As another clue to the era from which it emanates, Simply Delicious offers a lot of stir-fry recipes, along with quite a few other “pan-Asian” options. 11-32: Shrimp and Cashew Stir-Fry isn’t much different from a lot of these other types of dishes, but if you like shrimp and cashews, this is your dish.
Simply Delicious suggests serving this with some steamed brown rice. I remember my mom pushing the brown rice on us in the 80s and 90s…it wasn’t great. I know it’s healthier for you, and there are some dishes where it works, but I’m just generally NOT a fan.
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.
Enchiladas were always a big hit in one of my previous cooking jobs, and they’re still a big hit when I make them at home for dinner today. Presenting 13-9: Enchiladas as a vegetarian dish (using vegetables as filling instead of meat) is pretty avant-garde for a 1980s cookbook, but you can always adjust the fillings as you wish.
Enchiladas were usually (and still are) one of my top choices when going to a Mexican restaurant, and the method here is not that far off from the traditional way to make them.
However, as much of a stickler as I am for authentic/homemade, I like the canned enchilada sauce you buy in the supermarket SO much better and will pretty much always just use that. Can’t tell you why, just my personal preference.
Happy New Year! I recently posted about finding a NEW (to me) Simply Delicious book at a local thrift store, so we’ll start this new year off with the first recipe I’m going to cover from that batch of new recipes, 2-7: Coleslaw. A lot of these recipes fill “gaps” in the collection I already had, and this one is no exception. Coleslaw is a pretty well-known dish, and it’s probably one of the only instances where I enjoy cabbage.
Simply Delicious suggests you can eat coleslaw with just about anything, and they may not be too far off with that claim. Not only can you eat it with a sandwich, you can even put it IN the sandwich.
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…
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.
Given the header picture, I suppose it’s not much of a secret that I’ve made some adaptations to 2-31: Smoked Chicken Salad. Namely, that I’ve changed it from a salad to a sandwich. Here’s the thing–it’s a sad salad as written, but can be made into a pretty decent sandwich that doesn’t require anything different than what’s already required/recommended.
See those rolls in the back of the picture (the ones suggested in the blurb above)? Here’s the quick and dirty: cut one open, take the (very few) salad ingredients, stack inside, eat. Not much more to it than that, but if you’d like to see how that went for me in greater detail, please continue reading.
I love a good salad bar, or did, before coronavirus turned everything in our lives upside down. One of my family’s favorite restaurants when I was a kid featured an impossibly long salad bar. A friend and I even entered an essay-writing contest at Souplantation back in college and won ourselves 30 free meal passes, which we blew through quicker than you’d expect.
2-22: Salad Bar with Warm Dressing is equivalent to most of these at-home solutions we’ve seen during this pandemic–a pale imitation of the real thing. Consider this recipe the “haircut I did myself because everything is closed” of salad bars.
I suppose if you just lumped all the same ingredients on top of some quinoa and called it a Buddha bowl instead, you could send this recipe forward in time from the 1980s to modern day.
Of course, you’d have to take an artsy picture (or 100), slap some filters on it, and post it to social media with a bunch of hashtags first to really modernize it. Do you think they really eat the food after they take pictures of it, or is it just for the ‘gram? 🤔
Believe it or not, 1-3: Melon with Smoked Turkey is one of my last few remaining Group 01: Hot and Cold Appetizers recipes left to cover. I’ve put this one off for a while because I’m not a big fan of melon (other than watermelons)–but when the weekly CSA box keeps bringing them to you, you have to do something with them.
Theirs looks super fancy–mine looks like a sloppy mess. I suppose if I were actually serving this for a party I would have tried harder. Melon + meat = appetizer isn’t a new equation–even Pillsbury has their own version. Most versions include prosciutto instead of turkey, which is the variant I’m more familiar with.
Since there’s about to be quite a few salad recipes coming up, I thought I’d put 2-12: Tips About Salad Dressing out there as well. I tried to think of more salad dressing variations than what they list here, but honestly? Most “traditional” salad dressings do fall into one of the three categories they establish: vinaigrette, cream/mayo-based, and low-calorie. Go ahead–can you think of one that doesn’t?
At the restaurant I worked at a few years ago, we made our own dressings from scratch. And by “we”, I mean “me”–I made all the dressings for the whole restaurant every week and kept everything stocked up, since it was my station (garde manger, or pantry chef) that made the salads. We made a blue cheese, ranch, Caesar, creamy balsamic vinaigrette, and another lighter, more traditional vinaigrette.