vegetable dip

Vegetable Dip Recipe
Dippity Do

My Cousin Julie is a fantastic host.

When there’s a gathering at her house – whether simple or grandiose – the tastiest of foods are always at the ready. It’s like Christmas for the taste buds!

Cousin Julie’s veggie dip is easy to make and doesn’t require resting. Smooth and creamy with a natural green color, this is one of my favorite flavors that reminds me of home.

foodie tips

  Leftovers store well in the fridge. However, I have it on good word that being in possession of veggie dip leftovers is actually a misdemeanor here in Texas. Just sayin’. :)

  While typically dunked by sliced veggies (see below), this dip is also good on toasted or fresh-cubed bread, corn chips… you get the idea.

  I might sneak in some minced garlic into this on my next makin’ of this mighty dip recipe. Did you know that since garlic has leaves it’s actually a vegetable and not an herb?

  I can think of many ways to enjoy this dip: On a burger, by the fire, just because, and above all else… to show others how much you care!

i. ingredients

1 cup | mayonnaise
½ cup | fresh spinach
handful | fresh parsley (we used Italian flat-leaf)
3-5 | green onions, chopped
to serve | your favorite vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, peppers, radishes, etc.)

How To Make Vegetable Dip

ii. what to do

1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and you’re ready to let ‘er rip.

3. Dip to your heart’s content!

A Vegetable Dip Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Vegetable Dip Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe

In my blog posts I typically include a nod to yesteryear. Let’s celebrate this time-honored dip with a flashback to some “Dippity Do” commercials from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

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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


eggplant parmigiana

An Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Aubergine Supreme

Found on the same page of Mom’s cookbook as this savory pepper steak recipe is this eggplant parmigiana recipe.

We Americans often shorten words down to make them easier to pronounce:

    • When referring to cheese, “Parmigiana” (Italian origin) is shortened to simply “Parmesan”. But somehow saying “parmigiana” just makes anything made with it sound fancier … and tastier.
    • “Aubergine” (British English) is known as “Eggplant” this side of the big pond <– I’m pointing to Texas. I’d rather refer to my walls being the color of aubergine than eggplant. Any day, hands down.
    • Shaking My HeadWhen in Italy “Rome” is “Roma,” “Naples” is “Napoli” and “Florence” is Firenze.” On my first trip to Italy in 2006 I had a full on adult melt-down in the Naples train station when I thought we couldn’t purchase a ticket to Florence … only to discover a few minutes later that Firenze and Florence were the same city. Finger to forehead! Still shaking my head to this day.

While I’ve spent much of my recent adult life researching and traveling Italy, I look for ways to incorporate the Italian romance language into my everyday life as often as I can, so while the use of “eggplant parmigiana” would appear to be on the decline according to Google Ngram Viewer, I can assure you this dish will be making a repeat appearance in my kitchen … and more importantly in my belly. :)

This dish hails from southern Italy’s regions of Campania and Sicily. Layers of cheese and tomato sauce? Count me IN!

foodie tips ~

❤  While the debate over whether to salt (sweat) or not salt your eggplant rolls on, this recipe doesn’t call for it. Once your eggplant is layered between tomato and cheese, even the discriminating pallet shouldn’t notice any eggplant bitterness.

❤  Love eggplant? Check out more of Mom’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook using the nav at left!

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | unsalted butter (Falfurrias brand butter, per Betty’s Mom “Nanny” – she is my grandmother)
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, crushed
1 pound | ground beef chuck
1 can (~1 pound 1 ounce) | Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
6 ounce can | tomato paste
2 teaspoons | dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon | dried basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | pepper
1 cup | water
1 tablespoon | brown sugar
1 large | eggplant (about 1 pound in size)
| cage free eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon | water
½ cup | dried bread crumbs
1 ¼ cups | parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup | salad oil (vegetable oil)
8 ounces | mozzarella cheese, grated

ii. what to do

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté the onion, garlic and beef chuck until the meat is no longer red (about 5 minutes).

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

3. Let’s get the oven preheating to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and set aside.

4. Wash the eggplant and leave the peel on. Cut the eggplant crosswise into slices about ½” thick and set aside.

5. In a pie plate, combine the eggs and 1 tablespoon more water; mix well.

6. Are you ready to bread? On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the bread crumbs with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix well. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and coat well. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly.

7. In a new pan sauté the eggplant slices a few at a time in 1 tablespoon of hot oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Add more oil as needed.

8. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining parmesan cheese. Top each slice with half of the mozzarella cheese; cover with half of the tomato sauce.

9. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Cover with the rest of the parmesan, and the tomato sauce.

10. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Arrange the remaining mozzarella over the top; bake 20 minute longer, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original recipe clipping.


barbequed shrimp

barbequed shrimp recipe from betty's cook nook
Checking The Box

As I sit to write this post I think to myself “How well do I really know things about shrimp?”

Turns out not very well!

Why? Well, as a child of 8 who had an unforgettable unpleasant experience with oysters, I’ve since found seafood literally quite fishy, meaning I typically run from it. Batter it up, fry it, and top it with some fresh squeezed lemon or tartar sauce and I’ll come running back. While crab, grilled salmon, Luby’s fried fish, lobster mac and cheese, even some ceviche are right at home in my belly, my list of “no thank yous” include shrimp cocktail, seafood salad, and the likes of anything resembling octopus and squid. Don’t even get me started about a fish served with a head and a glaring, glazed eye. N.O.

So in the end my knowledge of seafood is what I’d call a short story. Two ships that passed in the night. An un-love affair.

A Fish By Any Other Name

When I established this cooking blog I wanted to organize it identically to how Mom organized the sections in her cookbook. Despite my goal there have been recipes that break convention and this recipe is one of them; the only possible two categories this recipe would likely fit under is “appetizers” or “meats poultry and fish.” So I thought: “Check meats poultry and fish!”

Not. So. Fast.

I turned to Google and started researching to find out what, really, is a shrimp?! I came across posts that:

  • Criticized shrimp as being “bottom feeders” that are high in cholesterol
  • Praised shrimp for being a healthy alternative to meat and poultry
  • Described shrimp as being more closely related to spiders, grasshoppers and crabs than to fish
  • And one post that skewered shrimp for exacerbating climate change. Wow, really?

In the end a shrimp is factually a 10-legged crustacean. And since saying “I’m eating crustacean tonight!” sounds plain ol’ #awkward, most people just settle on referring to shrimp as seafood. So there we go … *POOF* … I just created a seafood category box at right!

Shrimping On The Barbie

Before we dive into Mom and Dad’s shrimp recipe below, let’s watch a memorable throwback with this 1980s commercial featuring Paul Hogan who is better remembered as Crocodile Dundee. The phrase “slip another shrimp on the barbie?” It came from this: * Caution: the “shrimp” on the barbie at the end of this commercial is monstrously ginormous. But maybe it’s a prawn? And is a prawn a shrimp? Oh, that’s a foodie research story best served for another day. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t watch the above video with closed captioning tuned on … unless you want a good laugh.

  You probably know who had the bright idea to cloak his shrimp in bacon in the picture above. That’s right!

  Do not overcook this shrimp, per Mom’s note below!

i. ingredientsbarbequed shrimp on the grill

1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | salt
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon | dried basil leaves
2 cloves | garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon | catsup
1 teaspoon | pepper
1 tablespoon | wine vinegar
2 pounds | shrimp, shelled and deveined

ii. what to do

1. Combine the first eight ingredients above to make your marinade. Pour over the shrimp and cover. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

2. Thread shrimp on skewers and place on the barbie. Grill 3 minutes over coals, basting with the marinade.

barbequed shrimp on the grill from betty's cook nook

3. Turn and grill 5 minutes more, basting several times.

Mom said my Dad always got raves from guests for this dish. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Mom and Dad's Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe

Mom and Dad’s Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe


meat loaf medley

a meat loaf medley recipe from betty's cook nookI Would Do Anything For Loaf

Some of the best recipes are filed away solely in memory. As awesome as this is, it can mean that unless one coverts the recipes to paper or blog before the recipe creator passes, their cherished recipes can pass right along with them.

This is the case with some of my Mom’s and virtually all of my Maternal Grandmother’s recipes! Lucky for me my Mom curated two cookbooks so I have a few hundred recipes for my tastebuds to feast upon (you, too, if you fully experience this blog). The only recipes I have from my Dad are the cherished few that he taught us in person and I don’t have any of my Paternal Grandparent’s (or beyond) recipes. I hope this blog will put a digital stake (steak) in the ground and break my family’s culinary recklessness as I archive many of the recipes fueling my childhood. So far, I’ve published more than 130 recipes … and I have a healthy appetite to keep ’em rollin’!

So given the ease in which some foodies “just remember” how to create in the kitchen, I was not at all surprised that this recipe simply calls for us to literally “make a meat loaf mixture” … yet there is no detail for how to do so! Yeah, I don’t know how to do that! Joe found and adapted an easy-to-make meat loaf recipe so I included the details below if you need a little help making your meat loaf. Feel free to substitute this loaf recipe with your very own favorite; this dish is extremely forgiving – Hello, it’s graced with instant mashed potatoes!

I found this recipe clinging on for dear life near the bottom of this chicken breasts au vin recipe that we recently made so consider these posts a tasty “twofer” for your tummy! This recipe ran in print without a name, so I lovingly named it “meat loaf medley” because it made me chortle a little when the name came to mind. The world “chortle” also makes me chortle! :)

foodie tips ~

  The discerning foodie eye will likely notice that I doubled the servings of mashed potatoes for the top of the meat loaf medley. Eight servings tasted even better – no paper-thin smears of the fluffy stuff for me! Nah, I just won’t do that. Neither would the original Meat Loaf.

  To toast the cheese on top of the meat loaf to a golden brown, as shown, place it under your oven’s broiler for a couple of minutes.

  Most Moms have a favored meat loaf recipe. If you don’t already know hers beyond the heart, I encourage you to get your Mom (or Grandmother) to give you the recipe details so you can safely secure and share it with foodies to come!

i. ingredients

for the meatloaf:

1 pound | lean ground beef
¾ cup | whole milk
1 tablespoon | worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons | fresh sage, chopped
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | dry mustard
¼ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
2 cloves | garlic, minced
1 bunch | scallions, chopped
½ cup | dry bread crumbs
½ cup | ketchup or barbecue sauce

for everything else:Idahoan Buttery Homestyle Mashed Potatoes

8 servings | smashed potato buds (we used Idahoan buttery homestyle)
2 handfuls | your favorite shredded yellow cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc.)

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Combine all meat loaf ingredients except the ketchup in a large bowl, and mix well. Place the meat loaf mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan and spread the ketchup or barbecue sauce over the top of the loaf.

2. Bake uncovered for about an hour, until no pink remains in the center of the meat loaf (the internal temperature should be ~160 degrees).

3. Just before the meat loaf is done, make the mashed potatoes according to the package instructions and set aside. If you want to add some butter, I won’t tell! Make sure and use Falfurrias brand butter because that’s what my Grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) always used.

meat loaf casserole with cheese recipe

4. Remove the loaf from the oven and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for a couple of minutes, until the cheese is all melted and toasty good.

meat loaf medley casserole from betty's cook nook

5. Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes and serve. We enjoyed ours by the spoonful.

Yields 4 – 6 servings

~ 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

 

In case you missed the multiple plugs to Meat Loaf (the musical one), here’s one more treat you might “loaf” just as much as this dish!

meat loaf and potatoes recipe

Just one more helping!


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

 


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.