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:


lemon springtime cake

 

Springtime Cake Recipe
Debuting in my kitchen on Mother’s Day 2018,

this springtime cake recipe is dedicated to all you Moms out there!
Thank you for everything you do…

and for ensuring we never go to bed hungry!
~   ♥   ~

Pucker Up, Cake Lovers

Just before jettisoning to my first official family vacation in over 5 years (insert glad face here) I made this cake. Before I dive into why you should make it, too, I want to share a crazy family story connection with this recipe!

Before leaving for the Texas Coast I was reminded of a list I recalled that was tucked away in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook. For 7 years I had thought it was a list Mom wrote in preparation for an October trip to the coast to enjoy the temperatures of the beachy, breezy 70s and 80s which is quite delightful after the typical blazing Texas summer.

Since I was reminded of the beachtime list I snapped a few pics of the list (below) and texted them to my Dear Cousin Alison, who is as much a fellow Foodie as one could hope for. She and I texted back and forth while Joe drove me and the Dogs to Port Aransas… somewhere around Refugio, Texas, I had a huge revelation – the list wasn’t for a family vacation, it was preparing for an e-vacuation!

What Chew Talking About, Willis?

I stumbled across the date “10-22-62” that was written off to the side of my Mom’s list and after seeing my Googled search results my heart started beating faster. My family wasn’t about to to go on a joyride trip – they were preparing for the Cuban Missile Crisis! I had heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis before, but I didn’t realize its potential for devastation here on U.S. soil.

Aggressively searching on Google for more clues about this date and it’s significance to San Antonio I stumbled upon a passage from the book A Tale of Three Cities (authored by R. Douglas Brackenridge and published by Trinity University).

“During the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962, students monitored events closely, aware that because of its military bases, San Antonio was a prime target in case of enemy attack. One student wrote, ‘We live in an age in which we have five minutes to rush to a bomb shelter to live. For that is how long it would take for a nuclear missile launched from Cuba to reach San Antonio.’ … The university was preparing shelter areas with minimum provisions in case an emergency should arise.”

Sobering. As a alum of Trinity University, there’s no doubt Mom’s ties to her alma mater rang loud during this scary time. Even more so, I was amazed how – once again – a simple recipe from Mom’s cookbook could unearth so much history and relevancy to my family.

Um, Did You Forget About The Cake?

Of course not! As a self-proclaimed extreme foodie, culinary consumables are always on my mind. So let’s get to it! What I think you’ll love about this cake:

  • The checkerboard cake pattern. 50+ years ago alternating yellow and white cake was surely quite a surprise, cleverly “hidden” beneath the lemony frosting.
  • Layered pudding cake. Need I say more?
  • The tart and sweet taste of the lemon frosting. You can peel off the frosting recipe and make it for cupcakes or any other cake where you want a citrusy lemon appeal.Springtime Cake

Foodie Tips

  Mom’s Options For The Frosting: 1) Mix lemon juice into 2 packages (7 ounces each) butter-cream style frosting mix or; 2) Make your own delicious Lemon-Butter Frosting compliments of Mom’s recipe that pairs wonderfully with this cake! The instructions below presume we will be making scratch frosting, since that’s how I enjoyed it. The scratch frosting was super-simple to make and the taste was excellent!

  Tube pan vs. bundt pan. I didn’t know the difference until I was already into baking this recipe! Luckily my bundt wasn’t extremely fluted and the cake popped right out. But I was panicking that the batter was going to ooze all over my oven as the tube pan holds a little more batter than the typical bundt.

i. Time

Total prep: About 2 hours, including baking, cooling and chilling.

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
1 package | angel food cake mix
6-8 or so | drops of yellow food coloring
1 package | lemon instant pudding
varies | milk or water (read directions on the pudding package)

for the frosting: (yields 2 ½ cups)
½ cup (1 stick) | butter, softened (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
| cage free egg yolks
4 cups (1 pound) | confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons | lemon juice

iii. What to do

for the cake:

0.
Preheat your oven to 375°F.

1. While that’s prepping, in a large bowl prepare the cake mix. Spoon half the batter into a second bowl and add about 6-8 drops of yellow food color and stir well; leave the other batter original “white.”

2. Fill an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with alternating spoonfuls of yellow and white batters. Do not stir! I wound up with 3 layers of alternating colored batters in total; yours may vary.

3. Bake your cake mix in your preheated oven about 1 hour, or until done.

4. Remove the cake from the oven, turn the pan upside down onto a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Prepare the instant pudding mix and chill it about 10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Springtime Cake Recipe Layer 1

6. Loosen and turn out the cake (mine literally fell out of the pan). Using a  large serrated knife to slice the cake into 3 horizontal layers. Spread the pudding between layers leaving the top of the cake plain.

7. Frost the top and sides of the cake (frosting recipe below).

Springtime Cake Recipe

for the frosting:

1.
With a hand mixer cream the butter until soft.

2. Blend in the egg yolks.

3. Add sugar a little at a time and alternate with the lemon juice.

4. Blend until everything is thick and creamy-smooth. The suspense is killing me! Let’s frost the cake and get to it!

Despite my excitement to devour this I was able to wait and chill my cake for 15 minutes or so. This step is totally optional but I like my citrusy cakes chilled and refreshing.

Yields 12-16 servings!

~ Patrick

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

Scans Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Springtime Cake + Frosting Recipes

Springtime Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Springtime Cake From Betty's Cook Nook

Hats Off To You, Springtime Cake

Ready for my Mom’s Cuban Missile evacuation lists?
Here they are followed by a few comments from the “me” of today to yesterday.

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 1

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 2

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 3

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 4

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 5

  • Pink Baby Quilt – Since Mom and Dad only had two boys I thought this one was interesting. Then I was reminded that ultrasounds didn’t become popular until the 1980s so undoubtedly they received a pink blanket for what turned out to be baby boys. Surprise!
  • Snowsuits, Coveralls, and Flannel Shirts? In San Antonio? Alison noted a passage in the “Fallout Protection” book below that explained the wintry coverups: “Young people might be injured more by nuclear radiation than older people. This is because young people are more apt to absorb radioactive elements into their bones and internal organs than are older people.”
  • Water (5 Gallons) and Toilet Paper (4 rolls): I found these quantities disproportionate to what I would insist upon – more like 80 rolls of toilet paper and 5 boxes of wine… to get me through the weekend.
  • Bonus Reading Below: My Cousin Alison gave me links to so many awesome references about nuclear fallout. I know it’s weird to be posting about them here, but they are a blast from the past, so I’m sharing them.

President JFK’s Cuban Missle Crisis 10-22-62 Address:

A Fallout Shelter Audio Clip:

Fallout Protection: What to Know and Do

Family Shelter Designs

New Homeowner Opens Shelter Sealed Since 1961

A Special Treat: Something From the 80s


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


fudge

A fudge recipe from Betty's Cook Nook
Oh, Fudge: How Sweet It Is

This recipe is long overdue making its debut on Betty’s Cook Nook.

I was supposed to make this fudge during my big getaway to Italy in 2012-2013 but I wasn’t able to score all the ingredients while in Tuscany so the recipe sat here online without pictures or a story behind it … until now.

Out of all of my Mom’s recipes that I’ve been intimidated to make, I think it was this one takes 1st place because of the special note Mom included on the recipe: “Call Inez for help when making 1st time.” If Mom needed counsel the first time making this fudge, I was surely destined for a foodie fail – especially after my run-in with the red candy apple on a stick disaster from 2011.

Turns out I was right!

foodie tips

  Eureka! I learned something significant that you probably already know – the difference between condensed milk and evaporated milk! I always knew these as “milk in a can” but if you asked me the difference I would have said one is evaporated and one is not. Bad guess.

It turns out that both milks have the majority of water removed from them but condensed milk is sweetened milk (a.k.a. sweetened condensed milk or “SCM”) and evaporated milk is not. Since this recipe calls for sugar, I can create confidently knowing that “cold milk” (per the original recipe below) would have been shorthand for evaporated milk. My culinary cred just rose by +1!

I’m not sure why the recipe calls for the milk to be cold only to heat it up in step one, but hey, don’t mess with instructions, right?

  Even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I enlisted the aid of my candy thermometer to try and prevent another culinary wreck. Turns out I would need the aid of the entire Justice League to try and save this mess.

I’m not sure what I made but I think it was a cross between a Texas praline, a chocolate crepe, and a brick (translation: FLAT and HARD). After two candy-coated foodie fails I think I’ll be trading in my Sur la Table candy thermometer for something more reliable. Maybe a digital candy thermometer!

Sur La Table Candy Thermometer

  I distinctly remember Mom making this fudge at the holidays when divinity, rum balls and ribbon candy made special appearances. While we had the fudge with chopped nuts, Mom made the fudge with pecan halves on top most often so that’s the way I made them (hint hint).

  Here in Texas “nuts” is an abbreviation for Texas Pecans. Y’all can trust me on this!

  On the next “go” of this recipe I’m going to try it in a deep glass dish then cut it into squares. Seems like many of the modern day recipes call for that technique and maybe I’ll be luckier in the end.

  Fudge Lover? Get in line! Here’s another fabulous fudgey find from Mom’s cookbook.

fudge recipe ingredients

i. ingredients

½ cup | cold canned milk (evaporated milk)
2 cups | sugar
½ cup | karo corn syrup
2 squares | chocolate
2 tablespoons | butter (go big with unsalted Falfurrias Brand)
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a handful or 2 | nuts (a.k.a. texas pecans), *halves* or chopped

ii. what to do

1. Put all of the ingredients (except the butter, vanilla and nuts) into a large pot.

how to make fudge

2. Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.

3. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, boiling for 3-4 minutes. Cook to the “soft ball” stage (about 235°F – 240°F).

4. Remove the mixture from heat and add the vanilla and butter.

5. Place the molten pot into a sink filled with water. Beat by hand until creamy.

6. Drop by spoonfuls (I think onto a glass or ceramic dish would work best). Top with your pecan halves (if using), let rest… then dig in! Enjoy!

~ Patrick

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

your best fudge recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Fudge Recipe From Our Neighbor Inez

Who is “Inez Eversole”?

I grew up living in a house on a corner lot at 2927 Trailend in San Antonio. The house right behind us sat on a large piece of land that was one acre in size; ten houses were neighbors to a slice of this great space. The yard was meticulously beautiful with plush grass and large shade trees that made it look like a plantation dropped in the middle of San Antonio.

Inez and Herb Eversole were a wonderful older couple who lived in a charming 1951 stone house that sat right in the middle of the tiny world all its own. I’d climb our fence and peer over it to see what was going on with our backdoor friends. Mrs. Eversole was always kind to me and I’d often visit to have a chat about the goings on at school and home. Mr. Eversole had a riding lawnmower that I thought was just about the neatest thing I had ever seen.

Looking back I think Inez and Herb were our family’s adopted grandparents – not just because of their geo proximity – but because of their genuine awesomeness and willingness to help us out with time-tested tips and tasty dishes.

So there you have it – this is Inez’s very own fudge recipe! I have one or two other recipes from Herb and Inez in Mom’s cookbook and will gladly add them soon.

Cheers to you, Inez and Herb – Thanks for the sweet fudge recipe! And the great memories.


magic marshmallow crescent puffs

magic marshmallow crescent puffs recipe
Let’s Make Some Magic

Edna Holmgren WalkerThis recipe is a Pillsbury Bake-Off® winner from time warp October 20, 1969! It marked the first time a refrigerated dough won the Bake-Off’s grand prize. Hats off to you, Edna Holmgren Walker (at right), for winning the grand prize that landed you in the Pillsbury Hall Of Fame and into the hearts and tummies of foodies across the globe. And thank you my Mom “Betty” for snagging this recipe so that I could enjoy it!

I think if you were to shout out “Pillsbury” in your local grocery it would soon be echoed with a “Doughboy!” But second to Snuggles, who annoyed my good childhood friend Scotty, the Pillsbury Doughboy just creeps me out. He’s always in a over the top good mood and his platter sized dilated pupils are super freaky. His laugh? Me, oh my!

The web is flooded with jokes and videos about the doughy guy. I even found his “fauxbituary” that said he died of a yeast infection caused by being poked in the stomach too many times. This commercial, however, is probably one of my favorites of him – it features Maureen McCormick in a spot from before her Marcia Brady stardom. Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! Thank you for practicing your singing before making what might have been something other than a Sunshine Day.

All kidding aside, the Pillsbury crescent rolls make the perfect wrapper for these sweet treats.

foodie tips ~

  Fine dining for two – four? You can half this recipe if you don’t want 16 magical puffs. Or you can make all 16 and get your crazy magic marshmallow puffs on!
magic marshmallow crescent puff exhibit A
  I read on some blogs that folks thought it was normal that the puffs had a coating of the marshmallow mixture inside, but otherwise the puff had blown a tire during baking. I absolutely disagree. Obviously there’s an art to creating the perfect magical mouthwatering gooey marshmallow puff and about half of my first batch turned out with no white explosion. Why, look at Edna’s vintage picture above – do you see any exploded puffs? Zero. I tasted both blown and unblown puffs and will eagerly testify in foodie court that these are best enjoyed with the entire marshmallow intact inside the perfect puff. That’s the magic!

how to make your own piping bag
 Need a piping bag in a pinch? You can fashion one out of a snack bag by inserting your icing and snipping a wee bit of the corner off. Works like a charm!

 Here in Texas “nuts” is an abbreviation for “Texas Pecans.” Giddy up!

 On my next go of these, I’m going to sprinkle a little fairy dust on top of these magic puffs. By fairy dust I mean crumbled bacon. Mmmm… bacon!

i. ingredients

¼ cup | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 8-ounce cans | Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
16 large | marshmallows
¼ cup | butter, melted (Betty’s Mom “Nanny” would say make it Falfurrias)
¼ cup | chopped nuts (make it pecans – see foodie tip above)
½ cup | powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons | milk
½ teaspoon | vanilla

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

2. Separate the two cans of crescent dough into 16 triangles.

3. Dip a marshmallow in the melted butter then roll it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
how to roll a magic marshmallow crescent puff
4. Place the marshmallow on the wide end of the triangle. Fold the corners over the marshmallow and roll it toward the point. Make sure to completely cover the marshmallow and squeeze the edges of the dough to seal. We don’t want any melted marshmallow blowouts, remember?!
how to roll a magic marshmallow crescent puff
5. Dip the pointed side of the puff into butter and place the buttered side down in a greased deep muffin pan. Repeat the process until all your puffs are prepared.

6. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

7. Remove the puffs from the pan and drizzle with your icing mixture. Sprinkle with your pecans and serve warm. Note: While Mrs. Holmgren’s recipe below called for immediate removal and topping I ate my magic puff too fast and it was hot-hot-HOT! I’d suggest letting these rest a few minutes but don’t let them get cold. Nobody likes a cold magical marshmallow puff!

Yields 16 rolls (full recipe)

~ Patrick

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

Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs Recipe

A scan of my Mom Betty’s original magic marshmallow crescent puffs recipe (see top right)

 

 

 


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!


black forest squares

Black Forest Squares Recipe

Just like bad hair days, not every single food photo I take turns out amazing. This is one of them! But I promise you this tasted oh, so good!

Into The Forest We Go

When the word “forest” comes to mind, I often think about the first forest I ever visited – the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado.

Time warp 1980. It was the year of my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary and in the San Antonio Express News Mom read about a small, charming getaway in south central Colorado called Cuchara (Spanish for “spoon”). The article tugged at her heart and a family trip to Cuchara was going to happen! Since the only vacations I had been on were to the Texas Coast and one trip to Nuevo Laredo where I spent more time in the hotel sick than out and about, I knew we were in for a big treat – even bigger than when the Brady Bunch went camping.

Our Kiker family of five piled into two cars and with our CB radios at the ready we made the 12+ hour drive from San Antonio to Cuchara. Just inside the Colorado state line I remember my first few moments outside of the car – the air smelled so foreign … and fresh! It was like Mother Nature had sprayed air freshener and beauty in all directions!

Resting at an altitude of 8,468 feet, Cuchara had no stop lights and a year-round population about 100 strong. So this was a place you came to unwind. Fishing, horseback riding, hiking, sitting and staring this way and that (literally) – all the things we didn’t do in our usual city life. Mom and Dad rented a cabin at Yellow Pine Ranch – a working dude ranch with everything you’d expect and more. Here along the Cuchara River there was a pond, horses and even a donkey named “Cucklebur.”

San Isabel National Forest

Into The Forest We Go!

The National Forest was expansive and we had fun enjoying the views from our 1970s Toyota Land Cruiser. Mountains, pine trees and quaking aspens were abound and my Dad later referred to this land as “God’s Country.” It came as no surprise that in November of the same year Mom and Dad were back in Cuchara scouting for land to purchase so they could build a cabin in the woods – a joint venture with their friends Margie and Herb from Waco.

That is the kind of effect the beauty of a forest can create! Now let’s make black forest squares!

foodie tips ~

 As my kitchen smarts continue to deepen, I’m reminded that all pans are not alike! Glass and metal pans cook differently and you might find that if you’re cake is a little burned around the edges, you might switch to metal bakeware. Here’s why.

 In the 1970s while whip cream often came from the can, these days I use my gourmet whipper which creates a super fresh whip. When you make your own whipped topping you can flavor the creams but for this recipe we chose to go with the standard recipe.

i. ingredients

1 package | chocolate cake mix
8 ounces | sour cream
1 package (4-serving size) | instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup | milk
¼ cup | crème de cassis … or brandy (I had brandy on hand)
16 ounce can | pitted dark sweet cherries
2 tablespoons | sugar
1 tablespoon | cornstarch
to serve | fresh whipping cream
¼ cup | sliced almonds, toasted

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Turn batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out of the middle clean. Cool completely in pan.

2. In a large mixer bowl beat together the sour cream, dry pudding mix, ⅓ cup of the milk and the crème de cassis or brandy until the mixture is fluffy. Gradually add the remaining milk, beating until smooth. Pour mixture over the cooled cake and chill.

Black Forest Squares by Betty's Cook Nook

3. Meanwhile, drain the cherries, reserving ¾ cups of the syrup. In a sauce pan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the reserved syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Add the drained cherries, remove from heat and cool.

4. Spread the cool cherry mixture on top of the chilled pudding layer. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

5. To serve – whip fresh cream to soft peaks. Pipe over cherry mixture in a lattice design. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Yields about 12 squares, depending on size

~ Patrick

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

Black Forest Squares Recipe

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe. Ironically it was from a 1980 Betty Homes and Gardens Magazine – the same year we took our awesome trip to Colorado (mentioned above).

From The Cuchara Mountaintop

Over the river and through the wood … we find ourselves above the tree line atop Colorado.