17-15: Cream Puffs

17-15: Cream Puffs

Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you’re think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.

I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.

Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).

The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates


Read more

14-21: Pear Pandowdy

14-21: Pear Pandowdy

Here’s a very basic dessert recipe: 14-21: Pear Pandowdy. Pandowdies are typically made with apples, but Simply Delicious offers a pear variation which is also popular. Both are in season right now, so either one would work for this recipe if you’re looking for something to do with all of that fall produce.

Here’s more info on pandowdies, courtesy of New England.com:

An old-fashioned favorite, the pandowdy is, by definition, a cooked fruit dessert sweetened with maple syrup or molasses and topped with a pie pastry. The name refers to the act of “dowdying” the crust — that is, breaking it up with a knife and pressing it into the bubbling juices — midway through baking. While it’s not the prettiest of pastries, what it lacks in streamlined good looks it more than makes up for in rich flavor. 

Yankee Magazine, August 2020

Let’s see how close Simply Delicious gets to their definition. They sell this thing much better than I do.


Read more

8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole

8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole

Usually, I give Simply Delicious a hard time for their attempts at “cultural cuisine”–I had gone into 8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole with the same expectations. I even cooked the recipe with that thought in mind–that this was just another lame attempt at something “exotic” for the 1980s housewife crowd to try to excite their disaffected family about. I mean, read that description below and try to imagine how that would go in real life.

However, while researching for the write-up (the last part of this multi-step process), I found some interesting “similar” recipes. I’m still not sure if I’m right or wrong about this one.

Here’s my thoughts on the two things this recipe could be (given my new findings):

  • They might be trying to attempt nikujaga (Japanese “beef stew”), but it’s missing potatoes which are a crucial (and easy to obtain) part of that dish.
  • They’re attempting some sort of pan-Asian sautéed beef/Asian veggies dish that you’d be more likely to find in a dead mall’s food court and just calling it Japanese casserole.

I’m guessing it’s the latter, but if you’d like to decide for yourself, keep reading.

Oh, and that dead mall link above? That’s another one of our projects…


Read more

2-16: Roast Beef Salad with Beans

2-16: Roast Beef Salad with Beans

In case you hadn’t had enough of weird bean salads with 2-19: Country Bean Salad, I present to you its estranged cousin, 2-16: Roast Beef Salad with Beans.

RIP buffet luncheons (and large groups). Although if this is what’s on the menu, I’d have passed on it anyway.


Read more

5-17: Crab-Filled Crêpes

5-17: Crab-Filled Crêpes

You thought I’d run out of crêpe recipes by now, didn’t you? Here’s yet another for you (#7, at the time of this posting), 5-17: Crab-Filled Crêpes. Simply Delicious has featured both sweet and savory crêpe recipes, and this one would probably be EXCELLENT for a nice brunch.

WAY, way back, when I first started this project (April 2014), crêpes were a new frontier–something I’d never done before. You can read about it in 5-24: Meat-Filled Crêpes.

Now, they’re easy. Time changes so many things.


Read more

3-29: Herbed Cucumber Soup

3-29: Herbed Cucumber Soup

Soup isn’t usually thought of as a hot weather food (unless you’re Lisa Simpson). However, if it’s summer and you’re looking for ice-cold soup options AND gazpacho isn’t your thing, maybe try 3-29: Herbed Cucumber Soup instead.

It’s not technically summer anymore at the time of posting this (October 1), but we’re still hitting 100ºF temps here in California, so I think it counts.


Read more

14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears

14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears

A LOT of the dessert recipes in Simply Delicious feature almonds, and 14-23: Almond-Baked Sliced Pears is a perfect example of these type of “semi-fancy” recipes. I’m not sure why almonds are featured so heavily in the book (or 1980s cuisine in general), but I suppose it’s to lend a sense of haute cuisine to something that would be (in reality) executed in a home kitchen.

The 1980s were all about stylish and flashy veneers without much to back it up underneath, even when it came to food, and this recipe is a perfect encapsulation of it. The fancy top covers up the cheap canned pears underneath, dazzling you with a hint of something high-class to distract you from the less impressive core which makes up the bulk of the dessert. Maybe some things should have just stayed in the 80s.


Read more

2-19: Country Bean Salad

2-19: Country Bean Salad

I had intended on using the entry for 2-19: Country Bean Salad to make the tired joke about how no one likes bean salad or the person who brings it to a party. And to point out how it was always a skip for me at the salad bar (RIP salad bars/buffets, I will REALLY miss you).

But there’s got to be a reason why “bean salad” is still a thing. Someone must still like it, for it still to exist. And not just in an ironic hipster “I like it specifically because it’s uncool” way. Maybe the vegans? I eat mostly vegan, and it’s still a no-go for me.

Simply Delicious says that this particular variation of bean salad is “typically French”, but I can’t find too many references online that specifically corroborate that claim. I did find a fancy version of this dish done by one of the Top Chefs that might be worth looking at, if you’re interested in bringing this recipe into the 21st century.

Apparently it was part of a particularly infamous (red) wedding meal in Game of Thrones as well. I watched GoT, but the food on the table wasn’t exactly the focus of that scene, so I must have missed it.

Even if it’s been on TV, it’s still not that appetizing to me. But again: someone must be into this stuff, so if it’s you, read on.


Read more

13-15: Vegetarian Lasagna

13-15: Vegetarian Lasagna

We’ve covered lasagna dishes on this site before, and 13-15: Vegetarian Lasagna introduces yet another variation of the traditional dish by eschewing tomatoes completely. This version is similar to the Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna that my aunt used to bring to dinners all the time as a “homemade dish”. This has no tomato sauce, instead going for cheese and spinach layered between lasagna noodles.

There’s also onions and olives in there as well (I LOVE olives), as well as…chili sauce? I’m not sure why they thought chili sauce was a good addition to this recipe, but at least you can adjust it based on preference.


Read more