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.
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.
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.
It’s been a while since I’ve covered anything breakfast-related, so let’s dig into 4-5: Potatoes O’Brien to change that. I’ve heard of Potatoes O’Brien before (and you may have as well)–you can even buy them frozen from the grocery store. Here’s how to make them at home on your own, since takeout/delivery/eating in can be a bit hit-or-miss these days.
I suppose eggs might fall under the category of meat or poultry, but it seems to be the go-to accompaniment for this dish. As you can see from the header image, I served mine with a homemade breakfast sandwich which also made a good option. Who needs those bigbreakfastguys anyway?
Looking for something different to do with a cut of beef sirloin? 8-15: Cajun-Style Sirloin is a pretty quick and easy way to prepare beef, and also comes with a bonus cucumber salad recipe as an accompaniment/garnish. The cucumber salad and yogurt topping give this dish almost a Middle Eastern feel–they’re used to cut the heat from the paprika, curry, and cayenne pepper used to season the meat.
I’ve yet to visit Louisiana myself in person, but Simply Delicious has a few different Cajun and Creole recipes to try that can take you there culinarily, at least. There’s even some non-Simply Deliciousversions of this recipe out there, if you’re looking for variations. I’m still intrigued by the addition of the cucumber salad and yogurt topping for this version–that seems very avant garde for 1980s home cooking.
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.
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.
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.
Feeling a bit of déjà vu? Maybe you’ve seen 1-31: Crab Cocktail before, or maybe you haven’t. I was doing some recent experimentation on the backend of my website, and long story short: I needed to do a rollback to an earlier version and this one got deleted. So I’m reposting/rewriting it again–however, you’ll miss whatever witty remarks I included with the first version.
I remember saying something about this being a good option for a meal instead of an appetizer (since there’s no parties allowed), and that you should picture yourself eating it near the coast with the breeze in your hair, since between COVID and wildfires, I don’t know if we’re ever getting to leave the house again.
In these trying times (are you tired of hearing that yet?), it’s important to make the food you have go as far as you can, and to reduce the amount of food being wasted. Even before “the Rona“, I’ve been spending many a Saturday (or Sunday) meal-prepping for the upcoming week, which has brought down our grocery bills (and our waistlines, but apparently not as quickly).
7-31: Lime Cayenne Pork Chops was part of a “pork chop” meal-prep week, prepared in tandem with 7-53: Cider-Braised Pork Chops and served with some mixed roasted potatoes courtesy of the CSA box. It’s “meat and potatoes”, but maybe with a healthier twist?
My mom apparently made this back in November 1993, and it was “good” and “easy”. I’m not sure who ranked it as such (since she doesn’t eat pork), but we’ll go with that recommendation.