Main Dishes

First Monday Menu: Wrapping Up Summer

Due to weather and supply issues at our local supermarket, I decided to give you a round-up of menus. I hope this gives you some ideas for some last-minute outdoor meals before summer 2020 slips into the history books completely.

I’ve used the January 1940 Your Gas Range Cook Book for menus in the past because it has such a wide range of suggestions for a relatively small cookbook. Today I’m sharing recipes for a “Summer Broiler Menu” that would be easy to take out on the porch or patio.

The 1944 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book is another cookbook I’ve often used for menu ideas. When looking for inspiration for outdoor meals, I ran across a section about picnics. The typical picnic fare was included, but the section suggested that men would prefer to be able to cook at least one dish over an open fire. Folding portable grills were discussed, pointing out that they could also be used in the living room fireplace. I can imagine using one in your fireplace when bad weather forces you to change picnic plans. You wouldn’t have to give up your picnic entirely!

The cookbook also reminded the reader that brick or stone fireplaces built in a backyard made it easy for the host to cook meat outside while the hostess cooked the rest of the meal inside before bringing it out to serve buffet style or at a table on the lawn.

For packing the more usual picnic items, the option of packing all sandwich fixings and letting picnickers make their own meal was introduced. This method helped make certain everyone got a sandwich made the way they preferred. No more guessing for the picnic packer.

I also really like the idea of a Bring Your Own Steak Supper. Have you done this before? Did it work well? I think I’m going to put this in my calendar to try next summer.

Let me know if you would like me to test any of these suggested recipes. I see several that I’d like to try in the future. We have a lot of warm weather left this year where I live and we often eat outside, especially in the fall when the heat becomes more manageable and the bugs aren’t as hungry.

I hope the upcoming season is filled with good food and good weather wherever you are.

First Monday Menu: Stretched Hamburgers

This menu is adapted from a menu in the August 1943 Woman’s Day magazine. It was in an article called “Low Point–Low Cost Chopped Meat Recipes” that included several menus with themes like “Summer Sunday Dinner”, “Canning Day Dinner”, and “Victory Garden Dinner” to help the home front housewife plan ahead. This hamburger recipe came from the “Supper on the Back Porch” menu. It was submitted to the magazine by Miss Sara Best of Chadbourne, North Carolina.

Stretched Hamburgers

  • 2 tbsp fat
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c crumbled dry bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 pound chopped meat
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c left-over mashed potatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley

Melt 1 tbsp fat in saucepan. Add flour. Add the milk slowly and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add bread. Cool slightly. Add other ingredients and mix well. Chill for 30 minutes. Shape into 8 patties, brown on both sides in remaining fat.

Results

We rounded out the meal with a tossed salad and cantaloupe. We put the patties on toasted buns. Everyone enjoyed the stretched burgers. I ate mine without any toppings to see how it tasted on its own, but other people who tried them added toppings like mayo, mustard, tomatoes, and so forth. They were very filling and really tasty. They didn’t taste exactly like a regular hamburger, but they made a really good sandwich.

The mashed potatoes made the patties fall apart while cooking. I think they still would have been good, but maybe not as filling, without the mashed potatoes. You might consider leaving the mashed potatoes out if you are planning on grilling them outside so you don’t have to worry about the patties falling apart.

The recipe did help stretch the meat. We also made regular hamburger patties for anyone who wanted them. With the same amount of meat, the stretched hamburger recipe made 9 patties and the hamburger alone only made 5. I think we also expect recipes that extend meat or sugar or flour to not taste good, and these stretched hamburgers prove that those recipes can taste just as good as the original versions.

I would definitely make these again. The cantaloupe and salad were perfect complements to the burgers. This time of year the cantaloupe is extra juicy and sweet here. We often buy local cantaloupe and have it with nearly every meal. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see it again here before summer is over.

Let me know if you have a favorite “stretch” recipe. I’d love to try it.

Mexican Tamale Pie

Today’s recipe is from the 1939 edition of Flavor’s the Thing by Florence La Ganke (Harris). This cookbook has a nice selection of recipes from around the world. The author included interesting facts about food in different countries and a list of holidays you could celebrate with recipes from the book.

Results

Tamales are very popular when I live, and we also run across the occasional tamale pie. I was interested in seeing how a 1939 recipe would compare to what we typically eat.

This tamale pie was rather bland. For today’s taste’s I would would change the recipe to suit your needs. Several of my taste-testers added salsa or hot sauce. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t have much flavor. Tamale pies also usually have more breading in them, so I was surprised by the lack of it in this dish. It was also a little mushy. My three year old that eats anything you put in front of her didn’t finish her first bite.

I can see why this recipe might have appealed to the home front housewife. In certain parts of the United States, tamale pie might have been a new kind of dish, and it would have been a mild introduction to Mexican food. I think that since we live in an area where tamales are eaten frequently, are often homemade, and are quite a bit spicier, this recipe was a tough one for my family to enjoy.

Do you eat tamales often? Or tamale pie? Do you have a favorite tamale pie recipe? I’d love to try it.

First Monday Menu: Luncheon Ham with Cottage Cheese and Peach (Nectarine) Salad

This month’s menu is a June option from Modern Meal Menu by Martha Meade, a fabulous 1939 cookbook with 1115 menus and 744 recipes.

Menu

  • Luncheon Ham
  • Bread
  • Cottage Cheese and Peach Salad
  • Fruit Mayonnaise
  • Coffee, Tea, or Milk

This luncheon menu has three different recipes. I’ll start with the luncheon ham.

Luncheon Ham

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 lb diced boiled ham
  • 2 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 1/2 c cooked peas

Cook diced boiled ham in butter or oil. Beat 3 eggs well and add the peas before pouring over the ham in the frying pan. Cook gently without stirring until eggs are set. Roll and cut in serving pieces.

Note: We couldn’t get this to roll. It fell apart, so we cut it into pieces to serve.

Peach and Cottage Cheese Salad

  • 1 c creamy cottage cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 4 peaches (8 halves)
  • lettuce
  • chopped nuts
  • fruit mayonnaise (see recipe)

Mix cottage cheese with salt and paprika. Fill 8 fresh peach halves with cottage cheese mixture and place two halves on a cup of lettuce. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the salad and place a spoonful of fruit mayonnaise on the side.

Notes: We are still having problems getting certain foods at our local grocery store. We didn’t have lettuce or chopped nuts, and we could only get nectarines. I still wanted to try this, though, because the recipe sounded so interesting.

Fruit Mayonnaise

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 c olive oil

Melt butter, add flour and blend thoroughly. Add fruit juices slowly, stirring constantly. Cook until smooth and thickened. Place all remaining ingredients together in a bowl and beat with a rotary egg beater until slightly mixed. Add the hot mixture slowly and beat until thick enough to hold its shape. Makes 1 pint.

Results

I’m glad I chose this menu. I picked it for the peach salad, but the luncheon ham ended up being the star of the show.

The luncheon ham really was just an omelet with ham and peas. I’ve never had an omelet with peas before, and let me tell you, I’ll definately add peas in the future. Peas were unexpected, but at the same time blended well with the other flavors. I think adding a little bit of finely chopped onion would also be good in this recipe. My entire family really enjoyed the luncheon ham and I know we’ll eat it again in the future. It’s quick and easy in addition to being super tasty.

Do you add peas to your omelets? I wish I had thought of this earlier.

On to the peach salad. We can’t buy peaches here right now, so we used nectarines instead. I was unsure about the combination of ingredients in these recipes. I didn’t know what to expect. I tried both with and without the fruit mayonnaise.

Without: The sweetness of the nectarine was nicely balanced by the cottage cheese and paprika mixture. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I like cottage cheese, but I typically don’t eat it with sweet foods. This was pleasant, and the soft textures of the nectarine and the cottage cheese worked together nicely.

With the fruit mayonnaise: I really don’t know what to think of this. The fruit mayonnaise by itself was oily and lumpy and I didn’t like it at all, but when I added it to the nectarine and cottage cheese mixture, it transformed itself into a slightly citrusy topping that wasn’t at all as strong as I expected it to be. The whole thing worked out well. The fruit mayonnaise isn’t really necessary, I suppose, but I think I would miss it if I made this dish again without it.

In all, this was a fun menu with some great new recipes that I think would work well in our modern meals. Hope your June is a healthy and happy one.

Ham Chowder

I got a huge stack of new cookbooks that I’m excited to be using. Today I decided to make a ham chowder from one of them. It’s not really chowder weather here recently, but today we are in the middle of bad thunderstorms with large hail and strong winds. If there was ever weather that called for a warm bowl of comforting chowder, this is it I think.

I’m really fascinated by this new cookbook. Modern Meal Maker was written in 1939 by Martha Meade for General Mills. The front boasts that the book includes 1115 menus and 744 recipes. That’s a whole bunch of First Monday Menus! It uses a different format than most of my other cookbooks. It has menus for three meals a day, 365 days a year. It’s spiral bound across the top, and each page has at least two new recipes in addition to the menus. Today’s recipe comes from the luncheon menu for February’s first Friday. The rest of the menu includes corn muffins, fruit salad, and coffee, tee, or milk.

Results

This was a terrific chowder recipe. It was easy to make and is another recipe that can be adjusted to fit whatever you have in your pantry or refrigerator. There was a good combination of flavors and textures. It was warm and filling, but not heavy enough to keep me from making it again during hot weather. It was a real crowd pleaser, too. I’m happy that my older kids like to discuss recipes we make now. Their suggestions for this recipe was to add a bit of cheese next time. I think that is a wonderful idea.

First Monday Menu: Spinach Soup and Lemon Rice Pudding

Today’s menu comes from Ida Bailey Allen’s Double-Quick Cooking for the Part-time Homemaker. The chapter titled “Time Saving Family Luncheons and Dinners” includes a week’s worth of menus and recipes for both lunch and dinner. Lunch menus also give suggestions for carried lunches and variations for the homemaker’s midday meal.

I was really excited to try the lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce but was a little worried since my last few puddings haven’t turned out very well. I’m happy to say that today’s menu was a success!

I used the “Fifth Day” luncheon menu. I did switch the luncheon and the dinner soups because we still are having shortages of certain ingredients.

Luncheon Menu

  • Spinach Soup (celery in the original menu–I switched this)
  • Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Lemon Rice Pudding
  • Tea for adults
  • milk for children

Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb chopped raw spinach or 1/2 pkg frosted spinach
  • 1 qt boiling water
  • 2 bouillon cubes OR 1 tsp brewer’s yeast extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp enriched flour
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c light cream or evaporated milk

Combine spinach and water and boil 10 minutes. Add the bouillon cubes or extract, salt, pepper, and the flour stirred smooth with the butter. Stir until boiling, then gradually stir in the cream or evaporated milk. Serve as is, or sieve. Serves 4-6.

Note: We used raw spinach, bouillon cubes, and evaporated milk.

Lemon Rice Pudding

  • 2 c cooked rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c sugar OR 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 c milk
  • juice and rind 1/2 lemon

Mix the ingredients in the order given. Pour into a shallow oiled pudding dish. Set in a pan of hot water and bake slowly in a moderate oven, 350°F until firm in the center, about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold with melted jelly or Apple Whip Sauce.

Note: We put the full amount of sugar in, but then added a drizzle of honey, as well. It took much longer than 30 minutes to bake. It was more like 2.5 hours before the center was firm and it probably could have stayed in the oven a while longer.

Apple Whip Sauce

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar OR 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 c grated raw apple
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whip in the sweetening, apple, and lemon juice. Serve at once with puddings, or in place of whipped cream on gelatin desserts.

Note: We used powdered sugar. This really needs to be served immediately or it begins to separate.

Results

The spinach soup was warm and creamy. If you like spinach, chances are you’ll enjoy this soup. It’s not incredibly filling, so I was appreciative of the toasted peanut butter sandwiches. I thought the nuttiness and slight crunch of the toasted sandwiches went well with the soup.

The lemon rice pudding with apple whip sauce was delicious. I was surprised by how long it took to bake compared to what the recipe suggested it would take. It took so long after the rest of the meal that I lost the daylight I needed to take pictures and actually ran outside to take them in what light was left. Artificial lighting at night often makes my pictures too shadowy. I think you can still see what it looked like, though. It was creamy and lightly lemony. The sauce tasted more like apple juice than I expected. It was refreshing and sweet. I liked the pudding equally with or without the sauce.

I’m happy the lemon rice pudding turned out well. This was a nice menu and I’d recommend all of it. I think the soup was a handy recipe for a home front housewife. The spinach could have come from a Victory garden, helping to cut costs. All of the recipes include options in their ingredient lists so you can customize them to work with whatever is in your pantry. I found this helpful today, and I know it was helpful then.

Stay safe and well. Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Quick Update

I haven’t forgotten you! I will continue with my lunch box series soon. Coronavirus has hit my family and I’ve been taking care of a very sick loved one. As soon as he is better, I’ll be posting more frequently. The past 10 days have been rough ones.

Today I thought I’d show you my very favorite Christmas gift from this past Christmas. It’s a 1940s breakfront china cabinet/bookcase. I love it. I’ve filled it with vintage and antique treasures.

I’m looking forward to getting back to cooking and posting. Stay safe and I wish you good health.

April First Monday Menu: Stuffed Hamburgers

Today’s post will be a quick one. I wanted to make sure it went up while it was still officially Monday where I live. I chose a simple menu of stuffed hamburgers and cooked carrots. The hamburgers are from What Do We Eat Now?, a 1942 cookbook aimed at helping homemakers win the battle on the home front.

Results

These took longer to make than I thought they would. They had an interesting taste and texture. The centers were soft. You could taste the dressing—the flavor was distinct from the hamburger meat. It was nice and tasted slightly of onions. I had mine served without a bun, but other people in my family ate the burger on a sesame seed bun and said it was good. I don’t think I’ll make these again even though it was an interesting way to make hamburger patties. I preferred the cheeseburgers with carrots we had not long ago. The carrot cheeseburgers were also easier and quicker to make.

The only thing I had on the menu suggestion was carrots. We eat a lot of carrots at my house and we have several carrot dishes that we throw together without a recipe. This is one of them. If you are interested in the recipe, let me know and I’ll post it later this month.

Stay safe and have a great week!

WW2 Ration Cook-in: Victory Lunch Box

I took today’s Victory Lunch Box menu from The Good Housekeeping Cook Book. They have a section with lunch box menus, and today’s menu was created specifically for a business girl. Almost all of the cookbooks and other materials I have separate lunch box menus into categories. There are usually sections for hard workers, working girls, housewives, and school children. I’ll be writing about some of those differences when I finish up my lunch box series later this month.

I don’t have a lunch box to show how all the items would be packed, so I put them on a regular plate. This is the exact lunch box menu, though, and would have been packed in a thermos, paper cups, and waxed paper.

Menu

  • Corn Chowder
  • Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches
  • Fruit Salad
  • Saltines

I’m amazed at how much food is included in the menus. Almost all that I’ve seen have called for more than one sandwich. Sometimes the menu includes several sandwiches with different fillings on different breads. Sandwich fillings range from complex mixtures to plain butter.

Corn Chowder

  • 1 2”sq fat salt pork (we used bacon)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 2 lbs pared white potatoes (4 c diced)
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 1 12oz can whole grain corn
  • 4 c bottled milk, scalded OR 2 evaporated milk and 2 c water, scalded
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Cut salt pork into 1/2” cubes and brown well in large sauce pan. Add onion and cook tender. Add diced potatoes and water, cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Add corn, milk, and seasonings. Heat and serve. Serves 6 as a main dish.

Due to shortages at our small local grocery store, we had to use red potatoes instead of white, and we used the evaporated milk and water option listed above.

Results

This was a wonderful, filling meal. The corn chowder was warm and flavorful. I think it would be perfect in a thermos tucked into a fall or winter lunch box. It was very hearty with ingredients that complimented each other. With the addition of one or two sandwiches, this probably would have been too much for me to eat. The fruit salad I have shown in the photos is a favorite family concoction made with fruit and whipped cream.

There’s one themed day left in the WW2 Ration Cook-in challenge. It’s not too late to join us! Check out your other hosts over on Instagram. Use #ww2rationcookin so we can see what you make!

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