Menu

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.

First Monday Menu: July 4 Porch Supper

Happy Independence Day!

Here is a menu from the 1941 edition of The New American Cook Book. This will be my First Monday Menu for the month, just a couple days early.

Note:

We chose to make the potatoes and the strawberry shortcake from this menu. I’m including the tomato aspic recipe so you can have all three.

Tomato Aspic

Potatoes Au Gratin

These potatoes take longer than 25 minutes to bake. At 25 minutes the dish is still very runny. We left it in the oven and watched it carefully until it solidified. Even then, when we served the potatoes, there was still a lot of liquid left in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Strawberry Shortcake

You’ll note that the recipe number on the menu and this recipe are different. Number 2999 sends you to recipe 964. There are suggestions for orange, strawberry, banana, currant, grapefruit, and huckleberry shortcakes, and they all refer back to this shortcake recipe.

Results

Even though the potatoes seemed to be sitting on top of a layer of liquid, they were easy to serve without being runny. You could lift the potatoes away and leave the liquid in the dish. They were cheesy, but I think you could easily add more cheese if you like your potatoes to be super cheesy.

The strawberry shortcake was tasty, but it was like eating strawberries on a biscuit with whipped cream. The shortcake was soft and crumbly. I think they would have been excellent spread with honey or jam. I prefer my strawberry shortcake with a softer cake like sponge cake, pound cake, or angel food cake. We add sweetened strawberry juice and the softer cakes soak the liquid up better. I know that this shortcake is a much more traditional shortcake than what I usually eat, and it was still very good. I’m glad we tried it.

One of my teenage sons kept the shortcake intact and made a strawberry shortcake sandwich with the strawberries and whipped cream as a filling. Another son ate his with the shortcake in one piece, but most of us broke the shortcake up as instructed in the recipe. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served a variety of ways.

I hope you all have a happy holiday today. Stay safe!

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.

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.

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!

WW2 Ration Cook-In: Dinner

Ida Bailey Allen wrote Double-Quick Cooking for Part-Time Homemakers in 1943 for women who found themselves both working at jobs outside of the home as well as being responsible for the running of her household. The book had recipes and meal ideas, but it also gave women tips on how to manage both aspects of their lives efficiently.

I decided to make a meal out of the “Double-Quick Sunday and Holiday Dinners” because it is, after all, Sunday today and my daily challenge is dinner. The chapter suggests that Sunday is a great day to make one of your family’s favorites. It goes on to stress that it’s just one of their favorites, though, because “nearly all of your energy belongs to your employer”. I’m going to include the other meal suggestions in a photo below.

Cheeseburgers

  • 1 lb chopped raw beef
  • 1/2 c each chopped celery and carrot
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 soft round rolls
  • American cheese

Mix the beef with the vegetables and seasonings. Shape into eight flat round cakes. Broil or pan fry until done. Split the rolls. On half of the rounds, put American cheese sliced thin. Toast under broiler until cheese melts. At the same time, toast the remaining halves of the rolls. Pour over any drippings left from cooking and put together sandwich fashion with the meat cakes.

Notes

Our grocery store was out of celery, so I just used carrots. We are having a hard time getting quality produce where we live. It’s very frustrating, but it’s only been a month, really, since we’ve had shortages here. I can’t imagine how awful it would have been to deal with rationing and shortages for years. It makes me think about the people who lived through the war years and how rationing shaped their everyday lives.

Results

I was really pleased with these. They were so much better than I expected them to be. Even my 2 and 5 year olds liked them. The carrots added a nice flavor. Usually I load my burgers up with vegetables and condiments, but no one added anything to these. They were perfect the way they were.

The meal was also quick to make, just like the cookbook suggested it would be. I followed the recommendation in the photo above and served the cheeseburgers with a fruit cup and cold drink. I will also note that carrots and other vegetables were often added to ground beef to stretch the meat so a pound of meat would go a long way. People were always on the lookout for ways to save ration points and this was a common one. Crackers were also used in place of the vegetables.

Please join us on Instagram as we keep going with the WW2 Ration Cook-in challenge. We’d love to have you! Use #ww2rationcookin so we can see what you create!

First Monday Menu on a Tuesday

I know that this is a day late, but it includes possibly my favorite recipe I’ve ever made for this blog.

I started soaking the beans on Monday. Does that count?

I got this menu from one of my favorite little cookbooks, 300 Helpful Suggestions for Your Victory Lunch Box. Since I’m including three recipes here today, I think I will split this post into two. Today I’ll include the recipes and later this week I’ll write about packing lunch boxes during the war.

Let’s get right to the recipes.

Minestrone

  • 1/2 c navy or pea beans
  • 6 c water
  • 1/4 lb bacon, chopped
  • 4 c beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 c shredded cabbage
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 (No. 2 1/2) can tomatoes
  • 1/2 c macaroni (1 inch pieces)
  • salt and pepper

Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and place in soup kettle with the water and chopped bacon. Simmer until beans are tender. Add beef broth, vegetables, macaroni, and seasonings. Cook for 30 min. Serve with grated Italian style cheese. Serves 6.

Sandwich

  • Sliced hard boiled eggs spread with chopped stuffed olives. Use mayonnaise as a spread on top piece of bread.

Orange Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 3 oz package cream cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp orange juice
  • few grains salt
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1/4 chopped nuts, optional

Mash cream cheese with a fork. Add orange juice gradually, beating until fluffy and smooth. Beat in salt and orange rind. Add nuts if desired.

Frost gingersnaps and stack three or four together, leaving the top one unfrosted.

Results

The minestrone was amazing. This is now my favorite minestrone recipe and probably my new favorite soup. The bowl I have pictures of didn’t have a lot of broth in it, but there was broth in the pot. I wanted to make sure you could see all of the ingredients. It was hearty and filling. I highly recommend this recipe. Note: We forgot the grated cheese! It was terrific even without it.

The sandwich brought mixed reactions. I love eggs, and I love green olives stuffed with pimientos. but I discovered that I don’t like them together. Several of my testers did like it, though, so you might want to give it a try. The recipe came from a list of filling ideas for lunch box sandwiches. I’ll include some more options in my next post.

The gingersnap cookies were good and the cream cheese filling was sweet and lightly orange-flavored, but it wasn’t the version we started out with. The original recipe created frosting that was really runny and didn’t taste good. We decided to try to fix it. We added more cream cheese and powdered sugar until it reached the consistency and flavor that we wanted. We added a little more orange juice to keep the orange flavor. We used store-bought gingersnaps. I think a home front housewife would often have used purchased cookies for lunchboxes. Stacking three or four as suggested really didn’t work, so I made little cookie sandwiches instead. My two year old preferred dunking individual gingersnaps in the filling.

To sum this all up, I recommend the minestrone. I’m not a fan of the sandwich filling, and the orange cream cheese filling is good if you add powdered sugar to sweeten it up.

These were all recipes intended for lunch boxes in 1943. There’s so much information in this cookbook. I’m looking forward to talking about packing your lunch 1940s style a little later this week. If it’s chilly where you are right now–try the minestrone! Have a great week.