picadillo, part ii

Picadillo Recipe From Bettys Cook NookThe Big Deal About Picadillo

In 2014 I posted this original picadillo recipe which remains a family favorite. This recipe makes a welcomed “second spin” on the original via my main squeeze: the puffy taco.

I routinely obsess about eating my favorite puffy tacos from my childhood chomping grounds of San Antonio’s Teka Molino where my Mom “Betty” grew up eating bean rolls for a nickel. She was barely 3 years old when “Tekas” opened in 1937!

This week while I was catching up with my Cousin Jennifer about newsworthy topics like puffy tacos she confirmed that the usual beef mixture inside the Teka puffy taco is in fact picadillo, which is anything but “just” ground beef! The flavors are unmistakably from south of the border and make a signature part of the best puffy tacos you’re likely to encounter.

My favorite part about picadillo are the small potatoes that are married with green bell peppers and the seasoned meat. Some describe picadillo as a ground beef hash and I’ve been known to eat it straight from the skillet with a spoon and a smile.

Give this dish a whirl and I think you’ll love it!

Foodie Tips

❤  Picadillo is one of those rare finds that makes exceptional leftovers. Enjoy it atop: 1) Nachos; 2) Warm, crusty bread; 3) Chalupas; 4) White or corn taco shells; 5) A baked potato; 6) Feeling adventurous? Make picadillo and baked eggs! To do so just reheat the picadillo in a skillet or microwave. Transfer the picadillo to a skillet and make a small well (indentation) for each cracked egg to rest in. Bake everything at 350°F for 13-15 minutes. You’ll want the egg yolks to finish a tad “runny,” – not hard boiled. This makes it a delicious way to start the day!

❤  In case you missed it don’t forget to enjoy this picadillo inside a puffy taco. Puffies aren’t necessarily easy to make the first time but after our second attempt I declared Joe a pro.

❤  Never heard of a puffy taco? Learn more about its history here!

i. Time

Total prep: About 30 minutes.

Picadillo and Baked Eggs

Picadillo and Baked Eggs. 100% delicious!

ii. Ingredients

1 tablespoon  |  oil (we prefer vegetable, canola or avocado)
1 pound  |  ground beef
½  |  onion, diced
½  |  green bell pepper, diced
1 medium  |  russet potato, chopped into ¼ – ½ inch squares
10-ounce can  |  diced tomatoes and chilies (a.k.a. RO*TEL), with the juice
8-ounce can  |  tomato sauce
2 tablespoons  |  taco seasoning
1 teaspoon  |  cumin
2 tablespoons   |  minced garlic
to taste  |  salt and pepper

iii. What To Do

1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, add the oil and ground beef, break-up the beef with a spoon or spatula for a couple of minutes while sautéing.

2. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and sauté another minute or two.

3. Add the potatoes and give things a stir.

4. Add the rest of the picadillo ingredients (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, cumin, tomatoes and minced garlic).

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes. While things are simmering you can move to making your puffy tacos with this recipe or… when the picadillo is done, remove from heat, leaving covered to keep warm. You’ll know it’s done when the potatoes are soft, but not mushy.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

~ Patrick

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

Puffy Taco Recipe

If you’re reading this you must be interested in puffy tacos, pictured here with picadillo!


fried rice

The Best Fried Rice RecipeA Rice Surprise

This fried rice recipe didn’t seem much of a recipe at all.

There were just a few ingredients listed on Mom’s recipe card (below) and there were no measurements. Seriously?

Well I was shocked when Joe made the fried rice seemingly out of nowhere. It was absolutely the best fried rice I’ve ever had and he made it at home using my Mom “Betty’s” recipe as a guidepost!

After all these years… I’m glad there looks to be what is a dash of a soy sauce stain on Mom’s recipe card.

Foodie Tips

❤  This dish loves seemingly day old, dry seemingly unusable rice. This recipe will bring the rice back to life in a delicious way! Joe will make a fresh batch of rice in our Zojirushi rice maker then refrigerate it so it gets nice and dry.

❤  A bit about peas and carrots. We keep the frozen bagged stuff on hand at all times and these are super easy to add to the fried rice. Plus these add a nice pop of color!

❤  If you haven’t heard the term “soft scrambled eggs,” they’re just a little under cooked or taken “just to the shiny” and a bit wet look. To some, soft scrambled is the preferred way to eat them. In this recipe they’ll finish cooking in the rice.

❤  Winner Winner! Joe’s extra spin on this recipe included 3 cage free eggs and 1 tablespoon each of fresh minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce and hoisin sauce. OMG.

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

|  cage free eggs
1 pound  |  meat (pork, chicken, beef)
2-3 tablespoons  |  vegetable oil
at least 2-3 cups  |  cooked, cold rice (we prefer white, basmati and jasmine rices) follow the package instructions
2-4 tablespoons  soy sauce
1-2 cups  peas and carrots (frozen or fresh), optional
lots o’  |  green onions, sliced
to taste  |  kosher salt
to taste  |  fresh cracked black pepper
optional  |  sesame seeds, toasted

Fried Rice Recipe

iii. What To Do

1. In a large pan over medium-low heat soft scramble the eggs and set them aside to rest.

2. In the same pan sauté the meat in oil. Joe used some thinly sliced pork and it was tender and delicious!

3. Add the the cooked rice. Stir/sauté everything until nice and brown.

4. Season with the soy sauce and continue stirring. Hungry yet?

5. Add the peas and carrots then the green onions.

6. Toss on some salt and a few fresh cracks of black pepper. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and you’re done!

~ Patrick

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

Yum Yum Fried RiceFried Rice Recipe Bettys Cook Nook


slang jang

Slang Jang Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Delightfully Interesting Creation

I had never heard of “Slang Jang” before finding this recipe in my Mom’s cookbook.

I was curious about the origin of Slang Jang and one theory is that it hails from the East Texas town of Honey Grove, known as “The Sweetest Town In Texas.” Slang Jang has roots to 1888, a giant washtub, and the creative appetites of a group of men who just wanted lunch.

Slang Jang can be made a multitude of ways; surprisingly this recipe omits the often incorporated oysters, clams, and shrimpy things I know my Mom Betty would have loved. This Slang Jang recipe is super simple and super versatile – think of it like a relish or a “chow chow.” You can enjoy it on many things including hamburgers, hot dogs, atop cheese and crackers, or as an accompaniment to corn bread or black eyed peas.

Diving into Mom’s culinary legacy – her cookbook – I’m often able to connect pieces of the past together. I noted this Slang Jang recipe was written by my Mom on stationery from Hotel Monteleone (a.k.a. “The Monteleone”) in New Orleans. I only know of one trip my parents took to New Orleans so possibly they scored this recipe during that trip in 1956. Here’s a slice of history – a picture of them enjoying dinner in New Orleans at The Roosevelt Hotel’s “Blue Room” – a historic “supper club” venue where dinner, drinks, and dancing all converged.

The Blue Room

New Orleans (1956): The Blue Room ~ Shown here are my Uncle Bill (Willard Franklin Sutton,) Aunt Delores Marie Hannes Sutton, and my parents “Betty” (Elizabeth Joanna Hannes Kiker,) and Louis Orville Kiker.

i. Time

Total prep: About 20 minutes

ii. Ingredients

1 large can or jar (3 ½ cups)  |  sauerkraut, drained (we used 2 bags of Boar’s Head)
1 large  |  onion, finely chopped
1 cup  |  celery, finely chopped
|  green pepper, finely chopped
½ cup  |  water
½ cup  |  oil (we used Wesson Vegetable Oil)
¾ cup  |  vinegar
1 ½ cups  |  sugar

iii. What to do

1. Prepare all the vegetables.

2. Place the four wet ingredients in a medium pot and bring things to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and pour the boiling mixture over the vegetables and you’re ready to enjoy!

Stores well in the fridge

~ Patrick

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

 

Also note: Don’t miss the recipe’s shorthand “code” for one 2 ½ can of sauerkraut. Back in the good ol’ days can sizes were often used to denote how much of an ingredient to use. A “2 ½ can” would translate into 3 ½ cups!

Slang Jang Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Handwritten Slang Jang Recipe


pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Best Of Fall

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when wearing flannel and smelling like patchouli is top of mind. Also top of mind? PUMPKINS!  🎃 There’s no better way to ring in fall’s greatness other than watching the fall favorite It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The Peanuts gang were probably my best friends growing up. In a time before you could record TV I never missed a show. I remember sketching Snoopy on top of his doghouse… and funny, I never thought it was odd that Snoopy slept *on top* of his doghouse rather than in it. Childhood innocence.

While your pumpkin bread is baking, come back and watch the movie below – share it with your family and friends and celebrate the way we were… and the way we are with the best of fall!

Foodie Tips

  I halved this recipe and made 2 medium-sized loaves. If you’re gift-giving or a lover of loaves, go all the way!

  One small can pumpkin? I presumed it was a 15 ounce can.

  The recipe didn’t note it but I greased my loaf pans before adding the batter.

  This bread is most great served sliced and toasted with a schmear of Phildelphia Whipped Cream Cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes (minus resting)

ii. Ingredients

3-⅓ cups | flour
3 cups | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 teaspoons | nutmeg
2 teaspoons | baking soda
1 teaspoon | salt
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 cup | oil
⅔ cup | water
15 ounces | canned pumpkin
¾ cup (2 small boxes) | raisins
¾ cup | chopped nuts (a.k.a. “pecans,” here in Texas)
to top | more pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Bread In The Works

iii. What to do

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Mix everything well.

3. Fold in the raisins and the pecans.

4. Pour the batter into two large or four small loaf pans at 325°F until the bread tests done.

ENJOY

~ Patrick

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

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Peanuts Cook Book Circa 1970One of my most cherished childhood items is this Peanuts cookbook. Originally printed in 1970 it still remains in my kitchen today, almost 50 years later!

This cookbook was not mine, originally… but at the magical age of 10 I was such a fanatic about The Peanuts Gang I was able to smooth talk this cookbook out of my neighborhood friend’s kitchen and into mine!

Pumpkin Bread

A Scan Of Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Sous Chef Note: While acquainting myself with this recipe I noticed a credit to “Barbara Harris” and took to the internet to see if I could find out who she was. Turns out Barbara was a San Antonio restauranteur who ran some popular food establishments in San Antonio and Dallas.

I found reference to Barbara’s Pecan Pie Muffins in Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite “Good Taste” Recipes – these muffins are surely a culinary cousin to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above. Karen was a food author for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 30 years so you know these recipes have gotta be tasty… I have Karen’s Good Taste cookbook printed out for my culinary archives and you can score a digital copy of her fifty favorites here > Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite Recipes.


minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup RecipeMy Mainstay, Minestrone

This is the third minestrone recipe I’ve discovered in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook so there’s no doubt this was one of her favorites. This soup’s signature ingredients of beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes will not disappoint. Plus, there’s pasta and cheese!

I’m glad to be reminded that this dish hails from Italy. And not just Italy but ancient Italy (think BC, folks!).

I’ve kidded a few times here at Betty’s Cook Nook that my family must have had poor roots as many of the recipes we ate growing up are considered peasant foods. This is one of them; minestrone belongs to a style of cooking known in Italy as “cucina povera” (literally “poor kitchen”). All I have to say is bring it on — I love my peasant foods as they are hearty and the very origins of comfort foods rely upon them! True story: I once made and devoured an instant mashed potato on sliced white bread sandwich proving my forever love for carby sustenance.

HEB Organics Elbows Macaroni

Macaroni For Me … Macaroni For You!

As a lover and former resident of Italy, one thing I’ve learned is that Italians do not rush in the kitchen. They really don’t rush outside the kitchen, either, unless it’s from behind the wheel of a fast sports car or when horse racing at revered events like Siena’s Palio.

In similar fashion, please don’t hurry this recipe — let the ingredients mingle and get to know one another. While cooking time takes about an hour and a half it’s well worth the wait. You’ll be treated to wonderful smells from your lively kitchen and rewarded with a savory soup that has withstood the test — and taste — of time.

Eating In Cortona Italy

foodie tips

  Back in the day “oil” likely meant Crisco vegetable oil. Since this dish has Italian roots we used olive oil — a kitchen staple. As fan of a great olive oil, for several years I’ve fostered an Italian olive tree living on a farm gracing the hills outside Montalcino, Tuscany. Each year after the Il Palazzone harvest my eyes grow as wide as dinner plates when 3 bottles of pure gold arrive at my door. That’s amore!

  Make sure and check out Mom’s other two minestrone recipes here and here. I’m not sure which version I like best as each has its own merit. In a pinch you could make the one that makes best use of the ingredients you have in your kitchen.

  Wacky about minestrone? Wiki’s got you covered with more interesting facts about this zesty soup!

Minestone Ingredients

i. ingredients

½ cup | olive oil
1 clove | garlic, minced
2 cups | onion, chopped
1 cup | celery, chopped
4 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
6 ounce can | tomato paste
10 ½ ounce can (~1 ½ cups) | beef or vegetable broth
9 cups | water
1 cup | cabbage, coarsely chopped
| carrots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | freshly cracked pepper
⅛ teaspoon | sage
1 pound can | kidney beans
1 cup | green beans or peas (we used beans)
1 cup | elbow macaroni
to taste | grated parmesan cheese

ii. what to do

1. In a large pot heat the oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and parsley and cook until soft, about 7-9 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomato paste and the next 7 ingredients (the broth, water, cabbage, carrots, salt, pepper and sage). Mix well and bring to a boil.

4. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer slowly 1 hour.

5. Add the kidney and green beans (or peas) and the macaroni. Cook 10-15 minutes more or until the macaroni is tender.

6. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. That’s right — grated cheese makes the world go ’round!

Yields 8 servings. Keeps well in the refrigerator and reheats nicely!

~ Patrick

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

Minestrone Recipe Card

Here’s A Scan Of Mom’s Actual Recipe Card

How To Make Minestrone Soup

 

 


texas hash

A Texas Hash Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Taste Of Texas

If you love to  s t r e t c h  your food dollar, it’s hard to knock any recipe that’s been featured in The Unemployment Cookbook.

While my Mom’s recipe is a slightly different version, most hash recipes are a simple combination of beef, onions, tomatoes, rice and seasonings.

Perfect for a hearty, quick dish that’s budget friendly.

foodie tips ~

 For oil we used olive oil. But I bet Mom would have used Crisco Vegetable Oil.

 For the big can of tomatoes we used 28 ounces of San Marzano tomatoes . . . my favorite.

 If you like to kick up the heat a bit add some chopped jalapeño while sautéing or a few cracks of fresh black pepper just before stirring and baking. Sets my heart on fire!

 Before baking you don’t have to stir the ingredients but we preferred stirred to layered for the finished dish.

i. ingredients

onions
| green pepper
3-4 tablespoons | oil
1 pound | ground beef (not browned)
½ cup | raw white rice
2 teaspoons | salt
1 teaspoon | chili powder
big can | tomatoes
dash | sugar

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Sauté the onions and the green pepper in oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

2. In a casserole dish add the uncooked ground meat, the sautéed onions and pepper (from step 1 above) and the remaining 5 ingredients. Stir to combine.

3. Cover the casserole and cook for 1 hour.

Yields: 6 – 8 servings. 

A Scan Of Mom's Texas Hash Recipe