minestrone

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Souper Trouper

This isn’t our first time at the minestrone rodeo! In 2012 we made this minestrone recipe and Mom must have surely loved this soup because I think I’ve found 3 different minestrone soup recipes in her cookbook.

While the formal definition of minestrone calls for a thick soup with bits of pasta, this recipe – sans the pasta – is just as tasty as our first find, which included dittalini. With Italian origins, this tasty soup warms you up on a cold day! It’s good all by itself or partnered with some fresh baked bread and a salad. For those who don’t know me, a side of wine is a given. :)

foodie tips

  I used red cabbage for a pop a’ color.

  I was concerned at first sight by the mass quantity of soup. But when I later did the math I realized it’s perfect for a party of eight. Or 4 days of 2 bowls each.  :/~  You can also bag and freeze leftovers for a quick meal when you’re short on time.

  “Navy beans” are referred to by many a name. Haricot. Pearl Haricot. Pea Bean. This high fiber bean isn’t navy blue in color – rather white – and prized for its cholesterol-lowering health benefits plus its ability to retain an oval shape after being cooked tender. Navy beans received their nickname after being a popular staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.
Why Are They Called Navy Beans?

i. ingredients

2 cups | navy beans
4 quarts | cold water
| beef bouillon cubes (or beef broth)
2 tablespoons | vegetable oil
1 ½ cups | onion, chopped
2 cups | celery, sliced
2 cloves | garlic, minced
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 pound can | tomatoes, chopped (including juice)
1 teaspoon | basil, crumbled (or a few fresh leaves, torn by hand)
½ teaspoon | oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons | salt (we prefer kosher salt or grey sea salt)
¼ teaspoon | pepper, freshly cracked
1 cup (3 medium) | carrots, thinly sliced
4 cups (4 small) | unpeeled zucchini, sliced
10 ounce package | frozen green peas
10 ounce package | frozen cut green beans
¼ head (2 cups) | cabbage, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, grated

Use Red Cabbage For Minestrone Soup... For A Pop Of Color!ii. what to do

1. Wash the navy beans. Place beans, water and bouillon (or broth) in a large pot. Bring slowly to boil and simmer, covered 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are soft. While the beans soften now’s a good time for a little wine rest break! #LongDay

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans and broth.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4. To serve, sprinkle each serving with the grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

Yields: About 8-9 servings (~2 cups each, in size). Nutritional info is below in the original recipe scan!

~ Patrick

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

 

How To Make Minestrone Soup

A Minestrone Soup Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Betty’s Original Minestrone Soup Recipe

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eggplant parmigiana

An Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Aubergine Supreme

Found on the same page of Mom’s cookbook as this savory pepper steak recipe is this eggplant parmigiana recipe.

We Americans often shorten words down to make them easier to pronounce:

    • When referring to cheese, “Parmigiana” (Italian origin) is shortened to simply “Parmesan”. But somehow saying “parmigiana” just makes anything made with it sound fancier … and tastier.
    • “Aubergine” (British English) is known as “Eggplant” this side of the big pond <– I’m pointing to Texas. I’d rather refer to my walls being the color of aubergine than eggplant. Any day, hands down.
    • Shaking My HeadWhen in Italy “Rome” is “Roma,” “Naples” is “Napoli” and “Florence” is Firenze.” On my first trip to Italy in 2006 I had a full on adult melt-down in the Naples train station when I thought we couldn’t purchase a ticket to Florence … only to discover a few minutes later that Firenze and Florence were the same city. Finger to forehead! Still shaking my head to this day.

While I’ve spent much of my recent adult life researching and traveling Italy, I look for ways to incorporate the Italian romance language into my everyday life as often as I can, so while the use of “eggplant parmigiana” would appear to be on the decline according to Google Ngram Viewer, I can assure you this dish will be making a repeat appearance in my kitchen … and more importantly in my belly. :)

This dish hails from southern Italy’s regions of Campania and Sicily. Layers of cheese and tomato sauce? Count me IN!

foodie tips ~

❤  While the debate over whether to salt (sweat) or not salt your eggplant rolls on, this recipe doesn’t call for it. Once your eggplant is layered between tomato and cheese, even the discriminating pallet shouldn’t notice any eggplant bitterness.

❤  Love eggplant? Check out more of Mom’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook using the nav at left!

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | unsalted butter (Falfurrias brand butter, per Betty’s Mom “Nanny” – she is my grandmother)
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, crushed
1 pound | ground beef chuck
1 can (~1 pound 1 ounce) | Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
6 ounce can | tomato paste
2 teaspoons | dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon | dried basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | pepper
1 cup | water
1 tablespoon | brown sugar
1 large | eggplant (about 1 pound in size)
| cage free eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon | water
½ cup | dried bread crumbs
1 ¼ cups | parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup | salad oil (vegetable oil)
8 ounces | mozzarella cheese, grated

ii. what to do

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté the onion, garlic and beef chuck until the meat is no longer red (about 5 minutes).

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

3. Let’s get the oven preheating to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and set aside.

4. Wash the eggplant and leave the peel on. Cut the eggplant crosswise into slices about ½” thick and set aside.

5. In a pie plate, combine the eggs and 1 tablespoon more water; mix well.

6. Are you ready to bread? On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the bread crumbs with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix well. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and coat well. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly.

7. In a new pan sauté the eggplant slices a few at a time in 1 tablespoon of hot oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Add more oil as needed.

8. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining parmesan cheese. Top each slice with half of the mozzarella cheese; cover with half of the tomato sauce.

9. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Cover with the rest of the parmesan, and the tomato sauce.

10. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Arrange the remaining mozzarella over the top; bake 20 minute longer, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

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

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original recipe clipping.


burger pizza

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook NookLet’s Eatsa The Pizza

As a self-proclaimed pizza junky my at-home pizza-like objects often take a variety of forms involving Boboli crust, a nice slice of bread topped with Joe’s Red Sauce or this home grown recipe for Trader Joe’s Bacon Cheese Bread. No matter the form the cheesy, savory taste of pizza is always a delight, morning or night.

It wasn’t until my first trip to Italy that I discovered I actually prefer thin crust pizza topped with a few simple ingredients. Sorry, cheese-stuffed crust, deep-dish gooey pie!

This burger pizza recipe surprised both Joe and I – we agreed it was a bit like the home grown Boboli pizza of the 1970s. But before we dive into how to make a slice of this burger topped piggy pie let’s enjoy a little story.

Burgertime … In The Beginning

Following our family’s Pong and Atari 2600 digital scores, in walked ColecoVision. My Mom “Betty” and I spent many mind-numbing moments playing our hearts away in front of the likes of Dig Dig, Frogger, and BurgerTime. Let’s have a brief look at some of the BurgerTime action:

Wow. Chef eating pickles, eggs, hot dogs brought to life in cutting edge ROM graphics. Exciting, huh? Hah! More than 30 years later I still have my Coleco game console including my BurgerTime cartridge, which shows my inner love of food-related fancies. Anyone game for a BurgerTime playoff?

foodie tips ~

  We didn’t see instructions for how to prepare 1 cup of biscuit mix so we got as close as we could – we used 1 cup Bisquick brand mix plus ¼ cup whole milk to mix. Also, we added a tad more biscuit mix to dust our pastry/cutting board.

  Out of Bisquick? Try this substitute for 1 cup of Bisquick mix: 1 cup flour + 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder +½ teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon of shortening. Mix it all up and voilà!

  Mom’s recipe doesn’t specify this but we browned our ground chuck before topping and baking the pizza.

 I thought to use fresh herbs but I was corrected. “Dried is what would have been used,” Joe said. I agreed.

i. ingredients

1 cup | packaged biscuit mix (most commonly known in the 1970s as bisquick)
¼ cup | whole milk (if following the foodie tip above)
to coat dough | wesson oil
½ pound | ground chuck, browned (see foodie tip above)
to taste | salt, pepper and garlic salt
½ teaspoon | oregano or basil (we used oregano but I love me some basil)
8 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 tablespoon | parsley, chopped
¼ pound | swiss cheese, cut into 1-inch strips

ii. what to do

1. Prepare dough according to package directions (or my above foodie tip).

How To Make Burger Pizza

2. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece to fit the bottom and sides of the pie pans. Place in pan and brush with the oil.

Let's Layer Our Burger Pizza

3. Put half of the remaining ingredients on each of the pies in the following order: crumble the ground chuck evenly over the dough, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano or basil. Cover with tomato sauce and parsley. Arrange the swiss cheese strips on top, like a spoke of a wheel.

4. Bake in a 400°F preheated oven about 20 minutes or until brown and cheese has melted.

Yields: 2 delicious pizzas

~ Patrick

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

A Burger Pizza Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Burger Pizza Recipe


anticuchos

An Anticuchos Recipe From Betty's Cook NookGrilltime Is Thrilltime

My Mom usually had command of the kitchen. But when it came time to grill outdoors, it was 100% Dad.

Anticuchos GrillingGrowing up, our brick-walled patio featured a corner grill – something I’m pretty sure was considered a little ahead of its time in the 1960s, when our house was rebuilt. Dad always cooked on charcoal.

When I chose this recipe I realized that I’ve always been a propane gas griller (translation: I’m conveniently lazy). Yet when I saw some of the keywords in Mom’s recipe “hot coals,” “bacon drippings,” “flavor” and “smoke,” I knew what I had to do; I zipped up the street to my local Walmart and purchased a tiny grill for just $15 to ensure that I was preparing the anticuchos the way in which they were intended – with some TLC or “Tender Lovin’ Charcoal!”

Anticuchos?

Oh yeah, the name.

Anticuchos Being Made At NIOSA in 1967. Photo Credit MySanAntonio.com

Anticuchos Being Made At NIOSA in 1967. Photo Credit: Our Friends at MySanAntonio.com

“Anticuchos” is a bit of a tongue twister, but if you’re a San Antonio native like I am you likely know anticuchos from the annual NIOSA festival where in just 4 nights more than 18,000 anticuchos are sold to festival goers who salivate for this sensationally savory shish kabob dish. You can read more about NIOSA at my Sauerkrat Bend’s Potato Salad Recipe here.

Anticuchos are a uniquely Peruivan dish typically made of beef hearts and grill-basted with a fiery marinade of vinegar and a peppery paste. More modern versions of the dish have expanded to be made from chicken, beef liver and my favorite – beef tenderloin, like Mom’s recipe here.

foodie tips ~

  This dish is easy to make but it does require letting the beef marinate overnight … so give yourself some prep-ahead-time. Your tastebuds will thank you later.

  You can make anticuchos with just the meat or alternate the skewers with meat, bell peppers and new potatoes – this is how my family made them at home. I remember my Mom and Dad using green bell peppers but adding red, yellow and green only makes the dish more colorful.

  Two gifts in one! You only use the bacon drippings (not the bacon) so you can enjoy a bacon snack while you’re outside grilling or save the bacon for another recipe. Hint: nobody saves bacon, so better eat it up before I beat you to it!

  Love living life in the spicy lane? My Cousin Julie says she enjoys her anticuchos marinated with Pickapeppa Hot Pepper Sauce.

i. ingredients

for the marinade:

1 cup | red wine vinegar
3 cups | water
2-3 | fresh, whole serrano peppers, ends snipped off
to taste | salt
to taste | whole peppercorns
2-3 cloves | garlic
generous pinch | oregano
generous pinch | cumin

everything else:

2 pounds | cubed beef
5 slices bacon | reserve the bacon drippings
| bell pepper, cut into chunks (optional)
8-12 | new potatoes (optional)

ii. accessories

8-12 | wooden skewers, soaked in water about 30 minutes before preparation
| charcoal grill that’s fired-up and ready to go

An Anticuchos Marinade From Betty's Cook Nookiii. what to do

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend thoroughly. I couldn’t get my peppercorns to crack (probably because I have a lower-end blender) but they will add some flavor to the marinade nonetheless.

2. Place the cubed beef in a glass dish and cover with the marinade. Marinate several hours or overnight (overnight highly suggested)!
Anticuchos On The Skewer From Betty's Cook Nook
3. Spear the marinated cubed beef with the prepared skewers – and if adding the optional peppers and new potatoes (which is what I did) – alternate the ingredients on the skewers. Continue skewer-ing until you’re all out of ingredients.

Anticuchos Ready To Grill

4. Add the bacon drippings (to taste) to the remaining marinade then baste the meat while cooking over hot coals until you’re ready to remove them and enjoy.

The bacon drippings add flavor and make the meat smoke. Delicious!

Anticuchos On The Grill

Yield: 8-12 skewers of tasty meat and veggies!

Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!

An Anticuchos Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

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

A little more about this dish:


eggplant appetizer

An Eggplant Appetizer From Betty's Cook Nook
Olive (I love) This Dish

With over 100 Betty’s Cook Nook recipes under my foodie belt I was surprised that this is the first dish that calls for eggplant. I was also surprised that there’s a pretty healthy debate over whether eggplant is a fruit or a vegetable.

Mom loved squash, cucumber and pretty much anything fresh so without doubt eggplant is a welcomed guest at our family’s table.

My favorite part of this chunky tapenade style dish is the eggplant’s sidekick – the olive; it packs a lotta salty love that just warms the belly. Served on a chip or on the side, this savory dish gives your tongue one tasty ride.

Foodie Tips ~

  When I first read this recipe I was surprised to learn it was served cold. Try it cold and hot. Cold is great for summer chillin’ and hot is great for cooler months (my preference) … plus you can shave off the time for it to chill several hours. 1 … 2 … get in my belly!

  I had never heard of a “salad olive” before and gave up researching its origin – I think it’s basically the same thing as a green pimiento-stuffed olive. While this calls for whole salad olives, I could only find sliced salad olives at my HEB, so that’s what I used and I liked it. Want to learn more about olives? Take a spin at my well-respected foodie friends’ website at Zingerman’s.

  I don’t think you have to eat this app solo – experiment with it and find your “flavorite” ways to enjoy it. I ate spoonfuls of mine on a grilled chicken breast atop some pasta and found it made a tasty, chunky red sauce that really brightened up the dish.

An Eggplant Appetizer From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 medium | eggplant, peeled and diced
½ cup | green pepper, chopped
medium | onion, chopped
¾ cup | sliced mushrooms (go fresh)
2 cloves | garlic, crushed
¼ cup | extra virgin olive oil
1 can | tomato paste
¼ cup | water
2 tablespoons | wine vinegar
6-7 ounces | stuffed salad olives
1 ½ teaspoon | sugar
½ teaspoon | oregano
½ teaspoon | sugar
1 teaspoon | salt
⅛ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper

ii. what to do

1. Put the first six ingredients into a skillet. Cover. Cook gently, stirring occasionally.

What's That Cooking? Love!

2. Then add the remaining eight ingredients from above. Cover and cook 30 minutes.

3. Chill several hours (if you choose) then serve.

Feeds about 4-6 or more, depending on how you serve.

Here’s a scan of my Mom Betty’s original recipe!

An Eggplant Appetizer Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Cold Or Hot This Eggplant Appetizer Rocks


picadillo

A Picadillo Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Picadillo Is My Pillow

In March 2014 my awesome Cousin Julie gifted me the recipe for this ole time family favorite.

What a great gift! I remember Mom talking about “picadillo” but the recipe wasn’t in her cookbook. Luckily, it was in her sister Delores’ cookbook that Julie has in her care!

Totally flexible, this Cuban-inspired dish made its way to San Antonio kitchens before the days of the internet … and into my heart 4ever. A foodie’s BFF.

Celebrating Betty's Cook Nook's 100th RecipeFoodie Tips ~

  The original recipe scan below makes mountains of this delicious stuff. My Cousin Julie said the portions were large because her Mom, “Delores,” would often serve this dish at parties. I divided the recipe down, down, dowwwwwn into 6ths below. And yet after Joe and I ate it all, we wanted more.

  Cousin Julie was very specific – unless you don’t mind soggy almonds, sprinkle the almonds on top just before serving; or set them aside in a serving bowl with a spoon.

  Cousin Julie also said this picadillo freezes well. Sweet! If you freeze or refrigerate it overnight, add more dry sherry when reheating. It’s the honest thing to do.

  You can serve picadillo many ways – on top of scrambled eggs, breakfast tacos, nacho chips or inside tacos. This stuff is so good I even ate some with a shovel-spoon or two… :)

i. ingredients

to marinate:
1 pound | ground round
 cup | dry sherry
1 teaspoon | salt
 teaspoon | pepper
| japaleños, chopped

the mixture: 
1 clove | garlic, chopped
splash | oil
4.8 ounces | canned tomatoes
 cup | tomato sauce
2 tablespoons | pimiento
to taste | raisins
 teaspoon | oregano
½ cup | water chestnuts, sliced
 cup | canned mushrooms, sliced

Almonds Being Diced For A Picadillo Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
when serving: 

flour or corn tortillas
doritos
taco shells
tostitos brand scoops
 cup | salted almonds, diced

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, bring the first 5 ingredients (see “marinate”) to a happy sauté.

2. Add “the mixture” ingredients (the 9 ingredients) above and simmer, covered, about 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

3. Uncover and stir until “mushy.”

4. Serve with your preferred foodie accents and style (above). And smile.  :)

Delicious!

Delores' Picadillo Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

 

 


texas style chili

A Texas Style Chili Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

No Beans About It

Those who know my passion for chili know that I insist that the best chili on the planet is the chili that contains beans. My hips don’t lie.

Right or wrong this sweet bowl of red texas style chili recipe does not have beans and there’s something about it that I absolutely loved … I nervously shelled about $20 for the steak to the folks at HEB and I’m happy to report that it was absolutely delicious! I learned tonight that I actually prefer this type of chili meat over ground anything (even chili ground) so this recipe taught me never to say never in the kitchen.

Giddy up!

foodie tips ~

 Salad Oil? It’s not salad dressing; more like veggie oil, olive oil and the like. Read more about salad oil here.

 Sorry, onion lovers! To avoid “the burpies” we deviated from this recipe and included all of the onions all at once vs. using some fresh on top to garnish. Feel free to keep it raw and real (note Jill’s recipe card below for details).

 Chili Lover? Check out my other family favorite – Kiker’s Kicker Award-Winning Pot Licker Chili recipe. Yay, food awards … I’m important!

 For the dismount also consider serving with saltines or tortilla chips. It keeps you honest.

i. ingredients

3 ½ – 4 pounds | boneless beef chuck blade steak
¼ cup | salad oil
2 cups | onions, chopped
3 medium | green peppers, diced
4 cloves | garlic, crushed
2 28-ounce cans | tomatoes
12-ounce can | tomato paste
2 cups | water
⅓ cup | chili powder
¼ cup | sugar
2 tablespoons | salt
2 teaspoons | oregano leaves
¾ teaspoon | cracked black pepper
to garnish | monterey jack cheese, shredded

ii. what to do

1. Cut steak into ½” cubes.

2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the meat cubes in clusters ⅓ at a time until it’s all browned. Let’s have a look, shall we?

What a simply delightful video, yes?

3. Remove the meat and set aside, reserving the drippings in the dutch oven.

4. To the drippings add the onions, green peppers and garlic. Cook 10 minutes.

5. Return the meat to the dutch oven and add the next eight ingredients (except the cheese, which is a garnish).

Did You Know? Second To Pong, Asteroids Was My Earliest Video Game Love

6. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer at least 1 ½ hours. This gives you enough time to play some Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Burgertime or Galaga.

7. When serving, sprinkle with the cheese and more fresh onion, if desired.

Yields 12 servings. Or 6 hungry Texans.

Below is a scan of the original chili recipe Mom scored from Jill Root. 

Who Is Jill Root?

Jill Root was a great lady. She was the mother-in-law of my much, much oldest brother Tim. After my Dad died, Jill, Mom (Betty), Tim and I spent many Christmases together with the rest of the Root family, so I can promise you she had a heart of gold. You can read more about Jill here.

Thank you Jill for this recipe! I found a way to make my chili even better (coming soon).

A Scan Of Mom's Recipe For Texas Style Chili That She Scored From Jill Root