This special recipe is dedicated to Alison ~
her kindness reminds me to never underestimate
the power of a Cousin.
~ ♥ ~
This recipe crept into my life several decades after it was penned from a very lovable and surprising person. I didn’t discover the recipe among the hundreds of my Mom “Betty’s” other recipes — I found it in my mailbox!
While recently packing up her family’s belongings to move near my childhood home in San Antonio my Cousin Alison came across this recipe from her Grandmother Delores’ cookbook and was kind enough to send it to me along with a few other recipes that will be soon joining the digital archives here at Betty’s Cook Nook. Alison knew what these recipes would mean to me!
The connection? Delores is my Mom “Betty’s” older — and only — Sister and this recipe is one of a precious few that have found its way to the Betty’s Cook Nook archive that was otherwise missing from my Mom’s cookbook. So Texas-sized props to my Cousin Alison!
A healthy appetite for family
When you’re a grown adult it’s not every day someone seemingly new arrives into your heart. Over the past few years Alison has shown me that even a part of my familiar family can have a surprising impact decades after we first knew each other. I love uncovering all the ways we are alike even when I’m not mining for things in common; a crescendo I hope has no end.
One such example is our thirst for our family genealogy. I heard from my family that Alison had great skills and interest for researching our past but it wasn’t until this month when I realized how true this was!
As a self-proclaimed internet researcher I pride myself on being able to find a lot of things online thru keyword and image searches. Heck, it was this post that helped me reunite with my Mom and her Sister’s childhood home here in Austin 80 years after it was built!
Shortly after receiving the recipes, Alison and I were geeking out via fierce sms txt exchanges after dual-searching a missing part of our family’s history — my Grandmother “Nanny’s” father, “Joe,” Betty’s Grandfather. I literally knew nothing about him but Alison found out from Census records she accessed on Ancestry.com that Joe was an orphan who came to the U.S. when he was a mere 9 years old! Joe hailed from a tiny village named Horní Lideč in Moravia — a country that is now part of the Czech Republic — and wound up in the farm country of Dime Box, Texas, where my Mom was born… and close to where Alison and I went to college. Gig ‘Em! Alison and I are currently on the hunt for more clues for how we can better know this branch of our family tree.
A wild and wicked past
Not only did the resiliency of my Great Grandfather’s history fuel my curiosity and ignite my respect but Alison told me she discovered her several times great Grandmother was Martha Carrier, a Puritan accused, convicted, and hanged in 1692 for reportedly being a witch during the Salem Witch Trails! Pure craziness! 19 years after Martha’s death the Massachusetts government awarded her family 7 pounds and 6 shillings and reversed the conviction. So humbling!
Martha – along with 19 others are recognized at Salem’s Witch Trials Memorial. I’ve only been to Salem once — on a dark 1990s Halloween’s Eve no doubt. Should my feet adventure to this part of America again, I’ll make sure and visit the memorial site which honors the past by perpetuating the unwavering commitment to social justice.
So what does all this have to do with special baked chicken? Well, quite a lot! Had Alison not sent me the almost-forgotten recipe we likely wouldn’t have dove deep into our family’s roots … or found a dish I hope to meet and eat again! Along the way we shared, learned, laughed, *and gasped* at what we discovered.
The point of all of this is know your family. Not just your nuclear family but as much of where you’ve came from that you can discover! And food is a wonderful way to connect and share the best of family along the way.
On to the most special baked chicken recipe I know!
❤ Apparently sliced dried beef is super salty and we forgot to run water over it per the instructions. I’d suggest following this step!
❤ Lover of the dried beef, are you? Well, you’re not alone. While one of my Nieces hates dried beef (a.k.a. chipped beef) with a passion she does hold a high regard for its historical significance. Check out this other BCN recipe where we explore another way to fashion dried beef into a, ahem, culinary delicacy.
❤ Of special note: My Mom advised this recipe can be delayed in a “slower oven” if guests are late.
3 ounce package | sliced dried beef
3 large | chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved
6 slices | bacon
to sprinkle | fresh rosemary, chopped
1 can | mushroom soup
1 cup | sour cream
ii. What to do
0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
1. Run cold water over the dried beef. Dry then place the beef in a 12” x 8” x 2” baking dish.
2. Place the prepared chicken breasts on top of the beef.
4. While the meats are cooking combine the mushroom soup and the sour cream. When “time’s up” on the chicken pour the sour cream mixture over the chicken and continue baking 40-50 minutes at 350°F. Baste here and there, making sure to not disrupt the layering of the chipped beef and the bacon.
Yields 4-6 servings.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s 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.
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.
1 | 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.
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.
It was featured on Foodista so you know it’s gotta be good!
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
5 pounds | chicken (seasoned, boned and chopped per “step i”)
3 stalks | celery, chopped
1 | 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
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.
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!
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.
Dad 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.
5 | 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!
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!
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.