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…


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2-22: Salad Bar with Warm Dressing

2-22: Salad Bar with Warm Dressing

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? 🤔

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6-58: Chicken Pie with Puff Pastry

6-58: Chicken Pie with Puff Pastry

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.


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8-43: Chinese Beef and Rice

8-43: Chinese Beef and Rice

8-43: Chinese Beef and Rice is essentially beef stir-fry served with some rice, but it’s done in less than 30 minutes, which is a big plus. This one goes along with several other Chinese restaurant-style dishes that Simply Delicious has featured, including 6-11: Chinese Duck and 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp.

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


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11-6: Sweet and Sour Shrimp

11-6: Sweet and Sour Shrimp

11-6: Sweet and Sour Shrimp is another of those dishes that I’d love to order from a restaurant and would not think to make at home. Simply Delicious has quite a few Chinese restaurant-style dishes, including 6-27: Sweet-and-Sour Chicken, 6-11: Chinese Duck, and 11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp.

It just so happens that Sweet and Sour Sauce is my favorite version of any dish on a Chinese menu. Shrimp is a decent choice.


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12-25: Parmesan Rice with Shrimp

12-25: Parmesan Rice with Shrimp

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.


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11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp

11-36: Hong Kong Shrimp

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!


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12-15: Pasta with Salami

12-15: Pasta with Salami

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!


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12-33: Individual Beef Lasagna

12-33: Individual Beef Lasagna

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.


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19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs

19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs

19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs has been a recipe-in-the-making for a few months. I mention frequently that I often write these entries months after I complete the actual recipe, but this one actually took me that long TO complete.

19-7 Fresh and Dried Herbs

Usually, these Cooking School cards don’t have too much in the way of actual recipes–often times it’s more like the card above, more recommendation than actual recipe. I’m not going to restate what they’ve written here–it’s all good advice. Jump behind the cut for some herb blend recipes as well as a DIY vinegar challenge and BONUS limoncello recipe.


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