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!

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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!


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.


beef polenta pie

A Beef Polenta Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Pie To Try

Mom clipped this recipe from the April 1976 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I was just cough-cough-9-years-old-cough-#omg-gasp at the time. In the original recipe scan below you can read the story about how this recipe was chosen for the “He Cooks” section of the magazine.

While my first attempt at this recipe didn’t present as beautifully as I had hoped, it was surprisingly tasty. Mastering my Nikon DSLR is a constant work in progress so I’ll plan on another photo session when I make this tasty dish again.

foodie tips ~

  Looking for polenta in the ingredient list? You won’t find it there labeled as such, but cornmeal is often used to make the Italian dish, so there you have it! Besides, eating “Beef Cornmeal Pie” just doesn’t sound as tasty. To learn more about the differences (or not) between polenta and cornmeal visit this nice article I discovered.

  Me gusto processed American cheese. We used Velveeta slices for the polenta pie topper then later revisited the article and saw the stacked pyramid shape (below) which had more foodie flair than our cheese-flung approach. I think next time I make this I will grate cheddar or mozzarella to better coat the top of the pie.

  If you don’t want to make the “peppy sauce” below, you can substitute it with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce. Here’s one of mine. We preferred doubling the peppy sauce recipe to yield 2 cups of sauce. I guess I’m a saucy kinda guy.

i. ingredients

½ pound | ground beef
5 ounces (about 2 cups) | fresh mushrooms, chopped
¾ cup | green pepper, chopped
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, minced
| cage free egg, beaten
¾ cup | soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | dried oregano, crushed
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
few drops | bottled hot pepper sauce
¾ cup | cornmeal
¾ teaspoon | salt
2 cups | water
3 slices | processed American cheese

for the peppy tomato sauce topping:
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
⅛ teaspoon | garlic salt
⅛ teaspoon | celery salt
dash | worcestershire sauce

How To Make Beef Polenta Pieii. what to do

1. Make the beef mixture: In a 10-inch skillet, cook the ground beef, mushrooms, green pepper, onion and the garlic until beef is browned and the veggies are tender. Remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, oregano, pepper and the hot pepper sauce. Combine this mixture with the meat mixture. Turn into an ungreased 9-inch pie plate and set aside.

2. Make the cornmeal mixture: In a medium saucepan combine the cornmeal, ¾ teaspoon salt and the water. Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s thick and bubbly. Spread this mixture atop the meat mixture that’s been waiting for you in the pie plate. Cover with foil then bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the pie and top it with the cheese. Return the pie to the oven until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

3. Make the peppy tomato sauce (if not using your own sauce substitute): Combine the tomato sauce, garlic salt, celery salt and the Worcestershire sauce. Heat through. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

4. To serve: Cut your polenta pie into your desired wedge and top with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings

~ Patrick

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

Here’s a scan of Mom’s recipe clipping (note the time worn folds in the paper). This recipe has a great intro story I hope you read. Note: The recipe’s author, Stephen Braitman, is wearing a button that I’m pretty sure reads “I’m An Advocate For Women”. Right on, Stephen! :)

A Beef Polenta Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


eggplant appetizer

An Eggplant Appetizer From Betty's Cook Nook
Olive (I love) This Dish

With over 100 Betty’s Cook Nook recipes under my foodie belt I was surprised that this is the first dish that calls for eggplant. I was also surprised that there’s a pretty healthy debate over whether eggplant is a fruit or a vegetable.

Mom loved squash, cucumber and pretty much anything fresh so without doubt eggplant is a welcomed guest at our family’s table.

My favorite part of this chunky tapenade style dish is the eggplant’s sidekick – the olive; it packs a lotta salty love that just warms the belly. Served on a chip or on the side, this savory dish gives your tongue one tasty ride.

Foodie Tips ~

  When I first read this recipe I was surprised to learn it was served cold. Try it cold and hot. Cold is great for summer chillin’ and hot is great for cooler months (my preference) … plus you can shave off the time for it to chill several hours. 1 … 2 … get in my belly!

  I had never heard of a “salad olive” before and gave up researching its origin – I think it’s basically the same thing as a green pimiento-stuffed olive. While this calls for whole salad olives, I could only find sliced salad olives at my HEB, so that’s what I used and I liked it. Want to learn more about olives? Take a spin at my well-respected foodie friends’ website at Zingerman’s.

  I don’t think you have to eat this app solo – experiment with it and find your “flavorite” ways to enjoy it. I ate spoonfuls of mine on a grilled chicken breast atop some pasta and found it made a tasty, chunky red sauce that really brightened up the dish.

An Eggplant Appetizer From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 medium | eggplant, peeled and diced
½ cup | green pepper, chopped
medium | onion, chopped
¾ cup | sliced mushrooms (go fresh)
2 cloves | garlic, crushed
¼ cup | extra virgin olive oil
1 can | tomato paste
¼ cup | water
2 tablespoons | wine vinegar
6-7 ounces | stuffed salad olives
1 ½ teaspoon | sugar
½ teaspoon | oregano
½ teaspoon | sugar
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper

ii. what to do

1. Put the first six ingredients into a skillet. Cover. Cook gently, stirring occasionally.

What's That Cooking? Love!

2. Then add the remaining eight ingredients from above. Cover and cook 30 minutes.

3. Chill several hours (if you choose) then serve.

Feeds about 4-6 or more, depending on how you serve.

Here’s a scan of my Mom Betty’s original recipe!

An Eggplant Appetizer Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Cold Or Hot This Eggplant Appetizer Rocks


patio potatoes

Patio Potatoes From Betty's Cook NookOur Patio Long Ago

Our patio at 2927 Trailend Drive in San Antonio was such a great space. A little before its time, our paved patio was surrounded by short walls of bricks that matched the house proper and it had a built-in charcoal and wood grill that was all Dads; his cooking kitchen. The grill was 2 levels tall and I’m sure considered an outdoor gourmet kitchen at the time it was built in the 1960s.

A Backyard Baseball Game From Home Plate at 2927 Trailend San Antonio TX 78209
The patio was our main portal to the outside world. There were three patio exits into the backyard, north, east and west. If the yard could speak it would likely tell you stories about many baseball games (shown above) … family adventures with the riding lawnmower, clothes that were line-dried, lots of Easter and 4th of July celebrations and my first hammock. And while the yard was our green space, the patio was our center to family fun.

Probably the craziest thing I remember us doing was boarding-up the patio exits one super cold night so we could try our hand at filling-up the patio with enough water to freeze and make an ice rink! I don’t remember our devious plan working but suffice it to say we all loved that patio.

With the love of the patio in mind, I hope you like this recipe! It’s savory, bacon-y and Texas-tasty. Give it a whirl!

Foodie Tips ~

  If you haven’t read other recipe posts here on Betty’s Cook Nook yet, you may have missed the 4-1-1. My Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Faulfurrias brand butter for all cooking. So while this recipe clearly calls for Kraft Miracle Brand Whipped Butter, I’m sorry I have to insist on Nanny’s behalf that we use butter. Just doin’ my job!

  Whoopsie. The same is true about the Kraft grated parmesan cheese from a can. Tres 1970s. For an updated taste go fresh n’ cheesy and hand-grate it. Sorry, Kraft, we make up for our pet foodie peeves by eating plenty of your other greatness, like Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. From a box. Gasp!

  I can’t figure out why this recipe is called “Patio Potatoes” since they are cooked on the stove top … maybe if you have a gas grill on your patio with a side burner you can get in some patio time.

  Adding the onions and peppers a little later into the potato browning stage is a good idea; our veggies were a bit over cooked.

A Patio Potatoes Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 stick | falfurrias brand butter
4 cups | cooked potatoes, sliced no larger than ¼” thick
1 cup | white onion, sliced
⅓ cup | green pepper, chopped
to taste | salt and fresh cracked pepper
¼ cup | fresh grated parmesan cheese
4 slices | crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

ii. what to do

1. Melt butter in skillet; add potatoes and brown lightly. Add onion and green pepper. Cook until browned, turning frequently.

2. Season to your liking with the salt and pepper; top with the cheese and bacon.

Yields 4-6 1970s servings or 2-3 2014 servings. :)

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original Patio Potatoes recipe!

A Patio Potatoes Recipe Scan From Betty's Cook Nook

Patrick and a Pumpkin

How did this get in here? Oh yeah, I couldn’t resist! Here’s a picture of me as a wee tot on our patio at Trailend. Proof positive it didn’t take much to make me smile. Or wear striped shorts.


savory pepper steak

A Savory Pepper Steak Recipe From Betty's Cook NookPeter Piper and Patrick Picked This Plate of Pepper Steak

The old saying goes “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

I know Mom loved this recipe: a) because I found it in her cookbook and b) because it has black pepper in it and I love pepper and know she did as well!

Foodie Tips ~

  Never trust anything that is ⅛ teaspoon in size. Either don’t waste your time adding it into your dish or pump up the jam and add more. In this case I’d add way more than ⅛ of pepper. Go for the gusto!

i. ingredientsA Savory Pepper Steak Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

1-½ pounds | round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
¼ cup | all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked pepper
¼ cup | cooking oil or shortening (we used oil)
8 ounce can (1 cup) | tomatoes
1-¾ cups | water
½ cup | white onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, minced
1 tablespoon | beef-flavored gravy base
1-½ teaspoons | worcestershire sauce
2 large | green peppers, cut into strips
to serve | hot cooked white rice

ii. what to do

1. Cut steak into strips.

2. Combine flour, salt and pepper and coat the steak strips.

3. In a large skillet, cook the steak strips in hot oil until until browned on all sides.

A Savory Pepper Steak Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

4. Drain the tomatoes, reserving their liquid.

5. Add the tomato liquid, water, onion, garlic, and gravy base to the steak. Cover and simmer in the skillet for about 75 minutes until the meat is tender.

6. Uncover and stir-in the worcestershire and the green pepper strips. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes more. If desired, you can thicken the gravy by adding a mixture of flour and cold water.

7. Add the drained tomatoes then cook for about 5 minutes.

8. Take a few deep sniffs of your dish. It smells like AWESOME!

TO SERVE: Pour spoonfuls of the peppery steak and gravy over hot rice. The recipe says this yields 6 servings. But if you’re like me, this dish actually yields 2 bountiful servings. :)

This dish was brought to you by the letter “P”!

A Savory Pepper Steak Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

 

PS ~ Now that we have peppered steak on the brain let’s watch a Peter Piper video from one of my favorite childhood TV shows – Sesame Street.