Another day, another Simply Deliciouscasserole. Today’s version is 8-28: Flemish Beef Casserole, which doesn’t tell you much other than it’s going to involve beef and will be somewhat Flemish in nature. I didn’t grow up with a lot of casseroles (especially not Flemish beef ones), but they were (and still are, for the most part) popular because they are cheap, easy, and feed a lot of people.
Interesting that they claim it’s a family recipe, but it includes beer. Doesn’t bother me personally, but I know that doesn’t fly for some folks (mostly due to religious or other exceptions). I suppose most of the alcohol would cook off and not really have any effect, but even the mere inclusion of it can be a no-go for some.
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.
I guess the best way to start this is…have you seen that Julie & Julia movie from a few years ago? If not, and you enjoy reading this blog (or even if you don’t), you DEFINITELY should go watch it. It’s essentially the idea that formed this website/project. In that movie, one of the featured Julia Child recipes is her Boeuf Bourguignon which is found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, one of her most famous books and one of the most famous cookbooks in general.
With that being said, we come back to the fact that this is not a Julia Child cookbook project, it is a Simply Delicious one. So, I present to you Simply Delicious’ version of the dish: 8-10: Beef Bourguignon.
Simply Delicious isn’t wrong–this dish is essentially French beef stew (with a good amount of red wine in it). I’ve made Julia’s version a few times (let’s be honest, we ALL made it at least once after that movie came out), but I’ve yet to attempt the Simply Delicious version, mostly because it was a “new book” recipe and I didn’t know it even existed until a few years ago. Let’s see how they compare…
Autumn is just around the corner, but here’s another recipe you can try before you put the grill away for the season (unless you live somewhere that you can grill all year round). 11-15: Grilled Salmon with Thyme uses salmon steaks which can be tough to locate depending on where/when you look for them, but if you are able to snag some it’s a nice change from the same old burgers and hot dogs.
Here where I live, it’s not only still 90+ degrees each day, it’s also salmon season, so I’ve been seeing it on sale a lot at our local grocery stores. Warm nights + fresh salmon on the grill = good times.
Since it’s summer, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share my summer garden with you, courtesy of 19-6: Fresh Herbs. This one came from the new book, and is the prequel (of sorts) to 19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs. I had lamented not being able to easily find fresh tarragon back when I wrote that one–well, now I grow it myself in my own backyard.
Growing my own herbs in my own garden for use in cooking was one of the top reasons I wanted to buy my own place, and the garden situation outside was one of my main factors when selecting a house (back when you could have preferences about things like that and didn’t just have to overpay for whatever was available).
I use my homegrown herbs for cooking all year round, and it’s quite the pleasure to be able to use just the amount needed fresh from my own backyard rather than buy overpriced herbs at the grocery store and then watch them wilt and die in my fridge.
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.
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?
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.
If you happen to have a “pastry fish” laying around, here’s a good use for it (I know you’ve been waiting for someone to tell you what to do with it). 11-20: Pastry Fish with Shrimp is so 1980s that I think we can bring it back around again for a 2020s-era reboot–this just screams “novelty food that looks better than it tastes”.
Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Great British Baking Show (or Great British Bake Off, as it is known in its native UK) on Netflix lately, but this sounds like a wacky cooking challenge just waiting to happen.
Looking for a smaller Thanksgiving option this year than the traditional 6-29: Stuffed Turkey? Here’s part of what I made for last year’s meal–6-42: Turkey Pot Roast. If you’re cooking for less people this year (or any year) and still want something Thanksgiving-ish, this might be a good option.
I didn’t want to make a full turkey for only two meat eaters (me not being one of those two), so I combined this recipe along with some additional leg and thigh pieces into enough turkey to complete the holiday without having to make more than we needed.
This is also MUCH easier to do than a full turkey, especially if you’ve never attempted one of those before and don’t want 2020 to be your first run at it. 6-9: Orange-Glazed Turkey Breast is another “smaller” turkey option if you’re just looking for a taste of turkey instead of a glut of it.