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 had intended on using the entry for 2-19: Country Bean Salad to make the tired joke about how no one likes bean salad or the person who brings it to a party. And to point out how it was always a skip for me at the salad bar (RIP salad bars/buffets, I will REALLY miss you).
But there’s got to be a reason why “bean salad” is still a thing. Someone must still like it, for it still to exist. And not just in an ironic hipster “I like it specifically because it’s uncool” way. Maybe the vegans? I eat mostly vegan, and it’s still a no-go for me.
Simply Delicious says that this particular variation of bean salad is “typically French”, but I can’t find too many references online that specifically corroborate that claim. I did find a fancy version of this dish done by one of the Top Chefs that might be worth looking at, if you’re interested in bringing this recipe into the 21st century.
Apparently it was part of a particularly infamous (red) wedding meal in Game of Thronesas well. I watched GoT, but the food on the table wasn’t exactly the focus of that scene, so I must have missed it.
Even if it’s been on TV, it’s still not that appetizing to me. But again: someone must be into this stuff, so if it’s you, read on.
Stir-fry is not a new concept for Simply Delicious, so you may feel a sense of déjà vu while reading this recipe if you’ve spent any considerable time on this site. 8-25: Stir-Fried Beef isn’t much more than you’re expecting, so if a quick and easy stir-fry is what you’re looking for, read on.
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!
Fettuccini and ham are different foods I’ve heard of before. 12-20: Fettuccini with Ham is a dish I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. It is both “piquant and tasty” as described below and I enjoyed the dish a lot.
Time for a confession: I have never cooked fettuccini nests before in my life before I prepared this dish. My parents weren’t adventurous with their pasta choices. We were strictly a spaghetti and angel hair household when it came to noodle pasta. Having a cream based sauce was rare also, they generally opted for a tomato-based sauce.
Oh boy, yet another pork chops recipe. 7-11: Piquant Pork Chops tries to stand out by boasting a fruity, spicy take on the standard pork-chop-with-pan-sauce entries that have already been covered at length throughout this project.
I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to insist that just adding a “new” spice or sauce to pork chops radically changes it as a dish, but I suppose that for some people it can be a big deal to experience new things outside of the regular old tried-and-true.