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Friday, March 5, 2021

Your Retro Cooking Favorites

Earlier this week, I posted a modern rendition of a retro recipe from my childhood, creamed chicken and broccoli on toast points. My mother often used a white sauce or canned soup, along with frozen mixed vegetables, a mix of dark and light meat chicken, and white bread toast. With my family's more modern tastes I substituted a scratch cream of celery soup, frozen broccoli, chicken breast meat, and homemade whole wheat toast. My version reflects my family's preference for broccoli, leaner meat, and whole grains.

Later this week I made a childhood favorite dessert, sliced bananas in vanilla pudding. In my childhood, this was often served with vanilla wafer cookies. My more individualized and contemporary version used a scratch soy milk pudding to meet my personal dietary needs. I wish I'd had the vanilla wafers, but graham crackers had to substitute.

Ruthie expressed interest (in the comments) in hearing what you cook that is retro. I thought that was a wonderful suggestion. Today, I am curious to know what your favorite retro recipes are and how you adapt them to your modern tastes and needs. What do you still make, now and then, that takes you back to your childhood? How have you changed how the previous generation made this dish? Let us know in the comments!



21 comments:

  1. Yes, I guess I probably do lots of retro dishes as I am retired and have been making lots of those for years. I can only think of a few as they probably are second nature to me. I often make jello salads. Some are dessert-like with sweet items added and others are more of a regular salad with maybe grated carrot or cabbage or grapes added. I also frequently make macaroni and tomatoes. We also enjoy pot pie or shepherd's pie which I try to add more veg than I used to. We like chip beef gravy on toast points. I also make veg and add dumplings. Chicken and dumplings always go over well. Jello poke cake is a hit. We like scalloped cabbage as a side. I guess I am stuck in a time warp but if it gets eaten, it stays on the menu. The grandchildren often ask for these also. I often adjust the date or add more veg if appropriate but somethings just have to stay the same to taste right.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      I haven't made a Jello poke cake in many years, but my daughters and I talk about making one frequently. Maybe I'll have to make one just for fun. Thanks for the reminder.
      We also do chicken and dumplings a lot. It's a huge favorite of my husband's, so it goes on the menu as often as possible. And of course, my favorite use for chicken is chicken pot pie. I keep pie pastry in the freezer, ready to roll out, so I can add pot pie to the menu at almost the last moment. I've had grated carrot in gelatin salads, but not cabbage. I would think cabbage would be good in a tomato juice and lemon jello aspic.
      Thank you for reminders of some foods my family really enjoys.

      Delete
    2. I also made a lot of jello poke cakes in the past— now, have to get out those old recipes and get one going!! Thanks for reminder of an old favorite!

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  2. Beef stroganoff (or pork) green bean casserole. How about any casserole as a retro type meal. I think casseroles are often a forgotten but good meal to serve.

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    1. Hi Alice,
      stroganoff is one of those dishes that I love but forget to make. Thanks for the reminder! I can never leave out green bean casserole on holidays. My family would never forgive me. I agree, casseroles can be some of the best meals, yet are so easy to do and clean up afterward.

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  3. Correction...I adjust the fats...not the date. Silly autocorrect.

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    1. That makes more sense, Linda.
      I adjust the fat content on old recipes about half the time. But as you said above, sometimes reducing the fat too much reduces some of the enjoyment of a particular dish.

      Delete
  4. Meatloaf is a favorite of mine. My son doesn't care much for it but the rest of us love it and I don't adjust it at all. I already mentioned our tuna casserole that we had recently. I pulled out my tater tot casserole a few weeks ago. Anything with tater tots gets eaten! We do a wide variety of meals. Some are more current tastes and some are retro. Overall I try to minimize processed foods but there is a reason they go gained popularity--they simplify things and sometimes I need a shortcut.

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    1. Hi Kris,
      My favorite part of meatloaf is the leftovers. I'm sure we have all had a meatloaf sandwich at least once. I love those. I can remember looking forward to lunchtime in school the day after meatloaf was on the dinner menu. My usual sandwich was PBJ, so meatloaf on white bread with ketchup and mayo was such a treat!
      I agree on the tater tots. Anything with tater tots is a hit.

      Delete
  5. A childhood favorite of mine is something the lunchladies used to make for us, Raspberry bars. It's quick and you can use any jam you have. 1c flour, 1c oats, 2/3c brown sugar, 1/4t baking soda,1 stick butter, 3/4 c jam. Mix everything except the jam until crumbly and combined. Pat into a 9x9 saving 1/2c, spread jam,sprinkle remaining crumble on top. Bake 350 for 30-35 minutes.-Kathryn

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    1. I make this! And my mom was a lunch lady. Coincidence??

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    2. Hi Kathryn,
      My mom's c.1957 cookbook has a very similar bar cookie recipe. I think I'm going to do those for my family today. Thank you for the suggestion and recipe!

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  6. At Christmas I was craving a lime jello salad that my grandma used to make. I hadn't had it in probably 35 years but I found a recipe I thought would be the same. My family doesn't like crushed pineapple in dishes so I pureed it with the cream cheese and the jello before setting it and it was as good as I remembered it. In fact, I'm craving it right now. I love the memories behind food. Another one that I like is macaroni salad. You can customize it to what you have on hand and my husband loves it.

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    1. Hi Ruthie,
      That does sound good! Cream cheese in jello is delicious. My mom used to make a lemon jello, cream cheese, and canned pear salad that we had for holidays. And a big Yes on the macaroni salad, too! Always a favorite.

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  7. Impossible pie. My grandma worked a lot, now that I’m back to work as well I’ve found myself loving the simplicity of this dish. So many variations, perfect with a simple salad or steamed side veg.

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    1. I also make at least 4 versions of impossible pie. Bisquick rocks.

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    2. Hi Vanessa,
      I had a friend whose mom made impossible pies a lot. One of my favorites was an Impossible Tuna Pie.
      Do you make your own Bisquick-like mix?

      Delete
  8. This may be a regional thing, but I love creamed tomatoes and biscuits, or sausage gravy and biscuits, or creamed chicken and biscuits, or navy beans, ham and biscuits. (You see a theme here?) My family likes all of these things I grew up with except the creamed tomatoes. The concept and texture is too much for them. However, none of these make it into the rotation very often except the beans.

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    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Are the creamed tomatoes a hot dish? I've never heard of that. I was always a big fan of biscuits myself.

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  9. Our family has some old favorites I’ve been cooking for decades and we still enjoy: Meatloaf is a family favorite. My homemade meatballs and spaghetti gravy.I am from Sicilian background and we put white raisins in our meatballs..try it! A small bite of sweet in the savory is awesome! I am bad a “frying” food and we don’t want to eat it much anyway, I have always made the “Bisquick Fried Chicken” recipe from the box , made in the oven and it is yummy and easier than frying! A tuna pie with cucumber sauce. Baked pork chops with stuffing and a gravy made of cream of mushroom soup. Kielbasa and sauerkraut, Chicken and noodles. Linguine and red clam sauce. Now, we don’t eat all this in one week! LOL! We like to eat lighter these days and so we may have an old favorite once or twice a week, and in between we eat stir fries, vegetarians, bean meals, Indian meals such as dal and Chana masala (home made) over brown rice.And We love a fish meal once or twice a week. Cooking at home is one of the most fun ways to enjoy good food, put on your own music and relax aight family. And so much more frugal than a noisy restaurant!!

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    1. Hi Madeline,
      Thank you for the tip to add raisins to meatballs. Similar flavors to meatballs with a sweet sauce over them. I enjoy a little sweet in with the savory, too.
      Hmmm, I'm going to have to check into the Bisquick oven-fried chicken. I don't deep fry very often, but we do like fried chicken. Thanks for that suggestion!
      I agree on eating at home over in restaurants. I find we can relax more at home and not feel rushed to leave the table, especially so as good weather approaches and we can eat outdoors in the evenings and just enjoy the outdoor air and sounds.
      I enjoyed reading your comment -- thank you!

      Delete

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