kim’s loaded cauliflower casserole

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole RecipeCauliflower Power

This recipe comes to Betty’s Cook Nook via my Niece Kimberly.

Halloween 2018 proved to be the perfect time for Kim and her fiancé Chris to come for a visit. They were both on the keto diet, being just two months before their wedding date. Kim raved about this dish and was so excited to make and share it with us.

After tasting her loaded cauliflower casserole creation, we understood why – we could each easily devour the entire casserole! This dish reminded me so much of loaded mashed potatoes, but it’s low in carbs, the hallmark of the ketogenic diet. And it only calls for six ingredients!

I’m parking this recipe here at my Mom “Betty’s” Cook Nook because it’s a family favorite and Mom would wholeheartedly approve! Plus, now I know where to turn whenever I get a hankering for bacon, cheese, sour cream, and mayo delight.

i. Time

Total prep: About 45 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

6-8 strips | bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large head (about 6 cups) | cauliflower, cut up into bite-sized pieces
2 cups | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 tablespoons | fresh chives, chopped
½ cup | mayonnaise
½ cup | sour cream

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe

Ladies And Gentlemen – Start Your Engines! CHEESE!

iii. What to do

1. Cook your bacon as you like (skillet or oven). Drain off the grease and set the bacon aside to cool.

2. Add the cauliflower into a large pot, fill it with water, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set it aside to cool.

3. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Now’s a good time to crumble your bacon.

How To Make Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

4. Combine 1 cup of cheddar cheese, ½ of the crumbled bacon, ½ of the chives, all the mayonnaise, sour cream, and the cauliflower. Mix well.
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Going Into The Oven
5.
Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese and bacon on top.

6. Place the casserole into the oven and bake it for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

7. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the reminder of the chives on top and serve.

Serves: One to a few, depending on your ability to resist deliciousness.

~ Patrick

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

Kim and Cauliflower

Kimberly ❤ Forever Loved

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe


pimiento cheese

Pimiento Cheese: A Texan’s North Star

Whether you enjoy it as a side dish or a main course, there’s one recipe that’s an essential for the southern foodie – pimiento cheese!

Ironically my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook didn’t contain a pimiento cheese recipe… likely because making the stuff was a culinary instinct for my Texas born and bred Mom – the recipe was memorized.

I interviewed my family (Jennifer!) and friends and curated the recipe below which makes a nice staple for your kitchen or as a gift for friends. Whether you serve pimiento cheese from a china plate or at a tailgate, “P.C.” is one dish that’s an undisputed crowd pleaser.

Pimento vs. Pimiento?

Pretty much my entire adult foodie life I’ve been plagued with how pimiento is spelled. I’ve often heard it referred to as “pimento” (3 syllables) or “pimiento” (4 syllables). Pimiento appears to be the correct spelling according to the Southerners Bible, Southern Living, as well as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. While either pronunciation will work, I prefer “pimiento” to “pimento.” Just pronounce it with confidence and don’t second guess the raised eyebrows you may receive. :)

I encourage you to explore the numerous ways to enjoy pimiento cheese including:

  • Pimiento cheese-bacon cheeseburgers (score Bobby Flay’s recipe here)
  • Pimiento cheese grits
  • Pimiento cheese dip (see the bonus recipe below)
  • Grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches
  • Macaroni and pimiento cheese
  • Pimiento cheese deviled eggs
  • Pimiento cheese sausage balls
  • Pimiento cheese ravioli
  • Pimiento cheese schmeared on celery (my long-standing favorite)

Growing up my Mom would simply spread ¾ – ½ inch of the Texas gold between some sliced ButterKrust bread and that was that. Heaven!

Foodie Tips

  In a pinch for a few of the ingredients? There is an actual difference between pimientos and red bell peppers. So if you don’t use true pimientos, you can use a jar of roasted red bell peppers (drained and chopped) or red bell peppers, (roasted, seeded, and chopped). You can substitute white wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar.

  There are several alternate ingredients for making pimiento cheese including paprika or cayenne spices, yellow onion, finely chopped green onion tops – even toasted and chopped Texas pecans. Try your hand at finding the ones you like best!

  There are also several options to pair with your pimiento cheese – Triscuit crackers, naan, artisan breads, toasted breads, pita chips, vegetables… or as my Cousin Jennifer suggests “amply by spoon.”

i. Time

Total prep: Same day or longer… depending on your patience. And your palette.

ii. Ingredients

½ pound | cream cheese, softened
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | goya brand jarred pimientos, chopped (see substitute above)
1 teaspoon | lea and perrin’s worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon | sherry vinegar (see substitute above)
¼ teaspoon | cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon | kosher salt
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
¾ pound | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
handful | green onion tops, chopped (optional, but wildly suggested)

iii. What to do

0. Set out the cream cheese to soften (about 45 minutes to an hour).

1. In a medium-sized bowl stir the first seven ingredients with a spatula or spoon.

2. With a spatula, fold in the Monterrey and Cheddar cheeses and mix well. If you prefer a smoother (vs. chunkier) cheese you can continue to mash the cheese with a fork. If desired add the green onions inside the pimiento cheese and or sprinkle them on top for some color.

3. Transfer the cheese into storage/serving containers. Spreads easiest fresh; if you store it in the fridge until you’re ready to devour, you’ll likely want to let it rest, uncovered, until it’s creamy and pliable.

Cheers to the gold and red!

~ Patrick

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

*** BONUS RECIPE > PIMIENTO CHEESE DIP ***

My cousin Julie emailed me a recipe she said she saw in Southern Living for their spin on a melty Pimiento Cheese Dip. I couldn’t find the recipe online so this is extra special:

4 ounces | velveeta
¼ cup | whole milk
3 tablespoons | pimientos
½ teaspoon | paprika
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper

what to do: 

1. Microwave the Velveeta for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Microwave a few more seconds until the cheese is melted.

2. Whisk in the milk, pimentos, paprika, and pepper.

Serve while it’s warm with your favorite pairings (pita, celery, etc. per above).

Pimiento Cheese Bacon Burger

Pimiento Cheese-Bacon Burgers > Can You Dig It ?

Southern Pimiento Cheese

Southerners Share A Lot. Go On… Share This Recipe!


chicken divan

Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook NookDivine Divan

This delicious recipe comes to my kitchen via my awesome Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Julie had the best taste in many things – art, decorating, food, and Cousins!

My Cousin Jennifer said Chicken Divan was a Sunday staple that they enjoyed quite regularly. So if you want to help create a few cherished family memories, chicken divan may be a wonderfully tasty starting place!

While the original recipe is not vintage per se it comes to our bellies via Paula Dean, so you know it’s gotta be good.

I hope you try this dish that’s been known as a classic American casserole since the 1960s. In fact, the dish has origins back much earlier to its birthplace as the signature dish of New York City’s Chatham Hotel.

“In English, the word “divan” came to mean sofa, from the council chamber’s benches. In France it meant a meeting place or great hall. It was this meaning that attracted the notice of the owners of the New York restaurant as they searched for a name that would imply continental elegance.” ~ GlutenSugarDairyFree.com

Foodie Tips

  Pull up a chair and let’s talk cheese. I try to refrain from buying bagged shredded cheese. For years I used it but as my hunger for knowing more about food intensified I realized I preferred freshly grated cheese vs. bagged cheese. I found it melted better and on closer inspection discovered bagged cheese has a coating on it that prevents clumping. Some posts I read said this dusty white coating was actually cellulose, which is made from wood pulp. I’m out.


  Is Parmesan Cheese the same thing as Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese? You might be surprised after reading this article! And this one, too. Hint: No shaker cheese for this recipe!
Shredded Chicken For Chicken Divan
  In a flurry to get this dish made? We used shredded chicken from our grocery and it shaved some serious time time off of the food prep clock.

i. Time

Total prep: About an hour.

ii. Ingredients

2 10-ounce packages | frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cups | shredded chicken, cooked
2 10¾-ounce cans | condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | sour cream
1 cup | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon | fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon | curry powder
to taste | kosher salt
to taste | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | dry white wine
½ cup | parmesan cheese, freshly grated
½ cup | soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons | unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
1-2 handfuls | gruyere or more sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional and highly suggested)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open one end of each box and microwave on full power for 2 minutes, or until thawed. Drain the broccoli into a strainer and add the shredded chicken and let rest.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and the wine. Whisk everything together to make a sauce. Transfer the broccoli-chicken mixture to the bowl with the sauce and gently mix things well using a spatula.

How To Make Chicken Divan

3. Place the mixture into an 11-inch x 7-inch casserole dish that’s been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat the Divan mixture down evenly and smooth with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl combine the parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle this over the top of the Divan mixture.

A Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes until bubbly. If desired, about halfway through baking remove from oven, top with cheese, and return to bake until toasty. Remove from oven let rest and serve!

Pairs well with a salad – enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

Chicken Divan With Cheese


bootsie’s salad

Bootsie's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook Almost four years after making Mom’s Layered Salad recipe, Bootsie’s Salad kicked its way into my life.

I don’t know who ‘Bootsie’ was, but celery, red onion, and tomato were a flavorful twist on the layered salad. So what, exactly, are the similarities and differences between Bootsie’s and Mom’s salads? I conducted a little side-by-side comparisons and the results are in!

Bootsies Salad versus Moms Salad

I think the results are clear – both salads have a lot to offer. In fact most anything fresh that finds its way into a salad bowl tastes great. Which is why next time I’m making a mega-layered salad comprised of all these ingredients! :)

foodie tips

  I thought it was odd that both recipes called for sugar. I didn’t really notice it, which means it probably got married-up with the mayonnaise (or sour cream). If you’re watching your weight you can eliminate the sugar and use low fat mayo along with other substitutions. Remember – this recipe is from flashback 1970s so pretty much anything went into the belly!

  This would pair well with anything from the grill – chicken, pork and beef come to mind.

  In case you missed the callout above here’s the link over to Mom’s Layered Salad here on Betty’s Cook Nook.

i. ingredients (listed in layered order)

1 layer | lettuce, blotted dry
1 layer | celery, diced
1 layer | red onion, sliced (we diced)
2 packages | frozen peas, cooked, drained, and cooled
globs | mayonnaise
to taste | salt and pepper
¼ cup | sugar
7-9 slices | crisp, crumbled bacon
| tomato, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, freshly grated

ii. what to do

1. Prepare the peas and set them aside.

2. Layer the ingredients into a bowl that will fit into your fridge:

  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Mayo (drop it by globs over the top of the peas)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sugar

3. Cover the salad bowl with foil (or wrap) and place it into the fridge or crisper to allow things to marinate, about 3-5 hours.

4. At some point before you’re ready to unveil the salad prepare your bacon and set it aside.

Bootsies Salad Recipe

5. When ready to serve, remove the salad from the fridge and garnish with the crumbled bacon, tomato, and the parmesan cheese.

Yields 4-8 servings, depending on the size of your appetite and whether this is being served as a main entree or a side!

~ Patrick

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

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Bootsie’s Salad Recipe Card

Bootsie's Salad Original Recipe Scan

While Bootsie’s Salad Recipe doesn’t call for any additional dressing poured on top (you’ve already made it with the mayonnaise), let’s have a look at some vintage salad dressings commercials that might make you smile wider than a salad bowl.

Sous Chef Note: Let’s take a brief time machine stop into the 1980s with this Salad Shooter commercial. I was working at Foley’s in the (gulp) housewares department and this commercial was on a loop which means in a typical 8 hour shift I would have been exposed to this jingle almost 1,000 times. And some wonder why I hand slice/grate – the jingle is tattooed on my brain!

Sous Chef Note: Oh Edith, Ralph doesn’t love your salad – he loves your salad dressing – all of it! You just poured about 2 cups of dressing on his “side” salad. Just give him the pitcher and a straw. Voilà! LOL

Sous Chef Note: “What’s happening to salad that’s never happened before?” It’s getting smaller! I’m going to need seven servings of this Seven Seas salad – apparently my appetite is bigger than this teacup saucer-sized salad plate!


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

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

A scan of Mom’s Crunchy Tuna Salad recipe.
This recipe is on a waxy kinda paper – likely a cutting from the Tasteez chow mein package itself!

Now on to the vintage videos!

Crunchy Tuna Salad Recipe

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

 


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!


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


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…


minute rice salad

Minute Rice Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook NookHam + Cheese? Yes, Please!

I love reading about the history of food.

Researching and making my Mom’s recipes has become a hobby of mine and I’m often amazed at the evolution of food through the years – especially during my lifetime; I find that food is in many ways like fashion.

Flashback Foods

I enjoy taking trips down the international food aisle at the grocery store. It’s here I can be surprised and delighted with foods I’ve never heard of… not to mention the interesting and artful packaging.

My international food journeys remind me of the things I often mistakenly take for granted. Things like:

  • Some foods are no longer available. I discovered this the hard way with one of my early BCN posts when searching for madrilène so I could make this tasty avocado soup. Also extremely hard to find? A garlic cheese roll. If you were a chocolate and caramel lover eating between 1973 and 1981, you likely remember the Marathon Bar which was sweet and savory braided deliciousness that was a treat about as big as a Texas sunrise.
  • Packaging sizes have changed. I often find that cans and packaged foods are trending larger than they did in the good ole’ days. Supersize Me! And give me seconds. And please don’t forget the cheese.
  • Food packaging has changed. Wine in a box? Get real. (Pssst – it is real)! Refried beans in a bag? Just heat ’em and eat ’em! Tomato paste in a tube? Totally tubular! Let’s get rolling!

A Cheesy Love Affair

I got super sucker-punched in the belly when I lived in Italy. I thought I knew most everything about the country – Heck, it was my seventh trip there. But living far and away for more than a couple of weeks taught me a lot about the presence and absence of food.

Most notably I learned that authentic Italy does not sell or consume yellow cheese. Wait, what?!? Yeah, no yellow cheese! You can imagine the sadness and horror that became my new face as repeated trips to every store in the region produced no yellow cheese. This Texas boy quickly developed a serious health issue when I realized there would be no yellow cheese for me. No homemade mac and cheese. No cheese n’ potatoes. No queso. NO QUESO?!?

This is the solid truth – had someone told me there was a store in a province within a one or two day walk from Tuscany, I would have walked there and back just to score a single log of Velveeta. Pinky swear it. Joe will back me up on this.

I begged our great friends Jeanie and David who were flying over from Texas for an Italian New Years to please, please, please bring me a block of Velveeta. And if they could also find it in their Texas-sized hearts to tuck some taco seasoning in their bag, I would be eternally grateful. And I am.

Velveeta, taco seasoning, picante sauce and Rotel ... In Tuscany!

Eating like a Texan when in Italy begins with the proper ingredients.

My dream came true for NYE 2012 when three beautiful blocks of Velveeta arrived along with several packets of taco seasoning, some Pace picante sauce, Rotel and even a bottle of Don Julio tequila. It was a Holiday to Remember! ← Read this post of mine to learn more about shopping Italian style.

Get On With It

OK, OK! So what does all this have to do with this recipe? Everything.

The optional yellow cheese? Yeah, forget about it. It’s not that you’re in Italy … it’s because this dish doesn’t need it.

Most notably this is a typical recipe circa 1970s that is less about sizzle and more about sustenance. No fancy presentation draped with a demi-glaze sauce. It’s good ole’ timey tasty. For me the combination of swiss cheese, ham and pickle was a delicious trio that packed a lotta taste. The mayo, onion and peas only sealed the deal.

You’ll see.

foodie tips ~

❤  While perfect as a side salad my appetite was trying to find other ways to enjoy this aside from “just a salad.” I wound-up making lettuce cups out of mine and enjoyed every delicious bite. I think a toasted sandwich filled with the stuff would make the world a brighter place, too.

❤  American Cheese is optional for this dish; I did not use it but I love me some yellow cheese, as the story above reveals.

  Dill pickle lover? Check out my other post for Sauerkraut Bend’s Potato Salad… plus a video revealing the history behind the little pickle that made Texas famous.

Minute Rice Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 box | Bird’s Eye frozen green peas
½ teaspoon | salt
1 ½ cups | water
1 ⅓ cups | Minute Rice
¾ cup | mayonnaise
½ cup | chopped dill pickle
1 teaspoon | onion, grated
1 cup | slivered cooked ham
1 cup | slivered swiss cheese
1 cup | slivered american cheese (optional)
to serve | tomato wedges (optional)

ii. what to do

1. Add the peas, salt and water to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a full boil.

2. Add the Minute Rice and mix to moisten all the rice. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 13 minutes.

3. Add the mayonnaise, pickles and onion and mix/fluff with a fork. Chill in the fridge.

4. When ready to serve add the ham and cheese. Serve on lettuce with tomato wedges and enjoy!

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Minute Rice Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Minute Rice Salad Recipe

Minute Rice Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


king crab appetizer puffs

King Crab Appetizer Puffs

Let’s Get Crabby

In my younger years I spent most summers visiting the Texas Coast at Port Aransas. My Dad loved to wade fish and my Mom loved to crab. Port A’s north and south jetties are where I learned to maneuver the giant granite blocks that extended into the sea. There were countless nooks and crannies where the sea met the granite boulders and this was the special place my Mom “Betty” loved to go crabbin’.

The Joys Of Coastal LivingMom would bait her crab net with a small piece of chicken and lower it into the water and wait a bit. Moving very slow and being extra quiet we’d quickly raise the nets to see if we had caught a crab – two if we were lucky! Females went back into the water and the males we’d take back to our short-term home at Executive Keys to boil and create some crab delicacies.

foodie tips ~

 This yields about 3 dozen appetizers. You can half the ingredient quantities if you’re just having a snack. They are best consumed fresh but don’t reheat them in the microwave – only the oven, so they will be crispy!

 I couldn’t find King Crab at my local HEB so I substituted it with plain ol’ crab.

i. ingredients

1 package (6-8 ounces) | frozen crab, thawed
2 tablespoons | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | green onions, sliced
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup | monterey jack cheese, shredded
3 ounce package | cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | parsley, minced
¼ pound | phyllo pastry sheets
¼ cup | more melted butter

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Drain and slice the crab. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté them 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté 1 minute longer. Combine the mushroom-onion mixture with the crab, cheeses, mayonnaise and parsley.

2. Spread phyllo sheets out in layers, two at a time (we did 3 layers because we love the crisp of phyllo). Cut each group of two into strips about 2 inches by 10 inches.

How To Make King Crab Appetizers

Look at the butter! Mmm – BUTTER!

3. Brush each phyllo strip with melted butter. Mmm … butter! Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling onto the end of the phyllo strip. Fold the pasty over the crab filling to form a triangle. Continue folding into triangles as you would a flag for the length of the strip. Seal the seam with a little more butter.

4. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve these hot!

~ Patrick

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

King Crab Appetizer Puffs Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s “Crabetizer” Recipe

King Crab Appetizer Puff Recipe

They kinda look like crabs already. Next time I’ll fashion these just right!