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.
We’ve just passed the 7-year anniversary of starting this project (April 16)…and I’m still nowhere near done. This is going to take me the rest of my life at this rate, I think.
A dish that WON’T take you the rest of your life to complete (notice my flawless segue there) is 8-30: Hungarian Goulash. It’s supposedly a dish for cold days, which are quickly becoming few and far between here in California now that it’s almost May. However, if you’ve still got a touch of cold where you are (or maybe your hemisphere is heading towards winter instead of summer), this might be a good option.
I’m still on my quest to finish off the Fish/Seafood chapter, so expect some more fish entries in the near (maybe-not-so-near) future. 11-13: Flounder with Sautéed Vegetables sounds pretty…plain, but maybe that’s not a bad thing when it comes to whipping up an easy-ish dinner these days.
This card looks like it got slightly impacted during the “Great Roach Massacre of ’09“, but the important part (the recipe) is still plenty legible. All you’re missing here is Simply Delicious acting as 1980s hype man for including fish as part of your diet.
Enchiladas were always a big hit in one of my previous cooking jobs, and they’re still a big hit when I make them at home for dinner today. Presenting 13-9: Enchiladas as a vegetarian dish (using vegetables as filling instead of meat) is pretty avant-garde for a 1980s cookbook, but you can always adjust the fillings as you wish.
Enchiladas were usually (and still are) one of my top choices when going to a Mexican restaurant, and the method here is not that far off from the traditional way to make them.
However, as much of a stickler as I am for authentic/homemade, I like the canned enchilada sauce you buy in the supermarket SO much better and will pretty much always just use that. Can’t tell you why, just my personal preference.
Simply Delicious says that now (winter) is the time for scallops, so here’s 11-22: Scallops with Tomatoes for you. It’s very similar to one of my FAVORITE recipes from this book, 11-12: Creamy Sautéed Shrimp (otherwise known in my family as “Shrimp Something”).
Seafood + butter + curry + tomatoes + cream is pretty much always going to be a win. With rice, 10/10?
Looking for a way to use up some winter vegetables? Maybe your veggie box is heavy with leeks and broccoli these days–if so, maybe give 7-39: Pork Chops with Broccoli and Leek a try. It’s got big “we have Chinese food at home” energy.
If malls were still a thing, you could probably find something similar at a generic Chinese/pan-Asian restaurant in the half-empty food court.
Guten Tag! Today, I have 7-4: German Pork Stew for you, which is probably a very appropriate winter-weather dish for right now. This isn’t an original recipe–you can find a lot of varieties of this same dish with just some simple searching. They all seem to include the same three base ingredients: onions, pork, and sauerkraut.
Stews are varied for Simply Delicious–sometimes you get something rather traditionally “stew-like” (like 8-27: Classic Beef Stew), and then sometimes you get recipes like this one that seem closer to…something else. Not anything bad, just not “stew” (as I think of it).
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…