patrick

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

Marion's Brownie Recipe

Who is “Marion” 

After checking-in with my brothers, Tim and Roger, Tim knew who Marion was. Her name was Marion Praino Sands and she was married to Bob Sands.

I did some Googling and found recent obituaries for both. After reading a bit more into their lives I learned that they lived a few minutes from me where I lived in Dallas for 20 years! My heart sunk knowing that Marion’s brownie recipe was sitting in Mom’s cookbook within reach. And if I had researched this post a little sooner our paths may very well have crossed.

My hunch is that Marion and Bob met my Mom and Dad when they lived in San Antonio. The connection didn’t end there – I learned that Marion was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dallas for over 50 years. And if memory serves correctly my Mom was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in San Antonio, where I was born… and I believe how I came into my name.

 

 


chicken breasts au vin

Chicken Breasts Au Vin From Betty's Cook Nook

This recipe is dedicated to the Bauml Family. 

You were more than just neighbors… you’re like family in many, many ways! 

~   ❤   ~

“Au vin” is French for “with wine”

Chicken with wine? What can be better?!? Chicken with more wine! Oui! Oui!

Growing up I was a huge animal fan. I still am! I raised more than my fair share of pets – two toy poodles, fish, zebra finches, a cockatiel named “Sam,” and I raised quail from eggs with the help of an incubator and lots of patience. My passion was more like an obsession and Mom and Dad seemed not to notice as I begged them to let me also have a bantam chicken. This was a critical link in my transformation into a bona fide farmer! :)

A Buff Cochin ChickenWith 30+ quail living in our back yard I really didn’t need a chicken but our family’s friend Mr. Bauml had some chickens with feathers on the legs and toes that I thought were really cool and before anyone knew it, a butterscotch-colored chicken was living in our backyard pen.

Make no mistake – the quail and the chicken were not to be eaten – they were my pets and were to be admired with the eyes and the heart. They could also be hugged or high-fived, if desired.

Chicken is the hero of this meal and partnered with its sidekicks wine and brandy, I hope you’ll find the end result a tasty twist on your typical poultry dish.

foodie tips ~

 For small white onions I suppose you can use pearl onions as the recipe doesn’t say to chop them. I didn’t have any pearls on hand so I used chopped white onions.

 Setting brandy on fire is fun! For another one of Mom’s recipes that will impress your guests, try Betty’s brandied pumpkin flan recipe. It’s always a hit at the holidays!

i. ingredients

| chicken breasts, boned and split
¼ cup | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon (I used more) | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | brandy
2 cups | dry red wine
½ pound (2 cups) | small white onions, peeled
¼ cup | parsley, chopped
| bay leaf, crumbled (I left mine whole for easy removal)
1 clove | garlic, crushed (or pressed)
½ pound | fresh mushrooms

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Dust the chicken breasts in a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper. In a skillet, sauté the breasts in the butter.

2. Warm the brandy and set a match to it – no worries, it will be unlikely that you will cause a culinary explosion! Pour the flaming brandy over the skillet chicken. Shake the skillet until the flame dies away.

3. Transfer the chicken and the pan juices to a casserole dish. Add the wine, onions, parsley, bay leaf, and the garlic clove. Cover tightly with foil then with the lid. Cook for 30 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this dish au vin! I partnered mine with some creamy four cheese Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat!

Serves 6 – 8 humans

~ Patrick

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

 

Chicken Breasts Au Vin Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original recipe