mexican chef’s salad

Mexican Chefs Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook“…a whole meal in itself…”

I’m not sure who coined the phrase atop this recipe but after enjoying this hearty salad I discovered it to be quite true!

Even more surprising – this Mexican Chef’s Salad calls for Thousand Island (with Canadian roots) or French Dressing (um, with American roots?) – hey where’s the south of the border taste with those?

The mere mention of Thousand Island dressing takes my laughs back to the 1980s with this memorable scene from the movie “Cracked Up” where Jerry Lewis’ character gets a little more service than he bargained for thanks to this rigorously exhaustive waitress!

Despite my salad sign as a Leo, fate had a fresh bottle of Thousand Island dressing in my hands so that’s what I used. What’s your salad sign?

foodie tips

❤  I’ve included Mom’s original recipe scan below. I enjoyed the way the ingredients were organized (chop, toss, crunch, slice, brown, decorate) but I’ve taken liberties to put the typed instructions in order to help make it easy for you to prepare.

❤ Red, white, or yellow onion – it’s all up to you! If you prefer your onion cooked you can add it to the beef medley when browning; otherwise get ready for a little “oompf” from the uncooked fresh onion kick, as did I.

  While I’m 99% confident that Mom used tortilla chips for this dish I went with tortilla strips – their multi-colors are more festive than their typical chip cousin plus they’re easier to eat with a fork! Tip: HEB makes tasty Tri Color Tortilla Strips that I stock in my kitchen. Now if you’re eating this dish with your hands, step up to the plate (or bowl) and get some full-sized tortilla chips … or better yet a bag of Fritos Scoops!

  This recipe makes A LOT of salad. I believe in its entirety this dish will serve up to 6 as a main course and even more as a sidekick! You can easily half the ingredients for 2-3 people.

❤  Make sure and introduce your tortilla chips (strips), avocado, and tomatoes just before serving; nobody likes a limp tortilla chip, brown avocado or mushy tomato! As you would guess it this dish is best consumed fresh as with leftovers the dressing will make your lettuce turn sad and soggy.

i. ingredients

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Central Market Kidney Beansbrown together:
1 pound | ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) | kidney beans, drained
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) | salt

for the salad:
1 head | lettuce, chopped
| onion, chopped
| tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces | thousand island or french dressing
4 ounces | cheddar cheese, grated
to top | tortilla chips or strips
to top | avocado, sliced or cubed

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat brown the beef. Halfway through browining add the kidney beans and the salt. While the meat-medley is simmering for 10 minutes…

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Ingredients

Why yes! I do like my salad with cheese and a side of lettuce!

2. In a large serving bowl introduce the salad ingredients – lettuce, onion (unless browning), tomatoes. Pour your dressing on top and mix well. You can set this into your refrigerator to chill for a few minutes or if your beef is ready…Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe

3. Give one last mix to stir things up a bit… then toss in your beef mixture, top with cheese, chips, and your avocado. Serve pronto!

A Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe To Share

Yields up to 6 servings (using full ingredients)

~ Patrick

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

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe PLUS a Bonus Recipe Found On The Back… For Moist Carrot Cake!

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



bootsie’s salad

Bootsie's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook Almost four years after making Mom’s Layered Salad recipe, Bootsie’s Salad kicked its way into my life.

I don’t know who ‘Bootsie’ was, but celery, red onion, and tomato were a flavorful twist on the layered salad. So what, exactly, are the similarities and differences between Bootsie’s and Mom’s salads? I conducted a little side-by-side comparisons and the results are in!

Bootsies Salad versus Moms Salad

I think the results are clear – both salads have a lot to offer. In fact most anything fresh that finds its way into a salad bowl tastes great. Which is why next time I’m making a mega-layered salad comprised of all these ingredients! :)

foodie tips

  I thought it was odd that both recipes called for sugar. I didn’t really notice it, which means it probably got married-up with the mayonnaise (or sour cream). If you’re watching your weight you can eliminate the sugar and use low fat mayo along with other substitutions. Remember – this recipe is from flashback 1970s so pretty much anything went into the belly!

  This would pair well with anything from the grill – chicken, pork and beef come to mind.

  In case you missed the callout above here’s the link over to Mom’s Layered Salad here on Betty’s Cook Nook.

i. ingredients (listed in layered order)

1 layer | lettuce, blotted dry
1 layer | celery, diced
1 layer | red onion, sliced (we diced)
2 packages | frozen peas, cooked, drained, and cooled
globs | mayonnaise
to taste | salt and pepper
¼ cup | sugar
7-9 slices | crisp, crumbled bacon
| tomato, sliced
to serve | parmesan cheese, freshly grated

ii. what to do

1. Prepare the peas and set them aside.

2. Layer the ingredients into a bowl that will fit into your fridge:

  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Mayo (drop it by globs over the top of the peas)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sugar

3. Cover the salad bowl with foil (or wrap) and place it into the fridge or crisper to allow things to marinate, about 3-5 hours.

4. At some point before you’re ready to unveil the salad prepare your bacon and set it aside.

Bootsies Salad Recipe

5. When ready to serve, remove the salad from the fridge and garnish with the crumbled bacon, tomato, and the parmesan cheese.

Yields 4-8 servings, depending on the size of your appetite and whether this is being served as a main entree or a side!

~ Patrick

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

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Bootsie’s Salad Recipe Card

Bootsie's Salad Original Recipe Scan

While Bootsie’s Salad Recipe doesn’t call for any additional dressing poured on top (you’ve already made it with the mayonnaise), let’s have a look at some vintage salad dressings commercials that might make you smile wider than a salad bowl.

Sous Chef Note: Let’s take a brief time machine stop into the 1980s with this Salad Shooter commercial. I was working at Foley’s in the (gulp) housewares department and this commercial was on a loop which means in a typical 8 hour shift I would have been exposed to this jingle almost 1,000 times. And some wonder why I hand slice/grate – the jingle is tattooed on my brain!

Sous Chef Note: Oh Edith, Ralph doesn’t love your salad – he loves your salad dressing – all of it! You just poured about 2 cups of dressing on his “side” salad. Just give him the pitcher and a straw. Voilà! LOL

Sous Chef Note: “What’s happening to salad that’s never happened before?” It’s getting smaller! I’m going to need seven servings of this Seven Seas salad – apparently my appetite is bigger than this teacup saucer-sized salad plate!

chicken supreme

Winner Winner Chicken DinnerWith a recipe calling for just a few ingredients, I was quite leery that this dish would delight the tastebuds. Turns out I was in for a chicken supreme surprise!

Chicken Supreme Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

This is a surprisingly simple dish that pairs well with vegetables or potatoes. As a self-proclaimed carb monster you can likely guess what side I chose! I’m including *at no extra cost to you* the jalapeño mashers recipe I scored from H-E-B because these were really delicious and we’ll be making the mashers again soon. Details below!

For maximum enjoyment speed up the Mr. Bean video below to 8X original speed and let’s get on with the eating of the chicken!

foodie tips

  Dining for two? We reduced the portions below to and we were fully sa-tis-fied!

  Falfurrias butter? Yup! My Grandmother “Nanny” (Betty’s Mom) insisted on it. Don’t disappoint my Nanny!

i. ingredients

| small boneless chicken breasts
½ stick | falfurrias brand unsalted butter
to taste | kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
| eggs, whites and yolks separated
¼ cup | parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, sliced
Chicken Supreme With Mushrooms Recipe

ii. what to do

1. Flatten the chicken breasts with a cleaver. Joe placed the breasts in cling film and pounded away. Remove the breasts from the film and season them with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat add ½ the butter then the chicken and sauté the breasts five minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside on a plate or platter.

Here's My Chicken Breast Sitting On The Side

This Is My Chicken Set Aside On A Plate. A Finely Plated Chicken, I Must Say!

3. In the same pan, sauté the fresh mushrooms with the remaining ¼ stick butter. Season with more salt and pepper to taste then set aside.

4. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites by hand until stiff, but not dry. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Add the parmesan cheese to the egg yolks. Then gently fold in the egg whites.

5. Place the sautéed chicken breasts in a warmed casserole dish. Cover the breasts with the sautéed mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture on top.

6. Place your chicken supreme in a 450°F degree oven for 10 minutes until puffed and slightly brown.

Yields 2-3 servings, depending on the size of your chicken breasts!

~ Patrick

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

Chicken Supreme Original Recipe Scan

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe For Chicken Supreme – Could The Recipe Headline Indicate This Is From Susan Lucci’s Kitchen?

Jalapeno Mashers Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
BONUS RECIPE : Jalapeño Mashers

While this is not one of my Mom “Betty’s” recipes I think she would love it as much as I did. The cheesy jalapeño ‘kick’ pairs well with chicken supreme. So here goes:

| large potatoes (we used russets)
½ stick | butter
1 cup | heavy cream
½ teaspoon | salt (to taste)
½ cup | robert’s reserve jalapeño pepper dip
handful | cheese (optional)
handful | fresh jalapeño, diced

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil the potatoes in chicken stock or water until “fork tender.”

Mash the potatoes to desired consistency and add the butter and cream. Whip the potatoes with a mixer or spatula (we used a mixer). Add Roberts Reserve Jalapeño Dip and stir.

Transfer to a baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Garnish with finely diced fresh jalapeño! Enjoy!

Jalapeño Mashers Recipe

A Scan Of The Jalapeño Mashers Recipe I Scored At H-E-B Round Rock

shrimp remoulade

A Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nooklet’s applaud this remoulade

Prior to making this recipe, I didn’t know much about shrimp remoulade.

  • I couldn’t spell “remoulade” correctly.
  • Roots to France? No wonder I couldn’t spell it!
  • As a younger Patrick if a shrimp-like object was placed before me I would have run for the hills, arms in air. So making this recipe *and eating* the end result involved a bending of my typical seafood predispositions; I have found certain select seafood fare that I enjoy, although don’t tell that to my Tex-Mex and Italian foodie favorites.

foodie tips

❤  Shrimp tip! While stores may not be consistent in how they classify shrimp, when you’re at the seafood counter, there’s a method to the madness for how many shrimp typically come per pound (this is indicative of their size). Resources that will be helpful include the Certi-Fresh website, which gives great detail plus the Certi-Fresh Shrimp Sizing Guide you can print, and keep with your cookbooks (score!)… and the Farm to Table guide that provides some detail on larger-sized shrimp. Now you’ll be able to decipher shrimp-like code like PUD, P&D, U/15, and 61/70!

❤  While shrimp remoulade is technically an appetizer, you can enjoy it with a variety of sidekicks. I can squarely picture my Mom “Betty” eating these marinated shrimp straight off a Nabisco saltine cracker. Other accents can include a bed of tender greens, jasmine rice, toasted crostini or simply by fork (I’m guilty of by fork – it was that good).

i. ingredients

½ cup + 2 tablespoons | salad oil
¼ cup | mustard
3 tablespoons | vinegar
1 teaspoon | salt
¼ teaspoon | tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons | paprika
1  | egg, hard cooked, separated into yolk and white and chopped
½ cup | celery, minced
2 tablespoons | onion, grated
2 tablespoons | fresh parsley, snipped
2 tablespoons | green pepper, minced
1 pound | shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked (P&D&C)

A Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Beat the oil, mustard, vinegar, salt, Tabasco, paprika, and egg yolk with a rotary beater until thick.

2. Fold in the celery, onion, parsley, green pepper, and chopped egg white.

3. Stir in the cleaned and cooked shrimp.

4. Cover and chill in the fridge, stirring occasionally. I let my shrimp and remoulade mingle for about an hour.

Shrimply delicious!

Yields up to 4 servings, depending on the size of the shrimp and how you’re serving it (appetizer or main course).

~ Patrick

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

Shrimp Remoulade Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original Shrimp Remoulade recipe!


Let’s enjoy some vintage cracker commercials!

Who knows how many sleeves of crackers I’ve polished off in my lifetime. Now we can enjoy a nod to crackers throughout the years!

cheese crackers

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
cheese, glorious cheese!

What would life be without the creamy, gooey deliciousness of cheese?

A ho-hum, dud of a day, that’s what! Grilled cheese sandwiches would be “just toast.” Macaroni and cheese would be macaroni without the sunshine [ insert sad face here ]. Pizza and lasagna? I shutter to think what the absence of mozzarella and ricotta would mean to these dishes!

Just thinking about cheese makes me want to strap on some dancing shoes, grab a top hat, and bust out a few bars and moves to this all-time favorite jingle that would light up eyes and the commercial breaks between television shows of the 1980s:

So the magic ingredient of these crackers is none other than CHEESE! I hope you enjoy this crispy, crunchy, cheddary treat that will brighten any gathering.

foodie tips

  I experimented with forming 1″ balls with my cookie dough scoop and the crackers were large and great. I realized I was blazing through the dough and reduced the size a bit by using a heaping ½ tablespoon of the dough. The end result was more of a bite-sized cracker, which means the more you can make, the more you can eat!

  Don’t be afraid to add the cayenne; it adds a subtle warm note to the cracker and makes everything seem all the better.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 ½ cups | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
½ cup | room temperature unsalted butter (my Grandmother insisted on falfurrias brand butter)
½ pounds (~2 cups) | sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and at room temperature

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Measure then sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the salt, chives and cayenne.
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
2. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the cheese. Add the flour mixture and mix everything well. The mixture will be coarse and grainy but should stick together in step 4 (below).
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
3. About this time preheat your oven to 350F.

4. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them on a baking sheet. Flatten the balls to 1/4″ thickness by using the bottom of a glass or another flat-bottomed object. Prick the tops with a fork.A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Place your cookies into the oven for 12-15 minutes – do not burn!

Yields up to 5 dozen crackers, depending on the size of the cracker.

~ Patrick

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

Cheese Crackers Recipe

Hailing from December 1962, this is a scan of my Mom’s cheese cracker recipe. It found its way into her cookbook from Elizabeth Cain, who must have been one of her foodie friends.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

sweet and sour cabbage

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe

Your tastebuds will dance a sweet and savory tango induced by the dynamic pairing of brown sugar and bacon – both wrapped in a blankety “zing” of vinegar and a sprinkling of caraway seed.

Indeed, cabbage has a bad rap. Why, the lips seem to curl at the very mention of its name! And while cabbage made a lot of appearances at depression era tables, there are some quite redeeming qualities of cabbage including protecting against stress, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and helping create a healthier complexion. I’m in!

the cabbage craze

Perhaps the biggest cabbage morale booster started in the 1970s. This was the golden era where the origins of the Cabbage Patch Kids kingdom was born. During this time I was preoccupied with skateboarding or patiently staring at the fruitless gems never born by my rock tumbler. Simultaneously a multi-billion dollar business was emerging thanks to the help of “Bunnybees” sprinkling magic dust on top of cabbages. Hey, don’t make fun of the messenger!

While your sweet and sour cabbage is chilling in the fridge you can enjoy the earliest Cabbage Patch Kids video I could locate (below) plus a video revealing the lesser-known story behind the pudgy dolls.

foodie tips

  Dressing tip: We didn’t notice the dressing turning clear per the instructions below; just make sure you don’t overcook it; in 3-4 minutes ours was done.

  This dish is best consumed the same day it’s made; the chopped cabbage will gradually lose its crisp the longer it sits.

  Love sweet and sour? Celebrate the flavorful ying and yang by clicking here for more of Mom’s recipes!

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Close Up

A Cool, Star-Like Design, Compliments Of Cabbage

i. ingredients

6 slices | bacon
3 tablespoons | bacon drippings, reserved from bacon (above)
2 tablespoons | white onion, chopped
½ cup | brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon | corn starch
1 teaspoon | salt
¼ cup | water
⅓ cup | vinegar
6 cups | red cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon | caraway seeds

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Caraway Seeds

A Caraway Seed Close Up

ii. what to do

1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet then drain the excess. Cool then crumble the bacon and set it aside while we prepare our dressing.

2. To the drippings add the onion, brown sugar, corn starch, salt, water, and the vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and clear. Remove the dressing from heat and cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, caraway seeds. Add the crumbled bacon and the cooled dressing. Toss well and chill.

Yields 6 1-cup servings! I paired my cabbage with a nice home-grilled cheeseburger, which complimented the sweet and savory cabbage perfectly!

~ Patrick

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

A Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe (note the back – Woman’s Day Magazine!)

And here are the videos I promised!