Another day, another Simply Deliciouscasserole. Today’s version is 8-28: Flemish Beef Casserole, which doesn’t tell you much other than it’s going to involve beef and will be somewhat Flemish in nature. I didn’t grow up with a lot of casseroles (especially not Flemish beef ones), but they were (and still are, for the most part) popular because they are cheap, easy, and feed a lot of people.
Interesting that they claim it’s a family recipe, but it includes beer. Doesn’t bother me personally, but I know that doesn’t fly for some folks (mostly due to religious or other exceptions). I suppose most of the alcohol would cook off and not really have any effect, but even the mere inclusion of it can be a no-go for some.
Today, I have the last unmade Group 01 recipe in my possession to share with you today, 1-23: Pita Pockets. They’re essentially sandwiches with two sorts of filling, both very 1980s/”light”.
One of my favorite restaurants is called Pita Pockets–I’ve been going there since I was in high school (over 20 years…eeek) and it’s one of the places I try to stop at when I find myself back in Southern California. Their pita sandwiches are very different from what we’ve got here today (and theirs are WAY better).
I remember pitas being a big deal in the 1980s-1990s, so it’s not surprising that they were included in this recipe collection. They’re still super popular today, but they’re not as “new” of a concept. Speaking of new, this one came from the NEW book, hence why I wasn’t aware until relatively recently that Simply Delicious even had a pita sandwich recipe.
I’m aware of two salmon steak recipes in my Simply Delicious collection, 11-15: Grilled Salmon with Thyme and this one, 11-18: Salmon Steaks with Mushrooms. The other one mentions you can substitute salmon fillets if you can’t find the steaks, which is what I had to do for this one. Strangely enough, I WAS able to find them for the other one. Believe it or not, I’ve been looking for them for a while and just haven’t had very good luck with it (even in Northern California, where it seems like you can find just about anything if you look hard enough).
Simply Delicious does NOT miss an opportunity for a mushroom sauce–it’s kind of their thing. They suggest rice (10/10?) as a side dish, but I’m going to go with some gnocchi instead.
Quick note: Just passed the 8-year anniversary of this project, and I’m STILL going. I’ll be doing this FOREVER.
Howdy, y’all–it’s been a minute since we’ve last met. Like everyone else in the world, things can get busy/stressful/overwhelming for me at times and then unfortunately this project takes a backseat. I’ve still been making recipes here and there though, and I’ve got a few built up to share with you. I can’t promise a robust posting schedule (count me as partly responsible for the death of blogs) but I’ll do my best.
To kick things off, here’s 2-9: Pasta Salad, one from the new book. Ugh, I WANT that kitschy 70s flower/watering can picture–if I found it in a thrift store, it’d definitely be coming home with me. I’ll take those FABULOUS flower-shaped plates too.
I love that this is such a time-capsule of an era where we fully embraced carbs–I don’t know of too many people today that would classify pasta as “nutritious”. We were just on the precipice of the ridiculous food pyramid of the 1990s at this point, where we were advised to eat 6-11 servings of carbs a day and stay far, far away from anything fatty (low-fat/high-sugar EVERYTHING was the result).
I also feel like Simply Delicious couldn’t figure out anything exciting to say about pasta salad, so they attempted to turn it into a half-assed history lesson. “He might have done it, maybe not, who knows! Have some pasta anyway!”
My elementary school education (which occurred around the same time) went pretty much the same way. Oh, the late 80s/early 90s.
Happy New Years’ Eve! 2021 has not been my favorite year (probably not yours either), and so I’m not sad to see it go–in fact, we’re going to celebrate its departure with a holiday-ish dessert today: 15-34: White Chocolate Strawberry Soufflé. This soufflé is not baked, but does include meringue being folded in. I’m not sure if that makes it “not a soufflé,” but at this point, does it matter?
“Dramatic” is definitely a good way to describe this past year, so perhaps this is the perfect dessert/recipe for today. However your 2021 has been, I hope that 2022 is a safe and prosperous year for you and yours.🎇
Now–let’s get off the heavy stuff and into something much lighter–discussion of this “soufflé”.
Here’s another “traditional” recipe from Simply Delicious: 6-12: Chicken à la King. I’ve heard of this one before (you probably have too), but never ate it much as a kid despite it being chicken-based (the mushrooms were probably the dealbreaker for my mom). This is from the “new book“, so I didn’t even know Simply Delicious HAD a Chicken à la King recipe until recently.
Chicken à la King has been around for a while, but enjoyed a resurgence in mid-to-late 20th century America (probably due to all the Baby Boomers and a need to feed them cheaply/quickly). It seems “dated” to me at this point (and not necessarily in a good way), but probably was still pretty popular in some parts of the country at the time these books were published.
Combine this with 8-12: Beef Stroganoff, and you’ve got a pretty good handle on mediocre American cuisine from the 1980s.
This one was weird for me–not the recipe itself, but the fact that I could have sworn I’d already cooked 3-10: Potato-Onion Bisque for this project. Alas, that did not seem to be the case as I could not find pictures of it anywhere. Strange, as this seems like it would have been one of the ones I cooked way back in 2014 when this project first started. Maybe I did and just forgot to take pictures?
It IS getting cold out there (I mean, we’ve had to put on hoodies here in California–that’s winter weather as far as I’m concerned), so maybe a quick and easy soup might be a nice & warm lunch/dinner option?
Simply Delicious likes to try to mix it up with the types of fish recipes they offer, but a lot of them can actually use the same types of fish interchangeably. I made 11-25: Best Ever Sole Au Gratin with the recommended sole, but I also made 11-13: Flounder with Sauteed Vegetables with sole as well. 11-17: Sole Fillets with White Wine Sauce is a new one to add to the list (it’s even from the NEW book), and looks just as fantastically 1980s as the rest of them.
Simply Delicious claims this “elegant and luscious fish dish” could be the makings of a global phenomenon–big, if true. Wouldn’t be the first time something ocean-related took the world by storm.
I’ll be honest–I have no idea why this is “special chicken”. But for me, 6-16: The Chef’s Special Chicken will be special because I made it with “chick’n” instead of the real thing. I guess that’s not all that special for me at this point, but maybe for you?
If you search for “chef’s special chicken”, you’ll get a million different types of recipes, so I’m not sure what makes this one especially traditional. Although this one I found is pretty much this same exact recipe, so I guess it’s not as unknown as I thought. That or someone ripped off Simply Delicious and called it their own.
In a restaurant when you see “chef’s special”, it usually translates to “this is about to go bad so let’s try to sell it tonight however we can”. #themoreyouknow
I can’t quite figure out if 8-23: Beef Kebabs with Red Wine Butter are supposed to be used for when you are serving fancy food in a casual situation (like a truffle and foie gras burger in Las Vegas) or casual food in a fancy situation (like food trucks at a wedding). I suppose this one could go either way, depending on the circumstances.
This recipe features not only kebabs, but a compound butter to serve with them. Simply Delicious is big on beef + compound butter–another example is 8-4: T-Bone Steak.