Tag Archives: Main Dishes

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.

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.

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!

WW2 Ration Cook-In: Lunch

Shortages in my hometown have forced me to adjust my meal plans for today. The closest small grocery store is thirty minutes away. The nearest major grocery store is an hour and a half away. We are only making one trip a week and are trying to stay out of town as much as possible, and have been utilizing our small local store. Normally this is not a problem.

During our last grocery run, however, there were still serious shortages. I had planned on adding soup to this lunch menu, but the ingredients were not available. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I think it’s an interesting tie to the food rationing and shortages that I write about.

I love Spam advertisements from the 1930s and 1940s. They were colorful and fun, and during the war years were helpful to the home front housewife because they provided meal ideas during a time when meal planning had become more of a challenge. A 1938 Spam ad included a quick recipe for an open-faced hot Spam sandwich. I decided to try to recreate that idea.

This is a typical Spam ad from late 1942. The ads are usually colorful, full page ads that portrayed conversational situations that made their product look and sound appealing.

Hot Spam Sandwich

Butter a slice of bread. Slice the Spam and put two slices side by side on top of the buttered bread. Add a slice of American cheese over the Spam. Broil until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Top with a slice of toasted bread. Other ingredients may be added before or after broiling. Some suggestions include fried egg, onion, peppers, or any sauces or condiments desired. Serve warm with soup and potato chips for a warm, filling lunch.

A note about potato chips: Production of potato chips temporarily came to a halt during WWII. They were deemed to be non-essential and potato chip factories were told to stop production. Protests helped change the War Production Board’s mind, and potato chips continued to be made. Potato chips were a popular wartime snack, especially when sweet snacks were not as available due to sugar shortages and rationing. They also were popular with troops overseas.

Results

Spam was a staple in American pantries during the war. It’s also a staple in mine since I do a lot of wartime-style cooking. I prefer Spam fried. I think most of my family does. I also find it rather salty to eat very often. The hot sandwich was filling, but I think that next time I’ll fry the the Spam instead.

I can see the appeal of canned meats. They weren’t rationed and helped a home front housewife add meat and protein to sometimes limited diets. Victory garden vegetables could be used to add some flavor and texture variety. This would be a quick and low point lunch that would be handy to have in a home front housewife’s cooking arsenal.

Day 3 of the WW2 Ration Cook-In is dinner. Join us on Instagram by following along or cooking with us. Use #ww2rationcookin so we can see what you make! Don’t forget to visit the other hosts’ websites and Instagrams to see what they are creating.

Www.history-preserved.com

Www.victorykitchenpodcast.com

Www.kate-lavender.com/blog

Www.worldturnedupsidedown.com

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.

St. Valentine’s Luncheon

This is a quick post to give you a menu from the Wyandotte County Gas Company’s Home Service Department’s 1940 cookbook, Your Gas Range Cook Book. I’ve included three of the recipes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuna Fish Loaf with Mushroom Sauce

Note that the mushroom sauce is included in the recipe but needs additional ingredients. This makes 6 servings.

Heart Beet Salad

The “heart” in this salad comes from a cookie cutter. The recipe makes 6 servings.

Valentine Meringues

There’s a lot going on in this recipe. Additional supplies are listed in the directions.

First Monday Menu: Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole and Bargain Brownies

This month I want to explore recipes that were created to help home front housewives deal with rationing and shortages. I’ll write a bit more about that later in the week. Today’s menu is interesting and I want to get straight to it.

Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole

The main dish recipe comes from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. You’ll see several things from this magazine this month. It’s fascinating. It’s the first issue to include the “Woman’s Day War Food Bulletin” that explained rationing, gave updates to that and other government wartime programs, and provided advice on how to live with all the changes that were happening. There were numerous recipes in each of these food bulletins, and they were aimed at finding solutions to problems the home front housewife might be struggling with that month.

This particular magazine issue really dives into rationing and what it meant to everyday people. I can’t imagine the fear and uncertainty that came from having to completely change your shopping and eating habits. I’m sure people wondered if there would be enough food to feed their families. Woman’s Day and magazines like it helped home front housewives feel more confident about moving forward and adjusting. The magazine is filled with recipes like today’s casserole. This casserole comes from an article about how to make satisfying meals with macaroni, noodles, and spaghetti. They are offered as being cheap menu choices, and only two of the twelve recipes included meat. Today’s casserole cost just 28 cents for four servings.

The Variety-Vegetable Macaroni Casserole recipe calls for a soup bunch. Although this is occasionally available in modern supermarkets, it is not something many people where I live have heard of. In the 1940s, groups of vegetables were bundled together as a kind of soup starter kit. We created our own bundle of shallots, celery, turnips, carrots, potatoes, and parsley. Cabbage was a separate ingredient in the recipe, but we would have added it to the soup bunch if it hadn’t been.

  • 1 soup bunch, thinly sliced
  • 2 c shredded cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 8 oz package elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 2 or 3 slices of cheese

Barely cover vegetables with boiling water and add salt. Cover and cook for ten minutes. Drain, reserving liquid for soup, etc. (Note: not needed for this recipe) Add pepper, margarine, macaroni, and milk. Pour into two quart casserole dish. Bake in slow oven at 300°F for 45 min. Put cheese on top 15 minutes before removing casserole from oven.

A few more notes: We doubled the recipe and it worked well. We guessed on the amounts of our soup bunch ingredients. If you find that you have too much, you can freeze the vegetables for later. They would be great in several kinds of soup. The recipe says to save the vegetable liquid for soup. This was a common thing to do to prepare for later meals, but the liquid is not needed for this recipe.

Bargain Brownies

This recipe comes from What Do We Eat Now? A Guide to Wartime Housekeeping, a 1942 book by Helen Robertson, Sarah MacLeod, and Frances Preston. Even though I don’t think of brownies as cookies, there were several brownie recipes in the cookie section. The authors said they concentrated on recipes that didn’t use a lot of sugar and didn’t have too much fat. They said that any of the recipes in the section would be great in a lunch box or sent off to soldiers at camp.

  • 1 c chopped peanuts
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • few grains salt
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/3 c melted fat
  • 1/3 c dark corn syrup
  • 1 egg

Grease a shallow eight-inch pan and line it with wax paper. Grease the paper. Bake in a moderate oven at 350°F for 15 min.

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Blend fat and corn syrup. Stir in a well beaten egg. Add dry ingredients gradually, stirring them in as added. Add peanuts. Turn into prepared pan and bake.

Note: This was added at the bottom of the recipe: “These brownies are not sweet as we are accustomed to having them. They may be spread with cream chocolate frosting if desired.”

Results

The variety-vegetable macaroni casserole was delicious. It was easy to make, and it’s a flexible recipe. You really could add in any number of vegetable combinations and it would be tasty. It’s meatless, so it didn’t require rationing points for meat. If she had fresh vegetables in her garden, or leftovers from prepping another meal, the only thing the home front housewife would really have to purchase would be cheese and macaroni.

The casserole was warm and hearty. With the macaroni, turnips, and potatoes, it was a meal that would fill up hungry family members. Every one of my testers went back for seconds. There were just enough vegetables with the macaroni. This is also flexible–you can add the amounts of each vegetable that you prefer. We rarely eat turnips, so I was happy to use them in this casserole. The only things we might change for next time would be adding a bit more pepper and more cheese slices across the top.

I don’t recommend the bargain brownie recipe. Unless you are interested in what this specific wartime recipe is like, I would not make these. If you are looking for a brownie recipe to go with this menu, I’d suggest Honey Brownies instead.

The bargain brownies’ batter was more like a dough. We had to press the mixture into the pan. After they were baked, they were the driest, crumbliest brownies I have ever dealt with. They tasted like squares of solid cocoa powder. I know that the recipe stressed that they were not sweet, but these were inedible. I even took a second bite to try to evaluate them from the point of view that brownies didn’t need to be sweet and that during the war people had to make changes to their food. There is no way I would ever eat an entire brownie. They were bitter and so powdery dry that it was difficult to chew and swallow them.

I have tried numerous recipes that called for substitutions or adjustments from this time period. Some were delicious, and some were just ok. Never have I tried a recipe that I couldn’t take more than a bite or two. I know that there are better wartime recipes than this.

I’m going to try to find another brownie recipe that I can add to this post this month. The Honey Brownies I linked above were good, but not as chocolatey and sweet as a traditional brownie. I’ll see what I can find. In the meantime, let me know if you try out the casserole. I think you’ll be pleased with it.