Quick Dinner Trends Have Changed, Thank Goodness!

I was looking at a vintage cookbook from Better Homes & Gardens, circa 1963. It’s a quaint little book featuring “Meals in Minutes.” It’s amazing how recipes and cooking have changed.

Here’s an example recipe:

Soup-kettle Supper

1 can condensed cream of vegetable soup

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can condensed onion soup

2 cups milk

1 8-ounce can cream-style cord

1 4-ounce can Vienna sausage

Mix soups together; stir in milk and corn. Slice sausage links into coins; add. Cover; heat slowly, sirring often until soup comes just to boiling. Serves 6.

There’s also a note on this recipe: “Three soups make a grand new full-mail soup. Serve with crackers and crisp celery sticks. And plan a luscious dessert.”

Yikes! I am stunned that BH&G ever put such fare in their cookbooks. It makes me wonder whether they were owned by the same parent company as Campell’s Soup back then. This recipe probably tastes okay, but all the salt and fat and carbs … At least in the serving suggestions we finally see a vegetable.

 Here’s one more:

Cheese-y Fish Sticks

Place frozen breaded fish sticks on baking sheet. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. Bake fish sticks, according to the package directions.

What? Like the frozen fish sticks weren’t bad enough already – let’s add cheese!

Scanning through this cookbook, it’s amazing the amount of pre-fabricated, fake foods included.

Okay, one more crazy one:

Chicken Pot Pie

2 1-pound cans chicken in gravy

1/3 cup milk

1 cup packaged biscuit mix


Place chicken in gravy in wide 3-quard saucepan (to make room for dumplings). Heat until bubbling.

Add milk to biscuit mix, and prepare and cook dumplings according to package directions. Before serving, sprinkle with paprika. Makes 6 servings.

A recipe starting with canned chicken in gravy? Blech. And the directions are pretty unclear. Glad I’m not interested in making this dish. Although, apparently a sprinkle of Paprika cures all.

It seems that cooking trends change just as much as decorating trends. Looking at the recipes in this book is a lot like looking at home decor from the ‘70s. Harvest gold. Really? Who ever thought that was stylish?

Interesting to walk down memory lane, but I sure don’t want to eat there!

Semi-Homemade Soup for a Winter’s Day

It’s a cold and blustery Sunday here and the weather has me thinking about soup. There are few things more comforting and warming in this kind of weather. Last winter I had a delicious bowl of soup at a friend’s house, and when I asked for the recipe, I was stunned to discover how easy this soup is to make. It’s cheating, sort of, because it starts with canned soup, but the final result is wonderful.

It also makes enough soup to have leftovers for lunches this week! Give this soup a try. Big thanks to Kim M. for sharing this great recipe.

7 Can Soup

3 cans hearty minestrone soup

2 cans stewed tomatoes, diced

2 cans ranch style beans

1 can Rotel diced

1 pound Velveeta

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

1 tablespoon garlic salt

Brown 1 1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey) with 1 chopped onion. Drain. Add remaining ingredients. Good with grated cheese and Fritos on top.