Minestrone soup has a few specific memories for me: I remember there always being cans of it in our pantry when I was a kid, and all of my favorite Italian restaurants growing up still have it on the menu. My dad was a big minestrone fan–both of those memories are tied pretty closely to him.
3-6: Minestrone comes from the new book, and it’s not surprising that Simply Delicious had a recipe for it–they tend to have their own versions of most of the “classics”.
I’m not sure I’d suggest serving this in what look like miniature barrels in the picture above (imagine trying to clean those). However, the colder weather is coming soon, and this recipe is a good (and cheap) way to meal-prep, eat your veggies, and stay warm all at the same time.
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…
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? 🤔
Yo. As I’ve said previously, I take breaks from this project when life gets in the way. This summer was BANANAS, and fall seems to be quickly passing me by as well. I haven’t given up on cooking and photographing recipes, but I seem to have dropped the ball on actually writing them up and posting them.
I made the first attempt to rectify this earlier today when I uploaded about 600 pictures from two memory cards that I’ve filled up since May of this year. I made the second when I set up all the folders to start organizing the pictures (we’re talking over 50 recipes here).
Here’s the third: a recipe I cooked back sometime in early 2019, 6-58: Chicken Pie with Puff Pastry. This has been in various draft stages since April, and I’m finally finishing it NOW. This isn’t even part of the memory card dump from today–that’s how far behind I am.
This is essentially chicken pot pie. I mean, how is it not? The major difference between this and Marie Callender’s is that this one only has pastry on top.
Chinese cuisine is a lot more prevalent today in the United States than it was 30-40 years ago when Simply Delicious was being written & printed. I suppose we have cookbooks like this to thank in some small part for introducing many 1980s American families to a more global palate.
Speaking of a global palate–I made this dish vegan. Yes, that picture above is vegan–keep reading to find out how. #clickbait
12-25: Parmesan Rice with Shrimp is a great weeknight dinner option or even perhaps a side dish for a potluck or party. It has similarities to paella and risotto, but isn’t as time or skill-intensive as either of those. And as you can tell by the frequency of how much I’ve been posting lately (not much), anything quick is much appreciated.
I feel like they were trying to roughly capture the essence of Shrimp Etouffee with the flavors used in this recipe, but with much less work involved. Cajun/creole-inspired isn’t new for Simply Delicious, but it’s rarely executed faithfully.
Sometimes when you use recipes from old cookbooks, they can seem a bit “tone-deaf” when it comes to modern-day sensibilities about race and culture. Despite a questionable name, 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp contains many ingredients commonly found in Chinese food.
I love the porcelain bowls they served the example dish in. The wooden chopsticks are also a great touch. What a great photo!
Pasta with a thin sauce didn’t seem super appropriate for dinner, so I made 12-15: Pasta with Salami and dished it out for lunch as part of a meal prep. While there are a few differences between the recipe card photo and my final product photo, my creation was similar in spirit to the beautifully shot photo below. The place settings are so retro–such a great scene they set.
The exquisite setup showcases the raw ingredients along with the wonderful cutlery and plating of the dish. How magnificent!
Have you ever thought to make individual servings of lasagna? I’ve never thought to make lasagna in single servings and after attempting 12-33: Individual Beef Lasagna, I would not try it again. Join me, won’t you? Watch as I do my best to follow this recipe from deep within the minds of the wacky editors of Simply Delicious.
The example photo looks so elegant. The blue rimmed wine glass is excellent, I wish I had a set of those. The description is not hyperbolic when it says this is a completely new version of lasagna. It’s barely lasagna.