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.
First of all (before we even get into the actual recipe for 12-35: Fettucini with Scallops) I need to take umbrage with the spelling of “fettucini”–Simply Delicious spells it with one “c” and an “i” at the end instead of an “e”. I spell it “fettuccine” (so does Wikipedia AND Olive Garden), so this is going to be a challenging entry to write.
Spinach fettuccine with Alfredo sauce (this one specifically) was one of my FAVORITE meals as a kid (I could definitely still knock out a big bowl of it today), and so I can see this as more of a “grown-up” version of it.
Real Alfredo sauce is closer to what you get with cacio e pepe than what you get at the Olive Garden (notably it doesn’t feature heavy cream and garlic like the OG version), and this version (even though it’s not calling itself “fettuccine Alfredo”) probably falls somewhere in between–lighter than OG’s but heavier than the original.
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?
I’ve done quite a few recipes lately that include mushrooms, and now we’re doing one that expressly features them: 9-8: Mushroom Beef Patties. Simply Delicious also has several “patty” recipes, and now here’s one with mushrooms. I know–really pushing the culinary envelope here with both mushrooms AND beef patties.
I had mentioned in my last Group 09 entry (9-23: Fruity Sausage Kebabs) that I believed that I had run out of recipes for this section. HOWEVER, after I obtained the NEW book, I was able to squeeze out at least one more for you. There’s still another one hanging out in the queue (9-11: Stuffed Peppers), so we’re not quite done with it yet.
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
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.
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.
I’ve already covered various types of turnovers (beef/spinach/crab), and 8-37: Roast Beef in Puff Pastry can now be added to that list, even if it’s not officially referred to by Simply Delicious as a turnover.
I wasn’t able to pinpoint when ready-to-bake puff pastry was first available in stores–my guess would be somewhere around the 1960s-70s, but I could be totally wrong.
Think of this recipe as a fancy Hot Pocket, because that’s essentially what it is. Look at you, all sophisticated with your fancy Hot Pocket.
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.
Pork is probably the most common version of sweet-and-sour that you see in Chinese restaurants–there’s even a vegan version of it you can buy in most stores. In case you’re looking for something more refined (but maybe not as easy or meatless), here’s Serious Eats’ take on it.