jojo’s spinach

Jo Jo's Spinach Recipe From Bettys Cook Nook

You’re Looking At Green Bean Casserole’s Kissin’ Cousin

Sadly, this recipe sat for many months lonely sandwiched amongst many other recipes hoping to be brought to life from Mom’s legacy cookbook.

On “lucky day” it was the chosen recipe because it sounded like the perfect side dish for fast approaching Thanksgiving. Boy, we were right! We loved the creamy-savory smash-up that reminded us of green bean casserole . . .  but with spinach.

Popeye would be proud.Popeye Loves Jo Jo's Spinach Recipe From Bettys Cook Nook

foodie tips ~

 By “mushroom soup” I’m 99.99% confident that “Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup” was implied. If for some reason Cream of Mushroom soup makes your tummy twitch, try Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup.

 This dish makes a great Thanksgiving side and it’s a great way to get kids to eat their spinach (Winky, Winky – we all know kids will love the onion rings, just like me).

 I canNOT believe my Mom wrote “We like it best w/o onion rings.” The rings were my favorite part! The hips don’t lie. Push off, Popeye!

 We prepared the spinach in the microwave. For shame. And speed.

i. ingredients

onion, sliced
2 10-ounce packages | frozen spinach, chopped
3-ounce package | cream cheese
½ can | mushroom soup
¼ can | fried onion rings

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Sauté onion in a pan over medium heat then set aside.

2. Cook the spinach according to package instructions and drain well.

3. In a casserole dish combine the onion, spinach, cream cheese and soup.

4. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

5. Remove casserole from oven, add onions on top and return everything to the oven to bake 10 minutes longer, uncovered.

6. Dish up and enjoy!

~ ~ ~

Who is “Jo-Jo?”

Jo-Jo and her husband Charles (Chizzy) Davis were our next door neighbors when I was a little kid. Sadly I don’t remember them very well. My brother Tim said they moved from the home they built at 2923 Trailend Drive a couple of miles away from us to Treasure Way in San Antonio. Who moved in to their former home? The Stephenson family! The Stephensons were our neighbors on Trailend until Mom and I moved out of the home shortly after Dad died.

A Scan Of Mom's Orignal Recipe - Jo Jo's Spinach Recipe From Bettys Cook Nook

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chicken spaghetti

A Chicken Spaghetti Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Ready For Spaghetti?

On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese.
I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table, it rolled on the floor,
And then my poor meatball rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden and under a bush,
And then my poor meatball was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty as tasty could be,
And early next summer it grew to a tree.

The tree was all covered with beautiful moss.
It grew great big meatballs and tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti all covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball and don’t ever sneeze.

~ Tom Glazer

Sung to the tune of “On Top Of Old Smoky,”On Top Of Spaghetti” was one of my favorite childhood songs. This dish brings back a lot of the tastes of the 70s and is the first from Mom’s recipe book that calls for Velveeta. And we all know about Velveeta; Velveeta is to the 1970s as this dish is to my belly!

I haven’t cooked chicken on the bone in years (I’m weird that way). Luckily I had some help in the kitchen from “Blademaster Joe” as my chicken “boning” skills are weaker than a wet noodle.

i. ingredients for boiling the chicken

5 pounds | whole chicken (on the bone)
1 large | onion, chopped in large chunks
3 | carrots, chopped in large chunks
2 stalks | celery, chopped in large chunks
1 tablespoon | peppercorns
2 cloves | garlic, chopped
2 | bay leaves
2 teaspoons | salt

ii. ingredients for the dish

5 pounds | chicken (seasoned, boned and chopped per “step i”)
3 stalks | celery, chopped
| green pepper, chopped
2 large | onions chopped
2 teaspoons | garlic juice
4 ounce can | mushrooms
10 ounces | spaghetti, broken
16 ounce can | tomatoes, diced and drained
2 tablespoons | ripe olives, chopped
1 can | cream of mushroom soup
to taste | salt
to taste | pepper
to taste | paprika
dash | worcestershire sauce
1 pound | velveeta cheese, grated

iii. what to do

Prep Chicken:

1. Wash chicken well. Place all ingredients in large pot. Cover with water.

2. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Set lid at angle so steam can escape from pot. Lower heat to gentle boil and cook for up to 1.5 hours. Add more water if needed.

3. When meat is falling off the bone, remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth, save broth and let chicken cool. Once cool, remove skin and bones and discard. Chop meat, place into large bowl and set aside.

Make Dish:

1. Strain broth using a cheesecloth or sieve. Discard seasonings (onions, carrots, celery, etc.).

2. Measure one quart of the chicken broth back into pan. To broth add the chopped celery, green pepper, onions, garlic juice and mushrooms.

3. Bring to a simmer and add spaghetti. Cook until spaghetti is done and almost all liquid is absorbed.

4. Add tomatoes, olives, soup, salt, pepper, paprika and mix well.

5. To chicken, add worcestershire and Velveeta and mix well. Then add chicken mixture to spaghetti.

Serves: Up to 12

~ ~ ~

Who is “Elizabeth Seale”

Sadly, I don’t know who Elizabeth Seale is. I did some online searching and no luck. She must have been a passionate foodie because she had pre-printed recipe cards with her name on them (see below). Personalized recipe cards were surely a rare thing back in the day! When scanning the card, I noticed a small imprint on the back that reads “Walter Drake & Sons., Inc. Made in U.S.A.” I’m writing the folks at Walter Drake to see if they can give me an approximate year for when the cards may have been sold. I know it was 1947 or later as 1947 is the year that Walter Drake was created.

After reading the recipe card a little further, I noticed Elizabeth was using keywords (today known as #hashtags) in her recipe. See her underlined words below for yourself: Simmer. Bone. Chop. Measure. Add. Simmer. Cook. Add. Mix. Add. #gofigure!

A scan of the chicken spaghetti recipe card from Mom's cookbook


chopped sirloin with mushroom gravy

chopped sirloin with mushroom gravy

Where’s The Beef? You’re Looking At It, Kid!

We had an outdoor built-in grill growing up at 2927 Trailend.

When the grill was hot, we knew fine dining was soon within arm’s reach. Sometimes Dad grilled what he killed (wild game). Other times we’d go visit the meat counter at Jim’s Restaurants production center on Austin Highway. And we left with arm fulls of the stuff to freeze and save for a hungry, special day.

Jims Restaurants LogoDad was a regular at Jim’s at 8427 Broadway Street and it’s still standing today! He’d often meet his breakfast club there (mainly lots of fellow Texas oilmen) and enjoy the Huevos Rancheros. On special nights, we’d eat out at the Jim’s at the corner of Vandiver Road and Austin Highway. Sadly that location is now closed. My favorite Jim’s dish was the #4 – a Frontier Burger that was “dressed to the nines” wearing a delightful coating of chili, cheese and onions.

I think my favorite memory of my Dad occurred one holiday evening in the 1970s when he anonymously bought a priest and his wife their Jim’s meal. Way to pay it forward, Dad!

So there you have it! A great-little story about beef.

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.

i. ingredients

| chopped sirloins
½ | onion, chopped
1 can | mushroom soup
to taste | milk
to taste | parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons | brown gravy mix

ii. what to do

1. Brown seasoned meat.

2. Remove meat from pan and pour off the excess drippings.

3. Sauté the chopped onion in a pan over medium heat.

4. While the onion is sautéing, mix together the soup, milk, parsley and gravy mix in a medium-sized bowl.

5. Pour the gravy mix into the pan with the sautéd onions and cook a few minutes.

6. Add the meat and cook covered about 20 minutes.

foodie tip ~

 Mom wrote that this danish tomato recipe was a good side with steak, so I made both on the same night!

a scan of mom's original recipe for chopped sirloin with mushroom gravy


broccoli mushroom dip

betty's broccoli mushroom dip

When boasting I was making this dish to one of my coworkers, I was promptly scolded because she could not believe that I would make a dish with canned mushrooms, instead of fresh.

Well, fresh or not, this recipe is H-O-T!

Enjoy it on game day or any day you want a little taste of 70s cooking.

Here’s to you, mom!

i. ingredients

1 – 10-oz. package | frozen chopped broccoli
1 – 6-oz. roll | garlic cheese*
1 – 10-1/2 oz. can | mushroom soup
1 – 7 oz. can | chopped mushrooms, drained
1/2 onion | minced
2-3 stalks | celery, finely chopped
to taste | salt and pepper
1 teaspoon | worcestershire sauce
few drops | tabasco sauce
dash | cayenne pepper
to serve | corn chips (me gusta “scoops”)

* Good luck finding a “roll of garlic cheese” at your local grocery store. I learned Kraft discontinued production of this former staple which upset thousands of folks who used it in a variety of dishes (especially Christmas grits). “Kiss my grits, Kraft!”

After doing some intense online research, I found and ordered my garlic cheese from a Missouri meat company named Oberle Meats. Sure the shipping cost more than the product itself to have it 2-dayed to Dallas, but it was worth it. If you’re in a hurry to make the dip and can’t mail order it, here’s a quick substitute you can melt all together:

3 oz ~ Velveeta
3 oz ~ Smoked American Cheese
1/8 teaspoon (not heaping) ~ Garlic Powder

Now that you have your garlic cheese…

ii. what to do

1. Cook the broccoli according to the directions on the package *and drain*. I forgot to drain the broccoli, so my dip was a little soup-y.
2. Transfer the broccoli into a chafing dish and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until blended and thoroughly heated.
3. Serve with corn dips (I prefer Frito’s brand “Scoops” corn chips)!

Serves 6-8 folks.

Buon appetito!

mom's original broccoli-mushroom dip recipe card


sausage stroganoff

Mom's Sausage Stroganoff RecipeAhhh … Mom’s sausage stroganoff recipe … I remember it well! 

This is a hearty meal that reminds me of crisp fall days and warm fall nights, compliments of this savory dish.

This is one of my favorites and super easy to make. So easy, in fact, that mom didn’t write out instructions on how to make it ~ just a list of the ingredients!

Rah, simplicity!

i. ingredients

1 pound | regular Owens sausage
½ pound | hot sausage
1 can | Campbell’s golden mushroom soup
8 oz. carton | sour cream
to serve | cooked egg noodles or “Jiffy” brand corn muffins (the muffins are my favorite)

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, brown the sausages together. Drain grease from the meats.

2. Fold-in the soup and the sour cream until well blended.

3. When warmed through, you’re done! Serve on top of egg noodles or corn bread. I remember mom would just whip-up cornbread muffins straight from the box, cut them in 1/2 (horizontally) and serve each half topped with a generous spoonful of the stroganoff.

A cleaned plate makes a happy belly!

Foodie Tips ~

 For you stroganoff fans out there give Mom’s Beef Stroganoff recipe a whirl. It’s a different take on this beef stroganoff and just as tasty.

 Sausage Stroganoff is a dish inspired from Russian cooking. I Googled “Russian Food Facts” and found this interesting passage …”Russia is mainly a northern country with a long-lasting cold winter. The food should give us much energy and warmth to survive during the winter time. So, the essential components of Russian cuisine are the ones, which provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins.”

High fives to the folks who love carbs as much as I do!

A Scan Of Mom's Original Sausage Stroganoff Recipe