Uncle Bob’s Jell-O Salad

This was part of Casey’s Ham Loaf dinner. Which I haven’t written about yet. But I will. And then link back to this post so you’ll remember that THIS is the Jell-O that went with the loaf. Oh, how I have reservations with dishes that are made in loaf-form! Why loaf, why?

But I digress. Casey gave me the recipe because apparently you can’t have Ham Loaf without this gelatin dish. It’s a rule. Here is the recipe:

Two small boxes of black cherry jello. Add two cups boiling water and dissolve. Add 8 oz cream cheese and use fork to break up into small pieces. Drain liquid from one can crushed pineapple in its own juice and one can of black cherries into 2 cup measuring cup. Add water to make two cups and add to the mix. Then stir in the pineapple and cherries. Pour into a suitable container and chill til it sets.

Well, that’s easy enough. Although I couldn’t find a can of black cherries.

Hands up if you’re surprised that the Safeway didn’t carry cherries in a can.


I didn’t think so.

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Posted in Dessert, Food, Fruit, Jell-O, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Readers’ Choice!

In my Flank Steak Teryaki post I pointed out that it has been a long, long, long time since I prepared a complete meal from the DiS! set. How long? It was summer.

That’s a long-ass time.

I have been away from the cards so long that I didn’t even know that there are only 11 left. Yes, you heard me right: ELEVEN. That’s one-a-month if I start in February.

Now I realize: I can do this. I can totally do this. I can finish the cards this year!

But all I need to do is start. I look to you, gentle readers, to give me a kick in the ass and get this show on the road.

I have chosen 4 DiS! cards, all with different proteins, but all suitable for the season (I wasn’t about to start doing some outdoor grilling in this cold).

What’ll it be?

readerchoice 001

As always, that is some damn fine food photography, Marjon Promotions, Inc.

27. Swedish Meatballs

  • Assorted Herring Appetizers
  • Swedish Meat Balls
  • Pickled Beets
  • Cucumber Pickles
  • Jannsson’s Temptation (card #91)
  • Apple Squares with Vanilla Sauce

53. Stuffed Breast of Veal (or Lamb)

  • Stuffed Breast of Veal
  • Sage Potatoes
  • Tomato, Cauliflower, and Olive Salad with French Dressing
  • Babas Au Rhum

60. Orange Duck 

  • Orange Duck
  • Wild Rice
  • Green Beans Almondine
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Whipped Jello Parfaits

111. Broiled Fillet of Sole

  • Peppery Tomato Juice or Bloody Mary
  • Broiled Fillet of Sole With Coral Shrimp Sauce
  • Broiled Mushroom Caps
  • Rosti Potatoes
  • Cheese Pinwheels
  • Grape and Orange Ambrosia
  • Coffee or Tea

Voting opens today and will go til Monday. So if you are just bonkers for meatballs, love Jell-O, or have strong feelings for cheese pinwheels, you got a lot of time to stuff the ballot box.

Speaking of strong feelings–over the weekend (and by the weekend I mean Friday night and Saturday morning/afternoon) I binge-watched The Affair–and I have a lot–A LOT–of feelings about Joshua Jackson a.k.a. Pacey Witter.

hot pacey

He plays a cowboy/surfer. Not kidding.

So. Many. Feelings. I could watch that clip all day long.


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The Sandwich: Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Are You Hungry Tonight?

Compiled by Brenda Arlene Butler, 1992

Happy Elvis Day, my friends!

Today Elvis would have been 80. That totally blows my mind. Frank Sinatra died at 82 and performed and recorded almost right to the very end. Tony Bennett is frickin’ 88 and just released an album with Lady Gaga. Just think of what Elvis might be doing right now had he laid off the prescription drugs and the fried food.

Speaking of fried food, in honor of Elvis’ birthday, I made The Sandwich. The Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich.

Would it surprise you to know that I never tried one before?

This recipe is from Are You Hungry Tonight? Elvis’ Favorite Recipes. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks.

Here’s what the cookbook says:

Elvis made it famous. He made it part of American folk cuisine. He referred to it as a peanut butter and ‘nanner sandwich, and his love for this treat helped to transform this simple delicacy into his signature dish. He loved these sandwiches and would ask that they be prepared for him at all hours of the day and night.

  • 1 small ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 slices white bread, toasted
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp butter

It’s extremely easy. Just make a grilled cheese, but with mashed banana and peanut butter as the insides. Look:

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Banana? Good. Butter? Good. Peanut Butter? Hell yeah!

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35. Flank Steak Teriyaki


IMG_20141001_185438_847So, have you ever been to Colonial Williamsburg?

I have. Twice. Once as a kid and once in my 30s.

If you haven’t been, just know that the whole thing is just weird. It’s a little colonial village filled with cosplay American Revolutionaries (albeit, paid). It’s like Medieval Times, but spread across acres and acres. So, I guess it’s kinda like a Renaissance Faire. Except in early America. And without big turkey legs.  

My first visit in the 90s was notable because during a tour of the Rockefeller’s house (they’re the ones who funded the restoration of the town), my little brother had to use the facilities, so he got to use the off-limits bathroom. On the other side of the velvet rope. Little Nicky peed right next to John D. Rockefeller’s monogrammed towels.

The second time I visited was right before Thanksgiving 2010. It was Dearly Departed Cleve’s birthday/Christmas present–2 nights in historical Americana geekdom (in one of the on-site colonial-styled houses). A nice trip. But it sticks out in my head because on that trip I received the phone call to inform me that my beloved Gramsy (yes, the woman from whom I received Dinner is Served) passed away. So that sucked.

But the thing that was similar both times? I ate dinner at the King’s Arms Tavern. And I love that kind of shit. The whole restaurant was lit by candlelight and the menus were factually based. I was eating what George Washington would have eaten, had he visited.

OK, so what the hell does Williamsburg have to do with anything?

Because for #35 I made the Sally Lunn recipe from The Williamsburg Cookbook (1975). I scored this copy from a bookstore in NYC years ago.

Williamsburg Cookbook

It’s a really neat cookbook. I want to make the cold peanut soup this year. I recall that the soup was tasty both times I dined at the King’s Arms.

Sally Lunn RecipeSally Lunn Recipe

It is fitting that I made the Sally Lunn because Todd is a huge American history buff and this was the dinner I made for him for his birthday. Did I not mention that? I made this for Todd’s birthday. Which was back in May.

That’s how long I sit on these sometimes.

Anyway, without going into the drama of me and baking, here is the resulting Sally Lunn:

Sally Lunn

GORGEOUS. Now onto the main course!

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Posted in 1970s, Beef cuts, cookbooks, Food, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

New Year Pretzel & City Chicken (A Very Pittsburgh New Year)


Published 1973

Happy New Year, kittens!

The days of December 31 and January 1 are rife with superstition and things to do and not do in order to roll into the new year as a lucky duck and leave the bad parts of the previous year behind.

Depending on where you’re from this could include eating black eyed peas or pickled herring or putting a dime on your windowsill.

As a kid growing up in Western PA, there were two foods that were must-haves in order to usher in a prosperous new year: pork and sauerkraut. And for good measure, throw in a lucky New Year’s Pretzel purchased from the local Giant Eagle.

I have never seen the pretzel outside of Pittsburgh, but I wanted to make 2015 a helluva lucky year by having all three. So I had to bake my own.

I found the recipe in a copy of the Three Rivers Cookbook that I perused last weekend while at my brother’s house. I wasn’t looking for it. But there it was:

new year's pretzel recipe

According to this recipe, it’s a German tradition. Can anyone else verify that?

I anticipated that the pretzel would be a challenge since I am baking-impared, but it went surprisingly well!

The dough rose and was very easy to roll out.

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Here’s the final product, festooned with powdered sugar icing, candied Maraschino cherries, and crushed walnuts.

Pittsburgh New Year's Pretzel

I think it’s rather pretty! Sadly, the inside of the pretzel was a little under-cooked.

Me and the baking, man! It’s always something, ya know?

Now, from the Eve to the Day and my pork and sauerkraut.

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Bisquick Impossible Brunch Pie


OMG, this cheese from Herb’s is just outrageous.

Seasons greetings, kittens! I have been at Casa de Mum & Dad for the past few days and we’re getting our holly jolly on. Yesterday my mum and I drove up to scenic Zelienople, PA to pick up our Christmas ham at Herb Brittner’s Smokehouse and Radiator Shop. We stopped by Carol’s Bakery on Main Street (celebrating 40 years!) to pick up cookies and rolls and stollen. It’s the best bakery.

Since we are having a great big holiday fest for Christmas Eve, I decided to make dinner last night. Something simple, easy, and something that I need to make for this here blog. It’s Impossible Brunch Pie!

impossible seafood pie recipe

You know the drill. BUT! This time I used an actual blender (I typically just use the stand mixer).

Here’s the pie, through photos:


Blended mixture on top of the cooked, drained spinach.


Thinly sliced tomatoes placed gingerly on top of the cheese/Bisquick mix


I didn’t skimp on the Parm. I probably put on closer to a half a cup. I also sprinkled some freshly ground pepper on top.

Now, I don’t know if this is because we used gluten-free Bisquick (mum has The Gluten) or because I used a blender, but this impossible pie was so fluffy–it was like a biscuit! Look at it!

Impossible Brunch Pie

I loved the consistency of this–it was like a cheesy base with fluffy biscuit on top. The sour cream and the cottage cheese blended so nicely. So much better than some of the past pies made with milk, egg, and shredded cheese. You could put some basil and oregano and other herbs in it and get a really nice Italian thing going on.

This may have been my favorite of all the Impossible Pies. Well, maybe with the exception of Impossible Taco Pie. But who doesn’t love a Taco Pie? For serious. Who ever says no to Taco Pie?

Anyway, you know what this means?


Do you think I can make it happen before midnight on the 31st?

I don’t know! But I do know this–I hope all of you have a fabulous Christmas/End of Hannukah/Festivus (did you know that today is Festivus?).

I’ll see yinz all on the flipside!

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Bavarian Meatballs

This is me trying to connect this dish to Christmas somehow:

Bavarian Meatballs. Bavaria. What do they do in Bavaria? Drink beer. Eat sausage. There’s Alps. Snow. Ski lodge. Sweaters. Christmas sweaters. Oh, shit. Bavarian Christmas Markets!

How sweet does that look? I totally want to go to there.

I don’t know if they’d serve Bavarian Meatballs at a Bavarian Christmas market; but I doubt it, considering where I got this recipe:

blog november 006

Doubleday & Co. 1960

This cookbook is something else. It contains hundreds of ways to prepare ground beef. There are recipes to feed 100 people. And seven variations on Swedish meatballs. SEVEN.

Pray tell, why would I be making meatballs for 100 people? If I were catering a wedding?Feeding the Duggars?

Anyway, the author of this book, Doyne Nickerson, seems like one helluva interesting fellow. His jacket bio is among the best I’ve read:

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A true Renaissance man!


This guy ate a shit-ton of hamburger. Three times a day? During the depression? Wasn’t everyone eating cabbage soup? How the hell did this guy get his hands on that much beef?

This book is a veritable meatball bounty.

blog november 008

And I do like a good meatball.

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Bisquick Impossible Bacon Pie

Another one bites the dust!

Granted, I made this back when Todd was still living in Baltimore (so, that means, yes, over the summer), but I just didn’t get to writing about it until now. Because I am a slacker. And not like in a cool Reality Bites kind of way–because I have a goddamned mortgage–I’m just intermittently lackadaisical when it comes to the blog (ok, my entire life) and this fell between the cracks.

That reminds me, I need to call the home warranty people because my dryer doesn’t dry. And two of the ceiling fans don’t work.


There’s been enough of these pies that you know the drill:


Thank you again. Click Americana.

So, really, this is just a Quiche Lorraine sans crust. Or–sorry, Bisquick people–it is a Quiche Lorriane that does the impossible by making its own crust almost like magic!

Regardless, you can’t go wrong with bacon, onion, and cheese. Amiright?

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A Happy Holiday Idea: Hot Dr. Pepper (1965)


Bright as a holiday songfest? Warm and wonderful as a crackling fire? That does sound like a Happy Holiday Idea! via ClickAmericana.com

Earlier this month I featured this 1965 Dr. Pepper advertisement on the Facebook page. It garnered a lot of attention; there were a lot of ‘likes’ and a lot of varying opinions about whether Hot Dr. Pepper was delicious or disgusting. It apparently was a thing in the 60s.

Here are some sample comments:

Shari said, “It’s really good. Especially with the lemon slice. We used to drink this all the time in the winter.”

Carole said, “My boyfriend only drinks diet Dr. Pepper. Last year he had the flu and wanted a hot drink but doesn’t drink tea or coffee. So he looked online and found hot Dr. Pepper. I made him some. He almost swore off Dr. Pepper for life. I didn’t have the courage to try it.”

Kelly said, “Adding bourbon makes Dr. Pepper taste like prune juice.”

Cindy said, “They used to serve this at the football games where we lived in north Florida. I was only 4 or 5, but I remember liking it!”

Teri said, “I can recall shopping one Saturday in the late 70’s with my mom when I was offered a Hot Dr. Pepper. I drank the sample cup and then blew massive chunks right there in the store. Try at your own risk.”

That story settled it. I had to make it!

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Posted in Beverages & Cocktails, Food, Recipes, Retro Food, Retro Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Bisquick Impossible Cheesecake Pie

Since it looks as though I may never complete the DiS! card set, I might as well meet some of the goals I’ve made for myself–so I am plowing through the Impossible Pie recipes before the end of the year.

I made this Bisquick pie for a party over the summer.

Yes, you heard that right. I made it this summer.

But whatever. It’s done. And with much better results than the Impossible Brownie Pie (thank you, sweet baby Jesus).

impossible cheesecake recipe

I am all about anything with cheese, so here I was hopeful. There are TWO packages of cream cheese in this thing!

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